I have worked on and managed a wide variety of projects across the fields of history, archaeology and in the museum sector. You can learn more about a small sample of them below, divided by topic into Archaeology & History; Exhibitions; Heritage Consultancy; and Teaching, Engagement & Outreach. Click here for a full list of my publications, and here for current and past speaking engagements. If you are interested in discussing any element of my expertise please don’t hesitate to contact me at shielsheritage[at]gmail.com.
ARCHAEOLOGY & HISTORY
I am a license-eligible archaeologist in the Republic of Ireland, and spent nearly a decade as a Company Director of Headland Archaeology (Ireland) Ltd/Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd. I have also managed a number of multi-million euro post-excavation and publication projects. I am a specialist in battlefield and conflict archaeology, and have undertaken a range of investigations and analyses on that topic in Ireland and Britain.
IRISH BATTLEFIELDS PROJECT
Archaeological lead for Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government Project which produced reports and sought to map all of the Republic of Ireland’s battlefields, a joint undertaking by Rubicon Heritage and Eneclann.
VINEGAR HILL 1798
Archaeological director for the Wexford County Council funded Longest Day Project, the largest battlefield survey ever undertaken in Ireland. The multi-disciplinary and international team uncovered new details about the day of the battle.
SPECIALIST SURVEY & ANALYSIS
Specialist survey or artefact analysis for a wide range of sites, such as the 1691 Aughrim battlefield, Clogh Oughter Castle, Rathfarnham Castle, Castledonovan Castle, St. Mary’s Church, and War of Independence Coolavokig Ambush Site.
HERITAGE CENTENARY BOOK
Commissioned by Cork County Council to write the 2016 book on history and archaeology of conflict in Cork from Vikings to Civil War, with a concentration on the Revolutionary Period. It is freely available here.
KINSALE BATTLEFIELD PROJECT
Founded the Kinsale Battlefield Project in 2001, Ireland’s longest running volunteer-led conflict site investigation. Directed in conjunction with Paul O’Keeffe, it has identified a range of new archaeological sites and led to stronger protection for the conflict zone.
IRISH IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR WEBSITE
Ireland’s longest-running and most extensive academic website on 19th century Irish emigration and emigrants. Founded in 2010, it now contains more than 1,000,000 words of information and has been visited c. 1,000,000 times. You can access it here.
POST EXCAVATION, EDITING & PUBLICATION MANAGEMENT
The completion of dozens of projects on behalf of Rubicon Heritage, many multi-million euro road schemes. The role included the management of all aspects of the post-excavation, editing and publication process.
I have conducted and managed numerous heritage-related projects. These range from the production of technical reports such as EIAs and DBAs for private sector clients to specialised reports examining heritage management strategies, heritage tourism and heritage potential for public bodies.
INTERREG ATLANTIC AREA MMIAH PROJECT
Expert report contribution towards Cork City’s element of this multi-national EU funded project, on the recovery and valorization of maritime, military and industrial heritage of the Atlantic Area coast.
CORK COUNTY COUNCIL HERITAGE AUDIT
Quote to grave management and delivery of this Rubicon Heritage project to conduct a heritage audit of sites in Cork County Council ownership.
NATIONAL MUSEUM ARTEFACT SCOPING REPORT
Quote to grave management and delivery of Rubicon Heritage project for the NMI to assess the number of archaeological finds in Ireland and make recommendations on appropriate long-term storage solutions.
FINDS MANAGEMENT, HERITAGE ASSESSMENT & TOURISM ASSESSMENT REPORTS
A range of expert reports assessing heritage survival, making recommendations on finds management and exploring tourism potential. Largely conducted for military landscapes, such as Bere Island, Camden Fort Meagher and Kinsale.
I spent four years as a curator in the National Museum of Ireland, working with the nation’s military collections. Aside from offering my museum expertise in a consultancy capacity, I have also conceived and produced a number of stand-alone exhibitions exploring Ireland’s diaspora history.
“SOLDIERS & CHIEFS”, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF IRELAND
One of the team who designed, researched and executed this award-winning exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, which covers 1700sqm and contains more than 1000 objects. It tells the story of the Irish military experience from 1550 to the present day.
“PORTRAITS: WOMEN OF CORK & THE U.S. NAVY”, SIRIUS ARTS CENTRE/SPIKE ISLAND
Creator and curator of this exhibition which examines the relationships between the U.S. Navy and local women in Cork during the First World War through their passport photographs. It is based entirely upon original research I conducted into these formerly invisible women.
“IRELAND & THE MEDAL OF HONOR”, KINSALE, FLORIDA, IOWA, EPIC IRISH EMIGRATION MUSEUM
Creator and curator of this exhibition on behalf of the Irish Veterans Charity. It examines Irish connections to the Medal of Honor through its history, and is based entirely upon original research. It will be going on display at EPIC in 2020.
TEACHING, ENGAGEMENT & OUTREACH
Aside from lectures, public speaking and online/print publication, I engage in range of teaching, engagement and outreach activities. I specialise in writing for public audiences, and provide training in that area. I am also a regular contributor to archaeological and historical discussions on radio, television and in the media.
I have assisted in the setup of numerous history and heritage websites and blogs, as well as running a number of my own, including Midleton Heritage, Landscapes of Revolution and Irish in the American Civil War.
AUDIO GUIDE SCRIPTS
Abarta Heritage are Ireland’s leading producer of heritage audio guides. I have worked with them to prepare three scripts, telling the story of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval archaeology discovered on road schemes in Kildare, Cork and Kerry. You can listen to Abarta’s guides here.
I have conducted undergraduate and post-graduate third-level teaching at institutions such as Teesside University, Newcastle University, University College Cork and the University of Edinburgh. This has variously included full courses, tutorials and seminars.
I have conducted a wide variety of bespoke history and archaeology tours in both Ireland and the United States. These have catered both towards the general public and to specific groups, such as senior politicians and senior military officers.
Regular combined lecture and site tour workshops dealing with Irish history and archaeology. Undertaken for the summer institutes of organisations such as the Catholic University of America and The University of North Carolina.
In addition to being interviewed for programming such as RTE Six One News and Nationwide, I also make frequent contributions to television documentaries. These have included programmes created for BBC, RTE, TV3/Virgin Media One, TG4, Yesterday, YLE and C-Span.
RADIO & PODCASTS
I am a regular contributor to national and local radio, as well as podcasts. I have appeared on shows such as RTE’s Morning Ireland, The History Show and The Business, Today FM’s The Last Word, and Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show, Moncrieff and Talking History.
I have written numerous articles for newspapers and media outlets such as The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, and thejournal.ie. In addition, my research has appeared across newspapers in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.
I run a You Tube channel that shares both bespoke videos I have created relating to archaeology and history as well as videos of a number of my talks. You can find it here.
SOCIAL MEDIA & OUTREACH TRAINING
Provision of training on communicating heritage through social media to a number of groups, including the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. Established IAI social media presence while serving as Public Relations Officer.
FORGOTTEN IRISH PODCAST
I run the Forgotten Irish Podcast, an occasional podcast series that explores aspects of the Irish Diaspora. You can check it out here.