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OUR Alumni

Mary Louise O’Donnell

Award: Fulbright Irish Scholar Award

University: At Large

Year: 2019

Dr Mary Louise O’Donnell is a musicologist and musician. Her research focuses on the diverse ways in which the Irish harp has been used in the construction of identity in Ireland and among Irish emigrants. As a Fulbright Scholar, Mary Louise will use the resources of the Falvey Memorial Library at Villanova University to investigate the significance of the Irish harp as a political and cultural emblem of identification among Irish emigrants in the United States from 1780 to 1930. The fruits of her research on the employment of the harp as a visual symbol, literary trope and musical instrument will be incorporated into a book on the history of the Irish harp symbol from its earliest use as a colonial symbol up to the present day. The book will be published in 2022 to mark the centenary of the foundation of the Irish Free State and the adoption of the Irish harp as its official emblem.