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Professor Cormac Ó Gráda is one of Ireland’s most distinguished thinkers and scholars. His work has fundamentally transformed our understanding of the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s and more recently of the very meaning of the famine more generally. In an era which has seen many remarkable developments in Irish history and historiography, and some outstanding feats of re-visioning and analyzing the social, economic and political developments of the last two hundred years, Professor Cormac O Grada stands out as pre-eminent for his achievements.

As regards economic history he is in a class of his own. His magisterial Oxford volume on Irish economic history (Ireland: a new economic history 1780-1939) not only lived up to its title, in decisively reconfiguring the contours of the subject. It was the climax of a series of tour-de-force books and articles, such as Ireland before and after the Famine, and numerous articles in major journals, ranging over the social and economic events of the nineteenth century. He is the sole author of eleven monographs; he has edited or co-edited seven more and he is the author or co-author of 137 journal articles and chapters in books.

Professor O Grada’s scholarship is of a particularly empathetic and inclusive kind. His works on a variety of subjects display his gift for historical identification, and for extracting humanity from statistics, while retaining an analytical edge and never deviating into sentimentality or speculation. His interests are truly encyclopaedic and he has written with distinction on every subject he has handled from the evolution of the old age pension in Ireland to the history of the Irish Jewish community.

Is laoch é i measc na saoithe agus saoi é i measc na laochra agus bhí sé dílis riamh d’ilghnéitheacht teanga agus cultúr na Éireann.

Professor Cormac Ó Gráda’s contribution to the world of learning has been immense and he is a most fitting and worthy recipient of the Academy Gold Medal.