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PhD researcher Stephen Griffin recounts his experience on his research trip to Nancy, France

Our postgraduate researcher Stephen Griffin (Department of History) recently received funding from the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences at UL for his research. Here he recounts his experience on his research trip to Nancy, France:

“I was fortunate enough to receive funding from the AHSS Postgraduate Research Committee which allowed me to embark upon an extended research trip to Nancy, France between 7-21 May. Nancy was formerly the capital of the old duchy of Lorraine and this trip was undertaken as a requirement of my PhD research, which examines the life of one Owen O’Rourke, an Irish soldier, agent, chamberlain and counsellor of state to the dukes of Lorraine between 1698 and 1727.

“O’Rourke having lived in Lorraine for almost thirty years, it is crucial that I should be able to visit Nancy to conduct research on his time there. Much of my time was spent firstly at the Archives départmentales de Meurthe-et-Moselle and afterwards at the Bibliothéque Municipale de Nancy both of which house many important documents regarding Lorraine’s past and the history of the dukes. In particular, I examined ducal correspondence, wages and pension books and additional financial documents from the old ducal court at Lúneville, located a few miles south of Nancy.

View of Rue Pierre Fourier, Nancy. O’Rourke’s house was situated upon the left hand side. The house was eventually demolished although some of the foundation stones remained and were used to construct the Hotel-de-Ville which now stands in its place.

“Lorraine itself was situated between France and the Holy Roman Empire. In particular, in times of war the duchy was subject to occupation by French forces (Lorraine would eventually be annexed by France in 1766). Warfare and famine led to a decline in the populace of the duchy in the seventeenth century, which led to the dukes encouraging immigration to repopulate their lands. Owen O’Rourke was only one of about two hundred Irish individuals and families who settled in Lorraine at the end of the seventeenth century. However, I have discovered that the Irish themselves make up only one minority as there were also Swiss and Hungarian immigrants to the duchy at this time. I hope that an examination of O’Rourke and his situation, with the use of the sources I have accumulated from both the Archives départmentales de Meurthe-et-Moselle and the Bibliothéque Municipale de Nancy will provide a strong study of the relationship between diaspora, nobility and diplomacy in the seventeenth and eighteenth century.”


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