Nicholas Canny, a historian, held an Established Chair in History at the National University of Ireland, Galway, 1979-2009, where he was also Founding Director of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities, 2000-11, and Vice President for Research, 2005-8. He was President of the Royal Academy 2008-11. He is a Member of Academia Europaea, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. He has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; a fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, professeur invité at the École des Hautes Études, Paris, and was Parnell Senior Research Fellow at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, 2005-6.
An expert on early modern history broadly defined, he edited the first volume of The Oxford History of the British Empire (1998) and, with Philip D. Morgan, edited The Oxford Handbook of the Atlantic World, c1450-c1850 (2011). His major book is Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (Oxford, 2001), for which he was awarded the Irish Historical Research Prize 2003; a prize he had previously won in 1976 for his first book The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland: a Pattern Established, 1565-76. His most recent publication is ‘A Protestant or Catholic Atlantic World? Confessional Divisions and the Writing of Natural History’ in Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 181, pp. 83-121 derives from the Raleigh Lecture for 2011 that he was invited to give to the British Academy.