Una MacConville, PhD., has expertise in health, social and cultural research and resource development and a particular focus on making specialist knowledge accessible to diverse audiences. She has extensive expertise in publishing across a range of media.

Una received her PhD (Sociology) from the University of Bath, UK, and specialises in end of life matters. She has developed curriculum material and lectured at third and post-graduate levels, in Ireland and the UK, and has been commissioned to carry out a wide range of research and evaluation projects.

Una also has a background in archaeology and has been involved with magazine and book publishing since 1987. With her publishing partner, Wordwell Ltd., she is actively involved in Archaeology Ireland and History Ireland magazines and the Books Ireland digital platform, which are focused on bringing authoritative and up to date information to a wide audience in an attractive and accessible manner.

Health and social research and resource development

Recent health and social care projects:

Developing resources to meet the health and social needs of people with Limited English Proficiency

Una MacConville & Associates were asked to develop resources to assist palliative care health care professionals and spoken language interpreters working in palliative care settings—an area of health care provision which can be difficult and challenging for all involved and especially so for patient and families members who may have Limited English Proficiency. The project was funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation. Read more about this project here>>

Interpreters in palliative care: on signing terms—matters of life and death for deaf persons is a development project that sought to increase the confidence of both health care workers and interpreters in delivering competent care to Deaf patients and communicating with Deaf patients in a palliative care context.

This development project identified the specific challenges for staff in relation to Deaf patients and the challenges for Irish Sign Interpreters in relation to specialist palliative care services in hospices, community settings and hospitals and developed appropriate resources to address these challenges in order to improve access to, and provision of, palliative care services for Deaf people and their families.

Feasibility Study on Dementia Palliative Care: Building Consensus and Signposting the Future. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Irish Hospice Foundation. (http://www.alzheimer.ie/About-Us/Research.aspx)

Opening Conversations: Developing a model best practice palliative care interventions for people with dementia and their carers: (http://www.alzheimer.ie/About-Us/Research.aspx)

Evaluation of shared model of care initiative for patients with non-complex palliative care needs. Funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation

Curriculum Development: Development of a Post Graduate Certificate and Diploma and Palliative Medicine. Mater Hospital Dublin, St Francis Hospice and University College Dublin.

An investigation of the role of hospice day care in the care of patients with terminal illness. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin. (pdf)

Innovative research

Una MacConville has a particular interest in transcendental experiences surrounding death. She has been funded to conduct research in this area and has been invited to speak at national and international conferences.

Una is frequently asked to speak to the media about these experiences and an extended interview on near to death experiences and related experiences can be heard here. (Oracular Traditions, ALL FM 96.9. Manchester http://www.mixcloud.com/kowalski46/).

Presentations about near to death experiences:
Harnessing the invisible: the transformative potential of near-to-death-experiences in death, dying and bereavement. Afterlife Awareness Conference, Virginia, USA, 2012.

Exploring near to death experiences: results of recent research.
Natural Death Centre, London, 2011

Capturing the invisible: An exploration of deathbed experience (DBE) observed by staff caring for terminally ill patients. Invited speaker, Baltic Sea Palliative Medicine Symposium, Luebeck, Germany, 2010

Publications and professional associations for Una MacConville

Selected publications

MacConville, U., (2011) Sociological and Spiritual Aspects of Palliative Care in Ireland: Understandings of a ‘Good Death’, Edwin Mellon Press, Lampeter)

Mac Conville, U., (2011) Marking death in open places, 2nd International Symposium on roadside memorials, June 2010. Journal of Illness, Crisis and Loss. Vol. 19: 2, pp189–90.

MacConville, U., (2010) ‘Roadside memorials: making grief visible’, Bereavement Care, 29 (3) (December), p.34–36.

MacConville, U. and McQuillan, R., (2010) ‘Potent reminders: an examination of responses to roadside memorials in Ireland in Hockey, Komaromy and Woodthorpe (eds) The Matter of Death: space, place and materiality, Palgrave.

MacConville, U. and McQuillan, R. (2009) ‘A figurational approach: views of communication and awareness of death and dying in Ireland’. Irish Journal of Sociology, Vol. 17.2, pp. 41–55

MacConville, U., (2006) ‘Mapping religion and spirituality in an Irish palliative care setting’ Omega, Volume 53 1–2, 137–52

Professional associations and commitments

Director of Archaeology Ireland and Wordwell Ltd.

Member of the Editorial Board for Archaeology Ireland magazine.

Member of the Editorial Board for History Ireland magazine.

Board member of Publishing Ireland 2016-2020

Board member of the Irish Association of Palliative Care (IAPC) 2013–2016

Previously served as a member of the research and education committee of the IAPC.

Member of the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS), University of Bath, UK.

Research Council United Kingdom (RCUK) Fellowship recipient at the University of Bath, 2005–6 and Visiting Fellow at CDAS 2007–13.

Member of the Steering Committee of the Bereavement Research Forum (UK) 2005–7

Member of the organizing committee for the 7th and 8th International Conferences on the Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal, University of Bath, 2005 and 2007.

Cultural resources

Archaeology Ireland

Una MacConville has been in involved in publishing since 1987. She helped establish the quarterly magazine, Archaeology Ireland, and continues to develop a range of publications to make current archaeological research accessible to a wide audience.

Una MacConville & Associates manages the Heritage Guide series, now eighty nine in number, produced for each issue of Archaeology Ireland magazine.

Digitisation of Archaeology Ireland 1987 –
Una MacConville & Associates managed the digitisation of the entire back catalogue of Archaeology Ireland magazine and Heritage Guides and production of the digital edition of the magazine and Heritage Guide as they are published. Digital editions and a fully searchable digital archive is now available via Exact Editions https://shop.exacteditions.com/gb/archaeology-ireland

Archaeology conferences

Una MacConville & Associates works with Wordwell/Archaeology Ireland in organising the annual National Monuments Services archaeology conference.

2018: Pathways to the Cosmos—the alignment of megalithic tombs in Ireland and Atlantic Europe.

2019: Encountering the sacred: the archaeology and heritage of pilgrimage.

2020: Land, sea and sky: the archaeology of coasts and islands.

Revealing Heritage

Una MacConville & Associates managed the Revealing Heritage project which produced the

Guide to the passage tombs at Brú na Bóinne, from conceptualisation to production.

Books Ireland magazine
Una MacConville & Associate in collaboration with Wordwell ltd. rescued the failing Books Ireland magazine in December 2013, publishing this as a high-quality, authoritative and independent magazine which serves as a guide to, and for, the world of Irish books. In 2020 Books Ireland became a vibrant digital platform for the world of Irish books (https://booksirelandmagazine.com)

History Ireland magazine

Una MacConville has been directly involved with a range of projects associated with History Ireland magazine. The magazine was established in 1993 with the aim of making history accessible to a wide audience. Wordwell Ltd took over History Ireland in 2003 and since that time the magazine has grown considerably in sales and subscriptions. http://www.historyireland.com/


History Ireland Hedge Schools are lively, unfettered debates and can be presented on a wide range of international, national and local topics.

History Ireland Hedge Schools provide a novel and interesting way to bring historical topics to life and add immeasurably to cultural life in Ireland.

History Ireland Hedge Schools appeal to special interest groups such as local history societies but also have a broad appeal to a wide range of audiences.

History Ireland Hedge Schools are now broadcast as Podcasts and available across a wide range of podcast platforms.


Since 2011, Hedge Schools have been hosted by the National Library of Ireland; the National Museum of Ireland; Derry City Council, Belfast City Council, Donegal County Museum, Cavan County Museum, Clifden 400, DLRCC, Women’s History Association; The History Festival of Ireland; The Dublin Festival of History and the Electric Picnic Festival amongst others. The Commemorations Unit (Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) have supported an annual programme of Hedge Schools throughout the island of Ireland since 2014.

Hedge topics have included ‘1916 and all that’; ‘The two Saint Patrick’s’; 1641 Depositions’; ‘Whatever happened to the Citizen’s Army?’, ‘Professionalism in Irish Sport’; ‘Writing a history of Ireland’; ‘The IRA and the Nazis’; ‘Cromwell, atrocities and black propaganda’; ‘The War of Independence: Four glorious years or a squalid sectarian conflict?; Home Rule: lost opportunity or sell-out? The Ulster Covenant 1912: an exercise in mass-democracy or reaction? To hell or to Kimmage: planning outcomes of the 1913 Church Street disaster; The Famine: a series of unfortunate events or genocide? REFORMATION 500 — the Hedge School (Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics and at St Werburghs church, Dublin); 50th anniversary of ‘free education’ (National Library of Ireland); Meeting Éamon De Valera and Michael Collins (Dublin Book Festival @ RDS Library); ‘Keeping the head down’? — Protestant folklore Project (Supported by the Commemorations Unit, Dept. Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, @ Cavan County Museum); ‘Poet of the blackbirds’ — the life and death of Francis Ledwidge (Supported by the Commemorations Unit, Dept. Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht @ Richmond Barracks, Dublin); Ireland and the United States from 1917 to Trump (National Library of Ireland); ‘Now you see them…now you don’t’: women in the Irish Revolution (Supported by the Commemorations Unit. Dept. Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht @ Mechanics Institute, Galway); ‘Coming and going’ — Ireland and migration today (National Library of Ireland); The last train from Bundoran (Railway Heritage Festival, Bundoran, Co Donegal); The Bolshevik Revolution — in the dustbin of history? (Electric Picnic Festival) and Ireland & the UK from 1916 to Brexit (Supported by the Commemorations Unit, Dept. Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht @ The London Irish Centre, Camden, London).

2020 History Ireland Podcasts include

Soviets, strikes and land seizures—class conflict and the Tan War; Henry Grattan 200 years on—a misunderstood legacy?; The Connaught Rangers mutiny—1920, 1970 & 2020; Derry and the north-west 1920–22—war of independence or communal conflict?; Cork—crucible of the War of Independence; Terence MacSwiney—martyrdom, civil resistance & the Irish Revolution; Ireland, Empire & the sea; The Irish Republic abroad in 1920—Dev in America.

A full list of Hedge School and the audio recordings are available at https://www.historyireland.com/hedge-schools/

To discuss a potential Hedge School and topic contact Tommy Graham at editor@historyireland.com

To discuss technical, financial and administrative arrangements contact Una MacConville at una@wordwellbooks.com or on 086 8175530