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Board of the Museum

The Board of the Museum comprises a chairperson and 15 ordinary members.

The Board of the National Museum of Ireland has four subcommittees that focus on specific areas outlined in the NMI’s current Strategic Plan: 2023-2028 Increasing Accessibility, Engaging Community  and the NMI’s Master Vision Statement: 2018-2032.

The principal functions of the Board is:

To maintain, manage, control, protect, preserve, record, research and enlarge the collection of museum heritage objects for the benefit of the public and to increase and diffuse in and outside the State knowledge of human life in Ireland, of the natural history of Ireland and of the relations of Ireland in these respects with other countries.

Members of the Board


Date of Appointment

Term Nominated By
Prof. Cathal O’Donoghue (Chair) 30 July 2021 5 years Royal Dublin Society
John Bowen 6 July 2016 - Second Term 5 years -
Dr. Ciaran Byrne 9 September 2022 5 years -
Suzanne Costello 7 December 2023 5 years -
Marianne Doyle 9 September 2022 5 years -
Iseult Dunne 9 September 2022 5 years -
Beatrice Kelly 9 September 2022 5 years -
Dr. Claudia Kinmonth 30 July 2021 5 years Royal Irish Academy
Ambrose Loughlin 6 July 2016 - Second Term 5 years -
Rowena Neville 7 December 2023 5 years -
Dr Barra O'Donnabhain 5 October 2020 5 years -
Dr Susan Rogers 5 October 2020  5 years -
Helen Shenton 18 November 2018 - Second Term 5 years -
Prof. Geraldine Sheridan 30 July 2021 5 years Royal Irish Academy

Prof Cathal O'Donoghue (Chair)

Cathal O’Donoghue has been from 2016, the Established Chair of Social and Public Policy, at the University of Galway. From 2016-2020, he was the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences. Prior to this he was since 2005, Head of Teagasc’s Rural Economy and Development Programme. He was a member of the Fund Council of CGIAR, a $1 billion a year International Agri-Food Research organisation from 2014-2016. From 2012-2014, he was CEO of the Irish Government's Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas 2012-2014, Chairman of the Irish Sport Horse Strategy Committee 2013-2015, and was President of the International Microsimulation Association 2011-2015. Since 2021 he has been Chair of the Foundation Board of the RDS. He is Chair of Burren Lowlands CLG, and a member of the Board of Music for Galway, Burren Beo and the International Microsimulation Association.


John Bowen

John Bowen is CEO of BowenConsult which provides strategic consultancy services and serves on the boards of a number of private companies as director or Chairman. A Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland, he has a strong business background, and is a qualified negotiator and an Accredited Mediator.

His career included engineering and management roles prior to joining the Bowen Group, where as CEO he oversaw its growth to become one of Ireland’s leading construction organisations.  He was Chairman of the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork from 2006-2016 and is a Warden of the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin which is responsible for the Assay Office at Dublin Castle.


Dr Ciaran Byrne

Dr Ciaran Byrne is currently the Director of the National Retrofit Directorate in Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). In this position his key priority is to build the National Retrofit Directorate within SEAI and design the business and financial model capable of mobilising the effective delivery of over 55,000 BER B2 retrofits per annum from 2023. This target will be achieved through a network of ‘One Stop Shops’, creating a national demand for retrofit amongst homeowners through marketing, addressing operational bottlenecks, smart finance options and raising awareness of the multiple benefits of undertaking a retrofit. One of Ciaran’s other priorities is activating the education and construction sectors to ensure appropriately skilled labour is available to deliver Ireland’s retrofit ambition.

Prior to joining the SEAI, Ciaran held CEO roles in two other State Agencies the Central Fisheries Board and Inland Fisheries Ireland, between 2008 and 2020. Ciaran is a qualified management accountant and served his time working in industry where he gained a deep understanding of business, and the importance of cost controls and focusing on core objectives. Ciaran is a Chartered Director and was admitted into the Institute of Directors in 2017, and he has just completed a master’s degree in business studies. Ciaran has degree and Ph.D. in zoology from Trinity College and has authored several peer reviewed scientific publications. 
Headshot of Ciaran Byrne

Suzanne Costello

Suzanne Costello is CEO of the Institute of Public Health in Ireland since 2018. Throughout her career, Suzanne has been involved in strategy, communications and policy development work in Ireland and the UK in the not-for-profit and public sectors.


Suzanne has a primary degree is in Social Science from University College Dublin, a Master’s in Business Studies, and a Diploma in Strategy, Innovation and Change, from the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, UCD.


Iseult Dunne

Iseult Dunne is currently CEO of Dublin City Council Culture Company (CLg) which was established 5 years ago to create and deliver cultural initiatives and run heritage buildings for the people of Dublin. Now and in the past, she has led and motivated multiple cultural, heritage and cross-sectoral teams to deliver ambitious cultural projects, run heritage sites and create an environment for cultural participation and exploration. She is motivated by the aim to make a difference to cultural audiences in the work that she leads. She has over 30 years of experience in the development and implementation of cultural projects across Ireland. 
Headshot of Iseult Dunne

Marianne Doyle 

Marianne is Head of Internal Communications with An Garda Síochána, the Irish national police and security service with 18,000 personnel. She was previously a senior strategic transformation manager for the same organisation. 

Marianne serves on the boards of the Ireland-US Fulbright Commission and the National Museum of Ireland. She previously served on the board of the Irish Baroque Orchestra from 2012-2020, with a term as chairperson.

With a background in Marketing, Communications, and Education, Marianne worked in international marketing for over a decade, predominantly in the higher education sector in North America, China, Russia, and the EU. 

Marianne also supervised postgraduate dissertations on the MA in Public Relations and the MA in Public Affairs and Political Communication at Dublin Institute of Technology (now Technological University Dublin) for several years.

Prior to this, she worked in the US Embassy Dublin press office, and as communications manager for the Fulbright Commission. 

Marianne holds postgraduate qualifications in communications, law, corporate governance, innovation and business administration, with a BA (Hons) in Russian (with Polish) and German. She is an alumna of the University of Oxford's Executive Leadership Programme.

Marianne is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland.

Dr Claudia Kinmonth

Claudia Kinmonth is an art and design historian, whose early career included furniture conservation and restoration. Her Irish research began with an MA at the London’s Royal College of Art, before working at the V&A and Sir John Soane’s Museum. In 1993 the first of her books for Yale University Press, Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950 won awards and was followed by Irish Rural Interiors in Art (2006).

Her publications instigated three pioneering exhibitions on genre paintings, the most recent juxtaposing vernacular furniture (in Cork, Dublin and Boston College). The Royal Dublin Society awarded her their Library and Archives Bursary in 2018, the year of her election as a member of The Royal Irish Academy. Her latest book Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000 (Cork University Press) won The Durkan Prize for Language and Culture from the American Conference for Irish Studies, in 2021.

She is a Research Fellow at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway, and Research Curator (Domestic Life) at the Ulster Folk Museum, as well as curatorial advisor for several museums in Cork.


Ambrose Loughlin

Ambrose Loughlin is Head of Risk and Compliance with McCann FitzGerald, one of Ireland’s leading law firms. Between 1995 and February 2017 he was a partner with the firm specialising in advising on financial regulatory and corporate governance matters for many of the international banking, investment funds and insurance businesses operating both in Ireland and outside Ireland. 

He has particular expertise advising on anti-money laundering, false accounting and fraud investigations. Ambrose has served as Chair of the Audit Committee of the Department of Finance since 2014.


Helen Shenton

Helen Shenton is a Librarian and College Archivist at Trinity College Dublin. She moved to Ireland in 2014 from Cambridge, Massachusetts where she was Executive Director of Harvard Library. Prior to Harvard, Helen worked at the British Library where she led the care of the UK’s national documentary heritage and national printed archive. That followed positions in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where she was deeply involved with the conservation, care and display of the world-renowned decorative arts collections.

Helen has published and presented widely in international forums and mediums, including TEDxDublin. She represents Trinity on a number of national and international forums, and is a Fellow of the International Institute of Conservation and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Prof Geraldine Sheridan

Professor Geraldine Sheridan MRIA [(BA, H Dip Ed, MA(NUI), PhD (Warwick), Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques] is Professor Emeritus in French at the University of Limerick where she lectured in many aspects of modern French culture and was Director of the Eighteenth-Century Research Group.  She served on the Governing Authority of the University of Limerick, and on the Council of the Royal Irish Academy.

She has published extensively on many aspects of eighteenth- century culture in France and Ireland and made a particular contribution to understanding the circulation of Spinoza’s ideas throughout eighteenth-century Europe in French underground manuscripts.  She also studied the impact of the Huguenot diaspora on education, including those who settled in Ireland, while some of her most recent publications have contributed to revising the profile of women working in the trades and arts throughout eighteenth-century Europe.

Professor Sheridan has served in many academic and honorary research positions in France and the United States where she was Fulbright Professor. Throughout her career she has had a particular interest in fostering diversity and inclusion: social, gender-based and regional.


Rowena Neville

Rowena Neville leads Blue Line Consulting, working with clients across business, public sector, arts and culture, academia, and non-profit sectors. Rowena’s strengths and experience lie in building capacity and devising solutions in strategic planning, community engagement, accessibility and inclusion, public affairs and policy development, sponsorship, communications, crisis management, marketing and diversifying income.


Rowena has worked with organisations locally and internationally to help them tell more compelling stories, and devise and implement solutions to address a range of business challenges including broadening diversity, social inclusion, institutional and organisational sustainability, and measuring impact.


Dr Barra O’Donnabhain

Dr. Barra O’Donnabhain is an archaeologist who teaches at University College Cork.  His specialism is    bioarchaeology, the contextualised analysis of archaeological human remains.  O’Donnabhain has directed and collaborated in archaeological projects in a number of world areas.  His recent focus has been on institutional confinement. 

From 2012 to 2018 he conducted excavations at the 19th century prison at Spike Island in Cork harbour.  He is co-editor of the 2018 volume “Archaeological Human Remains: Legacies of Imperialism, Communism, and Colonialism” published by Springer, New York.  He is a member of the Academic Board of the Los Angeles-based Institute for Field Research.   


Dr Susan Rogers

Susan Rogers is a lecturer in design and education at at the National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design and Technology at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Letterfrack, Co. Galway. Before joining GMIT Letterfrack she spent many years teaching the history and theory of design and visual communication at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT). She studied Visual Communication at NCAD, before completing a Masters degree in Design Education, also at NCAD. She completed a D. Phil in Design Theory at the University of Ulster.

A member of the Institute of Designers in Ireland she has taken a central role on many collaborative projects to promote design in the west of Ireland. Her expertise includes exhibition curation and conference organisation. She is keenly interested in Irish design, our traditional crafts heritage and its influence on contemporary design practice, as well as Irish language and culture.

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