Welcome to my website 

In school Geography was my favourite subject and I spent hours drawing maps instead of studying French or Irish. When I went to University College Dublin, I studied Mode 1 Geography... meaning that in 2nd and 3rd year I focused on... yes you guessed it Geography! I was lucky to be encouraged to do an Erasmus exchange to the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. It combined two of my passions, Geography and Mountaineering. I completed my undergraduate at UCD in 2000. In September of that year, I moved to the UK to undertake an M.Sc. in Geography at the University of Sheffield. During that year, I conducted dryland research in Morocco and Tunisia. I graduated in 2001. 

When I returned to Ireland, I worked as a research assistant to Dr. Colman Gallagher in the Dept. of Geography in UCD. That was a great job, where myself and my friend & co-worker Billy travelled all over the Barrow catchment collecting fluvial sediment samples. This was in the days before GPS, so the OSI 1:50,000 map was a godsend. In 2002, I started my PhD., supervised by Prof. Nicholas Holden and Prof. Shane Ward, in Biosystems Engineering in UCD. I studied peatlands in Ireland and Canada using GIS and remote sensing and worked with Prof. Nigel Roulet at McGill University for a time in 2005. During this time I developed a strong interest in the impact of peatland condition on carbon dynamics. From 2006 to 2011, my research focused on assessing peatland C-stocks, C-dynamics and peatland degradation, first in a two-year EPA-funded postdoctoral position and then a three year EPA-funded Research Fellowship. In 2012, I was appointed as College Lecturer in Physical Geography at University College Cork.

After almost a decade working on Irish peatlands, I successfully applied for a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship. That brought me to Lund University in Sweden in late 2012 where I began research into using remote sensing to assess degradation of permafrost peatlands and carbon dynamics across the Arctic. I worked with Prof. Lars Eklundh and Dr. Andreas Pearson at Nateko, the Dept. of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science. After returning to Ireland in 2014, I was appointed as an assistant lecturer in the DCU School of History and Geography becoming a lecturer in 2019.

In 2020, I was appointed as the Kinsella Assistant Professor in GIS and Remote Sensing at Geography in Trinity College Dublin. I lead the Trinity Geospatial Research GroupMy research focuses on using GIS and Earth Observation to examine the terrestrial environment. I use these geospatial tools to map landcover, land use change and degradation in tropical, temperate, boreal and arctic ecosystems. I am particularly interested in wetland ecosystems including peatlands. I work with colleagues in geography, ecology and botany to determine peatland carbon stock and dynamics as well as peatland resilience. I also use these GIS and EO tools to examine and assess renewable energy potential at a landscape level. 


I am the lead PI on the EPA funded iHabiMap project (2019 - 2023); the the SFI Enable funded SolarMap project (2019-2021) and the DAFM/EPA funded RePEAT project (2022-2024). I am also involved, as WP1 Lead, on the EPA funded SmartBog project (2019-2023); Co-PI on the DAFM funded GeneNet project (2019-2022); and a Co-PI on the EPA funded Irish Peatland Resilience project (2022-2023) I continue to collaborate widely with experts in geography, computer science, ecology, botany and industry, developing methodologies to address current environmental issues.

My geographical research has taken me to many beautiful and wild locations including the West of Ireland, Nuuk in Greenland, Abisko in Arctic Sweden, Imlil in Morocco, to Canada and the USA. I have worked at Lund University (Marie Curie IEF), McGill University, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Boston University and Dublin City University.


When I find the time, I climb, mountaineer, hike, camp and mountain bike. I particularly enjoy sharing my interests with others through teaching, fieldwork and hanging out on the side of mountains with friends.

John Connolly, TCD