Jim O'Hara was born in Belfast and studied at Queen's University, Belfast and London University. During his academic career he has been a History Lecturer in various universities in Britain and in 1990 established, and became Director of, the Irish Studies Centre at St. Mary's University College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham.
He is a founder member of the British Association for Irish Studies, as well as the European Federation of Centres for Irish Studies. He is a former Chairman of the Irish Youth Foundation (U.K.), is Vice-President of London Irish Rugby Football Club and is a member of the Irish government's DION committee.
Jim has published a number of books and articles on Irish history and politics and on Anglo-Irish relations, including "Drawing Conclusions: A Cartoon History of Anglo-Irish Relations,1798-1998", and "Ireland Since 1690;A Concise History". His other interests include Irish traditional music, where he played in the group "Tristram Shandy", rugby, squash and golf. Jim is married to Hazel and has two sons.