Medieval Ireland Story and History
with Professor Máire Ní Mhaonaigh (Dept. of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, & Celtic, University of Cambridge)
at the School of Music, Woodbridge School, Burkitt Road, Woodbridge IP12 4JH,
on Saturday 16th March 2019.

Medieval Ireland boasts a rich and varied literary heritage. Drawing on its colourful heroes and anti-heroes, kings and goddesses, their deeper meanings will be examined, as well as the light they cast on the society of the time.

Provisional Programme

10.00 – 10.30:           Coffee on arrival

10.30 – 11.30:            Medieval Ireland: Story or History?

11.30 – 12.00:            Coffee break

12.00 – 13.00:            Creating Ireland’s Story: ‘The Book of Invasions’ and Related Texts

13.00 – 14.00:            Lunch break

14.00 – 14.45:            Creating Ireland’ Story: Other Worlds

14.45 – 15.15:           Tea break

15.15 – 16.00:            Medieval Ireland in her Own Words

16.00:                       Thanks and Close

About Professor Máire Ní Mhaonaigh

Máire Ní Mhaonaigh is Professor of Celtic and Medieval Studies at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College. She has published widely on many aspects of medieval Irish literature and history; Ireland’s place in the wider world; and Vikings. Among her publications are Brian Boru: Ireland’s Greatest King?, as well as a two-volume co-edited history of conversion in Ireland, Britain and Scandinavia, Converting the Isles.

She is currently co-leading a research project augmenting the electronic Dictionary of the Irish language ( and together with her fellow collaborators has written a forthcoming history of Ireland based on a selection of medieval words.

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

John Carey, A Single Ray of the Sun: Religious Speculation in Early Ireland (Aberystwyth, 1999)

John Carey, ‘Lebor Gabála [The Book of Invasions] and the Legendary History of Ireland’, in Medieval Celtic Literature and Society, ed. Helen Fulton (Dublin, 2005), pp. 32-48

Michael Clarke, ‘An Irish Achilles and a Greek Cú Chulainn’, in Ulidia 2: Proceedings of the Second Conference on the Ulster   Cycles of Tales, ed. Brian Ó Catháin and Ruairí Ó hUiginn   (Maynooth, 2009), pp. 238-51

Fergus Kelly, A Guide to Early Irish Law, Early Irish Law Series 1(Dublin, 1988), especially, pp. 1-27

Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, ‘The Literature of Medieval Ireland: from the Vikings to the Normans’, in The Cambridge History of Irish Literature, ed. Margaret Kelleher and Philip O’Leary, vol. 1   (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 32-73

Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, ‘The Peripheral Centre: Writing History on the Western ‘Fringe’, Interfaces No. 4 (2017): available online,

Tomás Ó Cathasaigh, ‘The Literature of Medieval Ireland: from St Patrick to the Vikings’, in The Cambridge History of Irish Literature, ed. Margaret Kelleher and Philip O’Leary, vol. 1 (Cambridge, 2006)