Visit Medieval Ireland

Aoife offers annotated links on Medieval Ireland for this week's Links List.

Greetings everyone. This week's Links list is about Medieval Ireland. The internet is a virtual treasure trove (pun intended :) of information on medieval Ireland. You must use your own judgement on whether or not it is reliable---This subject *espescially* seems to generate a lot of garbage, which I shall attribute to my ancestors glib tongues and easy way with words. Below are about 33 sources for information on Medieval and Renaissance Ireland---I even found a little bit on Medieval Irish Food (Thanks to Stefan's Florilegium in particular). There is also some costuming help and information, as well as a great article on popular Irish names. For costuming help please also see Sharon Krossa's Medieval Scotland site on last week's Links list, for her information crosses over the culture boundry a little and applies somewhat to Itreland as well as Scotland.

I thought I should note that in my searches I came up with a great many hits for BOOKS about Medieval Ireland, so it is worth it to visit or Borders websites, and the like, to see what they can unearth about Medieval Ireland, and then if you'd like those books for free or nearly free, printing out the list of hits and taking it to your local library for direct- or inter-library-loan.

I know of several people who have made a study of various aspects of Meieval Ireland: I'd like to urge those folks (you know who you are) to web your information or send it to the Florilegium for webbing. It seems the internet needs your information, because many of the hits I found were messages from folks who were looking for the names/interpretations of sources, or information on basic Irish history and every day life. There seems to be a great hunger out there for reliable Irish History Information. If you are knowledgeable, Please share :).


Yahoogroup: Early Medieval Ireland
(Site Excerpt) Early Medieval Ireland [EMI] is a moderated forum for the discussion of topics relating to the history and archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland, c.400AD - c.1200AD. Related subjects such as post-Roman European history, late iron age Ireland, are acceptable where they bear some relevance to the core purpose of the list.

Peritia Homepage
(Site Excerpt) The word peritia means `skill, expertise, knowledge' and in Hiberno-Latin it means `historical knowledge', Irish senchas. In the case of Ireland, Peritia sees the vernacular and Latin traditions, usually separated by disciplinary boundaries, as expressions of a single cultural entity. It publishes on all medieval periods but it has tended to concentrate on the earlier middle ages and has devoted very considerable space to law, hagiography, palaeography, computistics, institutional history, literary history, and art and archaeology. Medieval Ireland

The Case for the "Celtic Church," a thesis by Allison Carroll

Book of Kells Images

The True Story of What the Irish Wore.
see also The Moy Gown

Medieval Irish Coins

Early Medieval Ireland
(Site Excerpt) The period from approximately 400-1200AD sees the appearance of the first written works in Ireland, with the exception of the earliest ogam inscriptions, and thus marks the beginnings of Irish history. The picture that the texts reveal is of a complex, structured society with detailed laws, and a full and skillfully crafted literature. It also shows us a society in constant change. The period also sees the arrival and spread of Christianity, the consolidation of the multiplicity of petty kingdoms and the rise of Ireland's most successful and well-known ruling family - the Ui Neill, the impact of Viking raids and, later, settlement, the rise of urban centers, the introduction of coinage, and the arrival of the Anglo-Normans. This constant change is reflected also in the language of the people, moving with remarkable rapidity from Archaic to Old to Middle Irish, and also the demise of the ogam script in favour of the Roman.

Settlement and Society in Medieval Ireland
A bibliography of material on the topic.

100 Most Popular Men's Names in Early Medieval Ireland
compiled by Heather Rose Jones
(ska Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn,((email address deleted))
copyright c 1998, all rights reserved
(Site Excerpt) The following list contains the (slightly less than) one hundred most common masculine given names in M.A. O'Brien's Corpus Genealogiarum Hiberniae (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1976), a collection of Irish genealogical material from the pre-Norman period (i.e., roughly pre-12th century). While O'Brien's collection includes some legendary genealogies, the "popularity" requirement for this selection should filter out any questionable names. The complete collection contains roughly 10,000 masculine names, so even the most popular name in this list represents only about 2.5% of the total. Needless to say, this selection only represents a small number of the names in the original document, and some "old favorites" will not have made the cut, however it provides a selection of names that were very typical in the early medieval period in Ireland.

Warfare in Medieval Ireland
A Bibliographyof sources

Ireland (Hibernia)
Early Medieval Period: 400 - 1200 A.D. (Site Excerpt) During the time of Niall Naoighiallach of the Nine Hostages (d. 405 A.D.), the Irish were great seamen. They were feared along the coasts of Wales and south-western England. By the 5th century, Ireland was described as having five kingdoms: Mumha, Ulaid, Connachta, Laighin, and Midhe. Ulaid, Connachta, and Laighin were named after the founding tribes. These names survive in the present provinces of Munster, Ulster, Connacht, and Leinster. In time, Ulaidh split into three kingdoms: Aileach in the west, Oirghialla in the middle, and Ulaid in the east.(3)

Early Medieval Resources for Britain, Ireland and Brittany

A Guide to Irish Culture on the Web:
(Site Excerpt of "Medieval" Menu) History Medieval Ireland Earl of Desmond
Early Medieval Irish Clothing
Irish Hammered Coinage c.995-1660
Medieval Dublin
Medieval Irish Plea Rolls
The Bull of Pope Adrian

Medieval Ireland: Warriors, Saints and Scholars ( A course offered by NYU)
See espescially the "required texts" and "reserve reading" sections for sources.

Hiberno-Norman French: A Bibliography in Progress

a History of the irish race: Learning in Mediaeval Ireland (Site Excerpt) After the defeat of the Norsemen by King Brian at the Battle of Clontarf (1014) there was a flowering of the National Mind in literature. So the political freedom of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries saw a re-birth of intellectual, as well as of agricultural and commercial activity in Ireland. It was a Golden Age of Gaelic Literature. As the wider gates of Irelands commerce opened on the South and West coasts, so her scholars, pilgrims. Clerics and craftsmen followed in the wake of her merchants, through the Gaulish seas into France and Italy.

Medieval Sourcebook: Gerald of Wales: The Norman Conquest of Ireland (12th Century)
(Site Excerpt) Gerald of Wales (1146-1223), bishop of noble extraction, in his histories, left an account of the Norman invasion and conquest of Ireland. The Irish conquest was an extension of the conquest of Wales - an activity of Norman lords in the marches who were acting more or less independently of the crown. Once successful, their conquests were adopted by Henry II. account of this event, of which the following excerpts tell us something of its earlier phases. It was a Norman not an "English" effort, and it is interesting to note that the Fitzgerald family, here represented by Maurice Fitzgerald, who are the ancestors of John and Robert Kennedy, first appeared in Ireland as Anglo-Norman invaders and conquerors of the native Irish population.

Ireland's History in Maps Bibliography

Map of Ireland c. 1500

Historic Irish Castles

Chronicon: An Electronic History Journal Published by the Department of History University College Cork Ireland
(Site Excerpt) Chronicon is an electronic journal of history. It is published annually and is freely available on the Internet. The journal publishes articles relating to history--ancient, medieval and modern--but with a particular focus on Irish history. It contains reviews of publications and notices of scholarly developments. The journal will provide a forum for scholars to exchange views on matters of topical interest.

Medeival Sourcebook Selected Sources: Celtic States
A list of sources for further study, most online.

The Archaeology of Ancient Ireland
(Site Excerpt) Food and farming. Archaeological evidence in this matter is meagre before the Christian era, and depends at its earliest stages on the study of plant pollen. Cereal grains--oats, barley, wheat--were an important part of the diet. Sheep, goats, and swine were also raised for food and leather (and in the case of sheep and goats, milk and wool or hair). Cattle, however, were the most important domestic animals, with milk and other dairy products furnishing very important staple foods. Meat from cattle was also important, but the absence of refrigeration made the slaughtering of a large animal a more occasional matter. Hides, too, were an important byproduct. There is little mention of chickens in the earliest legal texts (Edwards 59), and in general the importance of domestic fowl and eggs in the diet of the time is unclear. The potato was unknown in Ireland until it was brought back from South America at a much later time.

Irish Archaeology & History Mailing list Suite (IAHMS)
This page is essentially a list of mailing lists sorted according to Irish Archaeological ages.

ORB: The Medieval Celtic Fringe
A Guide to Online Resources

Section Editor: Christopher A. Snyder, Acting Chair, Department of History and Politics, Marymount University
(Site Excerpt) In the early Middle Ages, Celtic-speaking populations survived in an even smaller fringe, which included Ireland (which was never conquered by the Romans), Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Wales and Scotland (whose mountainous regions never became Romanized), as well as Brittany in western Gaul (settled by Britons in the fifth and sixth centuries AD). Celtic languages predominated in these areas throughout the medieval period, a period in which Christianity mixed with indigenous pagan custom to produce a unique and dynamic culture. The Age of the Saints in the early Celtic churches, which lasted up to the Viking invasions of the ninth century, produced such figures as Patrick, Brigid, David, and Columba.

Stefan's Florilegium, Food In Ireland
This is a compilation of messages Stefan has collected on the subject of Food in Medieval Ireland. There is a great deal of good information here. I heartily recomend wading through it to get the the wheat of the matter, despite the presence of a very little chaff :)

A Little History of Irish Food: Poultry and Eggs
(Site Excerpt) Dovecotes play an important role because of the need in Ireland for winter food. Dovecotes served as a larder in which pigeons could be taken at will in the winter. Pigeons breed five to six times a year and many dovecotes being built in England and Ireland could house as many as three hundred or more pairs.
(Ed: PLEASE also see the links to the left of the page: "Meat, Fish, Dairy, Cereal, Fruit/Veg, The Potato," (ed: Bah!) and "Wild Food").

ORB: Old Irish and Early Christian Ireland: A Basic Bibliography

ORB: WEMSK39:Celtic Literature
(Site Excerpt) There is, of course, no Proto-Celtic literature, though there have been attempts to reconstruct some of it. When I posted a similar bibliography to medtextl back in August, 1991, a number of medtextlers, particularly Charlie Wright (Irish) and Paul Schaffner (Welsh), posted more extensive bibliographies and additions; the medtextl archives will contain these, and I suggest you look there.] 1. Bibliographies: (Ed: follows an extensive list of sources, deleted for the purpose of this excerpt).

ORB: Lectures for A Medieval Survey by Lynn H. Nelson THE RISE OF MONASTICISM
This paper is included because of it's treatment of Saint Patrick.

Project Gutenberg: The King of Ireland's Son
Please beware of wrapped text in URLS via email.Often times the "wrapped" bit is dropped fromt he hotlink. It is best to copy-paste the URL. Failing that method, simply go to and in the Title search, leave the author blank and type Ireland into the Title Words box. (Site Excerpt of notes on this downloadable book of Irish Folk Tales --written down in modern time but based upon historic texts) Contents: Fedelma, the enchanters's daughter -- When the king of the cats came to king connal's dominion -- The sword of light and the unique tale, with as much of the adventures of Gilly of the Goatskin as is given in "The cranskin book" -- The town of the red castle -- The king of the land of mist -- The house of crom duv -- The spae-woman.

Medieval Sourcebook:
Bede: The Life and Miracles of St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindesfarne (721)
(Site Excerpt) Bede was born in 673, in Northumberland, became a monk and died at Jarrow in 735. His modern feast day is May 25. He was one of the most important intellects, and most prolific writers of his time. Among his other accomplishments was in becoming the only Englishman in Dante's Divine Comedy. His most important work his is History of the English Church and People, but he wrote many others - biblical commentaries and hagiography in particular.