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THE LIFE OF ST RUADÁN AND THE CURSING OF TARA

THE LIFE OF ST RUADÁN AND THE CURSING OF TARA

Szacillo, Judyta (Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland)

Quest, Issue 6, Spring (2009)

Abstract

The hagiographical sources are one of the most extensive classes of material relating to the history of the middle ages. This period was particularly fruitful for the composition of hagiography and, thanks to hagiography itself, we are provided with a vast range of information, not only on aspects of belief, cult, liturgy and church organisation, but also on social, political and cultural issues.

Irish medieval hagiography has received considerable attention from historians. The focus of such research has been mainly on the earliest lives of saints (7th to 9th centuries). However, there is still a vast field of later writings that have not yet been fully investigated. Although the main collections of Irish saints’ lives were examined by Charles Plummer at the beginning of the twentieth century,31 and subsequently by Richard Sharpe in 1991,32 a great number of individual lives of Irish saints still await analysis and a precise dating.

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