Dr. Tomás Ó Carragáin wins award for Irish Medieval Studies

Dr. Tomás Ó Carragáin, a lecturer at University College Cork, has been awarded the inaugural Four Courts Press Michael Adams Prize in Irish Medieval Studies for his essay “The Architectural Setting of the Mass in Early-medieval Ireland.”

This prize was awarded last week at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University. It is given for the best peer-reviewed essay/article on Irish Medieval Studies published in a book or journal during the 2006–2010.

The article appeared in Volume 53 of the journal Medieval Archaeology in 2009. It examines the architectural context of the mass in early-medieval Ireland and finds that the small size of churches in the country did not mean that the congregation stood outside. Instead, Ó Carragáin finds that these churches were meant to serve smaller communities. He also examines how altars were positioned in these early medieval churches, and other aspects of the performance of mass during this period.

Anthony Tierney of Four Courts Press wrote in a statement that “the judges found that his submission stood out as a beautifully written and clearly argued article that works effectively with material from different disciplines, moving seamlessly between texts, artefacts, liturgy, theology, and practical sense. The illustrations were elegant and balanced, creating an illuminated reflection of the narrative. All the judges found that the article is likely to be of critical importance for helping scholars in different disciplines to understanding medieval Irish society.”

This is the second award for this article – it previously won the 2009 Martin Jope Award for the best novel interpretation, application of analytical method or presentation of new findings in Medieval Archaeology. O’Carragain’s latest book, Churches in Early Medieval Ireland. Architecture, Ritual and Memory, was published last year.

Source: Four Courts Press

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