The sin of crime: The Mutual Influence of the Early Irish and Anglo-Saxon Penitentials and Secular Laws

Medieval Penitential - British Library MS Additional 30853   f. 309

One of the most fascinating questions concerning Medieval Irish and Anglo-Saxon society is not one about what was done when all went well, but rather, what was sought to be done when matters were not as they ought to be.

Raiders from the North: Irish Enslavement during the Viking Age

Photo by Rob Hurson / Flickr

Both the interactions with the Irish as well as the enslavement of the Irish influenced Norse culture.

Medieval Hangover Cures

A drunk monk? This might be St. Arnulf of Metz (582 -640), the unofficial patron saint of beer.

Here are a few hangover cures from days gone by, because people who partied like it was 1399 also needed a little help the morning after.

Celebrating the New Year, Medieval Style

The Festival of Fools - Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525)

A look at New Year’s in the Middle Ages.

The Christmas Eve massacre of 986

Iona Abbey - photo by dun_deagh / Flickr

For the year 986, the Annals of Ulster records, ‘Iona was plundered by Danes on Christmas Eve, and they killed the abbot and fifteen men of the seniors of the church.’ What more can we learn about this attack and why it happened?

The World’s Earliest Dated Tide Mill

Nendrum, Mahee Island. Photo by Rowan McLaughlin

Thomas McErlean discusses the story of the discovery the earliest mill in Ireland and the earliest presently known example of a tide mill in the world.

Early Medieval Celtic Art in Britain and Ireland: A Curator’s Perspective

Gundestrup Cauldron. Silver. Gundestrup, northern Denmark, 100 BC–AD 1. © The National Museum of Denmark.

Martin Golberg, Senior Curator at the National Museums of Scotland, travelled to the British Museum to give audiences perspective on the various pieces in the exhibit as well as an introduction to what constitutes “Celtic” art.

Medieval Books: 5 Great New Releases!

Book - 24 Hours at Agincourt

Black Friday is around the corner – here are a few books that have just been released!

Sacrificial Magic and the Twofold Division of the Irish Ritual Year

Samhain Candle - photo by Alison Leigh Lilly / Flickr

The historical development of St. Martin’s Day in Ireland, and its relationship with the more ancient festival of Samhain is examined, revealing circumstances that saw much of the ritual nature of Samhain being adopted within a Christian context in the medieval period.

Who Were The Celts? The British Museum Offers Answers with New Exhibition

Gundestrup Cauldron Silver  Gundestrup, northern Denmark, 100 BC–AD 1 © The National Museum of Denmark. The British Museum. Photo by Medievalists.net

The British Museum just opened its latest exhibit, Celts: Art and Identity this past Thursday, covering 2,500 years of Celtic history. The exhibit explores Celtic identity and how it eveolved from the time of the Ancient Greeks to the present through art, culture, daily life, religion and politics.

5 Cool Celtic Things at the British Museum

(L) Horned helmet. Bronze, glass, Found along the Thames river near Waterloo, London, England (200-100 BC). (R) Greek helmet, bronze. Olympia, South-Western Greece (460 BC), The British Museum.Photo by Medievalists.net.

I attended the opening of the British Museum’s, Celts: Art and Identity exhibit on Sept 24th. It showcases stunning art, jewellery, weaponry, daily and religious objects to tell the story of the Celtic people.

Halls, ‘hall-houses’ and tower-houses in medieval Ireland: disentangling the needlessly entangled

Moylough castle - Photo by 	liam murphy / Geography.org.uk

This short paper addresses what I regard as two critical issues in Irish castellological research: the definition of the ‘hall-house’, and the relationship of buildings so identified with the tower-houses of the later middle ages.

Fallen tree reveals medieval skeleton in Ireland

Photo from Sligo-Leitrim Archaeological Services / Facebook

Last May a storm in northwest Ireland blew over a 215-year old tree. It also unearth an unusual find – the skeletal remains of a young man who lived nearly a thousand years ago.

Drone Technology Aids in Discoveries at Medieval Irish Sites

Archaeological Discoveries in Ireland

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have been gaining attention in the news for the last few years, but archaeologists like Saint Louis University history professor Thomas Finan, Ph.D., have always appreciated what aerial photography could accomplish.

The Scale of Slave Raiding and the Slave Trade in Northumbria and Ireland, 7th-11th Centuries

15th century map British Isles - Photo: Brooklyn Museum

Slave raiding and the slave trade in early medieval Northumbria and Ireland were transcultural and inter-regional processes, involving the enslavement and transportation of people across permeable borders.

Movie Review: Tristan and Isolde

Tristan and Isolde, starring James Franco and Sophia Myles.

As far as medieval movies go, Tristan and Isolde definitely isn’t the worst I’ve seen. I was looking for a movie to watch after work, and I thought, hey, James Franco, Sophia Moyles, Henry Cavill, and Rufus Sewell, all directed by Ridley Scott?! – this can’t be that bad. Well, it was pretty bad, but it wasn’t the worst 2 hours of my life. So what went wrong?

Why did they stop building tower house castles in Ireland?

Mahee Castle - Mahee Castle, Ringneill Road, Mahee Island, County Down, Northern Ireland, Photo by Ardfern / Wikicommons

One of the most visible reminders of Ireland’s medieval history are the tower house castles that are scattered throughout the country. For centuries they were the homes and fortresses for the native Irish elites as well as the English and Scottish settlers. However, by the early seventeenth-century it seems that they were now being abandoned and left the fall into ruin. What happened?

Festival of Archaeology at Dunluce Castle today

Dunluce Castle - photo by Micu Radu

Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland will host a family friendly archaeological event on Saturday 25 July from 10.30am – 4.30pm.

‘Naked and Unarmoured’: A Reassessment of the Role of the Galwegians at the Battle of the Standard

15th century map British Isles - Photo: Brooklyn Museum

Accounts of the Battle of the Standard, fought in 1138 between the army of David I, King of Scots and the northern English forces rallied by Thurstan, Archbishop of York, have unvaryingly placed the blame for the Scottish defeat on David’s Galwegian warriors who, against armoured English ranks, fled in confusion.

Investigating ‘peasant conversion’ in Ireland and Anglo-Saxon England

A miniature in the British Library Yates Thomson MS 26, Bede's Prose Life of St Cuthbert, depicting Cuthbert's meeting with Boisil at Melrose

It is somewhat surprising that we find very little in the way of propaganda bent on stressing positive changes that Christianity could bring, propaganda of the kind that Bishop Daniel of Winchester scripted for Boniface in the oft-cited letter which he advised the missionary to lure converts by contrasting the economic prosperity of Christian communities with the backwardness of the non-Christian.

The Afterlife of the Dead: Reform in Attitude Towards Medieval Burials, Corpses and Bones

Rothwell Charnel Chapel. Photo courtesy of ITV.

The International Medieval Congress is taking place at the University of Leeds, I’m on hand this week to report on the conference. This blog post reports on my first session.

Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci to tour British Isles in 2016

The head of St Anne  - Leonardo da Vinci

Throughout 2016, ten of the finest drawings by Leonardo da Vinci in the Royal Collection will travel to four museums and galleries across the United Kingdom and Ireland in a new exhibition.

KZOO 2015: Session #42 – Magna Carta in Context

British Library's Magna Carta, photo credit Joseph Turp

This coming week I’ll be featuring summaries on some of my favourites sessions and papers from #KZOO2015. I kicked off my first session on Thursday with the Magna Carta.

The Multilingual Origins of Medieval Irish Surnames

Medieval Irish Surnames

Surnames came into widespread use in Ireland at a time where five vernacular languages were in operation – Irish, English, Norse, Welsh and Norman French.

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