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.

Why Ireland was like a ‘Garden of Eden’ during the Middle Ages

celtic cross ireland  - photo by Andy Hares / Flickr

Tourism officials in Ireland are busy trying to promote the country to the world. If this was the Middle Ages, the would have a much easier time.

The Strategy of Challenges: Two Beheading Games In Medieval Literature

beheading - British Library Royal 10 E IV   f. 208

The Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and its Old Irish ancestor The Feast of Bricriu recount a remarkable stranger’s challenge to the hero, in effect, ‘You can chop off my head if you’ll let me return the blow.’

‘The Halved Heads’: Osteological Evidence for Decapitation in Medieval Ireland

Skull 9(a) from No. 16., Eustace Street, Dublin, a young adult female who also displays evidence of cut marks to the face, indicative of the nose being cut off (Image reproduced courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland)

This paper examines the osteological evidence for decapitation from 30 skeletal assemblages dated to the medieval period (6th to 16th century) from Ireland.

Ireland’s Ancient East campaign to showcase country’s medieval sites

Rock of Cashel - photo by Giorgio Galeotti / Flickr

The Irish government has started a tourism campaign – Ireland’s Ancient East – in hopes that the country’s heritage will attract another 600,000 overseas visitors per year.

Tabula Gratulatoria for Clerics, Kings and Vikings

Clerics Kings and Vikings

Four Courts Press invite you to subscribe to the Tabula Gratulatoria for Clerics, Kings and Vikings, a collection of essays on medieval Ireland in honour of Donnchadh Ó Corráin,

Which Irish Saint Are You?

irish saints

Brendan, Columba, Patrick – find out which Irish Saint you are most like!

15th century ruins discovered near Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle - photo by Micu Radu

Historians have known that a 17th-century town existed near the iconic Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland, but new research has uncovered new evidence of an earlier settlement, dating back to the 15th century.

‘Hag of the Castle:’ Women, Family, and Community in Later Medieval Ireland

Sheela-na-gig from the Fethard wall in Fethard, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, detail, 12th c.

In a letter written as part of his work for the Irish Department of the Ordnance Survey in 1840, Thomas O’Conor recorded his reaction to a “Sheela- na-gig” sculpture—the image of a naked woman shown exposing her genitalia (fig. 1)—that he saw on the old church at Kiltinane, Co. Tipperary.

Enniskillen Castle to receive over £2 million in heritage funding

Enniskillen Castle - photo by Raymond Millar

Enniskillen Castle, one of Northern Ireland’s most impressive castles, is to be transformed into a world class heritage attraction, thanks to a £2.37 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund

An aspect of Alcuin: ‘Tuus Albinus’ – peevish egotist? or parrhesiast?


In over 270 letters from about a decade and a half, alcuin of york (†804) informed, advised, consoled and admonished contemporaries, reacted to current events, and maintained a circle of friends and partners in reciprocal prayer that extended from Jerusalem to Ireland and from rome to salzburg. Alcuin left york in the 780s to become a friend and chief advisor to Charlemagne.

Viking Chiefs, Irish Kings and Exported Princesses


One of the earliest records which we have of the Deisi, the native kingdom in which Viking Woodstown were constructed, is their origin legend

Tundale’s Vision: Socialization in 12th Century Ireland

tundale vision

The purpose of this project is to explore the historical image of Hell in Medieval Europe as an agent of socialization for illiterate Christian communities.

6,000 artefacts discovered at Drumclay crannog dig

floor of a house discovered at Fermanagh Crannog - photo courtesy Department of the Environment

An archaeological dig in Northern Ireland has uncovered about 6,000 artefacts, dating back to as early as the seventh century A.D.

A monastic landscape: The Cistercians in medieval Leinster

Clonmacnoise Monastery (Leinster, Ireland)

This study endeavours to discuss the Cistercian monasteries of Leinster with regard to their physical location in the landscape, the agricultural contribution of the monks to the broader social and economic world and the interaction between the cloistered monks and the secular world.

ARTICLES: The Deflation of the Medieval in Joyce’s Ulysses

Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses

For James Joyce, Irish nationalism, with its appeal to patriotic emotionality and promotion of interest in the archaic and medieval Irish past, was suspect.

The Viking Age in Ireland – An Overview

vikings in munster

The Irish sometimes referred to them as Lochlannach, meaning ‘men from the land of lakes’. This probably refers back to their native Scandinavia and its famous landscape, but it could equally refer to Scotland and northern England where the Vikings had also settled.

Grainne Uaile: The Movie

Grainne Uaile - the Movie

An up and coming movie about Grace O’ Malley (Grainne Uaile), Ireland’s famous female pirate!

Irish Hagiographical Lives in the Twelfth Century: Church Reform before the Anglo-Norman Invasion

Saint Brendan and the whale from a 15th century manuscript

In order to further disentangle the reality and fiction of this view of culture versus barbarity and of reform versus wickedness, I shall analyse twelfth-century Irish vitae.

Christianity and the Latin tradition in early Medieval Ireland

Book of Ballymote - explaining Ogham script

The Christianity which arrived in Ireland with the fifth-century missionaries was more than just a literate religion; it was very much a religion of the book.

A Peripheral Matter?: Oceans in the East in Late-Medieval Thought, Report and Cartography

15th century ships

It is something of a truism that the Ocean Sea {mare oceanum in medieval texts and cartography) marked out a real and conceptual periphery for medieval Western Europeans.

Archaeologists uncover human remains in Dublin

Skull - Photo: Rubicon Heritage Services

The remains of at least five people have been discovered by archaeologists working at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Since they were found at a depth of 1.5 metres below the surface, it suggests the remains are most likely medieval or earlier in date.

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