Literary of Connacht

Literary & Cultural Landscapes of Connacht: Pre-modern & Early Modern Period

Funded by: HEA (Higher Education Authority), NDP (National Development Plan), EU (European Union).

Publications for this project...


Professor Máirín Ní DhonnchadhaConvenor & Project Leader
Dr. Edel BhreathnachPostdoctoral researcher
Ms. Anne ConnonPostdoctoral researcher
Dr. Catherine SwiftPostdoctoral researcher


Convenor: Professor Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha, Scoil na Gaeilge

The Literary Landscape of Gaelic Connacht

The aim of this project is twofold: to undertake the essential groundwork for the study of high culture in Connacht in the Medieval and Early Modern periods, and to describe a literary tradition for the region in the same periods by reference to its natural and cultural landscape, thereby defining a literary landscape for Gaelic Connacht. A preoccupation with place and landscape is writ large in Gaelic literature of all kinds from the earliest records until recent times. Since association with place is a key to interpreting Gaelic literature, it would be very productive to relate that literature to the natural and constructed landscape, both real and imaginary. An undertaking to do this at a high level entails collaborative research between scholars with expertise in Gaelic philology, manuscripts and literature, Irish archaeology, history and historical geography. The specific intention is to correlate the relevant onomastic lore of the Medieval and Early Modern Gaelic literature of Connacht, across all literary genres, with the real and imaginary physical landscape of Connacht.

Professor Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha, Professor Gearóid Mac Eoin, Mr F Ó Béarra, Professor John Waddell, Mr Conor Newman, Ms Anne Connon, Dr. K. Murray, Dr Donncha Ó hAodha

Polities, Peoples and Places: Shift and Settlement in Connacht in the Middle Ages

The aim of this project is to study the interaction of people and place in Connacht in the Middle Ages, and to construct a political geography for the province. Connacht may be defined as an entity in itself from the beginning of the historic period. However, the emergence of Connacht into history as an ancient ‘Fifth' (cóiced, cúige) or ‘province' and the subsequent history of this political entity is a subject which yet requires much basic research. The changing morphology of the polity, which sometimes extended east of the Shannon and sometimes included parts of modern county Clare, is unclear: Connacht in the Middle Ages was a palimpsest of tribal territories overlaid by constantly shifting dynastic overkingdoms. Much work also remains to be done to delineate the network of relations between the kingdoms and regions of Connacht and the rest of Ireland.

Professor Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha, Professor Gearóid Mac Eoin, Professor John Waddell, Ms Anne Connon, Dr K Murray, Dr Elizabeth FitzPatrick

Publications from this project

Bhreatnach, E. 2003, 'Tales of Connacht: Cath Airtig, Táin Bó Flidaise and Cath Leitrech Ruibe', Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, vol. 45, pp. 21-42.

Ó hAodha, D, ‘Some remarks on the happy otherworld of the "Voyage of Bran"', in Martin McNamara (ed.), Apocalyptic and Eschatological Heritage. The Middle East and Celtic Realms, Four Courts, pp. 137-43.

Ní Dhonnchadha, M., Bourke, A., Kilfeather, S. Luddy, M. MacCurtain, M., Meaney, G., O'Dowd, M. & Wills, C, (eds.) 2002, The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, vols. IV and V, Cork University Press.

Ní Dhonnchadha, M. 2002, 'Inis Teimle, between Uí Chennselaig and the Déissi', Peritia,vol. 16, pp. 451-8.

Bhreathnach, E. 2002, ‘Abbesses, minor dynasties and kings in clericatu: perspectives on Ireland, 700-850', in M. Brown & C. Farr (eds.) Mercia: a medieval superpower Leicester, Leicester University Press.

Mac Eoin, G. 2002, 'The Four Names of Saint Patrick', in M. Richter (ed.), Ogma. Essays in Celtic Studies in honour of Professor Próinséas Ní Chathain, Four Courts, Dublin. pp. 300-311.

Mac Eoin, G. 2002, 'An chrosántacht "Rannam le chéile a chlann Uilliam" ', in M Ó Briain & P. Ó Hélaí (eag.), Téada Dúchais. Aistí in ómós don Ollamh Breandan Ó Madagáin,Clo Iar-Chinnachta, Indreabhán, Conamara pp. 111-20.

Swift, C. 2002, 'Ogam stones in Sligo and their context', in M.A. Timoney (ed.), A celebration of Sligo (Carrick-on-Shannon 2002), pp. 127-40.

Ó hAodha, D. 2002, The first Middle-Irish metrical tract: two notes, Peritia, vol.16, pp. 232-41.

Bhreatnach, E. 2001, 'The cults of local Leinster saints', in J. Carey, M. Herbert and P. Ó Riain (eds.), Saints and scholars: studies in Irish hagiography Dublin: Four Courts Press.

Bhreathnach, E. 2001, ‘The cultural and political milieu of the deposition and manufacture of the hoard discovered at Reerasta Rath, Ardagh, Co. Limerick', in N. Edwards & M. Redknap (eds), Proceedings of the Fourth Insular Art Conference, Cardiff 1998.

Mac Eoin, G. 2001, 'The original name of the Viking settlement at Limerick', in S. O Catháin (ed.), Northern Lights. Following folklore in North-Western Europe, Cork University Press. pp. 165-167

Swift, C. 2003, ‘Grave-slabs of Clonmacnoise and the people they commemorate', in H. King (ed.) Clonmacnoise Studies II, pp. 105-123.

Swift, C. 2003, ‘The gods of Newgrange in Irish literature and Romano-Celtic tradition', Stones and Bones. Formal disposal of the dead in Atlantic Europe during the Mesolithic- Neolithic interface 6000-3000 BC.
Archaeological Conference in Honour of the Late Professor Michael J. O'Kelly. Proceedings of the Stones and Bones Conference in Sligo, Ireland, May 1-5, 2002. BAR International Series 1201, ed. G.Burenhult & S. Westergaard, Oxford, pp 53-63.

Bhreathnach, E. (ed.) 2001, Tara and the medieval kingdom of Brega: a study in kingship, mythology and landscape Dublin: Discovery Programme, Royal Irish Academy

Bhreathnach, E. 2003, ‘Learning in Medieval Clonmacnoise', in Heather King (ed.), Clonmacnoise Studies, vol 2, pp 97-104.

Ní Dhonnchadha, M. 2004, 'Adomnán of Iona', New Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford. Volume 1, pp 353-6.

Ní Dhonnchadha, M., 2004, ‘Loingsech mac Óenguso', New Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford. Volume 39, p. 329.

Ní Dhonnchadha, M. 2004, ‘The Prull narrative in Sanas Cormaic', in Cín Chille Cúile. Texts, Saints and Places: Essays in Honour of Pádraig Ó Riain, J. Carey, M. Herbert & K. Murray (eds.), Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, pp. 163-77.