The Rhetoric of Catastrophe

‘The Rhetoric of Catastrophe in Eleventh-Century Medieval Ireland: The Case of the Second Vision of Adomnán’, in: Catastrophes and the Apocalyptic in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, ed. by Robert E. Bjork, ASMAR 43 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2019), pp. 1-14. There is plenty scholarly contention about the rhetoric of apocalypticism and opinions are divided about which elements to include or dismiss. One of those elements is the concept of a catastrophic end (‘the Apocalypse’). The association between the catastrophic and apocalyptic anxiety is pervasive especially in studies of medieval apocalyptic movements and the interpretation of (perceived) apocalyptic portents. This article* seeks to explore the question: when is a prophecy of catastrophe not apocalyptic? * This article is the print version of …

A Place Full of Angels [Félire Óengusso]

Ever heard of Coolbanagher church? I wrote a short post about it on Félire Óenguso Online. It was a cracking day for exploring the countryside last week and I finally had a chance to visit Coolbanagher [Cúil Bennchair in Irish], the place where Óengus received inspiration for writing his martyrology. What little we know of this event and of Óengus’ connection to Coolbanagher is recorded in the Prose Preface to the Félire. Read more…

Celebrating the Saints Conference

In 2016, I had the pleasure of organising the symposium Celebrating the Saints: A Focus on Martyrologies and Calendars in the Long Room Hub, Trinity College, Dublin, on October 28-9, 2016. This symposium focused martyrologies and calendars in the insular world from the early medieval to early modern period. In many cases, these texts are understudied by virtue of being used for reference only, and some remain unedited altogether. The aim of the conference was to bring the rich variety of martyrologies and saints calendars surviving to attention, and to bring together scholars from diverse fields of expertise working on these texts. The event subsequently gave rise to a new network for future collaboration,the MARTRAE network, and a proceedings is …

De Finibus

A few years ago I had the good fortune to work on the project De Finibus: Christian Representations of the Afterlife in Medieval Ireland in University College Cork. I was part of a team exploring a range of texts containing eschatological ideas, which were neither biblical nor, strictly speaking, apocryphal in content. The primary outcome of this project was an easy-to-read collection of texts presented in both the orinal and in translation, together with a website providing basic information about the topic. The 2-volume project handbook was published in 2014 as The End and Beyond: Medieval Irish Eschatology (available from Oxbow). You can download my individual contributions from the Eschatology page. The second major outcome of this project was my dissertation, entitled ‘Medieval Irish …