Tuesday 3 November 2015, 8 pm

The seventh century in Ireland was a time of great intellectual ferment. By the beginning of the century the Irish had been Christian for several generations. The Latinate learning introduced by the Church opened up the learning of the Late Antique Mediterranean world to the Irish and they eagerly absorbed its lessons and made it their own. The monastic schools in Ireland accepted students from abroad, best documented from Anglo-Saxon England, and also exported missionaries and scholars to Britain and the Continent.

By the end of the century the Irish learned classes were also composing in the vernacular. Literacy in Irish meant it was only a short step to begin preserving native lore (seanchas) in the form of poems and prose narratives alongside texts in Latin. In this talk I will discuss some of the seventh-century hagiographers and scholars of Co. Meath and the midlands who composed texts that survive from this vibrant, bilingual culture.

Colin Ireland

Colin retired after twenty years as Resident Director for Arcadia University programmes in Ireland but has continued his involvement in International Education. He grew up in southern Arizona and earned his primary degree from Arizona State University and his doctorate from UCLA. He has lived in Dublin for the past 30 years. His research and publications have dealt with the cross-cultural influences between Ireland and the Anglo-Saxons in the early Middle Ages. He has lectured part-time in Old and Middle English at UCD for several years. Among his publications is an edition of a wisdom text attributed to an Anglo-Saxon king who had an Irish mother and who was educated among the Irish: Old Irish Wisdom Attributed to Aldfrith of Northumbria: An Edition of Bríathra Flainn Fhína maic Ossu (1999).