Saturday, October 14, 2017 – 2:00 PM: Dr. Kieran O’Conor, 2017 Kress Lecture

The Castles of Ireland

 

Abstract

Castles can be defined as the seriously-defended residences of people of lordly (and later gentry) rank. It is clear that Ireland was one of the most castellated parts of Europe by c.1600 and, even after this date, castles continued to be built there, with the final ones being erected in the 1640s. This illustrated lecture will outline the main types of castle constructed and inhabited in Ireland from the 12th century down to the 17th century. The architecture, dating, and functions of these different types of castle will be outlined in the talk. The ethnicity of the inhabitants of these places will also be discussed in the lecture and the somewhat debated question of when native Irish (ie Gaelic Irish) lords adopted fortifications that contemporaries and modern scholars would regard as castles will be addressed too. Lastly, the lecturer will try to answer the question of why anything up to 8000 castles were built in Ireland throughout the later medieval period and up to the mid-17th century.

Bio

Kieran O’Conor is a graduate of University College, Dublin (UCD) and has a PhD from University College Cardiff, Wales. He worked during much of the 1990s for the Archaeological Survey Branch of the National Monuments Service ( Dúchas – The Heritage Service) in Counties Roscommon, Sligo, Longford, Westmeath and Wexford. In 1996 he excavated Carlow Castle as part of his work for the latter institution. Dr O’Conor has also taken part in excavations and field surveys in England, Wales, mainland Greece and Crete. He was appointed a research fellow at the Discovery Programme in 1997 and was then made director of Medieval Rural Settlement project there in early 1999.

Dr. O’Conor joined the staff of NUI, Galway in September 2000. He has published widely on the subjects of castles, medieval rural settlement, elite settlement in high medieval Gaelic Ireland and medieval landscapes. Dr. O’Conor is English language editor of the international peer-reviewed journal Chateau Gaillard. He also has been very successful in linking his research to heritage tourism initiatives in County Roscommon. O’Conor strongly believes in sharing his research with rural communities throughout the West of Ireland and the Midlands.

Selected Publications

McNeill, T. E. 1997 Castles in Ireland – Feudal Power in a Gaelic World. London and New York.

O’Conor, K. 2014 Castles. In R. Moss (ed.), Art and architecture of Ireland. Volume 1 – Medieval, c.400-c.1600 (Dublin and New Haven), pp 341-55. This article outlines the various types of stone castle seen in the Irish landscape.

O’Conor, K. 2014 Earth and timber fortifications. In R. Moss (ed.), Art and architecture of Ireland. Volume 1 – Medieval, c.400-c.1600 (Dublin and New Haven), pp 341-55. Parts of this article discuss the use of motte and ringwork castles in Ireland. Remember that ringforts, crannogs, promontory forts and moated sites are not considered to be castles.

O’Keeffe, T. 2015 Medieval Irish Buildings, 1100-1600, Dublin. Chapters 4 and 5 are the relevant chapters

Sweetman, D. 1999 Medieval Castles of Ireland. Dublin.

Saturday, October 14, 2017 – 2:00 PM: Dr. Kieran O’Conor, 2017 Kress Lecture

The Castles of Ireland

 

Abstract

Castles can be defined as the seriously-defended residences of people of lordly (and later gentry) rank. It is clear that Ireland was one of the most castellated parts of Europe by c.1600 and, even after this date, castles continued to be built there, with the final ones being erected in the 1640s. This illustrated lecture will outline the main types of castle constructed and inhabited in Ireland from the 12th century down to the 17th century. The architecture, dating, and functions of these different types of castle will be outlined in the talk. The ethnicity of the inhabitants of these places will also be discussed in the lecture and the somewhat debated question of when native Irish (ie Gaelic Irish) lords adopted fortifications that contemporaries and modern scholars would regard as castles will be addressed too. Lastly, the lecturer will try to answer the question of why anything up to 8000 castles were built in Ireland throughout the later medieval period and up to the mid-17th century.

Bio

Kieran O’Conor is a graduate of University College, Dublin (UCD) and has a PhD from University College Cardiff, Wales. He worked during much of the 1990s for the Archaeological Survey Branch of the National Monuments Service ( Dúchas – The Heritage Service) in Counties Roscommon, Sligo, Longford, Westmeath and Wexford. In 1996 he excavated Carlow Castle as part of his work for the latter institution. Dr O’Conor has also taken part in excavations and field surveys in England, Wales, mainland Greece and Crete. He was appointed a research fellow at the Discovery Programme in 1997 and was then made director of Medieval Rural Settlement project there in early 1999.

Dr. O’Conor joined the staff of NUI, Galway in September 2000. He has published widely on the subjects of castles, medieval rural settlement, elite settlement in high medieval Gaelic Ireland and medieval landscapes. Dr. O’Conor is English language editor of the international peer-reviewed journal Chateau Gaillard. He also has been very successful in linking his research to heritage tourism initiatives in County Roscommon. O’Conor strongly believes in sharing his research with rural communities throughout the West of Ireland and the Midlands.

Selected Publications

McNeill, T. E. 1997 Castles in Ireland – Feudal Power in a Gaelic World. London and New York.

O’Conor, K. 2014 Castles. In R. Moss (ed.), Art and architecture of Ireland. Volume 1 – Medieval, c.400-c.1600 (Dublin and New Haven), pp 341-55. This article outlines the various types of stone castle seen in the Irish landscape.

O’Conor, K. 2014 Earth and timber fortifications. In R. Moss (ed.), Art and architecture of Ireland. Volume 1 – Medieval, c.400-c.1600 (Dublin and New Haven), pp 341-55. Parts of this article discuss the use of motte and ringwork castles in Ireland. Remember that ringforts, crannogs, promontory forts and moated sites are not considered to be castles.

O’Keeffe, T. 2015 Medieval Irish Buildings, 1100-1600, Dublin. Chapters 4 and 5 are the relevant chapters

Sweetman, D. 1999 Medieval Castles of Ireland. Dublin.

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