18 May 2022

Offaly History lecture to focus on county's medieval monasteries


Clonmacnoise will be among the monasteries under discussion at the lecture

Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society's May lecture is about the architecture and layout of early medieval monasteries in Co. Offaly.

The Temple, the Ark and the Edicule: Recreating Jerusalem in Early Medieval Offaly” will be given by Dr. Tomás Ó Carragáin on Monday next, May 16 at 8pm.

You can attend in person or by zoom. For the zoom lin email

Tis lecture is about the architecture and layout of early medieval monasteries including Lemanaghan, Lynally, and of course Clonmacnoise. Compared to major early monasteries on the European mainland, or indeed some later medieval abbeys in Ireland, the buildings at these sites were small and simple.

But we will see that they were nevertheless meant to recall some of the most important buildings in the Judeo-Christian tradition, including the Temple, and possibly the Tomb of Christ (or ‘Edicule’), in Jerusalem.

Though simple in form, these buildings – and the shrines housed within them – were highly sophisticated in conception, a testament to the learning and far-flung connections of these communities in Ireland’s monastic heartland.  
 Dr Tomás Ó Carragáin, MRIA, FSA, of the Archaeology Department, University College Cork, specialises in the archaeology of early medieval Ireland and its European context.

His publications include Churches in Early Medieval Ireland: Architecture, Ritual and Memory (Yale University Press, 2010), Churches in the Irish Landscape, AD 400-1100 (Cork University Press, 2021) and Climate and Society in Ireland from Prehistory to the Present (Royal Irish Academy, 2021, co-edited with James Kelly).

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