Wednesday 30 April 2014

New book on County Clare in the late Middle Ages

Clerical and learned lineages of Medieval Co. Clare: a survey of the fifteenth-century papal registers by Luke McInerney was launched recently in Dysert O’Dea Castle, County Clare. The book takes as its core argument Robin Flower’s proposition that there was an unbroken link between hereditary learned families and the medieval Irish Church. It develops the proposition by surveying fifteenth-century church appointments in Co. Clare. The study reveals how extensive those connections were and, despite reforms, there was no clear severance between the ecclesiastical world and the custodians of the native monastic church. The old clerical lineages remained material elements in the structures of the medieval Irish Church, alongside members of the learned class and aristocratic families. This survey provides a template for bringing all of this together, marshalling an array of original source materials in Latin, Irish and English. Many of the sources are printed for the first time and will be of interest to the historian, archaeologist and genealogist alike. The book is important for the study of Co Clare’s history because so much of the county’s places and families are mentioned, including many obscure references in Irish and Latin language sources. Medieval families of Co. Clare come alive in the book through detailed genealogical tables and the book contains extensive appendices, including all clerical appointments to parishes in Co Clare and an easy-to-use glossary of terms, and lists of surnames with their Irish-English equivalents.

According to the Trinity College medievalist, Dr Katherine Simms: “Students of Irish church history, Gaelic cultural history, Irish historical geography, family and local history are all indebted to Luke McInerney for such a detailed and intensive examination of the ecclesiastical and learned lineages of Co. Clare in the late Middle Ages. Never before has the evidence for this county been brought together in such a comprehensive and detailed manner, and employed to answer such fundamental questions about medieval Irish church and society. This will certainly remain an invaluable reference work for many years to come.“

Photo above shows author Luke McInerney (on right) with Eddie Lenihan at the launch of Clerical and learned lineages of Medieval Co. Clare: a survey of the fifteenth-century papal registers in Dysert O’Dea Castle, County Clare

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