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Dr Edel Bhreathnach

Principal Investigator

Dr Bhreathnach is Academic Project Manager of the UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute. She worked on the Discovery Programme’s ‘Tara Project’ for fifteen years, guided the UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute’s IRCHSS project on the material culture of the mendicant orders in Ireland and acted as national coordinator of ‘Louvain 400’, the 400th anniversary of the foundation of St Anthony’s College, Louvain. She currently directs three other UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute projects on the early book and manuscript heritage of the Irish Franciscans. Dr Bhreathnach has published widely on early Irish history, literature and topography including editing the volume ‘The kingship and landscape of Tara’. She is a member of the Place Names Commission and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London.

Academic Qualifications
1979: B.A.: First Class Honours (Celtic Studies).
1983-84:Studied at Jesus College Oxford as Rhys Student inCeltic Studies.
1991:PhD awarded by the National University of Ireland for a doctoral thesis entitled 'Laídshenchas Laigen: An Anthology of Leinster'. Supervised by Prof. F. J. Byrne, Dept. of Early and Medieval Irish History, UCD.

1979-1988: Third Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs.
1985-88: Third Secretary, Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Communities, Brussels.
1988-1992: Assistant Registrar, National Council for Educational  Awards, Dublin.
1992 –2000: Tara Research Fellow, Discovery Programme, Dublin.
2000-2002: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change, NUI Galway.
2002-  : Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute, University College Dublin. I am currently engaged in compiling a lexicon of medieval Irish learning.
2006/7 National coordinator of the 400th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of the Irish Franciscan College in Louvain, Belgium in 2007.
2008 Appointed Academic Project Manager, UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute

1993 Tara: the literary and historical perspective. Discovery Programme Reports 1, 94-103.
1994  Killeshin: an Irish monastery surveyed. Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 27, 33-47.
1994 The topography of Tara: the documentary evidence. Discovery Programme Reports 2, 68-76.
1995 Tara. A select bibliography. Discovery Programme/Royal Irish Academy. Dublin.
1995 (with C. Newman) Tara. Dublin (a guide to Tara published in Irish and English).
1995 Caput, civitas, oppidum, borg: Tara, a renowned fortress. Seanchas Ardmhacha 16, 22-6.
1996 Temoria: caput Scottorum? Ériu 47, 67-88.
1996  The documentary evidence for pre-Norman Skreen, County Meath. Ríocht na Midhe 9 (no. 2), 37-45.
1998 Topographical note: Moynagh Lough, Co. Meath. Ríocht na Midhe 9 (no. 4), 16-19.
1999 Authority and supremacy in Tara and its hinterland c. 950-1200. Discovery Programme Reports 5, 1-23.
1999 Columban churches in Brega and Leinster: relations with the Anglo-Normans. Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 129, 5-18.
1999 The construction of the stone fort at Cahercommaun [Co. Clare]: an historical hypothesis. Discovery Programme Reports 5, 83-95.
2000 Kings, the kingship of Leinster and the regnal poems of laídshenchas Laigen: a reflection of dynastic politics in Leinster, 650-1150. In A.P. Smyth (ed.) Seanchas. Studies in early and medieval Irish archaeology, history and literature in honour of Francis J. Byrne, 299-312. Dublin.
2001 Review article: medieval Irish history at the end of the twentieth   century: unfinished work. Irish Historical Studies 32, 260-71.
2001 The cults of local Leinster saints. In J. Carey, M. Herbert and P  Ó Riain (eds), Saints and scholars: studies in Irish hagiography. Dublin.
2001 Abbesses, minor dynasties and kings in clericatu: perspectives of Ireland, 700-850. In M. Brown and C. Fahr (eds), Mercia: a medieval superpower. Leicester.
2001 The cultural and political milieu of the deposition and manufacture of the hoard discovered at Reerasta Rath, Ardagh, Co. Limerick. In M. Redknap et al. (eds) Pattern and purpose in insular art, 15-23. Oxford.
2002 Observations on the occurrence of dog and horse bones at Tara. Discovery Programme Reports 6, 117-22.
2002 Two contributors to the Book of Leinster: Bishop Finn of Kildare and Gilla na Náem Ua Duinn. In M. Richter & J-M Picard (eds), Ogma. Essays in Celtic Studies in honour of Proinséas Ní Chatháin, 105-11. Dublin.
2003 Tales of Connacht: Cath Airtig, Táin Bó Flidhais, Cath Leitreach Ruibhe, and Cath Cumair. Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 45, 21-45.
2003 (with R. Ó Floinn) Ireland: culture and society. In S.H. Rigby (ed.), A companion to Britain in the later Middle Ages, 558-95. Oxford.
2004 Medieval sub-kingdoms of Brega: the kingships of Calatruim, Déssi Breg, Mugdornae Breg and Uí Maic Uais Breg. In A. MacShamhráin (ed.), The Island of St Patrick. Church and ruling dynasties in Fingal and Meath, 400-1148, 38-51. Dublin.
2005 Críchad an Chaoilli: a medieval territory revealed. Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society 110, 85-95.
2005 The kingship and landscape of Tara (editor).
2006 In retrospect: Introduction to George Petrie’s On the History and Antiquities of Tara Hill. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 106, 409-16.
2007 The Four Masters and their world (edited with Bernadette Cunningham)
2007 Perceptions of kingship in early medieval Irish vernacular literature. In L. Doran and J. Lyttleton (eds), Lordship in medieval Ireland. Image and reality, 21-46.
2008 The Claidh Dubh: a study in the function and reuse of a prehistoric linear earthwork in M. Doody, The Ballyhoura Hills project (Discovery Programme/Wordwell Books), 571-88.

Email: Edel