Landscapes of cult and kingship

Roseanne Schot, Conor Newman & Edel Bhreathnach, editors

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ISBN: 978-1-84682-219-3
June 2011. 350pp; ills.

This volume offers new perspectives on kingship and royal landscapes in Ireland and abroad in thirteen essays by leading experts which consider how topography, monuments, place-names, myths and histories were symbolized, interwoven and forged into one of the most enduring institutions of human culture – kingship.

Long after the conversion to Christianity, the sacramental motifs of early kingship embodied in royal and lordly landscapes continue to resonate in the archaeological, historical, literary and onomastic record of Ireland. Together these strands of evidence trace the evolution of kingship and the landscapes associated with royal ceremonies from prehistory to the middle ages.

Bringing the most recent Irish research to the international study of kingship, these essays explore how the worldwide phenomenon of sacral kingship, with its emphasis on harmonizing the human and divine spheres, found expression in Ireland. From the birth- and death-tales of kings, to the sacralized landscapes of Tara, Sgiath Gabhra and the umbilical centres of Uisneach and Dullu in Nepal, what emerges from this wide-ranging study is a rich and diverse suite of common themes that open up exciting new horizons for comparative analysis.

Contributors: Edel Bhreathnach (UCD), Marion Deane (ind.), Colm Donnelly (QUB), Ann Dooley (St Michael’s, Toronto), Ger Dowling (NUIG), Elizabeth FitzPatrick (NUIG), Claire Foley (NIEA), Brian Lacey (Discovery Programme), Marie Lecomte-Tilouine (CNRS, Paris), Ronan McHugh (QUB), Kay Muhr (QUB), Eileen Murphy (QUB), Conor Newman (NUIG), Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin (NUIM), Roseanne Schot (NUIG), Bridgette Slavin (UB, New Jersey), John Waddell (NUIG).

Roseanne Schot is a research fellow in the School of Geography and Archaeology (Archaeology), NUI Galway. Conor Newman is a senior lecturer in the School of Geography and Archaeology (Archaeology), NUI Galway. Edel Bhreathnach is CEO of the Discovery Programme, Dublin.