Contributions to journals
The first detailed archaeological study of ecclesiastical estates in early medieval Ireland. Using the fine-grained territorial framework of Fir Maige, the settlement archaeology of its three main ecclesiastical estates is analysed: those of Findchú, Molaga and Cránaid. Significant variations are noted. These may reflect varying emphases in clientship versus direct labour. Landscape archaeology can therefore make a significant contribution to understanding the socio-economic strategies of important ecclesiastical sites. Churches on the boundaries of both the estate of Molaga and the kingdom in which it lies are here seen as conscious expressions of christianisation and sovereignty when the latter was under threat. This illustrates how christianisation was often a political process as well as a religious one.
Archaeological and documentary evidence is used to argue that the superstructure of St Moling’s Well, Co Carlow, is a baptismal chapel of round 1100, probably built in the context of a heightened concern with the proper administration of the sacrament during the Gregorian reform. In earlier centuries, baptism in the open air, at holy wells and springs seems to have been common. Other water-based rituals carried out at St Mullin’s in medieval times are also considered.
Ó Carragáin, Tomás, “Cemetery settlements and local churches in pre-Viking Ireland in light of comparisons with England and Wales”, in: Graham-Campbell, James, and Michael Ryan (eds.), Anglo-Saxon/Irish relations before the Vikings, Proceedings of the British Academy 157, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. 329–366.