This two-week course will investigate the architecture and archaeology of the castles, churches and cloisters of medieval Ireland. Students will visit a wide variety of historic buildings and will learn to analyse, describe and record these structures using a series of key survey techniques. Beginning in the early medieval period, the course will examine a number of pre-Norman ecclesiastical sites before going on to explore the wealth of Anglo-Norman and Gaelic castles and monasteries which are found across the Irish landscape. This field-based module will provide students with a solid understanding the evolution of Irish medieval architecture and will also give them key transferrable skills in building analysis and survey.
Students who participate successfully in this course will learn to describe the evolution of Irish medieval architecture in general terms, discuss individual buildings during on-site visits, identify key phases in medieval buildings through examination of their fabric, produce an accurate plan of a simple medieval building to scale through on-site survey and discuss possible survey methodologies for larger medieval buildings. Course fees include tuition and self-catering accommodation and we also provide free transportation to the sites under study. A draft course outline is as follows:
Day 1: Welcome & lecture on medieval castles in Ireland and western Europe, followed by visit to the sixteenth-century Gaelic tower house at Aughnanure
Day 2: Lecture on early medieval monasteries and medieval cathedrals and abbeys, followed by a visit to the early ecclesiastical site and the cathedral at Annaghdown, the Augustinian priory at Cong and the Franciscan friary of Ross Errilly
Day 3: Visit to Athenry to explore the medieval castle and the town walls, followed by a visit to the medieval city of Galway to explore the town walls, medieval church, museum and late medieval streetscape.
Day 4: Visit to the Burren in Co Clare to examine and survey some simple medieval churches, followed by a visit to the Cistercian abbey at Corcomroe
Day 5: Visit to County Roscommon to see the Dominican priory and the thirteenth-century royal castle at Roscommon and the deserted medieval town and castle at Rindoon
Day 6: Visit to County Clare to see Bunratty Castle, Ennis Friary and the Anglo-Norman castle and Franciscan friary at Quin.
Day 7: Visit to Portumna Castle, Pallas Castle and Lackeen Castle to explore the transition from late medieval castles to post-medieval, Renaissance style great houses.
Day 8: Three-day trip to Munster and south Leinster - visit Athassel Priory, Holycross Abbey, the Rock of Cashel, Hore Abbey and Knockgraffon Motte, staying overnight in Cahir.
Day 9: Visit Cahir Castle, Ormond Castle in Carrick-on-Suir, Kilree church and round tower, and the Augustinian priory at Kells, staying overnight in Kilkenny city.
Day 10: Visit the medieval city of Kilkenny, including St Canice's Cathedral and round tower, the Dominican priory and the castle, before returning to Galway via the tower house at Clara and Dunamase Castle.
Here's a map showing the sites listed above - we cover quite a lot of the country!
Programme Details 2020
Session 1: May 25th - June 5th (2 weeks - 3 Semester Credits / 6 ECTS credits)
Session 4: August 3rd - August 14th (2 weeks - 3 Semester Credits / 6 ECTS credits)