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 & Introductory Lecture followed by visit to a medieval castle nearby.
Day 2: Visit to the Burren in Co Clare to examine and survey some simple medieval churches
Day 3: Visit to Athenry to explore the medieval castle and the town walls, followed by lecture on medieval castles in Ireland and western Europe.
Day 4: Lecture on early medieval monasteries followed by a visit to Clonfert cathedral, the monastery at Clonmacnoise (with a peek at the early modern bridgehead fortifications at Shannonbridge on the way home).
Day 5: Lecture on medieval monasteries and abbeys in Ireland followed by a visit to the medieval city of Galway to explore the town walls, medieval church, museum and late medieval streetscape.
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 the Rock of Cashel, Hore Abbey, Athassel Priory, Knockgraffon Motte and Cahir, staying overnight in Cashel.
Day 9: Visit the medieval town of Fethard, Kells Priory and the Cistercian monastery at Jerpoint, staying overnight in Kilkenny city.
Day 10: Visit the tower houses of Burnchurch and Clara and the medieval city of Kilkenny before returning to Galway.
Programme Details 2017
Session 1: May 22nd - June 2nd (2 weeks - 3 Semester Credits / 6 ECTS credits)
Session 4: July 31st - August 11th (2 weeks - 3 Semester Credits / 6 ECTS credits)