Receiving a Charlemont Award from Prof. Mary Daly, President of the Royal Irish Academy (2016)


I have been a historian since I was old enough to be conscious of the passing of time, pestering my parents with questions of what it was like in ‘olden days’ (when they were young!). Studying for a degree in history seemed a no-brainer, and during my student days at UCD I grew to love the medieval and early modern periods, which led to a MA Medieval Studies (UCD) and eventually a PhD at the University of Cambridge (2009), followed by various postdoctoral research positions in the UK, Finland and Ireland. Since then I have spoken and published widely, been made a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (2021), and recently became a collaborator with the Bulevafuentes research group at Burgos University (Spain; 2022). As a boy I enjoyed history as a story; I have never lost that, and in telling it I want to do its protagonists and audience justice.


I have recently begun as a Teaching and Learning Development Officer in Maynooth University (October 2022), where I teach on postgraduate and staff programmes at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and work with undergraduates at the Writing Centre. Prior to this, I earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education Teaching, Learning and Assessment (2021), been the recipient of a Fellowship in Teaching and Learning (Maynooth University 2016), and was jointly awarded the Maynooth University Team Teaching Award, with colleagues on the Critical Skills programme (2018-19). I believe that education should also promote development beyond the classroom and I volunteer as an award leader for Ireland’s national youth development award, Gaisce-The President’s Award, and have contributed to the National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP). Along the way I have worked in five universities in three countries, and as an English-language conversation assistant in two secondary schools in Pamplona, Spain.

Below is a bibliography of my academic publications. Unfortunately many of the links are to subscription-based repositories, but I have indicated where items are openly available.

History Books

  1. Tigernán Ua Ruairc and a twelfth-century royal grant in the Book of Kells, Maynooth Studies in Local History (Dublin, 2020). [Available for purchase here]
  2. The Nugents of Westmeath and Queen Elizabeth’s Irish Primer, Maynooth Studies in Local History 123 (Dublin, 2016). [Sold out!]
  3. Emperor of the Irish: Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf, 1014 (Trinity College Dublin, 2014).

History articles in peer-reviewed publications

  1. Cáin Éimíne Báin (‘The Sacrifice of Éimíne Bán’) and the rise of the Uí Dúnlainge in the seventh and eighth centuries’, Archivium Hibernicum 75 (2022), 162–90.
  2. ‘“A man of no mean standing”: the career and legacy of Donnchad mac Briain (ob. 1064)’, Peritia: Journal of the Medieval Academy of Ireland 31 (2020), 29–57 [Available at Brepols].
  3. ‘Dublin and the Gaelic Irish economy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries’, Medieval Dublin: Proceedings of the Friends of Medieval Dublin Symposium 18 (2020), 128–42.
  4. ‘How many cows did it take to make the Book of Kells?’, in Rachel Moss, Felicity O’Mahony and Jane Maxwell (eds), An Insular Odyssey: Manuscript Culture in Early Christian Ireland and Beyond (Dublin, 2017), 76–85.
  5. ‘Brian Boru, the Book of Armagh and the Irish Church in the tenth and eleventh centuries’, Medieval Dublin XVI. Proceedings of Clontarf 1014–2014: national conference marking the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf (2017), 103–21.
  6. ‘Irish involvement in the Crusades?  A reconsideration of the eleventh- and twelfth-century chronicle and annalistic evidence’, Crusades: the journal of the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East 13 (2014), 119–42. [Available at Taylor & Francis]
  7. ‘Irish pseudohistory in Conall Mag Eochagáin’s Annals of Clonmacnoise’, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 32 (2013), 74–94. [Available at JSTOR]
  8. ‘A reconsideration of the authorship and transmission of Cogadh Gáedhel re Gallaibh’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 113C (2013), 139–61. [Available at JSTOR]
  9. ‘Norse, Gaelic or Hiberno-Scandinavian?  The airlabraid of tenth-century Dublin’, Medieval Dublin: Proceedings of the Friends of Medieval Dublin Symposium 13 (2013), 27–42.
  10. ‘Tigernán Ua Ruairc and the Book of Kells’, in K. Simms (ed.), Gaelic Ireland (c. 600–c. 1700): politics, culture and landscapes; studies for the ‘Irish Chiefs’ prize (Dublin, 2013), 3–10.
  11. ‘Prolegomena to the study of medieval Irish economic history’, in M. Watson and L. Milligan (eds), From vestiges to the very day: new voices in Celtic studies (Aberdeen, 2010), 13–24.
  12. ‘An eighth-century royal conversation: Cathal mac Finnguini and Áed Allán at Tír dá Glas, 737 AD’, Quaestio Insularis: selected proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic 7 (2006), 57–71. [Openly available at the University of Cambridge]

Teaching in higher education articles (in peer-reviewed journals)

  1. ‘Integrating reading and writing: supporting students’ writing from sources’ (third author with Adeline Cooney and Eamon Darcy), Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice 15:5 (2018) 1–18. [Openly available at University of Wollongong]
  2. ‘From Poetry to Palmerstown: Using Wikipedia to Teach Critical Thinking and Information Literacy in a First-Year Seminar’ (with Brian McKenzie, Jonathan Brown, [Denis Casey], Adeline Cooney, Eamon Darcy, Susan Giblin and Máire Ní Mhordha), College Teaching 66:2 (2018), 1–8. [Available at Taylor & Francis]

History articles in non-peer-reviewed publications

  1. ‘Tadc (d. 1023)’, in Dictionary of Irish Biography (Royal Irish Academy, 2023). [Openly available here]
  2. ‘What year is it? The complicated answer to an age-old question’, The Medieval Magazine 153 (2022), 18–27. [Available for purchase here]
  3. ‘A 180-million-to-one Birth in 657AD?’, in Salvador Ryan (ed.), Birth and the Irish: a Miscellany (Dublin, 2021), 1–5.
  4. ‘Skulduggery in the Vatican: why was Fr Thomas Messingham’s Florilegium Insulae Sanctorum (1624) banned by the Roman Catholic Church?’, in Terence Dooley, Mary Ann Lyons and Salvador Ryan (eds), The Historian as Detective: Uncovering Irish Pasts. Essays in honour of Raymond Gillespie (Dublin, 2021), 98–100.
  5. ‘An eleventh-century heist: stealing the Book of Kells’, Ríocht na Mídhe: Records of the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society 31 (2020), 28–39.
  6. ‘Derbforgaill and the expulsion of Diarmait Mac Murchada’, History Ireland 27:3 (2019), 18–19. [Available at JSTOR]
  7. ‘Battle of Clontarf’, Encyclopædia Britannica online (2017). [Openly available here]
  8. ‘Education and the Renaissance Man: Christopher Nugent, Baron of Delvin’, Iarmhí: Journal of the Westmeath Archaeological and Historical Society 1:1 (2016–17), 128–31.
  9. ‘Time measurement’ (co-author Ken Mondschein), in A. Classen (ed.), Medieval culture: a compendium of critical topics, Fundamental aspects and conditions of the European middle ages (Berlin, 2015), 1657–79.
  10. ‘Brian Boru and the Book of Armagh’ (co-author Bernard Meehan), History Ireland 22:2 (2014), 28–9. [Openly available here] [Available at JSTOR]
  11. ‘Life After Brian: The High-Kingship’, History Ireland 22:2 (2014), 34–7. [Openly available here] [Available at JSTOR]
  12. ‘“A compulsory and burdensome imposition”: billeting soldiers in medieval and early modern Ireland’, in A. Classen and N. Margolis (eds), War and peace: critical issues in European societies and literature, 800–1800, Fundamentals of medieval and early modern culture 8 (Berlin, 2011), 193–216.
  13. ‘“A man of great power for a long time”: Tigernán Ua Ruairc and the Book of Kells’, History Ireland 18:5 (2010), 14–17. [Openly available here] [Available at JSTOR]
  14. ‘Historical and literary representations of Brian Boru’s burial in Armagh, 1014AD’, North Munster Antiquarian Journal 50 (2010), 29–44. [Openly available here]
  15. Twenty-nine (250-word) entries in J. Morton and B. Jackson (eds), The Defining Moments in History (London, 2008).
  16. Three (250-word) entries in J. Doubt (ed.), The Little Black Book of Art (London, 2008).
  17. ‘The hagiographer and the law’, History Matters 2 (2006), 1–9.

History Book Reviews (in peer-reviewed journals)

  1. 1,200-word review of M. Bric (ed.), Kerry: history and society. Interdisciplinary essays on the history of an Irish county (Dublin, 2000), published in Studia Hibernica 47 (2021), 177–9.
  2. 1,000-word review of D. Ó Corráin, The Irish Church, its Reform and the English Invasion, Trinity Medieval Irish Series 2 (Dublin, 2017), published in Studia Hibernica 44 (2018), 166–7. [Available at Liverpool UP]
  3. 1,000-word review of H. B. Clarke and R. Johnson (eds), The Vikings in Ireland and Beyond: Before and After the Battle of Clontarf (Dublin, 2015), published in Irish Historical Studies 41 (no. 160) (2017), 287–9. [Available at Cambridge UP]
  4. Combined 1,500-word review of E. Purcell, P. MacCotter, J. Nyhan and J. Sheehan (eds), Clerics, Kings and Vikings: Essays on medieval Ireland in honour of Donnchadh Ó Corráin (Dublin, 2015); J. Carey, K. Murray and C. Ó Dochartaigh (eds), Sacred Histories: A Festschrift for Máire Herbert (Dublin, 2015); P. Moran and I. Warntjes (eds), Early Medieval Ireland and Europe: Chronology, Contacts, Scholarship; A Festschrift for Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Studia Traditionis Theologiae: Explorations in Early and Medieval Theology 14 (Turnhout, 2015), published in Early Medieval Europe 25:1 (2017), 119–22. [Available at Wiley Online]
  5. 500-word review of J. E. Rekdal and C. Doherty (eds), Kings and Warriors in Early North-West Europe (Dublin, 2016), published in Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 146 (2016), 58–9.
  6. 800-word review of J. Waddell, Archaeology and Celtic Myth: An Exploration (Dublin, 2014), published in Irish Historical Studies 39 (no. 156) (2015), 682–3. [Available at Cambridge UP]
  7. 600-word review of T. Ó Cathasaigh (ed. M. Boyd), Coire Sois: The Cauldron of Knowledge.  A Companion to Early Irish Saga (Notre Dame, IN, 2014), published in Irish Historical Studies 39 (no. 156) (2015), 683–4. [Available at Cambridge UP]
  8. 650-word review of R. O’Connor (ed.), Classical Literature and Learning in Medieval Irish Narrative, Studies in Celtic History 34 (Cambridge, 2014), published in Irish Historical Studies 39 (no. 156) (2015), 684–5. [Available at Cambridge UP]
  9. 600-word review of I. Russell, and M. F. Hurley (eds), Woodstown: A Viking-Age Settlement in Waterford (Dublin, 2014), published in Irish Historical Studies 39 (no. 156) (2015), 685–6. [Available at Cambride UP]
  10. 600-word review of G. Murray, The Cross of Cong: A Masterpiece of Medieval Irish Art (Dublin, 2014), published in Irish Historical Studies 39 (no. 156) (2015), 686–7. [Available at Cambridge UP]
  11. 2,300-word review of N. Evans, The present and the past in medieval Irish chronicles, Studies in Celtic History 27 (Woodbridge, 2010), published in The Innes Review 64:2 (2013), 235–40. [Available at Edinburgh UP]
  12. 1,000-word review of J. Sheehan and D. Ó Corráin (eds), The Viking age: Ireland and the West (Proceedings of the fifteenth Viking Congress, Cork 2005) (Dublin, 2010), published in Saga-Book 35 (2011), 94–5. [Openly available at the Viking Society for Northern Research]
  13. 750-word review of D. P. Mc Carthy, The Irish annals: their genesis, evolution and history (Dublin, 2008), published in Early Medieval Europe 18:1 (2010), 94–6. [Available at Wiley Online]
  14. 1,200-word review of M. A. Valante, The Vikings in Ireland: settlement, trade and urbanization (Dublin, 2008), published in Saga-Book 34 (2010), 109–11. [Openly available at the Viking Society for Northern Research]
  15. 1,300-word review of E. Bhreathnach (ed.), The kingship and landscape of Tara (Dublin, 2005), published in Early Medieval Europe 17:3 (2009), 344–7. [Available at Wiley Online]
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