French Turkeys and Roof-Holes: What Words Reveal – Medieval Ireland and the Outside World

DBF-2019-EventImages-600x900.inddWith Máire Ní Mhaonaigh and Sharon Arbuthnot

In Association with the Royal Irish Academy

Age 14+ (3rd and 4th Year), Adults

Friday 15th November

Times: 11.00am – 12.00pm

Venue: The Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street

Free entry, Booking essential, places limited

Why is turkey referred to in Irish as a French hen? Can the various words for castle be mapped onto the different types of monument that remain part of the Irish landscape today? This workshop will look at how words reveal the many and varied links Ireland had with Britain and Europe in the medieval period. Máire Ní Mhaonaigh and Sharon Arbuthnot will present from the Royal Irish Academy’s A History of Ireland in 100 Words (Arbuthnot, Ní Mhaonaigh and Toner), based on the electronic Dictionary of medieval Irish (eDIL:, as well as school resources developed at the University of Cambridge in conjunction with eDIL. It will be of interest to all those who touch upon the theme of cultures in contact or Ireland’s past more generally in the classroom setting, as well as those wishing to pursue projects on related themes.


Book now – email


Sharon Arbuthnot is a Senior Researcher at Queen’s University Belfast and an expert on lexicography and medieval glossaries. She has published widely on medieval Irish language and literature and her research includes an edition of ‘The Fitness of Names’ (Cóir Anmann) relating the stories of how many early Irish heroes got their names.

Máire Ní Mhaonaigh is Professor of Celtic and Medieval Studies at the University of Cambridge. She has written extensively on medieval Irish literature and history and on Ireland’s place in the wider world. Her books include Brian Boru: Ireland’s Greatest King?, as well as a co-authored volume on Norse-Irish relationships, Norse Gaelic Contacts in a Viking World.