Writing the Script: Letters and Literacy in Medieval Ireland

With Sharon Arbuthnot, Máire Ní Mhaonaigh and Timothy O’Neill

In Association with The Royal Irish Academy

Friday 15 November

Time: 2.30pm

Venue: The Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street

€7/€5 concession Booking essential, places are limited


Join Máire Ní Mhaonaigh and Sharon Arbuthnot, authors of A History of Ireland in 100 Words (Royal Irish Academy), and calligrapher Timothy O’Neill for a collaborative workshop offering a glimpse into the changing practices and paraphernalia of writing in medieval Ireland. Discussion of what is known about scribes, manuscripts, and writing systems through the centuries and of the terminology that helped define them will be accompanied by a demonstration of the art of early Irish lettering and of the types of pen, ink and vellum that would have been used. Those attending will be invited to view sample manuscripts afterwards in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy.


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.