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Identities Cluster

The Bull of the Herd: Gerald of Wales and the Invention of Barbarian Ireland.

This monograph asks how and why Gerald of Wales (c. 1146-1223), the first propagandist of English rule in Ireland, re-invented the island of saints and scholars as a land of barbarians and freakish marvels at the ends of the earth. It considers Gerald’s long-term impact, and Irish attempts to refute him by returning to positive early medieval sources that he ignored or misrepresented. But those sources had themselves re-invented the image of Ireland, overturning Graeco-Roman stereotypes of the Irish as amoral savages (stereotypes that Gerald resurrected). The project therefore locates Gerald at the centre of an extraordinarily long tradition of debates on Irish identity and Irish relationships with Britain and the wider world.


For more information, please contact Dr. Diarmuid Scully (

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