School of History

Dr Paul MacCotter, School of History, UCC

Thursday 24 February 2022, 16.00 (4 PM)

The paper will be delivered through MS Teams. Please, contact Dr Jérôme aan de Wiel, School of History, UCC, to obtain a Teams link:

Paper This talk is based on a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy in 2019. This addresses the emergence of a parish system in Ireland between AD 700 and AD 1300. This process is examined against the background of similar processes in Britain and the Continent, and reveals parallels. By the early twelfth century a de facto parish system based on the local community, the túath, emerges in Ireland. The parish church of this system may be described as the túath-church. Some elements of this system can be found much earlier, in the eighth century. The arrival of the Anglo-Normans sees the túath-church system replaced by the English version of the Gregorian reform parish, the establishment of which in Ireland occurs during the century from 1172. This system is a complex mix of rectories and vicarages with origins both secular and ecclesiastical, and was the result of tension between lay and monastic interests on the one hand and episcopal efforts to maintain the cura animarum on the other. Elements of the earlier túath-church system survived within the later reformed parish structure.

Dr Paul MacCotter is an historical geographer and historian. He first studied history under Kenneth Nicholls of UCC, exploring the lineages and governance of Anglo-Norman Ireland. This led to a position as principal historical consultant with the Making Christian Landscapes project of the School of Archaeology in UCC, in 2008 and 2009, concerning the Early Irish Church. This was funded by the Heritage Council and Dr MacCotter’s main contribution was as the developer of methodologies for the reconstruction of medieval Irish areal or spatial units and boundaries. This work was further advanced by his IRCHSS fellowship between 2010 and 2012. In more recent years he has advanced his work in collaboration with the late Prof Donnchadh Ó Corráin of UCC. Dr MacCotter’s best known publication is the volume Medieval Ireland: territorial, political and economic divisions, described by one reviewer as ‘conceivably, a paradigm shifting work’. He has published four books and co-edited a fifth, and published over sixty papers including many peer-reviewed contributions. He is a researcher with the School of History and teaches with the School of Adult Continuing Education, both in UCC.

College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences

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College Office, Room G31 ,Ground Floor, Block B, O'Rahilly Building, UCC