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The Third Tongue Project

The aim of this project is to undertake the first ever systematic study of the use of Latin within the Protestant community in Ireland c.1600-1750. Through a combination of archival, palaeographical and philological research, it pursues analysis of the articulation of Irish Protestant identity in Latin, considering responses to key moments including the battle of Kinsale, the Restoration and the Williamite Wars. By examining orations, scholarly publications, correspondence, student notes and commonplace books, it explores Irish multilingualism in the context of the international Republic of Letters and examines how and why Latin functioned as the third tongue of Ireland.

Historia Project

Irish Manuscripts Commission

In 2010 the Irish Manuscripts Commission approached the Centre for Neo-Latin Studies to propose collaboration upon a project to edit and translate Robert O'Connell's Historia Missionis Hibernicae Fratrum Minorum Capucinorum (c.1656) for publication in two volumes by the Irish Manuscripts Commission. 

O'Connell's Historia is an invaluable source for early-modern Irish history as it draws upon contemporary sources and eye-witness accounts to describe the early years of the Capuchin mission in Ireland and the life and career of Francis Lavalin Nugent, a key figure in the intellectual and religious world of the Irish diaspora in the seventeenth century.

Postdoctoral Fellow

The Centre recruited Dr Nóirín Ní Bheaglaoi to transcribe, edit and translate the Historia manuscript under the direction of Dr Jason Harris. Dr Ní Bheaglaoi's translation formed the focus of the weekly Neo-Latin seminar in 2011 and 2012.


The project was funded jointly by several bodies:

  • The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
  • The Irish Manuscripts Commission
  • University College Cork, College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

The total amount raised was c. €140,000. News of publication will be issued here in due course.

Ad Fontes Project

The Ad Fontes project was designed to look for the earliest traces of humanist influence upon Ireland through analysis of Irish Latin sources c.1450-1550, using linguistic and palaeographic evidence to construct a narrative of transmission and transformation of the renaissance in Ireland.

The project was awarded €119,413.20 by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences through the Fellowship Projects Scheme, 2009-10.

The Centre for Neo-Latin Studies recruited Dr Kathleen Walker-Meikle as a postdoctoral researcher to assist in the development of the project and to participate in related publications.

The following conference papers and lectures were given by project members:

  • Jason Harris ‘The earliest traces of humanism in Ireland’, Britain, Ireland and the Italian Renaissance: Reception and Influences, University of Swansea, Gregynog Hall, 21/10/2009
  • Jason Harris, ‘From manuscript to print: the early impact of humanism in Ireland’, National Print Museum, Dublin, 22/3/2010
  • Jason Harris, ‘The Latin Literature of Renaissance Ireland’, Sofia University, 14/4/2010
  • Kathleen Walker-Meikle, ‘The absent lieutenant: George, Duke of Clarence and Ireland’, Fifteenth Century Studies, University of Southampton, 3/9/2010
  • Jason Harris, ‘Gothic and humanist scripts in Ireland’, Palaeography and Manuscripts Seminar, UCC, 14/9/2010
  • Jason Harris, ‘The Ad Fontes Project and Irish Latin’, Latin Identities: Post-Reformation Sources in Europe, Trinity College Dublin, 17/9/2010
  • Jason Harris, “The earliest traces of the Renaissance in Ireland’, Renaissance Now!, Cork, 10/12/2010


In addition, on 5 May 2010 the project hosted a conference called Renaissance Latin in Ireland and Europe, owing to the presence of two international consultants in Cork at the same time. The following papers were presented:

  • Jason Harris, ‘Latin Style in the Lives of St Finbarre’
  • Kathleen Walker-Meikle, ‘Putting aside barbarous manners: Con O’Neill and the Archbishop of Armagh’
  • Marc Laureys, ‘Gabriel Barrius’s De lingua Latina
  • Dirk Sacré, ‘Apherdianus and Renaissance vocabulary’
  • John Barry, Richard Stanihurst and dicacitas

The following lectures were delivered in UCC by project consultants:

  • Anthony Harvey, ‘Reading the Genetic Code of Medieval Ireland's Spelling Conventions’ 18/11/2009
  • Anthony Harvey, ‘Frankenstein in the Scriptorium: Bringing Latin to Life in Early Medieval Ireland’ 18/11/2009
  • David Rundle, ‘“The Butcher of England”, a Renaissance man: John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester and the Yorkist discovery of humanist eloquence’ 2/12/2009
  • David Rundle, ‘Humanist Handwriting in the Renaissance’ 3/12/2009
  • James Murray, ‘The Booke oute of Ireland in Latten’ 13/1/2010
  • Keith Sidwell, ‘A lost Irish literature? The Neo-Latin poetry of Ireland 1550-1750’ 21/1/2010
  • Erich Poppe, ‘Traces of Latin and Latin Learning in Fifteenth-Century Ireland:
    The Case of Uilliam Mac an Legha’ 9/3/2010
  • Richard Sharpe, ‘Ruaidhrí Ó Flaithbheartaigh and his writings’ 11/5/2010
  • Jeanine de Landtsheer, ‘Justus Lipsius and his Annotations on the Works of Tacitus’ 13/8/2010


The Irish Renaissance Latin Project

The Renaissance Latin Texts of Ireland project (RLTI) has been central to the activities of scholars at the Centre since it was established in 1999. The core objective of the project is to use a collaborative approach to bring Irish Latin studies into the mainstream of historical and linguistic scholarship.

Around 1,000 printed works were written by over 300 Irish authors in Latin c.1500-1750. The goal of the project is to analyse these works and introduce them to the broader academic community, making texts available online when possible and providing research tools to assist scholars in engaging with the corpus.

To access a preliminary finding list of the authors and their works click here: Finding-List

A long-term aim of the PROJECT is to gather, edit and translate the most significant Renaissance Latin texts of Irish provenance written/published after c.1500. A selection of CNLS texts have been edited from scratch and captured in marked-up electronic form and published online.

From a linguistic and lexicographical perspective, the material dovetails with the work already done by the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources (Royal Irish Academy) on pre-1200 texts.

Books and articles relating to the project may be found on our publications page.

The weekly Neo-Latin seminar focuses almost exclusively on texts of Irish authorship.

Centre for Neo-Latin Studies

1 Elderwood, College Road, Cork