Archaeology
Archaeology Department
Ucc

T: +353 21 490 4043
E: T.OCarragain@ucc.ie

Tomás Ó Carragáin is a graduate of UCC and the University of York and became a lecturer in the Archaeology Department in 2002. His research interests include the archaeology of Christianisation, early medieval architecture and sculpture, early ecclesiastical territories and organization and archaeological approaches to ritual practice including pilgrimage. He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA), a member of the Directorate of the Discovery Programme, Dublin, and a former editor of the Journal of Irish Archaeology. He is co-author of Inishmurray: Monks and Pilgrims in an Atlantic Landscape (Collins Press 2008) and author of Churches in Early Medieval Ireland. Architecture, Ritual and Memory (Yale University Press 2010), the first in-depth study of churches in Ireland from the arrival of Christianity to the early stages of the Romanesque around 1100. He was awarded the 2011 College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences (UCC) Research Achievement Award and the Michael Adams Prize in Irish Medieval Studies for the period 2006-2011.

My main research interest is in early medieval archaeology, especially the archaeology of Christianisation in Ireland and other areas of Atlantic Europe. According to the 2009/2010 Research Quality Review this is an area in which Archaeology at UCC `can claim some world leadership.` My research on Christianisation can be divided into three main areas: early church buildings, the overall layout of major ecclesiastical complexes, and the role of Christianity in transforming the landscape.

Looking at these in turn, I have surveyed the 180 or so extant pre-Romanesque churches in Ireland and have explored what they can tell us about issues such as the development of saints` cults; the provision of pastoral care; ritual practices; and the way in which the past (especially the `Age of Saints`) was re-imagined in the later centuries of the period to suit contemporary requirements.

My research is also concerned with the role of pre-Romanesque churches as components of major ecclesiastical complexes, and their relationships to other sacred foci including high crosses and round towers. In their form, positioning and dedications, a few of these churches were designed to recall distant sacred topographies, especially those of Rome and Jerusalem. I have also carried out survey and excavations at two important ecclesiastical sites: Toureen Peakaun, Co. Tipperary and Inishmurray, Co. Sligo.

The third principal strand of my research is the physical and conceptual transformation of the landscape c. AD 400-1200, a process that was bound up with the arrival and development of Christianity. Excavations carried out in Ireland during the `Celtic Tiger` years have the potential to transform our understanding of this process. In order to help realise this potential, I am collaborating with a number of colleagues on the INSTAR-funded Making Christian Landscapes project. Our approach is to carry out interdisciplinary studies of selected landscapes in order to identify where and how ordinary people chose, or were obliged, to live, worship and be buried and how this changed over time.

I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students (MPhil and PhD), both from Ireland and abroad, who are interested in early medieval archaeology, especially that of Ireland and other areas of Atlantic Europe; landscape and settlement archaeology; early medieval sculpture; early medieval architecture; the archaeology of Christianisation; the archaeology of ritual and religion; monastic and church archaeology. 

Books

 YearPublication
(2010)Churches in Early Medieval Ireland. Architecture, Ritual and Memory.
O'Carragain, Tomas; (2010) Churches in Early Medieval Ireland. Architecture, Ritual and Memory. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. [Details]
(2008)Inishmurray. Monks and Pilgrims in an Atlantic Landscape. Volume 1: Survey and Excavations 1997-2000.
Tomás Ó Carragáin, Jerry O' Sullivan; (2008) Inishmurray. Monks and Pilgrims in an Atlantic Landscape. Volume 1: Survey and Excavations 1997-2000. Cork: Collins Press. [Details]

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(2011)'Cross-inscribed stones from Tateetra, Co. Louth'
Ó Carragáin, T. (2011) 'Cross-inscribed stones from Tateetra, Co. Louth' In: C Corlett and M Potterton (eds). Settlement in Early Medieval Ireland. Bray: Wordwell. [No details]
(2014)'Relics and recluses revisited: some thoughts on Cormac's Chapel, Cashel'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2014) 'Relics and recluses revisited: some thoughts on Cormac's Chapel, Cashel' In: Emer Purcell, Paul MacCotter, Julianne Nyhan and John Sheehan (eds). Clerics, Kings and Vikings: essays on medieval Ireland. Dublin: Four Courts. [No details]
(2011)'Patterns of patronage: churches, round towers and the Dál Cais kings of Munster'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2011) 'Patterns of patronage: churches, round towers and the Dál Cais kings of Munster' In: R. Stalley (eds). Medieval Art and Architecture in Limerick and South-West Ireland. British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions Series Vol. 34. Leeds: Maney. [No details]
(2011)'Singing in the rain on Hinba? Archaeology and liturgical fictions, ancient and modern: Adomnán, Vita Columbae III.17'
É. Ó Carragáin and T. Ó Carragáin; (2011) 'Singing in the rain on Hinba? Archaeology and liturgical fictions, ancient and modern: Adomnán, Vita Columbae III.17' In: E. Mullins and D. Scully (eds). Listen, O Isles, unto me: Studies in Medieval Word and Image in Honour of Jennifer O'Reilly. Cork: Cork University Press. [No details]
(2011)'Recluses, relics and corpses: interpreting St Kevin's House'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2011) 'Recluses, relics and corpses: interpreting St Kevin's House' In: C. Doherty, L. Doran and M. Kelly (eds). Glendalough: City of God. Dublin: Four Courts. [No details]
(2010)'Rebuilding the 'City of Angels': Muirchertach Ua Briain and Glendalough, c.1096-1111'
O'Carragain, Tomas; (2010) 'Rebuilding the 'City of Angels': Muirchertach Ua Briain and Glendalough, c.1096-1111' In: J. Sheehan and D. Ó Corráin (eds). The Viking Age: Ireland and the West. Papers from the Proceedings of the XV Viking Congress, Cork, August 2005. Dublin: Four Courts Press. [No details]
(2010)'From family cemeteries to community cemeteries in Viking Age Ireland?'
O'Carragain, Tomas; (2010) 'From family cemeteries to community cemeteries in Viking Age Ireland?' In: C. Corlett and M. Potterton (eds). Life and death in early medieval Ireland in light of recent excavations. Bray: Wordwell. [No details]
(2009)'The saint and the Sacred Centre: interpreting the ecclesiastical landscape of Inishmurray, Co. Sligo'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2009) 'The saint and the Sacred Centre: interpreting the ecclesiastical landscape of Inishmurray, Co. Sligo' In: N. Edwards (eds). The Archaeology of the Celtic Churches. The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph No. 21. Leeds: Maney. [No details]
(2009)'Iveragh's mountain pilgrimages'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2009) 'Iveragh's mountain pilgrimages' In: J. Crowley and J. Sheehan (eds). The Iveragh Peninsula. A Cultural Atlas of the Ring of Kerry. Cork: Cork University Press. [Full Text] [No details]
(2007)'Skeuomorphs and spolia. The presence of the past in Irish pre-Romanesque architecture'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2007) 'Skeuomorphs and spolia. The presence of the past in Irish pre-Romanesque architecture' In: R. Moss (eds). Making and Meaning. Studies in Insular Art. Dublin: Four Courts. [No details]
(2006)'Church Buildings and Pastoral Care in Early Medieval Ireland'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2006) 'Church Buildings and Pastoral Care in Early Medieval Ireland' In: E. Fitzpatrick and R. Gillespie (eds). The Parish in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland. Dublin: Four Courts Press. [No details]
(2003)'A Landscape Converted. Archaeology and early Church Organisation in Iveragh and Dingle, Ireland'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2003) 'A Landscape Converted. Archaeology and early Church Organisation in Iveragh and Dingle, Ireland' In: Martin Carver (eds). The Cross Goes North. Processes of Conversion in Northern Europe, 300-1300. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer. [No details]

Edited Books

 YearPublication
(2010)
Ó Carragáin, Tomas (Ed.). (2010) The Journal of Irish Archaeology. The Journal of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. Vol. 18. Bray: Wordwell. [Details]
(2009)
Tomás Ó Carragáin (Ed.). (2009) The Journal of Irish Archaeology. The Journal of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. Vol. 17. Bray: Wordwell. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2011)'St Mullin's, Co. Carlow and the archaeology of early medieval baptism'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2011) 'St Mullin's, Co. Carlow and the archaeology of early medieval baptism' [Details]
(2009)'Cemetery settlements and local churches in pre-Viking Ireland in light of comparisons with England and Wales'
O'Carragain, Tomas; (2009) 'Cemetery settlements and local churches in pre-Viking Ireland in light of comparisons with England and Wales' Oxford [Details]
(2009)'The architectural setting of the mass in early medieval Ireland (Winner of the 2009 Martin Jope Award for the best novel interpretation, application of analytical method or presentation of new findings in Medieval Archaeology. Winner of the 2011 Michael Adams Prize for the best peer-reviewed article on Irish Medieval Studies published in a book or journal during the period 2006-2010.)'
O'Carragain, Tomas; (2009) 'The architectural setting of the mass in early medieval Ireland (Winner of the 2009 Martin Jope Award for the best novel interpretation, application of analytical method or presentation of new findings in Medieval Archaeology. Winner of the 2011 Michael Adams Prize for the best peer-reviewed article on Irish Medieval Studies published in a book or journal during the period 2006-2010.)' Leeds [Details]
(2009)'New light on early Insular Monasteries'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2009) 'New light on early Insular Monasteries' London [Full Text] [Details]
(2005)'Regional Variation in Irish Pre-Romanesque Architecture'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2005) 'Regional Variation in Irish Pre-Romanesque Architecture' London [DOI] [Full Text] [Details]
(2005)'Habitual masonry styles and the local organisation of church building in early medieval Ireland'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2005) 'Habitual masonry styles and the local organisation of church building in early medieval Ireland' Dublin [DOI] [Full Text] [Details]
(2005)'The architectural setting of the cult of relics in early medieval Ireland'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2005) 'The architectural setting of the cult of relics in early medieval Ireland' [Details]

Other Journals

 YearPublication
(2005)'A flying visit to Bishop's Island, Co. Clare'
Ó Carragáin, T., O'Sullivan, J. and Ó Caoimh, T.; (2005) 'A flying visit to Bishop's Island, Co. Clare' Archaeology Ireland, 19 :34-37. [Details]

Published Reports

 YearPublication
(2010)Making Christian Landscapes: Settlement, Society and Regionality in Early Medieval Ireland. Report for the Heritage Council on Phase 3: 01 July - 06 December 2010.
Tomás Ó Carragáin; John Sheehan; (2010) Making Christian Landscapes: Settlement, Society and Regionality in Early Medieval Ireland. Report for the Heritage Council on Phase 3: 01 July - 06 December 2010. The Heritage Council, Kilkenny. [Details]
(2010)Making Christian Landscapes: Settlement, Society and Regionality in Early Medieval Ireland. Report for the Heritage Council on Phase 2: 01 June - 04 December 2009.
O'Carragain, Tomas; Sheehan, John; (2010) Making Christian Landscapes: Settlement, Society and Regionality in Early Medieval Ireland. Report for the Heritage Council on Phase 2: 01 June - 04 December 2009. The Heritage Council, Kilkenny. [Details]
(2010)Making Christian Landscapes: Settlement, Society and Regionality in Early Medieval Ireland. Report for the Heritage Council on Phase 1: 01 June - 05 December 2008.
O'Carragain, Tomas; Sheehan, John; (2010) Making Christian Landscapes: Settlement, Society and Regionality in Early Medieval Ireland. Report for the Heritage Council on Phase 1: 01 June - 05 December 2008. The Heritage Council, Kilkenny. [Details]

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2013Elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA) Royal Irish Academy
2012Outstanding Academic Title: Architecture. Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries (American Association for College and Research Libraries) Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries (American Association for College and Research Libraries)
20112011 Research Achievement Award, College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, University College Cork College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, University College Cork
2011The Michael Adams Prize in Irish Medieval Studies, 2006-2010 (American Society of Irish Medieval Studies) American Society of Irish Medieval Studies
2010Elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London (FSA) Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London
2009The 2009 Martyn Jope Award for the for the best novel interpretation, application of analytical method or presentation of new findings in Medieval Archaeology The Society for Medieval Archaeology

Associations

 AssocationFunctionFrom / To
Royal Irish Academy Member/
Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland Member01-NOV-05 /
Institute of the Archaeologists of Ireland Member / former Member of the Board of Directors24-APR-04 / 30-DEC-99
Society for Church Archaeology Member01-MAR-08 /
Society for Medieval Archaeology Member / Council Member01-JAN-09 /
Society of Antiquaries of London Fellow07-OCT-10 /
The Discovery Programme, Dublin Membership of the Directorate15-JAN-11 /

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
Directorate of the Discovery Programme, Dublin Member2011 /
Statutory Archaeology Committee of the Heritage Council, Ireland Member2009 /
Council of the Society for Medieval Archaeology, London Member2009 /
Board of Directors of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland Member2007 / 2009
Editorial Committee of the Royal Irish Academy's Irish Historic Towns Atlas Series Member2009 /
Discovery Programme Advisory Committee on the Establishment of a new Early Medieval Research Project Member2009 / 2009
Judging Panel, Undergraduate Awards of Ireland Member2009 / 2009
Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (Section C) Editorial Board Member2010 /

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
University College Cork Lecturer/

Education

 YearInstituionQualificationSubject
2003University College Cork PhDArchaeology
1998University of York MAMedieval Archaeology
1997University College Cork BAArchaeology and History