Research Profile

Tomás Ó Carragáin

Biography

I am a graduate of UCC and the University of York and joined the staff of the Archaeology Department, UCC, in 2002. My research is focused on the archaeology of early medieval Ireland and its European context (c. AD 400-1200). Among other subjects, I have published widely on the archaeology of Christianisation, archaeological approaches to ritual practice including pilgrimage, early medieval architecture and sculpture, the archaeology of territories and boundaries, and the relationship between material culture and social memory. I am a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA) and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London (FSA).



Research Interests

My research is focused on the archaeology of early medieval Ireland and its European context (c. AD 400-1200). Among other subjects, I have published on early medieval architecture and sculpture, the archaeology of territories and boundaries, the relationship between material culture and social memory, and archaeological approaches to ritual practice including pilgrimage. My work is characterised by interdisciplinary collaborations with Irish and international researchers.


I have a particular interest in the archaeology of Christianisation in Ireland and other areas of Atlantic Europe. My research on this can be divided into three main areas: early church buildings, the overall layout of major ecclesiastical complexes, and how the process of Christianisation was expressed in the landscape. Looking at these in turn, I have explored what church buildings can tell us about issues such as the provision of pastoral care, ritual practices, the development of saints’ cults, and the negotiation of identity and social memory. I have also considered the role of churches as components of major ecclesiastical complexes and their relationships to other monuments such as high crosses and round towers. I have carried out detailed surveys and excavations of several important ecclesiastical complexes including Inishmurray, Co. Sligo and Toureen Peakaun, Co. Tipperary.


I am also interested in landscape archaeology, not least on the varying impact of Christianity on landscapes in Ireland and neighbouring regions during the early Middle Ages. I was Principal Investigator of the INSTAR-funded Making Christian Landscapes Project, which took a comparative approach to 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. The interdisciplinary methodology pioneered in this project is resulting in important new insights, not only into Christianisation, but also into the origins, character and development of early medieval territories and boundaries, including regional and local kingdoms, and their major subdivisions such as ecclesiastical and royal estates. Archaeological evidence is proving to be crucial to an understanding of the socio-economic strategies pursued by those who controlled and lived in these territories.


I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students (MPhil and PhD), both from Ireland and abroad, who are interested in subjects such as early medieval archaeology; landscape and settlement archaeology; medieval architecture and sculpture; the archaeology of ritual and religion; monastic and church archaeology.

Publications

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]

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2017)'Vernacular form, monastic practice in the early Middle Ages: evidence from Toureen Peakaun'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2017) 'Vernacular form, monastic practice in the early Middle Ages: evidence from Toureen Peakaun'. Anglo-Saxon Studies In Archaeology and History, 20 :67-81 [Details]
(2017)'Editorial'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2017) 'Editorial'. Proceedings of The Royal Irish Academy, 117 :i-iii [Details]
(2014)'The archaeology of ecclesiastical estates in early medieval Ireland: a case study of the kingdom of Fir Maige'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2014) 'The archaeology of ecclesiastical estates in early medieval Ireland: a case study of the kingdom of Fir Maige'. Peritia, 24-25 :266-312 [Details]
(2014)''Is there an archaeology of lay people at early Irish monasteries?' in Au seuil du cloître: la présence des laïcs (hôtelleries, bâtiment d’accueil, activités artisanales et de services) entre le Ve et le XIIe siècle, Actes des journées d’études monastique, Vézelay, juin 2013'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2014) ''Is there an archaeology of lay people at early Irish monasteries?' in Au seuil du cloître: la présence des laïcs (hôtelleries, bâtiment d’accueil, activités artisanales et de services) entre le Ve et le XIIe siècle, Actes des journées d’études monastique, Vézelay, juin 2013'. Bulletin du centre d’études médiévales d’Auxerre, Hors-série No. 8 [Details]
(2013)'The view from the shore: perceiving island monasteries in early medieval Ireland'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2013) 'The view from the shore: perceiving island monasteries in early medieval Ireland'. Hortus Artium Medievalium, 19 :209-220 [Details]
(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'. Peritia, 21 [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'. Proceedings of the British Academy, 157 :239-261 [Details]
(2009)'The architectural setting of the mass in early medieval Ireland (Winner of the Martin Jope Award and the Michael Adams Prize)'
O'Carragain, Tomas; (2009) 'The architectural setting of the mass in early medieval Ireland (Winner of the Martin Jope Award and the Michael Adams Prize)'. Medieval Archaeology, 53 :119-154 [Details]
(2009)'New light on early Insular Monasteries'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2009) 'New light on early Insular Monasteries'. Antiquity, 83 (322):1182-1186 [CORA Link] [Details]
(2005)'Regional Variation in Irish Pre-Romanesque Architecture'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2005) 'Regional Variation in Irish Pre-Romanesque Architecture'. Antiquaries' Journal, 85 :23-56 [DOI] [CORA Link] [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'. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 105C (3):99-149 [DOI] [CORA Link] [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'. Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 133 :130-176 [Details]

Book Chapters

 YearPublication
(2017)'Church sites and other settlements in early medieval Ireland: densities, distributions, interactions'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2017) 'Church sites and other settlements in early medieval Ireland: densities, distributions, interactions' In: Transforming Landscapes of Belief in the Early Medieval Insular World and Beyond. Turnhout: Brepols. [Details]
(2016)'Making Christian Landscapes in the Early Medieval Atlantic World'
Tomás Ó Carragáin and Sam Turner (2016) 'Making Christian Landscapes in the Early Medieval Atlantic World' In: Making Christian Landscapes in Atlantic Europe. Cork: Cork University Press. [Details]
(2016)'Buildings of Worship in Ireland, c.950-1150'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2016) 'Buildings of Worship in Ireland, c.950-1150' In: P.S. Barnwell (eds). Places of Worship in Britain and Ireland, 950-1150. Donington: Shaun Tyas. [Details]
(2016)'Conversion and Consolidation in Leinster's Royal Heartland'
Patrick Gleeson and Tomás Ó Carragáin (2016) 'Conversion and Consolidation in Leinster's Royal Heartland' In: Making Christian Landscapes in Atlantic Europe. Cork: Cork University Press. [Details]
(2015)'Churches and social power in early medieval Ireland: a case study of Fir Maige'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2015) 'Churches and social power in early medieval Ireland: a case study of Fir Maige' In: J.C. Sánches Pardo and M. Shapland (eds). Churches and Social Power in Early Medieval Europe. Turnhout: Brepols. [Details]
(2015)'More Scottorum: buildings of worship in Ireland, c.400-950'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2015) 'More Scottorum: buildings of worship in Ireland, c.400-950' In: Places of Worship in Britain and Ireland, 300-950, Rewley House Studies in the Historic Environment, 4. Donington: Shaun Tyas. [Details]
(2015)'Relics and recluses revisited: some thoughts on Cormac's Chapel, Cashel'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2015) 'Relics and recluses revisited: some thoughts on Cormac's Chapel, Cashel' In: Clerics, Kings and Vikings: essays on medieval Ireland. Dublin: Four Courts. [Details]
(2014)'Church architecture, c.400-1200'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2014) 'Church architecture, c.400-1200' In: R. Moss (eds). Art and Architecture of Ireland. Volume 1 Medieval, c.400-1600. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. [Details]
(2014)'Early ecclesiastical sites'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2014) 'Early ecclesiastical sites' In: R. Moss (eds). Art and Architecture of Ireland. Volume 1 Medieval, c.400-1600. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. [Details]
(2014)'Shrine chapels'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2014) 'Shrine chapels' In: R. Moss (eds). Art and Architecture of Ireland. Volume 1 Medieval, c.400-1600. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. [Details]
(2013)'A cross-carved landscape: the impact of Christianity'
T Ó Carragáin (2013) 'A cross-carved landscape: the impact of Christianity' In: Secrets of the Irish Landscape. Cork: Cork University Press. [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: Listen, O Isles, unto me: Studies in Medieval Word and Image in Honour of Jennifer O'Reilly. Cork: Cork University Press. [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: Medieval Art and Architecture in Limerick and South-West Ireland. British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions Series Vol. 34. Leeds: Maney. [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: Glendalough: City of God. Dublin: Four Courts. [Details]
(2011)'Cross-inscribed stones from Tateetra, Co. Louth'
Ó Carragáin, T. (2011) 'Cross-inscribed stones from Tateetra, Co. Louth' In: Settlement in Early Medieval Ireland. Bray: Wordwell. [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: Life and death in early medieval Ireland in light of recent excavations. Bray: Wordwell. [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: The Viking Age: Ireland and the West. Papers from the Proceedings of the XV Viking Congress, Cork, August 2005. Dublin: Four Courts Press. [Details]
(2009)'Iveragh's mountain pilgrimages'
Tomás Ó Carragáin; (2009) 'Iveragh's mountain pilgrimages' In: The Iveragh Peninsula. A Cultural Atlas of the Ring of Kerry. Cork: Cork University Press. [CORA Link] [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: The Archaeology of the Celtic Churches. The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph No. 21. Leeds: Maney. [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: Making and Meaning. Studies in Insular Art. Dublin: Four Courts. [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: The Parish in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland. Dublin: Four Courts Press. [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: The Cross Goes North. Processes of Conversion in Northern Europe, 300-1300. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer. [Details]

Edited Books

 YearPublication
(2016)Making Christian Landscapes in Atlantic Europe. Conversion and Consolidation in the Early Middle Ages
Tomás Ó Carragáin and Sam Turner (Ed.). (2016) Making Christian Landscapes in Atlantic Europe. Conversion and Consolidation in the Early Middle Ages Cork: Cork University Press. [Details]

Other Journals

 YearPublication
(2014)'Brian Boru and Tuamgraney church'
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2014) 'Brian Boru and Tuamgraney church' History Ireland, 22 (2) . [Details]
(2012)'Archaeology and History: the Value of Interdisciplinary Teamwork'
Tomás Ó Carragáin and Paul MacCotter (2012) 'Archaeology and History: the Value of Interdisciplinary Teamwork' The Newsletter of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, :6-8. [Details]
(2011)'Making Christian Landscapes in Corcu Duibne'
Tomás Ó Carragáin, Paul MacCotter and John Sheehan; (2011) 'Making Christian Landscapes in Corcu Duibne' Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement Newsletter, :1-5. [Details]
(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]

Book Reviews

 YearPublication
(2013)Review of David, H. Jenkins, Holy, Holier, Holiest: The Sacred Topography of the Early Medieval Irish Church, Studia Traditionis Theologiae: Explorations in Early and Medieval Theology 4. Tourhout: Brepols 2010 in Peritia 23 (2012; published 2013), pp. 412-416.
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2013) Review of David, H. Jenkins, Holy, Holier, Holiest: The Sacred Topography of the Early Medieval Irish Church, Studia Traditionis Theologiae: Explorations in Early and Medieval Theology 4. Tourhout: Brepols 2010 in Peritia 23 (2012; published 2013), pp. 412-416. Turnhout: Book Reviews [Details]
(2010)Review of 'Patterns in Stonework: The Early Church in Britain and Ireland' by John F. Potter. Medieval Archaeology Volume 54.
Tomás Ó Carragain (2010) Review of 'Patterns in Stonework: The Early Church in Britain and Ireland' by John F. Potter. Medieval Archaeology Volume 54. Book Reviews [Details]
(2010)Review of 'A Contextualised Landscape Study of the Early Christian Churches of Argyll' by Megan Meredith-Lobay.
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2010) Review of 'A Contextualised Landscape Study of the Early Christian Churches of Argyll' by Megan Meredith-Lobay. Book Reviews [Details]

Foreword

 YearPublication
(2015)'Foreword' in The Church in Early Medieval Ireland in the Light of Recent Excavations edited by Michael Potterton and Chris Corlett.
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2015) 'Foreword' in The Church in Early Medieval Ireland in the Light of Recent Excavations edited by Michael Potterton and Chris Corlett. Bray: Foreword [Details]

Journal Volume Edited

 YearPublication
(2017)Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature, Vol. 117.
James Kelly and Tomás Ó Carragáin (2017) Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature, Vol. 117. Dublin: Journal Volume Edited [Details]
(2016)Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature, Vol. 116.
James Kelly and Tomás Ó Carragáin (2016) Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature, Vol. 116. Dublin: Journal Volume Edited [Details]
(2010)The Journal of Irish Archaeology. The Journal of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. Vol. 18.
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2010) The Journal of Irish Archaeology. The Journal of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. Vol. 18. Bray: Journal Volume Edited [Details]
(2009)The Journal of Irish Archaeology. The Journal of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. Vol. 17.
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2009) The Journal of Irish Archaeology. The Journal of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. Vol. 17. Bray: Journal Volume Edited [Details]

Newsletter

 YearPublication
(2009)Making Christian Landscapes: Settlement, Society and Regionality in Early Medieval Ireland. Society for Medieval Archaeology Newsletter.
Tomás Ó Carragáin (2009) Making Christian Landscapes: Settlement, Society and Regionality in Early Medieval Ireland. Society for Medieval Archaeology Newsletter. Newsletter [Details]

Professional Activities

Education

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

Journal Activities

 JournalRoleTo / From
Journal Of Irish Archaeology Editor01-MAY-08 - 31-MAY-09
Proceedings Of The Royal Irish Academy Section C-Archaeology Celtic Studies History Linguistics Literature Editorship01-JAN-16 -

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Department of Archaeology

Seandálaíocht

Connolly Building, Dyke Parade, University College Cork, Cork City, T12 CY82, Ireland

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