Tionól 2013

The 2013 Tionól took place at the School of Celtic Studies, 10 Burlington Road, Dublin 4, on 15 and 16 November.


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Hanne-Mette Alsos Raae:
‘The inheritance of property owned by women in early Irish law’.
Christophe Archan:
‘The five paths to a judge, an interpretation ofCóic Conara Fugill (Five Paths to Judgement)’.
Elizabeth Boyle:
‘Lay morality, clerical immorality, and pilgrimage in tenth- and eleventh-century Ireland: Cethrur macclérech and Epscop do Gaedelaib’.
Caoimhín Breatnach:
‘Manuscript references to the Book of Glendalough’.
Pádraig Breatnach:
‘Múnlaí seanamhrán i roinnt dánta ón 18ú haois’.
Johan Corthals:
‘The constitutiones of ancient juridical rhetoric in early Irish jurisdiction’.
Harald Flohr:
‘Language policy revisited – 20 year strategy for the Irish language: an early assessment’.
Aaron Griffith:
‘Too much or not enough: object marking in Old Irish’.
Trevor Herbert:
‘Demotion of a War-Goddess: The Móirríoghan in Bardic Poetry’.
Fergus Kelly:
‘Early Irish Music: an overview of the linguistic and literary evidence’.
Grace Neville:
‘Mission en Irlande: French Scholars in Early Twentieth Century Ireland’.
Máire Ní Mhaonaigh:
Intamlugud intliuchta: Twelfth-century learning, heroism and the Six Ages of the World’.
Silva Nurmio:
‘Plural adjectives in Middle Welsh: morphology and agreement’.
Ruairí Ó hUiginn:
‘The Irish interrogative relative clause’.
Tino Oudesluijs:
Wealh or Bryt? Anglo-Saxon terminology for Britons in legal documentation’.
Marina Snesareva:
‘Pausing and vowel lengthening as similar hesitation phenomena in Munster Irish’.
Sarah Waidler:
‘Warrior saints? Contrasting portrayals of violence in central medieval saints’ Lives’.
Immo Warntjes:
‘Pseudo-Columbanus = Dicuil? Authorship and scientific importance of the tract De saltu lunae attributed to Columbanus of Bangor’.
Nora White:
‘Progress to date on Ogham in 3D’.
Niamh Wycherley:
‘Sacred remains: terms denoting corporeal relics in early Christian Ireland’.
Patrick Zecher:
‘The medieval Irish recensions of the Finding of the True Cross’.


Hanne-Mette Alsos Raae, ‘The inheritance of property owned by women in early Irish law’.

The early Irish laws on inheritance state that ‘if there is a male heir, a daughter receives nothing of her father’s inheritance of moveables or immoveables’. However, the laws also envisage a woman to be able to gain a sizeable amount of excess personal property. The laws regarding the distribution of a woman’s personal property is found in extracts of Bretha Étgid, which gives detailed information on how this property was to be distributed between a woman’s children, husband and kin upon her death. This paper gives a thourough analysis of the rules of inheritance regarding personal property owned by a woman, i.e. property other than that which a banchomarbae would receive life-interest in, with specific regard to property inherited by a daughter from her mother.

Christophe Archan, ‘The five paths to a judge, an interpretation of Cóic Conara Fugill (Five Paths to Judgement)’.

This interpretation offers an analysis based on the Small Primer (Uraicecht Becc), a text which may come from the same school as Cóic Conara Fugill. A passage from that tract about social ranks notably presents a hierarchy of three judges, who seem to correspond to the first three procedures of the Five Paths of Judgement. The choice of the right procedure would then actually be the choice of the right judge. A first block of three paths would then be distinguished, to which a second one would then be added.

Elizabeth Boyle ‘Lay morality, clerical immorality, and pilgrimage in tenth- and eleventh-century Ireland: Cethrur macclérech and Epscop do Gaedelaib’.

Cethrur macclérech and Epscop do Gaedelaib are brief narratives preserved in the Book of Leinster. The first, which is also preserved in Rawlinson B 512, can be dated (roughly) on linguistic grounds to the tenth century; the latter, which is also preserved in the Leabhar Breac, is slightly later (perhaps eleventh century). Both offer irreverent and amusing views of clerical and lay morality, as well as suggesting an attitude of scepticism towards the spiritual value of pilgrimage. In this paper, I will offer a close reading of the texts, and will highlight some of the incidental historical details contained within them, suggesting that they can shed new light on aspects of the ecclesiastical culture of early medieval Ireland. It will be argued that the formulaic structure of the texts indicates that they belong to a wider corpus of similar narratives which, although they use humour and wordplay to subvert their stated didactic purpose, ultimately seek to convey important moral and religious lessons.

Caoimhín Breatnach, ‘Manuscript references to the Book of Glendalough’.

In this paper, references to Lebar Glinne Dá Locha, ‘the Book of Glendalough’, in several Irish manuscript sources will be discussed. It will be argued that some of these references have been, and continue to be, misinterpreted and that others may possibly be interpreted in a manner other than that previously accepted.

Pádraig Breatnach, ‘Múnlaí seanamhrán i roinnt dánta ón 18ú haois’.

Pléifear glac dánta ón 18ú haois ar féidir a thaispeáint ó fhianaise na foirme, na téamaíochta, agus na seachadaíochta a bhaineann leo, gur ar mhúnlaí traidisiúnta amhránaíochta a cumadh iad.

Johan Corthals, ‘The constitutiones of ancient juridical rhetoric in early Irish jurisdiction’.

It is proposed to explore the question if the ‘Five Paths of Judgment’ (Cóic Conara Fugill) of early Irish juridical theory may or may not be a far reflex of the theory of the staseis or constitutiones of ancient juridical theory. The background of the discussion will be given by the work of Robin Chapman Stacey, Christophe Archan and Jaqueline Bemmer on this text, as well as by other work on the possible survival of aspects of Roman rhetorical theory in early Irish scholarly education.

Harald Flohr, ‘Language policy revisited – 20 year strategy for the Irish language: an early assessment’.

With Irish being on the verge of losing its last native speakers despite the attempts of the Irish state over the decades to save the language, and with Breton and (Scots) Gàidhlig being in even worse positions, the topic-cluster of language survival, language revival (especially Cornish) and language policy is one of interest to all the Celtic languages.

Based on a theoretical basis on language policies in Israel and Ireland and their respective successes and shortcomings, the new 20 year strategy for the Irish language will be further scrutinised, based also on the speaker’s own experience with policy making in the environmental sector.

Making a statement as to what criteria have to be met in order to give language (revival) policy the best chances of success, taking into account other examples and experiences, this paper looks to assess what has been done, is being done and what more could be done in Irish language policy.

Aaron Griffith, ‘Too much or not enough: object marking in Old Irish’.

In general, the marking of verbal objects in Old Irish is clear enough: either a noun phrase is placed in the accusative after the verb or a pronoun is infixed / suffixed to the verb. There are, however, two further, less common, possibilities which have received little to no attention in the literature. The first of these is the double marking of objects, that is, with both infixed / suffixed pronoun and noun in the accusative. The second possibility is zero marking of the object, that is, with no indication of it at all. In this paper I present a collection of examples of both phenomena and discuss conditions on their appearance.

Trevor Herbert, ‘Demotion of a War-Goddess: The Móirríoghan in Bardic Poetry’.

Witch, daughter of Earnmhas, sharing in the tri-partite role of war-goddess with her sisters and sometime surrogates, Badhbh and Macha, the Móirríoghan formed part of a Europe-wide tradition of prophetic harridans who forecast or precipitated death, destruction and battle. The Móirríoghan and her sisters frequently performed narrative roles in Early Irish Literature, such as forecasting impending doom or emphasising the martial qualities of protagonists. It is then quite a surprise that in Bardic poetry, the Móirríoghan and her sisters are virtually absent. In this paper, I intend to show through thorough analysis of the entire corpus of Bardic literature, (and in such a task I have been greatly aided by the Bardic Poetry Database compiled by Scoil na Gaeilge in TCD) that rather than being completely excised from that corpus of literature, the Móirríoghan and her sisters, through creative manipulation of imagery and motif, have been transformed into naturalistic phenomena where they are able to fulfill their previously held literary roles with only very vague otherworldly undertones. This paper also hopes to explain this transformation in the context of the development of Bardic poetry, the Bardic order and the social development of Gaelic Irish society from the 12th century onwards.

Fergus Kelly, ‘Early Irish Music: an overview of the linguistic and literary evidence’.

What do the early Irish texts tell us about the history of music in this country? The main emphasis in this lecture will be on the period between the coming of Christianity in the 5th century and the Anglo-Norman invasion in the late 12th century. Topics to be discussed include the identification of the stringed instruments crot and timpán, the use of wind-instruments in military contexts, the development of bag-pipes, the functions of percussion instruments, and the various styles of singing mentioned in the texts. There will also be an account of the evidence for dancing in early Christian Ireland.

The lecture will conclude with a summary of the role of music in early Irish society, and a discussion of the Church’s attitude towards different types of music, as well as an account of the frequent association between music and the supernatural in early Irish literature.

Grace Neville, ‘Mission en Irlande: French Scholars in Early Twentieth Century Ireland’.

The Archives Nationales, Paris, hold nine files from the Ministère des Affaires Étrangères and the Ministère de l’Instruction Publique regarding the research visits to Ireland of leading French linguists, academics and writers especially in the early decades of the twentieth century. These documents relate inter alia to Henri Gaidoz )1842-1932(, Joseph Loth )1847-1934(, Edouard Guillon )1849-19…(, Joseph Vendryes )1875-1960( and Marie-Louise Sjoestedt )1900-1940(, and contain detailed information on applications made by these scholars for French Government funding for research visits to Ireland. In particular, they provide information on their research plans, time-lines and funding requirements. Of particular interest are the notes and commentaries of French officials, including Government ministers, on these applications. For instance, the two-month research visit in the South and West of Ireland in 1919 by Joseph Vendryes, Chair of Celtic languages and literatures at the École des Hautes Études, and professor at the Sorbonne and the École Normale Supérieure, was praised in the following terms by the French consul in Dublin in a letter to Stéphen Pichon, Ministre des Affaires Étrangères: ‘It is certain that we could find no better way of combating German influence which has remained strong in these remote regions thanks to the attention given to them before the War by all these Germans who had just one word of Irish: Monsieur Vendryes has carried out his mission with a liveliness, an affability and a tact that are worthy of every praise’ )my translation(. This paper will analyse these neglected documents and will contextualise them within French scholarly interest in Ireland, as well as within French Government policy and practice regarding the place of French scholarship in the world.

Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, ‘Intamlugud intliuchta: Twelfth-century learning, heroism and the Six Ages of the World’.

This paper will focus on a specific passage in the twelfth-century narrative, Cogadh Gáedhel re Gallaibh, a panegyric of Brian Bórama’s son, Murchad mac Briain (ed. and trans. Todd. 1867, chapter CVII). In comparing Murchad with a litany of heroes, Irish, biblical and classical, the author reveals his considerable learning and skill. Weaving narrative material with computistical matter within a conceptual structure cleverly manipulating the universal scheme of the Ages of Man/Ages of the Word, he created a striking image of his hero. By looking at the literary portrayal in detail, I hope to illuminate the rich and learned cultural context in which the author of the Cogadh and his contemporaries operated.

Silva Nurmio, ‘Plural adjectives in Middle Welsh: morphology and agreement’.

This paper looks at the use of plural adjectives in attributive and predicative positions in Middle Welsh literature, both from quantitative and qualitative standpoints. Pluralization of adjectives is optional in Middle as well as Modern Welsh apart from arall ‘other’, pl. eraill which has to agree with a plural noun. The basis for the study is my PhD sample which includes a range of texts from Old and Middle Welsh until the end of the 13th century. The aim is to determine whether some adjectives agree in the plural more consistently than others and whether adjectival agreement varies between genres: for this the sample will be divided between poetry and prose and native and translated texts. The position of attributive adjectives in relation to the noun they modify is also of interest: adjectives regularly follow the noun in Welsh but they can sometimes be preposed and this also applies to some pluralized adjectives. In addition to trying to find out what characteristics (if any) are shared by commonly pluralized adjectives this paper will address the question to what extent the optionality of pluralizing an adjective was employed by poets for metrical purposes

Ruairí Ó hUiginn, ‘The Irish interrogative relative clause’.

In this paper I intend to examine certain aspects of the interrogative relative clause in the Gaelic dialects. My focus will be on prepositional clauses of the type cé leis a raibh tú ag caint?, cé uaidh a bhfuair tú an t-airgead? etc. I intend to trace the history of this contruction and to examine the origins of divergent types within Irish and Scottish Gaelic.

Tino Oudesluijs,Wealh or Bryt? Anglo-Saxon terminology for Britons in legal documentation’.

With regard to the possible contact situations between the Anglo-Saxons and the Britons between roughly the fifth and the eleventh centuries AD on the British Island, new evidence

from archaeology, linguistics, but also genetic research, has contributed greatly to the ongoing discussions concerning this subject over the past twenty to thirty years. It is now generally agreed upon that the previously held believe of a hostile take-over by the incoming Germanic tribes (of which people such as Bede spoke), who subsequently took complete control over most of the island (and in doing so expulsing and annihilating the Britons who had lived there) can no longer be held completely true.

As a contribution to the ongoing discussions on how (and to what extent) the Britons and Anglo-Saxons interacted with each other in the period between the fifth and eleventh centuries, I have looked at over 1200 different Anglo-Saxon documents which might seem of little importance concerning this topic at first sight. Instead of reviewing the great and well-known works such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Historia Brittonum, or the Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum by Bede, I have extrapolated a socio-historical image of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic relations based on Anglo-Saxon references to Celtic people in legal documents such as charters and law-tracts.

In order to do this, I had to identify, determine, and classify the terminology used in these sources by the Anglo-Saxon scribes with which they implied the Britons. When doing this, I realised that the terminology is full of paradox and had to be looked at in greater detail before concluding anything from these documents. In this presentation I will therefore present my research and discussion on this use of terminology, and review the various different terms in order to provide some clarity regarding who the Anglo-Saxons exactly meant when using them.

Marina Snesareva, ‘Pausing and vowel lengthening as similar hesitation phenomena in Munster Irish’.

This paper, being part of a larger investigation project on pausing and stress pattern relation in different Irish dialects, addresses the issue of pausing and pause distribution in Munster Irish spontaneous speech.

Irrespective of the language the speaker uses, spontaneous speech is regarded as an important phenomenon, which differs greatly from preplanned talking. It is usually marked by a relatively fast tempo (Trouvain 2004) accompanied by reduction of sounds and even omission of words if their absence does not affect communication in a negative way, as well as by the extensive use of pauses, especially filled ones, which are usually considered to be a manifestation of hesitation in speech. It is argued, however, that in a number of instances pausing can perform other functions as well, depending on the speaker’s intention. Still, even in this case pauses are not evenly distributed over the utterance (Trouvain 2004:18). Thus, it has been pointed out by some scholars that “in longer monologues speakers slowly alternate between phases in which they spend much attention on information retrieval and inference… and phases in which they concentrate on finalizing messages for expression” (Levelt 1989:126). As a result, we tend to alternate between fluent and hesitant chunks of speech, which appears to be in close correlation with our cognitive activity, though the nature of this connection is still underinvestigated.

As for the similarity between filled pauses and lengthening, it has already been suggested by some linguists based on English material analysis (Rose 2009). In Munster Irish these phenomena seem to be closely related as well and even interchangeable, the main condition being to have a prosodic boundary immediately after a word with a long final vowel, especially in an open syllable as in

(1) Tá (795ms), is dócha, seirbhis a chur ar fáil

“There is, probably, a service available”,

where instead of pausing further prolongation of the long final vowel is employed to indicate speaker’s hesitation and uncertainty.

The interchangeability of filled pauses and lengthening in phrase-initial position in Munster Irish, as opposed to Connacht Irish, is further discussed in the present paper, and a number of examples are introduced to illustrate this point.

Sarah Waidler, ‘Warrior saints? Contrasting portrayals of violence in central medieval saints’ Lives’.

This paper comes out of my PhD research and will focus on how violence or the rejection of violence is used to express sanctity in the Lives of Senán of Inis Cathaig and Findchú of Brí Gobann. These texts, which I have dated contextually and linguistically to the eleventh through early thirteenth centuries, engage with the question of to what extent the depiction of a saint who committed acts of violence could be incorporated into a Christian ethos. To examine how hagiographers utilised this concept in their works, this paper will first explore the reasons behind the inclusion or exclusion of violent deeds performed by a saint in these texts and how this topic relates to the flexibility of the content of saints’ Lives as a genre. In the case of the Lives of Senán, the treatment of this theme varies in the saint’s Latin and vernacular Lives and this paper will use this topic as a lens to look at the different approaches of hagiographers to saints depending on the language, and in turn the audience and purpose, of their work. Finally, as the use of violence as a tool of the saint was prevalent in many saints’ Lives of the wider European world during these centuries, questions will also be asked as to what extent the portrayal of the Irish saint as a holy pacifist or as a perpetrator of righteous violence fits into a wider Christian context and how this may have informed Irish hagiographical writing.

Immo Warntjes, ‘Pseudo-Columbanus = Dicuil? Authorship and scientific importance of the tract De saltu lunae attributed to Columbanus of Bangor’.

The tract De saltu lunae was first published by Gabriel Meier, OSB, in 1887, faithfully reproducing the ascription to Columbanus as found in the oldest manuscript witness of the text, the only one known to the Einsiedeln librarian (St Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, 250). Columbanus’ authorship was soon thereafter disproven by Bruno Krusch in 1905 and subsequent scholarship has rightly accepted Krusch’s verdict; therefore, when the text was edited again by G.S.M Walker from only two of the extant nine witnesses in Scriptores Latini Hiberniae 2, it appeared among Columbanus’ spuria. If not Columbanus, who then was the author of this most intriguing text? No modern scholar has ever tried to assign a different name to De saltu lunae, though the text has variously been dated, with the suggestions ranging from the late seventh to the early tenth century, none of these being conclusive. The reason for this unsatisfactory state of affairs is the complete neglect of the reception of this tract. Its analysis, bringing to light previous unknown evidence, proves that De saltu lunae was compiled by an Irishman c. AD 800 in the Cologne area; also, the study of its manuscript transmission will reveal the importance of St Gall as a scientific centre during the time of the collapse of the Carolingian Empire and, more importantly, will uncover the prominent role of De saltu lunae in the development modern scientific thought.

Nora White, ‘Progress to date on Ogham in 3D’.

This paper will give an overview of recent activity on the project, which involves scanning and digitising ogham stones in Stone Care under the supervision of the National Monuments Service and in collaboration with the Discovery Programme. The process of capturing the 3D data will be demonstrated along with a presentation of some of the results.

Niamh Wycherley ‘Sacred remains: terms denoting corporeal relics in early Christian Ireland’.

The cult of relics was an integral facet of early Irish Christianity and relics played a key role in the administration of the church and in its interaction with society. There has been relatively little historical research undertaken on the cult of relics in Ireland, considering the comparatively rich examinations carried out on the continent. An obstacle to this research has been the proliferation of terms used to denote relics in the early Irish sources. This is particularly problematic when attempting to categorise types of relics and to decipher the differences between corporeal and non-corporeal relics. Conclusions can only be drawn by fully understanding both the Latin and vernacular words used by Irish authors to describe the variety and veneration of relics. This paper seeks to illuminate this topic through an analysis of words denoting relics in the earliest Irish sources in order to isolate terms referring solely to corporeal remains. It is only through a detailed analysis of the specific terms used that the nuances within the cult of relics will be revealed.

Patrick Zecher, ‘The medieval Irish recensions of the Finding of the True Cross’.

The narrative of the Finding of the True Cross was transmitted in Latin, Greek and Syriac throughout Europe from the fourth century on and was adapted into several vernaculars during the Middle Ages, including Middle Irish, Middle Welsh, Old Norse and Old English. In the early ffteenth-century Leabhar Breac four diferent Middle Irish versions of the story are found adapted and translated from at least two diferent Latin sources, the anonymous Inventio Sanctae Crucis and Rufinus’ Continuatio of Eusebius’ Church History (cf. Schirmer, Gustav: Die Kreuzfindungslegenden im Leabhar Breac, St Gall, 1886: pp. 62 & 71). A later Early Modern Irish translation of the Inventio transmitted in at least seven manuscripts differs significantly from the earlier one in translation technique. It seems to serve here as an introduction or prelude to the narrative of Fierabras (Stair Fortibrais), a part of the chansons de geste.

In this paper I will present the different recensions of the Irish Finding of the True Cross, their transmission context and their relationship to each other and the possible Latin sources. I will also show that a Latin version of the narrative written in Ireland and preserved in manuscript TCD 667 shows some similarities with the Irish versions but cannot be the direct source for them.

Interestingly, the same manuscript transmits a Latin version of the story of Fierabras, too. Here it does not follow the Finding immediately but features later in the manuscript. Terefore this Latin recension differs from the Irish ones not only in content but also in context.