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Funding Body

North–South Research Programme (Shared Island Fund)

About the Project

This project, led by Dr Caitríona Ó Dochartaigh (UCC) and Dr Nioclás Mac Cathmhaoil (Ulster University), undertakes research into the Cultural Dynamics of medieval and pre-modern Ulster and neighbouring areas as a means of provoking reflection on history and identity. The choice of this time period is deliberate, since it avoids many of the politically contested events of later centuries, the early-modern era in particular. The pre-modern period has also become a focus for communities across the island in recent decades, in particular the power dynamics between ancient dynasties such as the Ulaid and neighbouring peoples both on the island and in Scotland and western Britain.

The objectives of the Ultonia project are three-fold:

  • To conduct in-depth research on the cultural dynamics of medieval Ulster within the context of pre-Norman Ireland as a whole
  • To provide experience in institutions North and South for an early career postdoctoral researcher
  • To create a body of educational resources available online for schools on either side of the border

Another focus of the project is intersection of ecclesiastical power and secular power in the person of important figures such as Columba. Columba, who has been embraced by communities right across the religious spectrum in recent decades, will be of particular importance in understanding the intersection between sanctity, culture and society in the medieval period. The cultural exchange between various groups in pre-modern Ireland will be examined in the context of the shifting political situation at the time.

Further information on the project, its aims, and its methods can be found in the project news release

Cathach shrine
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