High-kingship of Tara- Making Irish Kings Christian
The site of Tara in Ireland has been iconic throughout recorded Irish history. Because of its symbolism as the “capital” of Ireland, Daniel O’Connell held one of his monster meetings there in the nineteenth century. Tara is renowned as the palace of the ancient high-kings of Ireland in mythological and legendary literature. It was a cemetery that was in continuous use since the Neolithic period – and, in the Iron Age, it was a temple associated with kingship. The early Christian clergy sought to transform the pagan kingship of Ireland and make it a Christian institution. For this reason, the biographers of St. Patrick brought him to Tara to convert the Irish nation from the top down. This presentation will focus on the way in which the stories were used to bring about this change and why Tara, although a pagan place, was of such importance to them. Some of the texts that the clergy created were taken to Europe and became the basis of a Christian theory of kingship – one of the many gifts of the Irish to early medieval Europe. Dr. Doherty is a graduate of St. Columb’s College in Derry. He received his MA from University College Dublin. He was elected a scholar in the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. He retired as statutory lecturer of History and Archives, University College Dublin, in 2012. In 2012–13, he spent a year on a project in the Centre for Advanced Study in the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. He is currently editing, along with Jan Eric Rekdal, the book King and Warrior in Early Northwest Europe. Dr. Doherty served as president of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland from 2009–13. He has written on economic history, the lives and legends of St. Patrick and St. Brigit, on kingship and most recently on the mythology of Lough Ree.
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11/10/2016 9:43:06 PM

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