IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 814: Excavating Meaning in the Literature of Early Ireland

Tuesday 10 July 2012, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Helen Fulton, Department of English, University of Bristol
Paper 814-aMurder, Mischief, and Mayhem: The Implication of the Geis in the Biographical Narrative of Fergus mac Róich
(Language: English)
Patricia Ní Mhaoileoin, Roinn na Gaeilge, National University of Ireland, Galway
Index terms: Language and Literature - Celtic, Mentalities
Paper 814-bSyllables Rule!: The Metrics of Saltair na Rann
(Language: English)
Mona Jakob, Ollscoil na Éireann, Gaillimh / National University of Ireland, Galway
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature - Celtic, Rhetoric
Paper 814-cHouse Rules: Early Medieval Irish Dwellings and Old Irish Texts
(Language: English)
Iestyn Jones, Independent Scholar, Cardiff
Index terms: Archaeology - General, Architecture - General

Paper -a:
The manipulation of Fergus’ geis by Conchobar mac Nessa in the tale Longes mac n-Uislenn and his subsequent exile in Connacht form the two central episodes in this hero’s biography. This paper will discuss the function of the geis within the biographical tradition of the Ulster warrior Fergus mac Róich, the significance of this episode for Fergus and its implication in the biographical narrative.

Paper -b:
This paper proposes to take a very close look at the metrical rules of Medieval Irish poetry on the basis of the epic poem ‘Saltair na Rann’. Recounting Old Testament history, the poem is also valuable linguistic source regarding the examination of phonological developments from Old to Middle Irish. My presentation will allow a deeper understanding of the general metrical rules that have been established on the basis of medieval Irish poetry in general and of the many examples that we find in the metrical and grammatical tracts. This paper will further examine the semantic fields represented in the rhyme-pairs, with a view to discovering previously unnoticed conceptual patterns.

Paper -c:
This paper takes as its subject matter early medieval Irish houses and rules that applied to their occupation. Old Irish texts suggest that during this period seasonal feasting and obligatory hospitality codes were necessary ways of gaining and maintaining social status. The main focus of society was the domestic enclosure and the houses therein. It is proposed that archaeological evidence can be used to demonstrate that there were acceptable ways of communicating social status and how these enclosures were approached and entered. Excavation reports, published and unpublished, have been widely consulted and are the main focus for this research.