Tag Archive for: history

Irish Research Council Supporting Irish Dominican History

The Irish Research Council has awarded a New Foundations grant to Dr Eleanor Giraud (University of Limerick) and the Irish Province of Dominican Friars, to fund a new project entitled ‘Mapping the manuscript and cultural heritage of the Dominican Order in Ireland’. The New Foundations scheme aims to promote collaboration between civic society organisations and academic researchers. Dr Giraud is a scholar of international standing in the field of medieval chant, with special expertise in the Dominican musical tradition.

Dr Eleanor Giraud (UL), expert in Dominican chant (photo: Fran May)

The grant coincides with preparations for the celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the arrival of Dominican friars in Ireland in 1224, a milestone in Irish history, and the history of Christianity in Ireland. Since their arrival, Dominican friars have been active across Ireland, in towns and in the countryside, across boundaries of class, and ethnicity, and language, shaping the moral and spiritual imaginations of Irish people through their preaching, liturgy, and pastoral work.

With the help of this grant, Dr Giraud and her Dominican collaborators will create a network of scholars interested in the medieval heritage of Irish Dominican friars, and will oversee the digitisation of extant manuscripts which once belonged (or probably belonged) to Irish Dominican communities, and are now found in various British libraries. These manuscripts include two 13th- or 14th-century Bibles, with fascinating paratextual material; a book from Limerick containing French-language material and an abundance of marginal doodles; and a book containing early Hiberno-English and some wonderful caricatures of Dominican friars. Once they’re digitised, these manuscripts will be freely accessible to the scholarly community, and to the public.

To stay up to date with the project, keep an eye on our website (dominicans.ie) and on our social media accounts (‘Irish Dominicans’ on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).

New YouTube Series Launched

Treasure Ireland – that’s the name of a new series on the YouTube channel of the Irish Dominicans. It’s premise is that this island of ours is a rich repository of Christian heritage, and that it just takes a little digging to find some precious gems.

As part of this series, presenter Conor McDonough OP, and cameraman and editor, Patrick Grant, will be travelling to all 32 counties, telling stories about people and places to inspire, entertain, and challenge the Church of today.

You can expect saints and sinners, knights and writers, ancient relics and round towers, hidden valleys and homeless shelters, disembodied heads, demon-fighting monks, pioneering scientists, and much, much more. Click on the video below to find out more, and subscribe to our channel to stay up to date.

Dominican Event in Lisbon

On Thursday 7 July in the Colégio de Bom Sucesso, Lisbon, a long and distinguished chapter of Dominican life was brought to a dignified close in a seminar hosted by the Irish Embassy in Portugal, and addressed by leading Irish historians.

Marking the departure of Irish Dominican friars from Lisbon in 2021, and that of Irish Dominican sisters in 2016, this event examined two Dominicans in particular – Fr Daniel O’Daly OP (1595–1662) and Sr Margaret MacCurtain OP (1929–2020) – as well as the long history of Irish Dominicans in Portugal more generally.

Prof. Declan Downey (UCD) addressed the gathering on the career and significance of Fr O’Daly, the founder of both communities of Irish Dominicans in Lisbon, Bom Sucesso (nuns) and Corpo Santo (friars). Prof Downey provided a fascinating perspective on the religious and political activity of Fr O’Daly as a well connected and highly effective Irish exile in Counter-Reformation Europe. Dr Bronagh McShane (NUIG), author of the recently published ‘Irish Women in Religious Orders, 1530-1700’, told the story of the sisters of Bom Sucesso, while a panel of speakers, chaired by Dr Christopher Kissane, considered the overall story of Irish Dominicans in Portugal, from the seventeenth century to the present day. Following this seminar, the Portuguese translation of Sr Margaret MacCurtain’s pioneering study of Daniel O’Daly was launched.

Fr John Harris, Prior Provincial of the Irish Dominicans, attended this event and spoke warmly of its significance: ‘Lisbon and the Portuguese gave us a safe place where we could live our religious lives. It was marvellous to hear how we Dominicans gave so much back to the Church and people of Lisbon and Portugal. From 1615 to 2021 the friars gave themselves in service to God in Portugal. We received many blessings and brought many blessings. God be praised’.

Dr Christopher Kissane addressing the seminar.
Ambassador Ralph Victory addressing the seminar.
A gathering in the chapel of the Convento do Bom Sucesso.