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Gaelic Ireland’s English frontiers in the late Middle Ages

Gaelic Ireland’s English frontiers in the late Middle Ages

Gaelic Ireland’s English frontiers in the late Middle Ages

By Christopher Maginn

Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Vol. 110C (2010)

Abstract: ‘Frontiers’ or ‘borderlands’ offer a useful conceptual framework for the exploration of Irish history in the late Middle Ages. Insufficient scholarly attention, however, has been devoted to the study of the Gaelic polity—the ‘other side’ of the frontiers that existed in late medieval Ireland between regions of Gaelic and English political, social and cultural domination.

What follows seeks to begin a broad reconceptualisation of the study of the Gaelic world and its frontiers by approaching these frontiers from a contemporary Gaelic perspective and by scrutinising contemporary Gaelic terminology used to describe borders.

In this study, Ireland emerges as the historic and cultural centre of a wider Gaelic world, or Gaedhealtacht, which extended to parts of Scotland. The exploration of Gaelic Ireland’s English frontiers presents a more complete picture of society in late medieval Ireland and sets Gaelic society in Ireland apart from its counterpart across the North Channel.


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