Elizabeth FitzPatrick

  • Visiting Lecturer on Celtic Languages and Literatures
  • Visiting Scholar, Celtic Languages and Literatures
  • office: 111 Warren House
  • phone: 617/ 495-0610
  • efitzpatrick@fas.harvard.edu

Dr Elizabeth FitzPatrick is a senior lecturer in Archaeology at the School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI, Galway and Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Department of Celtic for Fall semester 2012.  She is archaeology editor of Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy and a fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

Her research focus is the archaeology and cultural history of later medieval and early modern Gaelic peoples, with particular reference to their expressions of cultural identity in landscape, landholding and settlement and in everyday and specialized material culture. The aim of this research is to present an understanding of Gaelic society as a north Atlantic culture with particular forms of social organisation defined by a deeply hierarchical kin-based structure of septs. A central theme is that ancestral attachment and pedigree of place determined where and how settlement occurred, and that territory and landholding was framed by a concept of geography as lineage.


Culture, hierarchy, identity, kin, landholding, place, settlement, social organization, territory  

Selected publications:

2011 Aughris Headland. In F.H. A. Aalen, K. Whelan and M. Stout (eds.), Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape, 352-67. 2nd ed.  Cork University Press.

2011 (with E. Murphy et.al) Evoking the white mare: the cult landscape of Sgiath Gabhra and its medieval perception in Gaelic Fir Mhanach. In R. Schot, C. Newman and E. Bhreathnach (eds), Landscapes of cult and kingship, 163-91. Conference Proceedings, Four Courts Press, Dublin.

2009 Native enclosed settlement and the problem of the Irish ‘ring-fort’. Medieval Archaeology 53, 271-307.

2011 (with James Kelly) Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 111C: Domestic life in Ireland. pp. 336. Special issue. Dublin.

2010 Memorialising Gaelic Ireland: the curious case of the Ballyshannon fragments and the Irish monuments at San Pietro in Montorio, Rome. In D. Finnegan, E. Ó Ciardha M. C. Peters (eds), The flight of the earls: imeacht na n-Iarlaí, 286-92. Guildhall Press, Derry.

2007 Interpreting a cultural landscape: a case for seaweed-harvesting at Aughris, Co. Sligo. Journal of Irish Archaeology 16, 11-33.

2006 (with R. Gillespie, eds) The parish in medieval and early modern Ireland: community, territory and building. Four Courts Press, Dublin, pp. 352.

2005 (with M. Burke and O. Hamilton, eds), John Quincy Adams, Dermot Mac Morrough or the conquest of Ireland: an historical tale of the twelfth century. Maunsell Academica Press, Bethesda, pp. 188.

2004 Royal inauguration in Gaelic Ireland c.1100–1600: a cultural landscape study. Studies in Celtic History 22. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, pp. 294. 

2004 (with M. O’Brien and P. Walsh, eds) Archaeological Investigations in Galway City 1987-1998. Wordwell, Bray, pp. 706 

2003 Leaca and Gaelic inauguration ritual in medieval Ireland, in R. Welander, D. Breeze and T. Owen Clancy (eds), The Stone of Destiny: artefact and icon, 107-21. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series 22, Historic Scotland, Edinburgh.

2003 Royal inauguration assembly and the Church in Medieval Ireland, in P.S Barnwell and M. Mostert (eds), Political assemblies in the earlier middle ages, 73-93. Studies in the Early Middle Ages 7. Brepols, Turnhout.

2001 (with P.J. Duffy and D. Edwards, eds) Gaelic Ireland c. 1250–c.1650: land, lordship and settlement. Four Courts Press, Dublin, pp. 454 (reprinted paperback 2004).

Current research:

Dr. FitzPatrick is currently investigating landholding, settlement and material culture among hereditary learned families who formed part of a group of service septs that occupied mensal lands of Gaelic lordships and served their lords in the hereditary arts of law, medicine, music, poetry and senchas and in high level crafts. As self-styled custodians of tradition, they were the principal means by which knowledge of the Gaelic past was perpetuated.

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Last updated Thursday, 23-Aug-2012 11:14:57 EDT