The Middle Ages In Ireland
Registration Deadline: August 06, 2012
In English minds, the Irish were fierce and ungovernable, or at best childish. They looked odd because they didn’t dress as did mainstream Europeans. They didn’t live in cities, but in tiny villages throughout Ireland which made them hard to find. If an English army arrived, the Irish vacated the village and scattered to other villages or hid the vast woods which existed in the Middle Ages. Worst of all, the Gaelic and Gaelicised lords had old-fashioned laws, which allowed them to maintain small armies at little cost and offer stiff resistance to English invaders.
In the Tudor period, Richard Stanyhurst set out the minimum social objectives for the conquest of Ireland. The conqueror had to impose his laws, fashions, and language on the vanquished. ‘And if any of these three lack, doubtless the conquest limpeth.’ My favourite quote.
In my course, you won’t see much sympathy for the troubles of successive English administrations. You’ll get a view of events based on Gaelic and Gaelicised Ireland where things were different; there were lots of kings; almost everyone could find a king among his ancestors. It was hard to be snobbish.
You’ll learn what makes Ireland unlike any other country: language in a land of wind, fog and long winter nights. Every bump and dip in the landscape has a name with a story behind it. The past is still present in Ireland, a land of sorrows and of joys.
Discussion will be encouraged and research assignments offered.
Lectures (5 weeks)
Instructor: Sharron Gunn w/a Sheila Currie
Sharron has taught Gaelic language, Irish and Scottish history as non-credit university courses. She has an honours degree in Scottish History and Celtic Studies from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. She lives on the west coast of Canada and is writing a fantasy trilogy.