The interdisciplinary Insular Economics workshop, run jointly by Andy Woods and Russell Ó Ríagáin (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research) and Denis Casey (Department of ASNC) was held in the McDonald Institute on Saturday 10th of September.
The workshop was opened by Dr Máire Ní Mhaonaigh (Reader in Celtic at ASNC, and Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge) and there followed a series of papers that offered major challenges to current scholarly assumptions about economic activity in medieval Ireland and how it is studied. For example, volumes of coin use in medieval Dublin were shown to be considerably higher than one might have imagined, methods of defining economic hinterlands were challenged and texts such as Lebor na Cert (‘The Book of Rights’) were the subject of fresh scrutiny.
The workshop finished with an open discussion led by Dr James Barrett (Deputy Director of the McDonald Institute) in which a number of the points raised were further examined and the thorny question of synthesis in archaeological, historical and textual studies explored — to limited agreement! Nonetheless, it is hoped that many of the contributors will go on to publish their findings and contribute substantially to the study of the economy/economies and economics of medieval Ireland.