Monday 29 October 2012

Literacy, Memory and the Conversion of the Isles

Dr Brittany Schorn writes:

Literacy, Memory and the Conversion of the Isles
November 2-4, 2012 
University College Dublin 

The Leverhulme Trust Converting the Isles network, based in ASNC, looks forward to our next colloquium this week at University College Dublin. Its theme of 'literacy, memory and the conversion of the Isles' will explore conversion and literate culture. We will ask how literacy developed in the context of the spread of Christianity, whether there was ever an independent non-ecclesiastical literate culture, and how we can use written texts to gauge the interaction between Christian and traditional cultures. Please see our website for a full programme, registration information and, in due course, podcasts and other materials from the colloquium. We hope to see you in Dublin!


  1. Hello, my name is L.T. Bradley and I am an aspiring author. Currently I am researching the Celts in Ireland during the Iron Age for a book I am writing.
    However, I am having a very difficult time learning much about literacy during the time. Who, is anyone, could read and write? It's been quite troublesome, but I came across this blog, and though I've perused your pages lightly, I can't seem to find what I'm looking for either.
    I may very well have missed it, but if you have any knowledge on this subject and would like to lend me a hand, or can point me in the right direction, that would be phenomenal!

    1. Thank you for your comment! Unfortunately, there is no evidence for literacy in Ireland during the Iron Age. Literacy seems to have arrived in Ireland along with contact with Roman Britain and the process of conversion to Christianity. This was certainly happening by the fifth century at the latest, and probably somewhat earlier (fourth, or even third, century), but there is no evidence for literacy in pre-Christian (i.e. pre-historic) Ireland. The earliest writing in Ireland is the body of ogam inscriptions, which are influenced by Latin. I hope that helps!