IRC Laureate Award for Dr Deborah Hayden

Friday, March 23, 2018 - 21:15

The Department of Early Irish (School of Celtic Studies) congratulate our colleague Dr. Deborah Hayden, who is one of just 36 academics across Ireland – in all fields of research – to have been awarded an inaugural Irish Research Council Laureate Award. This prestigious grant, which is a testament to Dr Hayden’s outstanding quality as scholar, will allow her to hire research staff and to concentrate for the coming two years on doing frontier research work on the history of medicine in medieval Ireland.
Her project, entitled ‘Medieval Irish Medicine in its North-western European Context: a Case Study of Two Unpublished Texts’, will focus on the contents and context of two interrelated Irish-language medical tracts that have – like much of the substantial corpus of medical writing that survives from medieval Ireland – remained almost entirely untouched by modern scholarship. One of these texts consists of questions and answers on fairly practical medical matters, mainly pertaining to anatomy, while the other is a large compendium of mostly herbal recipes and charms for various ailments. Both tracts provide a wealth of lexicographical information for the history of the Gaelic languages, and shed light on medieval Irish networks of learning and intellectual exchange. However, they also contain other intriguing features, such as allusions to early Irish mythological texts and numerous versified medical recipes, that attest to a complex and dynamic relationship between inherited classical medical learning and medieval Ireland’s diverse and vibrant vernacular literary tradition. The project will take both a cross-disciplinary and a cross-linguistic approach to these and other Irish medical sources: considering, for example, their relationship to other contemporary genres of Irish-language technical or didactic writing, as well as to the extant medical texts of neighbouring regions, such as medieval Wales and Anglo-Saxon England.
IRC Laureate Award press release