Dr Elizabeth Boyle

Early Irish (Sean-Ghaeilge)

Gaeilge agus fáilte


Arts Building
(01) 708 6784


After studying Celtic languages, literature and history at the universities of Glasgow (MA 2002) and Cambridge (MPhil 2003; PhD 2008), I held postdoctoral fellowships at Cambridge and at University College Cork. I was appointed Lecturer in Early Irish at Maynooth in September 2013 and served as Head of Subject from 2015-20. My research focuses on the religious, cultural and intellectual history of medieval Ireland; Ireland’s contacts with Britain and continental Europe; the translation and adaptation of Latin sources into Old and Middle Irish; and the history of the discipline of 'Celtic Studies'. I've written numerous articles and book chapters, and am the author of History and Salvation in Medieval Ireland (Routledge, 2021) as well as a bestselling volume of personal essays, Fierce Appetites (Penguin Random House, 2022).

Research Interests

My research interests include:

  • the religious and intellectual history of north-western Europe, c. 400 - c. 1200
  • medieval theology, philosophy and ethics
  • vernacular adaptations of Latin texts in medieval Britain and Ireland
  • Irish literature before c. 1200
  • historiography

Postdoctoral mentorship:

  • Dr Niamh Wycherley, Senior Postdoctoral Researcher, Principal Investigator SFI-IRC Pathway project, Power and Patronage in Medieval Ireland: Clonard from the Sixth to Twelfth Centuries, 2022 - 2026 
Doctoral students, past and present:

  • Dr Daniel Watson (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), Philosophy in Early Medieval Ireland: Nature, Hierarchy and Inspiration, Hume Scholar (degree awarded 2019) - awarded the 2020 Johan-Kaspar-Zeuss Prize for best PhD thesis in Celtic Studies
  • Dr Ellen Ganly (Maynooth University), The Life and Cult of St Abbán: A Dossier Study, ChronHib Research Assistant (degree awarded 2021) 
  • Dr Seán Ó Hoireabhárd (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), co-supervised with Dr Michael Potterton, The Irish Kings and the English Invasion, Irish Research Council postgraduate scholar (degree awarded 2022)
  • Dr Victoria Krivoshchekova (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), Studies in the Linguistic Foundation of Thought in Early Irish Tradition, Hume Scholar - awarded the 2020 Vivien Law Prize for an essay in the history of linguistic ideas; awarded the 2022 Medium Aevum Essay Prize by the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literatures (degree awarded 2023)
  • Chelsey Collins, Fragments of Sexual Ethics in Early Medieval Ireland, Hume Scholar - awarded the 2023 Terry Barry Prize for the Best Postgraduate Paper in Medieval Irish Studies (ASIMS) (due to submit in 2024)
  • Seungyeon Lee, Medieval Ireland and Korea: Comparative Studies in Gender, Hume Scholar (due to submit in 2026)
  • Tiago Veloso Silva, co-supervised with Dr Niamh Wycherley, Women and the Church of Clonard, SFI-IRC Pathway Project (due to submit in 2026)
  • Lydia HurshAutonomy and Consent in the Marriages of Literary Women in Early Ireland, Hume Scholar (due to submit in 2026)
  • River Atwood Tabor, co-supervised by Prof. Barry Lewis (DIAS), A Song of Wind and Wings: Birds in Medieval Ireland and Wales (due to submit in 2027)
I welcome expressions of interest from potential postgraduate or postdoctoral scholars working on any aspect of early Irish intellectual, cultural or religious history. I have also mentored creative writers, including an Arts Council New Generation Artists awardee.


Year Publication
2023 Elizabeth Boyle and Ruairí Ó hUiginn (2023) Book of Uí Mhaine. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. [Link]
2022 Elizabeth Boyle (2022) Fierce Appetites. Dublin and London: Penguin.
2021 Elizabeth Boyle (2021) History and Salvation in Medieval Ireland. Abingdon/New York: Routledge. [Link]
2014 Elizabeth Boyle and Deborah Hayden (2014) Authorities and Adaptations: the Reworking and Transmission of Textual Sources in Medieval Ireland. : Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
2011 Elizabeth Boyle and Paul Russell (2011) The Tripartite Life of Whitley Stokes (1830 - 1909). : Four Courts Press.

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2020 Elizabeth Boyle (2020) 'Early Medieval Perspectives on Pre-Christian Traditions in the Celtic World' In: Prognostication in the Medieval World: A Handbook. Berlin : De Gruyter. [Link] https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110499773
2020 Boyle, E (2020) 'The Afterlife in the Medieval Celtic-Speaking World' In: IMAGINING THE MEDIEVAL AFTERLIFE. CAMBRIDGE : CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS.
2020 Elizabeth Boyle (2020) 'Philologia and Philology: Allegory and Multilingualism in the Corpus Martianus Capella' In: Medieval Manuscripts in the Digital Age. Abingdon/New York : Routledge. [Link]
2019 Elizabeth Boyle (2019) 'Aspects of Philosophical Discourse in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Ireland: Metaphor, Morality and the Mind' In: Philosophy in Ireland: Past Actualities and Present Challenges. Newcastle : Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
2018 Elizabeth Boyle (2018) 'Biblical Kings and Kingship Theory in Medieval Ireland and Norway' In: Speculum Septentrionale: Konungs skuggsjá and the European Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages. Oslo : Novus Forlag.
2018 Elizabeth Boyle (2018) 'Biblical History in the Book of Ballymote' In: The Book of Ballymote. Dublin : Royal Irish Academy.
2018 Boyle E. (2018) 'Eschatology and reform in early Irish law: The evidence of sunday legislation' In: Apocalypse and Reform from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
2017 Elizabeth Boyle (2017) 'The Twelfth-Century English Transmission of a Poem on the Threefold Division of the Mind, Attributed to Patrick of Dublin (d. 1084)' In: 'A Fantastic and Abstruse Latinity'? Hiberno-Continental Cultural and Literary Interactions in the Middle Ages. Muenster : Nodus Publikationen.
2017 Elizabeth Boyle (2017) 'Writing Medieval Irish Religious History in the Nineteenth Century' In: Representing Irish Religious Histories: Historiography, Ideology and Practice. London and New York : Palgrave.
2017 Elizabeth Boyle (2017) 'The Forms and Functions of Medieval Irish Poetry and the Limitations of Modern Aesthetics' In: From Eald to New: Translating Early Medieval Poetry for the Twenty-First Century. Woodbridge : Boydell and Brewer.
2016 Elizabeth Boyle (2016) 'Allegory, the áes dána and the Liberal Arts in Medieval Irish Literature' In: Deborah Hayden and Paul Russell(Eds.). Grammatica, Gramadach and Gramadeg: Vernacular Grammar and Grammarians in Medieval Ireland and Wales. Amsterdam : John Benjamins.
2015 Elizabeth Boyle (2015) 'Eschatological Themes in Lebor na hUidre' In: Ruairí Ó hUiginn(Eds.). Codices Hibernenses Eximii I: Lebor na hUidre. Dublin : Royal Irish Academy.
2015 Elizabeth Boyle (2015) 'Forming the Future for Individuals and Institutions in Medieval Ireland' In: Felicitas Schmieder(Eds.). Mittelalterliche Zukunftsgestaltung im angesicht des Weltendes – Forming the Future Facing the End of the World in the Middle Ages. Köln : Böhlau Verlag.
2015 Elizabeth Boyle and Liam Breatnach (2015) 'Senchas Gall Átha Clíath: Aspects of the Cult of Saint Patrick in the Twelfth Century ' In: John Carey, Kevin Murray & Caitríona Ó Dochartaigh(Eds.). Sacred Histories: A Festschrift for Máire Herbert. Dublin : Four Courts Press.
2014 Elizabeth Boyle (2014) 'On the Wonders of Ireland: Translation and Adaptation' In: Elizabeth Boyle and Deborah Hayden(Eds.). Authorities and Adaptations: the Reworking and Transmission of Textual Sources in Medieval Ireland. Dublin : Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. [Full-Text]
2014 Elizabeth Boyle (2014) 'De tribus habitaculis animae' In: John Carey et al(Eds.). The End and Beyond: Medieval Irish Eschatology. Aberystwyth : Celtic Studies Publications. [Full-Text]
2013 Elizabeth Boyle (2013) 'Sacrifice and Salvation in Echtgus a Canins Poetic Treatise on the Eucharist' In: J. Mullins, J. N Ghrdaigh, & R. Hawtree(Eds.). Envisioning Christ on the Cross: Ireland and the Early Medieval West. Dublin : Four Courts Press. [Full-Text]
2013 Elizabeth Boyle (2013) 'Resurrection: the Study of Medieval Irish Eschatology in the Nineteenth Century' In: Paddy Lyons, John Miller & Willy Maley(Eds.). Romantic Ireland: from Tone to Gonne; Fresh Perspectives on Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Newcastle : Cambridge Scholars' Publishing.
2011 Elizabeth Boyle (2011) 'The Impiety of the Intellect: Whitley Stokes and the Pre-Raphaelites' In: Elizabeth Boyle and Paul Russell(Eds.). The Tripartite Life of Whitley Stokes (1830 - 1909). Dublin : Four Courts Press.
2010 Elizabeth Boyle (2010) 'Visionary Texts' In: Albrecht Classen(Eds.). Handbook of Medieval Studies: Terms - Methods - Trends. Berlin & New York : De Gruyter.
2010 Elizabeth Boyle (2010) 'Margaret Stokes (1832-1900) and the Study of Medieval Irish Art in the Nineteenth Century' In: C. Breathnach & C. Lawless(Eds.). Visual, Material and Print Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Dublin : Four Courts Press.

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2022 Boyle E. (2022) 'Agency, Consent and Loyalty: Michal daughter of Saul, and Royal Women in Middle Irish Literature'. Peritia, 33 :9-28. [DOI]
2021 Elizabeth Boyle (2021) 'The Poetics of Irony in Middle Irish Literature'. North American Journal of Celtic Studies, 5 (2):194-213. [Link] [DOI]
2019 Boyle, E; McEvansoneya, P (2019) 'WIIITLEY STOKES AND THE COMPOSITION OF DANTE ROSSETTI'S "MY FATHER'S CLOSE"'. Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies-New Series, 28 :11-15.
2016 Elizabeth Boyle (2016) 'The Rhetoric and Reality of Reform in Irish Eschatological Thought, c. 1000 – 1150'. History of Religions, 55 :269-288. [Full-Text]
2013 Elizabeth Boyle (2013) 'Lay Morality, Clerical Immorality, and Pilgrimage in Tenth-Century Ireland: Cethrur Macclérech and Epscop do Gáedelaib'. Studia Hibernica, 39 :9-48. [Full-Text]
2012 Elizabeth Boyle (2012) 'The Authorship and Transmission of De tribus habitaculis animae'. Journal of Medieval Latin, 22 :49-65.
2010 Elizabeth Boyle (2010) 'Eschatological Justice in Scela lai bratha'. Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 59 :39-54. [Full-Text]
2009 Elizabeth Boyle (2009) 'Neoplatonic Thought in Medieval Ireland: the Evidence of Scela na esergi'. Medium Aevum, 78 :216-230. [Full-Text]
2005 Elizabeth Boyle (2005) 'A Welsh Record of an Anglo-Saxon Political Mutilation'. Anglo-Saxon England, 35 :245-249. [Full-Text]

Other Journal

Year Publication
2005 Elizabeth Boyle (2005) 'Stranger in a Strange Land: an Irish Monk in Germany and a Vision of the Afterlife' Quaestio Insularis, 6 :120-134.

Book Review

Year Publication
2020 Boyle, E (2020) Church and Settlement in Ireland. LONDON: [Book Review] [DOI]
2015 Boyle, E (2015) Coire Sois-The Cauldron of Knowledge: A Companion to Early Irish Saga. LONDON: [Book Review] [DOI]
2019 Boyle, E (2019) Pilgrimage to Heaven. Eschatology and Monastic Spirituality in Early Medieval Ireland. BOLOGNA: [Book Review]
2019 Boyle, E (2019) Moses the Egyptian in the Illustrated Old English Hexateuch (London, British Library Cotton MS Claudius B.iv). LONDON: [Book Review] [DOI]
2016 Boyle, E (2016) Ireland in the Medieval World AD 400-1000: Landscape, Kingship and Religion. HOBOKEN: [Book Review] [DOI]
2017 Boyle, E (2017) The Irish Church, Its Reform and the English Invasion. LONDON: [Book Review]
2017 Boyle, E (2017) Literacy and Identity in Early Medieval Ireland. HOBOKEN: [Book Review] [DOI]
2012 Elizabeth Boyle and Paul Russell (2012) Ireland and India: the Life and Scholarship of Whitley Stokes (1830 - 1909). [Book Review]
2012 Elizabeth Boyle (2012) Professor Raymond Page (1924 - 2012). [Book Review]
2011 Elizabeth Boyle (2011) John Carey, ed. & trans., Corpus Christianorum Series Apocryphorum 16, Apocrypha Hiberniae II, Apocalypta 1 – In Tenga Bithnua – The Ever-new Tongue. [Book Review]


Year Publication
2013 Elizabeth Boyle (2013) The Beati in Three Middle Irish Texts. [Other]
2012 Elizabeth Boyle (2012) Echtgus Úa Cúanáin’s Poem on the Eucharist. [Other]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2016 Stifter, David, Boyle, Elizabeth, Malone, Laura (2016) Ulidia 5. International Conference on the Ulster Cycle Conference organisation Maynooth University, .
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/01/2013 Teaching and Learning Fellowship, NUI Maynooth Mayooth University Centre for Teaching and Learning
01/01/2012 Marie Curie Fellowship Gerda Henkel Stiftung
01/01/2009 Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship Leverhulme Trust
01/01/2008 Medium Aevum Essay Prize Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature

Teaching Interests

I teach a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules, including:
  • Humour in medieval Celtic literature
  • Heroic literature
  • Medieval Irish poetry
  • Old Irish language
  • Textual criticism
  • Ecclesiastical history
I have also supervised postgraduate (MA, MLitt, and PhD) research on topics including medieval Irish philosophy and theology; medieval Irish literary analysis; and medieval Irish religious and cultural history. I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduates working in any of these areas.