Dr Mary Leenane

Irish Cultural Heritage, Early Irish (Sean-Ghaeilge)

Lecturer / Assistant Professor

(01) 474 7174

Biography

I am a member of the School of Celtic Studies and lecture on various aspects of early Irish culture, especially literature, in the Centre for Irish Cultural Heritage (Ionad na hÉigse) and the Department of Adult and Community Education. I played a leading role in the setting up of the Centre in 2013 including the design and delivery of a suite of innovative interdisciplinary programmes of study on aspects of early Irish cultural heritage.
I was awarded an IRC scholarship for my Ph.D. studies on the role and representation of Cú Chulainn in Old and Middle Irish saga material. I am interested in the culture and literature of medieval Ireland, more specifically, on the creation and development of characters and associated heroic biographical texts. My research also focuses on the landscape and archaeological evidence, including more specific sites, such as, Tara, Emain Macha etc, as an underpinning component of these narratives and their central figures. I contributed to the interdisciplinary Black Pig’s Dyke Regional Research Project (2014). I am presently involved in outreach research activities concerning the ecclesiastical foundations of North Tipperary.
I am committed to identifying and creating innovative methods of engaging students and the wider public with Irish cultural heritage.  

Research Interests

I have completed a two-volume research piece on the role and representation of Cú Chulainn in the pre-Norman period. The first volume examines Cú Chulainn’s heroic biography, while the second, offers a thematic appraisal of his characterisation. This material is currently being prepared for publication. The scope of this research has extended to include a broader study of heroic biographical material particularly within the context of character development.
I was a member of a team of academics who analysed a series of linear earthworks in the north midlands as part of the Black Pig’s Dyke Regional Research Project (2014). Further material on the significance of pigs in early Irish literature, more specifically relating to their association with kingship is being prepared for publication. I also played a leading role in securing research funding to hold a series of seminars providing an ancient perspective on Irish design and craft activities as part of the Irish Design 2015 initiative.  
I am presently involved in an outreach interdisciplinary research project assessing the ecclesiastical foundations at Terryglass, and nearby Lorrha, in North Tipperary and their scribal traditions. 

Books

  Year Publication
2014 The role of Cú Chulainn in Old and Middle Irish narrative literature with particular reference to tales belonging to the Ulster Cycle (2 vols).
Mary Leenane (2014) The role of Cú Chulainn in Old and Middle Irish narrative literature with particular reference to tales belonging to the Ulster Cycle (2 vols). Maynooth University: Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. [Details]

Other Journals

  Year Publication
2013 'Cú Chulainn’s ríastrad and related contortions'
Mary Leenane (2013) 'Cú Chulainn’s ríastrad and related contortions' Emania, 21 :15-19. [Details]

Conference Publications

  Year Publication
2021 Tracing Cú Chulainn’s characterisation in the Ulster Cycle
Mary Leenane (2021) Tracing Cú Chulainn’s characterisation in the Ulster Cycle Ulidia 5: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales, Maynooth [Details]
2018 Character creation in the Ulster Cycle
Mary Leenane (2018) Character creation in the Ulster Cycle . In: K. Raimund and K. Möller eds. Proceedings of the Second European Symposium in Celtic Studies, Prifysgol Bangor University Hagen/Westf, , pp.103-117 [Details]
2013 Cú Chulainn and the Otherworld
Leenane M (2013) Cú Chulainn and the Otherworld . In: Toner G. and Mac Mathúna S eds. Ulidia 3: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales Berlin, , pp.97-105 [Details]
2008 The manifestations of physical prowess in relation to the warrior hero par excellence of the Ulster Cycle
Mary Leenane (2008) The manifestations of physical prowess in relation to the warrior hero par excellence of the Ulster Cycle Imbas , pp.77-85 [Details]

Conference Contributions

  Year Publication
2019 Functional or symbolic? A consideration of cloak and brooch wearing in early Irish literature.
Mary Leenane (2019) Functional or symbolic? A consideration of cloak and brooch wearing in early Irish literature. [Keynote Address], 41st California Celtic Conference, University of California, Berkeley [Details]
2019 Visualising the elite in early Irish society.
Mary Leenane (2019) Visualising the elite in early Irish society. [Oral Presentation], 39th Harvard Celtic Colloquium, Harvard University [Details]
2019 Making clothing meaningful in early Irish literature.
Mary Leenane (2019) Making clothing meaningful in early Irish literature. [Oral Presentation], XVIth International Congress of Celtic Studies, Bangor University [Details]
2015 Maynooth University Teaching and Learning Showcase.
Grogan, E; Leenane, M; McCormack, B (2015) Maynooth University Teaching and Learning Showcase. [Poster Presentation], Cracking the code: early manuscripts at Maynooth University, Maynooth , 10-JUN-15 - 10-JUN-15 [Details]
2019 Insinuating royalty in early Irish literature.
Mary Leenane (2019) Insinuating royalty in early Irish literature. [Oral Presentation], 33rd Conference of Irish Medievalists, University College Cork [Details]
2018 Positioning characters in the Ulster Cycle.
Mary Leenane (2018) Positioning characters in the Ulster Cycle. [Oral Presentation], Ulidia VI Fíanaigecht III, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye [Details]
2018 Beauty and the Beast: the portrayal of Cú Chulainn.
Mary Leenane (2018) Beauty and the Beast: the portrayal of Cú Chulainn. [Oral Presentation], 32nd Conference of Irish Medievalists, University College Cork [Details]
2017 Character creation in the Ulster Cycle.
Mary Leenane (2017) Character creation in the Ulster Cycle. [Oral Presentation], Second European Symposium in Celtic Studies, 31 July - 03 August 2017, Bangor, Gwynedd [Details]
2016 Tracing Cú Chulainn’s characterisation in the Ulster Cycle.
Mary Leenane (2016) Tracing Cú Chulainn’s characterisation in the Ulster Cycle. [Oral Presentation], Fifth International Conference on the Ulster Cycle, Maynooth University [Details]
2016 The Hero Journey of Cú Chulainn- from Early Irish Literature to the GPO.
Mary Leenane (2016) The Hero Journey of Cú Chulainn- from Early Irish Literature to the GPO. [Invited Lecture], Mythic Links Autumn Lecture Series, United Arts Club [Details]
2015 Swine, kings and the ‘royal’ site of Tara.
Mary Leenane (2015) Swine, kings and the ‘royal’ site of Tara. [Invited Lecture], Hill of Tara Lecture series, Tara [Details]
2015 Pigs, kingship and the Otherworld.
Mary Leenane (2015) Pigs, kingship and the Otherworld. [Oral Presentation], XV International Congress of Celtic Studies, University of Glasgow [Details]
2015 Book of Leinster and Terryglass.
Mary Leenane (2015) Book of Leinster and Terryglass. [Invited Lecture], Terryglass and Kilbarron Historical Society - lectures, Terryglass [Details]
2011 Cú Chulainn’s ríastrad and related contortions.
Mary Leenane (2011) Cú Chulainn’s ríastrad and related contortions. [Oral Presentation], XIV International Congress of Celtic Studies, Maynooth University [Details]
2009 Cú Chulainn and the Otherworld.
Mary Leenane (2009) Cú Chulainn and the Otherworld. [Oral Presentation], Third International Conference on the Ulster Cycle, University of Ulster [Details]
2008 The manifestations of physical prowess in relation to the warrior hero par excellence of the Ulster Cycle.
Mary Leenane (2008) The manifestations of physical prowess in relation to the warrior hero par excellence of the Ulster Cycle. [Oral Presentation], Power in the Middle Ages Conference, National University of Galway [Details]

Published Reports

  Year Publication
2014 The Black Pig’s Dyke Regional Project Report (2 vols.).
O’Drisceoil, C., Leenane, M., Davis, S., Fitzgibbon, B. and Teehan, M (2014) The Black Pig’s Dyke Regional Project Report (2 vols.). Kilkenny, Kilkenny Archaeology. [Details]

Honours and Awards

  Year Title Awarding Body
2014 Black Pigs Dyke Regional Project County Council & Irish Heritage Council
2015 Five Ages of Creativity and Design Irish Design 2015
2004 IRCHSS research scholarship IRCHSS

Professional Associations

  Association Function From / To
Celtic Studies Association of North America Member /
The Medieval Academy of America Member /
American Society for Irish Medieval Studies Member /

Committees

  Committee Function From / To
Faculty Teaching and Learning Member /
Course Management Team, BA Local Studies Member /