Built to last: The benefits and the construction of Uí Néill dynastic identity in early medieval Ireland

Gordon, Neil
This project examines the benefits and the construction of ‘Dynastic Frameworks’ in Early Medieval Ireland. It does so by using the Uí Néill, a powerful Irish political group, as a case study for understanding the role of the ‘Dynastic Framework’ in Irish society and politics. Many contemporary sources are used in order to provide an accurate analysis of the contemporary function of ‘Dynastic Frameworks’. The relationship between literature and the formation of ‘Dynastic Frameworks’ is a major theme of this project, as a result texts from Armagh and Iona, major ecclesiastical institutions, are scrutinised in order to understand the degree of separation between ‘secular’ and ‘ecclesiastical’ politics, if any actually existed. The degree to which the construction of Irish ‘Dynastic Frameworks’ may have been informed by a wider literary trend of group identity formation literature on the continent is also examined, with some parallels being found among the origins legends of certain ‘Dynastic Frameworks’. In order to prove that these ‘Dynastic Frameworks’ provided tangible benefits and that their construction and their politics were, to some degree at least, informed by contemporary literature, this project provides an analysis of references to the Uí Néill within two separate Irish annals over the course of the Seventh century. By analysing references to the internal and external dynastic politics during this period this project hopes to prove the assertion that Irish ‘Dynastic Frameworks’ such as the Uí Néill were large political groups, that while not centralised, were very important to the establishment of long term political power. The politics of these ‘Dynastic Frameworks’ was informed by the intertwined nature of secular and ecclesiastical politics, as a result much of the literature from this period serves the purpose of constructing and solidifying these powerful Irish ‘Dynastic Frameworks’.
NUI Galway
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland