Fermoy Conference – From Gaelic Kingdom to Anglo-Norman Lordship
2 May – 4 May 2014 – Fermoy Community Centre
A very interesting conference is taking place in Fermoy over the May Bank Holiday Weekend 2014 at Fermoy Community Centre and opens on Friday evening May 2nd at 7pm. The main focus of the conference will be the medieval document Críchad an Chaoilli (the Topography of Fermoy). This document survives in the form of manuscripts preserved in the Egerton manuscripts in the British Library, and in the Book of Lismore.
The Book of Lismore, or Leabhar MacCarthaigh Riabhach, is a collection of medieval documents compiled in the fifteenth century for Finghin McCarthy Riabhach of Kilbrittain Castle in south Cork. During the wars of the mid-seventeenth century the castle was captured by one of the sons of Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, who brought the book to his father at Lismore castle, where it was rediscovered in a built-up alcove in 1814, hence its name. It is today owned by the Duke of Devonshire, who owns Lismore Castle, and is preserved in his library at Chatsworth. Though compiled in the fifteenth century, most of the material contained in the Book of Lismore is much older, and Críchad an Chaoilli itself is based on material dating back to the mid-twelfth century or earlier.
Taken from the book of Lismore, Críchad starts half way down the right column. Image courtesy of The Chatsworth Settlement Trustees.
Críchad an Chaoilli contains a wealth of information relating to much of northeast Cork, an area known in pre-Norman times as Caoille or Fir Maige, later Fermoy. The territory extended over the north-eastern part of County Cork, north of the Nagle Mountains and approximately from Mallow in the west, to the Cork-Waterford border in the east.
The striking fact about the Críchad is that it contains no reference to any Anglo-Norman families of the area. There are no Roches, Condons or Lombards here. Instead we have Ó Keeffe, Ó Hennessy, Ó Regan and other names, many now lost, of the native Irish families who inhabited the area prior to the Anglo-Norman invasion of the late twelfth century. Críchad lists the political divisions of the area (bailte and tuatha), the ruling families of each area, and the principal church of each tuath, allowing historians a unique view into the social and political world of pre-Norman Ireland.
This conference will present the results of recent historical studies of the Críchad, as well as looking at the broader historical and archaeological context of the Fermoy region in the Medieval period, spanning the period before and after the Anglo-Norman invasion. In addition to the Críchad speakers will cover topics such as the pre-Norman churches of the area, medieval saints of the area, the impact of the Cistercian monks in Ireland, Anglo-Norman families of the region, and their castles, and two speakers will look at the topics of agriculture and food in Ireland during the medieval period.
This is expected to be the first of three conferences focused on the Fermoy region. Subsequent conferences will explore the history of the region in the later Middle Ages and the context of the foundation of the town of Fermoy in the late eighteenth century.
A full programme of events along with registration details can be found here or contact Eamon Cotter, Archaeologist and conference organiser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 086-817366