Medieval and Monastic Derry

Sixth Century to 1600

By Brian Lacey

According to legend, Derry originated as a monastery founded by St. Columba/Colum Cille. That story was almost certainly a later rationalization and simplification of a complex reality arising from Derry's capture from the Cenel nEnnai kingdom in the late 6th century by the saint's people, the powerful Cenel Conaill. By the 9th century, Derry was in the hands of the latter's conquering enemies - Cenel nEogain of Inishowen. They further developed the Columban legend for propaganda purposes. In the 12th century, under the dynamic Mac Lochlainn kings, the enlarged settlement at Derry became a center of significant political and cultural influence and the headquarters of the Columban churches in Ireland. Later, with the defeat of the Mac Lochlainns, Derry too declined. It would enjoy a brief revival in later medieval times under the O'Donnells, who also harnessed the Columban legend. The settlement was captured by the English in 1600, however, bringing about the end of its Gaelic identity. Author Brian Lacey has been writing about medieval Derry since the 1980s, and in this book, he revisits those studies - revising and augmenting them, examining previously little-used sources and emphasizing Derry's changing fortunes in the contexts of contemporary secular politics. *** "Lacey is one of the most proficient historians writing currently on the north of Ireland in the early Middle Ages. As this is a field that demands a high level of technical expertise, it is impressive that he has been able to produce a book that will be of interest both to specialists and nonspecialists alike. Lacey is particularly strong on the politics of the place: the manner in which secular and ecclesiastical interests meshed or came into conflict during the long centuries of its existence as a native town. In short, this is an important and accessible study for anyone interested in the history of one of the island's most vibrant cities." - The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 101, No. 3, Summer 2015 [Subject: History, Medieval Studies, Irish Studies, Religious Studies]~

176 pages

Publication Date: 11/8/2013
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781846823831