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The Society was founded in 1849 in Kilkenny 'to preserve, examine and illustrate all ancient monuments and memorials of the arts, manners and customs of the past, as connected with the antiquities, language, literature and history of Ireland.'
The Society's goals are achieved today through the Society's annual programme of lectures, talks and excursions and by the publication of its journal, received by all members. The Society is actively involved in the preservation of Ireland's national heritage.
Through its council and country-wide membership the Society is actively involved in the preservation of our national heritage. Members are entitled to use the Society’s library which contains books on Irish history, antiquities and archaeological and historical journals published in Ireland, Great Britain and on the continent.
The affairs of the Society are conducted by the president, officers and council, whose services are entirely voluntary.
Anyone subscribing to the aims of the society, subject to approval by council, may be elected to membership.
President: Dr Rachel Moss
Joint Hon. Gen. Secretaries: Dr Niall Brady & Dr Kelly Fitzgerald
Hon. Treasurer: Mr Brian Dornan
Director: Ms Niamh McCabe
Librarian: Mr Donal Fenlon
The society organises a number of different events during the year.
Lectures and talks are held in the Helen Roe theatre at 7.30pm on the given date.
Society House on the evening of Friday 7th June, 6:30 PM
A great opportunity for Members to enjoy the house, chat to other members, enjoy some culinary treats and music and learn a little about the Society, our House and Garden. food, live music and short talks
Tickets cost €50 Buy online by clicking the PayPal button below
30 May 2013 - Helen Roe Memorial Lecture
The Cross of Cong, Turlough O’connor and The Creation of an Archdiocese for Connacht
Dr Griffin Murray, University College Cork, Member
TITLE TO BE ANNOUNCED
Julian Walton (during Summer Excursion)
26 September 2013
Kilmainham, Islandbridge and Beyond - New Light on Irish Viking Graves.
Dr. Stephen Harrison, Trinity College Dublin, Member
31 October 2013 - Frank Mitchell Memorial Lecture
"Mulieres Nudae, Carnes Crudae": Gaelic Ulster, Impressions And Realities
Dr. Katherine Simms, Department of History, Trinity College Dublin, Member
28 November 2013
From Tighearmas to Goldfinger: Compiling a Medieval Art History of Ireland
Dr. Rachel Moss, Member
12 December 2013 - Statutory Meeting
The Making of the Ardagh Chalice
Dr. Niamh Whitfield, Member (In memoriam Prof. Etienne Rynne)
11 February 2013
Jane Shackleton’s Ireland
Chris Corlett, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Member
11 March 2013
Swift as Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin: 1713-1745
Brendan Twomey, Member
8 April 2013
‘The Place Was Covered With Limbs, Spines, Skulls And Poor Ancient Egyptians’: Irish Egyptology and The Travels of Lady Harriet Kavanagh (1846-48)
Emmet Jackson, Member
13 May 2013
Excavating Slumland Dublin: Tenements, the Monto and the 1913 Dublin Lockout
Dr Thomas Kador, The Cultural Learning Initiative, Member
9 September 2013
Clonmel Bridge and Suir Island - A Reappraisal
Rob Goodbody, Member
7 October 2013
Rathfarnham Castle - The Sixteenth Century House
Dr. Jane Fenlon, Member
11 November 2013
Warships, U-boats & Liners - World War I and World War II Wrecks Off the Irish Coast
Dr Karl Brady, Underwater Archaeology Unit, National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Member
All three sessions for €125 euro or €50 euro individually
Limited Places Available: Book today+353 1 676 1749 or email@example.comDownload our Flyer
We are delighted to announce that the RSAI is offering a series of hands-on specialised workshops/seminars to small groups of interested participants.
Further developing the Society’s long-standing record of delivering high-quality specialised lectures and talks across a number of disciplines the Society is harnessing the expertise of the members of the Society to create specific courses on a number of particular topics and themes.
In line with the Society’s remit these courses aim to address the gap between professional academic and enthusiastic amateur. These self-contained courses will allow participants to explore in depth some of the most up-to-date academic research in the areas of History, Archaeology, Local History and Folklore.
For further details on each course see below:
Each 2 1/2 hour workshop will consist of an overview of the specific theme or topic followed by in-depth discussion, examination and interaction across the group. Various sources and case studies will be examined and all participants will have an opportunity to participate and develop in line with their own personal interest in the topic.
Saturday 2nd March: Dr. Stephen Harrison
'So you think you know….Viking Graves'
Saturday 9th March: Dr. Anthony Harvey
'How Linguistics can help the Historian'
Saturday 23rd March: Dr. Diarmuid O Riain
'So you think you know…. Irish monks on the Continent in the medieval period'
Dr Stephen H Harrison
For over a hundred years, the 'Viking' graves of Britain and Ireland have been interpreted as the remains of 'warriors' and 'raiders', cut down in their prime. New evidence indicates that the reality was far more complex. Graves usually represent established communities, make strong socio-political statements about power and identity, and indicate that the role of women was far more significant than has previously been thought. How can archaeologists argue this? In the second half of the session, students will be presented with the documentary evidence for specific graves and their contents, looking at typologies, specialist reports, and other sources. Led by Dr Harrison, the group will produce their own' interpretation of these graves.
Dr Stephen H Harrison is a Council Member. An occasional lecturer at TCD and UCD, he teaches in both archaeology and history. His research interests focus on the early Viking Age in Britain and Ireland and he has a particular interest in Viking graves and related material culture. A researcher on the Irish Viking Graves Project and the Irish Battlefields Project, he is currently working on books for the National Museum of Ireland and the British Museum.
Anthony Harvey - Royal Irish Academy
At first sight one might just think we were asking “How can a knowledge of other languages help the historian?” — and of course the answer there would be fairly obvious. Knowing other languages helps not just historians, but other humanities scholars too, because it enables them to read foreign documents in the original. However, a knowledge of other languages is not principally what we shall be exploring in this session. Instead, the focus is the discipline of linguistics, namely for our purposes the science — and it really is a science — that analyses not what is expressed in a historical document, but how it is expressed. The results can frequently cast interesting historical sidelights on the context in which the document was produced, and we shall look at specific and detailed examples relating to early medieval Ireland, England and the Continent.
In doing this, two widespread assumptions will be challenged. The first is that linguistics has to be very technical and complicated (it doesn’t), as well as boring (it needn’t be). The other is the notion that linguistic reasoning can never really do more than suggest some conclusion — in contrast to supposedly more “scientific” data (such as archaeological data), which is seen as definitive. But what should emerge from our session is that linguistic evidence is just as objective and empirical, and sound arguments based on it just as scientific and rational, as the discovery of any physical artefact or the conclusions that may be drawn therefrom. And, that those conclusions can be just as revealing ...
Dr Diarmuid Ó Riain
First hour: Whirlwind introductory sketch of the history of the Irish monks in Europe, looking at the different phases: missionary period and establishment of monasteries governed by an Irish rule; Irishmen at the Carolingian court; the Ottonian period and the late-medieval Schottenklöster. Pointing out that the Schottenklöster lasted for nearly 500 years as Irish institutions in numerous German and Austrian towns can provide a “so you think you know” moment, seeing as many will never have heard of them! Themes that will be focussed on during the talk will include the notion of the Irish peregrinatio, the emergence of the image of the saintly Irish monk, especially in hagiography, leading to the appearance of pseudo-Irish saints across Europe. Plenty of photos to illustrate the physical reminders of the Irish in Europe.
I plan to focus on a particular Schottenkloster text, namely the twelfth-century Life of Albart of Cashel, written at Regensburg. This short text touches on many aspects of the earlier talk. It brings together the whole history of the Irish on the Continent insofar as it shows how the later-medieval Schottenklöster monks attempted to exploit the legacy of their exalted Irish forbearers. The Irish peregrinatio is one of the central themes of the Life and the text sees the creation of another pseudo-Irish saint.We will look at a thirteenth-century Regensburg text, the Recessus Erhardi, which took up and expanded upon the legend of St Albart and ended up with the creation of a further pseudo-Irish saint.
23 March, Spring Excursion
Quaker village of Ballitore, Co. Kildare
22-26 June, Summer Excursion
21 September, Autumn excursion
Lough Crew, Co. Meath and the environs
9 February 12.00pm
19 October 12.00pm
To be announced
The Journal is an annual publication which has been published since 1849, and which is distributed free to all members.
Contents of the Journal from 1860 onwards may be found on Thaddeus Breen's Journal website.
The Society endeavours to offer its members opportunities to purchase new and relevant publications at a special reduced rate.
|Pathfinders pre-publication offer||
The Society is pleased to announce the up-coming publication of 'Pathfinders'. Compiled in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Society, this collection of essays by distinguished scholars in a variety of academic fields examines the remarkable course of antiquarian enquiry from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. By placing the antiquarians in chronological order by date of birth, one senses an evolving pattern reflecting social conditions and concerns over that period of time. Scholars such as Harris, Hardiman, Petrie, Reeves and Westropp have been the subject of historical comment in the past, but usually in isolation from one another. Here one can see patterns of change and development, perhaps for the first time in this context. Illustrations have been selected from the resources of the Society and of the Royal Irish Academy with a view to reinforcing, through images, an original approach to the advent of professional historiography in this country. The editors are Professor Pr&oscute;ins&escute;as N&iscute; Chath&ascute;in emeritus professor of Old Irish at University College Dublin and the current librarian of the Royal Irish Academy Dr Siobh&ascute;n Fitzpatrick with the honorary editor of the Society, Dr Howard Clarke.
This publication will be available in shops for €50, but we can offer our members a copy of the publication at the special reduced pre-publication price of €40.
If you wish to pay using paypal please choose the relevant option from the drop-down menu, then click on the button to the left, select Pathfinders and follow the instructions.
|Landscapes of Cult and Kingship||
To tie-in with our Spring Excursion the Society, together with our friends in Four Courts Press, are offering members the chance to buy Landscapes of Cult and Kingship at the reduced price of €40 (retail price €50). The book is edited by Roseanne Schott who will led us on our Uisneach trip.
If you wish to pay using paypal please choose the relevant option from the drop-down menu, then click on the button to the left of the page, select Landscapes of Cults and Kingship and follow the instructions.
The RSAI offers has a number of facilities available for the use of members and the general public.
|Library||Laid out in 1918, our restored library houses a collection of books, journals and archive materials that document Ireland’s human and built heritage from the most distant past to the present day. Gathered over 160 years and comprising more than 10,000 printed works, the collection includes Irish and international sources on archaeology, folklore and local history. It also includes over 100,000 photographs and drawings of national importance. The library has an intimate ambience and setting ideal for evening events such as book launches and readings.||Open Monday-Friday,10:00am - 12:00pm and 2:00pm-4:00pm For email enquiries to the Library contact Librarian mailing firstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Helen Roe Theatre||Our Theatre is a fully equipped modern lecture room situated at basement level and directly accessible from the street. Facilities: Seating capacity of 100, Data projector and screen, Microphone sound system, Dimmer-controlled lighting, wireless internet access. The Meeting Rooms|
|The Meeting Rooms||The meeting rooms are situated on the first floor of Society house, overlooking Merrion Square to the front and a restored Georgian garden to the rear. Their marble fireplaces, elaborate ceiling decorations and tall, shuttered windows all reflect their former status as the main reception spaces of the house. The rooms are now used for meetings, receptions and presentations. Facilities: Dining/boardroom table seating 20, Standing capacity of 80, Wireless internet access.|
|The Garden||The garden of Society House is the only surviving Georgian townhouse garden in Dublin city. It has been fully restored to its original late 18th-century splendour, giving visitors a rare insight into the private lives of Dublin¹s affluent citizens over two hundred years ago. This recently completed project was undertake by the RSAI, with the support of the Irish Georgian Society. It provides an elegant setting for outdoor events, product launches and receptions. The mews of No. 63 has also been restored and is currently available as holiday accommodation from the Irish Landmark Trust||For an estimate of cost, or any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the office at (01) 6761749 Monday to Thursday|
Please take a look at the new brochure advertising the facilities for hire at Society House. Download Brochure.
The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland was founded in 1849 as the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, by a group of young men with broadly archaeological and historical interests who were based in the Kilkenny area. The aim of the Society was the preservation and illustration of the antiquities of Kilkenny, city and county, although this later spread to cover a far wider area.
Indeed, by 1868 it had become the ‘Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland’, reflecting its exponential growth, partly due to the widespread circulation of its Journal. In 1869 it was granted a Royal Charter, and the right to elect Fellows.
The two first, and highly dynamic, Honorary General Secretaries, the Revd James Graves, right, (1815-1886), and John G.A. Prim (1821-1875), a newspaper man, were responsible for its establishment and initial success.
Their knowledge of local antiquities was matched by the idealism of the organisation itself, which was non-sectarian and non political, including the Catholic Robert Cane, later Mayor of Kilkenny, as well as Philip Moore, a Catholic priest who remained a close friend of Prim’s to the end of his life and Dean Vignoles, a Protestant clergyman, of Clonmacnoise.
Its subscription rate, at 5 shillings a year, was also very modest in comparison with most English archaeological societies, many of which kept up high subscription rates with the intention of promoting a socially exclusive and often highly aristocratic membership.
The Society’s early aims included the conservation of endangered buildings, and it carried out valuable work at Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly where the chancel arch of the Nuns' Church was reconstructed, Jerpoint Cistercian Abbey, Co. Kilkenny and St Francis Abbey in Kilkenny city.
Its interest in preservation was also reflected in the Museum it built up of objects donated by various members, as well as those objects found during the archaeological excavations it carried out itself, or acquired through modest purchase. Many items from the Kilkenny Museum subsequently became part of the collections of the National Museum of Ireland.
The Society achieved its aim of illustration of antiquities, not only through the published Journal, which from the first contained both lithographs and engravings, (later photographs), but also by a comprehensive effort to photograph the antiquities of the 32 counties of Ireland.
After the Society’s move to Dublin in the 1890s, it came eventually to occupy the premises on Merrion Square in 1918, where it is still to be found. It now fulfils its original aims through the maintenance of its library and archival collections and provision of lectures and excursions, as well as the continued publication of its Journal, which is one of the most respected publications in the field of Irish archaeology and history today.
With a membership of over one-thousand the Society certainly fulfils its aims to “Preserve, Examine and Illustrate” and the vibrant membership is vital in this process.
Membership of the Society is open to all, subject to approval by the Council. Members are entitled to use the Society's library, participate fully in all Society events, and receive a copy of the Journal every year.
For the convenience of members, it is now possible to pay membership subscriptions using paypal or to set up a standing order.
If you wish to pay using paypal please choose the relevant option from the drop-down menu, then click on the subscribe button below and follow the instructions.
If you wish to set up a standing order please contact us to request a form.
Those wishing to apply for membership should download and print out this form, and return by post with the relevant fee to:
The Honorary General Secretary
63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland
Monday - Thursday 10:00-16:45, closed 12:45-14:00.
Please note the Office will be closed Wednesday 24th and Monday 29th April.
Monday - Friday 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00
Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland
63 Merrion Square
+353 1 676 1749