Where do you stand on St Patrick?

In the ”week that’s in it” Kilkenny Archaeological Society has pulled off a major coup in securing the participation of arguably some of the best minds in Ireland to come to Kilkenny to consider the issue “Saint Patrick Christianised Ireland”.

In the ”week that’s in it” Kilkenny Archaeological Society has pulled off a major coup in securing the participation of arguably some of the best minds in Ireland to come to Kilkenny to consider the issue “Saint Patrick Christianised Ireland”.

There are many schools of thought and options which no doubt will be brought to bear on this topical subject. The motion is for discussion at the Annual Kilkenny Archaeological Society’s debate this coming

Friday (March 15th 2013) at 8 o’clock in the Parade Tower of Kilkenny Castle (by the kind invitation of the OPW). The proceedings will be chaired by author, journalist and broadcaster Olivia O’Leary who the society is delighted to welcome back to Kilkenny. Her grandfather,

John O’Leary of Graignamanagh was the founder of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society in the 1940’s.

The very strong team from NUI Galway (UCG) consists of Dr. Conor Newman and Professor Daibhi O’Croinin. Their opponents for the night are an equally strong team from University College Dublin (UCD);

Professor Tadhg O’Keeffe, Associate Professor School of Archaeology UCD and Dr Elva Johnston.

Well known in Kilkenny, Dr. Conor Newman is the Chairman of the National Heritage Council. He has been three times professor of Celtic Archaeology at the University of Toronto and has studied at the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford and Edinburgh University. Dr. Newman

is blessed with a keen analytical mind coupled with a superb facility for verbal jousting.

He is joined by Professor Daibhi O’Croinin of the School of History in NUI Galway. With a background in Early Medieval History he secured the Eugene O’Curry Memorial Medal with First Class Honours in Early Irish History in his BA from University College Dublin. He is a member of the Board of The Irish Manuscripts Commission, Chairman of the Editorial Committee of The Royal Irish Academy‘s Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Insular Celtic sources. This very formidable team will be proposing the motion.

The opposing team is provided by University College Dublin (UCD). Professor Tadhg O’Keeffe, who is Associate Professor School of Archaeology UCD was the winner of NUI’s three years travelling scholarship in Archaeology.

He attended the University of Durham and the Centre d’Études Supérieures de Civilisation Médiévale of the Université de Poitiers.

Having gained experience as a contract archaeologist, he joined the Department (now school) of Archaeology in UCD as a post Doctoral,

Newman cholar. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities

in London in 2007. Although a very busy man academically he also exudes a passion for music - especially modern jazz, from Art Blakely to John Zorn. He admits to being a frustrated cork hurling fan! A born debater he will be a redoubtable and energetic opponent.

The resourceful Dr. Elva Johnston MA, DPhil, a lecturer in the School of History and Archives at Belfield Dublin completes the UCD team. She is an Early Medieval Historian, specialises in the history of Ireland

and is the coordinator of the Early Irish history specialist strand

for the MA history degree. Dr. Johnston is the author of ‘Saint

Patrick – Historic Man and Popular Myth’ a podcast in the historyhub.ie podcast series.

She argues that Saint Patrick has been a figure of legend for over 1,500 years and the legend is now so powerful that the real man has been lost.

These four formidable intellects will debate the issue and we are sure of an inspiring night of academic excellence in the superb surroundings of Kilkenny Castle.

Tickets are available in Rothe House and early booking is recommended.

Subject to availability some tickets may be available at the castle on Friday evening.