Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School 2022

Programme of Events May 2022
We thank all our sponsors above who without their financial or other support, we could not have held the 2022 Summer School

The 2022 Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School took place from Friday 6th May until Sunday 8th May in the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal. The theme of the 2022 Summer School was ‘Bloodshed and Retribution’ / ‘Doirteadh Fola agus Díoltas’

We examined the changes in the laws in Ireland at the end of the Gaelic system of Brehon laws (based on the notion of ‘keeping the peace between neighbours’ and so without harsh sentences such as hanging or flogging, but a fine had to be paid by the guilty person, or by his clan, to compensate the injured individual) to the English system (within the English common law system, judges have more authority to interpret law but are bound by precedent) and the various implications surrounding this fundamental systematic transformation.

The following speakers took part;

To Barbados or Bofin: the fate of Catholic priests in Ireland in the aftermath of the Cromwellian conquest’?

Áine Hensey speaking at the 2022 Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Summer School

Dr.Áine Hensey, historian and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta presenter will explain the circumstances surrounding Cromwell’s army’s treatment of prisoners on the isle of Inishbofin in the 1650s. The Island was used as a holding area for rebel prisoners and captured priests and friars were held before being sent to Barbados and other islands in the Caribbean.

Few people realise that the very beautiful island of Inishbofin, off the west coast of Galway was once used to incarcerate prisoners before being dispatched to the sugar plantations of the West Indies.

As part of the Cromwellian land settlement four counties were reserved for the transplanted Gaelic and Anglo-Norman Irish landowners. The counties were Mayo, Galway, Clare and Roscommon. The lands given in compensation for forfeited estates in the rest of Ireland excluded lands close to major rivers and excluded the coastal Islands. As a result islands such as Inishbofin and the Aran Islands were garrisoned by Cromwellian soldiers in case of invasion from the exiled Stuarts, aided by the French crown.


This land of ire: slaughter and surrender during the Nine Years War, 1593-1603′

Dr. James O’Neill

Dr James O’Neill, author and heritage consultant who specializes in battlefield and conflict archaeology illustrated the methods of warfare during the Nine Years War, spanning the years from 1593-1603.

During the period from 1593 to 1603,the so called ‘Nine Years War’ destruction and mayhem came to every part of Ireland with large bodies of troops manoeuvring to gain advantage over the other, the Irish forces in the ascendant after the Battle of the Yellow Ford in August 1598 but the Irish forces led by Hugh O’Neill and Aodh Ruaidh O’Donnell were eventually defeated at the Battle of Kinsale in December 1601. The war continued until the Treaty of Mellifont in March1603.

Battle sites of the Nine Years War in Ulster

Bishop Cornelius O’Devany: Franciscan martyrdom and suffering in 17th century Ireland’

Professor John McCafferty

Professor John McCafferty, Director of the Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute UCD, told the story of Concobhar Ó Duibheannaigh (Cornelius O’Devaney), born in Malin Head on the Inishowen peninsula circa 1532, studied at the Franciscan Abbey in Donegal and as Bishop of Down and Connor was martyred on February 11, 1612 in Dublin.

Conor O’Devenny was appointed  Bishop of Down & Connor by Pope Gregory XIII on 27 April 1582, and consecrated by Cardinal Nicolas de Pellevé on 2 February 1583 in the German Chapel in Rome.

He returned to Ireland and was arrested in 1588 and imprisoned in Dublin Castle. Failing to  get a jury to convict him Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam petitioned Lord Burghley to find a charge that would convict him but did not get the permission required.

He was released in 1590 and from then until the Flight of the Earls in 1607, he was under the protection of Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone.

Perhaps it was this association and the extreme hatred that Lord Deputy Arthur Chichester had for the Earl of Tyrone that led to his arrest in 1612 and subsequent trial and conviction of treason in late January of that year that ultimately led to his execution by being hung, drawn and quartered. He also told the story of other Franciscan martyrs.


Punishment, pain, and plantation – crime and punishment in an Irish colonial setting

Dr Coleman A. Dennehy

Dr. Coleman A. Dennehy, historian and criminologist based at the Humanities Institute, University College Dublin, gave the keynote lecture at the 2022 Summer School.

He discussed law and punishment in Ireland in the late 17th Century and early 18th Century. These punishments were much more severe in comparison to the punishments for similar crimes in the rest of Britain and often included torture before the main punishment was carried out. He has also written extensively including a book on the Irish Parliament of the early modern period.

The 2022 Summer School speakers Back L-R John McCafferty, Coleman Dennehy, Jim O’Neill. Front L-R Áine Hensey, Kelly Fitzgerald


See our Home Page for more detail of the Summer School weekend events