‘Art and Devotion in Medieval Ireland’ was fully explored at the 49th Roscrea Conference held last weekend at the Cistercian Abbey. Over 80 participants from all over Ireland were treated to a cornucopia of scholarship delivered in a most entertaining fashion. Among the lecturers were Prof Ray Gillespie NUIM, Dr Bernie Cunningham, RIAQ, Dr Rachel Moss, TCD, Prof Salvador Ryan, St Patrick’s College Maynooth, Dr Gosia d’Aughtin UCC, Dr Dagmar and Professor Padraig O Riain, UCC. One of the highlights was the first launch of Professor O Riain’s monumental new book - A Dictionary of Irish Saints - the product of over 40 years of scholarship. Published by Four Courts Press it retails at 65 euro but was available at the conference for 45 euro. The book was launched by Dom Laurence Walsh.
A keynote speaker Dr Colman O Clabaigh was indisposed but in his place the conference audience were treated to an historic talk by Padraig O Riain on the making of his dictionary of the saints. It is indeed one of the great books of scholarship of our time, and Roscrea was truly honoured by having its first launch in the monastic Cistercian setting. To honour the occasion conference director George Cunningham presented Professor Padraig O Riain with a rare volume of 1853, on the life of Aghaboe’s St Cainnech. The book is no 14, of just 100 copies and is signed by the author the Marquis of Ormonde.
Also honoured at the conference was another new Four Courts book, ‘Glendalough, the city of God’. This was launched by Professor Daibhi O Croinin NUIG and responded to by one of the editors, Mary Kelly of Glendalough.
On the Saturday field trips were divided on a glorious autumn afternoon to Monaincha and to the library and relics of Mount St Joseph.