Early Medieval

The start of the Early Medieval period in Ireland is marked by the introduction of christianity. The Early Medieval Archaeology Project (EMAP) describes this as one of the most significant periods of social, ideological, environmental and economic change in Ireland. The church brought a new organisational structure to Ireland and introduced literacy, the earliest evidence of which are Ogham stones. This is the first period for which there are some documentary sources such as the annals and Saint Lives. Site types from this period, many of which are still visible in the landscape today include ringforts, cranogs and ecclesiastical sites. The late 8th Century saw the first Viking raids on Ireland as recorded in the annals. Subsequent settlement by the Vikings saw the establishment of the first Irish towns with Dublin becoming a major Viking trading centre.

During this period Ireland remained largely aceramic, apart from some imported ceramics, with natively produced pottery not reappearing in the archaeological record until the later stages of the early medieval period. Much fine secular and religeous metalwork was produced during the Early Medieval period. Documentary source portray Ireland during this period as a hierarchical society. Politically Ireland was divided into small kingdoms which amalgamated over the tenth to twelfth centuries to give rise to provincial kingdoms.

The EMAP report 'Early medieval Ireland, Archaeological excavations 1930-2004' on excavated sites relating to this period provides a useful frame work for to study and understand the archaeological evidence for this period.

Recent excavaions during the Celtic tiger era of develeopment have given a great insight into life and settlement patterns during this period.

1170 saw the arrival of the Anglo Normans in Ireland and the start of a new era.

Early Medieval Sites Visited

St Begnet's Church St Begnet's Church - Dalkey.

 Reask Ecclesiastical Enclosure Reask Ecclesiastical Enclosure - Co Kerry.

Caherdorgan Cashel Caherdorgan North Cashel - Co Kerry.

Kilmalkedar Church Kilmalkedar Church - Co Kerry.

Last Updated , March 2015