A short exploration of the inauguration of kings in late medieval Ireland, and its depiction in bardic poetry
Nienke Hadewey Lameris,
Thesis: Universiteit Utrecht, 20 April (2012)
In this short paper I will examine the practice of royal inauguration in high (c. 1100-1350) and late (c. 1350-1650) medieval Ireland, and it’s depiction in bardic poetry of that period. This is done with the following questions: Of what elements did the practice of inauguration consist? Are there any developments in the practice during the middle ages? How is inauguration depicted in bardic poetry, and does this reflect the actual practice? Do inaugural odes have special characteristics? As in-depth focus and illustration to both I also examine one inaugural ode and its historical context. The nature of this research also entails an evaluation of the possibility to use bardic poetry as a historical source. Unfortunately, the combination of focus both on literary material and historical background has the disadvantage that it limits the extent of research in both those fields, due to the limited time that was available to me. Bardic poetry has been somewhat ignored in the past, but luckily recent years have seen a new interest.
Katharine Simms is certainly a great advocate of the subject, and with excellent research she has unveiled the merits of its usage as a historical source. With the compilation of the bardic poetry database, she has facilitated numerous research possibilities on the subject. This is further aided by the publication of many new poems in A bardic miscellany by Damian MacManus and Eoghan Ó Raghallaigh. Unfortunately this book was not unavailble to me, and any further research on this topic should certainly make more use of both the database and the book than I have done now. It was by a lecture delivered by Damian MacManus on the bardic poetry database, and the lectures of Elizabeth FitzPatrick on late medieval Ireland at NUI Galway, that I was inspired to write this paper.