2018 - NUI Galway Irish Ancestry Summer School 1st July – 6th July

Please note that this summer school is cancelled for 2018. It is hoped to run this school in 2019.


Programme for the Irish Ancestry Summer School at NUI Galway

(all lectures will place an emphasis on the West of Ireland, where possible)


Sunday 1st July, Evening

6pm                        Meet and Greet. Registration followed by welcome and buffet supper hosted by

                                 Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh (Registrar and Deputy President, NUI Galway)

7pm -7.30pm        Introductory Lecture outlining the programme  and some comments

                                on the importance of understanding one’s origins (Dr Carleton Jones and Dr Kieran O’Conor)

7.30pm -8pm        ‘Resources for the Study of People and Places in the West of Ireland (Marie Boran)

8pm-8.30pm         ‘Using your DNA to pinpoint your Irish origins’ (Dr Tyrone Bowes)



Monday 2nd July

Prehistoric Ancestors (Dr Carleton Jones)

9.30am- 1pm (with breaks)
Topics Include:

·         The initial colonization of the island.

·         The arrival of farming populations in the 4th millennium BC.

·         Megalithic tombs

·         Lectures on DNA and aDNA (by Lara Cassidy of the TCD Molecular Population Genetics Lab)

·         New arrivals in the Chalcolithic-Early Bronze Age.

·         Farming  and settlement in Bronze Age Ireland

·         Celts (Prof John Waddell)


Early Medieval Ancestors (Professor Daibhi Ó Croinin)   

2pm -5pm (with breaks)

Topics Include:

·         The Christianisation of the island.

·         Early Medieval tribal groupings

·         The adoption of surnames

·         Farming and settlement in early medieval Ireland (Dr Michelle Comber)



Tuesday 3rd July
Later Medieval Ancestors
(Dr Kieran O’Conor)
9.30am-1pm (with breaks)

Topics Include:

·         The arrival of the Anglo-Normans

·         Gaelic and Anglo-Norman clans and families in later medieval Ireland

·         Farming and settlement in later medieval Ireland

·         Placenames in the West of Ireland (Dr Liam Ó hAisbheil)


Post Medieval Ancestors (Dr Kieran O’Conor)

2pm-5pm (with breaks)

Topics Include:

·         Settlement, society and farming in post-medieval  Ireland, 1600 -1900 (Dr Eugene Costello)

·         The Great Famine and its aftermath (Dr Niall Ó Ciosain / Dr Caitriona Clear)

·         Vernacular architecture in the West of Ireland (Dr Fidelma Mullane)



Wednesday 4th July

All-Day Fieldtrip to the Burren (Dr Carleton Jones, Maggie Ronayne and Dr Kieran O’Conor)


Sites to be visited include:


·         Poulnabrone portal tomb (currently the oldest dated monument of the early farmers and where ancient DNA (aDNA) work on bones is ongoing)

·         Roughan Hill wedge tombs (research /excavation by Carleton Jones and former NUI Galway PhD student Ros O’Maolduin, where aDNA work on bones is ongoing)

·         The 15th-century O’Loghlen tower house at Gleninagh

·         The 10th-century O’Davoren cashel at Caherconnell (currently being excavated by Dr Michelle Comber). Lunch can be brought in the adjacent Interpretative Centre

·         19th-century settlement in the Ballyvaughan Valley

·         Dinner in the form of a medieval banquet at Dunguaire Castle, Kinvarra



Thursday 5th July

8am-2pm, Fieldtrip to Co. Roscommon (Dr Carleton Jones and Dr Kieran O’Conor)

Sites to be visited include:

·         The Famine Museum, Strokestown House, Co. Roscommon.

·         Clonalis House, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon (to view the largest collection of family documents in private hands in Ireland. These date from the medieval period down to the present day).


2pm -7pm - The afternoon is free and for leisure time. This gives participants on the Summer School a chance to visit Galway’s medieval city centre and see its shops.

7pm-10pm – Dinner in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway


Friday 6th July

9.30am- 10am -Researching family and local history in the West of Ireland  (Dr John Cunningham)


10am -12 noon – Visit to the Special Collections, James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway (Marie Boran)

Title of Tour: ‘Resources for the Study of People and Places in the West of Ireland’


12.15am-12.30am - Closing Lecture / Speech (Dr Carleton Jones)