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Elva Johnston

Associate Professor

School Of History
Newman Building
Belfield
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7168145
Email: elva.johnston@ucd.ie

Biography

I am an early medieval Irish historian. I was educated in UCC, where I studied History and English, before later completing my doctorate in the University of Oxford where I was a Senior Scholar. My research focuses on the histories of conversion, hagiography, literacy and sexuality. My articles situate these within their broader international contexts. This is in response to a tendency (both within wider scholarship and at a popular level) to view Irish culture as somehow 'different' or 'odd'. However, it is best appreciated as part of a wide spectrum within the European mainstream. Previews and downloads of several of these articles are available on my academia page.

My book Literacy and Identity in Early Medieval Ireland (2013) was awarded the Irish Historical Research Prize in 2015. I am currently researching a project examining the role of the frontier in Irish society before the year c. AD 600. I am also the co-editor of Peritia, Journal of the Medieval Academy of Ireland.
 
I teach undergraduate modules on various aspects of Late Antique and early medieval history. I co-ordinate the MA in History and offer graduate teaching and supervision on early medieval Ireland, both within the frameworks offered by the MA in History and the MA in Medieval Studies. 

I have supervised several PhD candidates and welcome graduates with interests in all aspects of early medieval Irish history, particularly before the year c. AD 1000. I also mentor postdoctoral scholars in these areas.

Professional

Honours and Awards

Year: 2015.
Title: Irish Historical Research Prize
Year: 1998.
Title: Christ Church Senior Scholarship for Research in the Humanities (renewed)
Year: 1996.
Title: Christ Church Senior Scholarship for Research in the Humanities
Year: 1994.
Title: National University of Ireland Travelling Studentship in History
Year: 1994.
Title: British Academy Doctoral Scholarship
Year: 1994.
Title: Prendergast Bequest

Associations

Association: Irish Manuscripts Commission, Function/Role: Board Member
Association: Medieval Academy of Ireland, Function/Role: Committee co-chair
     

Conference Contributions

Johnston, Elva (2017) When worlds collide? Pagans and Christians in fifth and sixth century Ireland. [Keynote Address], Kathleen Hughes Memorial Lecture, University of Cambridge , 01-MAY-17 - 01-MAY-17.
Johnston, Elva (2017) Living on the frontiers: reassessing fourth and fifth century Ireland. [Keynote Address], International Congress on Medieval Studies (Robert T. Farrell Memorial Lecture), Kalamazoo , 12-MAY-17 - 12-MAY-17.
Johnston, Elva (2017) From the Scotti to the Goídil: changing Irish origin legends. [Invited Lecture], Irish Sea in the Middle Ages Symposium, University of Liverpool , 25-MAY-17 - 25-MAY-17.
Johnston, Elva (2017) A forgotten frontier? Situating Late Antique Ireland. [Invited Lecture], Maynooth Early Irish and Celtic Studies Research Seminar, Maynooth University , 16-FEB-17 - 02-FEB-17.
Johnston, Elva (2016) Transformations and continuities on the frontiers: reassessing fourth- and fifth-century Ireland. [Keynote Address], Imbas 2016, NUI Galway , 03-DEC-16 - 03-DEC-16.
Johnston, Elva (2016) Movers and shakers? How women shaped the career of Columbanus. [Invited Lecture], Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Seminar, University College Dublin , 25-NOV-16 - 25-NOV-16.
Johnston, Elva (2016) Living on the Roman frontiers: emerging identities in fourth and fifth century Ireland. [Invited Lecture], Ulster Historical Society, Queens University Belfast , 20-OCT-16 - 20-OCT-16.
Johnston, Elva (2016) Converting to Christianity in Fourth and Fifth Century Ireland: A Frontier Phenomenon?. [Invited Lecture], Being Pagan, Being Christian in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, Helsinki Collegium , 03-NOV-16 - 04-NOV-16.
Johnston, Elva (2016) Saints on Twitter: Emerging Patterns and Methodologies. [Invited Lecture], Celebrating the Saints: A Focus on Martyrologies and Calendars, Trinity College Dublin , 28-OCT-16 - 29-OCT-16.
Johnston, Elva (2016) Religion on the frontiers: reassessing conversion in fifth-century Ireland. [Invited Lecture], Interaction and Identity in the Irish Sea Region c. 400-1000, University of Liverpool , 08-JUL-16 - 09-JUL-16.
Johnston, Elva (2016) Phases and Philosophies: The Scholarly Legacy of Eoin MacNeill. [Invited Lecture], Eoin MacNeill: A Reassessment of the Scholar Revolutionary, National University of Ireland, Merrion Square , 28-JUN-16 - 28-JUN-16.
Elva Johnston (2016) Reconsidering conversion in fifth-century Ireland. [Invited Lecture], History Seminar Research Series, University College Cork , 25-FEB-16 - 25-FEB-16.
Elva Johnston (2015) Beginning with the masculine: the myth of female freedom in early medieval Ireland. [Invited Lecture], Collusion, Subversion and Survival: Women in Medieval Irish History c. 500-1500, Trinity College Dublin , 13-NOV-15 - 14-NOV-15.
Johnson, E. (2015) What can Bede tell us about the conversion of Ireland?. [Oral Presentation], International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds , 06-JUL-15 - 10-JUL-15.
Johnston, E. (2015) [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], 29th Irish Conference of Medievalists, UCD , 01-JUL-15 - 03-JUL-15.
Elva Johnston (2014) Searching for Paradise: Myth and Reality in the Voyage of St Brendan. [Invited Lecture], The XVII Reunion of the International Committee for the History of Nautical Science, Moore Institute, NUI Galway , 02-OCT-14 - 04-OCT-14.
Elva Johnston (2014) Mapping Networks of Learning and Literacy in Early Medieval Ireland. [Invited Lecture], European Science Foundation Exploratory Workshop: Maths Meets Myths, Coventry University , 11-SEP-14 - 12-SEP-14.
Johnston, E. (2014) [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], 28th Irish Conference of Medievalists, UCD , 01-JUL-14 - 03-JUL-14.
Elva Johnston (2014) Defining Women by Defining Men: Approaching Gender in Early Medieval Ireland. [Invited Lecture], Roscrea Spring Conference 2014, Roscrea , 25-APR-14 - 25-MAY-14.
Elva Johnston (2014) The Romanticisation of Female Freedom in Early Medieval Ireland. [Invited Lecture], Roscrea Spring Conference 2014, Roscrea , 27-APR-14 - 27-APR-14.
Elva Johnston (2013) Literacy and Conversion in Early Medieval Ireland: A Reassessment. [Invited Lecture], Centre for Antique, Medieval and Pre-Modern Studies, NUI Galway , 04-OCT-13 - 04-OCT-13.
Elva Johnston (2012) Reassessing Literacy in Early Medieval Ireland. [Keynote Address], Literacy, Memory, Sanctity and the Conversion of the Isles, UCD , 03-NOV-12 - 03-NOV-12.
Elva Johnston (2012) The Voyage of St Brendan: Landscape and Paradise in Early Medieval Ireland. [Invited Lecture], Paisagem e Natureza: Cotidiano, Imaginário e Memória, UFF, Rio de Janeiro , 18-OCT-12 - 18-OCT-12.
Elva Johnston; (2011) Mapping Death: Ireland and the Christian Frontier. [Chaired Session], Launch of the Heritage Council INSTAR 'Mapping Death' Database, University College Dublin , 28-JAN-11 - 28-JAN-11.
Dr. Elva Johnston; (2010) Beliefs and Frontiers: Reconsidering the Textual Sources for Conversion in Early Ireland. [Chaired Session], Mapping Death Symposium, UCD , 27-NOV-10 - 27-NOV-10.
Elva Johnston; (2009) Why was Palladius sent to Ireland?. [Chaired Session], Mapping Death, International Conference, Dublin , 27-OCT-09 - 28-NOV-09.
Elva Johnston (2009) Palladius and Conversion. [Invited Oral Presentation], Medieval Studies Graduate Seminar, NUI Galway , 12-FEB-09 - 12-FEB-09.
Johnston, E.; (2009) Palladius and Conversion: Historical Contexts. [Chaired Session], ASNC Guest Lecture Series, Cambridge Univesity , 22-MAY-09 - 22-MAY-09.
Elva Johnston; (2008) The Mystery of Palladius, First Bishop of the Irish. [Chaired Session], International Medieval Congress, Leeds , 07-JUL-08 - 10-JUL-08.
Elva Johnston; (2008) Missionaries or Aristocrats: Early Exiles from Ireland. [Invited Lecture], Louvain International Summer School, Louvain , 05-MAY-08 - 09-MAY-08.
Doherty, C.; (2007) Lives and Afterlives IV. [Other], Lives and Afterlives IV, Micheal O Cleirigh Institute for the Study of Irish History and Civilisation, UCD , 22-MAR-07.
Elva Johnston (2007) Challenges to Periodisation: Saints Cults from the Seventh to the Seventeenth Century. [Oral Presentation], Lives and Afterlives IV, UCD , 23-MAR-07 - 23-MAR-07.
Johnston, E; (2006) Imagining Conversion in Irish and Anglo-Saxon Hagiography. [Oral Presentation], International Medieval Congress, Leeds , 10-JUL-06 - 13-JUL-06.
Elva Johnston (2006) Literarcy in Early Medieval Ireland. [Invited Oral Presentation], UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Seminar, UCD , 10-MAR-06 - 10-MAR-06.
Johnston, E; (2006) Columba, Christianity and the Secular Community. [Oral Presentation], Lives and Afterlives III, UCD , 28-APR-06 - 29-APR-06.
Johnston, E; (2006) Lives and Afterlives III. [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], Lives and Afterlives III, UCD , 28-APR-06 - 29-APR-06.
Elva Johnston (2005) A New History of Ireland?. [Invited Oral Presentation], Irish Historical Society, Galway , 08-NOV-05 - 08-NOV-05.
Elva Johnston; (2005) The Two Saint Brigits. [Chaired Session], Lives and Afterlives II, UCD , 22-APR-05 - 24-APR-05.
Elva Johnston; (2004) Muirchú's Life of Patrick. [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], Lives and Afterlives I, UCD , 22-APR-04 - 24-APR-04.
Elva Johnston; (2004) Muirchú's Conception of Sanctity. [Chaired Session], Lives and Afterlives I, UCD , 23-APR-04 - 24-APR-04.
Elva Johnston (2003) Types of Sanctity in Early Medieval Ireland. [Invited Oral Presentation], Celtic Seminar, University of Oxford, Jesus College, Oxford , 15-APR-04 - 15-APR-04.
Elva Johnston (2003) Power and Authority in The Voyage of Máel Dúin. [Oral Presentation], International Medieval Congress, Leeds , 10-JUL-03 - 10-JUL-03.
Elva Johnston; (2002) The End of the Celtic Otherworld in Michael Moorcocks The Prince with the Silver Hand. [Invited Lecture], International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds , 09-JUL-02 - 09-JUL-02.
Elva Johnston; (2002) Immacallam Choluim Chille: The Otherworld and scripture. [Invited Lecture], Celtic Texts Colloquium, Lampeter , 21-SEP-02 - 21-SEP-02.
Elva Johnston; (2001) Gendering Islands in Early Medieval Ireland. [Invited Lecture], Conference of the Theoretical Achaeology Group (TAG), University College Dublin , 14-DEC-01 - 14-DEC-01.
Elva Johnston; (2001) Women, Saints, Mothers and Whores in the Voyage of Máel Dúin. [Invited Lecture], International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds , 10-JUL-01 - 10-JUL-01.
Elva Johnston; (2001) The Identity of St Brigit. [Invited Lecture], Conference of the Womens History Association of Ireland (WHAI), University of Ulster, Coleraine , 08-SEP-01 - 08-SEP-01.

Committees

Committee : College Executive
Committee : College of Arts and Humanities Graduate School Board
 

Education

Year 1999 Institution: Oxford University, UK
Qualification: DPhil Subject:
Year 1994 Institution: University College Cork
Qualification: MA Subject:
Year 1992 Institution: University College Cork
Qualification: BA Subject:
   

Outreach Activities

Public Lectures

March 7 2016: "Ireland and the Roman Empire: Culture, Society, Religion", The Hunt Museum

March 15 2015: "St Patrick", workshop with Open Cinema

March 27 2014: Moderator of "Dublin in the Viking world", Dublin Festival of History   

March 13
 2014: "Saint Patrick: Historical Man and Popular Myth", Newry & Mourne Museum

March 15 2013: Debate on "St Patrick Christianised Ireland", Kilkenny Archaeological Society

July 27 2011: "Possessing the Goddess? Sovereignty and Power in Early Ireland", Tara Lecture Series

January 28
 2010: "What made St Brigit Different in the Early Middle Ages", Mythic Links Mythology Group

August 18
 2009: "Palladius and the Conversion of Ireland", Rathmichael Historical Society
 



Co-ordinator of Eoin MacNeill: Scholar and Revolutionary 

This is a special commemorative series, hosted by the History Hub website, focusing on Eoin MacNeill's careers as a politician and scholar. It incorporates audio-visual content with archival material, alongside expert commentary by modern scholars.

 
Podcasts

Columbanus - Saviour of Civilisation?, History Hub Podcast Series

Introduction to Dr Rob Meens' Plenary for the 29th ICM, 'Columbanus and the Practice of Penance in Early Medieval Europe'

Eoin MacNeill: Revolutionary Scholar? History Hub Podcast Series

Reassessing Literacy in Early Medieval Ireland, Converting the Isles Podcasts
 
Saint Patrick: The Historical Man and the Popular Myth, History Hub Podcast Series 

 
 
Television/Video

1014: Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf, History Hub, 2014

Commemorating Clontarf: 1014 through the Ages, History Hub, 2014 

Patrick, Pagans and Party Animals, Vision/Zoomer Tv (Canada), 2014

There's Something About Patrick, RTÉ 1, 2013 

Would You Believe? Saint Patrick the Renegade Saint, RTÉ 1, 2012

The Story of Ireland - BBC Northern Ireland, 2011

 In Search of Ancient Ireland - PBS, 2002




 
Radio Contributions

2012: Newstalk Radio/ St Patrick

2012: South Dublin FM/ St Patrick

2012: Highland Radio/ St Patrick2003: RTÉ Radio 1/  Morning Ireland - St Patrick

2011: RTÉ Lyric FM/ Grace Notes - St Brendan the Navigator

2011: Newstalk Radio/ Coleman at Large - The Origins of Christmas

2008: Newstalk Radio/ Talking History - St Patrick

2005: RTÉ Radio 1/ Reputations - Diarmait Mac Murchadha
 




 

Journals Edited

Peritia: Co-Editor.
 

Publications

Books

Johnston, Elva (2013) Literacy and Identity in Early Medieval Ireland. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. Available Online [Details]

Book Chapters

Johnston, Elva (2017) 'Literacy and conversion on Ireland's Roman Frontier: from emulation to assimilation?' In: Nancy Edwards, Máire Ní Mhaonaigh & Roy Flechner (eds). Transforming Landscapes of Belief in the Early Medieval Insular World and Beyond. Converting the Isles II. Turnhout: Brepols. Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2016) 'Mapping literate networks in early medieval Ireland: quantitative realities, social mythologies?' In: Ralph Kenna, Máirín MacCarron & Pádraig MacCarron (eds). Maths Meets Myths: Quantitative Approaches to Ancient Narratives. Gewerbestrasse 11, Cham: Springer International Publishing AG. , pp.195-211 Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2016) 'Exiles from the edge? The Irish contexts of peregrinatio' In: Roy Flechner & Sven Meeder (eds). The Irish in Early Medieval Europe: Identity, Culture and Religion. Basingstoke: Palgrave. , pp.38-52 Available Online Link to full text [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2015) 'Immacallam Choluim Chille 7 ind Óclaig: language and authority in an early medieval Irish tale' In: Emer Purcell, Paul MacCotter, Julianne Nyhan & John Sheehan (eds). Clerics, Kings and Vikings: Essays on Medieval Ireland in Honour of Donnchadh Ó Corráin. Dublin: Four Courts Press. , pp.418-428 Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2011) 'Kingship made real? Power and the public world in Longes mac n-Uislenn' In: Fiona Edmonds & Paul Russell (eds). Tome: Studies in Medieval Celtic History and Law in Honour of Thomas Charles-Edwards. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. , pp.193-206 Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2003) 'A sailor on the seas of faith: the individual and the Church in the Voyage of Mael Dúin' In: Howard B.Clarke & Judith Devlin (eds). European Encounters. Essays in memory of Albert Lovett. Dublin: UCD Press. , pp.239-252 Available Online Link to full text [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2002) 'The pagan and christian identities of the Irish female saint' In: Mark Atherton (eds). Celts and Christians: New Approaches to the Religious Traditions of Britain and Ireland. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. , pp.60-78 Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1999) 'Timahoe and the Loígse: monasticism' In: Pádraig G. Lane & William Nolan (eds). Laois History and Society: Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County. Dublin: Geography Publications. , pp.63-88 Available Online [Details]

Edited Books

Elva Johnston & Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (Ed.). (2016) Peritia 27: Journal of the Medieval Academy of Ireland. Turnhout: Brepols. Available Online [Details]
Elva Johnston & Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (Ed.). (2015) Peritia 26: Journal of the Medieval Academy of Ireland. Turnhout: Brepols. Available Online [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Johnston, Elva (2017) 'Ireland in Late Antiquity: A Forgotten Frontier?'. Studies in Late Antiquity, 1 (2):107-123. [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2003) 'Early Irish history: the state of the art'. Irish Historical Studies, 33 :342-348. Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2003) 'The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Vols 4 and 5 and the invention of medieval women'. Irish University Review, 33 (2):392-399. Available Online Link to full text [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2001) 'The salvation of the individual and the salvation of society in Siaburcharpat Con Culaind'. CSANA Yearbook, 1 :109-125. Link to full text [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2001) 'Powerful women or patriarchal weapons? Two medieval Irish saints'. Peritia, 15 :302-310. Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2000) 'Íte: patron of her people?'. Peritia, 14 :421-428. Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1995) 'Transforming women in Irish hagiography'. Peritia, 9 :197-220. Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
       

Dictionary Entry

Johnston, Elva (2009) 'Deirdre', 'Étaín', 'Fergus mac Róich', 'Gráínne', 'Macha', 'Samthann'. Dublin: Dictionary Entry [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2004) Munster, saints of (act. c.450-c.700). Oxford: Dictionary Entry Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2004) 'Beoán', 'Fiachra', 'Gormlaith', 'Mo Ling', 'Mo Nennus', 'Nathalan', 'Senchán Torpéist', 'Urard mac Coise'. Oxford: Dictionary Entry [Details]
   

Encyclopedia Entry

Johnston, Elva (2008) 'Dublin', 'Dunstan'. Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2008) 'Geoffrey of Monmouth', 'Gildas', 'Glastonbury'. Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2007) 'Britain (the early British Church)', 'Brigit of Kildare'. Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2007) Columba, saint. Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2003) 'Aislinge', 'Amergin', 'Brian Bóruma', 'Cormac mac Airt', 'Dagda', 'Dési', 'Fili', 'Gobbán Sáer', 'Gods and goddesses', 'Imbolc', 'Immram', 'Mac Murrough, Dermot', 'Munster (early)', 'Oral culture (early)', 'Paganism', 'Pre-Christian religions', 'Termonn', 'Tuatha Dé Danann'. Dublin: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2001) Iona. Tübingen: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2000) Transvestite saints. Chicago: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1999) 'Columba der Ältere (Columcille)', 'Dublin', 'Dunstan', 'Geoffrey von Monmouth', 'Gildas', 'Glastonbury'. Tübingen: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1998) 'Britannien (Altbritische Kirche)', 'Brigida von Kildare'. Tübingen: Encyclopedia Entry [Details]
                                   

Electronic Publication

Johnston, Elva (2016) Tweeting Saints in Medieval Irish Martyrologies. Electronic Publication Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2013) Eoin MacNeill the Historian. Electronic Publication Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2010) Cormac mac Cuillenáin and the Jesters. Electronic Publication Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1996) Bethada Náem nÉrenn. Cork: Electronic Publication Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1995) Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore. Electronic Publication Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1995) Betha Féchín Fabair. Cork: Electronic Publication Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1995) Betha Fursa. Electronic Publication Available Online [Details]

Book Reviews

Johnston, Elva (2017) The Irish Church, Its Reform and the English Invasion review. Dublin: Book Reviews Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2017) An Achievement of Scholarship and Technology (The Schaffhausen Adomnán). Book Reviews Available Online [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2015) Crystal Lynn Lubinsky, Removing masculine layers to reveal a holy womanhood: the female transvestite monks of late antique Eastern Christianity. Turnhout: Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2004) Women in a Celtic Church: Ireland, 450-1150. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2002) The Welsh King and his Court, edited by T. M. Charles-Edwards, Morfydd Owen & Paul Russell. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2001) H. B. Clarke, M. Ní Mhaonaigh and R. Ó Floinn (eds), Ireland and Scandinavia in the Early Viking Age. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2000) Thomas O'Loughlin, Saint Patrick: The Man and his Works. Book Reviews [Details]
Johnston, Elva (2000) The Calendar of St Willibrord from MS. Lat. 10837. HA Wilson (ed). Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1999) Clonmacnois - the Church and Lands of St Ciarán. Change and Continuity in an Irish Monastic Foundation, 6th to 16th century. Annette Kehnel. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1999) Fergus Kelly, Early Irish Farming, A Study Based Mainly on the Law-Texts of the 7th and 8th Centuries. Book Reviews [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1998) The Legend of Mary of Egypt in Insular Hagiography, ed. Erich Poppe and Bianca Ross. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1998) Uinseann Ó Maidín, The Celtic Monk: Rules and Writings of Early Irish Monks. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1998) Peter O'Dwyer, Towards a History of Irish Spirituality. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1998) Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender from Early Ireland. Lisa Bitel. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1997) C. E. Meek, M. K. Simms (eds), 'The Fragility of her sex'? Medieval Irish Women in their European Context. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1995) Llanerch Reprints. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1995) Kuno Meyer: Ancient Irish Poetry. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1995) Liam de Paor, Saint Patrick's World. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, Elva (1994) Aaron Gurevich, Historical Anthropology of the Middle Ages. Book Reviews [DOI] [Details]
                                                                                   

Research

Research Interests

My primary area of research is in the history and culture of early medieval Ireland. I use an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on literature (especially Old Irish and Hiberno-Latin), material culture and more traditional forms of documentary evidence.

I have published on a wide range of topics in peer-reviewed journals and collections of essays. These papers offer important new analyses of the complex relationships between literary texts and historical events. Another major strand of my research is concerned with early medieval Irish literacy and the role it played in a largely non-literate society. This can be best understood within the contexts offered by other Late Antique and early medieval frontier societies. I believe these contexts to be key in creating a more nuanced understanding of the past.
 
Postdoctoral Mentoring

Dr Niamh Wycherley, IRC postdoctoral fellow 2012-13
Dr Sarah McCann, IRC postdoctoral fellow 2014-15 
Dr Shane Lordan, IRC postdoctoral fellow 2015-  

Research Projects

Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Mapping Medieval Ireland: Landscapes, Histories, Cultures
Start Date / End Date : 01-APR-16 / 30-SEP-17
Sponsor : Irish Research Council (IRC)
Title : Saint Brigit's cult in Ireland and Europe: a comparative investigation into the adaptation, growth and success of medieval female sanctity.
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-15 / 30-SEP-17
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Dissemination and Outputs: 29th Irish Conference of Medievalists (ICM), July 1 - 3 2015
Start Date / End Date : 01-APR-15 / 30-SEP-16
Sponsor : Irish Research Council (IRC)
Title : Bede, the Irish, and Ireland
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-14 / 31-OCT-15
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Dissemination and Output: 28th Irish Conference of Medievalists (ICM), July 1st-3rd 2014
Start Date / End Date : 01-APR-14 / 30-SEP-15
Sponsor : Irish Research Council (IRC)
Title : The Formation of the Filid in Early Medieval Ireland (7th to 11th C)
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-12 / 30-SEP-15
Sponsor : Irish Research Council (IRC)
Title : The Cult of Relics in Early Christian Ireland
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-12 / 30-SEP-13
Sponsor : The Heritage Council
Title : Mapping Death: people, boundaries and territories in Ireland 1st to 8th Centuries AD
Start Date / End Date : 01-MAY-08 / 04-DEC-09

Recent Postgraduates

Recent Doctoral Graduates


Dr Ann Marie Long, PhD awarded 2014
The Relationship between Iceland and Norway, c. 870 - c. 1100: Memory, History and Identity  

Dr Elaine Pereira Farrell, PhD awarded 2013
Taboos and Penitence: Christian Conversion and Popular Religion in Early Medieval Ireland


Dr Nathan Millin, PhD awarded 2013
Surviving Death: Spiritual and Somatic Resurrection and Elements of Pauline Eschatology in the Hiberno-Latin Tradition


Dr Elizabeth Dawson, PhD awarded 2012
Perceptions of Conversion in Seventh-Century Ireland: Representations of Christian Transformation in the Lives of Patrick and Brigit

Dr Denis Hamon
, PhD awarded 2011

From Paganism to Christianity: The Role of Acculturation in Medieval Irish Tradition


Current Postgraduate Students

Aoife Cranny Walsh, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)   -   Thesis Supervisor
James Houlihan, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)   -   Thesis Supervisor

Teaching

Teaching Philosophy

I am passionate about my subject and dedicated to outreach. I believe that the student is the centre of the learning experience and that this experience is one of active dialogue rather than being driven by the need to memorise facts and figures.I aim to foster intellectual creativity and flexibility.