Lecture on Rindoon Castle in Ireland
The UF History Department welcomes Dr. Kieran D. O’Conor of the National University of Ireland, who will present, “New Work at Rindoon Castle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland” in Room 100 of Smathers Library at 5 p.m. on Thursday, 16 October 2014.
Strategically positioned on a peninsula that thrusts out like a finger into Lough Ree in central Ireland, Rindoon is one of that country’s best-preserved medieval towns. The castle was built in 1227 by Geoffrey de Marisco, the Justiciar of Ireland under King Henry III. Rindoon is one of the largest and most important castles the Anglo-Normans built in Connacht, the region in western Ireland that resisted the longest to the Anglo-Normans. After de Marisco was dismissed from office in 1228, the castle became the property of the king. The castle was strong enough to resist the attack of Feilimid Ó Conchobhair in 1236, but was sacked by Feilimid’s son, Aed three times between 1270 and 1272. Repaired by Geoffrey de Geneville, one of the richest Norman lords, the castle was eventually captured and destroyed by Ruaidrí Ó Conchobhair at the time of Edward Bruce’s invasions of Ireland (1315-1318). Both the town and the castle seem to have been abandoned by the mid-14th century. Its relatively short history notwithstanding, Rindoon provides a unique opportunity for the archaeological exploration of the early relations between the Anglo-Norman conquerors and the Gaelic-speaking, local population. In other words, this is a site of tremendous significance for discussing a number of key issues in the medieval archaeology of Ireland—from settlement patterns to social inequality, ethnicity, competing structures of power, and the impact of military conquest on the landscape.
Kieran D. O’Conor is Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the National University of Ireland in Galway. A member of the Comité Permanent des Colloques du Château Gaillard, O’Conor is one of the leading experts in medieval castles in their landscapes. His Archaeology of Medieval Rural Settlement in Ireland (Dublin, 1998) has also turned him into a major figure of the European research in rural settlements and agriculture. O’Conor is among the organizers of the first Ruralia conferences, the leading forum of archaeologists interested in the medieval rural world.