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Patrick’s Words and Worlds

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A St Patrick’s Day Event with two of the authors of A History of Ireland in 100 Words


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The Institute of Irish Studies is delighted to invite you to Patrick’s Words and Worlds: A St Patrick’s Day Event with Dr Sharon Arbuthnot and Professor Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, two of the authors of A History of Ireland in 100 Words

The event will be moderated by Ruth Hegarty, Royal Irish Academy, and introduced by Professor Peter Shirlow, FAcSS, Director, The Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool.

A History of Ireland in 100 Words:

Did you know that Cú Chulainn was conceived with a thirst–quenching drink? That ‘cluas’, the modern Irish word for ‘ear’, also means the handle of a cup? That the Old Irish word for ‘ring’ may have inspired Tolkien’s ‘nazg’? 

How and why does the word for noble (saor) come to mean cheap? Why does a word that once meant law (cáin) now mean tax? And why are turkeys in Irish French birds? From murder to beekeeping and everything between, discover how the Irish ate, drank, dressed, loved and lied. 

A History of Ireland in 100 Words tells a history of Ireland by looking at the development of 100 medieval Irish words drawn from the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of the Irish Language. Words tell stories and encapsulate histories and this book captures aspects of Ireland’s changing history by examining the changing meaning of 100 key words. The book is aimed at a general readership and no prior knowledge of the Irish language is required to delve into the fascinating insights it provides. 

The book is divided into themes, including writing and literature; food and feasting; technology and science; mind and body. Readers can explore words relating to particular concepts, dipping in and out where they please. Shortlisted for ‘best Irish–published book of the year’ at the An Post Irish Book Awards 2019.

The event will feature a short series of live talks by Dr Arbuthnot and Professor Ní Mhaonaigh on points of interest around the theme of St Patrick and will be followed by a live Q&A. 

Just like the book, no knowledge of Irish is required.