Professor of Ecclesiastical History, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth
- Popular religion and ritual in late medieval and early modern Europe, and especially Gaelic Ireland
- Medieval Gaelic Irish devotional poetry and its relationship with English and European medieval religious lyrics
- Theology of Christ’s Passion and its devotional manifestations in the middle ages
- Medieval and early modern hagiography
- Popular reception of biblical material in late medieval and early modern Ireland
- The Catholic Reformation
- The implementation of the Council of Trent in early modern Ireland
- The catechetical and devotional writings of the Irish Franciscan friars at St Anthony’s College Louvain in the seventeenth century
- The history of preaching
- Nineteenth and twentieth-century popular devotion
Art and Devotion in late medieval Ireland (co-editor with Rachel Moss and Colmán Ó Clabaigh), Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006.
ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS
‘“I, too, am a Christian”: early martyrs and their lives in the late medieval and early modern Irish manuscript tradition’, in Peter Clarke and Tony Claydon (eds), Saints and Sanctity: Studies in Church History 47 (forthcoming)
‘Florilegium of faith: religious verse in the Book of the O’Conor Don’ in Pádraig Ó Macháin (ed.), The book of the O’Conor Don: essays on an Irish manuscript. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (forthcoming)
‘Weapons of love / instruments of doom: the arma Christi in medieval and early modern Ireland’ in Lisa Cooper and Andrea Denny-Brown (eds), Arma Christi: Objects, Representation, and Devotional Practice in Medieval and Early Modern Culture (forthcoming)
‘Aodh Mac Aingil agus móitíf “Críost mar Leannán” i spioradáltacht na Meán-Aoise’, in Mícheál Mac Craith agus Nollaig Ó Muraíle (eagarthóirí), Lobháin/Louvain 1607-2007 (forthcoming)
‘Continental Catechisms and their Irish Imitators in Spanish Habsburg Lands, c. 1550-c.1650’ in Raymond Gillespie and Ruairí Ó hUiginn (eds), Irish Europe: language, text and culture (forthcoming)
‘Wily women of God’ in Cavan’s late medieval and early modern devotional collections’, in Brendan Scott (ed.), Culture and society in early modern Breifne/Cavan. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2009.
‘A wooden key to open heaven’s door: lessons in practical Catholicism from St Anthony’s College, Louvain’, in Edel Bhreatnach, Joseph McMahon and John McCafferty (eds), The Irish Franciscans, 1540-1990. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2009.
‘Fixing the eschatological scales: judgment of the soul in late medieval and early modern Irish tradition’, in Peter Clarke and Tony Claydon (eds), The Church and the afterlife: Studies in Church History, 45. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2009.
‘Weapons of Redemption: piety, poetry and the Instruments of the Passion in late medieval Ireland’ in Henning Laugerud and Laura Skinnebach (eds) Instruments of Devotion: the practices and objects of religious piety from the late Middle Ages to the 20th century. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2007.
“‘New wine in old bottles”: implementing Trent in early modern Ireland’, in Thomas Herron and Michael Potterton (eds), Ireland in the Renaissance, c.1540-1660. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007.
(With Madeleine Gray), ‘“Mother of Mercy”: the Virgin Mary and the Last Judgement in Welsh and Irish tradition’ in Karen Jankulak, Thomas O’ Loughlin and Jonathan Wooding (eds) Ireland and Wales in the Middle Ages. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007.
‘Creation and Recreation in Irish bardic poetry’, in Sven Rune Havsteen, Nils Holger Petersen, Heinrich W. Schwab, and Eyolf Østrem (eds.), Creations: Medieval Rituals, the Arts and the Concept of Creation. Turnhout: Brepols, 2007.
‘From late medieval piety to Tridentine pietism? The case of 17th century Ireland’ in Fred Van Lieburg (ed.), Confessionalism and Pietism: Religious Reform in the Early Modern period. Veröfentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte. Mainz: Verlag Philipp Von Zabern, 2006.
‘Exchanging blood for wine: Envisaging Heaven in Irish bardic religious poetry’, in Carolyn Muessig and Ad Putter (eds.), Envisaging Heaven in the Middle Ages. Abingdon: Routledge Press, 2006.
‘Windows on late medieval devotional practice: Máire Ní Mháille’s “Book of Piety” (1513) and the world behind the texts’, in Rachel Moss, Colmán Ó Clabaigh and Salvador Ryan (eds), Art and Devotion in late medieval Ireland. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006.
‘The most traversed bridge: a reconsideration of elite and popular religion in late medieval Ireland’, in Kate Cooper and Jeremy Gregory (eds.), Popular and Elite religion: Studies in Church History 42. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2006.
‘News and Good News: Christ in the marketplace’, in Joseph Putti (ed.), Time for change: connecting the Good News with contemporary living. Dublin: Veritas Publications, 2006.
‘Steadfast saints or malleable models? : Seventeenth-century Irish hagiography revisited’, The Catholic Historical Review, 91:2 (April, 2005)
‘Resilient Religion: Popular Piety today’, The Furrow (March, 2005)
‘The Quest for tangible religion: a view from the pews’, The Furrow (July/August, 2004)
‘A slighted source: rehabilitating Irish bardic religious poetry in historical discourse’, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 48 (Winter, 2004)
‘Bonaventura Ó hEoghusa’s An Teagasg Críosdaidhe (1611/1614): a reassessment’, Archivium Hibernicum, lviii (2004)
‘The persuasive power of a mother’s breast: the most desperate act of the Virgin Mary’s Advocacy’, Studia Hibernica, 32 (2002–2003)
‘The most contentious of terms: towards a new understanding of late medieval “popular religion”’, Irish Theological Quarterly, 68, no.3 (Autumn 2003).
‘Reign of blood: devotion to the wounds of Christ in late medieval Ireland’ in Joost Augusteijn and Mary Ann Lyons (eds.), Irish History: a research yearbook. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002.
I have reviewed books for the following publications: Celtic Studies Association of North America Yearbook, Church History, H-Net, Intercom, Irish Historical Studies, Irish Theological Quarterly, Studia Hibernica, The Catholic Historical Review, The Furrow, The Sixteenth Century Journal.
Reading and Writing Theology: the practicalities
Ecclesiastical History and Patrology (Early Church History, Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation periods)
Readings in Patristic Theology
The Passion of Christ in medieval religious culture