Lecturer in Old English
University College Cork

Research Interests:
Latin and vernacular hagiography; preaching and homiletics; Old English language, literature and culture; Early Irish language, literature and culture; Old Norse-Icelandic; insular Latin; translation theory and practice.

Selected Publications:

‘Tracing the Tracks of Alcuin’s Vita sancti Martini’, in Anglo-Saxon Traces, ed. Jane Roberts and Leslie Webster, forthcoming.

‘La place de saint Martin dans le monachisme anglo-saxon’, Annales de Bretagne et des Pays de l’Ouest, forthcoming.

‘Trouble at the White House: Anglo-Irish Relations and the Cult of St Martin’, in Anglo-Saxon/Irish Relations Before the Vikings, ed. James Graham-Campbell and Michael Ryan, Proceedings of the British Academy 157 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 113-27.

‘Accessing the Wordhoard: An Introduction to Old English’, NAIRTL Annual Report (2008), 28-9.

J. Hewish, ‘Sulpicius Severus and the Medieval Vita Martini’, Peritia 20 (2008), 28-58.

J. Hewish, ‘Eastern Asceticism and Western Monasticism: A Conflict of Ideals in the Old English Translations of the Works of Sulpicius Severus’, Quaestio Insularis 2 (2003), 115-28.

Funded Projects:

Wordloca: Reading Old English

The Wordloca project brings together specialists in Old English language and literature with experts in technological innovation and computer design to create a complete language-learning package that will guide students from the absolute basics to a high level of proficiency at whatever pace suits their individual needs. The package consists of a Handboc (the Old English

term for ‘handbook’, used by King Alfred the Great to describe a now-lost work) and an online application that are designed to complement each other.

For further information see: www.wordloca.com.

Funding for this project has been received from: the President’s Award for Teaching and Learning (UCD) and the National Academy for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL).

Christ on the Cross: textual and material representations of the Passion in early medieval Ireland (ca. 800-1200)

This is an interdisciplinary project designed to bring together scholars with expertise in the textual, material, liturgical and exegetical culture of early medieval Ireland to examine the Passion of Christ. This project aims to provide a holistic approach to medieval culture that brings together a variety of different areas of study into a shared space.

For further details see: www.christonthecross.org.

This project is supported by an IRCHSS project grant in Theology (2008-2011).

Current Teaching:


Second-year seminar: The cult of the medieval warrior

Third-year seminar: Fallen angels: depictions of Satan in text and art


Literature and Society: Old English Literature

This course introduces students to the study of Old English poetry (in translation) and to the culture that produced it.

Unlocking the Wordhoard: An Introduction to Old English

This course provides students with the skills and linguistic competency to read and translate Old English to a high level of proficiency over twelve weeks.

Of Monsters and Men: Horror and Humour in Old and Middle English

This course analyses heroes, monsters and monstrous human behaviour as cultural constructions which reveal a society’s values and fears. It focuses upon those characters and characteristics considered marginal and on the edge, socially and physically (in manuscript marginalia, for example).


Texts and Contexts: Medieval to Renaissance

This programme concentrates on interactions between texts in English from Ireland and its neighbours within the British archipelago, as well as the cultural transmissions and transformations between classical and European intellectual and literary traditions and texts produced within the Irish-British archipelago.

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