I began studying Celtic at undergraduate level at the University of Aberdeen, motivated by a childhood interest in the medieval literature and languages of the British Isles. The field of Celtic Studies provided just the right mix of historical, linguistic and literary topics to get me hooked. Upon graduating from Aberdeen I decided to continue my studies at postgraduate level at the University of Oxford. After a brief hiatus I am very pleased to have returned to the academic world, beginning my PhD at the University of Glasgow with the aid of a generous scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Glasgow’s large, well-staffed and well-resourced Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies provides the ideal environment for my research.
My current research focuses on the topic of Memory in the Medieval Irish Ulster Cycle of tales across the broad span of their textual life. I aim to approach the issues of how and why this very distinctive, almost classical, depiction of a society of heroes and kings, and their great deeds, was retained in the fabric of Medieval Ireland’s broader conceptualisation of its past. How literature integrates with society’s construction of a self-image, for the purposes of consolidation, reflective criticism or otherwise, is one main focus of the study, as well as the broader mnemonic structures in which the tales were retained and transmitted during their lifespan. The project touches on aspects of literary and social history as well as more theoretical aspects of textuality and genre, and the mixture of expertise present at Glasgow supports this multi-lateral approach perfectly.