Professor Thomas Clancy
- Professor of Celtic (Celtic & Gaelic)
My research over the years has had a number of major strands.
Medieval Celtic Literature: I have worked on medieval Celtic literature since my doctoral studies in the University of Edinburgh, on saints and fools in early Irish literature. I have published a number of studies on the role of fools in early Irish texts; on kingship, court society and heroism in the Ulster cycle; on women in and women as authors of early Irish texts. Whilst I have published less on Welsh literature, it remains a core teaching and research interest.
The Literature of Scotland: I have also had a long-standing interest in the literature of Scotland, particularly its early medieval literature. Two books I published in the 1990s helped to clarify the existence of a substantial amount and variety of early medieval Scottish literature, and I have written several times on this body of literature since, in literary histories and companions. I retain a side interest in Scottish Gaelic literature across the centuries, and several studies of individual poems, and also a recent article on Gaelic literature and Scottish Romanticism, reflect this—as does some of my supervising. I am series editor with Ian Brown of the International Companions to Scottish Literature and its predecessor series, the International Companions to Scottish Literature.
Early Medieval Scotland, and in particular its religious history and linguistic history have been a particular concern of mine. I have published a number of studies of saints' cults and Scottish hagiography, challenging in particular the tendency to read hagiographies as straightforwardly historical texts. A particular subset of this research has focused on the history of Iona and the Columban familia, including a book-length study of early poetry relating to Iona (written with Gilbert Márkus). The external history of Gaelic in medieval Scotland has been the subject of two recent articles, and a further several forthcoming ones.
Place-Names: Recently my research has been particularly absorbed by work on place-names. I have directed a series of research projects involving place-names and the evidence they can give us for language, society and religion in medieval Scotland. (For details, see under Grants).
Funder: Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership (funded by Heritage Lottery Fund)
The Place-Names of the Galloway Glens
Project Team: Dr Simon Taylor, Gilbert Márkus, Brian Aitken
Funder: Ceòlas Uibhist
Eòlas nan Naomh
Project Team: Dr Sofia Evemalm
Funder: The Leverhulme Trust
Commemorations of Saints in Scottish Place-Names
Project Team: Dr Rachel Butter, Gilbert Márkus, Matthew Barr
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Scottish Toponymy in Transition: Progressing County Surveys of the Place-Names of Scotland
Project Team: Prof. Carole Hough (Co-Investigator); Dr Simon Taylor (Chief Researcher); Dr Peter McNiven, Dr Eila Williamson (Researchers), Leonie Dunlop (PhD Student)
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council
The Expansion and Contraction of Gaelic in Medieval Scotland: The Onomastic Evidence
Project Team: Dr Simon Taylor, Gilbert Márkus (Researchers), Peter McNiven (PhD Student)
Snell Visitor, Balliol College, Oxford, 2007
Funder: The Leverhulme Trust
Research Fellowship: The Making of Scottish Christianity: A History to 1215
I am happy to accept enquiries about PhD supervision in most topics relating to medieval Celtic literature, history and culture (Scottish, Irish, Welsh), saints’ cults, Scottish place-names. My past and current supervision will give some sense of recent activity.
Current Students and Topics:
- Myra Booth-Cockcroft: The world of patron and scribe in the 14th-century Welsh manuscript Llyfr Coch Hergest
- Joan Gallagher: Conflicting Concerns? Characterisation, Cyuoeth, Consent and Kedymdeith in Chwedyl Iarlles y Ffynnawn.
- Carly McNamara: Institutional Ecclesiastical Links in Non-Columban Monasteries Between The West of Scotland and North of Ireland, AD 500 - 1000
- Robbie MacLeòid: Love in early Gaelic tales
- Manon Thuillier (based in English Language and Linguistics): Late medieval and early modern English-language poems in Welsh orthography
- Gemma Smith: The Shieling in Gaelic culture in North-West Scotland
- Scott McCreadie (based in Archaeology): Conversion and Christianity in Viking Age Scotland
- McCreadie, Scott
Conversion and Christianity in Viking Age Scotland: A Comparative Study of the Material Culture of Conversion in the Northern and Western Isles.
- Smith, Gemma
Shieling landscapes of North West Sutherland: people, place and ecology
Past doctoral theses completed and awarded under my supervision:
- Max Quaintmere (2018) Aspects of memory in medieval Irish literature
- Sofia Evemalm (2017) Theory and practice in the coining and transmission of place-names: a study of the Norse and Gaelic anthropo-toponyms of Lewis
- Alasdair Whyte (2017) Settlement-names and society: analysis of the medieval districts of Forsa and Moloros in the parish of Torosay, Mull
- Andrew McQuaid (2017) Advice for kings: an investigation into a subdivision of early Irish wisdom literature
- David Cochran-Yu (2016) A Keystone of Contention: the Earldom of Ross, 1215-1517
- Ross Crawford (2016) Warfare in the West Highlands and Isles of Scotland, c. 1544-1615
- Anne Paton (2015) An examination of the evidence for the existence of leprosy and Hansen's Disease in medieval Ireland
- Guto Rhys (2015) Approaching the Pictish language: historiography, early evidence and the question of Pritenic
- Peter Drummond (2014) An analysis of toponyms and toponymic patterns in eight parishes of the upper Kelvin basin
- Catriona Gray (2013) The bishopric of Brechin and church organisation in Angus and the Mearns in the central Middle Ages
- Sarah Erskine (2012) The relic cult of St Patrick between the seventh and the late twelfth centuries in its European contexts: A focus on the lives
- Elin Eyjolfsdottir (2011) The Bórama: the poetry and the hagiography in the Book of Leinster
- Sìm Innes (2011) Cràbhachd do Mhoire Òigh air a’ Ghàidhealtachd sna meadhan-aoisean anmoch, le aire shònraichte do Leabhar Deadhan Lios Mòir
- Peter McNiven (2011) Gaelic place-names and the social history of Gaelic speakers in medieval Menteith
- Janet MacDonald (2010) Iona's local associations in Argyll and the Isles, c1203-c1575
- Julia Kühns (2009) The pre-19th-century manuscript tradition and textual transmission of the Early Modern Irish tale Oidheadh Con Culainn: a preliminary study
- Mark Zumbuhl (2005) The practice of Irish kingship in the Central Middle Ages
- Rachel Butter (2007) Cill- names and saints in Argyll : a way towards understanding the early church in Dál Riata?
- Craig Haggart (2003) The céli Dé and ecclesiastical government in Ireland in the eighth and ninth centuries
MPhil by Research
- Julia Kühns (2006) ‘An edition and translation of the Agallamh Bheag from the Book of Lismore’
- Celtic Civilisation 1B: The Celtic Peoples in the Early Medieval World CELTCIV1002
- Celtic Civilisation 2A: From Rulers to Rebels--Celtic Societies CELTCIV2001
- Celtic Civilisation 2B: Celtic Societies and the Modern World CELTCIV2002
Honours Courses--Medieval Languages
- Introduction to Medieval Welsh CELTCIV4025
- Medieval Welsh Poetry CELTCIV4028
- Advanced Medieval Welsh Texts CELTCIV4001
- Early Gaelic Poetry CELTCIV4005
- Advanced Early Gaelic Texts CELTCIV4009
Honours Courses--History and Culture
- Medieval Ireland 800-1100 CELTCIV4042
- Celtic Place-Names of Scotland CELTCIV4016
- Medieval Welsh Literature in Translation CELTCIV4027
- Kingdoms and Societies in Northern Britain AD400-800 ARCH4018
I am a native of New York City, and was educated in the Bronx High School of Science, New York University and the University of Edinburgh before coming to a lectureship in Glasgow in 1995.
I was appointed to the established Chair of Celtic here in 2005.
My father, Joseph Clancy, was a prolific and award-winning poet and translator of Welsh literature, and it was my pleasure in recent years to help edit some of his work into print - for his work, see https://profjosephpclancy.weebly.com/
- Series Editor, with Ian Brown: The International Companions to Scottish Literature
- Series Editor, with Martin MacGregor: The History of Gaelic Scotland (EUP)
- Editor, with Michel Byrne and Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, of the journal Aiste: Rannsachadh air Litreachas Gàidhlig / Studies in Gaelic Literature
- Editorial Board:
- The Innes Review: The Journal of the Scottish Catholic Historical Association (Editor, 1999-2007)
- Journal of Scottish Name Studies
- Ainm: A Journal of Name Studies
- Chair of The Scottish Medievalists: The Society for Scottish Medieval and Renaissance Studies
- Director, The Survey of Scottish Place-Names
- Subpanel Member, UoA28 Modern Languages REF2021
- (Panel Member, Celtic Studies, RAE2008)