1st Edition

Medieval Irish Architecture and the Concept of Romanesque Building Traditions in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Europe

By Tadhg O’Keeffe Copyright 2024
    258 Pages 92 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents a fresh perspective on eleventh- and twelfth-century Irish architecture, and a critical assessment of the value of describing it, and indeed contemporary European architecture in general, as “Romanesque”.

    Medieval Irish Architecture and the Concept of Romanesque is a new and original study of medieval architectural culture in Ireland. The book’s central premise is that the concept of a “Romanesque” style in eleventh- and twelfth-century architecture across Western Europe, including Ireland, is problematic, and that the analysis of building traditions of that period is not well served by the assumption that there was a common style. Detailed discussion of important buildings in Ireland, a place marginalised within the “Romanesque” model, reveals the Irish evidence to be intrinsically interesting to students of medieval European architecture, for it is evidence which illuminates how architectural traditions of the Middle Ages were shaped by balancing native and imported needs and aesthetics, often without reference to Romanitas.

    This book is for specialists and students in the fields of Romanesque, medieval archaeology, medieval architectural history, and medieval Irish studies.

    1  Europe and Ireland: inventing “Romanesque” 2 Tradition and innovation in the architecture of early medieval Ireland 3 Vaulting ambitions: the eleventh-century transformation of Irish architecture 4 Building the reformed Church in Ireland’s short twelfth century 5 Cormac’s Chapel and its place in Irish and European architectural history 6 Epilogue


    Tadhg O’Keeffe is Full Professor of Archaeology in University College Dublin (Ireland), where he has taught since 1996. A specialist in medieval archaeology, he has lectured and published extensively on medieval buildings and on urban and rural settlements and landscapes.