Irish islanders have long been heralded and reviled as holdovers of the past, resistant to social change. Such stereotypes emanate from a nefarious colonial ideology that depicted oppressed people around the world as racially and culturally primitive. In this lecture, Dr. Ryan Lash, PhD Northwestern University and the 2020-2021 Naughton Fellow at the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, will offer an alternative account of endurance on the islands of Inishark, evacuated in 1960, and Inishbofin, still home to some 200 residents. More than a decade of archaeological, ethnographic, and archival research demonstrates how islanders curated and adapted the monuments and traditions of medieval saint cults to generate new forms of social solidarity across centuries of political and environmental adversity. The history of the islands demonstrate the creativity of heritage and the power of commemoration for community sustainability.
Read more: Resurrecting Irish Monks: Notre Dame archaeologists trace the history of island Catholicism, Notre Dame Office of Research, January 2021.