Dr Elizabeth Dawson

Medieval History Lecturer


I am a medieval historian with an expertise the early medieval history of Ireland. Before joining the team at Carlow College I lectured at University College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast. I am the recipient of numberous awards including the NUI Grant for Early Career Academics and IRC postdoctoral fellowship, and have worked with the Discovery Programme, the UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute and the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. I am a co-founder of the Irish Association of Professional Historians.

Research Interest

My scholarship primarily focuses on conversion to Christianity in the Medieval West, the cults of early Christian saints, and the development of Brigidine and Patrician veneration in Ireland. I have published a number of articles on these topics and am the author of Lives & Afterlives: the Hiberno-Latin Patrician Tradition 650–1100 (Turnhout, in press 2023).  



Lives & Afterlives: The Hiberno-Latin Patrician Tradition 650-1100 Studia Traditionis Theologiae (Turnhout, 2023) (in press)


Peer-reviewed Book Chapters & Articles:

‘Brigit and Patrick in Vita Prima Sanctae Brigitae: veneration and jurisdiction,’ Peritia 28 (2017), 35-50.

Various entries for The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, (Oliver Nicholson ed.) (Oxford, 2017): ‘Adomnán’; ‘Armagh’; ‘Iona’; ‘magic and divination, Celtic’; ‘paganism, Celtic’; and ‘Patrick’.

‘The Vita Patricii by Tírechán and the creation of St Patrick’s nationwide status,’ in Ciuis Patrocinio Tota Gaudet Regio: Saints’ Cults and the Dynamics of Regional Cohesion (S. Kuzmová et. al. eds.) (Zagreb, 2014), 1-20.

‘Seeing the face of God: an example of conversion in the seventh-century Patrician Lives’, in Treasures of Irish Christianity: People and Places, Images and Texts (B. Leahy and S. Ryan, eds.) (Dublin, 2012), 37-9.

‘Pillars of conversion in Muirchú and Tírechán: two case studies’, The St Patrick’s Confessio Hypertext Stackhttp://www.confessio.ie (A. Harvey and A. Fischer, eds.) (Dublin, 2011).


with M. Comber, The Archaeology of Change: Ireland from the Fifth to Seventh Century AD: Phase 1 Report (The Discovery Programme, 2011).


‘Sacred Histories: A Festschrift for Máire Herbert’. Edited by John Carey, Kevin Murray and Caitríona Ó Dochartaigh (Dublin, 2015), Irish Theological Quarterly 82(4) (2017), 354-5.

‘Mixing Medieval’, a review of the medieval sessions of ACIS-CAIS 2014, for Breac: A Digital Journal of Irish Studieshttp://www.beac.nd.edu (Notre Dame, 2014).

Marcus Losack, ‘Rediscovering Saint Patrick: A New Theory of Origins’ (Dublin, 2013), Doctrine and Life vol. 64 no. 1 (January 2014), 56-8.

Lisa Bitel, ‘Landscape with Two Saints. How Genovefa of Paris and Brigit of Kildare Built Christianity in Barbarian Europe’ (Oxford, 2009) and Brian Wright, ‘Brigid: Goddess, Druidess and Saint’ (Stroud, 2009), Medieval Archaeology: Journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology vol. 55 (2011), 383.


Irish Research Council Post-doctoral Fellow, Royal Irish Academy. Awarded 2014.

PhD, School of History, UCD, NUI. Awarded 2012.

MA in Medieval Studies, School of History, UCD, NUI, Awarded 2004.

BA (Honours), UCD, NUI, Awarded 2002.