Patrick McAlary, St Catharine's

Degree: PhD
Course: ASNC
Supervisor: Dr Alison Bonner

Biographical Information

I am a PhD student in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic undertaking a PhD project which seeks to outline the history of Emly, a prominent ecclesiastical institution in southern Ireland entitled 'Dynastic Influence and Institutional Agency in Medieval Munster: A Study of Emly Until the Eleventh Century'.

I currently sit on the committee of the London Society for Medieval Studies, an affiliate of the Institute for Historical Research. Having served as the Co-President for the Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, I also acted as the Editor-in-Chief for the affiliated journal, Quaestio Insularis: Selected Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic 21 (2020).

Research Interests

I have a wide array of interests relating to early medieval history. I am particularly interested in Irish ecclesiastical history with a specific focus on institutional histories, and how these intersect with political and dynastic history. My interests include: abbatial succession; ecclesiastical contention; ecclesiastic-dynastic relationships; identity construction; political history; pseudo-history; hagiography; the Insular Easter Controversy; chronicles; institutional perspectives on history.

Apart from medieval history, I am also interested in policy research and application. I took part in the Policy Challenges hosted by the Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange and Cambridgeshire County Council and helped to produce a report about care experienced young people in Cambridgeshire complete with a series of policy recommendations for the Council. I also undertook a Fellowship at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology where I produced a research brief for MPs and Peers on Upskilling and Retraining the Adult Workforce.

Areas of Supervision

I teach across the following papers:

  • Part I Paper 1: England before the Norman Conquest
  • Part I Paper 4: The Gaelic-Speaking Peoples from the Fouth Century to the Twelfth
  • Part I Paper 8: Medieval Irish Language and Literature
  • Part II Paper 3: Sea Kings and the Celtic Speaking World, c. 1014–1164

Selected Publications

Selected Academic Publications

'Contention after Mag Léne: Identifying paries dealbatus', Peritia 33 (forthcoming).

'Early Mechanisms of Abbatial Succession: The Case of Iona (563–704)', Early Medieval Europe 30 (2022), 73–100.


Selected Policy Publications

POSTnote 659: Upskilling and Retraining the Adult Workforce (2021).