Patrick McAlary, St Catharine's

Degree: PhD
Course: ASNC
Supervisor: Dr Alison Bonner

Biographical Information

I have recently submitted my PhD in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic entitled 'An Ecclesiastical Institution in Medieval Munster: A Study of Emly to c. 1100'.

I 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. The rise of genealogical constituencies within institutions and the development of a coherent 'institutional identity' feature heavily in my research. As part of this, I want to get a better sense of how power structures within ecclesiastical institutions developed; this has fuelled my research on abbatial succession mechanisms. I am also interested in inter-institutional relationships and how far literary works, such as hagiographies, functioned as 'institutional discourse'. Further research interests include: ecclesiastical contention; ecclesiastic-dynastic relationships; identity construction; political history; pseudo-history; hagiography; the Insular Easter Controversy; chronicles; institutional perspectives on history; dynastic prosopography; medieval Munster.

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.

I am currently working as a Policy Assistant at the Centre for Science and Policy and I am also a Research Assistant in Applied History at the Centre for Geopolitics

Areas of Supervision

As well as participating in the MPhil Text Seminar I teach across the following papers:

  • Part I Paper 1: England before the Norman Conquest
  • Part I Paper 3: The Brittonic-Speaking Peoples from the Fourth Century to the Twelfth
  • Part I Paper 4: The Gaelic-Speaking Peoples from the Fourth 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

In 2022–23 I am undertaking Course Convenor responsibilities in Part I Paper 3; Part I Paper 4; Part II Paper 3. I will be Acting Director of Studies for Queens' College, Cambridge.

Selected Publications

Selected Academic Publications

'Contested Succession at Iona (704–26)', in Ì Chaluim Chille: Interdisciplinary Studies on Iona and Columba on the 1500th anniversary of the Birth the Saint (forthcoming).

'Contention after Mag Léne: Identifying the paries dealbatus in Cummian's Paschal Letter', Peritia 33 (2022), 111–37.

'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).