Theology and Philosophy

Past Lecture by Professor Salvador Ryan

“Críost Liom”: Treasures of the Irish Christian Tradition

It has been fashionable for quite some time now to market the distinctiveness of the Irish Christian tradition. Whether one loves or loathes the term “Celtic Spirituality”, there is no denying the impact that it has had on popular consciousness and the tendency to set the “Celtic” world apart from more “mainstream”experiences of Christianity elsewhere. In more recent years, scholars have been at pains to situate Irish Christianity within its broader European context and to emphasise parallels rather than the divergences. This wide-ranging paper seeks to identify and discuss some of the hallmarks of the Irish Christian experience across the centuries (hallmarks that are here termed “treasures”), not with a view to promoting the idea of a spiritual isolationism, but rather to explaining how Christian ideas were received, appropriated and enlivened by the Irish cultural matrix which hosted them. This can best be encapsulated in the prayer “Críost Liom” (Christ [be] with me), which takes the form both of an aspiration and a statement of fact.

About Professor Salvador Ryan

Pontifical University, Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland

Salvador Ryan is a native of the village of Moneygall on the border betweeen counties Offaly and Tipperary. He is professor of Ecclesiastical History at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and has published widely in the area of late medieval and early modern popular religious belief. He is Secretary and Reviews Editor of the international periodical, Irish Theological Quarterly, Treasurer of the Catholic Historical Society of Ireland and of its sources journal, Archivium Hibernicum, and a member of the International Advisory Board of British Catholic History, published by Cambridge University Press. Among his recent publications are three volumes of Treasures of Irish Christianity (Dublin: Veritas Publications, 2012, 2013, 2015), a compendium of short articles which examine a host of aspects of the Irish Christian tradition over 1,500 years, and which feature, in each volume, contributions from some seventy scholars across a range of disciplines.