Resurrecting Irish Monks

Author: Brendan O’Shaughnessy ’93

Community 1600

Ryan Lash first visited the wind-swept islands off the west coast of Ireland in 2007 as a freshman at Notre Dame with scant knowledge of the place or his purpose there.

Every year since, the siren call of these islands pulls Lash back, laying out a quest to resurrect the history of medieval monks who built monasteries on rocky outcrops in the wild Atlantic on the western edge of Europe. He now has his doctorate in the subject and is preparing a book, “Faith Along the Water,” written during a postdoctoral year with his mentor, anthropologist Ian Kuijt.

In some ways, Lash’s magnetic interest in a place and a people is not unlike that of the God-seeking monks and pilgrims who sparked his academic journey.

This is an excerpt from "Resurrecting Irish Monks: Notre Dame archaeologists trace the history of island Catholicism," published by the University of Notre Dame. Read the full article here.

On April 22, 2021, Dr. Lash will present a talk on his work, "Island Endurance: Ritual, Heritage, and Sustainability on Inishark and Inishbofin." Event details and Zoom registration.