About me




My scholarship focuses on conversion to Christianity in the Medieval West, the cults and Lives of early Christian saints, and the development of the Patrician cult from the fifth to twelfth century. I have published a variety of articles on these topics and am currently preparing a monograph on the Patrician Latin hagiography, which is due for publication in 2020.

I lecture in medieval history at University College Dublin. From 2017-2019 I lectured at Queen's University Belfast, before which I completed an Irish Research Council fellowship in the Royal Irish Academy. I have worked with a number of institutes including the Discovery Programme, the UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute and the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Through these bodies I have been involved in a variety of research projects including the Irish government-sponsored Louvain 400 celebrations.

Member Details

Full Name

Elizabeth Dawson (Professional Historian)

Membership Type

Professional Historian



* 2019-present: Lecturer, University College Dublin
* 2017-2019: Lecturer, Queen's University Belfast
* 2014-6: Irish Research Council Post-doctoral Fellow, Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources, Royal Irish Academy
* Adjunct Lecturer, St Patrick's College, Maynooth
* Historian, ‘The Archaeology of Change – Ireland from the 4th to the 8th century AD Scoping Study’; The Discovery Programme
* Research Assistant, ‘The Material Culture of the Mendicant Orders in Ireland’; Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute
* Research Assistant, ‘Louvain 400 Celebrations’; Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute

Management & Administrative experience

* Assistant Administrator, Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland; January-October 2010.

* Logistics Officer, UCD Veterinary Hospital; 2003-2006.


I currently teach at the School of History, University College Dublin. Here I teach various modules focusing on medieval Ireland. I have also taught at Queen's University Belfast, and at the Department of Theology, St Patrick's College, Maynooth. This teaching has included research-led topics as well as broad survey courses.

Outreach activities

* Participant in the Leverhume funded Converting the Isles project run by the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge.

* Invited participant in the workshops for the Late Iron Age and Roman Ireland project run by the Discovery Programme.

* Part of the wider consulting group working on the INSTAR funded Mapping Death: Boundaries and Territories in Ireland, 1st to 8th centuries AD (2008-2009).

Committees & Associations

* Member of the IAPH Advisory committee (2017-present)
* Executive Secretary and member of IAPH committee (2013-17)
* Member of the Irish Committee for Historical Sciences (2016-17)


* 2019: NUI Grant for Early Career Academics for conference focusing on the Armagh scriptorium.

* 2014: Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, completed in the Royal Irish Academy (Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources project).

* 2005: UCD Open Postgraduate PhD Scholarship.


Book Chapters

* ‘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.

Peer Reviewed Journals

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

Published reports

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

Electronic Publications

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


* 'Sacred Histories: A Festschrift for Máire Herbert'. Edited by John Carey, Kevin Murray and Caitríona Ó Dochartaigh (Dublin, 2015) in '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 Studies, http://www.beac.nd.edu (Notre Dame, 2014).

* Marcus Losack, 'Rediscovering Saint Patrick: A New Theory of Origins' (Dublin, 2013), in '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), in 'Medieval Archaeology: Journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology', vol. 55 (2011), 383.


* 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’.

* Editor, The History Review, vol. 16 (Dublin, 2006).