about me

I am a current PhD candidate in Celtic Studies at Ulster University.

I am originally from New England, and I have lived in Aberystwyth, Cork, Toronto, and Derry over the course of my professional academic career. I also am a classical musician by training, but have been building a repetoire of traditional fiddle music from Donegal and the northwest of Ireland. This is my personal website which serves to represent my current research, publications, conference presentations, and other academic activities and projects that I'm involved with. You can also find me on Twitter, where I mostly post about my cat, Colm Crúibne, who often aptly lives up to his name taken from Catslechta 

"Crúibne, i.e. the name of a cat,  ut est a crúibne, it is a cat of barn and mill, i.e. a warrior, i.e. a strong one, strong from its paw." (Murray 2007)

My research is primarily focused on early medieval Irish monasticism, legal and hagiographical texts, and later manifestations of monasticism and the cult of saints in Ireland and Scotland.


In my PhD dissertation, I’m exploring the relationship between medieval hagiography and folklore in northwest Ireland and Scotland. I am researching a number of relatively unknown local saints in western Ulster and northern Connacht, their medieval/early modern hagiographical traditions in Latin and Irish, their connection to the cult of Colm Cille, and how this has developed into the folk traditions of these saints.

I have been very focused on the study of early Irish law since I began my undergraduate degree, and began my career with great interest in the relationship between law and Ulster Cycle texts. This developed into an interest in Irish law and its relationship with the church in early medieval Ireland, and led to the dissertation I completed for my MA at University College Cork, A Structural and Legal Analysis of Cáin Adomnáin.

As my research has developed, so have my interests in the political atmosphere of 6-9th century Ireland, Irish Christianity in relation to the continent, holy wells and modern veneration of Irish saints, medieval insular perceptions of the sea/maritime and sea voyage literature (immrama), masculinity and femininity in early Irish and Welsh literature, and modern Celtic language advocacy.