Professor of Ecclesiastical History
Tel: +353 (0)1 708 3972
Office Location: Room 1, Dunboyne House
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 12.00 noon—1.00 pm (First Semester)
Salvador Ryan is a native of Moneygall, County Offaly. He studied Nua-Ghaeilge and History at NUI Maynooth and Theology at St Patrick’s College Maynooth and St Patrick’s College, Thurles. He completed his doctoral dissertation on ‘Popular religion in Gaelic Ireland, 1445-1645’ at the Department of History, NUI Maynooth, in 2003, and was based in the department as an IRCHSS Postdoctoral Fellow from 2003-05. From 2005-08 he taught Church History at St Patrick’s College, Thurles, and was employed as Academic Coordinator from 2006-08 before returning to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth as Professor of Ecclesiastical History in 2008. In 2011 he was appointed secretary to the Faculty of Theology at the Pontifical University in Maynooth.
Popular religion and ritual in late medieval and early modern Europe, and especially Gaelic Ireland.
Medieval Gaelic Irish devotional poetry and its relationship with English and European medieval religious lyrics.
Theology of Christ’s Passion and its devotional manifestations in the middle ages.
Medieval and early modern hagiography.
Popular reception of biblical material in late medieval and early modern Ireland.
The Catholic Reformation.
The implementation of the Council of Trent in early modern Ireland.
The catechetical and devotional writings of the Irish Franciscan friars at St Anthony’s College Louvain in the seventeenth century.
The history of preaching.
Nineteenth and twentieth-century popular devotion.
- Art and Devotion in late medieval Ireland (co-editor with Rachel Moss and Colmán Ó Clabaigh). Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006.
- Devotional Cultures of European Christianity, 1790-1960 (co-editor with Henning Laugerud). Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012.
- Treasures of Irish Christianity: People and Places, Images and Texts (co-editor with Brendan Leahy). Dublin: Veritas, 2012.
Articles and Book Chapters
- ‘“Once I heard a story … from scripture does it come”: biblical allusions in Irish bardic religious poetry’, in Seán Duffy (ed.), Princes, Prelates and Poets in Medieval Ireland: Essays in Honour of Katharine Simms. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013.
- ‘“No milkless cow”: the Cross of Christ in medieval Irish literature’, in Peter Clarke and Charlotte Methuen (eds), The Church and Literature: Studies in Church History 48. Abingdon: Boydell Press, 2012.
- ‘Reconstructing Irish Catholic origins after the Reformation’, in Simon Ditchfield, Kate van Liere and Howard Louthan (eds), Sacred History: Uses of the Christian Past in the Renaissance World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
- ‘Blood piety and the Eucharist in late medieval Ireland’ in Salvador Ryan and Brendan Leahy (eds), Treasures of Irish Christianity: People and Places, Images and Texts. Dublin: Veritas, 2012.
- ‘Some reflections on theology and popular piety: a fruitful or fraught relationship’, The Heythrop Journal. Online (2012).
- ‘“I, too, am a Christian”: early martyrs and their lives in the late medieval and early modern Irish manuscript tradition’, in Peter Clarke and Tony Claydon (eds), Saints and Sanctity: Studies in Church History 47. Abingdon: Boydell Press, 2011.
- ‘Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556): Christian soldier or “Soul-aider”?’, in Brendan McConvery (ed.), Living in Union with Christ in Today’s World: the Witness of John Calvin and Ignatius Loyola. Dublin: Veritas Publications, 2011.
- ‘“Reaping a rich harvest of humanity”: images of redemption in Irish bardic religious poetry’, in Brendan Leahy and Séamus O’Connell (eds), Having Life in His Name: Living, Thinking and Communicating the Christian Life of Faith. Dublin: Veritas Publications, 2011.
- ‘Florilegium of faith: religious verse in the Book of the O'Conor Don’ in Pádraig Ó Macháin (ed.), The book of the O’Conor Don: essays on an Irish manuscript. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2010.
- ‘Wily women of God’ in Cavan’s late medieval and early modern devotional collections’, in Brendan Scott (ed.), Culture and society in early modern Breifne/Cavan. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2009.
- ‘A wooden key to open heaven’s door: lessons in practical Catholicism from St Anthony’s College, Louvain’, in Edel Bhreatnach, Joseph McMahon and John McCafferty (eds), The Irish Franciscans, 1540-1990. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2009.
- ‘Fixing the eschatological scales: judgment of the soul in late medieval and early modern Irish tradition’, in Peter Clarke and Tony Claydon (eds), The Church and the afterlife: Studies in Church History, 45. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2009.
- ‘‘Weapons of Redemption: piety, poetry and the Instruments of the Passion in late medieval Ireland’ in Henning Laugerud and Laura Skinnebach (eds), Instruments of Devotion: the practices and objects of religious piety from the late Middle Ages to the 20th century. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2007.
- “‘New wine in old bottles”: implementing Trent in early modern Ireland’, in Thomas Herron and Michael Potterton (eds), Ireland in the Renaissance, c.1540-1660. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007.
- (With Madeleine Gray), ‘“Mother of Mercy”: the Virgin Mary and the Last Judgement in Welsh and Irish tradition’ in Karen Jankulak, Thomas O’ Loughlin and Jonathan Wooding (eds), Ireland and Wales in the Middle Ages. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007.
- ‘Creation and Recreation in Irish bardic poetry’, in Sven Rune Havsteen, Nils Holger Petersen, Heinrich W. Schwab, and Eyolf Østrem (eds.), Creations: Medieval Rituals, the Arts and the Concept of Creation. Turnhout: Brepols, 2007.
- ‘From late medieval piety to Tridentine pietism? The case of 17th century Ireland’ in Fred Van Lieburg (ed.), Confessionalism and Pietism: Religious Reform in the Early Modern period. Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte. Mainz: Verlag Philipp Von Zabern, 2006.
- ‘Exchanging blood for wine: Envisaging Heaven in Irish bardic religious poetry’, in Carolyn Muessig and Ad Putter (eds.), Envisaging Heaven in the Middle Ages. Abingdon: Routledge Press, 2006.
- ‘Windows on late medieval devotional practice: Máire Ní Mháille’s “Book of Piety” (1513) and the world behind the texts’, in Rachel Moss, Colmán Ó Clabaigh and Salvador Ryan (eds), Art and Devotion in late medieval Ireland. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006.
- ‘The most traversed bridge: a reconsideration of elite and popular religion in late medieval Ireland’, in Kate Cooper and Jeremy Gregory (eds.), Popular and Elite religion: Studies in Church History 42 (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2006).
- ‘News and Good News: Christ in the marketplace’, in Joseph Putti (ed.), Time for change: connecting the Good News with contemporary living. Dublin: Veritas Publications, 2006.
- ‘Penitent’s Progress’, The Tablet, 11 June, 2005
- ‘Steadfast saints or malleable models? : Seventeenth-century Irish hagiography revisited’, The Catholic Historical Review, 91:2 (April, 2005)
- ‘Resilient Religion: Popular Piety today’, The Furrow (March, 2005)
- ‘The Quest for tangible religion: a view from the pews’, The Furrow (July/August, 2004)
- ‘A slighted source: rehabilitating Irish bardic religious poetry in historical discourse’, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 48 (Winter, 2004)
- ‘Bonaventura Ó hEoghusa’s An Teagasg Críosdaidhe (1611/1614): a reassessment’, Archivium Hibernicum, lviii (2004)
- ‘The persuasive power of a mother’s breast: the most desperate act of the Virgin Mary’s Advocacy’, Studia Hibernica, 32 (2002–2003)
- ‘The most contentious of terms: towards a new understanding of late medieval “popular religion”’, Irish Theological Quarterly, 68, no.3 (Autumn 2003).
- ‘Reign of blood: devotion to the wounds of Christ in late medieval Ireland’ in Joost Augusteijn and Mary Ann Lyons (eds.), Irish History: a research yearbook (Dublin, 2002)
- (with Henning Laugerud), Late medieval devotions: images, instruments and the materiality of belief. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2014.
- (with Brendan Leahy), Treasures of Irish Christianity, volume ii. Dublin: Veritas, 2013.
- ‘Continental Catechisms and their Irish Imitators in Spanish Habsburg Lands, c. 1550-c.1650’ in Raymond Gillespie and Ruairí Ó hUiginn (eds), Irish Europe: language, text and culture. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013.
- ‘Late medieval cultural Catholicism’, in Oliver Rafferty (ed.), Irish Catholic Identities. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013.
- 'The arma Christi in medieval and early modern Ireland’ in Lisa Cooper and Andrea Denny-Brown (eds), Arma Christi: Objects, Representation, and Devotional Practice in Medieval and Early Modern Culture.
- “Holding up a lamp to the sun: Hiberno-papal relations and the construction of Irish orthodoxy in John Lynch’s Cambrensis Eversus (1662)”, in Charlotte Methuen and John Dolan (eds), The Church on its past: Studies in Church History 49 (Abingdon: Boydell Press, 2013).
- I have reviewed books for the following publications: Celtic Studies Association of North America Yearbook, Church History, Doctrine and Life, H-Net, Intercom, Irish Historical Studies, Irish Theological Quarterly, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Studia Hibernica, The Catholic Historical Review, The Furrow, The Sixteenth Century Journal.
- Over the years I have contributed to projects and broadcasts for the BBC, TG4, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and Newstalk’s Talking History.
- The writing of ecclesiastical history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
- Catechisms and their dissemination in 16th and 17th century Europe
- The Bible and popular culture in the medieval and early modern periods
- The material culture of religious devotion in the 19th and 20th centuries
Undergraduate (First Semester):
- History of the Early Church (EH 144 & 145)
- History of Christianity: Foundations, c.50–c.500AD (EH 242)
- History of the Church in the Modern Age (EH 243A&B)
- Readings in Patristic Theology (EH281)
- Reading Eusebius of Caesarea’s Historia Ecclesiastica (The History of the Church) (PG449)
Memberships of Associations
- Secretary, Irish Theological Quarterly
- Treasurer, Catholic Historical Society of Ireland.
- Member of the European Network on the Instruments of Devotion (ENID).
- Member of Ecclesiastical History Society.
- Member of the European Society for Catholic Theology.
Links and other interests