Climate in Medieval Ireland: AD 500-1600

Climate in Medieval Ireland: AD 500-1600

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Climate in Medieval Ireland: AD 500-1600

Ian Cantwell

MSc. Degree, Department of Archaeology and Paleoecology, Queen’s University Belfast (2000)


The genesis of this dissertation grew out of a seminar paper for an undergraduate course on Climate Change taught by Pete Coxon in Trinity College, Dublin. Through the obscure workings of fate this was given as a lecture to the Association of Young Irish Archaeologists and published in a somewhat mangled form the same year under the title ‘Climate Change and the Gaelic Annals’ (Cantwell 1998 15-20).At that time, given the quantity of entries in the Annals and the general interest in Climate History it was somewhat surprising to find that the literature, with the exception of a few works such as Wilde (1856), Britton (1937), and Lyons (1989), the field was completely unexplored. After a review of the possible sources the conclusion was drawn that these Annals and the Dendrochronological record were the only data sets that continuously covered the medieval period of AD 500-1600.

At the time of writing (1998) the available Dendrochronological record was kindly given to me by Mike Baillie in indices form. At that time I had neither the expertise or training to make any headway with the exception of the realisation that they do not contain long term changes and that it was also difficult to make any correlation between indices and volcanic activity.

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