Prof Salvador Ryan


Salvador Ryan is a native of the village of Moneygall on the border betweeen counties Offaly and Tipperary. He studied History and Irish at National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and Theology at St Patrick's College, Maynooth. He completed a PhD in 2002 through the Department of History at National University of Ireland, Maynooth, on the subject of "Popular Religion in Gaelic Ireland, c.1445-c.1645". From 2003 to 2005 he was an Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of History, Maynooth. From 2006 to 2008 he was Academic Coordinator and Lecturer in Church History at St Patrick's College, Thurles, before being appointed Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the Pontifical University, St Patrick's College, Maynooth, in 2008. He is Treasurer of the Catholic Historical Society of Ireland and of its sources journal, Archivium Hibernicum. He currently serves as Secretary of the international journal Irish Theological Quarterly, which involves coordination of the peer-review of all submitted articles. Salvador is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Journal of Baroque Studies and, since 2014, of the Editorial Advisory Board of British Catholic History (formerly Recusant History), published by Cambridge University Press. In 2013 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the Ecclesiastical History Society for a three-year term. He has also been an active member of the European Network on the Instruments of Devotion (ENID) since 2004.



Edited Volumes

  • 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.
  • Treasures of Irish Christianity, Volume 2: A People of the Word (co-editor with Brendan Leahy). Dublin: Veritas, 2013.
  • Treasures of Irish Christianity, Volume 3: To the Ends of the Earth (editor). Dublin: Veritas, forthcoming, 2015.
  • The materiality of devotion in late medieval northern Europe: images, objects and practices (co-editor with Henning Laugerud and Laura Katrine Skinnebach). Dublin: Four Courts Press, forthcoming, 2015.
  • Religion and Politics in Urban Ireland, c.1500-c.1750: Essays in honour of Colm Lennon (co-editor with Clodagh Tait). Dublin: Four Courts Press, forthcoming, 2015.
  • Remembering the Reformation: Martin Luther and Catholic Theology (co-editor with Declan Marmion). Minneapolis: Fortress Press, forthcoming, late 2016.

Articles and Book Chapters:


  • ‘”Scarce anyone survives a heart wound”: the wounded Christ in Irish bardic religious poetry’, in Larissa Tracy and Kelly de Vries (eds), ‘His Brest Tobrosten': Wounds and Wound Repair in Medieval Culture. Leiden: Brill (forthcoming)
  • ‘“A gentle doe from the best of the herd”: the Virgin Mary as Intercessor in the late medieval and early modern Irish tradition’, in Jonas Carlquist and Virginia Langum (eds), Words and Matter: the Virgin Mary in Late Medieval Parish Life. Stockholm: Runica et Mediaevalia (forthcoming, 2015)
  • ‘Christ the wounded lover and affective piety in late medieval Ireland and beyond’, in Henning Laugerud, Salvador Ryan and Laura Katrine Skinnebach (eds), The materiality of devotion in late medieval northern Europe: images, objects and practices. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015 (forthcoming)
  • ‘Missions and Missionaries’, in The Global History of Catholicism, ed. James Hagerty (Bassingbourn: Rowan Publishing, forthcoming, late 2015)



  • ‘The new papal saints and their relations with Orthodox Christianity’, Doctrine and Life 64:6 (July/August, 2014)
  • ‘The arma Christi in medieval and early modern Ireland’ in Lisa Cooper and Andrea Denny-Brown (eds), The Arma Christi in Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014).
  • ‘Sparks through the Stubble: Re-imagining Ireland’s “Golden Age” of Christianity’, The Furrow (January, 2014).
  • ‘Penance and the Privateer: handling sin in the bardic religious verse of the Book of the O’Conor Don (1631)’, in Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin and Robert Armstrong (eds), Christianities in the Early Modern Celtic World (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)



  • ‘The devotional landscape of medieval Irish cultural Catholicism inter hibernicos et inter anglicos, c.1200-c.1550’, in Oliver Rafferty (ed.), Irish Catholic Identities. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013.
  • ‘Continental Catechisms and their Irish Imitators in Spanish Habsburg Lands, c. 1550-1650’ in Raymond Gillespie and Ruairí Ó hUiginn (eds), Irish Europe: Writing and Learning, 1600-1650. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013.
  • ‘Signed in Blood: Christ’s crucified body as document’, in Salvador Ryan and Brendan Leahy (eds), Treasures of Irish Christianity, Volume 2. Dublin: Veritas, 2013.
  • “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).
  • Merita Missae: the Eucharist and the Lived reality of Irish Christians in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Periods’ in 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012, Proceedings of the International Symposium of Theology: The ecclesiology of Communion Fifty Years after the Opening of Vatican II. Dublin: Veritas, 2013.
  • ‘“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)
  • “Renewal through Respect”: Featured Review of Brendan Hoban’s Change or Decay: Irish Catholicism in crisis’, The Furrow (September, 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)


Select List of Articles in Popular Publications:

  • ‘Musings’ (a monthly resource for Parish Newsletters), Intercom (November 2013 to present)
  • ‘Irish synods: an historical overview’, Reality (April, 2015)
  • ‘Blessed Paul VI: the pope who steered the Second Vatican Council to its conclusion’, Reality (October, 2014)
  • ‘Pope Benedict XV: Man of Peace in the First World War’, Reality (September, 2014)
  • ‘A way paved with wolves. locusts and heretics: a 17th century account of a pilgrimage to Compostela’, The Catholic Herald (25 July 2014)
  • ‘Following in St James’ footsteps’, The Evening Echo (25 July 2014)
  • ‘How doctrine denied dead infants a decent burial’, Irish Independent (14 June 2014)
  • ‘Peter and Andrew to embrace in Jerusalem’, Irish Catholic (22 May 2014) – on the meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
  • ‘New papal saints widened the saintly pool’, National Catholic Reporter (April 25-May 8, 2014, print issue; online issue April 26, 2014)
  • ‘As numbers dwindle, the drama of Holy Week brings Christians together’, Irish Independent (19 April 2014)
  • ‘The Christmas Story in the Christian Tradition’, Reality (December, 2013)
  • ‘St Oliver Plunkett (1625-1681) and Church Reform’, Intercom (November, 2012)
  • ‘The Sacred Heart devotion and its medieval roots’, Intercom (June, 2012)
  • ‘Lough Derg – the three-day spiritual de-tox for your soul’, Irish Independent (4 June 2013)
  • “Man of Poverty” Francis is sending a clear message’, Irish Independent (19 March 2013)
  • ‘Riots, Rations, Death – all in a good conclave’, Irish Independent (11 March 2013)
  • ‘Popularity test: why do Solemn Novenas continue to appeal?’, Reality (December, 2011)
  • ‘St Patrick: Man behind the Myth’, Irish Catholic (17 March, 2011)
  • ‘To thank or not to thank?’ (on the question of thanking congregations for attending church), Intercom (March, 2007)
  • ‘An Open Letter to Preachers’, Intercom (September, 2006)
  • ‘Putting Flesh on Faith’, Irish Catholic (23 December, 2004)
  • ‘Jesus’ touch for both body and soul’, Irish Catholic (26 August, 2004)


Book Reviews:

  • 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, Milltown Studies, Studia Hibernica, The Catholic Historical Review, The Furrow, The Medieval Review, The Sixteenth Century Journal and Peritia.