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Dr Alexander O'Hara

Research Fellow in Ecclesiastical History/ Historical Theology of the Early Irish Church 

Loyola Institute


Alexander OHara

Dr Alexander O’Hara is a historian of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages specialising in monastic history and theology, the medieval cult of the saints and medieval Latin literary culture. A graduate of the University of St Andrews and Oxford University, he has held Research Fellowships at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, the University of St Andrews and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. His research has been awarded funding from the Austrian Science Fund, the Norwegian Government, and the Carnegie Trust

Dr O’Hara’s research focuses on the inter-relationship between monastic groups and secular elites in the Early Middle Ages, the transformation of the Frankish world in the seventh century, the cult of the saints in the Early and High Middle Ages, medieval hagiography and its manuscript transmission, the perception of Ireland and the Irish in medieval sources, and with the Irish monastic diaspora in Europe in the Middle Ages. Dr O’Hara’s current research project, Savage/ Saint Island: Imagining Ireland and the Irish from Classical Antiquity to the Anglo-Norman Conquest explores the development of Irish ethnic identity and the perception of Ireland and the Irish up to the thirteenth century.

He is the author of Jonas of Bobbio and the Legacy of Columbanus: Sanctity and Community in the Seventh Century (Oxford University Press, 2018), the editor of Columbanus and the Peoples of Post­-Roman Europe (Oxford University Press, 2018), and translator of Jonas of Bobbio: Life of Columbanus, Life of John, and Life of Vedast (Liverpool University Press, 2017). His latest book is St Sunniva: Irish Queen, Norwegian Patron Saint (Bergen, 2021), a collected volume of which he is a co-editor concerning the medieval cult of the Irish saint Sunniva, patron of Bergen and Western Norway.