Many Clans have members who are immersed in their clan and surname history. Some are enthusiastic hobbyists while others are scholars who delve into the genealogical and historical recesses of the past and provide a guiding light as seanchaí of their clans. However it is done, the study of history in all its forms, lies at the heart of the Clans of Ireland’s mission to raise awareness and appreciation of Ireland’s rich Gaelic heritage.

Encouraging evidence-based and original research is a chief aim of the Clans of Ireland. One palpable way to encourage this is to showcase excellence in scholarship which has been applied to researching, promoting and promulgating Irish-Gaelic history. This includes, but is not limited to, scholarly research and writing on the clans and clan system in medieval Ireland.

The Clans of Ireland, together with the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains (Buanchomhairle Thaoisigh Éireann) sponsor an annual essay / prize in history competition in which to encourage and promote academic enquiry into the study of Gaelic Ireland, its people, heritage and kinship. The essays are judged by an academic historian and a prize of €500 awarded to the winning entrant. Non-professional historians are encouraged to participate in the essay competition, especially undergraduate and postgraduate university students. The competition is open to scholars based in Ireland and abroad.

A secondary aim of the Clans of Ireland is to publish, under the editorship of published scholars and academic historians, an anthology of selected essays in order to give expression to the Clans of Ireland’s aim of helping forwarding the serious study of Gaelic Ireland. 

The range of essays is broad and range from early medieval saints to Gaelic lordship in the Middle Ages, and from archaeology to Gaelic scholarship and learning. Other fields such as genealogy, textual studies and material culture are also covered. Attention in these essays is drawn to Gaelic-Irish, Anglo- Norman and other population groups that were settled in Ireland prior to 1691.

Each year at the Clans of Ireland AGM and Cultural Summit, we invite the winners of the essay competition / prize in history to present their finding to the membership and registered clans of Clans of Ireland.  

You can view presentations / lectures from pervious essay competition winners through our YouTube Channel.

To date, the Clans of Ireland has joined with Wordwell Books to deliver three anthologies. The latest anthology, Gaelic Ireland (c.600–c.1700), Lordship, saints and learning is available to purchase now.

Essays submitted to the Irish Chiefs’ and Clans’ Prize in History (2021) were reviewed and edited by Luke McInerney and Dr Katharine Simms. 

The published anthology of essays is available in both paperback and hardback versions here by clicking the link to: Wordwell Books.