Seminar – Dr Simon Egan – ‘Royal Pretenders and Dynastic Rivals in the North Atlantic World: The Hiberno-Scottish Nexus, c.1100-c.1500’

The SSNS Seminar Series continues on 5 May with a talk by Dr Simon Egan (Trinity College Dublin), titled ‘Royal Pretenders and Dynastic Rivals in the North Atlantic World: The Hiberno-Scottish Nexus, c.1100-c.1500.

This is a free, ticketed event; please register below.


Over the course of the later middle ages, the island of Ireland became a focus for a variety of dynastic pretenders. In the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, Welsh dynasts sought shelter in Ireland and often secured the military muscle needed to recover the lands in Gwynedd and Deheubarth. During the early thirteenth century, the Meic Uilleim dynasty – a scion of the royal Scottish lineage – are believed to have launched several invasions of Scotland from Ireland. In the early fourteenth century, Robert Bruce (d.1329) deployed Irish manpower in his bid for the kingship of the Scots and enlisted Irish allies in his wars with the Plantagenets. Although Ireland proved to be a bountiful recruiting ground for numerous malcontents, Irish mercenaries were not the sole pursuit of Scottish or Welsh dynasts. English magnates also looked westward to Ireland. During the mid-fifteenth century, the House of York used Ireland as a base of operations throughout the Wars of the Roses and Richard duke of York (d.1460) and Edward IV (d.1483) both negotiated with powerful Irish lineages. The Tudors also faced a range of challenges from Ireland: during the later fifteenth century, the island became a playground for foreign intrigues and played host to the infamous pretenders, Lambert Simnel (d.c.1534) and Perkin Warbeck (d.1499).

This paper considers Ireland’s role in the royal dynastic struggles of the later middle ages and considers the reasons why a range of pretenders from Scotland, Wales, and England looked to Ireland for support during this period. Ultimately, the paper seeks to step beyond some of the traditional approaches to the history of late medieval Ireland and Britain and explores how events within the western section of the archipelago shaped the politics of the wider archipelago across four formative centuries.


Dr Simon Egan is an Assistant Professor in Medieval Irish and British History at Trinity College Dublin. Before coming to Dublin, Simon was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow within the Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies at the University of Glasgow. He held a one-year postdoctoral research fellowship from the Society for Renaissance Studies (2017-18) and before this worked as a part-time lecturer and tutor within the School of History at University College Cork (2011-2017). Simon completed his PhD in History at University College Cork in 2016. His doctoral thesis was funded by the Irish Research Council and investigated the resurgence of Gaelic lordship in Ireland and Scotland c.1350-c.1513, with a particular focus on how events in these regions impacted and impinged upon the affairs of the wider archipelago. He is currently completing his first monograph which examines this topic in closer detail. As a researcher, he is particularly interested in exploring the developing relationship between Ireland and Scotland and how events in these regions shaped the ambitions and concerns of both the English and Scottish monarchies throughout the period c.1100-c.1600. Simon’s research interests also include piracy and warfare, lordship and nobility, and culture and society within the Gaelic world.

Registration below. Details for the Zoom meeting will be emailed in advance of the seminar.


Thursday 05 May 2022


Times are in BST
7:00 pm - 8:45 pm




Scottish Society for Northern Studies
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