Brian Lacey on the right with Rodney Aldrich who came from New York to join us on the August 2015 tour. Check out Rodney's testimonial below. 

Brian Lacey on the right with Rodney Aldrich who came from New York to join us on the August 2015 tour. Check out Rodney's testimonial below. 

Dr. Brian Lacey - Biographical introduction:

 Dr Brian Lacey has been researching the archaeology and early medieval history of Counties Donegal and Derry for 40 years. A former university lecturer and museum director in Derry, he directed the archaeological survey of Donegal (1979-83). His particular specialism is the lore of St Colmcille.  He has written 12 books and many research papers. Brian Lacey (born in Dublin in 1949) graduated from University College Dublin with a 1st class Hons BA degree in Early including medieval Irish History and Celtic Archaeology in 1974.

He was simultaneously awarded the Eugene O’Curry medal for early Irish history. He obtained his Doctorate for inter-disciplinary work on the heritage of St Colmcille in 1999 from the University of Ulster in which he had lectured between 1974 and 1986. He was the director of the archaeological survey of County Donegal between 1979 and 1983. From 1986 until 1998 he was head of Derry City Council’s Heritage and Museum Service and oversaw the 1997 programme of events to mark the 1400th anniversary of the death of St Colmcille. From 1998 to 2012 he was CEO of the Discovery Programme in Dublin, an institute for advanced research in Irish archaeology. He is an acknowledged expert on aspects of the heritage relating to St Colmcille. He has written extensively (including 12 books), particularly on the history and archaeology of the northwest of Ireland and has also published many research papers, book chapter and popular works dealing with the saint. He hasbroadcast about the lore of St Colmcille on both radio and tv and was the presenter of a major BBC2 Northern Ireland commissioned Irish language documentary ‘Turas go hOileán Í’ on the life and legacy of the saint which was broadcast in 2012 and 2013. 

Below are some publications by Brian Lacey on St Colmcille and related topics:

  • Colum Cille and the Columban Tradition (Dublin 1997), 144 pages.
  • Manus O’Donnell - The Life of Colum Chille (Dublin 1998), 240 pages.
  • ‘Colum Cille and the diocese of Derry’, in K. Devlin and H. Jefferies (eds), History of Derry Diocese (Dublin 1999), 17-29. 
  • ‘Did Columba found Derry - “Mihi manet incertus”’, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 128 (1998) [published 2001], 35-47.
  • A Pocket History of Irish Saints (Dublin 2003), 128 pages.
  • ‘Constructing Colum Cille’, Irish Arts Review, Autumn 2004, 120-3.
  • ‘Colum Cille’, in S. Duffy (ed.) Medieval Ireland: an encyclopedia (New York 2005), 98-100.
  • 'Revival or Re-invention: Columban traditions in nineteenth-century Derry’, Ulster Folklife Vol. 50, 2004 (published 2005), 27-50.
  • Cenél Conaill and the Donegal kingdoms: AD 500-800 (Dublin 2006), 351.
  • 'Fahan, Tory, Cenél nÉogain and the Picts', Peritia Vol. 20 (2008), 331-45.
  • 'Medieval Columban pilgrimages in Derry and Donegal', Donegal Annual 61, 2009 (published Jan 2010), 6-20.
  • 'Colum Cille's first steps as a baby', in M. Davies, U. MacConville and G. Cooney (eds) A Grand Gallimaufry, collected in honour of Nick Maxwell (Dublin 2010), 67-8.
  • 'Adomnán and Donegal', in JM Wooding, R. Aist, TO Clancy and T. O’Loughlin (eds) Adomnán of Iona (Dublin 2010), 20-35. 
  • Lug's forgotten Donegal kingdom: the archaeology, history and folklore of the Síl Lugdach of Cloghaneely (Dublin 2012), 141 pages.
  • 'Donegal 500-800', in An historical, environmental and cultural Atlas of County Donegal, edited by J. McLaughlin & S. Beattie (Cork 2013), 107-12.
  • ‘The real cause of the battle of Cúl Dreimne in Co. Sligo, the so-called “Battle of the Book”', in M. Timoney (ed.) Dedicated to Sligo: thirty-four essays on Sligo's past (Sligo 2013), 83-90.
  • St Columba: his life and legacy (Dublin 2013), 224 pages.
  • Medieval and monastic Derry: sixth century to 1600 ( Dublin 2013), 166 pages.
MNG put together a personalized tour of Donegal. This tour was fantastic at allowing me to see the land and its features for its rich history from neolithic times to today. The primary expert was Brian Lacey. His forty year career in archaeology was the basis for illuminating walks among stones, high crosses, wells, streams, fields, hills, and trails. He brought the history of forgotten kingdoms to life and showed the reverberations in the culture of the people today. We learned about Colmcille and the many stories and legends about him. We saw the evidence of how the pre-Christian god Lugh and the customs surrounding that god influenced the stories. Not only did Brian explain the evidence, he explained what other scholars believe and drew us into our own speculation about all this history.

The tour included more local experts along the way who exchanged stories and theories, local to the area and their ancestors, with Brian and us, bringing the legends even more to life.
Our safety and our wants and needs were completely attended to by the MNG staff, the bus driver, and the hotel (Ostan Loch Altan).
With this rich diet of activity and learning came humour and fun. We were entertained by traditional Irish song and dance at many occasions. Also, we had tea in an actual seaside cottage where we sampled (at our option) and learned about products derived from seaweed in old recipes.

In addition to the main tour, MNG added some experiences before and after the main tour which helped me explore the area and its people.

The whole experience allowed me to bond with the fellow travellers on the tour as well as many locals who live in this enchanting land.

I enthusiastically recommend this tour or others put on by MNG. You will see parts of Ireland in a way you have no other way to experience.
— Rodney Aldrych, New York 2015