Welcome to the website of the project LEIGHEAS: Language, Education and Medical Learning in the Premodern Gaelic World, which is funded by a Consolidator Laureate Award from the Irish Research Council and led by Dr Deborah Hayden from 2022–2026.

The central aim of LEIGHEAS (the Irish word for ‘remedy’ or ‘the art of healing’) is to advance our knowledge of the nature and scope of medical learning in the premodern Gaelic world by charting the vernacular translation and transmission of medical texts across Ireland and Scotland, ca 1350–1700. The project aims to facilitate future research in this area by creating a searchable digital handlist of medical sources written in the Gaelic languages. It also seeks to open up new questions about this written genre, however, by applying digital tools for network analysis of scribes, locations and texts attested in the vernacular medical sources that survive from this region.

In addition to this work, the project team will conduct detailed philological and historical research on a subset of medical manuscripts and scribes associated with Connacht, Ireland, leading to editions of several previously unpublished texts. It is argued that the sources at the heart of this case study shed new light on the relationship between Irish-language medical learning and other aspects of contemporary textual culture, including narrative, legal, religious and historical writing.

LEIGHEAS thus aims to illuminate the social, pedagogical and manuscript context for the production and circulation of medical texts throughout the Gaelic world, while also positioning this corpus within a wider intellectual framework by exploring the complex multilingual and cross-cultural interactions that shaped the development of scientific writing across northern Europe more broadly.