The Law of the Innocents, otherwise known as Lex Innocentium or Cáin Adomnáin has been described by scholars as an early Geneva Convention.
This talk will tell the story of the law, describing the gathering of kings and eminent clergy who assembled in Birr in 697 AD to agree a law that would protect women, children, clerics and other unarmed people in time of conflict. The law was instigated by Adomnán, abbot of Iona, otherwise known as St. Eunan, a man driven by a passionate concern for the innocent, the vulnerable, the weakest in society, a concern that was unique for its time in western Europe and, indeed, for many centuries thereafter. The provisions of the law will be briefly considered and the surviving manuscripts containing its terms, one of which has a little known Meath connection. The horrors of Putin’s war in Ukraine has given this law a new perspective, a chilling relevance.
The speaker: Jim Houlihan is a retired solicitor, having practiced in the Midlands for 45 years including over 30 years as State Solicitor for County Offaly. On his retirement he completed an MA and PhD in UCD, and his doctoral thesis formed the basis of his book Adomnán’s Lex Innocentium and the laws of war (Dublin, Four Courts Press, 2020).
Please note: this talk is on Wednesday 23rd November (not Thursday as in the members’ card).
in St Columban’s College, Dalgan Park, Navan, C15 AY2Y