Places and Spaces

You may not find the Holy Grail in the office of Lou Boyle, PhD, but then again, who knows? Because stacked and filed and shelved in every nook and cranny of his office, you’ll find almost everything related to the Middle Ages. Boyle is a professor of English and the director of Carlow’s core curriculum. His specialty is, you guessed it, Arthurian literature. So… let the quests begin!

All About the Quest

A view from Lou Boyle's office at Carlow University


A. Talking Monty Python and the Holy Grail action figures remind Boyle—as does Monty Python’s satirical treatment of Arthurian legend— that one cannot take oneself too seriously.

B. A vinyl 45-rpm record of the Canterbury Cathedral pipe organ was given to Boyle by a former student.

C. A replica of a ninth-century, pre-Christian European chessboard discovered in Ireland. Contrary to the modern form of the game, all the pieces are exactly the same except for the leader of the team in the center. Boyle uses the chessboard to demonstrate how early medieval Europeans did not necessarily have the extensive class divisions represented
by pieces in modern chess.

D. A miniature model of Bran Castle, in Transylvania, Romania—the only Transylvanian castle that fits Bram Stoker’s description of Dracula’s castle. Boyle visited the castle two years ago when presenting a paper atthe University of Bucharest.

E. The Forbes Field poster also shows Boyle’s grandparents’ house, on the far right, two doors away from Forbes Field. His grandfather worked as an usher for the Pirates for over 45 years and his father was an altar boy for St. Agnes Church—and sometimes served mass in the Convent of Mercy Chapel.