Irish Catholic identities

Edited by Oliver P. Rafferty

Irish Catholic identities


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8495-9
  • Pages: 400
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: September 2013
  • BIC Category: Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholic Church, Humanities / British & Irish history, History, Modern History, Religion, Politics, Ireland, European history, RELIGION / Christianity / Catholic, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland


What does it mean to be Irish? Are the predicates Catholic and Irish so inextricably linked that it is impossible to have one and not the other? Does the process of secularisation in modern times mean that Catholicism is no longer a touchstone of what it means to be Irish? Indeed was such a paradigm ever true? These are among the fundamental issues addressed in this work, which examines whether distinct identity formation can be traced over time. The book delineates the course of historical developments which complicated the process of identity formation in the Irish context, when by turns Irish Catholics saw themselves as battling against English hegemony or the Protestant Reformation. Without doubt the Reformation era cast a long shadow over how Irish Catholics would see themselves. But the process of identity formation was of much longer duration. The twenty-two chapters of this work trace the elements which have shaped how the Catholic Irish identified themselves, and explore the political, religious and cultural dimensions of the complex picture which is Irish Catholic identity. The individual essays together represent a systematic attempt, unique in the literature, to explore the fluidity of the components that make up Catholic identity in the Irish context.


"Irish Catholic Identities represents a great sweep of Irish history covering periods when Catholics at times despaired of a future to the present day when anxieties about the future occupy many peoples' thoughts. The highs and lows of Catholic attitutes to the state, their perceptions of themselves and the perceptions of others are discussed in a wide-ranging, varied and original way that should prove of great interest and value to scholars and general readers."
(Ambrose Macaulay, The Furrow, September 2014)

It is a volume to which someone such as myself, with a genuine fascination for the subject matter, is immediately attracted, but there is plenty between its covers for anyone even remotely interested in the interplay between religion and identity.

'Theeditor of this book must be commended for focusing our attention on amuch-neglected field. The collection reflects something of the state of the artin the study of Irish identity formation and has much of interest for studentsof Irish history. It is certainly a subject that requires furtherconsideration.'
HenryA. Jefferies, Ulster University, Irish Economic and Social History 44 (1)


Introduction - Oliver P. Rafferty
Part I: The Celts, Catholicism and the middle ages
1. Gaelic and Catholic in the early middle ages - Bernhard Maier
2. Island of saints and scholars: myth or reality? - Donnchadh Ó Corráin
3. The devotional landscape of medieval Irish cultural Catholicism inter hibernicos et inter anglicos,
c.1200-c.1550 - Salvador Ryan
Part II: Early modern struggles
4. Irish political Catholicism from the 1530s to 1660 - David Finnegan
5. The 'absenting of the bishop of Armagh': Eucharistic controversy and the English origins of Irish Catholic identity, 1550-51 - James Murray
6. Henry Fitzsimon, the Irish Jesuits and Catholic identity in the early modern period - Brian Jackson
7. Gaelic Catholicism and the Ulster plantation - Raymond Gillespie
Part III: Identity formation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
8. Irish-language sources for Irish Catholic identity since the early modern period: a brief survey -Éamonn Ó Ciardha
9. The penal laws against Irish Catholics: were they too good for them? - Thomas Bartlett
Part IV: Culture, women and the American diaspora
10. Irish Catholic culture in the nineteenth century: a study in perjury - Owen Dudley Edwards
11. The voices of Catholic women in Ireland, 1800-1921 - Caitriona Clear
12. Irish diaspora Catholicism in North America - David Doyle
Part V: English Catholics and Irish identity
13. Brethren in Christ: Frederick Lucas and social Catholicism in Ireland - Patrick Maume
14. The 'greening' of Cardinal Manning - Fergal Casey
Part VI: Faith, wealth and Catholic Unionism
15. Power, wealth and Catholic identity in Ireland, 1850-1900 - Ciaran O'Neill
16. The Esmonde family of Co. Wexford and Catholic loyalty - Richard Keogh and James McConnel
17. Catholic Unionism: a case study: Sir Denis Stanislaus Henry (1864-1925) - Éamon Phoenix
Part VII: Contemporary expressions of Catholic and Irish identity
18. Identity and political fragmentation in independent Ireland, 1923-83 - Louise Fuller
19. Secular prayers: Catholic imagination, modern Irish writing and the case of John McGahern - Frank Shovlin
20. Catholic-Christian identity and modern Irish poetry - Bernard O'Donoghue
21. Northern Catholics and the early years of the Troubles - Oliver P. Rafferty
22. Irish identity and the future of Catholicism - Niall Coll


Oliver P. Rafferty teaches church history at Heythrop College, University of London

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