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Wandering graveyards, jumping churches and lone Protestants: devotion, sectarianism and problematic corpses in Irish folklore

Tait, Clodagh J (2013) 'Wandering graveyards, jumping churches and lone Protestants: devotion, sectarianism and problematic corpses in Irish folklore.' In: Kelly, James and Lyons, Mary Ann, (eds.) Death and Dying in Ireland, Britain, and Europe: Historical Perspectives. Irish Academic Press. ISBN 9780716531913

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Abstract

Graveyards and those buried within them were frequently the subject of comment in Irish folk tradition. The presence of the bodies of those locally reputed as saints and martyrs excited local pride and physical remains reputed to be those of holy people were often hailed as having curative and magical properties. The graveyard itself was sacred, and insults against it might be revenged by its ghostly occupants themselves. Though a resource for the community in devotional and practical terms, graveyards and the bodies within them could also be a focus for conflict and competition. While a very large degree of co-interment of Protestants and Catholics was practiced, tensions could appear in certain areas. Tales of the separation of Protestant and Catholic burials, and of churchyards rejecting the bodies of Protestants and even leaving their original sites out of pique when Protestants were buried there can be found throughout Ireland, demonstrating the complications of inter-denominational relationships at local level. This paper argues that the tales told about graveyards assisted in the construction of local and confessional identities and impressed on sacred space the map of human relationships within parishes.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2013 10:00
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014 11:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/7688

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