The Virgin’s Apparition in Nineteenth-Century Ireland

Cloth: 978 1 85918 440 0
Price: $65.00  

Paper: 978 1 85918 463 9
Price: $39.95  

Publisher: Cork University Press
390 pp., 6 1/8" x 9 1/4"
* Co-winner of the tenth annual James S. Donnelly, Sr. award for Books in History and the Social Sciences presented by the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS)

In 1879, local people reported an apparition of the Virgin Mary and other supernatural personages at Knock, a poor rural village in western Ireland. The author draws on both insiders’ views and his training as a sociologist to show how the apparition was related to the local social context including economic, cultural, religious, political and historical dimensions.

Drawing on new and neglected sources of evidence, Hynes pays particular attention to the individuals most directly involved including the seers, local clergy, Land League activists, various promoters, and others. The author looks through participants’ eyes as much as possible. To understand what those eyes saw, the book examines the local scene for half a century before the apparition. His deep knowledge of the local context enables the author to develop understandings of key persons and events before and around the apparition. Using the Knock case, the author challenges usually accepted explanations of changes in nineteenth-century Irish Catholicism.

The book is important for those interested in the links between official and local religion especially in Irish Catholicism, for students of apparitions generally, for anyone interested in bottom-up approaches to social and cultural history, and especially for students of nineteenth-century Ireland.

Table of Contents:
Acknowledgements; Preface—A Short Note on My Perspective; 1) What Daniel Campbell Remembered: Plan of the Book; 2) Local Worlds: Fairylore; Stations at Local Sacred Sites; Station Masses; Stations of the Cross; 3) The Role and the Power of the Priest: The Strike Against the Priests; Mass Attendance; Priests and Holy People; 4) Threats and Balances: The Blessed Straws Chain-Prayers; Supernatural Protection; MacHale versus the Brownes; Proselytism; Stories of Faith; A Systems of Checks and Balances; 5) The People Make a Saint; 6) Population and Religious Community: The Devotional Revolution Thesis; 7) Religion in Pre-Apparition Knock; 8) Authority Structures Shaken: Commercialisation and Cultural Change; The Land War; Landlords and Tenants; Fr Cavanagh and his Parishioners; Archbishop MacHale’s Reputation; 9) the Social Construction of the Apparition: The Investigating Commission; The Witnesses; Sources for the Testimony; Developing the Picture; What Was Added; The Producers of the Picture; The Aghamore Meeting; The Magic Lantern Thesis; 10) Our Lady and the Clergy: Putting the Bishop in his Place; The Debate on the Role of the Clergy; The Ballyhaunis Connection; Other Influences; Local Reaction; Failure; 11) Conclusion: Knock and the Devotional Revolution Thesis; Notes and References; Bibliography; Index.

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Reviews & Endorsements:
"Notable for its innovative use of oral and folkloric accounts. Provocative, groundbreaking, and original. Summing Up: Highly Recommended."
- Choice
" perhaps the single best book ever written about the social and cultural dynamics of rural Ireland, with enormous implications for (and multiple cross-references to) the multiple and conflicting consequences of what used to be called ' modernization' in a host of similar 'developing' societies."
- Kerby Miller , University of Missouri
Related Titles by Subject:
See History catalog ; Religion catalog and History ( Irish Studies )