I am currently finishing episode 14 of the podcast. Hopefully it will be out early next week, in the meantime here is a short photoessay of Ballybeg priory, Co. Cork.
Situated close to the medieval town of Buttevant in North Cork the priory itself is in pretty poor condition but is definately worth a look if your in the area. Ballybeg priory was an Augustine foundation constructed in 1229 and patronised by the de Barry family. The de Barry’s were an Anglo Norman family who conquered east Cork building numerous sites across the county including Barryscourt Castle. The priory was dedicated to the martyr St Thomas Beckett killed in mysterious circumstances by retainers of Henry II in 1170.
The 1916 proclamation, the manifesto of the 1916 rebels, states
“The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.”
These noble aspirations would become almost a bible of Irish Republican ideals but little did the authors know that within six years, Irish people would have a chance to implement them after The War of Independence in 1922. However the society established after the war of independence “The Irish Free State” was a pale shadow of even the most modest interpretation of this document.
Civil liberties were almost non existent, citizens were not equal with women becoming second class while the poor were plunged further in destitution. The history of early Irish Independence is often passed over with a less than critical eye that glorifies state building at any cost. However behind this abstract veneer lies the story of a dark authoritarian regime based on repression, discrimination and censorship. This was enforced by deeply authoritarian attitudes underscored by severe catholic morality which stifled culture and allowed no political debate or opposition of any kind. By 1937 the “The Irish Free State” had created a society that had betrayed the ideals of what many had set out achieve two decades earlier. (more…)
In the film adaptation of “The Field”, the parish priest proclaims Christianity to be a “thin veneer” over Irish people, in a derogatory reference both the people and pre-Christian Paganism alike. This idea of Christianity being a thin veneer runs contrary to the notion of medieval Ireland being an “island of saints and scholars” but is there any truth to this idea? Exactly how Christian was early Irish Christianity?
Episode 7: Around the world on March 17th, millions of people will attend St Patrick’s day parades in memory of the man who supposedly “converted the Irish to Christianity”. He is a figure shrouded in mystery and myth but in this podcast we examine the truth behind the one time slave and famous bishop Patrick. Tune in to hear the real history behind Ireland’s conversion, who St. Patrick really was and how he become associated with snakes and shamrocks….
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As the 18th century drew to a close the catholic church in Ireland was optimistic about its future. It had survived a century of repression emerging relatively intact and as the century drew to a close full catholic emancipation was on the horizon. Through the following century the Catholic Church in Ireland enjoyed a meteoric rise in power. This rise in fortunes is reflected closely in one of Dublin’s most famous churches – St Peter’s, Phibsboro (left), now one of the most famous landmarks on the north side of Dublin. It dominates the skyline with a 200ft tall spire but just like Catholicism in the 19th century it began in far more humble conditions. (more…)
I am 32 year old historian, archaeologist and blogger. I have published a book on life in medieval Ireland entitled 'Witches, Spies and Stockholm Syndrome, life in Medieval Ireland'. I also organise tours of medieval Dublin, available on request.