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Title: Clerics, conjurors and courtrooms : witchcraft, magic and religion in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ireland
Author: Fulton, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 4743
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2016
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The main focus of this study is the nineteenth century, and concerns the continuation of popular magical belief and the educated rejection of witchcraft in Ireland. Also addressed here is how the Irish authorities responded to witchcraft, by exploring folk culture and the interaction with ‘rational’ society. By considering folk beliefs in this framework the thesis challenges established ideas concerning Irish popular culture, Irish religiosity, and the function of the courts in relation to popular culture and the social disciplining of the period. Most prior research has focused on Irish Catholic folk-based beliefs and practices and the interaction with the Catholic Church. This study differs from previous work by primarily focusing on the Protestant supernatural, and considers popular belief in witchcraft and magic as interdenominational. This thesis also examines the rejection of witchcraft by the Irish educated orders, a process that began during the second half of the eighteenth century. In terms of popular religiosity, the majority Irish churches are studied in relation to folk-based supernatural beliefs, with an emphasis placed on the confessional approach to witchcraft and popular culture. Protestant religious minority groups have also been neglected by previous studies of Irish witchcraft. Argued here is that official and folk-based Catholic beliefs and practices influenced Irish Methodists in their decision to restrict elements of Protestant popular culture. Also examined are nineteenth-century witchcraft disputes in Irish courtrooms, a place where popular and elite conceptions of the supernatural clashed. This study also considers the types of Irish magical practitioners in relation to the economic and social concerns of the period. A range of primary manuscript sources have been consulted, including church records, memoirs, letters and other correspondence. A wide variety of other contemporary printed material has also been used, including folklore and antiquarian accounts, newspapers, contemporary journals and periodicals.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available