Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland

Full Title: Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland (Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic)

Author: Andrew Sneddon

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Published: 2015

ISBN: 978-0-230-30272-3 (Hardcover)

Pages: 220 including Notes, Selected Bibliography, and Index.

Synopsis: This is the first academic overview of Irish witchcraft. Based on a wide range of sources, it is a highly original and innovative study of beneficial and harmful magic, from the later medieval period up until the twentieth century. It examines the dynamics of witchcraft belief and accusation in the early modern period, and offers new explanations for the lack of sustained witch-hunting in Ireland. It demonstrates that during the eighteenth century sections of the educated elite backed away from witchcraft belief for largely ideological reasons, while the witch figure remained a strong part of popular culture. Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland also offers a new interpretation of the role of cunning-folk and popular magic in Irish society, along with a re-assessment of the attitudes of religious authorities, both Protestant and Catholic, to their activities. The way in which suspected witches and cunning-folk were treated by the Irish legal system, both before and after the repeal of the 1586 Irish Witchcraft Act in 1821, is also explored for the first time.



Review: I didn’t realize how short this book was. If you take out the Notes, Selected Bibliography and Index, you are left with only 148 pages. These pages a re full of good information (though sometimes a bit dry) on a complex issue.

A lot of people just assume that because witchcraft was a dangerous practice in Europe and America, that the issue was the same for Ireland (I mean look at Scotland right?) The truth is Witchcraft in Ireland was a very complicated issue. It wasn’t condemned in the same way as in Scotland or Britain or in America. The level of condemnation also depended on how close you were to Britain and whether you were Catholic or Protestant. And even then accusations rarely ever made it to court. If it did, it was under very specific circumstances and lots of other issues were involved.

I highly recommend reading this book.




Full Title: OGMA- Essays in Celtic Studies: In Honour of Proinseas Ni Chathain

Editors: Michael Richter, Jean-Michel Picard

Publisher: Four Courts Press

Published: January 1st 2002

ISBN: 9781851826711, Hardcover

Pages: 329 pages including Index

Synopsis: Ogma, divine champion, god of eloquence, inventor of the alphabet, and personification of the power of speech, has been chosen to epitomize this collection of essays. Through their interpretation of texts, letters, words and signs, a group of scholars of international renown present in this book a close study of specific aspects of the multifaceted culture of medieval Ireland. There are twenty-eight studies, divided into four groupings – Celtic Languages; Early and Medieval Irish History; Literature and Culture; Archaeology and Art History. Each essay is brief and presents new insights in its own field.



Review: This was an interesting read, I started and stopped reading it a few times since I bought the book. In the end I decided that I wanted to finish the book once and for all.

The essays presented are certainly by some of the most respected names in their fields and the information they presented was certainly note worthy…I think the problem was that I just was not interested in the topics presented…mostly saints.

There was one essay that I found very interesting and it was the very first essay in the book. It talks about the strong women in myths. The author divided them into categories of warriors, queens, advisors and so on…giving examples for each category. Definitely worth getting just for that essay alone.