Paidreacha Traidisiúnta, Dánta Diaga agus Stair na Comhaimsire
: Lánléargas ar Mheon Spioradálta Chaitlicigh Uladh, ón Ochtú hAois Déag go dtí an Fichiú hAois

Translated title of the thesis: Traditional Prayers, Religious Poetry and Contemporary History: A Panorama of the Mindset of Ulster Catholics from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The aim of this thesis is to provide an insight into the spiritual mindset of Ulster Catholics from the 18th century to the 20th century. In order to achieve this aim, a corpus of traditional prayers and religious poetry has been compiled and analysed. A contextualising study of contemporary social and political history has been undertaken. Central themes of the prayers and poems have been examined and correlated with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Reference has also been made to popular non-orthodox religious beliefs in Ireland. In addition, the work investigates the way in which language functions in these traditional prayers and religious poems.
Chapter one casts a light on the daily lives of the Catholics of Ulster, from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century. Chapter two comprises a comprehensive and thematically classified edition of a substantial corpus of Ulster’s traditional prayers and religious poetry, along with a linguistic analysis. A thematic analysis of the corpus has been presented in Chapter three; it provides an insight into the belief system of the population in question. Chapter four is concerned with the transmission and dissemination of the prayers and poems under discussion. Moreover, this chapter attempts to establish the relationship between aspects of Catholic teachings, including those of the Catechisms and sermons of that era, and specific themes that are to be found within the corpus. The development of popular religion and the rites associated with it are traced in Chapter five, thereby providing an insight into the resilience of Catholicism in an era when it was under threat.
The present research aims to present a comprehensive profile of, and offer an insight into, the beliefs of Ulster Catholics through the lens of a thoroughgoing examination of a representative corpus of religious text and verse form that had its roots in the Counter Reformation of the 17th century, but evolved during the Penal Era of the 18th century.
Date of AwardOct 2020
Original languageIrish
SponsorsVice Chancellor's Research Scholarship (VCRS)
SupervisorPeter Smith (Supervisor) & Eamonn O Ciardha (Supervisor)


  • Péindlíthe
  • Teagasca Críostaí
  • Seanmóirí
  • Deasghnátha an Chreidimh Chaitlicigh
  • Gaoth Dobhair

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