Pub. Date:
Cork University Press
Knock: The Virgin's Apparition in Nineteenth-Century Ireland

Knock: The Virgin's Apparition in Nineteenth-Century Ireland

by Eugene Hynes


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In 1879 LOCAL people reported an apparition of the Virgin Mary and other supernatural personages at Knock, a poor rural village in western Ireland. In contrast to devotional or dismissive accounts, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781859184639
Publisher: Cork University Press
Publication date: 12/31/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 390
Sales rank: 1,217,313
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Eugene Hynes is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Kettering University, Michigan.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements xi

Preface: A Short Note on My Perspective xiii

1 What Daniel Campbell Remembered 1

Plan of the Book

2 Local Worlds 11


Stations at Local Sacred Sites

Station Masses

Stations of the Cross

3 The Role and the Power of the Priest 33

The Strike Against the Priests

Mass Attendance

Priests and Holy People

4 Threats and Balances 54

The Blessed Straws Chain-Prayer

Supernatural Protection

MacHale versus the Brownes


Stories of Faith

A System of Checks and Balances

5 The People Make a Saint 70

6 Population and Religious Continuity 91

The Devotional Revolution Thesis

7 Religion in Pre-Apparition Knock 109

8 Authority Structures Shaken 129

Commercialisation and Cultural Change

The Land War

Landlords and Tenants

Fr Cavanagh and his Parishioners

Archbishop MacHale's Reputation

Famine imminent

The Seers' Social Situation

9 The Social Construction of the Apparition 172

The Investigating Commission

The Witnesses

Sources far 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 215

Putting the Bishop in his Place

The Debate on the Role of the Clergy

The Ballyhaunis Connection

Other Influences

Local Reaction


11 Conclusion 253

Knock and the Devotional Revolution Thesis

Notes and References 267

Bibliography 339

Index 363

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