ADORED FOR SAINTS: CATHOLIC MARTYRDOM IN IRELAND C.1560-16551 CLODAGH TAIT National University of Ireland, Maynooth ABSTRACT While individuals amongst the Catholic martyrs of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Ireland have recently received some scholarly attention on a local level, little consider- ation has been given to the wider context of their experiences. This paper traces the deaths of these martyrs from capture to cult, drawing on contemporary accounts of mar- tyrdom and comparing the process as it occurred in Ireland with the experiences of the Catholic martyrs of England in particular. The peculiar situation prevailing in Ireland, whereby members of the Catholic majority were killed by the ruling Protestant minor- ity, frequent resort to extraordinary measures such as martial law, as well as the abbre- viation of the ritual of the execution of those defined by the authorities as traitors, gave rise to tensions which ultimately demonstrate the limits of governmental power. In a letter of 1625, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Viscount Falkland, described his reluctance to torture or execute a Roman Catholic priest who had "openly expressed satisfaction at the murder of a Protestant, who had refused to admit a woman to be a gossip [godparent] because she
Journal of Early Modern History – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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