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Adored for Saints: Catholic Martyrdom in Ireland C.1560-16551

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While individuals amongst the Catholic martyrs of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Ireland have recently received some scholarly attention on a local level, little consideration 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 martyrdom 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 minority, frequent resort to extraordinary measures such as martial law, as well as the abbreviation 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.


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Affiliations: 1: National University of Ireland, Maynooth


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