• Birth and the Irish: a miscellany

Following the success of Death and the Irish: a Miscellany (2016), and Marriage and the Irish: a Miscellany (2019), this third volume in the series 'Birth, Marriage and Death among the Irish' explores the experience of birth in Ireland, and among the Irish abroad, from the 7th century to the present day.


In 78 articles, scholars and practitioners from a range of academic disciplines and professions, including Anthropology, Celtic Studies, Folklore, History, Linguistics, Literature, Medicine, Midwifery, Obstetrics, Theology and Pastoral Care, reflect on pregnancy and birthing over almost 1,500 years. 


Topics covered in this work include an 180-million-to-one birth in 657AD; pregnancy cravings in medieval Ireland; stories of birth and loss from the American Civil War; preventing unwanted pregnancies in 19th century Ireland; birth on the battlefield; childbirth on the Victorian goldfields; the caul in Irish folk belief; predicting the sex of babies – and chickens; infanticide in modern Ireland; maternity and ante-natal care, 1922-1960; foreign adoption: Jane Russell and her Irish baby; childbirth in Irish film;  LGBTQ surrogacy; the spirituality of birthing; birth customs among the Travelling Community; the Doula movement; hypnobirthing; the Mother and Baby Home report, and many more. 


This anthology will serve as an indispensable resource for anyone interested in

the social, cultural, religious and legal history of pregnancy and birth in Ireland and among the Irish from the earliest times to the present day.  



Salvador Ryan is Professor of Ecclesiastical History, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. His other published titles include Death and the Irish and Marriage and the Irish (Wordwell Books), Treasures of Irish Christianity (Veritas) and Religion and Politics in Urban Ireland (Four Courts Press).

Author Salvador Ryan
Publisher Wordwell Books
Format Paperback

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Birth and the Irish: a miscellany

  • ISBN: 978-1-913934-61-3
  • Author(s): Salvador Ryan
  • Availability: In Stock
  • €25.00

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