• Christmas and the Irish: a miscellany

Following the success of the three-volume series, Birth, Marriage and Death and the Irish (2016-2021), this collection examines the celebration of Christmas among the Irish, from the seventh century to the present day.  In 75 articles, ranging from the serious to the light-hearted, writers from a range of academic disciplines and professions – Anthropology, Celtic Studies, Education, Folklore, Healthcare, History, Journalism, Literature, Media, and Broadcasting, Pastoral Ministry, Philosophy and Theology – reflect on what Christmas has meant to Irish people through the ages, whether living at home or abroad.   

Topics covered in this volume include: the theme of light in early Irish texts; festive feasting and fighting in the Middle Ages; the Kilmore carols of County Wexford; the history of Irish Christmas food through the centuries; crimes of Christmas past; Christmas on the Blasket Islands; the claim that ‘Santa’s Grave’ is in County Kilkenny; why Irish missionaries in Zimbabwe regularly missed out on their Christmas dinner; the origins and early life of the Late Late Toy Show; a Christmas surprise among Irish peacekeepers in the Lebanon; Christmas customs among the Travelling Community; Christmas and the Irish Jewish community; the Wren Boys; ‘Women’s Christmas’; Irish links to popular Christmas carols; Christmas and James Joyce; the curious custom of reciting 4,000 Hail Marys in the lead up to Christmas, and why it became an established tradition for the Viceroy to send a woodcock to the British monarch every Christmas. 

This anthology will prove a fascinating read for all who are interested in the social, cultural, and religious history of Ireland, but, more importantly, will delight all who love Christmas itself 

Salvador Ryan is Professor of Ecclesiastical History, St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth where he writes on religious and cultural history from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. Other published titles include Death and the Irish, Marriage and the Irish, and Birth and the Irish (Wordwell Books, 2016-21); We Remember Maynooth: a College across Four Centuries (Messenger Publications, 2020); Northern European Reformations: Transnational Perspectives (Palgrave, 2020); Material Cultures of Devotion in the Age of Reformations (Peeters, 2022), and Reforming the Church: Global Perspectives (Liturgical Press, 2023). 


Author Salvador Ryan
Publisher Wordwell Books
Publication Data October 2023
Format Paperback

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Christmas and the Irish: a miscellany

  • ISBN: 978-1-913934-93-4
  • Author(s): Salvador Ryan
  • Availability: In Stock
  • €25.00

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