Author: Nicholas Wolf1
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  • 1 Historian and Librarian, NYU Library’s Data Services Department and Faculty of Glucksman Ireland House, New York University, USA
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Abstract

An examination of surviving healing charm texts originating in Ireland between 1700 and the mid-nineteenth century suggests a strong link between the contents of this corpus and a select few national saints (Columcille, Bridget, and Patrick) and international Catholic religious figures (Christ, Mary, and the Apostles). By contrast, local Irish saints, which otherwise figure so prominently in religious practices of the time, are significantly underrepresented in the Irish charm corpus of this time period. This essay looks at the long-term status of highly localized saints in religious and medical discourse, the effect of church centralization in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and the rise of select national saints as factors in this feature of the Irish charms.

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