Money and agency in Catholic Ireland, 1850-1921

Sarah Roddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Between the end of the Great Famine and the end of the Union with Britain, the Irish Catholic Church was almost exclusively funded by ordinary lay people. This article examines the financial relationship between clergy and laity, focusing on payments related to death. In doing so, it argues three main points. First, that previous conceptions of lay people as having been coerced into giving their money to the church are too simplistic and deny the complex agency of the people of many social classes who gave the money. Second, that uncovering the financial transactions that ordinary people were party to gives historians a much-needed methodology for recovering lives about which the archives are otherwise silent. Third, that the mediation of faith through money, specifically, must be added to a growing body of work on ‘material religion’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social History
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 4 Oct 2019


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