Pilgrimage has long held a special place in the hearts of Irish people. In medieval times it was one of the most popular forms of personal devotion, and was practiced by men, women and children from all social classes. Journeys of Faith combines historical sources and archaeological evidence to explore the stories of Irish pilgrims who embarked on these remarkable pilgrimages stretching from Ireland to Jerusalem between the seventh century and the reformation.
Medieval Irish pilgrims left their homes and families for many reasons. For the countless men and women who made the trip to St Mullins in Carlow in 1348, a miraculous cure for the Black Death was foremost in their minds. Heneas Mac Nichaill was atoning for the murder of his son when he visited nineteen pilgrim sites around Ireland in 1543. Others were motivated by a quest for salvation, like those who entered St Patrick’s Purgatory at Lough Derg, hoping their experiences in the holy cave would wipe clean all their sins.
Just as the aims of pilgrims differed, so too did their destinations, ranging from holy wells and the graves or statues of revered saints, to specific cathedrals or churches. No matter their goals or destinations, each pilgrim had to navigate the unique practicalities and dangers associated with travel along medieval pilgrim roads.
In this beautifully illustrated book, the reader can follow these Irish pilgrims, along the way gaining fresh understanding of the motivations and experiences that shaped their journeys of faith.
About the Author
Dr Louise Nugent is an archaeologist from County Tipperary, and a graduate of UCC and UCD. Her PhD thesis concerned pilgrimage in medieval Ireland; she continues to research Irish pilgrimage sites and practices and has written, published and lectured widely on the topic.
In addition, she has documented many contemporary patterns and pilgrimages and she authors and curates the popular blog Pilgrimage in Medieval Ireland.