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Begging, Charity and Religion in Pre-Famine Ireland$

Ciarán McCabe

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941572

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941572.001.0001

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(p.x) Acknowledgements

(p.x) Acknowledgements

Begging, Charity and Religion in Pre-Famine Ireland

Ciarán McCabe

Liverpool University Press

This book is the result of a number of years of research, writing and reflection, and many people have helped me in countless ways during this period. While it is not feasible in this short space to thank every single person, I am delighted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the assistance and support received from the following individuals.

I want to first thank my doctoral supervisor at Maynooth University, Dr Jacinta Prunty, whose kindness, generosity and encouragement have been inspirational. It was a pleasure to work closely with Jacinta and I could not have wished for a better teacher than she. During my time at Maynooth, I benefited from the knowledge and support of many colleagues: Professor Marian Lyons, Professor Jacqueline Hill, Professor Terence Dooley, Professor Raymond Gillespie and Professor Emeritus R.V. Comerford, as well as Dr Georgina Laragy, Dr Miriam Moffitt, Dr Ciarán Reilly, Dr Adrian Kirwan and Dr Fiona Gallagher, among many others, while I will be eternally grateful to the late Dr Caroline Gallagher for sparking my interest in vestry minute books as source material. The efficiency and kindness of Ann Donoghue and Catherine Heslin were constant sources of support and assurance.

This book arises from a PhD thesis completed at Maynooth University and the revision of the original thesis into this monograph was carried out under the guidance of Dr Niall Ó Ciosáin at NUI Galway. Niall inspired me to consider and develop new approaches to my topic, and I am in no doubt that my historical understanding has been developed by his Socratic method of questioning. Professor Catherine Cox and Professor Lindsey-Earner Byrne have encouraged my research since my MA days in UCD, while Professor Peter Gray and Dr Jonathan Wright provided important and valued feedback on earlier stages of this work.

As a historian, I am ever-cognisant of the saying ‘Researchers come and go; archives are forever’, which speaks of the eternal debt which researchers pay to custodians of archives. I am indebted to many archivists and librarians, and I am happy to acknowledge their assistance. I would like to thank Dr (p.xi) Raymond Refaussé, Dr Susan Hood, Jennifer Murphy and Mary Furlong at the Representative Church Body Library for their assistance. Dr Brian Donnelly and his colleagues at the National Archives of Ireland have been helpful, as have the staff members at the National Library of Ireland. I wish to thank Dr Bernadette Cunningham, Siobhán Fitzpatrick and their colleagues in the Royal Irish Academy Library, as well as Penny Woods, Audrey Kinch and Barbara McCormack in the Russell Library, Maynooth; Rev. Robin Roddie and Jennifer Stutt in the Methodist Library and Archives in Belfast; Valerie Adams in the library of the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland; Noelle Dowling in the Dublin Diocesan Archives; Sister Marie Therese in the Presentation Convent, George’s Hill Archive in Dublin; Sister Marie Bernadette in the Religious Sisters of Charity Archive in Caritas, Sandymount; Christopher Moriarty and colleagues in the Friends Historical Library, Dublin; the Abbey Presbyterian Church, Dublin; Mary Guinan Darmody in Thurles Library; the staff at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Linen Hall Library, Belfast, the British Library, the National Archives (Kew) and the National Records of Scotland. Much of this book has been researched and written in university libraries across Ireland, and I wish to thank the staff at the James Joyce Library in UCD, the John Paul II Library in Maynooth, the McClay Library in QUB, the James Hardiman Library at NUIG and the library at Trinity College Dublin. Much of the final draft of this book was compiled in the Local Studies room in Mullingar Library and I am grateful to Greta Connell and her colleagues for their assistance. Facilities were also provided to me by An Foras Feasa in Maynooth University and the Moore Institute at NUI Galway. The doctoral research was carried out with the support of an Irish Research Council (IRC) Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship, while much of the book was written at NUIG on foot of an IRC postdoctoral fellowship, and I am most grateful to the IRC for this financial support.

Raymond Gillespie and Niall Ó Ciosáin read draft chapters from this book, and their comments, which have been most valuable, greatly broadened my understanding of this period and of some of the historical dynamics at play. This book has benefited greatly from the comments of Liverpool University Press’s anonymous readers, to whom I am grateful, while Alison Welsby has been a most efficient and amiable editor at LUP, with whom it has been a pleasure to work.

The research and writing of this book has not been a solo project and throughout this process I have been lucky to be surrounded by loving family and friends. My parents-in-law, Tommy and Chris Jones, have proved most supportive, most practically in allowing me to stay for prolonged periods in their ‘bolt-hole’ to ‘get some writing done’. To my parents, Noel and Marian, I owe my gratitude, not only for a lifetime of love and support, but (p.xii) for instilling in me the confidence and self-belief to undertake postgraduate research and the commitment to write this book. I have no doubt they will be delighted that the book will see the light of day.

In the course of bringing this book to completion, my wife Anne Maree and I were blessed by the birth of our daughter Alannah. She has enriched our lives beyond comprehension. Finally, and most appropriately, I wish to thank my wife, Anne Maree, who has shared the past few years, including the early years of our marriage, with ‘idle vagrants and sturdy beggars’ from two centuries ago, and has displayed heroic levels of patience with ‘The Book’. Throughout this process, her constant support, encouragement and love have been unshakeable, for which I will always be thankful. To Anne Maree, for her support, encouragement, patience, sacrifice and love, this book is dedicated.