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Dr Clodagh Tait

Dr Clodagh Tait

BA (NUI) and PhD (NUI)

Research interests

Social and cultural history/folklore of early modern and modern Ireland and Britain; death; birth and infancy; gender and family; magic and the supernatural; ghosts; violence; religion; sources. I am joint editor of Irish Historical Studies.

More information



Religion and Politics in Urban Ireland: Essays in Honour of Colm Lennon. Edited with Salvador Ryan. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2016.

Age of Atrocity: Violent Death in Early Modern Ireland. Edited with David Edwards and Pádraig Lenihan. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2007. Paperback edition May 2010.

Death, Burial and Commemoration in Ireland, 1550-1650. Palgrave (Macmillan), Basingstoke, 2002. Paperback edition 2015.


‘Irish spectres across the Atlantic, c.1840-1940: communicating with the dead over space and time’, Cultural and Social History, 2023, preprint:

‘Martyrs’, in J. McCafferty and J. Kelly (eds), The Oxford history of British and Irish Catholicism vol 1. Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2023.

‘Burying bad luck: Material cultures of magic in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Irish houses and farmyards’, in H. Laird and J. Roszman (eds), Dwellings in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Liverpool University Press, forthcoming, 2023.

‘Progress, challenges and opportunities in early modern gender history’, Irish Historical Studies 46, 170 (2022) special issue, ‘A new agenda for women’s and gender history’, edited by B.A. MacShane and F. Dolan.

‘Worry work: The supernatural labours of living and dead mothers in Irish folklore’, in S. Knott and E. Griffin (eds), Past and Present Supplement 15: Mothering’s Many Labours, 2020.

‘Kindred without end: wet-nursing, fosterage and emotion in Ireland, c.1550-1720’, Irish Economic and Social History, 47, April 2020.

‘‘A print in my body of this day’s service’: finding meaning in wounding during and after the Nine Years War’, in M. Woodcock and C. O’Mahony, Early Modern Military Identity. Boydell, 2019.

‘Causes of death and cultures of care in Co. Cork, 1660-1720: The Evidence of Parish Registers’, in J. Cunningham (ed.), Early Modern Ireland and the World of Medicine: Practitioners, Collectors and Contexts. Manchester University Press, 2019.

‘Writing the social and cultural history of Ireland, 1550-1660: wills as example and inspiration’, in S. Covington, V. Carey and V. McGowan Doyle (eds), Early Modern Ireland: New Sources, Methods, and Perspectives. Routledge, Abingdon, 2018.

‘Irish Society, 1540-1690’, in J. Ohlmeyer, The Cambridge History of Ireland volume 2. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2018.

‘Good ladies and ill wives: women on Boyle’s estates’, in D. Edwards (ed.), The World of Richard Boyle. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2017.

 ‘“Whereat his wife took great greefe and dyed”: dying of sorrow and killing in anger in seventeenth-century Ireland’, in P. Withington and M. Braddick (eds), Popular Culture and Political Agency in Early Modern England and Ireland. Boydell, Woodbridge, 2017.

‘Riots, rescues and "grene bowes": Catholics and protest in Ireland, 1570-1640’, in T. O hAnnrachain and R. Armstrong (eds), Insular Christianity: alternative models of the church in Britain and Ireland, c.1570-1700. Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2013.

‘Wandering graveyards, jumping churches and rogue corpses: tolerance and intolerance in Irish folklore’, in J. Kelly and M.A. Lyons (eds), Death and dying in Ireland, Britain and Europe: Historical Perspectives, Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 2013.

‘The Old Countess, the Geraldine knight and the lady antiquarian: a conspiracy theory revisited’, in History Ireland, 21 (3) (2013). (

‘Some sources for the study of infant and maternal mortality in later seventeenth-century Ireland’, in E. Farrell (ed.), ‘She Said She Was in the Family Way’: Pregnancy and Infancy in Modern Ireland, Institute for Historical Research, London, 2012. (Open access:

‘Disorder and Commotion: Urban Riots and Popular Protest in Ireland 1670-1640’, in M. Cronin and W. Sheehan (eds), Riotous Assemblies: Popular Protest in Ireland, Mercier Press, Dublin, 2011.

‘Relics and the Past: The Material Culture of Martyrdom in Early Modern and Modern Ireland’, in J. Lyttleton and C. Rynne, Settlement and Material Culture in Early Modern Ireland, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2009.

‘Broken Heads and Trampled Hats: Rioting in Limerick in 1599’, in L. Irwin and G. Ó Tuathaigh (eds), Limerick: History and Society, Geography Publications, Dublin, 2009.

‘Cavan in 1638’, in B. Scott (ed.), Early Modern Breifne/Cavan, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2009.

‘The Just Vengeance of God: Violent Deaths of Persecutors and Religious and Political Controversy in Early Modern Ireland’, in D. Edwards, P. Lenihan and C. Tait (eds), Age of Atrocity: Violent Death in Early Modern Ireland, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2007.

‘Early Modern Ireland: A History of Violence’, co-authored with D. Edwards, in D. Edwards, P. Lenihan and C. Tait (eds), Age of Atrocity: Violent Death in Early Modern Ireland, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2007.

‘Namesakes and Nicknames: Naming practices in Early Modern Ireland, 1540-1700’, Continuity and Change 21 (2006).

‘“As legacie upon my soule”: The wills of the Irish Catholic community, c.1550-c.1660’, in R. Armstrong and T. Ó Hannracháin, Communities in Early Modern Ireland, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2006.

‘Art and the Cult of the Virgin Mary in Ireland, c.1500-1660’, in C. Ó Clabaigh, S. Ryan and R. Moss (eds), Art and Devotion in Late Medieval Ireland, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2006.

‘Using and Abusing the Dying and the Dead in Early Modern Ireland’, History Ireland Spring 2005.      

‘Spiritual Bonds, Social Bonds: Baptism and Godparenthood in Ireland 1530-1690’, Cultural and Social History 2 (2005).

‘Persecution and Toleration in Early Modern Ireland’, in V. Carey (ed.), Voices for Tolerance in an Age of Persecution, Folger Library, Washington, 2004.

‘Safely Delivered: Childbirth, Wet-Nursing, Gossip-Feasts and Churching in Ireland, 1530-1670’, Irish Economic and Social History 30 (2003).

‘A Trusty and Wellbeloved Servant: The Career and Disinterment of Edmund Sexton (d.1554)’, Archivium Hibernicum 56 (2002).

‘Adored for Saints: Catholic Martyrs and the Counter-Reformation in Ireland, c.1560-1655’, Journal of Early Modern History 5(2) (2001).

‘Irish Images of Jesus, 1550-1650’, Church Monuments 16 (2001).

‘Colonising Memory: Manipulations of Burial and Commemoration in the Career of Richard Boyle, First Earl of Cork (1566-1643)’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 101 (2001).

Journal editing:

Irish Historical Studies 45, 168, November 2021

Irish Historical Studies 46, 169, May 2022

Irish Historical Studies 46, 170, November 2022

Irish Historical Studies 47, 171, May 2023

Short articles/blogposts:

3 articles: 'The art of grift and (re-)gifting: Richard Boyle's presents'; 'Festive joy: Christmas and New Years babies'; 'Granny's Christmas stuffing', in S. Ryan (ed.), Christmas and the Irish (forthcoming, 2023).

'Keep your hair on: the traditions around hair in Irish folklore', RTE Brainstorm, June 2023,….

7 articles: ‘Is it a boy or a child? Predicting the sex of babies - and chickens - in Irish folklore’’; ‘ Caudle cups and sweet bags: the material culture of later-seventeenth-century lying in’; ‘The many labours of Eleanor Appleyard O’Halloran’;Baptism registers as a source for social history 1: birth, naming and godparenthood in nineteenth-century Cloyne’; ‘Baptism registers as a source for social history 2: births outside marriage in nineteenth-century Cloyne parish’; ‘Churching the cow’; ‘Meeting medics, monsters and mothers in nineteenth-century scientific journals’, all in S. Ryan (ed.), Birth and the Irish: a Miscellany (Dublin, Wordwell, 2021).

‘From Beer and Shoes to Sugar and Slaves: Five Baptist Loobys in Cork and Antigua, 1650-1770’, in T. Dooley, M.A. Lyons and S. Ryan (eds), The Historian as Detective: Uncovering Irish Pasts. Essays in honour of Raymond Gillespie (Dublin, 2021).

‘Drumming wombs and fanny farts: listening to the widow’s belly in seventeenth-century Ireland’,, July 2020.

‘Shaving the Dead in Irish Tradition’,, November 2019

2 articles:Single shaming: Chalk Sunday, Pus Monday, Cock Tuesday, Tarry Men and the Skellig Lists’; ‘Serial Marriage in Early Modern Ireland’, in S. Ryan (ed.), Marriage and the Irish: a Miscellany (Dublin, Wordwell, 2019).

‘Women in Irish Ghost Stories’,, November 2016.

2 articles: ‘The Folklore of Graveyards’; ‘Heraldic Funerals, 1552-1729’, in S. Ryan (ed.), Death and the Irish: a Miscellany (Dublin, Wordwell, 2016).

‘Joseph Plunkett: Martyrdom and Mysticism’, in D. Bracken (ed.), The End of All Things Earthly: Faith Profiles of the 1916 Leaders (Dublin, 2016).

‘Civilising the Hairy Savage in Sixteenth-century Ireland’,, November 2015.

‘Catholic Martyrdom in Early Modern Ireland’,, 2004.

 ‘Oliver Plunkett’; ‘Burial Customs and Popular Religion from 1500 to 1690’, in J. S. Donnelly et. al. (eds), Encyclopaedia of Irish History and Culture (Farmington Hills, 2004).;

 ‘Richard Boyle, First Earl of Cork, and his Tombs’, Irish Arts Review (Spring 2003).

 ‘The Earl and the Bishop: Further Light on the Thomond and O’Dea Monuments in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick’, North Munster Antiquarian Journal (2002).