Friday 22 July 2016

New book explores the experience of death in Ireland
A new book – Grave Matters, Death and dying in Dublin, 1500 to the present – has been published by Four Courts Press. As its title suggests, it explores the experience of death, burial and commemoration in Dublin since the sixteenth century, and uses death as a way of understanding social conditions during the last five hundred years. It is edited by historians Lisa Marie Griffith and Ciarán Wallace.

Its contributions consider the role of the public funeral in establishing political hierarchies, the fate of the city’s Catholics during the era of the penal laws and the survival of the death penalty to 1990. They also explore the meanings of humble headstones, elaborate memorials and post-mortem photography. From Sir Francis Agard’s elite funeral in 1577, through the panicky burials during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1919, to the presentation of cemeteries as cultural tourism today, this collection of essays offers a fascinating analysis of life – and death – in Dublin.

You can see the full line-up of essay topics on the Four Courts Press's website where the well-illustrated 268-page book is on sale for €22.45.