Cookies on CAB eBooks

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.


Continuing to use  means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

CAB eBooks

Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

CABI Book Chapter

Pilgrimage in practice: narration, reclamation and healing.

Book cover for Pilgrimage in practice: narration, reclamation and healing.


This book reveals many aspects of the practice of pilgrimage, from its nationalistic facets to its effect on economic development; from the impact of the internet to questions of globalization; and from pilgrimage as protest to pilgrimage as creative expression in such media as film, art and literature. Part I, 'Grounding Pilgrimage', challenges past and present definitions of the sacred journey. ...


Chapter 8 (Page no: 91)

'Non-sacred' no more: the pilgrimage path Crucán na bPáiste and the re-evaluation of Irish cultural practices.

In Ireland, cillíní ('mini cemeteries' or 'angel plots') were designated as 'non-sacred' places where infants and young children who had died without baptism were laid to rest. Since Medieval times, these 'holy angels' were denied burial in Roman Catholic cemeteries. Not having been properly baptized, the Church insisted they had no rights to sacred burial. Since the mid-1990s, a reconsideration of this position has surfaced, and in certain places, pilgrimages to cillíní have been undertaken in order to restore dignity to those whose familial loss was aggravated by Church fiat. In certain places, 'non-sacred' graves have been opened and their remains reinterred in family plots. In County Mayo, a place called Crucán na bPáiste (The Burial Place of the Children) typifies how one community made its cillín sacred. Boundaries were demarcated and a walkway created. A plaque highlighting the site's significance was erected, and a song by the same name in the Irish language was published on YouTube©. Drawing upon the insights of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, historian Brian Stock, anthropologist Ian McIntosh and others, this chapter examines how the re-evaluation of unbaptized children's graves forms part of a larger trend taking place in Ireland today in which poems, songs and traditional genres like the agallamh beirte (dialogue in verse) function to expose some of the abuses inflicted by clerics and colonials alike. Their excesses include suppressing the death lament or keen (an caoineadh) and 'blaming the victim' for the precipitation of the Great Irish Famine (aka An Gorta Mór, 1845-1852). Exposing such overreaches of authority has enabled many Irish people to heal their communities and themselves. In terms of the latter, the chapter concludes by examining how the author of the song 'Crucán na bPáiste' found personal healing by harking to the message of the newly sacralized site.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) The experience of medieval pilgrims on the route to Santiago de Compostela, Spain: evidence from the 12th-century Pilgrim's Guide. Author(s): Garton, T.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 16) Pilgrimage: a distinctive practice. Author(s): LeSueur, R.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 26) Meshworks, entanglements and presencing absence: pilgrimages, eastern Free State-style. Author(s): Plooy, S. du
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 46) Pilgrim writers in dialogue. Author(s): Beek, S. van der
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 60) Medieval pilgrims in modern times: Buñuel's The Milky Way. Author(s): Smith, A. T.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 70) Richard Burton: disguise as journey to the self and beyond. Author(s): Aateka Khan
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 80) Children's processions to Glasnevin: contestation, education, recreation. Author(s): Keely, V.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 112) Spain's mystical adventure: walking in the footsteps of Teresa of Ávila. Author(s): Farrelly, M.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 122) Dreaming of Al-Quds (Jerusalem): pilgrimage and visioning. Author(s): McIntosh, I. S.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 137) The Future Generations Ride of the Lakota Sioux. Author(s): Greenia, G. D.
Chapter: 12 (Page no: 148) Pilgrimage and the challenging of a Canadian foundational myth. Author(s): Anderson, M. R.

Chapter details

  • Author Affiliation
  • College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
  • Year of Publication
  • 2018
  • ISBN
  • 9781786394996
  • Record Number
  • 20183122683