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TAIGHDE / RESEARCH

THE HEREDITARY ECCLESIASTICAL FAMILIES OF IRELAND

Purpose of the Research

The purpose of this research is to comprehensively identify Ireland’s hereditary ecclesiastical families.  These families played an extremely important role in Gaelic society from the earliest days of Christianity in Ireland until the 17th century.  Despite the number of hereditary ecclesiastical families (at least 175 by my estimate at this point), they and their story are largely unknown, even to their own descendants.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my own in-laws descend from one of these families!

Background

Generation after generation, Ireland’s hereditary ecclesiastical families married, had children, and thereby staffed the church with priests, nuns, abbesses, abbots, monks, librarians, scribes, teachers, masters of canon and secular law, masters of classical learning, masters of Gaelic secular learning, annalists, administrators, builders, and more.  This went on for over a thousand years.  Celibacy was a highly regarded option.  Usually, however, marriage was the norm.  

Summary

In other words, Ireland didn’t become the "Isle of Saints and Scholars" by accident. Ireland's hereditary ecclesiastical families made it happen. 

For more about this research and how you can support it, see the Indiegogo campaign at The Hereditary Ecclesiastical Families of Ireland .