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Building a Catholic church in 1950s Ireland: architecture, rhetoric and landscape in Dromore, Co. Cork, 1952–56
"Ireland has had a steadily declining population for more than a century. Economists and sociologists are agreed that, if this ominous trend continues, in another century the Irish race will have vanished much like the Mayans, leaving only their monuments behind them."― John A. O’Brien, The Vanishing Irish: The Enigma of the Modern World (1954).1 This article explores the intellectual culture of Catholic architectural production in 1950s Ireland. In doing so, it speaks to a broad range of social, economic, and political aspects of Irish rural life and religious expression in what is often portrayed as a bleak decade marked by emigration, insularity, and conservative Catholicism.2Its focus is an unusually well documented church-building project in rural west Cork of the early 1950s–the Church of Mary Immaculate, Dromore, Co. Cork (Fig. 1) –and the life, work, and writings of the energetic parish priest who oversaw its construction, Canon Patrick Henchy (1888–1969)
CitationRural History: economy, society, culture (2020) In Press
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)