away or ‘take’ unsuspecting mortals (almost always women or
children); supernatural imposters, or fairy-changelings, then took their
place in the human world. Irish people commonly associated fairywomen with ‘specific places’;15 as they did so, they mapped meaning
onto the female body and the Irish topography. Women who wandered
in forbidden or profane places were particularly likely to be ‘taken
away’.16 Fairy belief, therefore, reflected realities while it cautioned
‘deviant’ women and constructed an ideal world of gender segregation.
It consistently advocated
were premised on this confidence in the profane animalism of human
Catholic girls who grew up in a rural setting were
habitually exposed to material examples of what they would later
understand to be ‘the facts of life’. Indeed, ‘the facts of life’ was a
phrase that Angela and a number of other interviewees used repeatedly
when discussing their sexual education – ‘facts’ suggesting an
For many liberal Catholic women, later marriage saw their
faith move into a new conceptual space. It was a space that was defined
by two key features. It stood outside their sense of self, a set of
abstract questions and codes to be interrogated by this central agent.
It was also a space that was juxtaposed to the physical, profane demands
of sexuality. In many ways, the interviewees’ testimony seems to
Antiochus Epiphanes, King of Syria from 175 BCE , against whom the Maccabees eventually revolted.
40 1 Maccabees 1:43–5: ‘And King Antiochus wrote to all his kingdom, that all the people should be one: and every one should leave his own law. And all nations consented according to the word of King Antiochus. And many of Israel consented to his service, and they sacrificed to idols, and profaned the sabbath.’
41 Alexander III of Macedon (356–323 BCE ).
42 Wyclif had argued in his logical