ItemReligious memory as a conveyor of authoritative tradition: The necessary and essential component in a definition of religion(ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork, 2015) Cox, JamesIn a landmark book published in 2000, the sociologist Danièle Hervieu-Léger defined religion as a chain of memory, by which she meant that within religious communities remembered traditions are transmitted with an overpowering authority from generation to generation. After analysing Hervieu-Léger’s sociological approach as overcoming the dichotomy between substantive and functional definitions, this article compares a ritual honouring the ancestors in which a medium becomes possessed by the senior elder’s ancestor spirit among the Shona of Zimbabwe with a cleansing ritual performed by a Celtic shaman in New Hampshire, USA. In both instances, despite different social and historical contexts, appeals are made to an authoritative tradition to legitimize the rituals performed. This lends support to the claim that the authoritative transmission of a remembered tradition, by exercising an overwhelming power over communities, even if the memory of such a tradition is merely postulated, identifies the necessary and essential component for any activity to be labelled “religious”. ItemCreating religious place in Ireland: Hindu public places of worship and the Indian sculpture park(ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork, 2015) Colfer, ColetteThis paper examines the creation of religious place. It argues that the designation of a place as “religious” is a subjective and creative act which is dependent upon the perception and past, or memory, of the viewer. The paper focuses specifically on the creation of public places of worship by Hindu groups in the Dublin city area of Ireland and on the varied perceptions of the Indian Sculpture Park in County Wicklow. The creation of public places of worship results in places classified as “religious” due to the intention of the creator, the terminology used and the types of activities that take place in the space. This is in contrast to places such as the Indian Sculpture Park in County Wicklow which was created as a secular space but which is viewed by some Hindus as an outdoor temple due to the presence of sculptures of the Hindu deity Ganesh. Other Hindus do not view the space as having any religious significance and so its religiosity is contested. This points to the fact that the creation of religious place is a creative act of interpretation which is dependent upon the perception and past of the viewer and which changes over time. ItemKeeping their heads down: Shame and pride in the stories of Protestants in the Irish Republic(ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork, 2015) Nuttall, DeirdreThis study draws on a number of in-depth interviews to explore the ethnic aspect of Protestantism in the Republic of Ireland. We explore themes of shame and pride around issues of identity, together with a sense of loss of a minority rapidly losing cultural distinctiveness. Following Ireland‘s division, the ordinary Protestants of the south, comprising a range of religious denominations bound by history, intermarriage and culture, found themselves in a society in which their story was rarely told. The dominant narrative was one of a Catholic people, long oppressed by a wealthy Protestant minority. The story of ordinary Protestants, including those in rural and urban poverty, went largely unheard. Today, ordinary Protestants – small farmers, shop keepers, housewives – tell the story of Ireland as seen through their family‘s narratives. Themes of pride and shame, often intertwined, form a thread that binds their testimony, drawing on family, personal and local history, folklore and statements of identity. ItemLearning from minority: Exploring Irish Protestant experience(ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork, 2015) Walsh, TonyThis paper, based on a narrative research inquiry, presents and explores a number of stories relating to the experience and identity of members of the small Irish Protestant minority. Drawing on these stories it uses Foucault’s conceptualisation of power and discourse to consider community, social withdrawal, and two different but linked expressions of silence as acts of resistance. These were simultaneously utilised to preserve a culture and ethos diametrically opposed to the religious and political hegemony of the Irish Catholic state and to combat the threat of extinction. The article concludes that an exploration of Ireland’s traditional religious minority not only raises awareness concerning a specific group’s experience but extends an understanding of the issues with which minorities (in more general terms) may have to cope in order to survive.