Knock: The Virgin's Apparition in Nineteenth Century Ireland by Eugene Hynes and published by Cork University Press has been selected as a co-winner of the tenth annual James S. Donnelly, Sr. award for Books in History and the Social Sciences presented by the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS). - Knock: The Virgin's Apparition in Nineteenth- Century Ireland (ISBN 978 185918 440 0, Hbk, 400 pp, 234 x 156mm, €49/£39).
On August 21, 1879 in a poor rural village in the western county of Mayo over a dozen people saw a bright silvery-white light outside the gable of the local Catholic church and within the light the Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist. From a neglected memoir dating from 1880 Hynes steps inside the shoes of a local man who describes the scene in Knock for half a century before the apparition. The timing and location of the apparition is explained by the combination of several factors.
Hynes shines an important new sociological light on nineteenth century Ireland. He provides a readable and scholarly account of rural Catholic life in the time leading up to the apparition at Knock. He weaves a rich description of the people and events into a comprehensive analysis of the social, political and economic context within which the apparition occurred.
Eugene Hynes is a native of east Galway and is Associate Professor of Sociology at Kettering University, Michigan