Patronage and Observance: The Franciscan and Dominican friaries in the Connacht lordships of Clann Uilliam Uachtair and Clann Uilliam Íochtair, 1350-1550

McDermott, Yvonne
This research examines the Franciscan and Dominican friaries in the Connacht Burke lordships of Clann Uilliam Íochtair and Clann Uilliam Uachtair in the west of Ireland, 1350-1550. The principal aims are to establish how the friaries interacted with their lordship and parish environments and the variety of roles they served, to consider the extent to which the principles of the Observant reform of the mendicant orders were reflected architecturally in the reformed houses, and to determine the nature and extent of the involvement of the Burke family, and others, as patrons of these friaries. An inter-disciplinary approach to addressing these research questions is taken, involving archaeology, history and the history of architecture and art. The use of the lordship, a secular unit, as the geographical matrix of the study, emphasises many aspects of the friars' interaction with the secular world that are not evident through the medium of ecclesiastical denominations alone. The friars served a variety of roles, depending on the demands of their locality. In addition to preaching and saying masses, they served cure of souls in cases where the secular clergy neglected to do so and provided medical care for the poor and the sick, such as lepers. The principles of the Observance are reflected architecturally in reformed convents through the simplicity and restraint of their decorative programme whereby a preference is shown for cheaper forms of decoration, such as wall paintings, over stone sculpture. Burke and other family benefactions in both lordships assumed a variety of forms, from buildings, sculpture, wall paintings to everyday requirements of life for the friars, and differed depending on the resources of the donor. These friaries were predominantly rural, uncharacteristic of the mendicant orders in Europe, but a reflection of the needs of the laity whom the friars were committed to tending.
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland