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Occasions of Sin


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Groundbreaking in its scope and ambition, Occasions of Sin charts the Irish sexual experience over the course of the twentieth century.

About the Author

Diarmaid Ferriter was born in Dublin in 1972. One of Ireland's leading historians, he is Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin and author of The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000 and Judging Dev: A Reassessment of the Life and Legacy of Eamon de Valera.


A groundbreaking study of the control of sexuality by church and state in twentieth century Ireland...a riveting account...for anyone tempted by the sin of nostalgia, Ferriter's superbly researched narrative is a powerful prophylactic -- Fintan O'Toole * Observer *
What Ferriter's insightful account makes us acutely aware of is the gendered nature of blame or fault for sexual misbehaviour ... this book graphically illustrates the extent and durability of past delusions about Irish sexual purity * Irish Examiner *
It analyses the flaws in the way the Irish saw themselves, and hoped that others would see them... the book adds up to a tremendous feat of documentation which leaves no source of misery unprobed. * The Independent *
Impressively researched and compellingly written...the pretence persisted for many decades that no sex happened in Ireland; the reality was very different. Ferriter's book makes an immense contribution in bringing this into the open, while maintaining a fair balance between dwelling unduly on the abuse, and celebrating the brave battles won.. * Irish Times *
Finely textured and superbly researched...Ferriter bridges the massive gap between the perceived version of Irish life and the reality that kept intruding. It makes for a fascinating social history. * Sunday Independent *
A gargantuan study of Irish attitudes to sex and sexuality from famine times until the present day...a work of considerable a rigorous, empirical and layered examination of a topic that befuddled Irish people for most of the last century, Ferriter's work represents a laudable accomplishment * Sunday Times *
Vast in scope and dense in detail, it's probably the most comprehensive treatment it's possible to get about a subject that's inherently shrouded in secrecy and shame * Sunday Business Post *
finely important and timely book: it is a richly textured history of modern Ireland's complicated attitude to sex...enlists an impressive range of primary sources from public archives to personal memoir to contemporary fiction...the book's great virtue lies in its detail * The Guardian *

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