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Occasions of Sin

Imprint: Profile Books
Subject: History & Classics

Occasions of Sin

Sex and Society in Modern Ireland

Diarmaid Ferriter

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

eBook (ePUB/MOBI)?
9781847652584 (9 Jul 2010)

About the book

Ferriter covers such subjects as abortion, pregnancy, celibacy, contraception, censorship, infanticide, homosexuality, prostitution, marriage, popular culture, social life and the various hidden Irelands associated with sexual abuse - all in the context of a conservative official morality backed by the Catholic Church and by legislation. The book energetically and originally engages with subjects omitted from the mainstream historical narrative. The breadth of this book and the richness of the source material uncovered make it definitive in its field and a most remarkable work of social history.

About the author

Diarmaid Ferriter is one of Ireland's best-known historians and is Professor of Modern Irish History at UCD. His books include The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000 (2004), Judging Dev: A Reassessment of the life and legacy of Eamon de Valera (2007), Occasions of Sin: Sex and Society in Modern Ireland (2009) and Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s (2012). His most recent book is A Nation and not a Rabble: The Irish Revolution 1913-23 (2015) He is a regular broadcaster on television and radio and a weekly columnist with the Irish Times. In 2010 he presented a three-part history of twentieth century Ireland, The Limits of Liberty, on RTE television.


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

Additional Information

Imprint: Profile Books
Subject: History & Classics