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18 produce to death and illness in humans and livestock.16 Moreover, popular belief in “the good people”, “wee folk”, or “the gentry” continued into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, often centring on the effects of elf-bolts and fairy blast on cattle, and the changeling abduction of healthy infants and young women of child-bearing age who had been replaced by sickly or irritable substitutes.17 Suspected changelings were variously held over fires, beaten, abandoned, and branded with hot pokers in a bid to expel the possessing fairy or force the return of the healthy woman or child.18 The case of Bridget Cleary, a suspected changeling murdered by her husband and others in 1895 in Tipperary, is the case study on which discussions of changeling killing usually centre,19 but it is clear the practice was far more widespread than once thought,20 extending as far north as Ulster. Irish people were not defenceless against the activities of malevolent fairies: magical practitioners (see below), along with specific rituals and magical protective devices, were often employed as counter-measures. Amulets made of mistletoe and mountain ash were used to prevent attacks on cattle, while baptism and the dressing of male children in female clothing prevented offspring being replaced by changelings. Other preventative measures included the avoidance of reported fairy dwellings, and the throwing of iron implements in the air, a practice adopted in the west of Ireland along with bonfire leaping.21 Despite the Cleary case, it has been argued that economic and societal change, including increasing literacy and improved communications, along with a better-funded, increasingly organised and proactive Catholic Church long opposed to such (perceived) ‘superstitions’, 16 Jacqueline Borsje, 'Monotheistic to a Certain Extent: The 'Good Neighbours' of God in Ireland ' in, Anne- Marie Korte & Maaike de Haardt (eds), The Boundaries of Monotheism: Interdisciplinary Explorations into the Foundations of Western Monotheism, Studies in Theology and Religion 13 (Leiden & Boston, 2009): 54-9, 62-3, 74-7; Diarmuid Ó Giolláin, ‘The Fairy Belief and Official Religion in Ireland’ in, Peter Narvaez (ed.), The Good People: New Fairylore Essays (Kentucky, 1991): 199- 200; Hutton, ‘Witch-hunting in Celtic Societies’: 63-5; 17 Edward MacLysaght, Irish Life in the Seventeenth-Century (Cork, 2nd ed., 1950): 177; Ignatius Murphy, The Diocese of Killaloe in the Eighteenth Century (Dublin, 1991): 201; S. J. Connolly, Priests and People in Pre- famine Ireland, 1780-1845 (1982, repr. Dublin, 2001): 113-14; Richard P. Jenkins, ‘Witches and Fairies: Supernatural Aggression and Deviance among the Irish Peasantry’ in, The Good People: 42. 18 Elaine Farrell, ‘A Most Diabolical Deed’: Infanticide and Irish Society, 1850-1900 (Manchester, 2013): 30. 19 See Angela Bourke, The Burning of Bridget Cleary: a True Story (London, 1999). 20 Simon Young, ‘Some Notes on Irish Fairy Changelings in Nineteenth-century Newspapers’ in, Béascna, 8 (2013): 34-47. 21 Henry Mackle, ‘Fairies and Leprechauns’, Ulster Folklife, 10 (1964), 51-4; MacLysaght, Irish Life: 177-8; Raymond Gillespie, Devoted People: Belief and Religion in Early Modern Ireland (Manchester, 1997): 50-1, 65, 109, 112.

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