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Dr Andrew Sneddon’ ground-breaking research on the history of Irish witchcraft and magic has impacted on creativity, culture and society.

  • Influencing, inspiring and enabling the production of network TV programmes in two territories and multiple languages for national broadcasters BBC and TG4, allowing them to reach new and culturally and linguistically diverse audiences.
  • Impacting on the ways in which public archives, arts providers and venues in Northern Ireland interpret, preserve and engage with Irish history and heritage, and bring it to the attention of wider audiences.
  • Research Context 

    Between January 2010 and December 2019, while working as a lecturer at Ulster University, Sneddon’s research has filled a major lacuna in early modern and modern academic witchcraft studies by unearthing the extent of belief in, and practice of, witchcraft and ‘beneficial’ magic in Ireland (c.1500-2000). Witchcraft studies has grown exponentially in the last half a century, but Ireland was overlooked primarily because the legal and Church records required to research the subject were destroyed in a fire in the Public Record Office in Dublin in 1922. Painstaking source reconstruction that involved tracking down surviving examples of these documents in archives and libraries in Britain, Ireland and America, along with source substitution using contemporary newspapers, printed books, visual imagery, and objects of material culture, allowed Sneddon to recover an important, ‘hidden’ part of Irish social and cultural history. The research has appeared in academic monographs and in leading international academic journals. The monograph Witchcraft and Magic was the first academic overview of Irish witchcraft and popular magic since 1913, while Possessed by the Devil  was the first micro-study of an early modern, Irish mass trial, that of the ‘Islandmagee Witches’ in 1711.

  • Sources To Corroborate 
    • Statement from Producer, BBC2 NI ‘The Gaitherin’.
    • Statement from Shooting Producer Director, BBC1 ‘The One Show’.
    • Statement from Producer from Below the Radar TV, BBC2 NI ‘I Lár an Aonaigh’.
    • Statement from Series Producer/Director, Waddell Media.
    • Statement from Company Director and Series Producer Lagan Media.
    • Statement from Head of Public Services, PRONI.
    • Statement from Director of Seedhead Arts.