The soggarth aroon
Quite understandably, the Catholic priest has been a central figure in Irish literature. This was because of the significant role played by the Catholic Church in the day-to-day lives of Irish people. In rural Ireland, the local church was a fulcrum, the place where people gathered for Mass on Sunday as well as for baptisms, weddings and death – not forgetting the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation, of course. The priest was held in high esteem and wielded huge influence. He was usually one of the few educated members of the community and so to his spiritual standing was added the extra layer of intellectual superiority.