All posts in Research

  • Littoral Space 1.1: Discussing Direct Provision with Rosie Howlett Southgate

    Episode 1 available through:

    Littoral Space is a podcast that explores social, cultural, and environmental topics using a geographical lens. In this episode I discuss Ireland’s Direct Provision system with Rosie Howlett Southgate. Rosie is a PhD researcher and Teaching assistant in the Department of Geography, UCC, whose work explores the lives of Irish asylum seekers and refugees. We talk about the realities of life in direct provision camps, the impacts it has on the individuals and families in the system, and the actions local communities are talking to help them.

    You can find out about Rosie’s research via her twitter @rosiesouthgate 

    Lissywollen Accommodation Centre, Athlone. From

    Lissywollen Accommodation Centre, Athlone. From

    Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at

    To find out more about direct provision and how you can help go to:

    Irish Refugee Council 

    Immigrant Council of Ireland

    Doras Luimni (Limerick)

    Nasc (Cork)

  • New Book chapter on Lough Derg

    Scriven, R (2018) ‘”I renounce the World, the Flesh and the Devil”: pilgrimage, transformation, and liminality at St Patrick’s Purgatory, Ireland’ in: Bartolini, N, MacKian, S, Pile, S. (eds.) Spaces of Spirituality. Routledge, Oxon:

    My chapter in the new collection Spaces of Spirituality edited by Nadia Bartolini, Sara MacKian, andd Steve Pile. It explores the transformative potential of pilgrimages, through the example of Lough Derg. By undertaking a spiritual, cultural, or emotional journey that removes one from the everyday, participants enter the liminal state of the pilgrim. This temporary embodied identity facilitates transformative encounters in which participants can express feelings, reflect on their lives, and rejuvenate their faith. The Christian lake-island pilgrimage of St Patrick’s Purgatory – where pilgrims spend three days fasting, praying, going barefoot, and keeping a twenty-four hour vigil – offers a unique setting to explore this ideas in the contemporary world.

    St Brigid's Cross

    St Brigid’s Cross

    Pilgrims kneeling in prayer by St Brigid’s Cross

  • Holy Well workshops

    Holy well workshops in Cork:
    Tuesday 28th Nov 8pm, Millstreet Parish Centre
    Friday 1st Dec 2.30pm, Kinsale Library
    Tuesday 5th 3pm, Mitchelstown Library
    Workshops exploring holy wells as part of the Cork County Council Creative Ireland supported (Re)sounding holy wells project. Led by:
    • Vicky Langan, independent artist
    • Dr Richard Scriven, Dept of Geography, UCC
    Please bring any old photos or mementos of holy wells
    ReSounding Holy Well Workshop - All
  • Book: Journeys of Belief and Belonging: Modern Irish Pilgrimage

    This book, based on the research of Dr Richard Scriven, explores the pilgrimage tradition and how it is manifest in contemporary Ireland. It illustrates how pilgrimage, an activity usually associated with the past, is a vibrant cultural phenomenon that inspires millions of people annually to leave home, go on a journey, and try to connect with the more meaningful aspects of life.

    The text uses images taken during Richard’s fieldwork at some of Ireland’s main pilgrimage sites, Lough Derg, Co Dongeal; Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo; Knock, Co. Mayo; and, a holy wells in Munster. These photographs of pilgrims and rituals offer a window into this living and evolving tradition. Quotations from people interviewed during the research add personal stories revealing how pilgrimage is a rich spiritual and emotional journey for many. It is based on research funded by the Irish Research Council.

    Copies are in numerous local and institutional libraries in Ireland, and it is available to order through Amazon.

    Journeys of Belief and Belonging: Modern Irish Pilgrimage by [Scriven, Richard]

  • Creative Ireland Project

    (Re)sounding holy wells is an artistic and cultural heritage project being led by Vicky Langan, independent artist, and Dr Richard Scriven, Department of Geography, UCC, to imaginatively explore holy wells in Cork through workshops, audio recordings, and oral histories. It is being funded by the Creative Ireland County Cork Grant Scheme under the community participation strand of the Creative Ireland Programme 2017-2022. Using a collaborative approach with both primary schools and community heritage groups, the project will examine and highlight the roles of holy wells as cultural amenities and sites of vernacular heritage. Fresh understandings of the wells will be produced through the use of audio by combining field recordings with accounts of the holy wells from young people and community members. Participative workshops and performances will be advertised in local media and online; also, all materials will be available on a forthcoming website.

    Vicky Langan is a Cork-based artist whose practice operates across several overlapping fields, chiefly performance, sound, and film. She has gained bursary awards from Cork City Council and the Arts Council of Ireland. She has also been awarded a residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris.

    Dr Scriven is an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow and a Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Scholar in the Department of Geography, UCC.

    CI_Mark_Right_Gold Cork County Council logo.jpg

  • Holy Wells in Ireland today: a conversation

    Seminars June 17

    ‘Holy Wells in Ireland today: a conversation’ is an event I am holding  in conjunction with my exhibition in the UCC Library ‘Journeys of Belief and Belonging: Modern Irish Pilgrimage’.

    Several speakers, including a local authority official, researchers, and explorers, will start the seminar, followed by a public discussion exploring the role of holy wells. This event hopes to consider the rich place of holy wells in local communities and in Irish heritage.

    It is on at 7pm Wednesday 21stJune, in the Geography Building, UCC. Refreshments will be served from 6.30pm.

  • LibFocus Post: Universities, Research and Public Engagement

    I have a guest post on the LibFocus blog to accompany my exhibition ‘Journeys of Belief and Belonging: modern Irish pilgrimage‘. I discuss the topic of ‘Universities, Research and Public Engagement‘ by highlighting the importance of researchers sharing their work with the general public and having conversations about it.

    Public engagement is “the idea that researchers need to communicate their work not only to others in their field – usually through peer-reviewed journal articles and conference presentations – but also to a broader range of audiences.” It is an important part of modern research agendas, but can does not always receive the support and acknowledgment it deserves. You can read more in the blog post.   

  • Graves, Wells & Statues: Exploring the heritage and culture of pilgrimage in medieval and modern Cork

    This book, co-written with Dr Louise Nugent – who blogs at Pilgrimage in Medieval Ireland, explores the often underappreciated story of pilgrimage in Cork city, from medieval to modern times. It was a research project funded by Cork City Council’s Heritage Publication Grant Scheme 2015, which enabled us to do a survey of pilgrimage locations in Cork and to produce a monograph on the topic.


    By examining former sites of pilgrimage, such as St Francis’s Well on the North Mall and Lady’s Well off Leitrim Street, and current sites, including St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Nano Nagle’s Grave, and Our Lady of Graces in St Mary’s Pope’s Quay, this book sheds light on the important role of pilgrimage in the social, cultural, and religious life of Cork. It offers a distinct approach to the heritage of the city through an examination of the themes of pilgrimage and sacred sites that draws together different features of the urban landscape, and also provides context and discussion of their historical and contemporary significance.

    The book is available in several Cork bookshops, including Liam Ruiséal and St FinBarre’s Cathedral shop; also, it can be baought in printed and kindle versions at

    This publication has been funded by Cork City Council’s Heritage Publication Grant Scheme 2015. Thanks to Niamh Twomey and all the staff in the Heritage section of Cork City Council for their advice.