Dylann Leal

Faculty Advisor

Jiacheng Liu

Document Type


Publication Date



The Irish keen, or funeral lament, was commonly practiced until the late 1800s, specifically in rural Ireland. Communities hired keening women to give proper rites to the dead until their burial. This research explores the performance and roles of gender in Irish funerals. Keening women performed the role of the community’s emotional caretaker. They also transformed into a supernatural caretaker for the dead, ensuring that the soul arrived at its proper location. This research uses accounts from the Irish people on funeral practices. These accounts, collected nationally in the early 1900s, gave a better understanding of folklore and beliefs of the people in Ireland. This research also uses articles from this time that describe the funeral practices and the beliefs of different classes. Scholarly articles are used to provide background information. This research will add to the understanding of gender performances in Ireland.


This presentation is a finalist for the Undergraduate Humanities, Arts & Creative Endeavors Research Excellence Award.