Search Results for 'Edward Nangle'
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The Great Famine of 1845 - 49 hit Achill Island particularly hard. Given the poor quality of its soil there was little or no alternative to the potato crop which failed throughout those years. Once the severity of the calamity became apparent, and that help from the government was begrudging and insufficient, there was a sensible coming together of Protestant and Catholic clergy to try to calm and feed the people.
In the 1650s, Catholics were uprooted from their productive, arable, lands in several Irish counties by Oliver Cromwell’s Protestant army and forced at musket point to desolate, barren, Connacht. Their confiscated lands, the better holdings in Ireland, were distributed to Protestant settlers, Cromwell’s army as pay, and carved up to pay debts. Maps of Ireland, pre and post Cromwell, detailing the regression of the predominantly Catholic associated Irish language and customs point to a culture that was deliberately and officially forced to areas thought of as being so inhospitable they would not survive. County Mayo was included among these religious and cultural ghettoes. The living standards of the banished Catholics fell dangerously low and remained so for centuries. Christian duty led some within the Protestant clergy to later establish evangelical missions in the wild Irish west to give relief to the descendants of those very same Catholics. Salvation and, dishonourably, food were offered through conversion to Protestantism. Whereas 17th century Protestants believed it was God's will that godless Catholics be sent to suffer and perhaps perish in Mayo, 19th century Protestants believed it was His will that these (still godless) Catholics be reclaimed so that they might be saved. The Rev Edward Nangle's Achill Island Mission set out to do just that in 1831.