For nearly a century the Protestant denominations in Ireland set up missions in Connemara. Many were about winning converts, but others sought to help the communities they encountered.
Dr Miriam Moffitt will give a public lecture to The Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, entitled Protestant Missions in Connemara 1846 – 1937 in the Harbour Hotel, Dock Road, on Monday at 8pm.
The onset of famine conditions provided an opportunity for proselytising missions to attempt the conversion of the peasantry of Ireland and in 1846, the Irish Church Missions launched a crusade for the soul of Connemara.
Thousands flocked to mission schools and services during and immediately after the Famine, some from doctrinal conviction, but most because of the distribution of food. The Roman Catholic Church however had no intention of surrendering any of its members to Protestantism and launched a sturdy counter-offensive.
Over the following decades, the poor of Connemara found themselves caught in a struggle between two powerful organisations and this illustrated talk will outline the establishment, development, and decline of the Connemara missions, and the tactics employed by the Catholic church to impede their progress.
Admission is free and all are welcome.