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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 summer of 1840 two of London’s most prolific writers and journalists, Mr and Mrs S C Hall, set out from London for an ambitious tour of Ireland. They would later publish their journey and observations in Ireland - its Scenery and Character, a best selling three volume snap-shot of Ireland, sumptuously illustrated by engravings created by the best artists of its time*. It is a treasured collector’s item today.
Even though it was in the furthermost parish of Archbishop MacHale’s large Tuam archdiocese, once he realised the permanency and the extent of the Protestant settlement on Achill Island (built and directed by the fervent Rev Edward Nangle in the 1830s),* the archbishop was consumed with fury. He waged a belated but rather terrifying campaign to have it scorned and ignored by the island’s 6,000 residents.
A sort of panic obsessed the Archbishop of Tuam, John MacHale, when he realised the extent of the foothold gained by the uncompromising Church of Ireland evangelist Edward Nangle. Achill Island after all, was the very backyard of his immense diocese.
On the eve of the Great Famine there was a terrible scandal in Kinvara, Co Galway. William Burke, who had served as a Catholic priest for 13 years, announced to his congregation that he was leaving the church and becoming Protestant. The people were so angry that about 2,000 pursued his carriage and hurled abuse at him. Two other clergymen and police protection were required to keep him safe.
IN 1798 something remarkable happened in Ireland. Irish Catholics and Presbyterians put aside religious differences to unite in common cause over their grievances against British rule and its discriminations against them. Between May and October that year, they fought to establish an Irish Republic.
Ballinrobe boot X-Change
A Harvest Thanksgiving Service will be held at Ardrahan Church of Ireland on Thursday October 13 at 7.30pm.
PREACHER, LOVE/HATE, and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D star Ruth Negga is coming to the 28th Galway Film Fleadh in July, where she will give this year's Fleadh acting masterclass.
The Breaffy Club and Spa has something to suit everyone. The Breaffy gym has a wide range of both cardio and strength machines as well as a large selection of free weights.