‘A Nation of Beggars’?Priests, People, and Politics in Famine Ireland, 1846–1852

‘A Nation of Beggars’?Priests, People, and Politics in Famine Ireland, 1846–1852

Donal A. Kerr

Print publication date: 2011

ISBN: 9780198207375

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

This is the first full account of the role of the Irish Catholic Church in the Great Famine of 1846 and its aftermath. The author shows how the Famine and the subsequent evictions led to rural violence and a spate of assassinations culminating in the murder of Major Mahon, which the local parish priest was accused of inciting. Savage denunciations followed in press and parliament. In conjunction with the belief that Pope Pius IX had blessed the struggle of oppressed nationalities, many priests became involved in the run-up to the Young Ireland Rebellion. These years also saw a sharpening of religious tension as Protestant Evangelicals made an all-out effort to Protestantine Ireland. The author has charted how the Famine and the violence soured relations between the Church and State and ultimately destroyed Lord John Russell’s dream of bringing a golden age to Ireland.