A Nation of Beggars?: Priests, People, and Politics in Famine Ireland, 1846-1852
This is the first full account of the role of the Irish Catholic Church in the Great Famine of 1846 and its aftermath. Donal Kerr 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 localparish 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, this led to many priests becoming involved in the run-up to the Young Ireland Rebellion. These yearsalso saw a sharpening of religious tension as Protestant Evangelicals made an all-out effort to Protestantize Ireland. Professor Kerr 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 ageto Ireland.
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