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Exploring the 19th-century Protestant Missionary Controversy in the West of Ireland, Particularly in the Works of Miriam Moffitt

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 28, 2012


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by Eull Dunlop

Salvation, schooling and soup?

"'Healing ceremony for Achill mission colony’ was the headline on a piece written by the Irish Times’ Western Correspondent on 21 September 2011, which causes us to reflect on nineteenth-century Protestant incursions into the largely Roman Catholic west of Ireland, especially in circumstances of social distress.

In 2011 the immediate undertaking by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam and the lately appointed Church of Ireland Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry (their respective titles reflecting their bailiwicks of contrasting scope) was to ‘mark’ almost two hundred unnamed graves in four burying-grounds at Dugort on Achill Island.

That, of course, was once a focus of Episcopalian social activism and evangelism, critics would prefer proselytism, begun among the Roman Catholic poor in 1834, in the wider province of Connaught whose religious history has sometimes been robust."

This article explores the 19th century Protestant missionary controversy in the west of Ireland, especially the works of Miriam Moffitt.