Clergyman Edward Nangle’s nineteenth-century mission to Achill Island aimed to lift a destitute people out of ignorance, poverty and idolatry. The fury of the island elements, the devastation of the Great Famine, Edward Nangle’s own volatile temperament, and the unbearable suffering of his wife Eliza and their children all threatened the project’s survival. The ugly charge of ‘souperism’, offering food and benefits in return for religious conversion, tainted the Mission’s work. Then a spectacular conflict erupted between Nangle and Archbishop John MacHale. In The Preacher and the Prelate writer Patricia Byrne tells this incredible Achill story which continues to excite controversy and division to the present day. “Told with pace and panache…an extraordinary and important read” (Irish Independent).
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