The war of religions: MacHale versus Nangle
The arrival of Protestant colonists on Achill Island in the 1830s was bitterly opposed by the local Catholic Archbishop His Grace Dr John MacHale who waged an unceasing struggle to destroy those he termed ‘these venomous fanatics’. At every turn by boycott, beatings, denunciation from the altar and the ostracisation of socalled ‘souper’ and ‘jumper’ converts, MacHale sought to destroy Nangle’s Mission Settlement and deny him a Protestant foothold in what was the very citadel of the Catholic faith in Ireland, Connaught.
The struggle between both men would wage through soup kitchens, schools, famine, starvation, chapel and church and only end with their deaths in the 1880s.
By any measure Nangle was a hugely charismatic figure whose sexual attractiveness provoked the attentions of numerous Christian ladies as well as being a bi-polar manic depressive, an intemperate fanatic and a religious crank of the first order who believed he could through Biblical prophecy predict the exact date of end of the world. He was also a Victorian PR genius who raised the equivalent of millions of pounds from his loyal followers across the globe to found and sustain Ireland’s greatest Protestant mission. Nangle was also an architectural and agricultural visionary and his Colony was Ireland’s first 19th Century self-sustaining model community with schools, orphanages, a hospital, a hotel, organic farms, workshops and its very own printing press.
Join us on The Colony Tour to learn more about this fascinating struggle between Nangle and MacHale for the destiny of the Irish nation.
Incredibly, Nangle founded, wrote, printed and published his own monthly newspaper The Achill Herald in Dugort and distributed the paper across the world to raise funds and catalogue what he saw as the errors of Popery and MacHale’s many crimes against the Achill Mission.
More than any other individual Nangle, the father of Achill’s tourist industry, shaped the history and development of Ireland’s largest island.