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A vicious battle for souls on Achill

Non-Fiction: The Preacher and the Prelate, Patricia Byrne, Merrion Press, paperback, 272 pages, €14.99

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Tyrannical fanatic: Edward Nangle's accusers claim he forced starving islanders to sell their souls for bread and soup

Tyrannical fanatic: Edward Nangle's accusers claim he forced starving islanders to sell their souls for bread and soup

The Preacher and the Prelate by Patricia Byrne

The Preacher and the Prelate by Patricia Byrne

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Tyrannical fanatic: Edward Nangle's accusers claim he forced starving islanders to sell their souls for bread and soup

This gripping book tells the true story of the feverish clergyman who came to the island on a mission to convert the islanders and ended up sparking a sectarian cage fight.

In 1831, a young clergyman, Edward Nangle, landed on Achill Island on a mission to rescue the 6,000 wretched inhabitants from hunger, illiteracy and the "filthy and blasphemous absurdities" of their Catholic faith. Nangle is the preacher of Patricia Byrne's gripping true story of sectarian conflict ignited by the so-called Second Reformation. The prelate of the title is John McHale. A resurgent Roman Church emboldened by the granting of Catholic Emancipation decided to fight firebrand with firebrand, and appointed the Rottweiler McHale as Bishop of Tuam. "Anybody but him!" the prime minister implored the Pope, but both sides were locked in for a vicious cage fight.


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