MSS 0097, Item 061 - Diary of an Irish Protestant during the potato famine

 

The author of this diary was an Irish Protestant residing in England and Ireland in the late 1840s. The only confirmation of author’s gender comes from an entry on August 11, 1848, in which he described visiting his brother William and wished “that all brothers were as happy together as we are.” He was probably from Enniskillen in present-day Northern Ireland, and traveled there in July 1847 to visit his ailing father. He often attended Protestant worship services and criticized Catholic priests for keeping the truth of the Gospels from their congregants, going so far as to describe the Irish Potato Famine as God’s vengeance on wicked priests. The author was in Dublin in August 1847 and witnessed the funeral procession of Daniel O’Connell, an Irish political leader who advocated for Catholic emancipation. He was critical of O’Connell and his followers. The author frequently alluded to the turmoil in Ireland, including the devastation of the potato famine, agitation for repeal of the Act of Union, and the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848.

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