This exhibition and symposium explore the impact of the Second Reformation on Catholic-Protestant relations, and wider Irish society, in the pre-Famine decades. The Second Reformation was a movement of renewed zeal and vigour amongst Protestant missionaries to convert Irish Catholics, largely focused on the first half of the nineteenth century. This project is using an infamously inflammatory sermon by the newly-appointed Church of Ireland archbishop of Dublin, William Magee (1766-1831), delivered in St Patrick’s Cathedral on 24 October 1822, as a hook on which to base this exploration of the Second Reformation. While Protestant evangelicals and missionaries had been active throughout Ireland since the late eighteenth century, Magee’s sermon is seen as significant in returning acute religious controversy to the Irish public sphere.
Case studies within the exhibition will include the Crotty Schism in Birr, County Offaly and the infamous ‘Bible War’ of the 1820s, wherein Catholic and Protestant clerics engaged in heated public debates on matters of theological importance.
Please note that the details of events listed above are provided by the relevant Local Authorities.