The University of Wisconsin Press

Irish Studies / European History / Religion


The Bible War in Ireland
The “Second Reformation” and the Polarization of
Protestant-Catholic Relations, 1800–1840

Irene Whelan

History of Ireland and the Irish Diaspora

James S. Donnelly, Jr., and Thomas Archdeacon, Series Editors

“A timely reminder of the intolerance and intensity that accompanies civil wars of the soul.”
—Luke Gibbons, University of Notre Dame, author of Edmund Burke and Ireland

At the end of the eighteenth century, an evangelical movement gained enormous popularity at all levels of Irish society. Initially driven by the enthusiasm of Methodists and Dissenters, it quickly gained ascen dancy in the Church of Ireland, where its unique blend of moral improvement and conservative piety appealed to those threatened by the democratic revolution and the demands of the Catholic population for political equality. The Bible War in Ireland identifies this evangelical movement as the origin of Ireland's Protestant “Second Reformation” in the 1820s. This effort, in turn, helped provoke a revolution in political consciousness among the Catholic population. Extensively researched, Irene Whelan’s book puts forward a unique interpretation of the origins of religious and political polarization in Ireland.

“The clearest and most comprehensive account yet of this crucial episode in modern Irish history. Its breadth and richness . . . are striking.”
—Niall O'Ciosain, author of Print and Popular Culture in Ireland 1750–1850

Irene Whelan is associate professor of history and director of Irish studies at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York.

Copublished with Lilliput Press, Dublin

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cover of Whelan's book shows blood-red curtains overlaid by a red toned illustration of people in the whole religious intolerant mish mash that was Ireland

December 2005

384 pp.  6 x 9
30 b/w photos & illus.

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ISBN 978-0-299-21550-7
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