The reforms of the 1830s proved sufficient to maintain the link between the Church of Ireland and the state for another three decades. Despite the failure of the 'Second Reformation' movement of the 1820s, these years saw further efforts by evangelicals to secure large-scale conversions among the nominally Roman Catholic population. In 1834 the Rev. Edward Nangle established a Protestant mission on Achill Island, off the coast of County Mayo, which enjoyed some success until it stirred vigorous resistance from the Roman Catholic Church. Another Protestant colony was established on the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry.46 A wider movement was launched in 1849 with the formation of the Irish Church Missions to Roman Catholics. It had some limited impact, as indicated for example by the claim of the bishop of Tuam in 1852 that he had confirmed 837 converts during the preceding three years,47 but this was in a diocese where there were more than 300,000 Catholics.48 In reality such movements were significant much more in reinforcing a sense of polarised confrontation with the Roman Catholic Church than in shifting the denominational arithmetic. In the context of serious overall population decline as a result of the Great Famine of the late 1840s and of emigration, the
46 Bowen, The Protestant crusade, pp. 204-5.
48 Akenson, The church of Ireland, p. 210.
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