An Italian inferno in Ireland: Alessandro Gavazzi and religious debate in the nineteenth century

O'Connor, Anne
O'Connor, Anne. (2015). An Italian Inferno in Ireland: Alessandro Gavazzi and Religious Debate in the Nineteenth Century. In Nick Carter (Ed.), Great Britain and Ireland and the Risorgimento. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Alessandro Gavazzi (1809-1889), the ‘warrior-priest’1 is a well-known figure in the history of the Risorgimento, famed for his patriotic oratory, his tireless support of the Italian nationalist cause, and – after Pope Pius IX’s repudiation of Italian nationalism in 1848 – his virulent anti-Catholicism. Following the collapse of the 1848-9 revolutions in Italy, the former Barnabite monk spent much of his life abroad preaching on Italian and anti-papal themes, first and principally in the United Kingdom, but also in North America. Gavazzi’s lecture tours in England, Scotland, the United States and Canada have all been subject to scholarly scrutiny, particularly in relation to the ‘Gavazzi riots’ in Quebec and Montreal in 1853. 2 In contrast, nothing has been written on Gavazzi’s Irish tours, despite their frequency – Gavazzi came to Ireland on at least seventeen occasions; a single tour could contain upwards of a dozen lectures at venues across the country (see Appendix 1) – and his considerable impact on mid-century Irish sectarian relations and debates regarding the ‘Italian Question’. Biographers of Gavazzi mention these visits only in passing. 3 Historians of nineteenth-century Ireland meanwhile rarely and only briefly mention the Italian, without fully comprehending the scope and range of his influence. 4 This essay seeks to fill that lacuna.
Palgrave Macmillan
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland