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Edward Nangle and the Achill Mission Collection

Identifier: MSE/IR 1052

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of materials related to the history of Achill Island and the genealogy of its inhabitants. Included is the correspondence of a prominent local historian, John O’Shea, and his research files and notes on genealogy of the island’s inhabitants and the island’s founder, Edward Nangle. Also included are publications about the island or created on the island, including Nangle’s publications, Achill Missionary Herald and Western Witness. Materials include research files, correspondence, photographs, pamphlets, periodicals, and a compact disc.


  • Creation: 1836-1894, 1996-2015


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Achill is a large island off the west coast of Ireland. In the nineteenth century, it was the site of a Protestant mission led by Rev. Edward Nangle. This was part of a broader mission to work in impoverished areas in the west of Ireland and to convert people to the Protestant faith.

Edward Nangle (1800-1883) was a Church of Ireland priest who became converted to evangelical Protestantism, and sought to reach and convert the Irish people through use of the Irish language. In 1831 he and his wife went to Achill, where he set up a mission which provided much relief and assistance including schools and an orphanage. Beginning in 1837, Nangle edited and published the Achill Missionary Herald and Western Witness which was instrumental in gaining support and funding from England. In spite of Nangle’s dedication to improvement, and the fact that many lives were saved through the assistance of his mission, his overt wish to make Protestant converts of everyone meant that his mission fell in for much criticism, and he was viewed as an enemy by leading Catholics such as John MacHale, the Archbishop of Tuam.

Nangle was appointed rector in Skreen, County Sligo in 1852, and though he continued his involvement in Achill, spending three months of each year on the island, and continuing to produce the Achill Missionary Herald, the Achill Mission continued under the control of Alexandar Dallas of the Irish Church Missions. Nangle died in Dublin in 1883.


1 Cubic foot


This collection is arranged into two series: I. John O’Shea Correspondence; and II. Publications.

Edward Nangle and the Achill Mission Collection
Hannah E. Sabal
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556