The Clonmel Herald, 14 February 1835
If religious tolerance was what you were after then the pages of Tipperary’s newspapers during the mid 1800s were not the places to go looking for it. As well as holding polar views on the politics of the day, each newspaper also strongly espoused its own Christian beliefs, divided clearly between those that were supportive of Catholic and Protestant doctrine. As one title would cheerlead loudly for the cause of Catholic Emancipation or repeal of the Union, another would vehemently shout them down. This particular column concerns that which has been the object of speculation in Ireland for decades since – the prospect of a Papal visit. Pope Gregory XVI was in office at this time, and the Clonmel Herald, staunchly Unionist and Protestant, was all in favour of his rumoured visit. Then, they claimed, he could see for himself what they believed to be the abuses of Christianity in 19th Century Ireland.
Gregory XVI didn’t visit in the end. Nor did the Pope after that. Nor the one after that. Nor the one after that nor the one after… It would take 9 more Popes and 144 more years before that piece of history was made, when in 1979 Pope John Paul II bestowed on Ireland our only papal visit.