The Italian Risorgimento and the Irish Papal Brigade
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O'Connor, Anne. (2013). The Italian Risorgimento and the Irish Papal Brigade. In Colin Barr, Michele Finelli , & Anne O'Connor (Eds.), Nation/Nazione: Irish nationalism and the Italian Risorgimento. Dublin: UCD Press.
In 1847, with the news of Daniel O’Connell’s death in Genoa, Italians responded with an outpouring of tributes to the Irishman. Hailed for his leadership qualities, Italians sympathised with the Irish over the loss of such a great man. There were orations, processions, commemorations and general celebrations of O’Connell’s achievements. Thirteen years later, during the Papal Wars of 1860, Irishmen came to fight and die on Italian soil, yet these men were greeted by ridicule and disgust. They had gone to Italy with high hopes for glory and victory, but were met with little support or sympathy in Italy for their attempt to defend the Papal States from the forces of the Risorgimento. In those 13 years, the nationalist movements in Ireland and in Italy had drifted apart, with the Italians finally seeing their ambitions for unity turned into reality, and the Irish coming increasingly under the influence of the Catholic Church.1 And so by 1860, when Irishmen volunteered to fight in a Papal Army, the relationship between the two countries operated in a completely altered landscape to the one experienced by O’Connell.