Originally Posted by Spanish Eyes
Just wondered if there is any history of Catholics changing their religion to Cof I during the Famine perhaps? ...
It is by no means unusual.
For a number of centuries use of the Irish language and the practice of the Catholic religion were outlawed in Ireland under British rule and Catholics were forbidden to own livestock or land and were denied votes, education and representation - a completely disenfranchised people in their native country.
Underground schools or "hedge schools" were used to educate children and religious education and sacramental practices centered around "mass rocks" in secluded outdoor areas.
During the famine Protestant proselytisers established soup kitchens to distribute aid to the starving populace; the price of availaing of the food in these kitchens was to convert to Protestantism and to renounce Catholicism. The people were faced with the appaling dilemma; convert or starve with your family. Some converted and remain true to their new religion(s) to this day. Those who converted or took the soup were referred to unkindly as "soupers" at the time. Some who converted dropped the identifiably Irish-Catholic prefixes from their names - e.g. O'Callaghans becoming Callaghans, O'Briens becoming Bryans or in some cases Bryants, McCarthys becoming Carthys or Cartys, etc.