It may be that the smuggest bumper sticker I ever saw was the one that read "In case of rapture, this car may be unmanned." (The link is to a website where you can buy it, along with "Bush/Cheney '04/Get Used To It!") It refers, of course, to the belief of certain Christians that at some time, certain believers will be physically translated into heaven - this is the Rapture - leaving the rest to deal with the Second Coming, Apocalypse and other sensational events. Well, it turns out that the Rapture has an Irish connection, sort of. John Asgill, both in 1659, was English, and a member of parliament. In 1700, he published An argument proving, that according to the covenant of eternal life ... man may be translated ... without passing through death, although ... Christ himself could not be thus translated till he has passed through death. Upon publication, he promptly moved to Ireland and engaged, unsuccessfully, in land speculation. In 1703, he became member of the Irish parliament for Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. On his first day in office, a vote was passed denouncing his book as "wicked and blasphemous"; it was ordered to be burned by the official hangman, the standard way of registering official anathematization of disfavored works. Two weeks later he was expelled from parliament and permanently banned from seeking re-election. He was later expelled from the English parliament, but apparently only partly for his religious views: he was also bankrupt. His profession is given in the DIB as "eccentric writer and politician". Jonathan Swift described his work as "trumpery". But the Rapture industry he helped to start keeps going, unabated.
William Ashford was another Englishman to try his luck in Ireland, where he became a successful and prolific artist. He toured the country for his job inspecting armaments stored in forts and barracks, and started recording the landscape, as in this French-inflected rendition of a scene in Co. Kildare. He was first president of the Royal Hibernian Academy. George Coppinger Ashlin, an architect went further and shaped the landscape. Following Catholic emancipation in 1829, there was an explosion in church building across the country, a movement that attracted many artists and artisans from inside and outside Ireland (including the English stonemason father of the revolutionary Patrick Pearse). Ashlin was born in Cork, but educated in Belgium and England, where he as apprenticed to to the architect Edward Welby Pugin, son of the pioneer of the Gothic revival, Augustus W. N Pugin. Pugin and Ashlin were responsible for a large number of Gothic-style Catholic churches in Ireland, such as the beautiful St Colman's cathedral in Cobh, Co. Cork (pictured).