I was familiar with Frederick Douglass fondness for Ireland, as discussed here:
For Douglass, his warm reception in Ireland also served as an ironic contrast to difficulties he would soon face in his native land. Even as he toured Ireland, a blight was destroying the potato crop on which the island depended. In the coming years, the disaster transmogrified into a full-fledged famine, sending millions of Irish to North America. During that period and through the Civil War years, many -- but not all -- Irish-Americans and their leaders opposed Douglass's fight to gain rights for African-Americans. They opposed his efforts to win rights for enslaved blacks in the South and for blacks in the North, free but denied U.S. citizenship and subject to widespread discrimination -- including, in many cases, both de facto and de jure segregation.Even so, Douglass, during his four months in Ireland, found in many Irish nationalists he met a kindred spirit of resistance against an oppressor -- in his case, the slave-owning South; in theirs, the United Kingdom. Indeed, at least one influential and younger Irish nationalist even talked of allying with America in any war that erupted in the Pacific Northwest. "England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity," proclaimed the Irish firebrand John Mitchel that season. "'If there is going to be a war between England and the United States, 'tis impossible for us to pretend sympathy for the former. We shall have allies, not enemies, on the banks of the Columbia."Awkward moments notwithstanding, Douglass in Ireland found new avenues for self-expression that he'd never been afforded in the United States. "I can truly say," he wrote to Garrison, "I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life since landing in this country, I seem to have undergone a transformation, I live a new life." Speaking before Irish audiences -- and feeling un-shadowed by "slave-catchers" and others who would do him harm -- Douglass basked in a new confidence. And he came to view his fight against slavery as belonging to a larger, global struggle against all social injustices.