Themes that dominated Irish life and politics 1848 – c. mid 1870s The altered social balance in the countrysideThe development of expatriate nationalismThe modernisation of Ulster’s economy & politicsThe emergence of a disciplined nationalist parliamentary party
‘A whole variety of parties and groups emerged, some campaigning on the issue of the land, and especially tenant right; some concerned to promote the interests of their particular social or religious constituency.’Boyce, Nineteenth Century Ireland, p136.
Politics in post-Famine Ireland1. Tenant League2. Catholic Defence Association3. Protestant Conservatism
Irish Tenant LeagueFormed in Dublin in 1850Campaigned for a redress of agrarian grieveancesOperated on an all island basisFormed the Indepdendent Irish Party with the ‘Irish Brigade’
National Association Formally instituted in Dublin in December 1864 Facilitated co-operation between Irish Catholics and English radicals Promoted disestablishment
Fenianism – originsDeveloped in the absence of a viable constitutional movement Offered rhetoric, recreation, status and the prospect of patriotic glory
The I.R.B.Dedicated to secrecyA conspiratorial pledge bound societyEstablishment of a democratic Irish republicCommitted to insurrection
Organised Fenianism was patchyStrongest in Munster and Leinster1864: 54,000 recruitsAppealed mainly to artisans, shop assistants, travelling salesmen, farmers’ sons
Fenianism: The social aspectA young men’s movement – 87% of Fenians in HCSA files were under 36 years of ageFenianism in mid 1860s was converted to a social purposeProvided young men with a forum for fraternal association & communal self-expression
‘However strongly they may have repudiated allegiance to the queen in their initiation oath, the Fenians we have been looking at here were from the point of view of social history easily recognisable and fairly typical mid-Victorians.’Comerford, R.V., ‘Patriotism as Pastime’, p250.
‘Ireland’s opportunity will comewhen England is engaged in a desperate struggle with some great European power or European combination, or when the flame of insurrection has spread through her Indian Empire, and her strength and resources are strained.’John Devoy, Irish American Fenian
The Fenians in 1865Stephens – 1865 would be a year of decision, a year in which, with American assistance, he would probably lead a rising in Ireland John O’Mahoney sent large sums of money to Ireland from AmericaIrish-American veterans of the Civil War were sent to Ireland to take charge of the rebel army6,000 firearms and an estimated 50,000 men willing to participate By 1866 the IRB was on the defensive
September 1865: Offices of the Irish People raided February 1866: Habeas Corpus suspended in Ireland December 1866: Stephens stands down
February 11 1867: 1,000 Fenians turn out to raid the arsenal at Chester February 1867: Minor uprising in Co. Kerry February 10 1867: Executive committee transforms itself into a Provisional Government of Ireland
‘The aftermath of the 1867 rising had in some ways a much more fundamental political impact than the military episodes of February and March: the immediate fall-out from the ’67 certainly stimulated a much more intense and sympathetic popular interest than the botched manoeuvres of the rebels.’Jackson, A, Ireland: 1798-1998, pp102-3.
Proclamation offering one thousand pounds for the capture of James Stephens, January 1866