The Fenian Brotherhood

The Fenian Brotherhood, the Irish Republican Brotherhood’s US branch, was founded by John O’Mahony and Michael Doheny, both of whom had been “out” (participating in the Young Irelander’s rising) in 1848. Members were commonly known as “Fenians”. O’Mahony, who was a Celtic scholar, named his organisation after the Fianna, the legendary band of Irish warriors […]

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#OTD in 1851 – Birth of American financier, Thomas Fortune Ryan, in Charlottesville, Virginia, with ancestry to Protestant Anglo-Irish settlers in the 17th century.

Thomas Fortune Ryan was born near Lovingston, a small Nelson County community south of Charlottesville, Virginia. Despite certain myths regarding his background, Ryan was neither orphaned nor penniless as a youth and he traced his ancestry to Protestant Anglo-Irish settlers in the 17th century. At age 17, Ryan perceived a lack of economic opportunity in […]

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#OTD in 2017 – While on a 16 day State visit to Australia, President Michael D. Higgins visited Fremantle Prison near Perth, Australia, where 62 Irish prisoners were held for their part in the Fenian Rising of 1867.

“Most of the evidence on which the men were convicted related to meetings with me. I felt that I, more than any other man then living, ought to do my utmost for these Fenian soldiers.” —John Devoy, writing about his plan to rescue the Fremantle Six An American whaling ship brought together a crew with […]

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#OTD in 1994 – Death of Irish patriot, Michael Flannery, in New York City.

The fight of the Irish against the British was the great theme of Mr. Flannery’s life. As a boy of 14 in Ireland, he joined the Irish Volunteers and learned to fire a machine gun behind a monastery cloister. In 1970, after 43 years in the United States, he was one of the founders of […]

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#OTD in 1928 – The last active Fenian, John Devoy, dies in Atlantic City, NJ.

Fenian, John Devoy, whom the London Times called ‘the most dangerous enemy of this country Ireland has produced since Wolfe Tone’. John Devoy was born in Kill, Co Kildare, on the 3 September 1842. He worked for a short time as a clerk before joining the Fenian organisation. In 1861 Devoy travelled to France where […]

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#OTD in 1842 – Birth of journalist and leading member of the Fenians, John Devoy in Kill, Co Kildare.

‘The most dangerous enemy of this country [Britain] Ireland has produced since Wolfe Tone’. –The London Times John Devoy was born in Kill, Co Kildare in 1842 just prior to The Great Hunger (1845-1852) which saw approximately one million Irish starve to death and another million emigrate to America and elsewhere. After Irish defeats by […]

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#OTD in 1890 – Death of nationalist, poet and novelist, John Boyle O’Reilly.

“The world is large when its weary leagues two loving hearts divide, “But the world is small when your enemy is loose on the other side.” –John Boyle O’Reilly As a youth in Ireland he was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, for which crime he was transported to Western Australia. After escaping to […]

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Roger Casement | A Man of Mystery

In the week after Roger Casement’s execution, on 3 August 1916, newsreel footage of the nationalist leader was shown in cinemas across America. At a conservative estimate, some 15 million US citizens saw the moving pictures. A century on, this fragment of film provides a fascinating insight. Casement is glimpsed at his desk writing: The […]

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#OTD in 1844 – Birth of poet and novelist, John Boyle O’Reilly, in Co Meath.

Poet, writer and nationalist John Boyle O’Reilly was born in Dowth Castle, Co Meath, near Drogheda. For his part in the IRB and Fenian conspiracy, O’Reilly was sentenced to twenty years’ penal servitude. He served nearly two years in English prisons before being put aboard the convict ship Hougoumont, and transported to Australia in 1868, […]

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#OTD in 1915 – Joseph Mary Plunkett travelled to Germany to join Roger Casement and assist him in his efforts to raise an Irish Brigade and garner German support for the planned 1916 Rising.

Once in Germany, Plunkett met with Casement, a former member of the British Foreign Office, who had travelled from America, funded by Clan na Gael under the leadership of John Devoy. Arriving in Berlin on 31 October 1914, Casement’s mission to Germany had three basic aims: 1. To secure German help for Ireland; 2. To […]

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