#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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#OTD in 1858 – Birth of Irish revolutionary, Thomas Clarke, at Hurst Castle, Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire, England.

“I have lived to see the greatest hour in Irish history.” –Thomas Clarke As seemed often the case, Clarke’s father was in the British army. At a young age, Clarke took up the nationalist cause, joining the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). In 1883, he was sentenced to penal servitude for life for treason (planning bomb […]

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#OTD in 1822 – Birth of Fenian, Thomas Clarke Luby, in Dublin.

Thomas Clarke Luby was born in Dublin on 16 January 1822.  His was the son of the Reverend James Luby a Protestant clergyman  and a nephew of Dr. Thomas Luby a Senior Fellow and Dean of Trinity College in Dublin.  At age 18 he graduated from Trinity and afterwards studied law at the Temple in […]

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#OTD in 1939 – IRA Army Council declare war on England and the Sabotage Campaign (S-Plan) begins a day later.

On 12 January 1939, the Army Council sent an ultimatum, signed by Patrick Fleming, to British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax. The communiqué duly informed the British government of “The Government of the Irish Republic’s” intention to go to “war”. Excerpt from the ultimatum: I have the honour to inform you that the Government of the […]

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#OTD in 1861 – Death of Young Irelander, Terence MacManus, in San Francisco, CA.

On 10 November 1861, 100,000 people defied the Irish bishops and followed the remains of Terence Bellew MacManus to Glasnevin Cemetery. Thirteen years previously Bellew had been sentenced to death for treason following the misbegotten Young Ireland Rebellion of 1848. His sentence was commuted in 1849 and he was transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) […]

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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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