A new project underwritten by the Irish Research Council seeks to fill in blanks in our knowledge of early modern Ireland and to provide a full-screen, surround-sound account of a rich and complex culture on the brink of transformation in all its linguistic and cultural complexity. Ribbonism was more resourceful and endured longer as a tradition than any other Irish secret society during the nineteenth century. With their Catholic and conspiratorial composition, the Ribbon societies played constantly on the minds of British officials and much of Protestant Ireland. Beyond Tweedledum and Tweedledee Frank Callanan.
The two parties have significant differences of attitude and approach, and to a limited degree of ideology.
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If this were not the case they would surely govern together rather than in alternation. Three historians discuss issues raised by a new anthology outlining the varieties of Protestant experience in independent Ireland. Topics touched upon include religious segregation in education, privileged access to employment, and its disappearance, and national feeling. The serrated edge of Britain's dirty war.
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The Fenian Anthology
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A history of collusion, murder and deceit. A timely, comprehensive overview of the United Irish revolution. Republicanism's way forward, with one eye on the past. Enlightened daughters of a revolutionary age. Northern Ireland's writing on the wall. Illustrated history of Robert Emmet. Put on the khaki. A secrt history of innaccuracy, hearsay. Griffith's legacy offers little for the republican reader. A handy guide to anti-imperialist activism today.
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Peadar O'Donnell and Louie Bennett. NO ONE interested in the Irish Republican Brotherhood the Fenians can afford to ignore this first-hand account of how it came into being by the man who founded the movement. The diary has never been previously published in its entirety. He was a railway engineer from Kilkenny who took part in the Young Ireland uprising of , was wounded at Ballingarry, and then escaped to Paris. Although he has been criticised as being no original thinker, no Wolfe Tone or James Connolly, nevertheless, he has to be accorded his place in history for his organisational and motivational abilities.
In fact, one has to acknowledge that Stephens should be ranked among the best political organisers of the 19th century. He was certainly arrogant and dictatorial and dissension within the American branch of the movement caused him to be denounced as "a rogue, impostor and traitor". He was arrested and once again escaped to make his way back to Paris where he earned a precarious living from writing and teaching.
The invasion of British North America and the uprising in Ireland destroyed the main impetus for a successful bid for independence at that time. Assured that Stephens would no longer be prosecuted, friends raised a public subscription to enable him to report to Ireland and live comfortably at Blackrock, Co Dublin until his death. His was the guiding hand that created and shaped the IRB into the longest surviving insurgency movement in Ireland, from whose base the modern Irish state finally emerged. He organised his movement on military lines. The diary is essential to understanding Stephen's role and is, as the publisher says, one of the most important documents of early Fenians.
More important, for historians, it provides a unique insight to his fascinating personality. His diary offers insights into the thinking of the Irish-American emigrants, with their concept of having a role in a military liberation project. We pick up in the Stephens diary some feel for the problems of knowing who is who, what their motivations are, whether they can be relied upon, are they good for money or military participation etc.
The IRB was beginning to take shape as a military response to the British imperial system, at the time showing its true colours in the context of the 'Indian mutiny', with little evidence for the emergence of 'liberal democracy'. The author gives appendices with biographical notes on some key figures. This book is a source for research scholarship, rather than for the general reader. It is noteworthy that at this time, all over Europe, the military approach to the liberation of emergent nations from the various European imperial systms was the norm.
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