5 March 1867 - 150 years ago today - The Fenian Rising began

Catalpast

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5/6‭ ‬March‭ ‬1867:‭ ‬The Fenian Rising happened on this day.‭ ‬Long planned it turned into a complete fiasco.‭ On Shrove Tuesday that year t‬housands of volunteers turned up at various locations in Dublin,‭ ‬Cork,‭ ‬Tipperary,‭ ‬Limerick,‭ ‬and to a lesser extent in Clare,‭ ‬Waterford and Louth.‭


However most were armed with pikes if at all.‭ ‬Very few firearms were available.‭ ‬There was no coherent plan of operations.‭ ‬Attempts were made to take a number of police barracks and engage the Constabulary in action but all ended in failure.‭ ‬An‭ ‬informer,‭ ‬Corydon,‭ ‬betrayed the plans and to add to the insurgents woes a great snow storm made absolutely impossible not only all communications but all movements of men.‭ ‬The Constabulary knew something was afoot but decided to allow events to take their course and then take action.‭ ‬In the Dublin area it is possible that as many as two thousand men assembled with perhaps twice that number in county Cork and a few hundred elsewhere.‭ ‬One of the greatest Irish movements of the century ended apparently in complete failure.


While the British Government was caught off guard the Rising was over before they could react.‭ ‬Hundreds of men were rounded up and imprisoned.‭ ‬Some were sentenced to Death all these were commuted and no one was actually executed for their part in this affair.‭ ‬However long terms of imprisonment were handed down and many of the prisoners were subjected to very harsh conditions while in captivity.‭ ‬On top of this the Rising showed that Irish Republicanism was still a potent force and had by no means been crushed by the British.‭


This event did have important repercussions however as it led to a reorganisation of much of the underground activities of the IRB and the formation in America of Clan na Gael that was determined to prosecute a campaign against British rule notwithstanding recent setbacks.‭ ‬The failure of the‭ ‬1867‭ ‬Rising did not mark and end but a new beginning for those who were determined to end British rule over Ireland.
 


between the bridges

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Fenians bringing the pike into Irish politics...
 

between the bridges

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That started back in '98 at Ballynahinch (from Irish: Baile na hInse, meaning "town of the island"):cool:
There is only wan island town, remember 1689...
 

wombat

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All it was was a grand gesture - total failure in every other respect
Yet the Fenians / IRB continued to influence the independence movement for another 60 years. The IRB oath is interesting in that it refers to an independent, democratic, republic. Since independence, most focus has been on republic but prior to that the emphasis was on democratic so they were able to support Parnell.
 

owedtojoy

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5/6‭ ‬March‭ ‬1867:‭ ‬The Fenian Rising happened on this day.‭ ‬Long planned it turned into a complete fiasco.‭ On Shrove Tuesday that year t‬housands of volunteers turned up at various locations in Dublin,‭ ‬Cork,‭ ‬Tipperary,‭ ‬Limerick,‭ ‬and to a lesser extent in Clare,‭ ‬Waterford and Louth.‭


However most were armed with pikes if at all.‭ ‬Very few firearms were available.‭ ‬There was no coherent plan of operations.‭ ‬Attempts were made to take a number of police barracks and engage the Constabulary in action but all ended in failure.‭ ‬An‭ ‬informer,‭ ‬Corydon,‭ ‬betrayed the plans and to add to the insurgents woes a great snow storm made absolutely impossible not only all communications but all movements of men.‭ ‬The Constabulary knew something was afoot but decided to allow events to take their course and then take action.‭ ‬In the Dublin area it is possible that as many as two thousand men assembled with perhaps twice that number in county Cork and a few hundred elsewhere.‭ ‬One of the greatest Irish movements of the century ended apparently in complete failure.


While the British Government was caught off guard the Rising was over before they could react.‭ ‬Hundreds of men were rounded up and imprisoned.‭ ‬Some were sentenced to Death all these were commuted and no one was actually executed for their part in this affair.‭ ‬However long terms of imprisonment were handed down and many of the prisoners were subjected to very harsh conditions while in captivity.‭ ‬On top of this the Rising showed that Irish Republicanism was still a potent force and had by no means been crushed by the British.‭


This event did have important repercussions however as it led to a reorganisation of much of the underground activities of the IRB and the formation in America of Clan na Gael that was determined to prosecute a campaign against British rule notwithstanding recent setbacks.‭ ‬The failure of the‭ ‬1867‭ ‬Rising did not mark and end but a new beginning for those who were determined to end British rule over Ireland.
An Irish historian once called the Fenian Rising to me as "a few pistol shots in the night", and even as a gesture it fell flat.

Like the 1916 executions, if the British had sent the Manchester Three to prison instead of to the gallows in the aftermath of the Rising, the 1860s would have passed off almost incident free.

James Stephens original Fenians, or Irish Republican Brotherhood, were well penetrated by the RIC and their projected Rising for 1865 never happened. It was a tougher bunch of American Civil War veterans under Captain Thomas Kelly, a forgotten man today, who tried to go through with the rising in 1867. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_J._Kelly_(Irish_nationalist)

It was to free Kelly after his arrest that the Manchester incident happened. For many years the song "God Save Ireland" (words spoken by the Manchester Three at their trial) was the unofficial national anthem, up until Amhran na bhFiann.

Internationally, the Fenians/ IRB had been weakened by the failed invasions of Canada, which were more expressions of Irish-American, rather than Irish, revolutionary aspirations. But the IRB, and its American allies, persisted in many guises, and had its moment in 1916.

1867 may have been a fiasco, but the organisation that begat it deserved its mention in the 1916 Proclamation.

Focus on the Famine, and on 1916, have meant much lesser scholarship on the intervening period, which had incidents like the 1967 Rising and the Land War. There is plenty there for any aspiring historian!
 

owedtojoy

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The thread would not be complete with the Wolfe Tones and "God Save Ireland".

[video=youtube;LNZCDe11qlQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNZCDe11qlQ[/video]

It was poor as an anthem - the tune follows an American Civil War marching song "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the boys are marching". The lyrics were written by T.D.Sullivan who was not a Fenian, but the executions attracted widespread sympathy in Ireland.
 

Cellachán Chaisil

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Of course, as a result, the fenians became a far more secretive, cellular operation which made it much harder for British Intelligence to infiltrate.

It may have been a failure, but lessons were learned.

It also ensured lead to the Fenians refusing to engage in large open military actions unless they were assured they had the support of the people behind them.
 

owedtojoy

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Of course, as a result, the fenians became a far more secretive, cellular operation which made it much harder for British Intelligence to infiltrate.

It may have been a failure, but lessons were learned.

It also ensured lead to the Fenians refusing to engage in large open military actions unless they were assured they had the support of the people behind them.
It was striking that the next time Irish revolutionaries "engaged" the British Administration in the Land War, and in the Home Rule fight, the tactics used were far different.

Thanks to Parnell and Davitt, there was a broader and united "popular front" that made real gains. They ensured the transfer of the ownership of land in Ireland to the people who worked on it, and forced Ireland to the top of the agenda of British politics.
 

wombat

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Thanks to Parnell and Davitt, there was a broader and united "popular front" that made real gains. They ensured the transfer of the ownership of land in Ireland to the people who worked on it, and forced Ireland to the top of the agenda of British politics.
There is a book about the IRB, very academic so I only skimmed through it but the organisation seems to have finally folded around 1924. It seems that their approach was to back any popular movement, more emphasis on democracy than nationalism or what is called republicanism today.
 

owedtojoy

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There is a book about the IRB, very academic so I only skimmed through it but the organisation seems to have finally folded around 1924. It seems that their approach was to back any popular movement, more emphasis on democracy than nationalism or what is called republicanism today.
Once in a casual conversation with a retired Army officer, whose career was mainly in the 1940s, told me that the IRB had a shadowy existence in the Irish Army up to his time in the force. Personal loyalty to Michael Collins and his memory was the key factor.

The "Army Mutiny" of 1924 seems to have been the turning point. Though loyal to Cosgrave, Richard Mulcahy (who led the IRB) was forced to resign as Minister for Defence, and after that secret organisations were discouraged. In a battle of politicians vs soldiers, the politicians won. It is probably that which destroyed IRB influence. An informal existence after that is not beyond the bounds of possibility, but certainly 1924 was the end of it as a force for any sort of change.
 

ON THE ONE ROAD

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Yet the Fenians / IRB continued to influence the independence movement for another 60 years. The IRB oath is interesting in that it refers to an independent, democratic, republic. Since independence, most focus has been on republic but prior to that the emphasis was on democratic so they were able to support Parnell.
they supported a de jure republic. A concept of the mind. All revolutionaries have to do it when challenging the dominant social contract.

Supporting parliamentary politics as in the 20th century and 21st century was a contentious issue with in their ranks.
 

Jimmy Two Times

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All it was was a grand gesture - total failure in every other respect
Every blow against the corrupt evil British presence in this country was and is a worthy blow. It has lead to the Republic we have now and the journey hasn't ended yet. So, no it wasn't a failure at all.
 

Telstar 62

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The Fenians also had their arses handed to them by the British
( between 1866 and 1871 ) when they tried to invade Canada...:rolleyes:
 

wombat

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The Fenians also had their arses handed to them by the British
( between 1866 and 1871 ) when they tried to invade Canada...:rolleyes:
Not quite accurate, the U.S. govt persuaded them to withdraw, very messy, Sherman was unenthusiastic about using force against former subordinates.
 

JohnD66

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Yet the Fenians / IRB continued to influence the independence movement for another 60 years. The IRB oath is interesting in that it refers to an independent, democratic, republic. Since independence, most focus has been on republic but prior to that the emphasis was on democratic so they were able to support Parnell.
Indeed, the Fenians had a long history after 1867, as this article goes into. The movement had a (relatively) moderate wing around John Devoy and an extremist wing which was behind a number of bombing and assassination campaigns in the 1880s and 1890s.

The Fenians: An Overview | The Irish Story

Article on the 1867 rebellion itself here,

Today in Irish History
 


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