Irish nationalism

Irish nationalism is a nationalist ideology which asserts that the Irish people are a nation and espouses the creation of a sovereign Irish nation-state on the island of Ireland. It grew more potent during the period in which the whole of Ireland was part of United Kingdom, which ultimately lead to most of the island seceding from the UK in 1921. Politically, Irish nationalism gave way to many factions which created conflict, often violent, throughout the island. The chief division affecting nationalism in Ireland was religious. The majority of the island's population was Roman Catholic, which is the part that seceded, but a portion of the northern part has a Protestant majority that elected to stay a part of the United Kingdom. Since the partition of Ireland, the term Irish nationalism often refers to support for the island's unification. Irish nationalists assert that foreign rule has been detrimental to Irish national interests. Irish nationalism also speaks to celebration of the culture of Ireland, especially the Irish language, literature, music and sports.

Flag of Ireland
The national flag of the Republic of Ireland, considered by Irish nationalists to be the representative flag of the whole Ireland
Government Buildings, Dublin
Government Buildings in Dublin


Early development

Generally, Irish nationalism is regarded as having emerged following the Renaissance revival of the concept of the patria and the religious struggle between the ideology of the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. At this early stage in the 16th century, Irish nationalism represented an ideal of the native Gaelic Irish and the Old English banding together in common cause, under the banner of Catholicism and Irish civic identity ("faith and fatherland/motherland"),[1] hoping to protect their land and interests from the New English Protestant forces sponsored by England. This vision sought to overcome the old ethnic divide between Gaeil (the native Irish) and Gaill (the Normans) which had been a feature of Irish life since the 12th century.

Protestantism in England introduced a religious element to the 16th century Tudor conquest of Ireland, as many of the native Gaels and Hiberno-Normans remained Catholic. The Plantations of Ireland dispossessed many native Catholic landowners in favour of Protestant settlers from England and Scotland.[2] In addition, the Plantation of Ulster, begun in 1609, "planted" a sizeable population of English and Scottish Protestant settlers into the north of Ireland.

Irish aristocrats waged many campaigns against the English presence. A prime example is the rebellion of Hugh O'Neill which became known as the Nine Years War of 1594–1603, which aimed to expel the English and make Ireland a Spanish protectorate.[2]

The green harp flag was first used by Irish Confederate troops in the Eleven Years War, and became the main symbol of Irish nationalism from the 17th to the early 20th century.

A more significant movement came in the 1640s, after the Irish Rebellion of 1641, when a coalition of Gaelic Irish and Old English Catholics set up a de facto independent Irish state to fight in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (see Confederate Ireland). The Confederate Catholics of Ireland, also known as the Confederation of Kilkenny, emphasised the idea of Ireland as a Kingdom independent from England, albeit under the same monarch. They demanded autonomy for the Irish Parliament, full rights for Catholics and an end to the confiscation of Catholic-owned land. The Cromwellian conquest of Ireland (1649–53) destroyed the Confederate cause and resulted in the permanent dispossession of the old Catholic landowning class.

A similar Irish Catholic monarchist movement emerged in the 1680s and 1690s, when Irish Catholic Jacobites supported James II after his deposition in England in the Glorious Revolution of 1688–1689. The Jacobites demanded that Irish Catholics have a majority in an autonomous Irish Parliament, the restoration of confiscated Catholic land, and an Irish-born Lord Deputy of Ireland. Similarly to the Confederates of the 1640s, the Jacobites were conscious of representing the "Irish nation", but were not separatists and largely represented the interests of the landed class as opposed to all the Irish people. Like the Confederates, they also suffered defeat, in the Williamite War in Ireland (1689–1691). Thereafter, the largely English Protestant Ascendancy dominated Irish government and landholding. The Penal Laws discriminated against non-Anglicans. (See also History of Ireland 1536–1691.)

This coupling of religious and ethnic identity – principally Roman Catholic and Gaelic – as well as a consciousness of dispossession and defeat at the hands of British and Protestant forces, became enduring features of Irish nationalism. However, the Irish Catholic movements of the 16th century were invariably led by a small landed and clerical elite. Professor Kevin Whelan has traced the emergence of the modern Catholic-nationalist identity that formed in 1760–1830.[3] Irish historian Marc Caball, on the other hand, claims that "early modern Irish nationalism" began to be established after the Flight of the Earls (1607), based on the concepts of "the indivisibility of Gaelic cultural integrity, territorial sovereignty, and the interlinking of Gaelic identity with profession of the Roman Catholic faith".[4]

Early nationalism


Daniel O'Connell2
"Daniel O'Connell: The Champion of Liberty" poster published in Pennsylvania, 1847.

The exclusively Protestant Parliament of Ireland of the eighteenth century repeatedly called for more autonomy from the British Parliament – particularly the repeal of Poynings' Law, which allowed the latter to legislate for Ireland. They were supported by popular sentiment that came from the various publications of William Molyneux about Irish constitutional independence; this was later reinforced by Jonathan Swift's incorporation of these ideas into Drapier's Letters.[5][6]

Parliamentarians who wanted more self-government formed the Irish Patriot Party, led by Henry Grattan, who achieved substantial legislative independence in 1782–83. Grattan and radical elements of the 'Irish Whig' party campaigned in the 1790s for Catholic political equality and a reform of electoral rights.[7] He wanted useful links with Britain to remain, best understood by his comment: 'The channel [Irish sea] forbids union; the ocean forbids separation'.

Grattan's movement was notable for being both inclusive and nationalist as many of its members were descended from the Anglo/Irish minority. Many other nationalists such as Samuel Neilson, Theobald Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet were also descended from plantation families which had arrived in Ireland since 1600. From Grattan in the 1770s to Parnell up to 1890, nearly all the leaders of Irish separatism were Protestant nationalists.

Modern Irish nationalism with democratic aspirations began in the 1790s with the founding of the Society of the United Irishmen. It sought to end discrimination against Catholics and Presbyterians and to found an independent Irish republic. Most of the United Irish leaders were Catholic and Presbyterian and inspired by the French Revolution, wanted a society without sectarian divisions, the continuation of which they attributed to the British domination over the country. They were sponsored by the French Republic, which was then the enemy of the Holy See. The United Irishmen led the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which was repressed with great bloodshed. As a result, the Irish Parliament voted to abolish itself in the Act of Union of 1800–01 and thereafter Irish MPs sat in London.


Two forms of Irish nationalism arose from these events. One was a radical movement, known as Irish republicanism. It believed the use of force was necessary to found a secular, egalitarian Irish republic, advocated by groups such as the Young Irelanders, some of whom launched a rebellion in 1848.[8]

The other nationalist tradition was more moderate, urging non-violent means to seek concessions from the British government.[9] While both nationalist traditions were predominantly Catholic in their support base, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church were opposed to republican separatism on the grounds of its violent methods and secular ideology, while they usually supported non-violent reformist nationalism.[10]

Daniel O'Connell was the leader of the moderate tendency. O'Connell, head of the Catholic Association and Repeal Association in the 1820s, '30s and '40s, campaigned for Catholic Emancipation – full political rights for Catholics – and then "Repeal of the Union", or Irish self-government under the Crown. Catholic Emancipation was achieved, but self-government was not. O'Connell's movement was more explicitly Catholic than its eighteenth century predecessors.[11] It enjoyed the support of the Catholic clergy, who had denounced the United Irishmen and reinforced the association between Irish identity and Catholicism. The Repeal Association used traditional Irish imagery, such as the harp, and located its mass meetings in sites such as Tara and Clontarf which had a special resonance in Irish history.

Repeal Association and Young Ireland

In the late 19th century, Irish nationalism became the dominant ideology in Ireland, having a major Parliamentary party in the Parliament of the United Kingdom at Westminster that launched a concerted campaign for self-government. This period also saw the emergence of militant republican movement called the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) or Fenians, with an offshoot named Clan na Gael in the United States, founded by exiled members of the Young Irelanders.

The Great Famine of 1845–49 caused great bitterness among Irish people against the British government, which was perceived as having failed to avert the deaths of up to a million people.[12] Clan na Gael, led by John Devoy organised Irish veterans of the American Civil War to attack Canada, with the intention of demanding a British withdrawal from Ireland. The Irish Republican Brotherhood was set up in Ireland at the same time.

In Ireland itself, the IRB tried an armed revolt in 1867 but, as it was heavily infiltrated by police informers, the rising was a failure.[13]

Land League

Mass nationalist mobilisation began when Isaac Butt's Home Rule League (which had been founded in 1873 but had little following) adopted social issues in the late 1870s – especially the question of land redistribution.[14] Michael Davitt (an IRB member) founded the Irish Land League in 1879 during an agricultural depression to agitate for tenant's rights. Some would argue the land question had a nationalist resonance in Ireland as many Irish Catholics believed that land had been unjustly taken from their ancestors by Protestant English colonists in the 17th century Plantations of Ireland.[15] Indeed, the Irish landed class was still largely an Anglo-Irish Protestant group in the 19th century. Such perceptions were underlined in the Land league's language and literature.[16] However, others would argue that the Land League had its direct roots in tenant associations formed in the period of agricultural prosperity during the government of Lord Palmerston in the 1850s and 1860s, who were seeking to strengthen the economic gains they had already made.[17] Following the depression of 1879 and the subsequent fall in prices (and hence profits), these farmers were threatened with rising rents and eviction for failure to pay rents. In addition, small farmers, especially in the west faced the prospect of another famine in the harsh winter of 1879. At first, the Land League campaigned for the "Three Fs" – fair rent, free sale and fixity of tenure. Then, as prices for agricultural products fell further and the weather worsened in the mid-1880s, tenants organised themselves by withholding rent during the 1886–1891 Plan of Campaign movement.

Militant nationalists such as the Fenians saw that they could use the groundswell of support for land reform to recruit nationalist support, this is the reason why the New Departure – a decision by the IRB to adopt social issues – occurred in 1879.[18] Republicans from Clan na Gael (who were loath to recognise the British parliament) saw this as an opportunity to recruit the masses to agitate for Irish self-government. This agitation, which became known as the "Land War", became very violent when Land Leaguers resisted evictions of tenant farmers by force and the British Army and Royal Irish Constabulary was used against them. This upheaval eventually resulted in the British government subsidising the sale of landlords' estates to their tenants in the Irish Land Acts authored by William O'Brien. It also provided a mass base for constitutional Irish nationalists who had founded the Home Rule League in 1873. Charles Stewart Parnell (somewhat paradoxically, a Protestant landowner) took over the Land League and used its popularity to launch the Irish National League in 1882 as a support basis for the newly formed Irish Parliamentary Party, to campaign for Home Rule.

Cultural nationalism

An important feature of Irish nationalism from the late 19th century onwards was a commitment to Gaelic Irish culture. A broad intellectual movement, the Celtic Revival, grew up in the late 19th century. Though largely initiated by artists and writers of Protestant or Anglo-Irish background, the movement nonetheless captured the imaginations of idealists from native Irish and Catholic background. Periodicals such as United Ireland, Weekly News, Young Ireland, and Weekly National Press (1891–92), became influential in promoting Ireland's native cultural identity. A frequent contributor, the poet John McDonald's stated aim was "to hasten, as far as in my power lay, Ireland's deliverance".[19]

Other organisations promoting of the Irish language or the Gaelic Revival were the Gaelic League and later Conradh na Gaeilge. The Gaelic Athletic Association was also formed in this era to promote Gaelic football, hurling, and Gaelic handball; it forbade its members to play English sports such as association football, rugby union, and cricket.

Most cultural nationalists were English speakers, and their organisations had little impact in the Irish speaking areas or Gaeltachtaí, where the language has continued to decline (see article). However, these organisations attracted large memberships and were the starting point for many radical Irish nationalists of the early twentieth century, especially the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916 such as Patrick Pearse,[20] Thomas MacDonagh,[21] and Joseph Plunkett. The main aim was to emphasise an area of difference between Ireland and Germanic England, but the majority of the population continued to speak English.

The cultural Gaelic aspect did not extend into actual politics; while nationalists were interested in the surviving Chiefs of the Name, the descendants of the former Gaelic clan leaders, the chiefs were not involved in politics, nor noticeably interested in the attempt to recreate a Gaelic state.

Home Rule beginnings

Although Parnell and some other Home Rulers, such as Isaac Butt, were Protestants, Parnell's party was overwhelmingly Catholic. At local branch level, Catholic priests were an important part of its organisation. Home Rule was opposed by Unionists (those who supported the Union with Britain), mostly Protestant and from Ulster under the slogan, "Home Rule is Rome Rule."

At the time, some politicians and members of the British public would have seen this movement as radical and militant. Detractors quoted Charles Stewart Parnell's Cincinnati speech in which he claimed to be collecting money for "bread and lead". He was allegedly sworn into the secret Irish Republican Brotherhood in May 1882. However, the fact that he chose to stay in Westminster following the expulsion of 29 Irish MPs (when those in the Clan expected an exodus of nationalist MPs from Westminster to set up a provisional government in Dublin) and his failure in 1886 to support the Plan of Campaign (an aggressive agrarian programme launched to counter agricultural distress), marked him as an essentially constitutional politician, though not averse to using agitational methods as a means of putting pressure on parliament.

Coinciding as it did with the extension of the franchise in British politics – and with it the opportunity for most Irish Catholics to vote – Parnell's party quickly became an important player in British politics. Home Rule was favoured by William Ewart Gladstone, but opposed by many in the British Liberal and Conservative parties. Home Rule would have meant a devolved Irish parliament within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The first two Irish Home Rule Bills were put before the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in 1886 and 1893, but they were bitterly resisted and the second bill ultimately defeated in the Conservative's pro-Unionist majority controlled House of Lords.

Following the fall and death of Parnell in 1891 after a divorce crisis, which enabled the Irish Roman Catholic hierarchy to pressure MPs to drop Parnell as their leader, the Irish Party split into two factions, the INL and the INF becoming practically ineffective from 1892 to 1898. Only after the passing of the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 which granted extensive power to previously non-existent county councils, allowing nationalists for the first time through local elections to democratically run local affairs previously under the control of landlord dominated "Grand Juries", and William O'Brien founding the United Irish League that year, did the Irish Parliamentary Party reunite under John Redmond in January 1900, returning to its former strength in the following September general election.

Transformation of rural Ireland

The first decade of the twentieth century saw considerable advancement in rural economic and social development in Ireland where 60% of the population lived.[22] The introduction of local self-government in 1898 created a class of experienced politicians capable of later taking over national self-government in the 1920s. O'Brien's attainment of the 1903 Wyndham Land Act (the culmination of land agitation since the 1880s) abolished landlordism, and made it easier for tenant farmers to purchase lands, financed and guaranteed by the government. By 1914, 75 per cent of occupiers were buying out their landlords' freehold interest through the Land Commission, mostly under the Land Acts of 1903 and 1909.[23] O'Brien then pursued and won in alliance with the Irish Land and Labour Association and D.D. Sheehan, who followed in the footsteps of Michael Davitt, the landmark 1906 and 1911 Labourers (Ireland) Acts, where the Liberal government financed 40,000 rural labourers to become proprietors of their own cottage homes, each on an acre of land. "It is not an exaggeration to term it a social revolution, and it was the first large-scale rural public-housing scheme in the country, with up to a quarter of a million housed under the Labourers Acts up to 1921, the majority erected by 1916",[24] changing the face of rural Ireland.

The combination of land reform and devolved local government gave Irish nationalists an economic political base on which to base their demands for self-government. Some in the British administration felt initially that paying for such a degree of land and housing reform amounted to an unofficial policy of "killing home rule by kindness", yet by 1914 some form of Home Rule for most of Ireland was guaranteed. This was shelved on the outbreak of World War I in August 1914.

A new source of radical Irish nationalism developed in the same period in the cities outside Ulster. In 1896, James Connolly, founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party in Dublin. Connolly's party was small and unsuccessful in elections, but his fusion of socialism and Irish republicanism was to have a sustained impact on republican thought. In 1913, during the general strike known as the Dublin Lockout, Connolly and James Larkin formed a workers militia, the Irish Citizen Army, to defend strikers from the police. While initially a purely defensive body, under Connolly's leadership, the ICA became a revolutionary body, dedicated to an independent Workers Republic in Ireland. After the outbreak of the First World War, Connolly became determined to launch an insurrection to this end.

Home Rule crisis 1912–14

Home Rule was eventually won by John Redmond and the Irish Parliamentary Party and granted under the Third Home Rule Act 1914. However, Irish self-government was limited by the prospect of partition of Ireland between north and south. This idea had first been mooted under the Second Home Rule Bill in 1893. In 1912, following the entry of the Third Home Rule Bill through the House of Commons, unionists organised mass resistance to its implementation, organising around the "Ulster Covenant". In 1912 they formed the Ulster Volunteers, an armed wing of Ulster Unionism who stated that they would resist Home Rule by force. British Conservatives supported this stance. In addition, British officers based at the Curragh indicated that they would be unwilling to act against the Ulster Volunteers should they be ordered to.

In response, Nationalists formed their own paramilitary group, the Irish Volunteers, to ensure the implementation of Home Rule. It looked for several months in 1914 as if civil war was imminent between the two armed factions. Only the All-for-Ireland League party advocated granting every conceivable concession to Ulster to stave off a partition amendment. Redmond rejected their proposals. The amended Home Rule Act was passed and placed with Royal Assent on the statute books, but was suspended after the outbreak of World War I in 1914, until the end of the war. This led radical republican groups to argue that Irish independence could never be won peacefully and gave the northern question little thought at all.

World War I and the Easter Rising

The Irish Volunteer movement was divided over the attitude of their leadership to Ireland's involvement in World War I. The majority followed John Redmond in support of the British and Allied war effort, seeing it as the only option to ensure the enactment of Home Rule after the war, Redmond saying "you will return as an armed army capable of confronting Ulster's opposition to Home Rule". They split off from the main movement and formed the National Volunteers, and were among the 180,000 Irishmen who served in Irish regiments of the Irish 10th and 16th Divisions of the New British Army formed for the War.

A minority of the Irish Volunteers, mostly led by members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), refused to support the War and kept their arms to guarantee the passage of Home Rule. Within this grouping, another faction planned an insurrection against British rule in Ireland, while the War was going on. Critical in this regard were Patrick Pearse,[25] Thomas MacDonagh, and Thomas Clarke. These men were part of an inner circle that were operating in secret within the ranks of the IRB to plan this rising unknown to the rest of the volunteers.[26] James Connolly, the labour leader, first intended to launch his own insurrection for an Irish Socialist Republic decided early in 1916 to combine forces with the IRB. In April 1916, just over a thousand dissident Volunteers and 250 members of the Citizen's Army launched the Easter Rising in the Dublin General Post Office and, in the Easter Proclamation, proclaimed the independence of the Irish Republic. The Rising was put down within a week, at a cost of about 500 killed, mainly unengaged civilians.[27] Although the rising failed, Britain's General Maxwell executed fifteen of the Rising's leaders, including Pearse, MacDonagh, Clarke and Connolly, and arrested some 3000 political activists which led to widespread public sympathy for the rebel's cause. Following this example, physical force republicanism became increasingly powerful and, for the following seven years or so, became the dominant force in Ireland, securing substantial independence but at a cost of dividing Ireland.[28]

The Irish Parliamentary Party was discredited after Home Rule had been suspended at the outbreak of World War I, in the belief that the war would be over by the end of 1915, then by the severe losses suffered by Irish battalions in Gallipoli at Cape Helles and on the Western Front. They were also damaged by the harsh British response to the Easter Rising, who treated the rebellion as treason in time of war when they declared martial law in Ireland. Moderate constitutional nationalism as represented by the Irish Party was in due course eclipsed by Sinn Féin — a hitherto small party which the British had (mistakenly) blamed for the Rising and subsequently taken over as a vehicle for Irish Republicanism.

Two further attempts to implement Home Rule in 1916 and 1917 also failed when John Redmond, leader of the Irish Party, refused to concede to partition while accepting there could be no coercion of Ulster. An Irish Convention to resolve the deadlock was established in July 1917 by the British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, its members both nationalists and unionists tasked with finding a means of implementing Home Rule. However, Sinn Féin refused to take part in the Convention as it refused to discuss the possibility of full Irish independence. The Ulster unionists led by Edward Carson insisted on the partition of six Ulster counties from the rest of Ireland[29] stating that the 1916 rebellion proved a parliament in Dublin could not be trusted.

The Convention's work was disrupted in March 1918 by Redmond's death and the fierce German Spring Offensive on the Western Front, causing Britain to attempt to contemplate extending conscription to Ireland. This was extremely unpopular, opposed both by the Irish Parliamentary Party under its new leader John Dillon, the All-for-Ireland Party as well as Sinn Féin and other national bodies. It resulted in the Conscription Crisis of 1918. In May at the height of the crisis 73 prominent Sinn Féiners were arrested on the grounds of an alleged German Plot. Both these events contributed to a widespread rise in support for Sinn Féin and the Volunteers.[30] The Armistice ended the war in November followed by elections.

Militant separatism and Irish independence

In the General election of 1918, Sinn Féin won 73 seats, 25 of these unopposed, or statistically nearly 70% of Irish representation, under the British "First past the post" voting-system, but had a minority representation in Ulster. They achieved a total of 476,087 (46.9%) of votes polled for 48 seats, compared to 220,837 (21.7%) votes polled by the IPP for only six seats, who due to the "first past the post" voting system did not win a proportional share of seats.[31] Unionists (including Unionist Labour) votes were 305,206 (30.2%)[32]

The Sinn Féin MPs refused to take their seats in Westminster, 27 of these (the rest were either still imprisoned or impaired) setting up their own Parliament called the Dáil Éireann in January 1919 and proclaimed the Irish Republic to be in existence. Nationalists in the south of Ireland, impatient with the lack of progress on Irish self-government, tended to ignore the unresolved and volatile Ulster situation, generally arguing that unionists had no choice but to ultimately follow. On 11 September 1919, the British proscribed the Dáil, it had met nine times, declaring it an illegal assembly, Ireland being still part of the United Kingdom. In 1919, a guerilla war broke out between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) (as the Irish Volunteers were now calling themselves) and the British security[33] forces (See Irish War of Independence).

The campaign created tensions between the political and military sides of the nationalist movement. The IRA, nominally subject to the Dáil, in practice, often acted on its own initiative. At the top, the IRA leadership, of Michael Collins and Richard Mulcahy, operated with little reference to Cathal Brugha, the Dáil's Minister for Defence or Éamon de Valera, the President of the Irish Republic – at best giving them a supervisory role.[34] At local level, IRA commanders such as Dan Breen, Sean Moylan, Tom Barry, Sean MacEoin, Liam Lynch and others avoided contact with the IRA command, let alone the Dáil itself.[35] This meant that the violence of the War of Independence rapidly escalated beyond what many in Sinn Féin and Dáil were happy with.[35] Arthur Griffith, for example, favoured passive resistance over the use of force, but he could do little to affect the cycle of violence between IRA guerrillas[35] and Crown forces that emerged over 1919–1920. The military conflict produced only a handful of killings in 1919, but steadily escalated from the summer of 1920 onwards with the introduction of the paramilitary police forces, the Black and Tans and Auxiliary Division into Ireland. From November 1920 to July 1921, over 1000 people lost their lives in the conflict (compared to c.400 up to then).

Present day

Northern Ireland is not a part of the Republic, but it has a nationalist minority who would prefer to be part of a united Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the term "nationalist" is used to refer either to the Catholic population in general or the supporters of the moderate Social Democratic and Labour Party. "Nationalism" in this restricted meaning refers to a political tradition that favours an independent, united Ireland achieved by non-violent means. The more militant strand of nationalism, as espoused by Sinn Féin, is generally described as "republican" and was regarded as somewhat distinct, although the modern-day party claims to be a constitutional party committed to exclusively peaceful and democratic means.

56% of Northern Irish voters voted for the United Kingdom to remain a part of the European Union in the 23 June 2016 Referendum in which the country as a whole voted to leave the union. The results in Northern Ireland were influenced by fears of a strong border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as well as by fears of a hard border breaking the Good Friday Agreement.[36]

Organisations (1791–present)

19th Century

20th century

21st century

See also

Primary references

  1. ^ "Faith & Fatherland in sixteenth-century Ireland". History Ireland. 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp. 9–15.
  3. ^ The Tree of Liberty: Radicalism, Catholicism and the Construction of Irish Identity 1760–1830 1996, Cork UP; and see some online notes on Whelan.
  4. ^ Valone, David A.; Jill Marie Bradbury (2008). Anglo-Irish Identities 1571–1845. Bucknell University Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-8387-5713-0.
  5. ^ Jonathan Swift: Volume III by Irvin Ehrenpreis
  6. ^ Jonathan Swift and Ireland by Oliver W. Ferguson
  7. ^ Kelly, J. Henry Grattan (Dundalgan Press 1993) pp.27–35 ISBN 0-85221-121-X
  8. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 243–290
  9. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 179–232
  10. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X p 173 et passim
  11. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 179–193
  12. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 170–178
  13. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 330 et passim
  14. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 351–376
  15. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 15–21
  16. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 364–376
  17. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 299–311
  18. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 330–351
  19. ^ O'Donoghue 1892, pp. 144.
  20. ^ Sean Farrell Moran, "Patrick Pearse and the European Revolt Against Reason," Journal of the History of Ideas, 1989; Patrick Pearse and the Politics of Redemption, (1994),
  21. ^ Johann Norstedt, Thomas MacDonagh, (1980)
  22. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 422–426
  23. ^ Ferriter, Diarmaid, The Transformation of Ireland 1900–2000 (2005) pp. 38+62
  24. ^ Ferriter, Diarmaid, The Transformation of Ireland 1900–2000, (2004) pp 159
  25. ^ Sean Farrell Moran, "Patrick Pearse and the Politics of Redemption", (1995), Ruth Dudley Edwards, "Patrick Pearse and the Triumph of Failure," (1974), Joost Augustin, "Patrick Pearse," (2009).
  26. ^ Robert., Kee, (1989). The green flag. Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 0140111042. OCLC 19668723.
  27. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 548–591
  28. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 591–719
  29. ^ ME Collins, Ireland 1868–1966, page 240
  30. ^ Sovereignty and partition, 1912–1949, p. 59, M. E. Collins, Edco Publishing (2004) ISBN 1-84536-040-0
  31. ^ Sovereignty and partition, 1912–1949, p.62, M. E. Collins, Edco Publishing (2004) ISBN 1-84536-040-0
  32. ^ B.M. Walker Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland, 1801–1822
  33. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 651–698
  34. ^ Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 611 et passim
  35. ^ a b c Kee Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, (1972) ISBN 0-297-17987-X pp 651–656
  36. ^ "Now, IRA stands for I Renounce Arms". The Economist. 28 July 2005.

Secondary references

Further reading

  • Brundage, David. Irish Nationalists in America: The Politics of Exile, 1798–1998 (Oxford UP, 2016). x, 288
  • Boyce, D. George. Nationalism in Ireland, 1982.
  • Campbell, F. Land and Revolution,2005
  • Cronin, Sean. Irish Nationalism: Its Roots and Ideology, 1980.
  • Edwards, Ruth Dudley, Patrick Pearse: The Triumph of Failure, 1977.
  • Elliot, Marianne, Wolfe Tone, 1989.
  • English, Richard. Irish Freedom, 2008.
  • Garvin, Tom. The Evolution of Irish Nationalist Politics, 1981; Nationalist Revolutionaries in Ireland, 1858-1928, 1987
  • Kee, Robert. The Green Flag, 1976.
  • MacDonagh, Oliver. States of Mind, 1983
  • McBride, Lawrence. Images, Icons, and the Irish Nationalist Imagination, 1999.
  • McBride, Lawrence. Reading Irish Histories, 2003.
  • Maume, Patrick. The Long Gestation, 1999.
  • Moran, Sean Farrell. Patrick Pearse and the Politics of Redemption, 1994.
  • Nelson, Bruce. Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012.
  • Strauss, E. Irish Nationalism and British Democracy, 1951.
  • O'Farrell, Patrick. Ireland's English Question, 1971.
  • Phoenix, E. Northern Nationalism,
  • Ward, Margaret. Unimaginable Revolutionaries: Women and Irish Nationalism, 1983

External links

1909 Cork City by-election

The Cork City by-election of 1909 was held on 1 May 1909. The by-election was held due to the resignation of the incumbent Irish Parliamentary MP, William O'Brien. It was won by the All-for-Ireland candidate Maurice Healy.Cosbie was associated with the United Irish League wing of Irish Nationalism.

Celtic Revival

The Celtic Revival (also referred to as the Celtic Twilight or Celtomania) was a variety of movements and trends in the 19th and 20th centuries that saw a renewed interest in aspects of Celtic culture. Artists and writers drew on the traditions of Gaelic literature, Welsh-language literature, and so-called 'Celtic art'—what historians call Insular art (the Early Medieval style of Ireland and Britain). Although the revival was complex and multifaceted, occurring across many fields and in various countries in Northwest Europe, its best known incarnation is probably the Irish Literary Revival. Here, Irish writers including William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, "AE" Russell, Edward Martyn and Edward Plunkett (Lord Dunsany) stimulated a new appreciation of traditional Irish literature and Irish poetry in the late 19th and early 20th century.In many, but not all, facets the revival came to represent a reaction to modernisation. This is particularly true in Ireland, where the relationship between the archaic and the modern was antagonistic, where history was fractured, and where, according to Terry Eagleton, "as a whole [the nation] had not leapt at a bound from tradition to modernity". At times this romantic view of the past resulted in historically inaccurate portrayals, such as the promotion of noble savage stereotypes of the Irish people and Scottish Highlanders, as well as a racialized view that referred to the Irish, whether positively or negatively, as a separate race.Perhaps the most widespread and lasting contribution of the revival was the re-introduction of the High cross as the Celtic cross, which now forms a familiar part of monumental and funerary art over most of the Western world. Though, there has been criticism to the unified concept of Celtic culture.

Conradh na Gaeilge

Conradh na Gaeilge (Irish pronunciation: [ˈkɔn̪ˠɾˠə nə ˈɡeːlʲɟə]; historically known in English as the Gaelic League) is a social and cultural organisation which promotes the Irish language in Ireland and worldwide. The organisation was founded in 1893 with Douglas Hyde as its first president, when it emerged as the successor of several 19th century groups such as the Gaelic Union. The organisation would be the spearhead of the Gaelic revival and Gaeilgeoir activism. Originally the organisation intended to be apolitical, but many of its participants became involved in Irish nationalism.


Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.

The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak, and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by various converging ideas and influences. They centre on Joyce's idea of an epiphany: a moment where a character experiences a life-changing self-understanding or illumination, and the idea of paralysis where Joyce felt Irish nationalism stagnated cultural progression, placing Dublin at the heart of this regressive movement. Many of the characters in Dubliners later appear in minor roles in Joyce's novel Ulysses. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by child protagonists, and as the stories continue, they deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This is in line with Joyce's tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence and maturity.

Friends of Irish Freedom

The Friends of Irish Freedom was an Irish-American Republican organisation founded at the third Irish Race Convention held in New York (4–5 March 1916). Supported by the United Irish League, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and other leading Irish-American organisations. Clan na Gael dominated the Executive (holding 15 of the 17 seats).

The Organisation's aims were to 'encourage and assist any movement that will tend to bring about the National Independence of Ireland'. Among the first members of the Executive Committee were Victor Herbert (President), Thomas Hughes Kelly (Treasurer) and John D. Moore (Secretary). An office was set up in Sweden and relations established with Imperial Germany. The Friends of Irish Freedom supported the 1916 Rising and in the months following, raised $350,000 through the Irish Relief Fund to assist dependents of many who fought in the Rising.

In 1917, the Executive Committee of the Friends of Irish Freedom circulated a petition calling for the Independence of Ireland throughout the US and secured several hundred thousand signatures. President Wilson in turn directed Secret Service agents to examine the membership and funding of the organisation. In May 1918, the Friends of Irish Freedom organised the fourth Irish Race Convention during which Diarmuid Lynch became National Secretary holding the post until his return to Ireland in 1932.

By 1920, there was a Regular membership of 100,000 and 484 Associate Branches with an Associate membership of 175,000. During the Irish War of Independence, the Friends of Irish Freedom raised over $5,000,000 in Dáil loans for the newly declared Irish Republic through the promotion of Bond Certificates. Legal advisor to the organisation for the Bond Drive was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In October 1920, a rift developed between the Irish American leaders and Éamon de Valera which resulted in a split between the Friends of Irish Freedom in the United States and the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Ireland. Prior to his departure from the US, de Valera founded a rival organisation—the American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic—to take over the activities of the Friends.

The Friends of Irish Freedom was wound up in 1932 following extensive litigation concerning the funds raised for the Irish Republic which were claimed by de Valera, most of the funds were returned to the original donors.

Hibernia (personification)

Hibernia as a national personification representing Ireland appeared in numerous cartoon and drawings, especially in the nineteenth century.As depicted in frequent cartoons in Punch, a magazine outspokenly hostile to Irish nationalism, Hibernia was shown as "Britannia's younger sister". She is an attractive, vulnerable girl. She is threatened by manifestations of Irish nationalism such as the Fenians or the Irish National Land League, often depicted as brutish, ape-like monsters. Unable to defend herself, Hibernia is depicted turning to the strong, armoured Britannia for defence. John Tenniel, now mainly remembered as the illustrator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, produced a number of such depictions of Hibernia.At times nationalist publications (such as the Land League and Parnell's United Ireland newspaper) did use the image of Hibernia. However, possibly because of the pro-union publications' adoption of the "helpless" image of Hibernia, nationalist publications would later use Erin and Kathleen Ni Houlihan as personifications of Irish nationhood. (Although Irish Nationalists did continue to use the terms "Hibernia" and "Hibernian" in other contexts, such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians). A statue, derived from an original by Edward Smyth and depicting a more confident Hibernia (with harp and spear), stands in the central position of three atop the General Post Office in Dublin.


A Hibernophile is a person who is fond of Irish culture, Irish language and Ireland in general. Its antonym is Hibernophobe. The word originates from "Hibernia", the word used by the ancient Romans to refer to Ireland.

The term is often used in particular for people all over the world (in America especially in areas where a large number of Irish diaspora settled) who ostensibly base their business, political, or social practices on like of or admiration for Irish models. In some cases, Hibernophilia represents an individual's preference of Irish culture to their own, or the belief that Irish culture is superior, or appreciation of Irish history.Hibernophiles often enjoy attending St. Patrick's Day parades that occur all over the world. They also tend to favour stereotypical parts of Irish culture: shamrocks, Leprechauns and shillelaghs.In some cases a Hibernophile may also be called a Plastic Paddy, a person who appropriates stereotypical aspects of Irish culture without understanding it. The term is often used as a pejorative in Ireland.

Irish Home Rule movement

The Irish Home Rule movement was a movement that campaigned for self-government (or "home rule") for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was the dominant political movement of Irish nationalism from 1870 to the end of World War I.

Isaac Butt founded the Home Government Association in 1870. This was succeeded in 1873 by the Home Rule League, and in 1882 by the Irish Parliamentary Party. These organisations campaigned for home rule in the British House of Commons. Under the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell, the movement came close to success when the Liberal government of William Ewart Gladstone introduced the First Home Rule Bill in 1886, but the bill was defeated in the House of Commons after a split in the Liberal Party. After Parnell's death, Gladstone introduced the Second Home Rule Bill in 1893; it passed the Commons but was defeated in the House of Lords. After the removal of the Lords' veto in 1911, the Third Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1912, leading to the Home Rule Crisis. Shortly after the outbreak of World War I it was enacted, but implementation was suspended until the conclusion of the war.

Following the Easter Rising of 1916, particularly the arrests and executions that followed it, public support shifted from the Home Rule movement to the more radical Sinn Féin party. In the 1918 General Election the Irish Parliamentary Party suffered a crushing defeat with only a handful of MPs surviving, effectively dealing a death blow to the Home Rule movement. The elected Sinn Féin MPs were not content merely with home rule within the framework of the United Kingdom; they instead set up a revolutionary legislature, Dáil Éireann, and declared Ireland an independent republic. Britain passed a Fourth Home Rule Bill, the Government of Ireland Act 1920, aimed at creating separate parliaments for Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. The former was established in 1921, and the territory continues to this day as part of the United Kingdom, but the latter never functioned. Following the Anglo-Irish Treaty that ended the Anglo-Irish War, the 26 southern and western counties of Ireland became the Irish Free State, which evolved into the present Republic of Ireland.

Irish Literary Revival

The Irish Literary Revival (also called the Irish Literary Renaissance, nicknamed the Celtic Twilight) was a flowering of Irish literary talent in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Irish Unionist Alliance

The Irish Unionist Alliance (IUA), also known as the Irish Unionist Party or simply the Unionists, was a unionist political party founded in Ireland in 1891 from the Irish Loyal and Patriotic Union to oppose plans for home rule for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The party was led for much of its existence by Colonel Edward James Saunderson and later by William St John Brodrick, Earl of Midleton. In total, eighty-six members of the House of Lords affiliated themselves with the Irish Unionist Alliance, although its broader membership was relatively small.

The party aligned itself closely with the Conservative Party and Liberal Unionists to campaign to prevent the passage of a new Home Rule Bill. Its MPs took the Conservative whip at Westminster, and its members were often described as 'Conservatives' or 'Conservative Unionists', even though much of its support came from former Liberal voters. Among its most prominent members were the Dublin barrister, Sir Edward Carson, and the founder of Ireland's cooperative movement, Sir Horace Plunkett. Its electoral strength was largely (although not exclusively) concentrated in east Ulster and south Dublin.

The IUA became wracked by internal disagreement during the early twentieth century, with the issue of the partition of Ireland proving to be particularly divisive. Many unionists outside Ulster became resigned to the political necessity of Home Rule, while unionists in Ulster established a separate organisation, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). In 1919 the IUA finally split apart with the founding of the break-away Unionist Anti-Partition League, effectively signalling the death of institutional unionism in most of Ireland. The UUP continued to operate in Northern Ireland, and would go on to dominate domestic politics there for much of the twentieth century.

Irish republicanism

Irish republicanism (Irish: poblachtánachas Éireannach) is an ideology based on the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic. The development of nationalist and democratic sentiment throughout Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was reflected in Ireland in the emergence of republicanism, in opposition to British rule. This followed hundreds of years of British conquest and Irish resistance through rebellion. Discrimination against Catholics and nonconformists, attempts by the British administration to suppress Irish culture, and the belief that Ireland was economically disadvantaged as a result of the Act of Union were among the specific factors leading to such opposition.

The Society of United Irishmen, formed in the 1780s and led primarily by liberal Protestants, evolved into a revolutionary republican organisation, inspired by the American Revolution and allied with Revolutionary France. It launched the 1798 Rebellion with the help of French troops. The rebellion had some success, especially in County Wexford, before it was suppressed. A second rising in 1803, led by Robert Emmet, was quickly put down, and Emmet was hanged. The Young Ireland movement, formed in the 1830s, was initially a part of the Repeal Association of Daniel O'Connell, but broke with O'Connell on the issue of the legitimacy of the use of violence. Primarily a political and cultural organisation, some members of Young Ireland staged an abortive rising, the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848. Its leaders were transported to Van Diemen's Land. Some of these escaped to the United States, where they linked up with other Irish exiles to form the Fenian Brotherhood. Together with the Irish Republican Brotherhood, founded in Ireland by James Stephens and others in 1858, they made up a movement commonly known as "Fenians" which was dedicated to the overthrow of British imperial rule in Ireland. They staged another rising, the Fenian Rising, in 1867, and a dynamite campaign in England in the 1880s.

In the early 20th century IRB members, in particular Tom Clarke and Seán MacDermott, began planning another rising. The Easter Rising took place from 24 to 30 April 1916, when members of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army seized the centre of Dublin, proclaimed a republic and held off British forces for almost a week. The execution of the Rising's leaders, including Clarke, MacDermott, Patrick Pearse and James Connolly, led to a surge of support for republicanism in Ireland. In 1917 the Sinn Féin party stated as its aim the "securing the international recognition of Ireland as an independent Irish Republic", and in the general election of 1918 Sinn Féin took 73 of the 105 Irish seats in the British House of Commons. The elected members did not take their seats but instead set up the First Dáil. Between 1919 and 1921 the Irish Republican Army (IRA), who were loyal to the Dáil, fought the British Army and Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), a predominantly Roman Catholic force, in the Irish War of Independence. Talks between the British and Irish in late 1921 led to a treaty by which the British conceded, not a 32-county Irish Republic, but a 26-county Irish Free State with Dominion status. This led to the Irish Civil War, in which the republicans were defeated by their former comrades.

The Free State became an independent constitutional monarchy following the Balfour Declaration of 1926 and the Statute of Westminster 1931 and formally became a republic with the passage of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. That same year, the republican movement took the decision to focus on Northern Ireland thereafter. The Border Campaign, which lasted from 1956 to 1962, involved bombings and attacks on Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks. The failure of this campaign led the republican leadership to concentrate on political action, and to move to the left. Following the outbreak of The Troubles in 1968-9, the movement split between Officials (leftists) and Provisionals (traditionalists) at the beginning of 1970. Both sides were initially involved in an armed campaign against the British state, but the Officials gradually moved into mainstream politics after the Official IRA ceasefire of 1972; the associated "Official Sinn Féin" eventually renamed itself the Workers' Party. The Provisional IRA, except during brief ceasefires in 1972 and 1975, kept up a campaign of violence for nearly thirty years, directed against security forces and civilian targets (especially businesses). While the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) represented the nationalists of Northern Ireland in initiatives such as the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement, republicans took no part in these, believing that a withdrawal of British troops and a commitment to a united Ireland was a necessary precondition of any settlement. This began to change with a landmark speech by Danny Morrison in 1981, advocating what became known as the Armalite and ballot box strategy. Under the leadership of Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin began to focus on the search for a political settlement. When the party voted in 1986 to take seats in legislative bodies within Ireland, there was a walk-out of die-hard republicans, who set up Republican Sinn Féin and the Continuity IRA. Following the Hume–Adams dialogue, Sinn Féin took part in the Northern Ireland peace process which led to the IRA ceasefires of 1994 and 1997 and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. After elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly, republicans sat in government in Northern Ireland for the first time when Martin McGuinness and Bairbre de Brún were elected to the Northern Ireland Executive. However, another split occurred, with anti-Agreement republicans setting up the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and the Real IRA. Today, Irish republicanism is divided between those who support the institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement and the later St Andrews Agreement, and those who oppose them. The latter are often referred to as "dissident" republicans.

Irish slaves myth

The Irish slaves myth concerns the use of the term Irish "slaves" as a conflation of the penal transportation and indentured servitude of Irish people during the 17th and 18th centuries. Some white nationalists, and others who want to minimize the hereditary chattel slavery experience of Africans and their descendants, have used the myth to attack contemporary African American efforts for equality and reparations. The Irish slaves myth has also been invoked by some Irish activists, to highlight the British oppression of the Irish people and to suppress the history of Irish involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.The myth has become increasingly prominent since the 1990s and has been prominent in online memes and social media debates. This has led a large number of historians to publicly condemn it.

John Turnley

John Turnley (c.1935 – 5 June 1980) was an Irish politician and activist. Originally from a unionist background, he was gradually drawn to Irish nationalism and became a republican activist. He was assassinated in 1980 by loyalists in Carnlough, County Antrim.

New Departure (Ireland)

The term New Departure has been used to describe several initiatives in the late 19th century by which Irish republicans, who were committed to independence from Britain by physical force, attempted to find a common ground for co-operation with groups committed to Irish Home Rule by constitutional means. The term refers to the fact that Fenians were to some extent departing from their orthodox doctrine of noninvolvement with constitutional politics, especially the British parliament. It was coined by John Devoy in an anonymous article in the New York Herald on 27 October 1878 in which he laid out a framework for a new policy.

Protestant Irish nationalists

Protestant Irish nationalists are adherents of Protestantism in Ireland who also support Irish nationalism. Protestants have played a large role in the development of Irish nationalism since the eighteenth century, despite most Irish nationalists historically being from the Irish Catholic majority, as well as most Irish Protestants usually tending toward unionism in Ireland. Protestant nationalists (or patriots, particularly before the mid-19th century) have consistently been influential supporters and leaders of various movements for the political independence of Ireland from Great Britain. Historically, these movements ranged from supporting the legislative independence of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Ireland, to a form of home rule within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to complete independence in an Irish Republic and (since the partition of Ireland) a United Ireland.

Despite their relatively small numbers, individual Protestants have made important contributions to key events in Irish nationalist history, such as Wolfe Tone during the 1798 rebellion, Charles Stewart Parnell and the Home Rule movement, and Erskine Childers and the 1916 Easter Rising.

Today the relationship between Protestants and Irish nationalism differs sharply between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In the Republic, the vast majority of Protestants accept and support the independence of Ireland, even if there have been tensions over the central role of the Catholic Church in independent Ireland. The only explicitly unionist political movement of any significance is The Reform Group, a pressure group which advocates that the Republic of Ireland should rejoin the Commonwealth, but does not contest any elections. In Northern Ireland, however, the vast majority of Ulster Protestants are unionist and vote for unionist parties. In 2008, only 4% of Protestants in Northern Ireland thought the long-term policy for Northern Ireland should be unification with the Republic of Ireland, whereas 89% said it should be to remain in the United Kingdom.All the various denominations of Protestantism in Ireland have had members involved in nationalism. Historically the Anglican Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian Church of Ireland have been the largest Protestant churches, and this remains the situation across the island of Ireland. The largest Protestant denomination is the Church of Ireland (having roughly 365,000 members, making up around 3% of the population of the Republic of Ireland, 15% of Northern Ireland, and 6.3% of the whole of Ireland), followed by the Presbyterian Church, with a membership of around 300,000, accounting for 0.6% of people in the Republic and 20% in Northern Ireland (6.1% of Ireland's population).

The Rose Tree (poem)

The Rose Tree is a poem by William Butler Yeats.

It describes a fictional conversation between James Connolly and Padraig Pearse, the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising. First, Pearse says that words and wind from across the sea (England) have withered the rose tree (Irish nationalism). Connolly replies that the tree only needs to be watered (that nationalism only needs to be tended to). Pearse then says that the wells are all dry, and that only their own blood "will make a right rose tree". Pearse and Connolly were both shot by firing squad after the Rising, thus "giving their blood".

Time bomb

A time bomb (or a timebomb, time-bomb) is a bomb whose detonation is triggered by a timer. The use (or attempted use) of time bombs has been for various purposes including insurance fraud, terrorism, assassination, sabotage and warfare. They are a popular feature in fictional thriller and action films as they offer a way of imparting a dramatic sense of urgency.

Tone's Grave

Tone's Grave, often referred to as Bodenstown churchyard, was written by Thomas Davis (1814-1845), the Young Ireland leader, and published first in their newspaper "The Nation". It was written following his visit to the grave of Wolfe Tone in Bodenstown, County Kildare c. 1843 when he found Tone's grave unmarked but guarded by a local blacksmith who would allow nobody to set foot on it.

The song mourns the failure of the United Irishmen and the loss of leaders like Wolfe Tone but hints at the impending awakening of Irish nationalism much hoped for by the Young Ireland movement.

Ulster nationalism

Ulster nationalism is a school of thought in Northern Ireland politics that seeks the independence of Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom without joining the Republic of Ireland, thereby becoming an independent sovereign state separate from both.

Independence has been supported by groups such as Ulster Third Way and some factions of the Ulster Defence Association. However, it is a fringe view in Northern Ireland. It is neither supported by any of the political parties represented in the Northern Ireland Assembly nor by the government of the United Kingdom or the government of the Republic of Ireland.

Although the term Ulster traditionally refers to one of the four traditional provinces of Ireland which contains Northern Ireland as well as parts of the Republic of Ireland, the term is often used within unionism and Ulster loyalism (from which Ulster nationalism originated) to refer to Northern Ireland.

There has been a number of proposals in terms of the government including the Republic of Northern Ireland which will be led by a President, Vice-President, Chief Secretary and Solicitor-General as the leaders of State and Government. Some also claim that in the Republic proposal there will be devolved state governments.

Pan-Celtic groups

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