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The Fenians: Photographs and Memorabilia from the National Museum of…

by Michael Kenny

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The origin of Fenianism may be traced to Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen of the 1790s and to the Young Irelanders of the 1840s. The official title of the organisation whose members became known as 'Fenians' was the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), founded in 1858. The term derived from the name of its twin organisation in America, the Fenian Brotherhood. The spread of the two organisations ushered in a new era in the growth of Irish politics and had a profound influence on subsequent political developments. The Fenians did not confine their activites to Ireland. From the United States they launched raids on Canada, and formed an influential interest lobby in American politics. In Britain, they became involved in the emerging trade union movement and acted as a catalyst upon contemporary radicals and reformers. At home they were simultaneously a revolutionary society, a political movement and a militant socio-cultural pressure group, involved in land agitation, sport and Gaelic language revival. In The Fenians, Michael Kenny gives us a glimpse of one of the most intriguing periods in Irish history. His clear and concise text is complemented by artefacts and memorabilia from th… (more)

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