Tuesday, 5 March 2019

A contemporary illustration of the Battle of Tallaght from the London Illustrated News

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 an end but a new beginning for those who were determined to end British rule over Ireland.

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