Easter Rising in Ireland, 1916
THE IRISH REPUBLICAN BROTHERHOOD (IRB)
One of the main and lasting effects of the Great Famine of 1845-47 was emigration. The ‘Coffin Ships’ carried tens of thousands of the poorest Irish people who fled Ireland to avoid starvation. They created a new Irish nation within America whilst remembering the injustice of the English occupation of their homeland as well as harboring a deeply felt hatred of landlords and evictions.
A Clann na Gael source estimated that there were over one and one half million people of Irish birth in America towards the end of the nineteenth century. These people supported the republican cause by giving money, weapons and, significantly, a propaganda machine which has continued to this day.
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was formed in a Dublin timber-yard on Saint Patricks Day in 1858. James Stephans was assisted by Thomas Clarke Luby, James Denieefe, Garret O Shaugheynessy and Peter Langan.
Joe Denieefe brought financial support back from America. He had left Ireland after the Ballingarry defeat in 1848. James Stephens , Michael Doheny and the John O’Mahony fought in Ballingarry in 1848. Stephens was injured but still manage to escape to Paris where he familiarised himself with the revolutionary tactics of that country. He came back to Ireland to try to establish an underground organisation to remove the English from Ireland.
Denieefe and Luby traveled the country extensively and organised military groups called ‘circles’. They formed oathbound secret societies of loyal patriots. Popular opinion did not support the revolutionary ideals of the IRB nor did the Church whop were strongly opposed. The mainstream support came from the poorer classes who, despite their poverty, were often highly idealistic.
At the time of the 1867 rising the membership of the IRB was estimated at over 80,000.