Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 August 2012
At the 1918 general election, Sinn Féin overtook the Irish Parliamentary Party as the dominant political force within nationalist Ireland, a process that has its origins in the aftermath of the Easter Rising of 1916. This article argues that to understand better this shift in public opinion, from an initially hostile reaction to the Dublin rebellion to a more advanced nationalist position,1 it is important to recognize the decisive role played by a political welfare organization, the Irish National Aid Association and Volunteer Dependents' Fund. The activities of the INAAVDF significantly shaped the popular memory of the Rising, but also provided a focus around which the republican movement could re-organize itself. In foregrounding the contribution of the INAAVDF to the radicalization of political life in Ireland between 1916 and 1918, the article argues that this understudied but important organization offers a useful way of charting popular responses to the Rising and its aftermath, as well as laying the foundations for a reinvigorated political and military campaign after 1917.
This article is based on papers delivered at Queen's University Belfast and the Irish History Seminar at Hertford College Oxford. I am grateful to all who attended for helpful comments and suggestions. The article especially benefited from the reading and advice of Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre and Colin Reid.
1 ‘Advanced nationalism’ refers to the broad section of Irish nationalism with a more radical outlook than the constitutional nationalism represented by the Irish Parliamentary Party and the United Irish League. Often equated to Fenianism, it is not, however, confined solely to political nationalism; cultural variants were equally important.
7 William Murphy's important forthcoming work on political imprisonment in Ireland between 1910 and 1922 is an exception to this; Ann Matthews's Renegades: Irish republican women. 1900–1922 (Dublin, 2011) tackles the INAAVDF primarily from a women's history perspective.
8 These are inflated figures – rebel fatalities accounted for no more than 100 – but may also include civilian deaths.
9 Irish Independent, 27 May 1916.
10 Ibid. Dermot Keogh implies that Bowden took over duties as honorary chairman from Archbishop Walsh on 6 June; this is incorrect, as the published appeal of 27 May demonstrates. Dermot Keogh, ‘The Catholic church, the Holy See and the 1916 Rising’, in Dermot Keogh and Gabriel Doherty, eds., 1916: the long revolution (Cork, 2009), pp. 286–90.
12 Irish Independent, 29 May 1916.
13 Times, 2 June 1916; Irish Independent, 8 June 1916.
14 Irish Independent, 10 June 1916. Distinctions were made between contributions made on an individual basis and those forwarded on behalf of larger groups.
15 Freeman's Journal, 8 July 1916.
17 Wheatley, Nationalism and the Irish party.
19 Fitzpatrick, David, Politics and Irish life, 1913–1921: provincial experience of war and revolution (Cork, 1998; first published 1977), p. 107Google Scholar.
20 Carroll, F. M., American opinion and the Irish Question, 1910–1923: a study in opinion and policy (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1978), pp. 79–80Google Scholar; Irish Independent, 1 July 1916; Keogh, ‘The Catholic church, the Holy See and the 1916 Rising’, p. 290.
21 Clarke, Kathleen, Revolutionary woman: my fight for Ireland's freedom (Dublin, 1991), p. 127Google Scholar.
23 Bureau of Military History (BMH), witness statement of Kitty O'Doherty, WS 355.
24 Irish Independent, 5 Aug. 1916.
26 Irish Independent, 19 June 1916.
27 These ‘enemies’ were principally Lorcan Sherlock and John Gore, as well as John Nugent, MP for College Green and president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Jeremiah MacVeagh, MP for South Down. See Clarke, Revolutionary woman, pp. 131–2; BMH, witness statement of Kitty O'Doherty, WS355.
28 See, for example, collections made by Ballyhea National Volunteers and the United Irish League of Ballyconnell, and Board of Guardians in Cavan, detailed in the Irish Independent, 19 Aug. 1916.
29 National Archives of the United Kingdom (TNA), CO904/100 (328), Monaghan County Inspector report for June 1916.
30 BMH, witness statement of Nancy Wyse-Power, WS 587; TNA, CO904/100(590), Inspector General monthly report, Aug. 1916. See also National Library of Ireland (NLI), Irish National Aid Association papers (INAA papers) MS 24,345, correspondence suggesting co-operation between the Irish National Aid Association and the Volunteer Dependents' Fund, letter of 6 July 1916.
31 Irish Independent, 12 Aug. 1916; NLI, MS 24,345, INAA papers, correspondence suggesting co-operation between the Irish National Aid Association and the Volunteer Dependents' Fund, letter of 12 July 1916.
33 NLI, Joseph Brennan papers, MS 26,182, reports on state of public feeling in Ireland.
34 TNA, CO904/100(590), Inspector General monthly report, Aug. 1916. See also William Murphy, ‘The tower of hunger: political imprisonment and the Irish, 1910–1921’ (Ph.D. thesis, University College Dublin), 2006, p. 107.
35 TNA, CO904/100(590), Inspector General monthly report, Aug. 1916.
36 Fitzpatrick, Politics and Irish life, p. 108.
37 Freeman's Journal, 19 Aug. and 26 Aug. 1916. Money was also sent from the US outside the official channels of the Irish Relief Fund: contributions were sent directly from the dioceses of Monterey and Rochester and from a number of Irish-American cultural organizations.
38 ‘Report of the Irish National Aid and Volunteer Dependents' Fund’, Catholic Bulletin, 9 (1919), p. 424. See also NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,326, correspondence in connection with relief fund activities in the United States.
39 New York Times, 9 Sept. 1917.
40 NLI, Art Ó Briain papers, MS 8435/31, F. Allan to A. Ó Briain, 30 June 1916.
41 NLI, Art Ó Briain papers, MS 8422/22, Irish National Relief Fund, statement 30 Nov. 1916.
42 ‘Report of the Irish National Aid and Volunteer Dependents Fund’, pp. 414–36.
43 For Peter Hart, this was ‘a sure sign that Irish-Irelanders were in charge’. Mick: the real Michael Collins (London, 2005), p. 118.
44 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,384 (13), executive minutes of 20 Feb. 1917.
45 Irish Independent, 4 Nov. 1916.
46 NLI, INAA papers, MS 23,468, minute book 1917–18, meeting of 12 Feb. 1917. ‘Orphaned children’ is the term commonly used, although most of the children concerned still retained their mothers.
47 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,494, American grants indexed volume. See also NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,330, reports and recommendations of the American Grants Committee.
48 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,494, American Grants Indexed Volume.
49 Ibid.; NLI, INAA papers, MS 23,465, letters from INAAVDF, sec. INAAVDF to Maggie McDermott, 7 May 1917.
50 Maud Gonne had sent contributions from French sources to the INAA in June 1916, and also made a small individual donation. Her generosity did not earn her any favours, however; a later attempt of hers to recoup money she had subscribed to send the late James Connolly back to Ireland from the United States in 1911 was not entertained. NLI, INAA papers, MS 23,468, minute book, 1917–18; Irish Independent, 17 June 1916. Seán MacBride was listed as a ‘reserve case’ in Dec. 1917, but there is no record of any financial provision later having been made on his behalf. NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,494, American grants indexed volume.
51 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,494, American grants indexed volume.
53 Grace Gifford Plunkett may also have been pregnant at the time of her marriage; her sister-in-law Geraldine Dillon apparently witnessing the aftermath of her miscarriage in the Plunkett home. See Ó Brolcháin, Honor, ed., All in the blood: a memoir of the Plunkett family, the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence (Dublin, 2006)Google Scholar.
54 NLI, Irish National Aid Association, MS 24,357(2), correspondence 1917, letter from Grace Plunkett dated 7 Apr. 1917. O'Neill, Máire, Grace Gifford Plunkett and Irish freedom: tragic bride of 1916 (Dublin, 2000), p. 95Google Scholar.
55 NLI, Irish National Aid Association papers, MS 24,357(2), correspondence 1917, Grace Plunkett to D. O'Connor, 7 May 1917.
56 NLI, Irish National Aid Association papers, MS 24,357(2), correspondence 1917, Grace Plunkett to Mrs O'Doherty, [?] June 1917.
57 NLI, Irish National Aid Association papers, MS 23,468, minute book 1917, meeting 26 May 1919.
58 NLI, MS 24,384 (6), executive meeting of 5 Dec. 1916, Report of schools sub-committee. This echoes the position taken by the Irish Catholic church in the campaign to provide for the children of striking labourers during the 1913 lockout. See McDiarmaid, Lucy, The Irish art of controversy (Dublin, 2005), pp. 123–66Google Scholar.
59 NLI, MS 23,474 , Irish National Aid papers, schools sub-committee, 1916–17.
60 McGuire, Charlie, Roddy Connolly and the struggle for socialism in Ireland (Cork, 2008), p. 18Google Scholar; Matthews, Renegades, p. 171; NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,357(2), correspondence book, 1917, letter from Mrs L. Connolly, 30 Oct. 1917. Lillie Connolly wrote expressing her ‘great disappointment’ that Roddy had left school, and proposing that the boy should instead be sent as an engineering apprentice to Belfast.
61 NLI INAA papers, MS 23,474, schools sub-committee, 1916–17.
62 NLI, INAA papers, MS 23,470, report of education sub-committee, 6 Sept. 1917.
64 NLI, Thomas MacDonagh papers, MS 44,321/5, postcards from Muriel MacDonagh to Donagh MacDonagh, July 1917.
65 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,384 (30), report on seaside holiday, Lily O'Brennan to Fred Allan, 2 July 1917.
67 NLI, Thomas MacDonagh papers, MS 24376/1, memorandum re funeral of Mrs MacDonagh, 17 July 1917. The purchase of the plot was justified on the basis that it was intended to exhume the rebel remains at Arbour Hill and reinter them at Glasnevin; Muriel MacDonagh would thus have to lie close to her husband in the republican plot.
68 Matthews, Renegades, p. 170.
69 Despite the fact that Thomas MacDonagh described the religious beliefs of himself and his wife as ‘neither Catholic nor Protestant nor any other form of dogmatic creed’, he received the last sacraments of the Catholic church prior to his execution, and Muriel MacDonagh converted to Catholicism at Easter 1917. NLI, Thomas MacDonagh papers, MS 22,934, Thomas MacDonagh to Dominic Hackett.
70 NLI, Thomas MacDonagh papers, MS 24376/2, John Gore to Katherine Wilson, 3 Sept. 1917. Committee consisted of Alderman Corrigan, John Gore, Mr Nesbitt and P. T. Keohane.
71 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,377, copy of will of Frederick Gifford, dated 29 Aug. 1916. Although the entire estate passed to his wife, the MacDonagh children were to receive £200 each after their grandmother's death, as well as a share of the £500 left to their mother.
72 NLI, INAA papers, MS 23,468, minute book, meeting of 21 Oct. 1921.
73 NLI, Art Ó Briain papers, MS 8435/31, A. Ó Briain to F. Allan, 15 Oct. 1916.
74 NLI, Art Ó Briain papers, MS 8444/2, Home Office letters, MS 8435/30, M. Collins to A. Ó Briain, 23 May 1917.
75 NLI, Art Ó Briain papers, MS 8434/16, sec. Manchester branch to A. Ó Briain, 19 Dec. 1916.
76 See, for instance, the case of Alfie O'Byrne of 36 Mount Pleasant Square, whose allowance was stopped after he failed to turn up for a fortnight. NLI, INAA papers, MS 23,464, indexed volume of letters, Fred Allan to Louise Gavan Duffy, 7 Nov. 1916.
77 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,494, American grants indexed volume.
78 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,357(2), correspondence 1917, W. T. Cosgrave to committee, 21 Mar. 1917 and 9 Dec. 1917.
79 Boland established a draper's shop on Middle Abbey Street, while Ó Buachalla, later the last governor-general of Ireland, was granted £300 to establish a bacon-slicer shop in Maynooth, County Kildare. NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,384(17), report of employment sub-committee, 13 Mar. 1917; Fitzpatrick, David, Harry Boland's Irish revolution (Cork, 2003), p. 96Google Scholar.
80 NLI, INAA papers, MS23, 464, indexed volume of letters, Fred Allan to Louise Gavan Duffy, 2 Feb. 1917.
81 Ibid., Fred Allan to Louise Gavan Duffy, 27 Oct. 1916; NLI, INAA papers, MS 23,465, Michael Collins to James Farrelly, 13 Apr. 1917.
82 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,357(2), correspondence 1917, report from Michael Staines on Colbert family, [?] July 1917.
83 On Cork's Rising, see Townshend, Easter 1916, pp. 234–8, and McGarry, The Rising, pp. 216–26.
84 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,384(1), executive meeting of 31 Oct. 1916, Edward Sheehan to Fred Allan, 23 Oct. 1916.
85 NLI, INAA papers, MS 23,464, indexed volume of letters, Michael Collins to D. O'Callaghan, 9 Mar. 1917.
86 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,384 (12), executive meeting of 30 Jan. 1917, employment registry office to Fred Allan, 22 Jan. 1917; NLI, INAA papers, MS 23,465, indexed volume of letters, Fred Allan to J. T. Keane, 11 May 1917.
88 BMH, witness statement of J. J. O'Kelly (Sceilg), WS384.
89 Gary Owens, ‘Constructing the martyrs: the Manchester executions and the nationalist imagination’, in L. W. McBride, ed., Images, icons and the Irish nationalist imagination (Dublin, 1999), p. 23. See also McConville, Sean, Irish political prisoners, 1848–1922: theatres of war (London, 2003), pp. 131–5Google Scholar.
90 McGarry, The Rising, p. 282.
92 O'Malley, Ernie, On another man's wound (Dublin 1977; first published 1936), p. 40Google Scholar.
94 Catholic Bulletin, 6, 7 (July 1916).
96 Catholic Bulletin, 6, 12 (Dec. 1916).
97 Clarke, Joseph, Commemorating the dead in revolutionary France: revolution and remembrance (Cambridge, 2007), p. 58Google Scholar.
98 Wills, Dublin 1916, pp. 105–10.
99 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,384(10), executive meeting of 16 Jan. 1917; Irish Times, 24 Sept. 1917.
100 William Murphy, ‘The GAA and the Irish Revolution’, in Mike Cronin, William Murphy and Paul Rouse, eds., The Gaelic Athletic Association, 1884–2009 (Dublin, 2009), pp. 61–76; NLI, Rosamond Jacob papers, MS 35,582(30), diary entry for 10 Sept. 1916.
101 NLI, INAA papers, MS 23468, minute book 1917, meeting 13 Nov. 1917.
102 New York Times, 15 Oct. 1916.
103 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,333, documents relating to gift sale.
104 Duke letter dated 29 June 1917, quoted in Laffan, The resurrection of Ireland, p. 68.
105 NLI, John Redmond papers, MS 5,199/3, James Farrell to John Redmond, 21 May 1917; Irish Independent, 23 June 1917.
106 TNA, CO904/180/380, report on the results of an investigation into the Irish National Aid and Volunteer Dependents' Fund, c.1920.
108 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,357(1), M. Staines to M. Collins, 17 July 1917; NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,384(8), executive meeting of 2 Jan. 1917, letter of L. Clarke dated 30 Dec. 1916.
109 McConville, Irish political prisoners, pp. 226ff; Kelly, The Fenian ideal, pp. 77ff.
111 Caitriona Clear, ‘Fewer ladies, more women’, in John Horne, ed., Our war: Ireland and the Great War (Dublin, 2008), p. 163. See also Reports by the Joint War Committee of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John of Jerusalem in England on the voluntary aid rendered to the sick and wounded at home and abroad and British prisoners of war, 1914–1919 (London, 1921), pp. 726ff, for a comprehensive account of Ireland's financial and voluntary contributions to the war effort. I am grateful to Niamh Gallagher for this reference.
112 See Matthews, Renegades, p. 164, and Murphy, ‘The tower of hunger’, p. 117.
113 NLI, INAA papers, MS 24,384(20), executive meeting of 17 Apr. 1917, Resolution proposed by ladies’ distribution committee.
114 Murphy, ‘The tower of hunger’, p. 437.
115 See Ross, F. S., Smashing H-Block: the popular campaign against criminalisation and the Irish hunger strikes, 1976–1982 (Liverpool, 2011)Google Scholar.