Young Irelanders Timeline

'Young Ireland was not a clearly articulated movement but a group of Repealers, working with Daniel O'Connell in the 1840s.' [Davis, p. 1]

Ireland

1699
Acts of the British and Irish Parliaments (the latter being wholly subject to the former prohibited the export of woollen cloth from Ireland to any country whatsoever, except to England and Wales. . . . Add to this the Navigation Laws; and the absolute prohibition of all direct Irish trade with the Colonies — no Colonial produce being admitted into Ireland until it had first entered an English port and been unloaded there; and you will be a no loss to find out how the English became so rich a nation and the Irish so poor). — [Mitchel, Jail Journal, p. xxx]
1791
'United Irishman' society formed in Belfast.
1795
Orangemen, an Irish society to uphold Protestantism formed in Ireland.
1798
Irish rebellion.
1801
Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland.
1803
Oct. 17
William Smith O'Brien BORN.
1808
Patrick O'Donohoe BORN. [birth-date not verified]
1812
Sep. 8
John Martin BORN.
1815
Nov. 3
John Mitchel BORN.
1817
'The famine was more desperate that usual and in the best counties of Ireland people fed on weeds.' [Mitchel, Jail Journal, p. xxxiv].
1822
In 1822 it was more horrible still [the famine — Mitchel, Jail Journal, p. xxxiv].
1823
Aug 3
Thomas Francis Meagher BORN.
1823
Sep. 7
Kevin Izod O'Doherty BORN.
1823 ??
Terence Bellew MacManus BORN. [birth-date not verified]
1824
(and 1839)
The cause of insurrections by Irish tenants against the Government lay with the Landlords' barbarous treatment of their peasants and 'not in any innate depravity of the Irish character'. — [Petrow, 'Balfe', p. 77]
1828
O'Brien joined the Catholic Association, which under the leadership of Daniel O'Connell, was strongly agitating for the admission of Catholics to the Westminster parliament [Davis, p. 4]
1829
Catholic Emancipation Bill passed allowing Catholics to sit in Parliament.
1837
Feb 3
John Mitchel elopes and marries sixteen-year-old Jane (Jenny) Verner.
1840
Apr. 15
First meeting of the Repeal Association held in the Corn Exchange, Dublin.
1841
Daniel O'Connell elected Lord Mayor of Dublin.
1842
The nucleus of the group subsequently described as 'Young Ireland' formed, which include Thomas Davis, Charles Gavan Duffy and John Blake Dillon.
1842
Oct. 15
The first issue of The Nation appears.
1843
William Smith O'Brien joins Daniel O'Connell's Repeal Association.
1843
John Mitchel attracted by the writings of the Young Irelanders joins the Repeal Association.
1844
John Martin joins the Repeal Association.
1845
When Thomas Davis dies in 1845, Mitchel accepts Charles Gavan Duffy's invitation to become assistant editor of The Nation.
1845
Oct to Dec 1847
Mitchel joins The Nation in October 1845 and while working on the paper becomes increasingly disaffected with British Rule as Ireland falls into the grip of the famine.
1845-1849
The Great Irish famine. There were seven famines in Ireland during the nineteenth century before the Great Famine 1845 to 1848 — [Bethell, p. 76]
1846 Feb
William Smith O'Brien nominates Balfe and John Mitchel for the Parliamentary Committee of the Repeal Association. — [Petrow, 'Balfe', p. 77]
1846
Jul. 29
William Smith O'Brien and the Young Irelanders split from Daniel O'Connell and the Repeal Association over the use of violence.
1847
May 13
Daniel O'Connell dies in Genoa, Italy.
1847
Jan.
First meeting of the Irish Confederation formed by the Young Irelanders who had split with Daniel O'Connell's Repeal Association. 'Like most associations, however, it was a coalition. A group of radicals wished to press for land reform and republicanism. From this group emerged the would-be insurrectionists. — [McConville, p. 19]
1847
Jan. 13
Smith O'Brien to become the unofficial leader of a new organisation, The Irish Confederation.
1847
Sep. 25
From 25 September 1847, Balfe published with Duffy's help a weekly journal called Peter Carroll's Register: it was devoted to 'ultra democracy and superfine public virtue and transcendentalism,' and advocated 'semi-socialist doctrines'. — [Petrow, 'Balfe', p. 81]
1847
Nov.
Balfe claims to have resigned from the Young Irelanders in November 1847.
1848
Jan. 8
Mitchel splits with Duffy and The Nation. On 8 January he addresses a long letter to The Nation setting out his militant policy of agrarian resistance and preparation for rebellion. — [McConville, fn. 24, p. 19]
1848
Feb.
Mitchel along with John Martin and Thomas Devin Reilly resign from the Irish Confederation because of philosophical differences regarding the use of arms in achieving self-determination.
1848
Feb. 12
Mitchel founds the United Irishman after splitting from the Irish Confederation. The first issue appeared 12 February 1848, the last on 2 May 1848. The first issue is received with acclaim and the printed 500 copies are a sell-out.
1848
Feb.
The French Revolution of 1848 inspires the Confederates who broken from O'Connell's Repeal Movement to work for a rebellion.
1848
Mar. 20
At a public meeting in Dublin, inspired and stimulated by the French Revolution, O'Brien calls for a 'National Guard' and moves closer towards Mitchel's political views.
1848
Mar.
Balfe writes to Clarendon's Chief Secretary, William Somerville, about the Young Irelanders’ proposed meeting with the revolutionary government in Paris. — [Petrow, 'Balfe', p. 83]
1848
Apr. 22
The Treason Felony Act passed by Parliament. Mitchel claimed that the Treason Felony Act had been brought in with the immediate intention of crushing the United Irishman and kindred organs. — [McConville, p. 32]
1848
May 26
The trial of John Mitchel for the crime of treason-felony (seditious journalism).
1848
May 27
Mitchel sentenced to 14 years’ transportation and removed from Dublin within a few hours under heavy guard to avert a rescue attempt. He begins to write his famous Jail Journal, which subsequently becomes one of the great classics of Irish nationalist literature containing many evocative descriptions of Tasmania.
1848
Jun. 24
John Martin publishes first issue of the Irish Felon after Mitchel's United Irishman is suppressed.
1848
Jun. 1
Mitchel departs Spike Island convict depot for Bermuda on the Scourge.
1848
Jun. 24
John Martin assisted by James Fintan Lalor produces first issue of the Irish Felon, successor to Mitchel's United Irishman.
1848
Jul.
Warrants for the arrest of the proprietors of the Irish Felon, the Irish Tribune and The Nation are issued.
1848
Jul 22
The British Government, anticipating activism by the Confederates, suspends habeas corpus and issues a warrant for Smith O'Brien's arrest. 'Faced with arrest and detention without trial, the principals haphazardly set about rousing the peasantry — pursued by the authorities.' — [McConville, p. 38]
1848
Jul. 29
The Young Irelanders led by Smith O'Brien stage rebellion at Ballingarry, County Tipperary. 'It consisted mainly in a week's marching with depleted adherent around three small towns. The dénouement came when O'Brien's ill-armed forces failed to dislodge a party of well-armed police at 'Widow [Margaret] McCormack's Cottage' near Ballingarry. Though O'Brien personally demonstrated courage and restraint, he and three of his followers, Thomas Meagher, the English-educated son of a wealth Waterford entrepreneur and MP, Terence MacManus, a Liverpool businessman, and Patrick O'Donohoe, an impecunious law clerk, were condemned to death. A massive campaign of petitions for reprieve followed.' — [Davis, 2005, pp. 39-40]
1848
Aug.
John Donellan Balfe points out the leader of the Young Ireland party, William Smith O'Brien, to government agents, who later arrest O'Brien in Tipperary. Balfe's treachery at this stage is not revealed.
1848
Aug. 5
O'Brien is arrested at Thurles Railway station, Tipperary, for high treason.
1848
Aug.
Kevin Izod O'Doherty sentenced to transportation for treason-felony (seditious journalism) as co-editor of the nationalist Irish Tribune.
1848
Aug.
John Martin sentenced to transportation for 10 years for treason-felony (seditious journalism) for being editor of the new journal the Irish Felon.
1848
Oct. 23
O'Brien, Meagher, MacManus and O'Donohoe sentenced to death by the Lord Chief Justice after their trial for high treason in Special Commission at Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.
1849
Jun 15
Martin and O'Doherty removed from Richmond Prison in readiness for transportation to Van Diemen's Land.
1849
Jun 28
Martin and O'Doherty depart on the Mount Stewart Elphinstone for transportation to Sydney and then the brig Emma to Hobart Town.
1849
Jul. 9
O'Brien, Meagher, MacManus and O'Donohoe transferred to the warship Swift, for transportation to Van Diemen's Land.

Van Diemen's Land




1849
Oct. 27
O'Brien, William Smith; MacManus, Terence Bellew; Meagher, Thomas Francis; and O'Donohoe, Patrick all arrive in Van Diemen's Land on the sloop Swift.
1849
Oct. 31
O'Doherty (1823-1905), Kevin Izod and Martin (1812-1875), John [aged 37] arrive in VDL on the Emma having arrived in Sydney on the transport ship Mountstewart Elphinstone.
1849
Oct. 31
O'Brien immediately transferred to Maria Island Probation Station being the only Young Irelander to refuse a ticket-of-leave.
1850
Jan. 26

The first issue of the Irish Exile appears. — [Howell, p. 122]. To support himself in Hobart Patrick O'Donohoe publishes the Irish Exile, a weekly, for a year 'which combined radical theology and explosive politics'. — [Davis, p. 17].

O'Donohoe proclaimed that he was the editor and sole proprietor. In this issue he attacked official policy on two of the questions Denison was most sensitive about. He declared that the time was ripe for the abolition of transportation to Van Diemen's Land, because convict labour was no longer needed, and because he saw abolition as a prerequisite to relieving the colony from the "opprobrious oppression to which she is now so thoroughly subjugated". And secondly, he called for "the entire enfranchisement of the colonists". Proceeding from policy to practice, he drew attention to Smith O'Brien's plight:

'We have learned with inexpressible anguish that owing to the severity of treatment inflicted on this virtuous and noble hearted Patriot, his health is rapidly declining and that the most fatal consequence may be apprehended if the cruelty be prolonged.' [Howell, p. 122]
1850
Apr. 7
Mitchel, John arrives in VDL on the sailing ship Neptune from Capetown. 'O'Brien is still in close confinement on an island off the east coast, called Maria Island, a rugged and desolate territory about twelve miles in length, where the jailers keep one of their main strongholds. He has refused to accept their ticket-of-leave on the terms of giving them his parole not to escape while he holds it; and the convict-authorities are much irritated by his determination. They use him hardly enough! And his health is failing.' [Jail Journal, p. 225]
1850
Apr. 8
Mitchel writes in his diary: 'Wrote a note to the "Comptroller-General," and placed it in the hands of Emmett, informing him that I would promise not to escape so long as I should enjoy the "comparative liberty" of the ticket: and, on his suggestion and the doctor's I wrote another note, telling the authorities I was very ill; had been ill for many months, and was utterly unfit to be sent off by myself to one of the remote districts, amongst entire strangers. The doctor is to back this with his professional authority; and he and Emmett say the governor will be sure to allow me to go up to a place called Bothwell, where John Martin vegetates.' — [Jail Journal, p. 226]
1850
Apr. 15
The secret initial tryst of Mitchel, Martin, Meagher and O'Doherty at Cooper's hut by Lake Sorell (one week after Mitchel arrives in VDL).
1850
Aug. 12
William Smith O'Brien attempts to escape from Maria Island.
1850
Aug. 21
William Smith O'Brien transferred from Maria Island to Port Arthur.
1850
Oct.
John Donellan Balfe arrives in VDL with letters of introduction from Clarendon and Grey and an emigrant's location order. . . . He became one of the first settlers at Nicholls Rivulet in the Port Cygnet area, where he secured 150 acres of land and, obtaining over forty servants, began a splitting and sawing establishment.
1850
Nov. 18
O'Brien taken from Port Arthur to Hobart Town after giving his parole and accepting a ticket-of-leave.
1850
Nov. 20
O'Brien travels from Hobart Town to New Norfolk and takes two rooms at Elwin's Hotel.
1850
Dec. 18
An unauthorised visit to O'Brien in December 1850 leads to Terence Bellew MacManus's arrest and his subsequent charge on 18 December with misconduct for being absent from his assigned district on 3 December. He was subsequently sent to a convict chain gang on the Tasman Peninsula. — [Davis, p. 16]
1850
Dec. 24
Governor Denison revokes MacManus's original ticket-of-leave.
1851
Jan. 8
O'Donohoe, on account of compromising his conditional ticket of leave by visiting O'Brien at New Norfolk, is escorted from Hobart Town Prisoners' Barracks to Salt Water River Probation Station, Port Arthur, where he remains for the three months.
1851
Jan.
Governor William Denison appoints Balfe to the newly created position of Deputy Comptroller of Convicts at a salary £350 per annum. — [Petrow, p. 88]
1851
Jan. 11
O'Donohoe attacks Balfe under Balfe's old pseudonym of 'Peter Carroll' for being a traitor to the Irish cause of nationalism in The Irish Exile and Freedom's Advocate. — [see Irish Exile, 11 January 1851]
1851
Feb.
Anti-transportation activists in Victoria join with the Anti-Transportation League in Van Diemen's Land to establish the 'Australian League', which was committed to ending convict transportation.
1851
Feb 21
The Justices of the Supreme Court release MacManus from imprisonment at Port Arthur and he returns to Launceston but not before attending Thomas Meagher and Catherine Bennett's wedding at Ross on the way.
1851
Feb. 21
O'Brien travels from New Norfolk to Red Rock, fourteen miles from Avoca to tutor the two young sons of an Irish doctor, Henry George Brock. O’Brien remains there until 15 December 1851
1851
Feb. 22
The marriage of Thomas Francis Meagher to Catherine Bennett, the governess of Dr Edward Swarbreck Hall's daughters, takes place at Ross.
1851
Feb. 26
MacManus goes into hiding at Dean Butler's house in Launceston and several days later Mar 10?] boards the Elizabeth Thompson from Georgetown and ESCAPES to San Francisco.
1851
Apr. 19
Last issue of O'Donohoe's radical paper the Irish Exile and Freedom's Advocate. It is brought down by the ill-fated visit of O'Doherty, MacManus and O'Donohoe to O'Brien at New Norfolk. The three were observed crossing their restriction boundaries and were subsequently published by Sir William Denison with three months' punishment at Port Arthur probation stations.
1851
Jun. 5
MacManus arrives safely in San Francisco.
1851
Jun. 20
Mrs Jenny Mitchel and family of three boys and two girls reunites with her husband at Greenponds south of Bothwell. Mitchel subsequently farms 200 acres at Nant, nearly three miles outside of the village of Bothwell.
1852
Jan. 3
Meagher ESCAPES VDL, with the aid of P. J. Smyth after giving notice to the district magistrate. — [for details see Hobart Town Courier, 18 Feb 1852]
1852
Jan 13
O'Brien re-establishes himself in his suite at Elwin's Hotel where he remains until March 1854 when William Elwin sells the hotel. Davis claims that O'Brien's diaries in the period of his second incumbency at Elwin's Hotel speak of a 'hectic social life moving on horseback or on foot from one country house to another, and entertaining considerable parties at Elwin's Hotel. Young Irelander friends such as John Mitchel, John Martin and Patrick Smyth, not only visited O'Brien at Elwin's but sometimes stayed for several days.' — [Davis, p. 21] O'Doherty usually met O'Brien at Mr Morris's Hotel, Bridgewater. After Elwin's is sold O'Brien then moves to the property of a Mr Espie, an affluent settler in the Richmond area, where he hears news of his conditional pardon in May 1854. — [for details on O'Brien' activities in VDL see Davis, pp. 20-25]
1852
Jun. 15
Catherine Meagher loses her baby, Henry Emmet Fitzgerald Meagher. The baby is four months old. It is buried at St. John's Church, Richmond, Tasmania, the oldest Catholic Church in Australia. — [see Hobart Town Courier, 16 June1852]

[Note discrepancy between this version and the version that is offered in the unpublished biography of P.J. Smyth]
1852
Aug.
'... when in August 1852 Denison heard that O'Donohoe, in retaliation for the attack on Duffy, was trying to publish information about Balfe's treachery in 1848, he summarily ordered O'Donohoe to the Cascades, to spend a further period in a chain gang. O'Donohoe's ticket of leave was restored on 2 November, but this time he went into hiding. Six week later he was smuggled aboard a ship, just in time to spend Christmas 1852 in Melbourne.' [Howell, pp. 128-129]
1852
Nov.
T. G. Gregson, basing his allegation on information from Meagher and MacManus, denounces Balfe at a public dinner for receiving 'bloody-money'. [Petrow, 'Balfe', p. 91]
1852
Nov. 2
O'Donohoe's ticket of leave restored but O'Donohoe goes into hiding.
1852
Dec. 20
O'Donohoe ESCAPES VDL on the steamer Yarra Yarra.
1853
Jan. 29
O'Brien publishes a review of John West's History of Tasmania for the Hobart Town Courier.
1853
Jul. 18
Mitchel ESCAPES — boards Emma, downstream from Hobart Town. On board are Mrs Mitchel and family and P. J. Smyth (Nicaragua).
1853
Aug. 31
Three months after the last transport of convicts arrives in VDL O'Brien anonymously publishes a draft constitution for Tasmania in the Launceston Examiner.
1853
Nov. 29
Mitchel with wife and family arrives in New York. Meagher meets them and takes them to a house in Brooklyn.
1854
Feb. 22
Lord Palmerston, Home Secretary in the Aberdeen Cabinet, announces a conditional pardon for the three remaining Young Irelanders who had not escaped VDL (O'Brien, Martin and O'Doherty). They were still excluded from the UK but were free to travel elsewhere. — [Davis, p. 427]
1854
Jul. 6
O'Brien DEPARTS Launceston for Melbourne as a free man on board the Lady Bird. Europe via India.
1854
Jul.
Martin DEPARTS Launceston as a free man.
1854
Jul
O'Doherty DEPARTS for the Victorian gold diggings. Smyth returns to Ireland is elected to Parliament.

After Van Dieman's Land: Their Legacy


1854 Jan. 22
Patrick O'Donohoe DIES tragically in Brooklyn, just before being reunited with his wife and family and abandoned by Meagher and Mitchel, both then in New York. — [Davis, p. 17]
1854 Feb. 22
Lord Palmerston announces a free pardon for O'Brien.
1854 May 16
P. J. Smyth, now in Melbourne at the request of the New York Directory to assist the remaining three Young Irelanders to escape, writes to O'Brien with the news that the pardon had been announced in Melbourne.
1854 Jul. 26
O'Brien and Martin leave Australia.
1853 Nov. 29
Mitchel arrives in New York. Soon he commences publishing the New York Irish Citizen. 'His passionate defence of slavery first infuriated the abolitionists some of who, like Horace Greeley, had been warm supporters of the Irish cause.' — [Davis, p. 19]
1856 Jul. 8
William Smith O'Brien returns to Ireland.
1858
The Irish Republican Brotherhood, founded in Dublin in 1858. From it originated Fenianism, from which stems the Sinn Fein movement and also the Irish Republican Army (IRA) movement of the twentieth century.
1859
William Smith O'Brien visits the United States and Canada 'for my own gratification and instruction'.
1861 Nov.?
Terence Bellew MacManus DIES in poverty in 1861 in San Francisco after his efforts to set up a shipping business failed. He was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery, near Dublin on 10 Nov. 1861. — [see advertisement Nation, 8 Nov. 1851, p. 151]
1864 Jun. 18
William Smith O'Brien DIES in a Bangor Hotel in Wales.
1865
Mitchel visits Europe to work for the Fenian movement in Paris.
1867 Jul. 1
Meagher DIES (DROWNS) mysteriously while temporary Governor of Montana Territory, falling from a steamboat into the Missouri River near Fort Benton, Montana. (Mrs O'Brien never finds the body.)
1870
A statue of O'Brien is unveiled in Dublin by friend and Tasmanian fellow exile John Martin who makes the leading speech on this occasion.
1874 Feb.
Mitchel returns to Ireland and is elected MP for County Tipperary.
1875 Mar. 20
Mitchel DIES at Dromalane, Ireland, aged 59 years.
1875 Mar. 29
Martin DIES in Ireland (nine days after Mitchel) at Dromalane House, near Newry, from an attack of bronchitis caught while attending the funeral of John Mitchel. After leaving Van Diemen's Land with a conditional pardon in 1854 he settles mainly in Paris until 1858, before returning to Ireland, marrying Mitchel's sister Henrietta in 1868 and finally being elected Home Rule MP for County Meath from 1871 until his death in 1875.
1880
John Donellan Balfe DIES.
1905 Jul. 15
O'Doherty DIES at his home in Torwood, Brisbane. After O'Doherty is pardoned in 1854, he went to Paris, making a secret visit to London to marry Mary Eva Kelly on 23 August 1855. He graduates as a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in June 1857 and sets up practice. O'Doherty returns to Victoria in 1860 and after a brief stay in Geelong moves to Sydney and settles at Brisbane in 1865 where he becomes a leading physician. [Rude, ADB]