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James Larkin (1876-1947)

Labor Leader & Irish Nationalist

James Larkin, the second of six children, was born to James Larkin and Mary Ann Larkin, nee McNulty on January 21, 1876  in the Toxeth Park district of Liverpool in England. The Larkin’s like most of their neighbors left Ireland during or after the Great Hunger of 1845 - 1851 to escape starvation and oppression; ubiquitous and ever-present evils lurking in the shadow of Ireland’s poor city dwellers and peasant farmers. Everything considered, leaving Ireland was the only viable option for the Larkin’s as it was for the millions of their countrymen and women who joined the institutionalized exodus out of Ireland that surged during the years of the Great Hunger and, afterwards, during periods of political oppression or economic stagnation.

Both of James's parents were of tenant farmer stock. His father's family eked out a meager living on a small holding (plot of land) in south Armagh as did his mother’s family in south Down.  Living in near poverty was a way of life for tenant farmers who slaved tirelessly to produce enough food to feed their families and pay rent to the landlord who owned vast landed estates that incorporated their plots. For the landlords who reaped the bounty -- abundance and privilege was the order of the day. 


Fr. Michael O’Flanagan (1876 - 1942)

Michael O’Flanagan was born in Kilkeeven, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon in 1876 to Edward Flanagan and Mary Flanagan, nee Crawley. The Flanagan's were smallholding farmers who managed to eke out a living by raising enough crops and livestock to provide for the family.

Despite the many hardships they faced under British rule they remained defiantly steadfast and confident in their Irishness, resolute and determined to resist the attempted anglification of the Irish people which, at that time, was an imperative British objective. To that end they embraced all aspects of their ethnic Irish cultural heritage including its history, literature, arts and language. They also engaged in Fenian and Land League activities despite the risk such so-called "subversive activities" posed to their wellbeing and freedom. 

Such were the childhood difficulties and influences that characterized Michael early years.

In a historic context it’s worth noting here that another notable individual, Douglas Hyde, founder of the Gaelic League, also hailed from Castlerea. A speech delivered by Hyde to the Irish National Literary Society in November of 1892 titled ‘The Necessity for De-Anglicizing Ireland’ led to the formation of the Gaelic League. Hyde was a leading figures in the Irish Literary Revival movement at the turn of the 20th century. --- continue

Captain Michael O’Brien (1837 - 1867)

Michael O’Brien, one of eight children, was born at Ballymacoda, County Cork where his father had rented a large farm but in 1856 the family was evicted. He was described physically as being “a tall squared-shouldered man whose bearing bespoke the American soldier.” In his youth he was apprenticed to a draper in Youghal and later worked as an assistant in one of the large stores in Cork City. O’Brien would eventually emigrate to the United States. O’Donovan Rossa wrote in his book 'Irish Rebels in English Prisons' he had met O’Brien in 1859 and had also known him during his time in America and had found him to be “one of the truest and one of the noblest; as devoted as a lover and as courageous as a lion.” --- continue

Gustavus Conyngham (1744 - 1819)

Gustavus Conyngham was born circa 1744 in the Rosaguill Peninsula in Co Donegal, Ireland. The Conyngham's were products of the Protestant Ascendency whose linage can be traced back to Alexander Cunningham, the fourth Earl of Glencairn in the Peerage of Scotland in 1488. The first known member of the Conyngham family to appear in Ireland was the Rev. Alexander Conyngham in 1611. He was first Protestant minister of Iver and Kellymard in Co. Donegal.

As a child of a privileged family, Gustavus was either home schooled by a private tutor or at an established Church of England school. There is no information available to indicate that he attended university. His passion was for the sea and the open world that lay beyond the mouth of Lough Swilly, much more so than for the confines of a university setting.

Gustavus immigrated to Philadelphia in the American colonies in 1763. At that time Philadelphia was one of the preferred destinations for many of the early colonists because of its adherence to Quaker principles and its liberal attitude towards business. Philadelphia had another asset, particularly conducive to the shipping and trading business, its east coast location and sheltered harbor.  For these reasons many of the wealthy and well connected colonists choose Philadelphia as an ideal location to setup branches of family owned business so as to take advantage of the rapidly expanding trade between the Colonies the Caribbean and Europe.




They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! - they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.

Padraic Pearse oration given at 

Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa's funeral on Aug. 1, 1915


August 1st. 1915

"It has seemed right, before we turn away from this place in which we have laid the mortal remains of O'Donovan Rossa, that one amongst us should, in the name of all, speak the praise of that valiant man, and endeavour to formulate the thought and the hope that are in us as we stand around his grave. And if there is anything that makes it fitting that I rather than some other--I, rather than one of the grey-haired men who were young with him, and shared in his labour and in his suffering, should speak here, it is, perhaps, that I may be taken as speaking on behalf of a new generation that has been re-baptised in the Fenian faith, and that has accepted the responsibility of carrying out the Fenian programme. I propose to you, then, that here by the grave of this unrepentant Fenian, we renew our baptismal vows; that here by the grave of this unconquered and unconquerable man, we ask of God, each one for himself, such unshakeable purpose, such high and gallant courage, such unbreakable strength of soul as belonged to O'Donovan Rossa.

"Deliberately here we avow ourselves, as he avowed himself in the dock, Irishmen of one allegiance only. We, of the Irish Volunteers, and you others who are associated with us in to-day's task and duty, are bound together, and must stand together henceforth in brotherly union for the achievement of the freedom of Ireland. And we know only one definition of freedom: It is Tone's definition; it is Mitchel's definition; it is Rossa's definition. Let no one blaspheme the cause that the dead generations of Ireland served by giving it any other name and definition than their name and definition.  continue

Robert Emmet statue

The Robert Emmet statue was sculpted by Jerome Stanley Connor and is located in the small Emmet Park, near Massachusetts Avenue and 24th Street, in Sheridan Circle.  The inscription on the base of the statue says "Robert Emmet, Irish Patriot, 1778-1803".  The Bronze plaque on the pedestal is inscribed with excerpts from the speech Emmet delivered the day before his execution.

The excerpt from his speech reads

The excerpt from his speech reads: "I wished to procure for my country the guarantee which Washington procured for America. I have parted from everything that was dear to me in this life for my country's cause. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then let my epitaph be written."



Commodore John Barry Memorial 

It cannot be done, they said.
To John McInerney (left), and Jack O’Brien (right), “cannot be done” was never the right answer.

With Irish tenacity, the two men set out to secure the Commodore’s place in history once and for all. Along with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the largest Irish Catholic fraternal organization in the US, and their chapters in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia, McInerney and O’Brien took on this project with a resounding and unflinching determination and resilience. No obstacle was insurmountable, no odds were too long, and no goal unachievable.
Through a network of politicians, retired and active admirals and captains, businessmen, and finally retirees with plenty of time to make calls, McInerney and O’Brien made progress. Despite all of the obstacles in their way, despite all of the roadblocks placed in front of them by those who did not wish to see this project through, they marched on, without being deterred, without being discouraged.
And there was much to be discouraged about.
Not only was the Navy originally, and somewhat along the way, intransigent on the matter of a new memorial, there was the financial aspect.
The AOH needed to raise $250,000, the price tag the Navy and the engineers quoted, in order to even consider building the memorial.

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Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa's Monument

St. Stephens Green Dublin

Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa was born in Rosscarbery, County Cork on September 10, 1831 to Irish tenant farmers.  At that time in Ireland, tenant farmers paid rent to absentee landlords who controlled 90% of the arable land. Most of the crops and livestock produced  was being collected and sent to England in lieu of rent. As a consequence, the only means of subsistence left for the people was the lowly potato. When the potato crop failed in the mid1840's the people were left without their primary food source and their only means of paying the rent resulting tens of thousands of tenant farmers being evicted and left to wander the roads and crowd workhouses.

Like many others of his time O'Donovan Rossa witnessed the devastation and squalor caused by what was in essence a contrived famine. That experience left him with an indelible resentment for the British and their unscrupulous landlords who let the people starve to death while ships loaded with wheat, oats, barley, mutton, lamb, pork, ham, beet, eggs, live cattle, sheep and pigs, and flour left Irish ports on a daily basis for England.

As a young man he moved to Skibbereen where he ran a grocery store.  In 1856, at age 25, he founded the Phoenix National and Literary Society, a Irish nationalist group which aimed to remove the British from Ireland through any means necessary, including armed struggle. 

In March of 1958, James Stephens, Thomas Clarke Luby, James Denieefe, Garret O Shaughnessy and Peter Langan founded the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in Dublin. shortly afterwards when Stephens visited Cork on a recruiting mission he met with Rossa who became one of his first recruits. Subsequent to that meeting the Phoenix Society morphed into the Irish Republican Brotherhood. 

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email --- feniangraves@optonline.net