Brigadier General Stephen
Moylan (1734 - 1811)
Stephen Moylan was born in
Cork City, Co. Cork, Ireland in 1734, the first of four
children born to John Moylan and his first wife Mary Ann
Doran. John Moylan had four other
children with his second wife, Alicia Joyce.
The Moylans were
prosperous merchants as were the Dorans. Under normal
circumstances that would have afforded their children
access to the best schools in Ireland except for the
fact that the British backed Penal Laws enacted by the
parliament of the Protestant Ascendency in Ireland
barred Catholics from participation in all
aspects of civil life including education.
The stated intent of these
laws, which were primarily directed at the native
Catholic population was to, 1) deprive the native
Catholics of all civil life, 2) reduce them to a
condition of ignorance and, 3) to dissociate them from
the soil. These repressive and draconian laws,
originally directed at the catholic population, were
amended over time to curb the growing influence of the
Presbyterians whose loyalty to the realm was suspect.
Mary Jane O'Donovan Rossa (1845 - 1916)
O'Rossa was born, Mary Jane Irwin, in Clonakilty Co. Cork on January 27, 1845 the first of ten children to Maxwell Irwin and Margaret Irwin
Mary Jane grew up during one of the most turbulent times in Irish history. The events that played out during that time including the 'Great Hunger', the Young Ireland Rising of '48, the naissance of the Fenian movement and the subsequent Fenian trials would, in later years, have a major influence on her worldly views, life's work and choices.
The year of Mary's birth heralded the onset of the potato blight; a calamity in the making for Ireland and for so many of its people. In September of that year the first reports of potato blight appeared in newspapers and by October, when the potato crop was being harvested, the full extent of the spoil was evident. That first year over a third of the crop was lost to the blight; a tragedy in the making for over a third of the population that depended on the potato as their only means of sustenance.