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Young Ireland

Young Ireland was a group of patriotic middle-class intellectuals associated with the repeal movement of Daniel O'Connell: its original leaders included Thomas Davis (1814–45), John Blake Dillon (1816–66), and Charles Gavan Duffy (1816–1903). Gavan Duffy's journalistic experience was essential to the success of the Nation, a newspaper founded in 1842 to promote the inclusivist nationalism of the Young Ireland movement. Growing tensions between Young Ireland and O'Connell's Repeal Association came to a head in July 1846, when a split occurred on the issue of physical force: the more militant Young Irelanders seceded from the Association, and, led by William Smith O'Brien (1803–64), formed the Irish Confederation. The fall of the July monarchy in France, combined with pre-emptive arrests of Confederation leaders by Dublin castle, further stimulated the militants, and the organization staggered into rebellion in July 1848. This was easily suppressed, and the Confederation broken; but the intellectual legacy of Young Ireland, expressed in the secular cultural nationalism of Davis, or in the vitriolic republican polemic of John Mitchel (1815–75), has had a lasting influence.

Alvin Jackson

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