If that had been the end of the historical contribution of Young Irelanders, then they would have been, as a body, assigned to a mere footnote in the annals of Irish history …
But individually, a number were to make their mark on Ireland of a later day in their chosen professions: more were to achieve distinction in their countries of exile; and still others were to learn from their previous military errors and failings and bring the Republican cause forward into the next generation.
The reader may check these pages as follows and determine which of the following individuals played what role: D’Arcy Magee: John Mitchel: Jenny Mitchel: John Martin: John O’Leary and John O’Hagan. John Pigot thereafter concentrated on collecting Irish airs which were later published.
A number died shortly after ’48, at home or abroad, before they could make further contributions: the poet James Clarence Mangan in 1849: Thomas Francis Meagher (‘ .. of the Sword’) , in mysterious circumstances in Montana after taking a stand for arming the settlers there: Devin Reilly in 1854 in the US.
James Fintan Lalor (or Lawlor) was present in ’48 and made another attempt at insurrection in the following year. He died of bronchitis on 27 December 1849.
John Blake Dillon fled first to France, then to the US where he practiced as a lawyer. Returning to Ireland he became an MP and denounced the violent methods of the Fenians. Richard O’Gorman became a Superior Court judge in America. Gavan Duffy, Mitchel’s biographer, became Prime Minister of Victoria, Australia.
John Mitchel settled in the American South in the early 1860s and when Civil War broke out his three sons enlisted in the Confederate army, two of them losing their lives and the third losing an arm in the bloddiest conflict of the nineteenth century. John Mitchel paid dearly for his support of slavery and of those who would advocate and champion it.
A significant few others became active in the organising and formation of the Fenians, in Ireland and America, and theirs is the next historical story to be told here.
… more [Fenians] later …