‘Exiles in England’


Exploring the stories of Irish nationalist men and women in the North East of England before the Second World War.

‘Ireland! Mother! We are your children,

Exiles in England, and far from your shore,

Trying our hardest to prove that we love you…’

In November 1919, as war intensified in Ireland, the Tyneside Catholic News published a poem written by a Newcastle-born housewife, mother, and former school teacher, Theresa Mason.[1]

Theresa had a Geordie not an Irish accent, and probably never visited Ireland, but, inspired by her Irish-born grandmother and her nationalist husband, she became a leader of Irish republican activism in the North East of England after the Great War.

But Theresa Mason was not alone.

From the early decades of the nineteenth century, on Tyneside, Teesside, and across County Durham and Northumberland, Irish-born men and women, followed by their children and grandchildren, came together to demand political change in Ireland.

This blog will explore the lives of these Irish nationalists in the North East of England and the organisations they joined.


[1] Tyneside Catholic News, 22 November 1919. The British Library https://www.bl.uk/

Author: Steve Shannon