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John Walsh – Middlesbrough’s ‘Invincible’

The assassination of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and the Under Secretary, Thomas Burke, in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on 6 May 1882 stunned Irish nationalists in Ireland and Britain. In the North East of England, hastily convened meetings of National Land League branches condemned the ‘foul murder’[1] with the ‘utmost horror and […]

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‘Sympathy for the Pope’: Irish nationalists in the North East of England and the threat to Pope Pius IX, 1860.

After the collapse of the Repeal movement and the death of Daniel O’Connell in 1847, there was no organised outlet for Irish nationalists living in the North East of England other than for the semi-criminal and oath-bound Ribbon or Hibernian gangs, whose often-violent sectarian activities in Felling,[1] Crook,[2] Shotley Bridge[3] and elsewhere[4] during the 1850s […]

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The Anglo-Irish Treaty and Irish Nationalists in the North East of England.

[Note: This post was originally presented as an on-line talk to the Tyneside Irish Cultural Society on 2 December 2021 to mark the centenary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. As the talk was illustrated, some changes have been made to the text below.] 100 years ago next week, on 6 December 1921, the […]

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A ‘holiday experience’ in Dublin in June 1920.

After the Great War, though in severe financial difficulties following the collapse of the Irish Parliamentary Party in the 1918 general election, Dublin’s Freeman’s Journal still regularly reported Irish nationalist and Catholic news from Britain.[1] Each week a page, entitled ‘With the Irish in Great Britain’ or ‘The Irish in Great Britain’, included news from […]

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Irish Galas part 1. ‘Durham was painted green’: Irish nationalist galas in Wharton Park, Durham, 1903-1914.

Between 1903 and 1914, Irish nationalists in the North East of England held an annual gala in Wharton Park in Durham City. These galas, a mix of political demonstration, family day-out, sports day, and a celebration of the Gaelic revival, were, along with the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, a key element in the Irish nationalist […]

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Fenian revolvers in Newcastle, 1870.

In early February 1866, ‘Yankee Irishmen’ were reported to be actively recruiting for the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in the North of England in preparation for the long-anticipated Fenian rising in Ireland.[1] Taking no chances with the forthcoming St Patrick’s Day celebrations, police and local Rifle Volunteers in Newcastle, Sunderland and elsewhere were placed on […]

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Middlesbrough’s Irish Literary Association.

Founded 150 years ago in April 1871, Newcastle’s Irish Literary Institute is still remembered both for the impact it had on the lives of the Irish migrants and their descendants living on Tyneside in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the key role it played in Irish nationalist politics in the North East […]

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Mary Gunn: Gateshead’s Irish nationalist and Labour activist.

In 2018, in celebration of the centenary of women in British politics, Gateshead Library Service highlighted the lives of ten women, both local and national, in British political history, and presented a copy of the exhibition booklet to every Gateshead school.[1] One of the local women featured in the booklet is Mary Gunn (1883-1958), who […]

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‘Irishmen to Arms’: The Irish response in the North East of England to the Great War, 1914-1918.

[Note: This post was originally given as a paper at the ‘Minorities and the First World War’ conference organised in 2014 by the University of Chester. Some small changes have been made to the text.] In June 1897, the annual convention of the Irish National League of Great Britain met in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall […]

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Fenians in the North East of England during the 1890s.

[Note: This post was originally given as a paper entitled ‘An analysis of advanced nationalist activity amongst the Irish diaspora in the North East of England during the 1890s’ at ‘The Irish Diaspora and Revolution 1845-1945’ conference organised in 2012 by the Department of History, National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Some small changes have been […]