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Young Ireland

William H. Mulligan, Jr.


Young Ireland was an Irish nationalist movement highly influenced by Thomas Carlyle and the Romantic movement. The name was chosen by a group of nineteenth-century Irish nationalists who wanted to differentiate their approach to Irish nationhood from that of Daniel O'Connell . They first set forth their ideas in 1842 when the first issue of their journal, the Nation , appeared. The three main founders of the Nation were a diverse group. Thomas Osborne Davis was a Protestant and the son of an English army surgeon. He graduated from Trinity College and was called to the bar in 1838. John Blake Dillon, the son of a Catholic shopkeeper, was also a Trinity graduate and member of the bar. The third founder, Charles Gavan Duffy, a journalist, was from a middle-class Catholic family. Young Ireland called for equality for all religious traditions, separating the definition of Irishness from Catholicism. In this, they drew on the tradition of the United Irishmen of 1798. Perceiving the Irish nation as a spiritual entity as well as a geographic and political one, Young Ireland demanded cultural as well as political sovereignty, and argued that the Irish language was an important bulwark against English cultural domination. They distanced themselves, at first gradually and then more dramatically, from O'Connell and his approach to Ireland's future. Young Ireland's cultural nationalism ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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