The Drogheda Fenians Return

                                              Drogheda Museum / old drogheda society
JULY 4th – july 14th 2013

Welcome home the descendants of the Drogheda Fenians of 1867

“The Fenians” was the popular name for a mass political movement called The Fenian Brotherhood or The Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) which flourished in Ireland and among the Irish in America and Britain in the second half of the 19th century. It was a radical movement which aimed at an independent Ireland with votes for all and a nationalisation of agricultural land. Its widespread support came mainly from working people, craftsmen, small manufacturers, peasant farmers and radical intellectuals and artists.  Since it advocated complete separation of Church and State its membership included both Protestant and Catholic. In Drogheda they included some of the brightest and the best of the population and the fact that many of them had to leave after 1867 was a great loss to the life of the town.

Following the abortive 1867 Fenian Rising many of the Drogheda Fenians had to flee the country and subsequently many of them played prominent roles in the lives of their adopted countries – mainly the U.S.A, Canada, Australia and Britain. Over the years descendants of these exiles have contacted the Drogheda Museum as they trace their genealogies and we have been able to piece together the dramatic stories of their ancestors.   We are inviting the descendants of the Drogheda Fenians, their extended families and friends and indeed, anybody who is interested, to a series of events in Drogheda from Thurs 4th to Sunday the 14th of July 2013.

Thurs July 4th – 6.30pm – Drogheda Museum Millmount – Launch of new exhibition
– a social history of the Drogheda Fenians and their times.

Sun July 7th – 3pmTHE COL. LEONARD BANNER TRAIL – Monknewtown Cemetery – poetry, music and banners – assemble car park of Tourists Rest Pub, Rossin, on the main Drogheda to Slane Road (“Dolly Mitchell’s”). Descendants of Col. Leonard and William Reynolds present.
      - 4.30pm – Music, Dance and Banners in Tourists’ Rest Music Room –
        Including celebration of the Drogheda Banners and artist William Reynolds
Col. Patrick Leonard from Tullyallen was a major Fenian leader on both sides of the Atlantic and after his death in 1873 an annual commemoration attracted crowds of many thousands from all over Ireland and Britain to his memorial in Monknewtown cemetery. The Col. Leonard Fife and Drum Band was set up in his memory and this later became the Drogheda Brass and Reed Band. His cousin, the artist William Reynolds painted the famous Drogheda banners and designed the memorial.

Mon July 8th - 1pm – The Tholsel Lunchtime Presentations –
Introduction to the week by Seán Corcoran, Chairperson Old Drogheda Society and a Director of Drogheda Museum – contributions from Claidhbh Ó Gibne, Boyne Currach supremo; also Silver Bridge Kayak Club and Drogheda Boxing Club.

John Boyle O’Reilly was not only a radical intellectual and poet; he was also an international figure in the history of the social development of sport, particularly canoeing and boxing. His accounts of canoeing trips, especially his expedition to the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia, are regarded as classics.