Arthur Griffith: Architect of Modern Ireland, Part I: To the Easter Rising

Richard Davis describes how, though the supreme propagandist of Irish nationalists and separatists, in the Rising itself Griffith played no active part.

In August 1891 a distraught and embattled Charles Stewart Parnell left Dublin by train for his last political meeting at Creggs, Co. Galway. His citation in the O’Shea divorce case and subsequent marriage to Katherine O’Shea had split the Irish Parliamentary party.

Apparently on the verge of obtaining Home Rule for Ireland, Parnell embarked on a death struggle to regain the leadership. Opposed by the Catholic church, Parnell’s supporters comprised a rump of Parliamentarians, reinforced by members of the Fenian revolutionary tradition.

At the Dublin station, among a small knot of admirers, stood a short, stocky, dark-haired printer’s apprentice. This young man, Arthur Griffith, shook the ‘Chiefs’ hand and wished him bon voyage. Thirty-one years later, the same Arthur Griffith, as leader of a team of Irish plenipotentiaries, signed a Treaty giving independence to twenty-six of the thirty-two counties of Ireland.

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