Arthur Griffith and Meagher’s influence on Irish nationalists 1916 -1922 | Adoption of Tricolour

Arthur Griffith NLI Keogh Collection
Arthur Griffith NLI Keogh Collection

Griffith, the founder of Sinn Fein, edited a new edition of Meagher’s speeches that was published by Gill of Dublin in 1916, before the Easter Rising. It is interesting that, in assessing the importance of Meagher for the nationalists of the early twentieth century, he makes no reference in his preface to Meagher’s use of the tricolour flag.

Meagher had appealed to the popular imagination in Ireland more warmly that any other Irish patriot of the nineteenth century except Robert Emmet. Chivalrous, eloquent, generous, ardent and handsome, he inspired personal affection and public trust ….

He stands above … all Irishmen of his century as the National Orator. In the speeches he delivered in Ireland from 1846 to 1848 he will live for ever. They are the authentic and eloquent voice of Irish Nationalism. Save Emmet’s Speech from the Dock no modern oratory has rung so true to the Irish Nations as the oratory of Meagher. 

Thomas Francis Meagher [was] a knightly exemplar for young Irishmen, one who never forgot or forsook the cause of his native land, or doubted its ultimate victory. “God speed the Irish nation on to liberty and power” was the last prayer written by “Meagher of the Sword”.

Advertising Griffith’s book on Meagher

Advertisement for Griffiths Book on Meagher's Speeches
Advertisement for Griffiths Book on Meagher's Speeches

The advertisement for Griffith’s edition of his 1916 Meagher’s speeches.

The Freeman’s Journal supported the Irish Parliamentary Party, led by John Redmond in 1916.

(Freeman’s Journal, 27 March 1916, p2)

In Your Opinion

Based on what you have read, can you suggest why Griffith’s name is not mentioned in the advertisement for the Meagher book?

(FJ, opponent of Sinn Fein, book appeals to a wider audience if Griffith not mentioned, general interest in the importance of Young Ireland due to its association with the 1848 rising)

Supporting Material

(Arthur Griffith (ed.) Meagher of the Sword: speeches of Thomas Francis Meagher in Ireland 1846-1848 (Dublin, 1916) p xvii, p xviii)

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