Monthly Archives: October 2014

“Association of Old Fianna – Constitution and Rules”

Old Fianna constitution Joe JordanClick on image to enlarge.

“Association of Old Fianna Constitution and Rules’ signed by former committee member and Fianna veteran Joseph Patrick Jordan. The National Association of Old Fianna was established in 1934 as a means to bring together old comrades from both sides of the Civil War divide. It also strived to honour and remember dead Fianna members who had died during, and after, the revolution years. Committee member Mr. Gabriel O’Brien said that the main aims of the association were the “attainment of the national objective based on the 1916 Proclamation, the welfare of its members, the promotion of national culture and games, and the defeat of imperialism”. Eamon Martin said later that “friendships born and cemented in the ranks of Fianna Eireann were continued through the National Association of Old Fianna”.

The inaugural meeting of the association was held at Wynn’s Hotel in Dublin on 2nd June 1934. The first committee included among others Joseph Jordan, Joe Reynolds, P Byrne, Barney Mellows, Eamon Martin, Gabriel O’Brien, S Gogan, E Nicholson, P O’Hanrahan, M O’Looney and J Donoghue. Many thanks to Joseph Jordan’s grand daughter Angela White O’Brien for permission to post this document.

‘Irish Advanced Nationalism & Youth in the Early Twentieth Century’ by Dr. Marnie Hay

Fianna Rotunda

‘Irish Advanced Nationalism & Youth in the Early Twentieth Century Podcast’

Link to podcast:

“In this podcast Marnie Hay discusses the ways in which Irish advanced nationalists sought to prepare children and adolescents for their future role in the struggle for Irish independence. She explores three examples: the activities for children provided by the nationalist women’s organisation, Inghinidhe na hÉireann; the columns for children included in nationalist newspapers; and the activities of the nationalist youth group Na Fianna Éireann.” – History Hub

With thanks to

Munster Fianna Eireann Treaty debate 1922


Click on image to enlarge.

A meeting was held in Cork on April 16th 1922 by representatives of Na Fianna Eireann in the Munster area. They had gathered to debate the ‘Treaty’. Following heated discussions they voted to reject the treaty and subsequently fought on the anti-Treaty side in the Civil War. Two delegates from Fianna GHQ in Dublin attended; Barney Mellows and Corkman Frank McMahon (both pictured front centre with Fianna flag resting on their knees). Others of note in this image are Thomas MacDonald, Waterford O/C (on Barney Mellow’s left), Thomas Dargan, Kevin Bradshaw, Joe Cowe and James Wickham.

Fianna Eireann veteran Eamon Martin recalls the Howth Gunrunning of July 26th 1914.

The Liam Mellows Bridge


Click on images to see larger versions. Photographs courtesy of Eamon Murphy

Mellows Bridge in Dublin, formerly Queens Bridge, was built between 1764 and 1768 and is Dublins oldest bridge still in use. It was built on the site of an earlier bridge (Arran Bridge) that was erected in 1683.

On May 24th, 1942 it was renamed Mellows bridge in honour of Liam Mellows who was executed on December 8th 1922 and was unveiled by Eamon Martin, former Chief of Staff of Fianna Eireann and Nora Connolly O’Brien (daughter of James Connolly).

It was paid for through donations made by former comrades of Liam in both the Volunteers and Fianna Eireann and it was also supported by the ‘Old Fianna Association’ and the ‘National Graves Association’ (NGA).


A special Mass was held at Clarendon St. Church for the repose of the souls of Liam and Barney (who died in February, 1942) and was followed by a procession from St. Stephens Green to the bridge. The last post was sounded by a bugler of St. James Band (the band that both Liam and Barney had been prominent members of).

Sarah Mellows was guest of honour at the event to mark her son and his sacrifice. A special word and prayer was also said for Liam’s brother, Barney who had recently passed away.


Fianna Eireann and the Irish Volunteers Split, 1914

Irish Volunteers Statement September 1914 Part 1Irish Volunteers Statement September 1914 Part 2Images courtesy of UCD Archives. Click on images to see larger version.

Statement released on September 24th 1914 by the Irish Volunteers in response to John Redmond’s speech, four days earlier, in which he called for Volunteers to enlist in the British Army and support the war effort.

This statement, and Redmond’s earlier speech, led to the split in the Volunteer movement. It was signed by members of the original “Provisional Committee” which included five senior members of Na Fianna Eireann; Bulmer Hobson, Eamon Martin, Padraig O’Riain, Con Colbert and Liam Mellows.

“The signatories of the document wrote with the confidence that they fully understood the founding principles of their movement. They were resolute in their belief that Redmond had deviated from the core values of the organisation and thus had lost any right to control a force that had been handed over to him only in the interests of unity and with the cautious assent of its founders earlier in the summer of 1914.” – Dr. Conor Mulvagh, UCD.

A background to this significant statement can be read in an article and analysis by Dr Conor Mulvagh at the following link

‘The Irish National Boy Scouts – A School For Rebels’ – The Unionist Association of Ireland

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Click on images for larger versions

Anti Home Rule propaganda poster/pamphlet by the Unionist Association of Ireland (1914) denouncing Redmond and his failure to reign in the unruly Irish National Boy Scouts, otherwise known as Na Fianna Eireann, which it describes as an “Irish nursery of sedition and disloyalty….”. They ask “why does he not make the Irish National Boy Scouts loyal?” It warns that the rise, and anti-English activities, of this rebellious youth group is a sign of things to come if Home Rule becomes a reality. It claims that the Home Rule sought by Redmond and his supporters is openly sneered at by the leaders of the Boy Scouts (Fianna). The Fianna do not see, they say, why “Ireland should allow England to govern her, either through Englishmen as at present, or through Irishmen under an appearance of self-government”.

The formation of Fianna Eireann in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry.

ballybunion kerry

“An engineer by the name of Elwell, employed in the construction of a wireless station which was being built in Ballybunion in the year 1913, was instrumental in forming a Company of the Baden Powell Boy Scouts in Ballybunion in the same year. A special meeting was called for the purpose in the village. Every loyalist in the area attended and supported Mr. Elwell in his endeavour to form the Company. That morning, with two other boys, I had served Mass for a Priest named Father Power. After Mass we were in a hurry to get away and the priest asked us, “What is the hurry?” We told him we were going to the meeting to join the Boy Scouts. He replied, “If Parnell were alive it is not the Baden Powell Scouts you would be joining”. We told him that we could fly our own flag. He said, “That flag is the Union Jack and it is not our flag”.

The meeting was addressed by Mr. Elwell and other speakers supporting the formation of the Scouts. Near the close of the meeting a man by the name of Ned Leahy, who was employed in Listowel but resided in Ballybunion, addressed Mr. Elwell and the meeting generally. He said that we had in Ireland an organisation known as the Fianna which all Irish boys should join. He appealed to the boys present to join the Fianna and advised them that as the Baden Powell Boy Scouts were an offshoot of the British Army they were to be trained to become British soldiers later. After Leahy’s speech a Solicitor from Listowel suggested that it should be left to the boys themselves to decide what organisation they would join. The result was that out of 28 boys present, twelve joined the Baden Powell Scouts and eighteen joined the Fianna. Ned Leahy, and a man from Tralee, who had been sent specially by Austin Stack to the meeting, took the names of the eighteen boys who wished to join the Fianna.

Within the next week we received a dozen complete uniforms from Tralee and a fortnight later a bell-tent. The Baden Powell Scouts also received uniforms and a bell-tent at the same time, Leahy had appointed me O/C of the Fianna on the day of the meeting. We met every evening after school and paraded and drilled as did the Baden Powell Scouts who had the use of the lawn attached to the Castle Hotel for their bell-tent. We had to erect our tent in different fields around the village. On the anniversary of the deaths of the Manchester Martyrs in November, 1914, we had a parade in the village. Our strength had increased to 22. During the parade a scuffle took place between ourselves and the Baden Powell Scouts who had just been dismissed after a parade. We got the best of the scrap and warned the Powell Scouts not to appear in uniform again. From then they ceased to exist as a scout unit. From this to Easter Week of 1916 we paraded and drilled regularly each week.” – Liam McCabe, Company Captain, Fianna Eireann, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry.

*Photograph of Ballybunion courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.
Text courtesy of the Bureau of Military History.