Welcome to the ‘History of Na Fianna Éireann’
The Irish National Boy Scouts, or Na Fianna Éireann, was a youth organisation founded by Bulmer Hobson and Countess Markieivicz in 1909. One of the reasons that Fianna Eireann was established originally was as an antidote, and also as a sort of rival, to the Baden Powel scouts. The Baden Powel Scouts aimed to develop a loyal British youth organization and act as a recruiting ground for the British army. The Fianna, on the other hand, hoped to play a part in ‘re-establishing the independence of Ireland through the training of the youth of Ireland, mentally and physically, and to achieve this object by teaching scouting and military exercises, Irish History, and the Irish language’. Upon joining Na Fianna Eireann new members had to declare that they ‘promise to work for the independence of Ireland, never to join England’s armed forces and to obey my superior officers’. Fianna Eireann was open to all Irish boys, irrespective of their class or creed.
The Fianna were the forerunners and pioneers of the independence movement, which was emerging at that time. The IRB faction of the Fianna, in particular, formed an influential nucleus of young men that would play an extremely significant role in the subsequent developments, especially in the period leading up to the formation of the Irish Volunteers in 1913.
Patrick Pearse said in 1913 that “we believe that Na Fianna Éireann have kept the military spirit alive in Ireland during the past four years, and that if the Fianna had not been founded in 1909, the Volunteers of 1913 would never have arisen. In a sense, then, the Fianna have been the pioneers of the Volunteers; and it is from the ranks of the Fianna that the Volunteers must be recruited.”
Former Fianna Chief of Staff Eamon Martin concurred with Pearse and held that “no history of the resurgent movement, which preceded and culminated in the Rising and no history of the Rising itself can claim to be complete if it ignores or fails to adequately acknowledge the enormous contribution made by Na Fianna Éireann to the struggle for our country’s freedom.”
These are justified tributes to such an important and influential organisation. However despite Eamon Martin’s declaration, the Fianna are still, unfortunately, overlooked in many Irish history books and literature.
There has been some movement recently in addressing that scholarly gap by a number of commendable Irish historians. However many major works, including some just recently published, have barely mentioned the contribution played by Fianna Eireann. However there is still plenty to be optimistic about and as mentioned, there is a growing list of books now available that pays tribute to and documents the involvement of Fianna Eireann and we have listed some of them here on this Facebook page.
This page will honour and remember all the brave heroes of the ‘Irish National Boy Scout’ organisation throughout the 1909- 1923 period. This page will also attempt to gather and share Fianna Eireann photographs, stories, letters, documents and any other related material.
We will honour all the prominent figures and players of the movement; people like Liam Mellows, Con Colbert, Bulmer Hobson, Eamon Martin and Countess Markieivicz. They undeniably deserve this attention and recogniton. However we will also be focusing on the lesser-known characters of Fianna Eireann throughout the period of 1909- 1923. People like Garry and Paddy Holohan, Sean McLoughlin, Percy Reynolds, Michael Lonergan, Padraig O’Riain (who many claim was the real driving force of the Fianna in the early years), Joe Reynolds, Liam Langley, Sean Prendergast, Barney Mellows, Seamus Pounch, Paddy Ward, Alfie White, Robert Holland, Sean Saunders and many, many other young men, without whom, the organization would certainly not have developed and succeeded as it subsequently did.
We will also pay attention to the various halls, schools, meeting places, parks and other locations and addresses that were associated with Fianna Eireann in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Places such as 34 Lower Camden Street; Skippers Alley; Father Matthew Park; St. Andrews National School, Great Brunswick Street; 12 D’Olier Street; 35 North Great Georges Street; Belcamp House in North Dublin; Reddin’s Farm at Artane; 10 Beresford Place; Kilcoole Strand; Howth Harbour; Loughlinstown Workhouse; St. Enda’s Rathfarnham; Foresters Hall, Parnell Square; The Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park; Three Rock Mountain, Dublin Mountains; Little Barrington Street, Limerick City; Cork City, Fermoy; Tralee; Tuam; Wexford Town and so on..
This Fianna blog is not part of any society, grouping or affiliated with any political party. There is no agenda or objective on this page apart from remembering and preserving the memory of the Fianna from 1909-1923. We have no interest in Na Fianna Eireann outside of this timeframe. However there will be fleeting coverage given to the Fianna in the 1920’s (post-1923) as the path chosen by the organisation in the post-civil war period is interesting and relates to former prominent members of the 1909-1923 timeframe. However this period will only be briefly covered. We will also deal with memorials, graves, statues, commemorations and other such objects and events of remembrance, which might have occurred or have been constructed/erected outside of the timeline but are nevertheless directly related to Fianna Eireann and its past members from 1909-1923.
We would ask if you would like to re-post or ‘share’ material from this page to give credit to us, and any other source from where it originally came from. We have tried to give credit to all material on here and expect you to do the same. It is only fair to the contributors on here who have spent a lot of time researching and sourcing Fianna material for you to enjoy. Some of the material is published here for the first time from private family collections.
If you feel you have Fianna material that would be suitable for the site, then we encourage you to contact us (through the form below). Without a doubt there are many old Fianna photographs, letters, medals, and documents etc that are unpublished and are sitting in people’s collections at home. They might be at the back of a drawer or hanging in pride of place on the wall. If you would prefer not to have them published on the site, we would be still interested in seeing the items in question. You might have questions about the date, event, who else is in the photograph etc. We would be happy to help you in whatever way possible.
We hope this site will promote a better understanding of Na Fianna Eireann and its role in Irish History. This blog/website will not have all the answers on the history of Na Fianna Eireann and will no doubt make errors and mistakes along the way but with your help and support we can help to educate the next generation about this heroic and dedicated band of young men, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice to Ireland’s cause.
Thank you and enjoy!!
You can contact me through the ‘contact form’ below. The message will be private and will not be visible/public on this site.