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    Fenianism - A Male Business? A Case Study of Mary Jane 0'Donovan Rossa (1845-1916)

    Sylke, Lehne (1995) Fenianism - A Male Business? A Case Study of Mary Jane 0'Donovan Rossa (1845-1916). Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Mary Jane O'Donovan Rossa was born in Clonakility, Co.Cork in January 1845. Her father's active involvement in the Young Ireland movement, the experience of the Famine years and her marriage to the fenian leader, Jermiah O'Donovan Rossa, influenced the information of her political attitude and her ardent nationalism. As the eldest of ten children she was to take over responsibility for her family at an early stage of her life. She considered her duty for her family always as primary to unnecessary sacrifices for political principles and strongly defended this attitude against Rossa's inconsiderate willingness to sacrifice himself and those close to him. Although Mary Jane submitted to the fenian attitude that women were to be the helpers behind the scene, she proved, particularly in her work as Secretary of the Ladies' Committee (1865-67) that she was capable of leadership and of taking over political responsibility. Being always a loyal, unconditional supporter of her husband and his cause and bearing severe hardship for them throughout her entire life, she left the political stage to Rossa and only took his place whenever he was unable to attend political duties. Her activities show that, although she considered men more capable and experienced in the nationalist fight than women, she did not accept all decisions and attitudes of the fenian leaders and her husband without criticism. On several occasions Mary Jane was confronted with the limitations of here sex when she contradicted official fenian policy. Nevertheless she never felt the desire to step out of the shadow and refute male leadership because of her fear, female disobedience might damage the cause of Ireland's independence. Apart from her active contribution to the fenian movement and Irish nationalism, her poetry also reflected her political perspective and became an inportant means for here financial support to the movement. Mary Jane's life was but one example for the selfless contribution of nationalist Irishwomen to the cause of Ireland's independence. She represents the countless women who, for many centuries, have played an essential part in Irish nationalism but never received an appropriate place in Irish history books.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: FENIANISM; MARY JANE 0'DONOVAN ROSSA; 1845-1916;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 5125
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2014 08:49
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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