In a remarkable display of solidarity and determination, the town of Abbeyfeale witnessed a significant event on Sunday that has become the talk of the district. Amidst growing tensions over the past eighteen months regarding the local control of the United Irish League (U.I. League), nationalists from Abbeyfeale and its surrounding parish took a bold step to assert their participation and influence within the organisation.
The conflict reached a pivotal moment when, following an unsuccessful appeal to the Directory last year to resolve internal disputes, the local branch of the U.I. League issued an invitation for Nationalists to renew or initiate their membership. This call to action, advertised by posters at the church gate and around the town, indicated a public meeting at Mr Denis O’Connor’s house on Barrack street, shifting away from the traditional venue in Father Casey’s Temperance Hall, which has served as the League’s usual meeting place.
Approximately 500 individuals, representing a broad swath of the town and parish, marched from the Temperance Hall to Mr O’Connor’s house, motivated by the desire to register as members of the League. This move was in direct response to Mr Redmond’s recent advice in Limerick, signalling a unified front among the Nationalists who support both Mr Redmond and the broader Irish Party.
Despite some resistance from certain officials of the League, who for reasons not publicly disclosed seemed to retract their open invitation, the gathered crowd remained undeterred. They forcefully made their way into the meeting venue, insisting on paying their subscriptions and enrolling as members. The atmosphere was charged with a sense of purpose as names were recorded, marking an unprecedented level of participation in the history of the National movement in Abbeyfeale.
After the significant enrolment process, the assembly unanimously decided to convene again the following Sunday at 1:30 p.m. for a public meeting in the town. This meeting aims to continue the momentum, with plans to resume member enrolment in the Temperance Hall before proceeding to elect officers for the coming year.
The event saw participation from a diverse group of local dignitaries and influential figures, including B.C. Collins, J.P., W. O’Connor, D.C., and former U.I.L Directory representative Wm. O. Sullivan, among others. Their involvement underscores the broad-based support for the Nationalist cause within the community and signals a strong desire for unity and progress in the face of internal challenges.
In a related development, Mr D.D. Sheehan, MP.., S.L., a prominent figure in Irish politics and a staunch supporter of the All-for-Ireland League and the Irish Land and Labour Association, has been commissioned as Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers. This appointment is part of Lieutenant-General Sir L. Parson’s new Irish Army Division, highlighting the intertwining of political and military aspirations in the quest for Irish autonomy and governance.
The events in Abbeyfeale reflect a microcosm of the broader Nationalist movement in Ireland, demonstrating the community’s resilience and determination to shape their destiny. As Abbeyfeale looks towards the future, the unity, and commitment shown by its residents suggest a robust foundation for addressing internal conflicts and advancing the cause of Irish nationalism.
Weekly Freeman’s Journal – Saturday 09 January 1915