This is the first full-length study of Irish Ribbonism. It traces the development of Ribbonism from its origins in the Defender movement of the 1790s until the latter part of the century when the remnants of the Ribbon tradition found solace in the quasi-constitutional affinities of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Placing Ribbonism firmly within Ireland’s long tradition of collective action and protest, this book shows that, owing to its diversity and adaptability, it shared similarities, but also stood apart from, the many rural redresser groups of the period and showed remarkable longevity not matched by its contemporaries. The book describes the wider context of Catholic struggles for improved standing, explores traditions and networks for association, and it describes external impressions. Drawing on rich archives in the form of state surveillance records, ‘show trial’ proceedings and press reportage, the book shows that Ribbonism was a sophisticated and durable underground network drawing together various strands of the rural and urban Catholic populace in Ireland and Britain. Ribbon Societies in Nineteenth-Century Ireland and Its Diaspora is a fascinating study that demonstrates Ribbonism operated more widely than previous studies have revealed.
'A thorough excavation of not just the perceptions of Ribbonism but also the workings of the “official mind” in Dublin Castle during the first few decades of the nineteenth century.'
John O’Donovan, Irish Studies Review
'Hughes and MacRaild’s study on Ribbonism is to be commended for recalibrating our gaze towards these too often neglected decades, and years, and the lower class voices which filled them.'
Kerron Ó Luain, Dublin Review of Books
'An outstanding work of scholarship, one that is authoritative, substantial and carefully constructed...The work makes a substantial contribution to our knowledge and understanding of Irish secret societies, specifically Ribbonism, and to a whole range of characters and forces associated with such bodies... Stylish and engaging, Ribbon Societies in Nineteenth‐Century Ireland and its Diaspora is strongly recommended.'
Laurence Geary, History: The Journal of the Historical Association
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