Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa - Corkman Was A Rebel Fenian Of 19th Century Ireland
Fearless and aggressive in his determination to free his native land from foreign rule, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa became a legendary Irish Fenian leader of the 19th century. He was sentenced to penal servitude for life in 1865, aged thirty four, and he conducted his own trial defence.
He took eight hours to deliver an awesome speech and he made resounding charges against British injustice on innocent Irish citizens.
In prison his hands were cruelly manacled behind his back for five long weeks and only undone at meagre meal times when he was fed bread and water. Jeremiah’s mental resolve outwitted his captors and his detention was fought vigorously by Amnesty International.
Amnesty finally succeeded in persuading the English authorities to release the famous Corkman in 1871 after six years in prison under arrogant guard.
Upon his release Jeremiah vowed to enhance Ireland’s right to freedom and he received several more incarcerations at Cork Jail.
Finally he decided that he would make no peace with the invaders until his political ideals for a free and united Ireland were achieved.
A decision to leave Ireland was the only solution for Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa to avoid constant imprisonment and he fled to America to continue his struggle for Irish freedom.
Fund-raising and rallying in the United States, he made major contributions to the Irish cause and he sent thousands of dollars back to his homeland and his Fenian colleagues. He campaigned all over America where Irish emigrants had strong roots until his death at Staten Island in 1915.
His body was brought back to Ireland for burial and he lay in state mourning for two days.
The capital city of Dublin came to a grinding halt as mourners from the four corners of Ireland came to pay their respects.
He was buried in the Republican Plot at Glasnevin Cemetry, Dublin.
A native of Roscarberry, Co. Cork, he was widowed twice and left with five young sons to rear until he married again in 1865, aged thirty four.
He was imprisoned shortly after his marriage. His bride was eighteen year old Mary Jane Irwin of Strand House, Clonakilty town.
Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa’s memory is perpetuated in song and verse and the patriotic Corkman is a Famous Son of Ireland.