Irish Volunteers formed Dublin 25 November 1913

On 25 November 1913 the Irish Volunteers were formed in Dublin

Inaugural Meeting of the Irish Volunteers 25.November.1913

On 25 November 1913 the Irish Volunteers were formed in Dublin, a significant moment in the story of the Irish revolution of 1912 to 1923. Newspaper reports estimated the crowd to be in excess of 7,000 at the Rotunda meeting where speakers included Eoin MacNeill, Patrick Pearse, and the veteran Irish nationalist Michael Davitt. The genesis of the meeting was the publication of Eoin MacNeill’s article entitled ‘The North Began’ which laid the basis for the formation of volunteers in the south of Ireland, mirroring what their counterparts in Ulster had done the previous year.

Importantly attendance at the meeting was drawn from every section of Irish nationalism, including members of the Gaelic League, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Sinn Féin. The speakers, representing the different sections of Nationalist opinion, declared that the movement was not an aggressive one, but was intended to unite Irishmen, and preserve, their rights and liberties. They swore to drill and to build a disciplined army, but to use it only for defensive and protective purposes, and not to seek to dominate. When Michael Davitt addressed the meeting he was ‘most enthusiastically cheered’ claiming that the new movement would include ‘people of every denomination, class and creed and shade of politics’.

The meeting was an overwhelming success and Irish Volunteer company’s sprung up all over the country. To arm the volunteers weapons were smuggled into Ireland in the summer of 1914 during an incident known as the ‘Howth Gun-Running’. By the summer of 1914, the Irish Volunteer strength was estimated to have been close to 175,000. However, the intervention of the Frist World War and John Redmond’s call for Irishmen to fight as far as the firing line extended in Europe decimated the numbers. When the Easter Rising broke out two years later the Irish Volunteers numbered less than 10,000 in the country as a whole.

Irish Independent 25.November.1913         Freemans Journal 25.November.1913

Source newspaper:

Irish Independent 1905-current, Wednesday, November 26, 1913; Page: 5:

Freeman’s Journal 1763-1924, Wednesday, November 26, 1913; Page: 9;