The Land League

The Land League has received much attention from Irish Media

The Land League has received much attention from Irish Media in recent weeks. With the Land League in the news,  it’s interesting to re-visit the original Land League and review the impact the organisation had in media circles in the 19th and early 20th century newspapers.

For those who are less familiar with the Land League, it was a political organisation whose  purpose was  to help poor farmers buy and own the land they were working on and bring about the  reduction of rack rents .   Michael Davitt, Charles Stewart Parnell, Thomas Brennan and many others who united in the same spirit founded The Irish National Land League on the 21st October 1879. The inaugural meeting was held in the Imperial Hotel, Castlebar, Co Mayo.

Later  “business” was clearly stated by John Daly, and here it is reported by the Irish Examiner in the 11th of October 1880 issue:

Land League


The members of the Land League went to America in hope of raising much needed money to help   farmers. They visited 48 towns and cities. The results were very good in New York and the city of San Francisco particularly, as mentioned on the 17th of January in “Nation”:


The success of the American visit was best described in one of Charles Parnell’s letters published in “Nation” in March 1880:



Most of the Irish newspapers of the time covered the meetings which took place regularly in counties around Ireland.  The newspapers give the names of the participants, they quote their speeches and report on the agreements made.  Here is an example from the Connaught Telegraph, from 26th of April, 1879:



The members of the Land League endured the suppression of the authorities, and many Land League leaders were imprisoned. The fact is that it was through their efforts, that finally in 1903 the “Land Act” allowed Irish tenant farmers buy out their freeholds. The Southern Star from November 1903 explains what the Act was about:

The act