The Irish National League in Dingle, County Kerry, 1885-92
During the period 1885-92 the Irish National League was the largest nationalist organisation in the country. With a branch structure of over 1500 clubs nationwide it provided the backbone for the Home Rule movement as well as orchestrating agrarian agitation. This work concentrates on the movement's phenomenal rise and fall in the Dingle Poor Law Union. It examines the emergence of league courts through which the National League created an alternative legal system to that of the crown. These courts controlled access to land and relations between various social groups such as farmers and agricultural labourers. Those who failed to comply with the National League faced the movement's prime weapon, the boycott. The League was so successful in gaining power in the region that the RIC District Inspector for Dingle claimed that the law of the land is nowhere and the law of the League everywhere. In addition, the National League gained control of the local government body of the time, the Board of Guardians, but the movement was to be divided by the competing class and political motives of its membership. In examining this critical juncture in the history of the region, this work provides an insight into the fabric of local politics and society in late nineteenth century Dingle.
Publication Date: 9/25/2003