An Irish Nationalist Adolescence: Na Fianna Éireann, 1909–1923

  • Marnie Hay
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Childhood book series


In 1909 two Irish Protestant nationalist activists, Constance, Countess Markievicz (1868–1927) and Bulmer Hobson (1883–1969), established a nationalist youth organization called Na Fianna Éireann, or the Irish National Boy Scouts.1 It was designed to be an Irish nationalist antidote to Robert Baden-Powell’s pro-British Boy Scout movement, which had spread to Ireland in 1908.2 For some members, participation in the Fianna merely served a social function, while for others it served as a recruitment and training ground for their future roles in the struggle for Irish independence. Although the Fianna was initially open to all Irish boys (and some girls) between the ages of eight and eighteen, membership was later limited to boys aged between twelve and eighteen. This restriction of membership to adolescent males was possibly a reflection of the increasingly militant activities of the organization, particularly from 1916 onwards.


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© Marnie Hay 2015

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  • Marnie Hay

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