Shannon, Stephen (2013) Irish Nationalist Organisations in the North East of England, 1890 – 1925. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.
This thesis is the first major study of organised Irish nationalism in the North East of England, set against the wider context of events in Britain and Ireland, from the division that followed Parnell’s fall in 1890 until shortly after the foundation of the Irish Free State and the Irish Civil War. It is a significant contribution to our understanding of the history of the largest ethnic group in Britain before the Second World War – the Irish. It is also an important regional study, revealing the vitality and diversity of the North East’s expression of Irish nationalism that was probably not equalled anywhere else in England and Wales, other than in London. That vitality was manifested in the raising of the Tyneside Irish Brigade for the British Army in 1914. The Tyneside Irish was the crowning achievement of the pre-1918 Irish nationalist organisations in the North East, and arguably in Britain, demonstrating the organisations’ commitment both to John Redmond and to the region, where so many Irish migrants had settled. Irish nationalism’s diversity in the North East was embodied in the Irish Labour Party, which, alone in England, took root on Tyneside, and sought to blend class and ethnic issues at a time of national crisis in Ireland. This organisation casts light on the complex issue of the transference of working-class Irish Catholic allegiance from nationalism to the labour movement in Britain, and, therefore, in the assimilation of that community into the wider British community. Though none of these nationalist organisations has left any extensive archive, this thesis utilises Irish and English manuscript sources, and a wide array of Catholic, labour, and regional newspapers, to demonstrate that these organisations were not only an important part of the history of the Irish in the North East, but also of the North East itself.