A Check on Deference: Electioneering, the Fenians and the Catholic Church—Galway, 1872 and Mayo, 1874



The 1872 by-election became one of the most contentious by-election campaigns in late nineteenth-century Ireland and was the last before the Secret Ballot Act of 1872. Recently discovered correspondence between the first Marquis of Clanricarde and other Galway landlords showed their belief that Trench’s candidature was destined to fail because of his father’s previous behaviour, and they wanted to limit the contagion that would spread. The over-exuberance of the clergy angered Bishop John MacEvilly of Galway and formerly doctrinaire Fenians who were beginning to flirt with constitutional politics. These neo-Fenians started a rather short-lived and disjointed effort at a grassroots culture war that culminated in John O’Connor Power’s election in Mayo in 1874 in the face of clerical opposition and reflecting the popular will of the people.



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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland

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