After his success with Catholic Emancipation in the 1830s, Daniel O’Connell focused his political agitations on the repeal of the Act of Union of 1800/01, which had abolished the parliament in Dublin. In 1823, the Catholic Association promoted the new identity of repeal and Catholic assistants both for tenants and religious rights. O’Connell embraces both a national-political agenda and a social reform policy. As member of the House of Commons after 1830, O’Connell could use his political influence to bring Irish demands to the attention of British politicians. Catholic emancipation did not end the oppressive role of the established United Church of England and Ireland, which caused a conflict over non-payment of tithes to the Church. For five years, the countryside suffered from unrest as people refused to pay tithes and lost their land. As he fought against the established Church, O’Connell worked to accomplish more than just a religious break with Great Britain. To illustrate to the British political establishment the desire for change among the Irish people, he held a series of Monster Meetings with some 100,000 people in attendance for each. O’Connell had used the locations of his meetings carefully, with one of the largest at Tara, the location where the High Kings of Ireland had meet in pre-Norman conquest times. The authorities prohibited the 1843 meeting at Clontarf, a historic battlefield site, and O’Connell told his followers to stay away. He was nevertheless charged with conspiracy and convicted, which the House of Lords overturned. By the mid-1840s, O’Connell’s power within the Irish movement faded.

Image: The Humble Candidate,