CHARLES STEWART PARNELL (1846-1891)

Parnell was the son of a wealthy, land owning Protestant family. At twenty nine he decided to enter the political arena in support of the Irish Home Rule in 1878. Within 2 years of being elected M.P. for County Dublin, he was made chairman of the Irish Political Party in Westminister. Parnell's speeches electrified Ireland. He became a national hero for his support of the Land League, fighting to lessen the grip of the land-lords on their impoverished tenants. By 1880 this campaign had developed into a united demand for Home Rule and Parnell forced a vote on the issue in Westminister. It was narrowly defeated, but this in itself was proof enough that Home Rule was not an idle dream. This seed planted by Parnell took root in the hearts of young Irishmen and blossomed into the 1916 Rising and finally independence in 1922.