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Updated 05/14/2013


The Bold Fenian Men

Fenian is a term used since the 1850s for Irish nationalists (who oppose British rule in Ireland). It can also specifically refer to members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.  The term is still used especially in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Scotland. Where its original meaning has continued and possibly expanded to include all supporters of Irish nationalism and by extension Roman Catholics of Irish descent, many of whom are stereotypically seen as supporters of Irish nationalism. 

The term derives from the Irish Na Fianna or Na Fianna Éireann who in Celtic mythology were a band of warriors formed to protect Ireland, Fionn Mac Cumhaill being the most famous of its warriors.

The Fenian Brotherhood was initially founded in 1858 as the Irish Republican Brotherhood's American branch by John O'Mahony, James Stephens, and Michael Doheny. In the face of nativist suspicion, it quickly established an independent existence, although it still worked to gain Irish-American support for armed rebellion in Ireland. Initially, O'Mahony ran operations in the USA, sending funds to Stephens and the IRB in Ireland, disagreement over O'Mahony's leadership led to the formation of two Fenian Brotherhoods in 1865.



See who comes over the red blossomed heather
Their green banners kissing the pure mountain air
Heads erect eyes front, stepping proudly together
Freedom sits throned on each proud spirit there

Down the hill twining, their blessed steel shining
Like rivers of beauty that flow from each glen
From mountain and valley, 'tis Liberty's rally
Out and make way for the bold Fenian Men!

We've men from the Nore, from the Suir and the Shannon
Let tyrants come forth, we'll bring force against force
Our pen is the sword and our voice is the cannon
Rifle for rifle and horse against horse

We've made the false Saxon yield many a red battlefield
God on our side we will triumph again
Pay them back woe for woe, give them back blow for blow
Out and make way for the bold Fenian Men!

Side by side for the cause have our forefathers battled
Our hills never echo'd the tread of a slave
In many's a field where the leaden hail rattled
Through the red gap of glory they march'd to their grave

And those who inherit their name and their spirit
Will march 'neath the banners of Liberty then
All who love foreign law, native or Saxon
Must out and make way for the bold Fenian Men