In 1848 William Smith O’Brien, along with Thomas Francis Meagher, Terence Bellew McManus, and Patrick O’Donoghue, leaders among the Young Irelanders, were “sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, and [their] remains placed at the disposal of her majesty the Queen, to be dealt with according to her royal pleasure…The men’s verdicts were commuted to the more usual ‘transportation for life’ to Van Dieman’s Island/Tasmania, Australia, from which, with the help of others, Meagher escaped to America in 1852…” (“From the Old Sod to the Naugatuck Valley,” pp. 63, 64). I recommend Blanche M. Touhill’s book, “William Smith O’Brien and His Irish Revolutionary Companions in Penal Exile,” and John Martin’s “Jail Journal (or Five Years in British Prisons,” along with this blog post.

A Silver Voice from Ireland has written here, beautifully and personally, about her visit to William Smith O’Brien’s former home in County Limerick and recounted his role in Irish history as a dedicated supporter of those discriminated against by the British monarchy. She included a great image of Meagher and O’Brien with their jailor in Tasmania.

Also see the “Release of Mrs. Meagher, Ballingarry,” in which an episode more than fifty years later was reported, as one Mrs. Meagher was “released from Waterford Jail, after spending a term of three weeks for the great crime of being found walking or standing on the lands from which she and her husband were unjustly evicted by their landlord, Michael Morris, JP., coal merchant, Fiddown…” (


smithobThe anniversary of the birth of William Smith O’Brien, Young Irelander, is an appropriate time to record his strong association with the area in which I live in County Limerick, Ireland.

William O’Brien was born on 17 October 18o3, second son to Sir Edward O’Brien, Baron Inchiquin of Dromoland Castle, Member of Parliament for Ennis, County Clare and Charlotte Smith, daughter of  the wealthy William Smith, an attorney,of Newcastle West, County Limerick. The O’Briens had accumulated large debts and the marriage to a wealthy Smith was a fortuitous one. Cahermoyle House, in Ardagh, Co Limerick was a property acquired by William Smith. William O’Brien (as he then was) inherited Cahermoyle House and lands of about 5,000 acres from his grandfather William Smith, and in honour of his grandfather, he adopted his name and from now on became known as William Smith O’Brien.

William Smith O’Brien followed in his father’s footsteps…

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