Despite the symbolic significance of the ‘Manchester martyrs’
Despite the symbolic significance of the ‘Manchester martyrs’, the Fenians can be considered as failures when taking into account the disastrous attack in London where an attempt made to rescue a Fenian prisoner resulted in around thirty people being blown up, furthermore emphasizing how disorderly and chaotic the Fenians were in their practice. Also, the movement consisted of many internal disputes, most commonly with Stephen and other leaders at a time where unity and the demonstration of peace and solidarity was essential consequently leading to his removal as ‘head center’ in may 1866. However, it could be argued that the Fenians were to a degree successful in moving a step closer to achieving Irish nationalism due to the support that was gradually being attracted. This is evident during the controversial funeral of Terrence Ballew McManus in Ireland where 12,000 people attended showing the popularity of the Fenians. Also, the creation of the ‘young Irish’, the Fenians Irish newspaper was a major success as it helped generate support and awareness to the cause. However, although the young Irish was a fundamental success to revolutionary nationalism, it could be argued that it failed to capture much favour, as it was quickly suppressed by the English government in 1865. Consequently, the arrest of many leading Fenian members reinforces the disorganisation and inefficiency of the Fenians. Arguably, the Fenian’s biggest success was diverting Gladstone’s attention towards the Irish question, leading to Gladstone’s first Irish reform, the first land act of 1870 which provided tenant rights and therefore gained support from the Irish people. In addition to this, the Fenians played a significant role in the revival of Irish culture such as music and literature and therefore was significant in Irish society. Overall, despite failing to achieve major reforms for Irish nationalism due to weak leadership and poor methods, the Fenians were significant in providing the legacy for revolutionary nationalism, as their aims and violent methods inspired major events such as the Easter rising in 1916 and the revival of republicanism.