James Mountain was born in Cork, Ireland, around 1819, at a time when the land was still under British rule
and its countrymen were faced with grinding poverty and injustice. It was during his childhood and youth that the
young Mountain became an ardent supporter of the Liberator, Daniel O'Connell, who fought for Catholic emancipation. In later
years, during 1848/ '49, James Mountain became active in the "Young Ireland" movement and in the 1860's
he was the first Fenian to be enrolled in the City of Cork.
Few men were active in both movements but James Mountain was an exception, standing head and shoulders above the
rest. During the 1860's he became one of the leading contacts between members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, at
a time when he was almost 20 years older than many of the other active leaders of the movement.
Mountain lived with his wife and family at 72, North Main Street, where he was a shoemaker. Younger Fenians, like Brian
Dillon and John Lynch, his personal friends, would gather to meet him in the premises of his shop. To them, Mountain,
was seen as an inspiration and a mentor.
During the years 1863, '65 and '67, James Mountain was incarcerated in Cork Gaol.This took a toll on his health
and he died on the 6th November 1868. An estimated 10,000 mourners lined the streets of Cork to witness his
funeral procession and followed his remains to St. Joseph's Cemetery where his body was finally laid to rest.