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James Mountain - "Young Irelander", Nationalist and Fenian

Cork Patriot 1819-1868

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"There is a lesson in James Mountain's life which should not be lost on the people of Ireland, more particularly the young men of the country. Patriotism may entail suffering, but the Patriot's memory and the Patriot's deeds live after him".

James Mountain

This portrait of James Mountain and the passage (above) formed part of an obituary which was printed in "The Irishman" (Dublin) on 14th November 1868. The portrait is of technical and historical interest as it was among early illustrations to be produced in an Irish weekly newspaper.

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.

This is an excerpt from an article which can be found on the "Irish Historian" website by clicking here.