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John Blake Dillon

(1814—1866) Irish nationalist and journalist


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(1814–66), Young Irelander. Son of a Catholic shopkeeper in Ballaghadereen, Co. Mayo, Dillon was educated at Maynooth and Trinity College, Dublin. He was called to the bar and joined the Repeal Association in 1841. A founder of the Nation, he seceded from the Repeal Association with the other Young Irelanders in 1846, but continued to seek reconciliation with Old Ireland, and in 1848 hoped nationalist reunion would effect a bloodless moral force revolution. Following the conviction of John Mitchel, however, he decided that a rising was the only honourable course. Dillon was a member of the confederate war council, commanded the rebels at Killenaule (see rebellion of 1848), and subsequently escaped to New York, where he set up a legal practice with Richard O'Gorman. He returned to Dublin following the amnesty of 1855, entered municipal politics, and collaborated with Paul Cullen in establishing the National Association in 1864. Elected MP for Co. Tipperary in 1865, he attacked Fenianism, and sought an alliance with British radicals for land reform and Irish church disestablishment. Dillon died suddenly from cholera in September 1866.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.


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