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Isaac Butt commemorated
Isaac Butt, founder of the Home Rule League, was born 100 years ago today Photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London

Isaac Butt commemorated

Published: 6 September 1913

The centenary of the birth of Isaac Butt, the great Irish nationalist politician of the 1870s, takes place today. Butt was born in Donegal in 1813, the son of a Church of Ireland parson, and forged a brilliant career as a barrister, famed not least for his defence of Fenian prisoners.

In the 1870s, he emerged as leader of the Irish Home Rule MPs in the House of Commons and his establishment of the Home Rule League in 1873 was a significant milestone on the path to Irish parliamentary independence. He was subsequently deposed from the leadership by a new, younger generation of Irish nationalists, led by Charles Stewart Parnell. The Daily Chronicle noted today: ‘Ireland – and progressives throughout the whole nation – will think kindly and gratefully of him who initiated that great movement, now, a hundred years after his birth, so near the goal which he could but dimly see.’


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.