The Fenian Brotherhood was a revolutionary organisation founded in the USA in 1858 by John O’Mahony. His comrade, James Stephens, who was on the European mainland at that time, returned to Ireland to found the sister organisation of the Fenians, known as the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
In the US, the Fenians decided to apply pressure on the British Empire by repeatedly attacking their territorial possessions in Canada. They had much success, but eventually the US Federal government intervened to prevent further incursions into British territory. The Orange Order, which was extant in Canada at the time, fought poorly against the Fenian forces. Legend has it that the Orangemen were crap, and shit themselves at the first real sign of trouble. Many might ask the question, So what has changed…?
The Fenians, and Irish Republican Brotherhood, created and maintained the conditions for the men and women of 1916 to pick up the banner of Irish Republicanism and fight for Irish freedom.