1848 - William Smith O’Brien and Thomas Francis Meagher under arrest

Generally believed to be by Leone Glukman, this is one of the earliest photographs of the ‘Young Irelanders’. William Smith O’Brien (seated) and Thomas Francis Meagher are shown flanked by a soldier and a gaoler or ‘turnkey’. Photo historian Eddie Chandler has noted that the image is said to have been taken just after the two men had been sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered, and he goes on to point out that the relaxed demeanour of the men would suggest otherwise! The death sentence was later commuted to transportation to Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania). It is possible that it was taken in any of the many places in which the Young Irelanders were detained – Kilmainham Gaol, Richmond Bridewell or possibly Clonmel Gaol. Glukman took many photographs of the Young Ireland leaders, both during their trials and in Richmond Prison. Lithographic copies were made from these by Henry O’Neill and distributed as patriotic propaganda.

Image courtesy: OPW

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