William O'Brien

William O'Brien
William O'Brien 1917.jpg
William O'Brien in 1917
Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
ConstituencyMallow (1883–1885)
South Tyrone (1885–1886)
NE Cork (1887–1892)
Cork City (1892–1895)
Cork City (1900–1909)
NE Cork (1910-1910)
Cork City (1910–1918)
Personal details
Born(1852-10-02)2 October 1852
Mallow, County Cork, Ireland
Died25 February 1928(1928-02-25) (aged 75)
London, England
Political partyIrish Parliamentary Party, United Irish League, Irish National Federation, All-for-Ireland League

William O'Brien (2 October 1852 – 25 February 1928) was an Irish nationalist, journalist, agrarian agitator, social revolutionary, politician, party leader, newspaper publisher, author and Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He was particularly associated with the campaigns for land reform in Ireland during the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as his conciliatory approach to attaining Irish Home Rule.

Family, education

Birthplace plaque, Thomas Davis Street, Mallow, Co Cork

William O'Brien was born at Bank Place in Mallow, County Cork, as second son of James O'Brien, a solicitor's clerk, and his wife Kate, the daughter of James Nagle, a local shopkeeper. On his mother's side he was descended from the distinguished Norman family of Nagles, long settled in the vicinity of Mallow giving their name to the nearby Nagle Mountains. He was also linked through his mother with the statesman Edmund Burke's mother's family, as well as with the poet Edmund Spencer's family. The Nagles however, no longer held the status or prosperity they once had. In the same month thirty-eight years earlier Thomas Davis was born in Mallow. O'Brien's advocacy of the cause of Irish Independence was to be in the same true tradition of his esteemed fellow-townsman. Following in his footsteps he acknowledged the existence of many strands of Irishness.[1]

O'Brien shared his primary education with a townsman with whom he was later to have a close political connection, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile. He enjoyed his secondary education at the Cloyne diocesan college, which resulted in his being brought up in an environment noted for its religious tolerance. He greatly valued having had this experience from an early age, which strongly influenced his later views for the need of such tolerance in Irish national life.