Land League

The Irish National Land League was founded at the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar, County Mayo, on 21 October 1879. At that meeting, Charles Stewart Parnell was elected president, and Andrew Kettle, Michael Davitt, and Thomas Brennan were appointed as honorary secretaries. This united all strands of land agitation and tenant rights movements under a single organisation. Their objectives were a reduction of rack-rents and ownership of the land by tenant-farmers.

Parnell declared a national tenant-farmer rent strike and was imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail. Although discouraged by the League, outbursts of violence increased widely. Rent strikes were followed by police evictions; tenants paying rent were subject to boycott; court witnesses changed their stories, and the legal system became unworkable. Rents were paid by tenants to the League who then forced landlords to accepted a discount. Many landlords resisted these tactics violently and there were deaths on both side. As a result, the Irish National Land League was declared illegal, but in October 1882, Parnell founded the Irish National League to campaign on broader issues including Home Rule.