Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2002

Publication Title

History Ireland







Arrested for treason against the British Crown and deported to the penal colonies of Australia, the Irish revolutionary John Boyle O'Reilly managed to escape to the United States and within a few years became one of Boston's most prominent political and literary figures, one of the best known Irish immigrants in the United States and one of the most charismatic individuals of the late nineteenth century. He wrote some of the most popular poetry of the period as well as one obscure but swashbuckling novel, Moondyne (1878), based in part upon the spectacular events of his own life. O Reilly was a hero of national and international stature. His reputation, however, rested on more than his personal charism, staggering life history and notorious achievements as political activist and editor of The Pilor, the most influential Catholic newspaper of the nineteenth century. His clout truly stemmed from the way in which other Americans saw him as embodying a cultural role of conciliator, communicator, and cross-cultural ambassador.



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