3:Dublin. Spring 1848
Finbar receives an invitation to dine with William Smith O’Brien, the former conservative MP who joined O’Connell’s Repeal Association, and left to set up the more radical Irish Confederation. The young man’s writings have impressed O’Brien and he asks Finbar to join the Inner Council of the organisation. He wants Finbar to take on the role of a ‘strategist,’ and, on leaving University, move to London, where O’Brien will arrange for him to have access to MPs supportive of their cause and where he will have a roving brief to recruit more. At his first Council meeting Finbar discovers that Tom Mangan is also a member. He has been recruited to coordinate a guerrilla campaign, starting with an uprising in Tipperary, later that year.
4:Ireland. July 1848
After quickly getting to know the main players within the Irish Confederation, Finbar has immediate doubts about their collective ability and the strategies they are pursuing. He begins to voice his concerns, but events overtake when O’Brien and two other leaders are arrested for sedition and deported to Australia. The Council decide to bring forward the uprising. Finbar has become close to Mangan and convinces him and another Council member, Jim O’Sullivan, to jump ship before it is too late. His argument is that a country ravished by famine for three years will not have the strength to rise up. Mangan and O’Sullivan leave for America on a ship arranged by Finbar, who is immediately branded a traitor. The rebellion goes ahead and is a disaster. Most of the ringleaders are captured in a siege at Ballingarry, Tipperary. Two, John Stephens and John O’Mahony, escape and are on the run. Finbar finds them and uses his family’s cash and shipping connections to get them to France. The Irish Confederation is no more. Finbar resigns himself to going back to his studies but family tragedy intervenes. His father and elder brother are drowned on a ship coming back from a business trip to America. Finbar moves back to Galway to take over the family firm.