O’Donovan Rossa Bust
Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa was born in 1831 in a small village called Reenascreena near Rosscarbery, West Cork, a scenic popular are of South West Ireland visited frequently by those on self drive tours. He was the son of a tenant farmer, Denis O’Donovan and his wife Nellie O’Driscoll. While a young boy, the failure of the main food crop of the Irish population which was the potato, in sucessive years between 1845 and 1847 lead to a devastating famine which hit the West Cork area in which he lived, particularly hard. The Great Famine as it became known, caused one million Irish people to lose their lives in these years and another million to emigrate. O’Donovan Rossa’s own father died in 1847 of an illness related to severe malnutrition and the teenager moved to Skibbereen to work in his cousin’s shop in the town.
O’Donovan founded the Phoenix National and Literary Society and dedicated his life to working towards the establishment of an independent Irish Republic. He joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and after fleeing to the United States as part of the Cuba Five, he joined Irish revolutionary organisations there, beyond the reach of the British Empire. He was a pioneer in physical force Irish republicanism utilising dynamite in a campaign of asymmetrical warfare, hitting the British Empire on its home territory, primarily London.