1: “The Most Dangerous Man in Ireland”

Lost In Belfast

290 Antrim Road, family home of Bulmer Hobson.

At 290 Antrim Road, a plaque marks the family home of Bulmer Hobson, once described by British intelligence as “the most dangerous man in Ireland.” It is a somewhat curious thing, a plaque erected as part of the centenary celebrations of the Easter Rising, dedicated to a figure who was opposed to that rebellion happening, believing the movement ill-prepared and insurrection ill-advised.

Hobson’s place in Irish revolutionary history is thus a peculiar one. Instrumental in the foundation of Na Fianna Éireann, the republican boyscout movement which raised a direct challenge to the mainstream Baden Powell scouts, he was also central to the reorganisation of the Irish Republican Brotherhood in the early twentieth century. By then, the IRB movement was in decline and needed saving. By 1910, it was estimated to have as few as a thousand members in its ranks. Dan Breen…

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