Fenian Poet

‘Fenian’ was a fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Christened John Keegan Casey, this Irish poet who adopted ‘Leo’ as a penname, was loved by his people for his inspirational poetry. Born at the height of the 19th century famine he lived through the starvation and poverty suffered by millions of Irish peasants. The British, who feared the motivational power and inspirational words of his poems which inspired rebellion and patriotism, arrested him and locked him in a prison cell of mental and physical torture. When he was eventually released he was a broken young man and died soon afterward from his ill-treatment (1846 to 1870).


The memorial stone is in Glesnevin Cemetery, County Dublin, Ireland. It was created by monumental builder and sculptor Thomas Dennany and is in the form of a Celtic cross. Within the center is an Agnus Dei (a Christian symbol depicting a lamb standing on the ground, holding by the right forefoot a banner flying on a wooden cross). It represents the risen Christ triumphant over death. Engraved around the circle is the legend, Jesus Mercy Joseph Pray. The pillar of the cross is detailed with a diamond pattern containing a Botonee cross and shamrocks.


The cross is mounted on a base representative of shale rock upon which a dog is resting accompanied by a harp, sunrays and a scroll listing some of his songs including: The Rising Of The Moon / Our Pledge/ The Final Cast / The Convict Lay / A Cretan Song.

On the right side is a sculpture of a ruined tower and windows in the style of Gothic architecture.


In Memory Of John Keegan Casey / Leo / Patriot Poet Novelist / Member Of The Irish Republican Brotherhood / Author Of The Rising Of The Moon / And Many Soul Stirring National Ballads And Songs / Born 22nd August 1846. Died St. Patrick’s Day 1870 / From His Youth His Life Was Devoted To The Cause Of Irish Freedom / His Last Words Were A Prayer Of Intercession For His Country’s Liberty / And His Soul’s Salvation.

This Cross Is Erected By The Monuments Committee Of The Young Ireland Society / As An Humble Tribute Of Love And To Commemorate His Principles. / His Noblest Monument Is His Works In Which His Spirit Must Ever Live / May He Rest In Peace.

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