26th October 1878
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Well-known tenant meeting goes ahead near Irishtown, Co. Mayo

The creation of the Land League was brought about by the increasingly dire conditions suffered by tenants in the wake of the Great Famine. Landlords, hoping to increase their income and defray the costs of rising debt repayments, hoped to clear land for cattle production and ultimately export to the UK. The rent increase and subsequent land clearance forced many tenants off the land, some having no choice but to leave the country for America, Australia or elsewhere. Those who could not afford to leave were forced out, sometimes living in makeshift dwellings in bogs or on common ground. In the west of Ireland, land was particularly poor, and many couldn’t sustain farming on small, poor quality land. The rise of the Land League brought this poor class together under the manifesto of the ‘3 Fs’ – Free sale, fair rent and fixity of tenure. 

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