Young Irelanders: Exiles in Paradise

20th July - The evening was fast shutting down the coast of Van Diemen's Land below the red horizon, and about to stretch across the stormy Bass's Straits. The last of my island prison visible to me from the broken line of blue peaks over the Bay of Fires. Adieu, the beautious island, full of sorrow and gnashing of teeth - Island of fragrant forest, and bright rivers, and fair women! Island of chains and scourges, and blind, brutal rage and passion!Behind those far blue peaks, in many a green valley known to me, dwell some of the best and warmest-hearted of all God's creatures; and the cheerful talk of their genial fire-sides will blend forever in my memory with the eloquent song of the dashing Derwent and deep-eddying Shannon.
Mitchel, Jail Journal, p. 338.

Welcome to the University of Tasmania’s Young Irelander ‘Exiles in Paradise’

The website resulted from a 2008 University of Tasmania Community Engagement Grant. The grant’s aim was to bring together community groups, descendants, historians and scholars to consolidate the knowledge that exists in Tasmania and elsewhere about the Young Irelanders’ time and stories here.

As you will see on the interactive map, the Young Irelanders touched many places and people.

This website features a summary of the Young Irelanders’ story, as well as information about places and heritage sites in Tasmania. One of the many things this project discovered is an as yet-unpublished memoir of P.J. Smyth, written by one of his daughters, which is now in the hands of descendants, one of whom lives in Launceston. They have allowed us to include a short excerpt from that memoir to pique our interest. The project also explores the Young Irelanders’ connections with the Catholic Church and raises provocative questions about the Cappoquin Seven, about whom very little is known.

A major purpose of this website is to establish a portal to allow people involved with and passionate about the Young Irelanders to exchange information and build up a more complete understanding of their activities in Tasmania and abroad. While individuals in Tasmania, Ireland, Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere have pieces of the Young Irelanders puzzle, there is currently no interactive website that can facilitate a pooling of that knowledge. Our hope is that those who are interested in the Young Irelanders—as historians, community leaders or descendants—will contribute their knowledge so that we can fill gaps in knowledge, correct errors and celebrate their achievements.

For this reason, as part of the website, we have included an online forum (wiki) that allows everyone to communicate with each other so that we can grow the knowledge community.

We trust you will enjoy using the website and look forward to your contributions on the Young Irelanders and their exploits in Tasmania and beyond.