The period from the death of Charles Stewart Parnell (1891) to the establishment of the Irish Free State (1922) was a momentous one for Ireland. There was a cultural revitalization (1891– 1916), a Rising (1916), the Anglo‐Irish War (1919–21), the Treaty (1922), and the Civil War (1922–23) before the new Irish state settled into a routine pattern. This was a period characterized by assertive nationalism, dogmatism, and intolerance that led to violence and bloodshed. The result would be an independent Ireland, but a divided Ireland with potential for explosion in the North. Still there were people who surmounted the polemic of the moment and sought rational compromise and mutual tolerance. These were individuals who sought limited practical objectives, empathized with their adversaries, demonstrated civility, and often predicted the problems of the future. These were the “apostles of peace”. Among Ireland's many notables, three of such caliber stand out — Arthur Griffith, Horace Plunkett, and Eoin MacNeill. These men were intimately associated with the affairs of their day and were recognized for their integrity and professional accomplishment. They were also associated with the major peaceful attempts to solve Ireland's problems and avoid the warfare that ensued. Griffith, the journalist, founded the early Sinn Fein and came temporarily to lead the Irish Free State. Plunkett, the Anglo‐Irish aristocrat, founded the cooperative movement. MacNeill, the civil servant and historian, was involved in starting the Gaelic League and the Irish Volunteers. These were the “apostles of peace” and Ireland's subsequent trauma stemmed from their limited number. The objective of this study is to examine the careers of these three exceptional notables and ascertain if there exist some pattern. Are there generalizations that might be made about them collectively?
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