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David Patrick "D.P." Moran (1869 - 1936) was a principal proponent and ideologist for the early 20th century "Irish-Ireland" nationalism through his journal, The Leader. His brand of nationalism was non-ecumenical and sectarian, often employing colourful insults ("West Brits", "shoneens", "sourfaces") when referring to Irish Unionists and/or non-Catholics.

He was born in County Waterfordmarker and educated at Castleknock Collegemarker near Dublin before working as a journalist in London, where he was a member of the Irish Literary Society.


Despite the failure of the 1893 Home Rule Bill and the division of the Irish Parliamentary Party in 1891, nationalists took heart from Douglas Hyde's 1892 speech "The necessity for de-anglicising Ireland". Moran built upon this thesis and provided a wider ideology for enthusiasts, particularly after the re-unification of most of the nationalist parties from 1900.

In his 1905 text The Philosophy of Irish-Ireland, Moran argued that to be Irish required:

Though a sponsor of the use of Irish, he never became fluent in the language himself. He emphasised the use of English in 1908-1909; 'an active, vigilant, and merciless propaganda in the English language'. In the longer term, when Irish became again the language of the people, its use would enable a de-facto censorship of any foreign and unwelcome ideas written in English.

While Moran argued that the idea of 'the Gael' was one that could assimilate others, he also felt that it would be hard if not impossible for members of the Church of Ireland who supported the British Empire to ever qualify as Irish, being 'resident aliens'. This extended to Anglo-Irish literature. He once spoke out against the influence Britain had over Irish Universities, claiming that "We are all Palemen Now".

In the matter of religious differences, Daniel O'Connell had said in 1826 that 'the [Roman] Catholics of Ireland are a nation'. Moran moved beyond that, affirming in 1901 that '...the Irish Nation is de facto a Catholic nation'.

Belfast contrasted with Ireland

Historians argue how such a philosophy could ever tempt the Ulster Unionists in what became Northern Irelandmarker to support the nationalist ideal. His articles frequently contrasted Belfastmarker with 'Ireland', yet hoped that Belfast could eventually change and assimilate. He felt that Ulster unionists should: "... be grateful to the Irish nation for being willing to adopt them". His paper published numerous articles by the future TD Arthur Clery (writing under the pen-name "Chanel"), who advocated partition on the grounds that Ulster Unionists were a separate nation, but Moran himself disagreed and: "refused to concede the legitimacy of a northern Protestant identity."

When Irish republicans initiated the Anglo-Irish War in 1919, widescale anti-Catholic rioting broke out in Belfast in 1920 and 1922, which Moran identified as caused by Orangeism, 'a sore and a cancer' in Ireland. This reconfirmed his views, and that any'bigotry on the part of Catholics in the Six Counties is immediately due to Orange bigotry.'

Support for the Treaty

Moran was initially a supporter of the Irish Parliamentary Party, believing that the separatism advocated by Arthur Griffith's Sinn Féin was impracticable; however, he opposed John Redmond's support of the British World War I effort.

Moran became a supporter of Sinn Féin in 1917. Moran supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty agreed in 1921-22, and saw the partition of Ireland as beneficial for a truly Irish culture in the Irish Free State. This caused a sea-change in his opinions; from now on Northern Ireland could be safely ignored, along with what he saw as the English evils of 'free thought, free trade, and free literature'.

Irish life and culture had to be protected from foreign influences, including the twin evils of the music hall and the English press. The new jazz music of the 1920s and other imported cultural elements were deprecated as 'imported debasement and rot'.

Moran is now seen by most people as a influential ideologue of his day, but modern Irish opinion has rejected his views, particularly since 1960.


  1. Maguire F., UCC online essay; ref language
  2. Maguire F., UCC online essay; ref games
  3. A 2003 analysis with comprehensive footnotes by Paul Delaney
  4. Delaney P., essay p.5
  5. Delaney essay page 1.
  6. Leader, 27 July 1901.
  7. Delaney essay, p.11
  8. D.P. Moran and the leader: writing an Irish Ireland through partition | Eire-Ireland:Journal of Irish Studies | Find Articles at BNET at

External links


  • Maume, Patrick. D. P. Moran (Dublin, Historical Association of Ireland, 1995)
  • Mathews, P.J. Revival (Field Day series vol. 12, Cork, 2003) passim; index p. 205 (ISBN 1-85918-365-4)
  • Moran, D.P. The Philosophy of Irish Ireland (first published 1905; 2006 reprint by UCD Pressmarker with introduction by Patrick Maume).

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