IT may be less than km from Belfast to Dublin, but Gerry Adams was a long distance from the inhospitable interior of Antrim police station last night when he declared to supporters: "Sinn Fein's commitment is to build the peace. A few days ago he was inside its solid walls, undergoing 33 successive taped interviews relating to the abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of Jean McConville; while, outside the building, the story of his arrest whirled worldwide amid fevered speculation about his future as Sinn Fein president. But there were no doubts, not a scintilla of speculation in the stuffed room in the hotel on what Mary Lou McDonald called the "appropriately" named Fenian Street. The mood — even before the party leader arrived — was ebullient. Tails are up in Sinn Fein. A series of opinion polls are indicating that they are set to have a record number of their candidates elected to local councils and also to the European Parliament. Euro candidates such as Matt Carty and Lynn Boylan are seriously in the hunt, poised to snaffle seats from the mainstream parties.
I am an explorer, seeking discoveries long uncharted, unchronicled — people, places, events, missed or dismissed over the years. By the way, I am also an academic PhD, history and retired university professor of 32 years who has written thirteen books on Ireland, mostly Dublin. Admittedly, a rather unconventional social historian in that I do not restrict myself to archival research or traditional topics. Outfitted always with my urban exploratory gear: backpack, small Sony tape recorders, street maps, cameras, notebook, pens and collapsible umbrella, and comfortable, durable walking shoes for hard pavement and slick cobblestones. For a half a century — and still at it now at age 78 — I have explored from the Coombe through the old Liberties to the northside tenement rows.
Members were commonly known as " Fenians ". O'Mahony, who was a Gaelic scholar , named his organisation after the Fianna , the legendary band of Irish warriors led by Fionn mac Cumhaill. The Fenian Brotherhood trace their origins back to s.