The most important tactic employed during the ranch war was cattle driving, in which cattle were illegally removed from the graziers land at night and taken to a secret market on the land of neighbouring farmers, or most often simply left to wander along country roads. Although cattle driving became the most popular method of operation, other forms of intimidation were used -the burning of hayricks, spiking meadows, destruction of turf, damaging of machinery, mutilation of horses and cows, and firing into dwelling houses
In the early twentieth century new, more nationalist, political forces also emerged. The commemoration of the centenary of the 1798 rebellion and the organisation of protest against the royal visits of Queen Victoria and Edward VII resulted in the formation of political pressure groups like the Dungannon Clubs. In September 1900 Dublin-born Arthur Griffith established an organisation called Cumann na nGaedheal – ‘Society of Gaels’-to unite advanced nationalist/separatist groups and clubs. He had left school early to work as a printer before joining the Gaelic League. For a time he lived in Naas as his father was a compositor printer with The Kildare Observer. By advocating economic protectionism to develop Irish industry, Griffith looked forward to planning for an independent Ireland’s future.
In November 1905 Griffith founded Sinn Fein (SF) -‘Ourselves alone’. Eamon de Valera later said, ‘Sinn Fein means literally “We ourselves.” It was chosen as a motto of self-reliance.’ Griffith had noted that Hungary won its independence by refusing to send members to the imperial parliament in Vienna, rejecting its claims to legislate for Hungary’s internal affairs. He advocated a dual monarchy for Ireland, similar to that of Austro-Hungary, with separate legislatures for England and Ireland. However, most Irish nationalists did not wish to see Ireland break all ties with Britain….