The Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) played an important role in the history of Ireland. It was the chief group advocating armed revolt during the campaign for Irish independence from the United Kingdom during the latter half of the nineteenth century. It was formed around 1850, and organised an abortive revolt in 1867. Although the IRB co-operated with Parnell's Irish Parliamentary Party (which eschewed violent action) in the 1870's and 1880's, it also organised a dynamite campaign in English cities.
Revitalised from about 1910, the IRB was the chief organising force between the Easter Rising of 1916, and was a major influence during the 1919-21 Irish War of Independence. Its president at that time was Michael Collins. The IRB split and effectively disappeared during the Irish Civil War in the Irish Free State that followed the partition of Ireland into the 26 counties of the Free State and the 6 counties of Northern Ireland
BBC History site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/easterrising/profiles/po17.shtml
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