The Irish National Foresters
Náisiúnta na hÉireann in Irish) is an Irish friendly society.
The INF began in 1877 as a breakaway from the Ancient Order of
Foresters after political disagreements. The INF grew rapidly and soon
became the largest friendly society in Ireland. It supported Irish
nationalism and its constitution called for "government for Ireland by
the Irish people in accordance with Irish ideas and Irish aspirations".
By 1914 the order had spread worldwide and had a quarter of a million
members in over 1,000 branches. The influx of Irish labour into Scotland
in the 19th century saw the movement gain a foothold, first in the west
and later as far as the east coast.
With the establishment of the Irish Free State and the gradual
expansion of the social welfare system, the INF went into decline. Some
branches, particularly in Northern Ireland, continue to exist.
Images of Irish National Foresters, Carlow
supplied by Mr J.J. Woods. Source Mr M. Purcell c2207.
Click on image to enlarge
At Carlow Railway station, 1962:
Pat Purcell's wife, Maggie is third
from left and 4th is Esther Lyons. The men are Tommy Corcoran, Pat
Purcell, Christy Broderick, Liam Woods, Pado Redmond and Frank
Hutton, wearing the sash or collarette
Click on image to enlarge
Tullamore, Co. Offaly. 1964:
Back row (l to r):(? Wexford), George
Ramsbottom, (? Wexford), Christy Broderick, Pat Purcell, J. J.
Woods, Tommy Corcoran, three from Wexford.
Front: (? Wexford), Liam Woods, Tommy
Dooley and Pado Redmond.
The Carlow uniforms were reputed to
have been made circa 1860 for a Dublin branch and on its
dissolution the Carlow branch purchased them.
- St Patrick's Parade 1967
- This photograph is showing the Carlow Pipe Band and the
Carlow branch of the Foresters. the photograph was taken of
the St. Patrick's Day parade in 1967.
- Reading from left to right the Foresters are: Front row:
Pat Purcell, Tommy Corcoran, John Smith
- Second row: George Ramsbottom
- Third row: Dick Donovan, Christy Broderick, Liam Woods
- Fourth row: Martin Brophy, Pado Redmond, J. J. Woods
- Frank Hutton is directly behind Martin Brophy. Pat Purcell
is, of course, the man who collected the marvellous resource
that his nephew Michael who has transcribed for and placed on
- Source: J.J. Woods c.2012
The St.Patrick Brigade. Carlow
National Foresters badge
Painting of a National
Foresters plumed hat. This plumed hat* came from the
Carlow Branch of the Foresters, the St. Patrick Branch
National Foresters button
National Foresters plumed
- A decorative piece from the Irish National Foresters,
which can be found in the
Carlow County Military Museum. What makes it even more interesting is that this
article comes from the Carlow Branch of the society, The St.
With kind permission of
an anonymous donor
National Foresters Bicorne style hat
hat displayed *above on this page about the Foresters would
not have been the original one for the uniform. According to
F. Glenn Thompson, National Museum of Ireland Military
Historian and author of numerous articles, the hat would have
been a bicorne as per attached image. Also, since the Irish
National Foresters was only established in 1877 the Carlow
uniforms would probably only date from then or some time
later. Apparently they were originally owned by Branch 9 in
In the 1960s I was told they were about 120 years old
but with hindsight I don't think that was a realistic time
frame. The 'decorative piece' is the bottom of a sash. All the
officers had sashes embroidered with their role, e.g. High
Chief Ranger, Sub High Chief Ranger, Treasurer, Secretary,
Senior and Junior Woodwards, and Senior and Junior Beadles.
The rank and file wore a plain sash.
Source: J.J. Woods c.2012
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Pipe Band
- The information contained in these
pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others
researching their ancestors in Ireland.
- © 2001 County Carlow