Pat Purcell Papers
Irish National Foresters
The Irish National Foresters
(Coillteoirí 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. 99
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.
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_National_Foresters
The St.Patrick Brigade. Carlow
National Foresters Bicorne style hat
The 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 Dublin.
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