William "Smith O'Brien" was a landed Protestant gentleman in County Clare whose family traced its ancestry to Brian Boru. He became an Irish nationalist Member of Parliament and a leader in Daniel O'Connell's movement to repeal the Act of Union with Great Britain. With O'Connell's imprisonment in 1844, the Repeal Association fell into disarray, and the more militantly radical Young Ireland movement gained authority, led by Smith O'Brien and others. It formed the Irish Confederation in 1847 and staged an abortive armed uprising in 1848.

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Engraving of William Smith O'Brien, date unknown, held in the National Museum of Australia, Canberra. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The Irish tricolor flag, modeled on the French one, which Young Irelanders received from French republicans in Paris in 1848.

Smith O'Brien's statue in its present location on O'Connell Street. Source: Wikimedia Commons.