Dromoland Castle was the birthplace and boyhood home of William Smith O’Brien, M.P. Despite his aristocratic background, Smith O’Brien fought militantly for the rights of oppressed Irish Catholic peasant farmers and led the Young Irelanders rebellion against the British authorities in 1848. He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, later exiled instead to Tasmania for his role in the revolt . He returned to Ireland in 1856; there is a statue of him in O’Connell Street, Dublin. He died in 1864.