One of the many nationalist secret societies to emerge in Ireland in the 19th century appeared in Co. Leitrim in 1879. They called themselves Invincibles but they were not the typical local nationalist grouping. The thing that made them stand out was their exclusive use of assassination against the ruling elite. The Leitrim branch are said to have carried out a number of such political assassinations in the county and beyond, including judges and landlords. A later Dublin grouping, Irish National Invincibles, that were inspired by them, infamously staged what has become known as the ‘Phoenix Park Murders’ in 1882.

It’s always been believed the original Invincibles took their name from another group from Ireland’s prehistory with strong connections to Co. Leirim. Myths describe these Invincibles as shape shifting immortals descended from the Tuatha DeDanaan. One theory about them is that instead of the narrow light spectrum and limited consciousness we experience today they are said to have somehow retained or tapped into an awareness of the infinite spectrum of human consciousness. The Salmon of Knowledge story is thought to be a legacy of this. They too had enemies and used assassination against them. Supposedly because they could see the true nature of these enemies and knew they could not be reasoned with, this left them with no option but to kill.

The first assassination cult in the modern era was founded by Hassan-i-Sabbah (1950s – 1124), pictured. He was a Persian missionary who is said to have found some secret knowledge while travelling outside his own country that left him with no choice but to engage his enemies in this way. (Stephen Rennicks)


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