This is the first full-length study of Irish Ribbonism, tracing the development of the movement from its origins in the Defender movement of the 1790s to the latter part of the century when the remnants of the Ribbon tradition found solace in a new movement: the quasi-constitutional affinities of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Placing Ribbonism firmly within Ireland's long tradition of secret societies, this book shows that, due to its diversity and adaptability, it stood apart from other similar bodies and showed remarkable longevity not matched by its contemporaries. The book describes the wider context of Catholic struggles for improved standing, explores traditions and networks for association, and it describes external impressions. Drawing on rich archives in the form of state surveillance records, `show trial' proceedings and press reportage, the book shows that Ribbonism was a sophisticated and durable underground network drawing together various strands of the rural and urban Catholic populace in Ireland and Britain. Ribbon Societies in Nineteenth-Century Ireland and Britain is a fascinating study that demonstrates Ribbonism operated more widely than previous studies have revealed.