Tynan, Patrick Joseph Percy (1851–1936), revolutionary, was born in March 1851 in Gorey, Co. Wexford, son of Patrick Tynan, shopkeeper, and Maryanne Tynan (née Lavelle). The family lived at 35 Main St., Gorey, and there were at least two other children: Harry Tynan later worked as a doctor in India and James Tynan as a clergyman in Chile. Around 1863, the family moved to Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire), Co. Dublin. The Tynans were Fenian sympathisers, and during the mid 1860s IRB men regularly used their home as a meeting place, but this ceased after two Fenian activists were arrested there in December 1866. In 1869 the family established a bookshop and lending library at 74 Georges St. Upper. On the outbreak of the Franco–Prussian war in 1870, Patrick enlisted in the French army. By the late 1870s he had left the army and moved to London, where he worked as a commercial traveller and lived at 4 Merrow Villas, Avondale Road, Peckham Rye. In January 1882 he became a member of a volunteer unit, the 13th Middlesex, otherwise known as the Queen's Own Westminster Volunteers.
Around the same time he was enrolled in the ‘Invincible’ conspiracy, a Fenian splinter group established to assassinate government officials, and was delegated to act as an envoy between its London leaders and Dublin members. Up until the summer of 1882 he was engaged in the conspiracy, which was responsible for the Phoenix Park murders (6 May 1882) and several other attempted assassinations, and distributed copies of the ‘no-rent manifesto’ in rural Leinster. During the trials of the Invincibles in early 1883, the crown prosecutors produced a photograph of an unnamed man (Tynan) in court as exhibit number one, but careless press reporting and insinuations made in court by James Carey (qv) led the general public to believe, inaccurately, that the man in question was the leader, or ‘Number One’, of the conspiracy; a fact that Tynan himself later traded on. After the trials began, he fled first to Paris and subsequently to New York, arriving in May and settling with his family at 191 West Baltic St., Brooklyn. Despite many rumours that he would be extradited, no such warrant was issued by the British government. He joined an American state militia unit, and later served as a colonel and chief of engineers in the Irish American Military Union (est. 1892), a confederation of state militia units composed mostly of Irish-Americans.
Between 1887 and 1893, for his own amusement, he wrote a lengthy critique on Irish politics but a friend subsequently persuaded him to publish it as a book, The Irish National Invincibles and their times (1894), trading on his supposed identity as the ‘Number One’ of the Invincible conspiracy. Apparently unknown to Tynan, his friend had secretly provided a copy of the manuscript to the London Times and had received the necessary funding from that paper, which desired its publication because Tynan's controversial claim that the Phoenix Park murders were a logical result of the political agitation of Charles Stewart Parnell (qv) could serve to vindicate The Times for having brought its charges against Parnell in 1887. As the book's sales were poor, however, it failed to serve its propagandist purpose, either for Tynan or The Times. An original manuscript copy of the most controversial chapter in the book, which claimed that several members of the Irish party approved of the conspiracy, is now held in the papers of Sir Robert Anderson (qv) at the PRO, London. This chapter was included in the American edition but omitted from the English edition because The Times and Anderson were considering using it as evidence to help prosecute members of the Irish party at a future date.
Since 1892 (or possibly earlier) Tynan was a member of the United Irishmen of America, a small revolutionary organisation in New York that acted as a secret clique within Clan na Gael. In August 1896 he set sail for France with a team of extremists who planned to disrupt Queen Victoria's upcoming jubilee celebrations by causing various explosions in Britain. As the plot originated with a British agent provocateur, all concerned were quickly seized. Tynan was arrested in Boulogne on 12 September and held in French police custody, as the British government had issued a warrant for his extradition. The French authorities refused to grant his extradition on 13 October and he was released two days later. After his release, he befriended Maud Gonne (qv), who had volunteered to organise his defence, before he returned to New York. Discredited in Irish-American revolutionary circles, he attended Irish-American nationalist conventions only occasionally in his later years. After the formation of the Irish Free State, he often sent small sums of money to Maud Gonne MacBride to aid her campaign to secure the release of all IRA prisoners. He died 17 November 1936 at 166 West 87th St., New York, the home of his unmarried daughter, Celei, where he had lived for many years. His wife, Sarah Tynan, whom he married in London, was the daughter of a small hotelier in Kingstown and died during the 1900s. They had at least eight children, seven of whom survived him, including five daughters and two sons: Brandon, a playwright and the president of the Catholic Actors Guild of New York, and Joseph, a professor in the City College of New York.