The 1798 Rebellion

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The 1798 Rebellion
The United Irishmen: Revolution in
Ireland
The United Irishmen
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Inspired by the revolutions in France and
America. Founded in 1791.
Wanted to unite “Protestant, Catholic and
Dissenter” to create an Irish Republic free
of Britain.
Leaders were liberal Protestants:
Theobald Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy
McCracken, Thomas Russell, Thomas
Drennan. They had travelled abroad and
been inspired by the French Revolution.
The British administration in Dublin Castle
regarded them with great suspicion. After
war broke out between Britain and France
in 1793, the United Irishmen were
declared an illegal organisation. They
became a secret society, dedicated to
creating a Republic by force.
The Rising in Leinster
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Due to confusion, the Rising did not
happen in Dublin as planned. Although
Wolfe Tone had succeeded in getting help
from France, bad weather prevented the
ships from landing.
There was no coordination between the
Dublin leadership and the provinces.
Government forces easily beat the rebels
in Kildare, Carlow, Wicklow and Meath.
In Wexford, people were infuriated by the
execution without trial of 35 United
Irishmen, and by the burning of the
church at Boolavogue. Led by the parish
priest of Boolavogue, Fr. John Murphy, the
rebels defeated the British at Oulart Hill.
They captured Enniscorthy and Wexford,
but could not capture New Ross. They
retreated to Vinegar Hill near Enniscorthy
Fr. John Murphy,
leader of he
Rebellion in
Wexford
The Rising in Ulster
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The Rising in Ulster was mainly a
Presbyterian rising. The military
commanders were Henry Joy McCracken
and Henry Monro, a descendant of
General Monro, who had been defeated
by Eoghan Roe O’Neill at Benburb.
The British forces, aided by the Orange
Order, which had been set up as an
organisation to protect Protestant
priviliges, defeated the Ulster rising at a
battle at Ballynahinch, 12 km from Belfast.
Henry Monro was hanged before his
family at his own front door.
The modern Orange Order
marching on the 12th of July.
They helped the British forces
defeat the United Irishmen
The end of the Rising
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The British Forces under General Lake
wiped out the United Irishmen at Vinegar
Hill. Fr. Murphy was racked, flogged and
hanged. He was beheaded and his body
was burned. The British forces made his
parishioners heave the windows and
doors of the Catholic church open so the
smell of his burnng body would fill the
church.
After Vinegar Hill, the United Irishmen of
Wexford murdered 70 unarmed
Protestant prisoners, piking and burning
them to death. In revenge, the Yeomanry
(the mainly Protestant militia) murdered,
plundered and pitch-capped many
Catholics. General Cornwallis, the British
Lord Lieutenant, was furious and tried to
stop them, but he was not very successful.
Atrocities by both sides
Unarmed Protestant men, women
and children were piked and burned
to death by the rebels after Vinegar
Hill
A Yeomanry officer pitchcapping a United Irish
prisoner.
Results of the 1798 Rebellion
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Wolfe Tone committed suicide in his jail cell,
rather than be hanged by the British. Many
other United Irish leaders were hanged or
deported to Australia.
Although the United Irishmen had hoped to
unite Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter,
memories of the atrocities carried out during
the Rising led to a great increase in sectarian
bitterness. Frightened by Presbyterian
participation in the Rising, the Orange Order
began to pose as the champions of all
Protestants, and to preach an increasing
“Protestant vs. Catholic” message.
The Rising persuaded the British government
to abolish the Irish parliament in the Act of
Union of 1801. Henceforth, Ireland would
send 100 members to the British House of
Commons.
Crest of the United
Irishmen
The United Irishmen were
the first secret Irish
Republican movement
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