The Rising of 1798

The insurrection long delayed in the hope of the promised aid from France, now broke out under the worst possible conditions. for success. Left without leaders, it is astonishing that it should have been confined to only a portion of the country and that the efforts of the counties that ‘rose’ were speedily suppressed. Between 24th and 27th May there were engagements with the military at Naas, Clane, Prosperous, Kilcullen and Monasterevin in Kildare, at Dunboyne and Tara in Meath, at Baltinglass in Wicklow, at Lucan, Rathfarnham and Tallaght in Dublin. The only other important engagements in Ulster were at Saintfield and Newtownards, where the insurgents were successful, and at Ballinahinch where Monroe and his United Men were defeated by General Nugent. News of those events came in due time to Tone in France, and made him frantic with anxiety and impatience to be with his comrades in Ireland. Tone was called to Paris to consult with the Ministers of War and Marine in the organisation of a small expedition. Wolfe Tone accompanied eight frigates under Commodore Bompard and 3000 men under General Hardy to Ireland. However they were set upon by the English fleet. Tone was not recognised at first but his disguise was soon upturned. He made a gallant figure as he stood before his judges in the uniform of a French Colonel, making his last profession of faith in his principles to which he had devoted all that was his to give. "From my earliest youth I have regarded the connection between Ireland and Great Britain as the curse of the Irish nation, and felt convinced, that while it lasted, this country would never be free or happy. In consequence, I determined to apply all the powers which my individual efforts could move, in order to separate the two countries. that Ireland was not able, of herself, to throw off the yoke, I knew. I therefore sought for aid wherever it was to be found.......Under the flag of the French Republic. After such sacrifices, in a cause which I have always considered as the cause of justice and freedom - it is no great effort at this day to add the sacrifice of my life".
Tone is buried at Bodenstown alongside his brother who had died for the same glorious cause a few weeks earlier.
And there, side by side, those two mangled bodies - each broken so cruelly in the conquerors murder machine - await the Resurrection - in the ‘green grave’ which Ireland cherishes as the most precious thing she owns.

Robert Emmet

Everybody knew that the war between France and England, to which the peace of Amiens had put a temporary cessation, would soon break out again; and it was common belief likewise that when the war did break out, an invasion by Bonaparte either of England or Ireland would be attempted. The United Irishmen, both on the continent and in Ireland therefore were prepared to sacrifice their just resentment against France for her failure to keep her engagements with them in ’98 and enter into a new alliance with her. The Agent of the United Irishmen in Paris, was Thomas Addis Emmet, who left Brussels for the French Capital early in 1803, to act in that capacity on definite instructions from the Provisional Government in Ireland. In the first place there was an absolute promise on the part of the French of a large expeditionary force to aid the Rising in Ireland. In the second there was an understanding with, and guarantees of co-operation from the revolutionary societies in England and Scotland. In the third, there were pledges from men of the highest social, military and political standing in Ireland to aid the movement with money, moral and other backing. If ever an effort for Irish Liberty seemed destined to succeed, it was that to which Robert Emmet found himself committed when he returned to Ireland, after his ‘Grand Tour’ on the continent, in the Autumn of 1802. His primary object was to get the country organised and armed, ready to co-operate with the French landing. Emmets own work was mainly confined to Dublin, but he was in close touch with the men of Carlow, Wicklow and Wexford. On the 16th July an explosion took place in a house in Patrick Street, which Emmet had taken as a depot for arms and explosives. This event, which made him regard the discovery of his plans as imminent, caused him to fix an early date for the Rising without waiting for the promised French help. Assurance came from all over the country that if Dublin rose the rest of Ireland would speedily follow. Saturday, the 23rd July was the day arranged for the Rising. But on the day appointed it was discovered that only a small fraction of the men expected to help had turned up. The romantic sequel of Robert Emmets story has given to the occurrences of the 23rd July an importance which the men who organised the conspiracy of which they were only an incident, did not recognise. One part of the plan, the Rising in Dublin, had miscarried, through no fault of Robert Emmets; but if the French had been true to their plighted word the rest of the country would have risen later, according to the plan, and the dream to which the gallant youth sacrificed fortune, life and love, might yet have come true. But the French failed their Irish allies once more, and Thomas Addis Emmet, though he still continued for a time his negotiations with the agents of the First Consul, had at length to convince himself that ‘Bonaparte was the worst enemy Ireland ever had’. As for his brother, Robert, when he saw the blood of Lord Kilwarden, he dispersed his followers and was determined to do nothing more until the promised French aid had arrived. To expedite its coming he sent Myles Byrne to France with an urgent message to his brother, Thomas Addis. Before Myles Bryne had arrived in Paris, Robert had been arrested at Harolds Cross, to whose dangerous neighbourhood he had been drawn by an overpowering desire to see once more his ‘bright love’ the exquisite Sarah Curran. On the 20th September the sacrifice was consummated. The brave youth was publicly beheaded on a Dublin street.

Daniel O’Connell

Throughout almost the first half of the nineteenth century Irelands history is reflected in the life of Daniel O’Connell. In Dublin he associated with the United Irishmen and shred their national sentiments. When the Emmet alarm burst on the country in 1803, he flew to arms to preserve the Constitution. He was one of the Lawyers Corps that was formed for defence of the realm against the assault of French principles. It was in 1808, that O’Connell first got marked prominence in Irish affairs. When in ’13 those Protestant champions of Catholic Emancipation, Grattan and Plunkett, had introduced in Parliament a Catholic Relief Bill which had every chance of passing, and which had the approval of the Irish Catholic aristocratic party and the English Catholics, O’Connell aroused Ireland against it because it was saddled with the objectionable veto and also gave to the British the right to supervise all documents passing between Rome and the Roman Catholic hierarchy in these islands. The passion of O’Connell, the people, and the prelates had the desired effect. The rights of the Irish church were no longer to be considered a negotiable security at Rome.

  Irish History