Fr. Mogue Kearns

Fr. Mogue Kearns was an ancestor of Anthony's and played a big part in the 1798 rising in Ireland. Here is an interesting account of some of his adventures as sent to me by Karen Bachner a fan of Anthony's from the USA. This account was often repeated during our commemorations of the 1798 rising and was not contradicted by any of the notable historians at that time.


Mogue Kearns was born at Kiltealy, on the slopes of the Blackstairs mountains, into a farming family. According to a story current in 1798, Kearns was a student in Paris at the height of the French Revolution and was hanged from a lamp-post by the mob. However, the weight of his body bent the lamp-post and his toes touched the ground. He was then rescued by a doctor who brought him back to consciousness.

After his ordination, was appointed curate at Balyna, on the Kildare-Meath border. He was not long in the parish when he was found to be politically active and was dismissed by Bishop Delaney. On his return from Kildare, he took up residence in Enniscorthy. Kearns joined the Insurgents from the outset and was prominent in the first battle of Enniscorthy on 28th May.

From the camp at Vinegar Hill, Kearns led a detachment of 2,000 poorly-armed insurgents northwards to attack the garrison at Bunclody. On the morning of 1st June, they halted outside the town. Kearns ignored the advice of Miles Byrne (as reported in Myles Byrne's Memoirs) to send a detachment to the Carlow road to cut off the garrison's retreat and ordered the attack to begin. The garrison retreated, but, meeting reinforcements, returned and counter-attacked. The insurgent forces suffered heavy losses and had to retreat to Enniscorthy.

In the battle of Enniscorthy and Vinegar Hill, Kearns again played a prominent part but was wounded and had to be carried by the retreating insurgents towards Wexford. Kearns took refuge until his wound had healed and then joined a large number of insurgents who were hiding in Killoughram Woods. The Protestant gentleman, Anthony Perry of Inch, and the Catholic priest, Mogue Kearns were executed in Edenderry, County Offaly, on 12th July and buried together in the cemetery of Monasteries: A large Celtic cross now marks their grave.