On this day, May 24, 1798, the Irish Rebellion of 1798 led by the United Irishmen against British rule began. The multi-religious Society of United Irishmen was founded as a liberal political organisation in eighteenth century Ireland that initially sought Parliamentary reform. Inspired by the American Revolution and allied with Revolutionary France, however, it evolved into a revolutionary republican organisation. On of the results of the failed rebellion was the British decision to abolish the Irish Parliament through the Act of Union and take even more direct control of Ireland.
On this day, May 29, 1798, British Major-General Sir James Duff and his forces attacked 200 to 500 unarmed Irish rebels. It is known as the Gibbet Rath Massacre.
The Statue of St. Brigid in Kildare's Market Square is dedicated to the victims of the Gibbet Rath Massacre.
Thomas E. Keefe
Assistant Professor of Humanities,