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, April 24, 1916, The Easter Rising, also known as the Éirí Amach na Cásca, began in Dublin, Ireland (Baile Átha Cliath, Eire). Members of the Irish Volunteers — led by schoolmaster and Irish language activist Patrick Pearse, joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly, along with 200 members of Cumann na mBan — seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed the Irish Republic independent of the United Kingdom.
A total of 3,430 men and 79 women were arrested, although most were subsequently released. In a series of courts martial, 90 people were sentenced to death. Fifteen of those (including all seven signatories of the Proclamation of 1916) were executed at Kilmainham Gaol by firing squad (among them the seriously wounded James Connolly who was shot while tied to a chair due to his shattered ankle).
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,