1798 in Carlow

The eighteenth century was a period of great political and social upheaval in Europe. In Ireland, the people had suffered under the ravages of Cromwell and the Penal Laws. They were also subject to the Tithe System through which a tax was paid to the Established Church of Ireland for the support of its clergy. Resentment was growing to the tithes and this resulted in agrarian violence and unrest. The French Revolution of 1789 inspired ideals of rebellion and liberty in young Irish people.

The United Irishmen founded in 1791 by Theobald Wolfe Tone and other young radicals promoted and upheld these revolutionary ideals. This society through its leaders, particularly Lord Edward Fitzgerald organised the 1798 Rebellion with the aim of attaining independence for Ireland. Fitzgerald's arrest and subsequent death together with the arrest of other leaders ended the plans for a national offensive. Instead rebellion broke out in a number of locations , chiefly in Meath, Kildare and Wicklow , followed by Carlow and Wexford and in Wicklow all during the month of May, 1798. Rebellion broke out in Antrim and Down in the month of June.

The Battle of Carlow was but a short offensive which resulted in a massacre of hundreds of local rebels on the 25th of May 1798. This module examines the Rebellion of 1798 in the context of Carlow town and county. It will provide a short description of Carlow town at the end of the eighteenth century. The role of prominent local figures in the Rebellion will be discussed. Eyewitness accounts of events and battles will be examined together with a discussion on the aftermath and its effects on the local population. A review of the Centenary and Bicentenary celebrations will include references to important commemorative monuments in the county. The module will conclude with a short bibliography on the 1798 Rebellion in Carlow.

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