Battle reenactments will mark anniversary of United Irishmen’s 1798 rebellion

Battle reenactments will mark anniversary of United Irishmen’s 1798 rebellion

PIVOTAL battles which took place during the 1798 Irish rebellion against British rule will be reenacted this summer.

The 225th anniversary of the uprising by the Society of United Irishmen will be marked through a series of events being held in Wexford – where the rising, which ultimately failed, saw most of its successes.

Organsied by Wexford County Council, Rebellion 225 will feature public talks, guided walks and a summer school as well as reenactments of some of the historic battles which took place during the rebellion.

Pictured at a previous reenactment of the 1798 Vinegar Hill Battle, the Redcoats battling through Enniscorthy Town (PIC: Patrick Browne)

Founded by Theobold Wolfe Tone in October 1791, with branches in Dublin and Belfast, the Society of United Irishmen hoped to pave a peaceful path to garner more independence and democracy for Ireland, which was then under British rule.

But their peaceful progress was stalled following the outbreak of war between Britain and Revolutionary France in 1793.

When the British Government realised the United Irishmen sympathised with the revolution, the organisation was banned and a crackdown on its membership saw Wolfe Tone driven into exile in America.

Forced to operate underground, the United Irishmen now sought to break all ties with Britain to create a fully independent Irish republic.

Their 1798 rebellion was planned with this in mind and, while it was ultimately unsuccessful, much of the ground gained by the rebels during the battle was won in county Wexford.

Significant battles took place across the county at Oulart Hill, the Three Rocks, Wexford, New Ross, Carrigbyrne and Vinegar Hill, some of which will be reenacted in the weeks ahead.

Lilly Anna Holohan plays a young rebel at a battle emcampment during a 1798 rebellion reenactment in Wexford (PIC: Patrick Browne)

Despite their ultimate defeat, the uprising, which lasted from May 27 to June 21, remains widely deemed as a significant moment in Irish history and the nation’s battle for independence.

Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council, Councillor George Lawlor said: “This summer marks the 225th anniversary of a pivotal period in Ireland and in particular Wexford’s history.

“This series of commemorations gives us time to reflect on that history through events which will share the story of the historic rebellion launched by the United Irishmen as they attempted to overthrow British Crown rule and establish the Irish Republic.”

Battle re-enactor Ray Murphy is pictured with his granddaughter Emily on their way to Vinegar Hill in Wexford (PIC: Patrick Browne)

Other events taking place include an immersive experience for visitors at a Rebellion Day battle encampment.

Director of Services with Wexford County Council, Liz Hore said: “We will also look at the influences of the French Revolution and through a series of public talks, guided walks and commemorations share Co. Wexford’s story of 1798.”

The anniversary events will culminate with The Longest Day on June 21, where a public commemoration of the 1798 Battle of Vinegar Hill will take place on the hill itself.