#OTD in 1798 – United Irishmen Rebellion: Battle of Carlow begins – executions of suspected rebels at Carnew and at Dunlavin Green take place.

The Rebellion continues with a number of bloody skirmishes throughout the country involving ill-trained, enthusiastic rebels fighting professional English soldiers. The Battle of Carlow sees an estimated 600 Irish rebels killed with only nominal English casualties. Twenty-eight prisoners are executed by the local garrison in the British army barracks base of Carnew Castle, Co Wicklow and thirty-six suspected rebel prisoners are executed by the British military in Dunlavin, Co Wicklow.

The executions appear to have been motivated by simple revenge and intimidation, rather than fear of the prisoners and the ongoing rebellion. Though the public exhibition may have been designed to intimidate and discourage rebels in the immediate area from taking to the field, news of the executions, as well as those at Carnew spread rapidly and played a part in the rapid mobilisation of rebels in north Co Wexford over the next few days.

The story of Dunlavin Green was quickly commemorated in the famous ballad “Dunlavin Green”, which tells the story from the view of a sympathetic local eyewitness. In 1998, a commemorative stone was installed in St Nicholas of Myra Roman Catholic church, adjacent to the green.

Photo: Carnew Castle from All Saints’ Churchyard, Co Wicklow

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