Rebellions: Memoir, Memory and 1798
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REVISED AND EXTENDED SECOND EDITION ‘Rebellions is an autobiography, an astonishingly clear-sighted and lucid account of a tragic and disputed episode in Irish history and a polemic. The book's importance, originality and real value arise from the way the personal, the political and the scholarly are each offered as passionate witness and not separated. The rebellion of 1798 in Wexford and its two hundredth anniversary have found a brilliant and fearless chronicler. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the arguments about how the past cut deeply into the way we live in Ireland now.'- Colm Tóibín. This is a new, extended edition of an unusual book, which generated considerable interest and controversy when it was first published in 2004, and won the Ewart Biggs Memorial Prize the following year. In its original form it had three elements, a memoir giving the author's intellectual and political formation and his family connection to 1798 in Wexford, a critique of the bicentenary of the rebellion and of writing about it, and a detailed account of the pivotal battle of New Ross and the massacre nearby at Scullabogue. The new edition adds a fourth layer of exploration, analysing the reception of the book, by historians, by those involved in the bicentenary, and by the many individuals who wrote to the author. The most unusual response came from the Ryan Commission on child abuse, which explored with the author his experiences as a junior member of the Irish Christian Brothers, and quoted him extensively in its report. The new chapter focuses on the theme common to all of these responses, the conflict between emotional identification with a community's history and the evidence for contrary realities.
charge at Fethard, and his first target was William Jordan, servant to the Reverend John Kennedy. The farmer Patrick Dobbyn of Oldcourt, Adamstown and his three sons were taken by their neighbours Thomas Kavanagh and William Power. Likewise, Richard Grandy was taken near his farm at Kilbride by a group of neighbours, nine of whom he named.53 Houghran and Colfer both claimed to be acting under the orders of Michael Devereux, a prosperous farmer-middleman from Battlestown, between the camp and the
Illustrative of their Past and Present State with regard to Literature, Education and Oral Instruction, 2nd edn (Edinburgh and London 1830), pp. 220, 230. 62. MSS book embossed ‘Thomas Dunne Courtnacuddy’ on the front and ‘1875’ on the back. Unpaginated. In private possession. 63. de Vál, ‘Oidhreacht Ghaelach’, pp. 96–100. 64. N. Williams (ed.), Riocard Bairéad: Amhráin (Dublin 1978). 65. B. Ó Buachalla, ‘Irish Jacobitism and Irish Nationalism: The Literary Evidence’ in M. O’Dea and K. Whelan
pp. 1–13. Dunne, T., ‘Popular Ballads, Revolutionary Rhetoric and Politicisation’ in Gough, H. and Dickson, D. (eds), Ireland and the French Revolution (Dublin 1993). Dunne, T., ‘1798: Memory, History, Commemoration’, Journal of the Wexford Historical Society, no. 16, 1996–7, pp. 5–39. Dunne, T., ‘Dangers Lie in the Romanticising of 1798’, The Irish Times, 6/1/98. Dunne, T., ‘Subaltern voices? Poetry in Irish Popular Insurgency and the 1798 Rebellion’, Eighteenth Century Life, 22, N.S. 3,
courts-martial arising from the Scullabogue massacre make it one of the best-documented incidents of the Rebellion in Wexford. Ordinary rebels also emerge as complex figures, sometimes even as sympathetic ones, in the depositions of ‘suffering loyalists’ seeking compensation after the Rebellion, and in the diaries or later accounts of loyalist prisoners. The main official archive is in two related collections, the ‘Rebellion Papers’ and the ‘State of the Country Papers’, and, as Deirdre Lindsay
sectarian dimensions of the 1798 Rebellion he showed the continued significance of the southern boundary of the 1620 plantation.44 But such feelings extended below the level of the descendants of former Gaelic proprietors, now middlemen, and had become part of the sense of grievance of the less well off in relation to tithes, rents or changes in custom. To quote Whelan again, ‘at all levels of Wexford Catholic society we find memories of this Cromwellian original sin’.45 In a similar vein,