Myles Byrne, United Irishman and officer in Napoleon’s Irish Legion, was born in Monaseed, Co. Wexford , on March 20 , 1780: he was only a boy when he witnessed the attacks by the yeoman militia and other mercenaries which England let loose in Wexford in 1798. But he took his place in the United Irishmen and fought through the Wexford campaign , joined Michael Dwyer afterwards in Wicklow , later came to Dublin and was a comrade and friend of Robert Emmet in the continuation of ’98 which failed so sadly in 1803. He was sent by Emmet (then on the run) to France to seek assistance from Thomas Addis Emmet and the other exiled United Irishmen. He went with no hesitation ,in the hope that he would return in the ranks of a conquering army – but it was not to be ….
The 18-years young 1798 rebel leader from Monaseed,escaped to France where he played a prominent role in the Napoleonic wars of Europe . In the 1850’s he wrote his memoirs of the 1798 Rising ,in which he was critical of the “gentlemany nature” of the rebel approach, believing them to have been “too willing to negotiate and to accept(British)government protections and non-existent government good faith” .
In Montmartre (“Hill of Martyrs”) Cemetery in Paris lie the remains of Myles Byrne , United Irishman,Wexford man and survivor of Oulart Hill and Vinegar Hill in 1798.The inscription on his gravestone reads~ ” Here lies Myles Byrne,Lieutenant Colonel in the service of France. Officer of the legion of Honour. Knight of St Louis,born at Monaseed in the county Wexford in Ireland,20 March 1780. Died at Paris,the 24th January 1862,his long life was distinguished by the constant integrity and loyalty of his character and by his high-minded principles.Sincerely attached to Ireland,his native land,he gave faithful service to France,the country of his adoption. “
Myles Byrne was a “terrorist” in his day – a “dissident”, dismissed and hounded by the ‘establishment’. But , like todays ‘dissidents’, he and his comrades stayed on the Republican path and ensured that the ‘flame’ stayed alight for future generations.
Republican Sinn Féin are doing the same today , ensuring that future generations will have a first-class ‘guide’ to refer too , in assisting them to recognise the ‘true path’ and the many false cul-de-sac ‘shortcuts’ that may , indeed , lead to an ‘easier’ political life , but offer no proper solution to ending British interference in Irish affairs.
Thanks for reading,