ON THIS DATE (4TH JULY) 220 YEARS AGO : IRISH REBEL BYRNE AT BALLYGULLEN, WEXFORD.
‘Miles Byrne was born at Ballylusk, in the parish of Kilanerin near Monaseed in County Wexford. He became involved in the United Irishmen with Anthony Perry of Inch who was the chief organiser in the area. At the age of eighteen he participated in the 1798 Rising at Vinegar Hill Enniscorthy, Arklow and the last battle in County Wexford at Ballygullen on July 4, 1798 (220 years ago on this date).
Following the rising, he went on the run in the Wicklow Mountains and afterwards worked as clerk in a Dublin timber yard where his half-brother Edward employed him as foreman from 1799 to 1803. There he met Robert Emmet. He was in command of the Wexford men (a group which intended becoming involved in Emmet’s rising but never did so) stationed at Coal Quay, Dublin, on July 23rd, 1803. Sometime between the failure of the 1803 Rising and before his arrest, Emmet sent him to Paris to support his brother Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet.
When the Irish Legion was formed by Napoleon he joined with the rank of Sous-Lieutenant ; later he was promoted to Lieutenant and later to the rank of Captain of the Grenadiers. He fought in the Napoleonic campaign (1804 – 1815) and was retired with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel when the British Government forced the dismissal of the officers of the Irish Legion on half pay and disbanded the Legion. He received the Cross of Officer of Legion of Honour from Louis Phillipe on July 21st, 1832.
He retired in 1835 after thirty-two years and seventeen campaigns in the French army. He died peacefully in his sleep on January 24th, 1862 aged 82 years and is buried at Montmarte cemetery. His memoirs were published in Paris in three volumes by his widow in 1863. They were reprinted in 1997. Among the highlights of the memoirs are detailed accounts of Emmet’s home made rockets and ammunition, the well-organised plans for revolt and a great description of the Dublin working-men who formed the large part of his army. John Mitchel who visited him when he was eighty years old described him as ‘one of those rare beings who never grow old’…’ (from here.)
‘Republished here is ‘Some Notes of an Irish Exile of 1798’ : Being the Chapters from the Memoirs of Miles Byrne Relating to Ireland published in Dublin by Maunsel & Co., in 1907. This publication was taken from Byrne’s complete memories, which had been edited by Byrne’s wife and published in Paris in three volumes the year after his death in 1863. In 301 printed pages, ‘Some Notes of an Irish Exile of 1798’ treat on Byrne’s involvement as as a leader of the United Irishmen during some of the bloodiest fighting of the Rising in Wicklow and Wexford, through to his encounters with Robert Emmet at the end of the Rebellion.
Miles Byrne was born at Ballylusk, Monaseed, Co. Wexford in 1780 and like many of the leaders of the United Irishmen in 1798 was extremely young – Byrne himself had turned just eighteen and had already been involved in preparations for the Rising with Anthony Perry of Inch, the chief organiser in the area. Byrne participated in all of the major battles of the 1798 Rising in counties Wicklow and Wexford, including those at Oulart, Clough, Vinegar Hill, Enniscorthy, Arklow and the last battle in County Wexford, at Ballygullen in 4th July 1798..’ (from here.)
Miles/Myles Byrne, United Irishman and officer in Napoleon’s Irish Legion, was born in Monaseed, Co. Wexford, on the 20th March, 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 1798 which failed so sadly in 1803. He was sent by Emmet (who was 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. In the 1850’s he wrote his memoirs of the 1798 Rising, in which he was critical of the “gentlemanly 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” (sounds familiar).
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.’ It was on this date (4th July) 220 years ago that Miles Byrne once again stood his ground against British forces in Ireland.
‘NOTE WELL WHAT MR. E. KELLY SAID IN 1916′.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.
CHAIRMAN (Mr Patrick Callan) : “The majority of the Irish people are with John Redmond and his party and I think we should approve of what Mr Kelly said.”
MR. WARD : “We should go a little further and draft a resolution condemning the action of those rebels that created the disturbance and destruction.”
CHAIRMAN : “It is the ring leaders I would go for,” to which a Mr. McHugh replied that it was not fair to criticise schoolteachers behind their backs.
MR. KELLY : “In my opinion on a lot of men in high positions, the blood of these innocent men will fall. I am sorry to stand here as a Roman Catholic and have it to say, but I don’t care if priest or minister reads it, that the blood of these young men should be left on those responsible for it.”
‘1169’ comment – what a self-serving bunch of politically ignorant slibhins – not one word between them in relation to the true cause of the conflict in this country, the British military and political presence. And unfortunately, that type are prevalent today, too.
(Next – ‘America Propping Up The Empire’, from the same source.)
NEWS, COMMENTS ETC.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.
‘AN CUMANN CABHRAC.
Returns are still coming in for the National Collection to support the dependents of republican prisoners. For various reasons the collection arranged for Christmas Day was delayed in some areas with the result that returns for these areas are only now coming to hand.
We continue the list of contributions received so far but, since to list them parish by parish would take up far too much space, we are grouping them into districts and hope that this will meet the wishes of the local organisers.
One point the collection has definitely made clear – the Armagh and Omagh raids struck a very responsive chord in the hearts of our people in every part of the country so that we hear from every area – ‘The collection was successful beyond our greatest hopes…the people were eager to contribute, anxious to show their support for the national demand : “The British forces in Ireland must be got out!” ‘… (MORE LATER.)
VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE…
A cafe at Drumcree and the insights it offers into the Orangemen who frequent it. Carl Whyte paid a visit. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.
What appears to be a generally paranoid way of looking at things extends also to the Republic (sic – the author is referencing the Free State) – “Controlled by priests and the Vatican…” : they would never accept a united Ireland as “the Protestant population had been decimated..” Those present in the cafe are shocked to learn that the leader of a medium-sized opposition party in the Republic (sic – see above) is a Protestant but still they claim that living there has been dangerous for Protestants – “Farmers were murdered and buried in ditches and the government said that they’d gone to Australia (!?) but they were killed and their land given to Catholics..”
The visits of the Taoiseach, President McAleese and Brian Cowan also irritated the Orangemen. Victor, a farmer from the local area, cannot understand what business they had in the affairs of “a foreign nation” , and neither can he understand why anyone here would have an affinity with the ‘Republic’ – “We have our own foreign minister in London and our own Prime Minister and if people don’t like it then they should go and live in the Republic..”, says Victor. He is equally critical of the local MP, ‘First Minister’ David Trimble who, he claims, “will be gone this time next year.”
Trimble and his wife were subjected to horrific abuse at the count for the Westminster election last year and many predict that his party will suffer at the polls to the benefit of Ian Paisley’s ‘Democrat Unionist Party’ – “Trimble sold out the Protestant people ; and the people of Northern Ireland (sic) deserve better than that traitor,” says Victor. The irony of the claim that the people of ‘Northern Ireland’ deserved better, despite the fact that a majority voted for the ‘Good Friday Agreement’, is lost on those in the cafe…
(‘1169’ comment – and the ‘irony’ of bluntly claiming that “a majority voted for the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ “ without mentioning that 19% of those entitled to vote in the Occupied Six Counties did not bother to do so is, apparently, lost on Carl Whyte, the author of the piece. Incidentally, of those entitled to vote on that 1998 Treaty in the Free State, 43.97% did not bother to do so – both sets of figures are normally ‘glossed over’ in relation to that vote, as is the case in that piece.)
ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (WEDNESDAY 11TH JULY 2018)…
..we should be just about finished our multitasking job – this Sunday coming (the 8th July) will find myself and the raffle team in our usual monthly venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, running a 650-ticket raffle for the Dublin Executive of RSF : the work for this event began yesterday, Tuesday 3rd July, when the five of us started to track down the ticket sellers and arrange for the delivery/collection of their ticket stubs, cash and unsold tickets (yeah, right!) and, even though the raffle itself is, as stated, to be held on Sunday 8th July, the ‘job’ is not complete until the following night, when the usual ‘raffle autopsy’ is held.
The time constraints imposed by same will mean that our normal Wednesday post will more than likely not be collated in time for next Wednesday (11th) and it’s looking like it will be between that date and the Wednesday following same before we get the time to put a post together, which is unfortunate, as we wanted to mention an event which took place on the 11th July 1924 : it was on that date that the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ was registered at the ‘League of Nations’ by the Free State authorities which, in our opinion, would have been the ideal occasion for a legal challenge to it, based on the fact that, when Michael Collins and his supporters were attempting to ‘sell’ it to their own side, they made a big deal of the ‘Boundary Commission’ clause and in particular the part of it which stated that the ‘border’ could be adjusted “in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants”, which is precisely why Westminster ‘took’ only six of the nine Ulster counties – a built-in ‘majority’.
A legal question mark remains in regards to the fact that the British actually took it on themselves to amend the 1921 Treaty of Surrender to allow themselves (ie Westminster) to unilaterally appoint a representative to speak on behalf of the Stormont ‘Parliament’, an action which was not agreed to in the Treaty.
The Boundary Commission clause (‘Article 12’) was not properly adhered to by the signatories of the 1921 Treaty thereby, legally, negating the Treaty itself but deep pockets would be required to take such an action. And the only grouping in this State in a position to mount a challenge like that is the same (Free State) grouping which benefited then and continues to benefit today from that Clause and the political system which was spawned from it. And the chances of that happening are about the same as myself and the raffle team winning all eight prizes this Sunday! Anyway – see you on Wednesday 18th July next.
Thanks for reading, Sharon.