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Local Studies Department

The 1798 Rebellion in County Kildare

Town/Village Index of the Rebellion of 1798 - Clane

Between 2 and 3 am, the morning of the 24th May, around 300 rebels attacked the town, but were driven off by Captain Jephson's Armagh Militia and some of the local Clane yeoman cavalry. The yeomanry commander, Richard Griffith of Millicent, arrived around 3.15 am and took command. The combined military drove back a second rebel attack from the village. Some houses were burned by the soldiers and six prisoners were taken (4 were Griffith's tenants), one of whom was summarily executed. Some of the Armagh Militia had been piked to death in their private billets and at least three of Griffith's corps had deserted, but for the moment the town was secure.

A third attack, around 5 am, was led by Rebels dressed in the uniforms, hats and helmets of the City of Cork Militia and Ancient Britons, whom they had defeated at Prosperous. Griffith and his men made a stand on the commons and dispersed them. The 16 yeoman cavalry then charged and routed them.Aware of the rebel victory at Properous and the large number of rebels in the locality, Griffith decided his position was untenable and retreated in good order to Naas. He was joined by his 1st Lieutenant, Dr. John Esmond, who had led the rebels in Properous. Griffith had learned of his treachery from Phil Mite, and on arriving at Naas he had Esmond arrested. The five prisoners taken in the second attack were hanged in Naas. Esmond was tried by court-marital and hanged as a traitor, with his yeoman coat turned out, on Carlisle Bridge, Dublin on the 14th June. The next day Griffith's estate at Millicent was attacked and plundered.William Aylmer and his men ambushed troops and yeomanry on the 4th, 5th and 6th of July near Clane.

Published by Kildare County Council

Written by Mario Corrigan .