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Local Studies Department

The 1798 Rebellion in County Kildare

Town/Village Index of the Rebellion of 1798 - Gibbet Rath

Major-General Sir James Duff left Limerick on the 27th May to open the lines of communication with Dublin. Duff's force arrived in Monasterevin in the early hours of Tuesday 29th May. Joined by the local yeomanry, Duff marched toward Kildare with 7 pieces of artillery, 150 dragoons and 350 infantry, "determined to make a dreadful example of the rebels." They marched out of Kildare to the rebel camp at the Gibbet Rath on the Curragh, where the rebels had been negotiating a surrender with General Dundas. Duff described what happened next in his dispatch to General Lake;

" My Dear Genl. (I have witnessed a melancholy scene) We found the Rebels retiring from this Town on our arrival armed. We followed them with Dragoons; I sent on some of the Yeomen to tell them, on laying down their arms, they should not be hurt. Unfortunately some of them Fired on the Troops; from that moment they were attacked on all sides, nothing could stop the Rage of the Troops. I believe from Two to Three hundred of the Rebels were killed. (They intended, we are told, to lay down their arms to General Dundas). We have 3 men killed & several wounded. I am too fatigued to enlarge.

I have forwarded the mails to Dublin." The sentences in brackets were not included in the official bulletin, indeed Duff himself crossed out the reference to the rebels laying down their arms.

Published by Kildare County Council

Written by Mario Corrigan .