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Local Studies Department

The 1798 Rebellion in County Kildare

Town/Village Index of the Rebellion of 1798 - Knockaulin

The rebels defeated by General Dundas at Turnpike Hill, amassed themselves on Knockaulin near Kilcullen. On Saturday the 26th May they began to negotiate a surrender. When Dundas replied favourably to the rebels overture for peace, they delivered terms � they would surrender themselves and their arms and return to their homes, provided the free-quarters would end and plundered property was restored. While Dundas may have been favourable to negotiate terms and end hostilities, the government was indignant and sent General Lake, commander-in-chief of the army, to Castlemartin.

By the time Lake arrived on Sunday, Dundas had agreed that the surrender would take place the next day, Whit Monday. Patrick O'Kelly was chosen to accept the surrender on behalf of the rebels and was appointed a Colonel so he could properly treat with General Dundas. The meeting was cordial but Lake refused any terms, other than the complete surrender of the rebels in the avenue of Castlemartin. O'Kelly said the rebels would only surrender on the hill. Despite Lake's objections, Dundas climbed Knockaulin.

The presence of Dundas greatly mollified the rebels disappointment at the refusal of terms, and the men began to deposit their arms and return home. The subsequent pile of arms was the size of the Royal Exchange, according to O'Kelly in his General History of the Rebellion of 1798, and these were later removed to Castlemartin. It seems Lake had 3 regiments of infantry and 4 pieces of artillery lying within one mile of Castlemartin, ready to engage the rebels if necessary.

Published by Kildare County Council

Written by Mario Corrigan .