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Leaders of 1798
Myles Byrne,  Thomas Cloney of Moneyhore,  John Henry Colclough,
Edward Fitzgerald,  Cornelius Grogan,  Bagenal Harvey,  Fr. Mogue Kearns,
John Kelly "of Killann",  General Gerard Lake,  General Sir John Moore,
Fr. John Murphy,  Fr. Michael Murphy,  Anthony Perry,  Fr. Philip Roche.
Myles Byrne
He was born in the townland of Ballylusk near Monaseed
in 1780.
He joined the United Irishmen in 1797, apparently
influenced by Anthony Perry of Inch.
The United Irishmen were strong in this part of the country
prior to 1798.
Byrne participated in the ’98 Rising at Bunclody
Tubberneering, Arklow and Vinegar Hill and he
accompanied Fr. John Murphy on the advance to and
retreat from Castlecomer. He continued in the field until
the end, eventually escaping to Dublin where he remained
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undetected, employed as a builder from 1799 to 1803. He met Robert Emmet in
Dublin and became one of his faithful lieutenants.
After the failure of the Dublin rising he escaped to Paris.
He was commissioned as an infantry officer in the Irish Legion. He fought in the
Napoleonic wars and had a very distinguished career. He died in Paris in 1862.
His "Memoirs" were published by his widow in 1863. They include a valuable account
of the 1798 rising in Wexford.
Thomas Cloney of Moneyhore
Thomas Cloney was the son of Denis Cloney, a well-to-do farmer.
He was twenty six years of age at the time of the rebellion. He later claimed that he was not a United Irishman and that he was an unwilling insurgent.
He played a leading and distinguished part in the action against General Fawcett’s advance guard below Three Rocks and later at New Ross. Cloney served under Father Philip Roche’s command at Lacken Hill, marched with him to Wexford on the 19th June and back to Goff’s Bridge (Foulke’s Mill) on the 20th June.
Both he and Father Kearns went into hiding at his father’s house for a time. In June 1799 Cloney was
arrested and jailed in Wexford, court-martialled on a charge of accessory to murder, found guilty and
sentenced to death.
Lord Cornwallis reduced the sentence to two years in exile. He went to England for the duration of his exile
and returned to Ireland in February 1803 taking up residence in Graiguenamanagh.
He died there on 20th February 1850 at the age of seventy six.
He was the author of a book on the Rising, "A Personal Narrative …. 1798", published in 1832.
John Henry Colclough
John Henry Colclough lived in Ballyteigue, Kilmore, in the South of the barony of Bargy, Co. Wexford.
He was a landowner, a man of liberal principles and qualified as a doctor. Colclough is considered to have
been an unwilling rebel. In 1798, he was arrested on 27th May and brought to Wexford gaol.
The Government sent him and Edward Fitzgerald to speak with the rebels at Vinegar Hill on 29th May.
He was allowed to return to report that the negotiations had failed. Colclough was in the area of New Ross
on 5th June, and of Goff’s Bridge (Foulksmills) on 20th June, but he did not fight. Sources suggest that this
was not because he lacked courage but because he did not wish to become too involved.
When negotiations were taking place on 21st June, Colclough returned home to Ballyteigue.
Later he, his wife and Bagenal Harvey were arrested on the Greater Saltee Island and court-martialled.
Colclough was hanged on 28th June, 1798.
Edward Fitzgerald
Edward Fitzgerald was born in or around 1770 and lived at Newpark, Curclough near Blackwater.
He was popular with the local people. On 26th May, the local magistrate, Edward Turner, agreed to protect
local people who gave up their weapons.
Many people met at Fitzgerald’s house to hand over their arms. The next day, the High Sheriff arrested
Fitzgerald and jailed him in Wexford. On the 29th May, Fitzgerald agreed to act as "go-between" for the
government troops in Wexford and the rebels on Vinegar Hill.
He was detained by the rebels and became one of their leaders. Although he was popular, some questioned
his loyalty - once in the camp at Three Rocks when he went with the envoys back to Wexford, and again
when he left Wexford to visit his home at Newpark.
When the Wexford rebels were scattered in County Meath, he surrendered to General Dundas on 12th July
on condition that he left Ireland. He was held in Dublin Castle for nearly six months. Finally Fitzgerald went to
Hambury, Germany where he died in 1807.
Cornelius Grogan
Cornelius Grogan was a wealthy landowner who lived at Johnstown Castle.
He was High Sheriff of the County and he represented Enniscorthy in the Irish parliament from 1783 to 1790.
He was a Protestant landowner who held liberal principles and was an advocate of reform and emancipation
When the rebel garrison retreated from Wexford town he tried to escape to Duncannon but was prevailed
upon by some of the rebels to return to Wexford town.
He was captured and was charged at his trial with having been present at the battle of New Ross.
His house was seized by troops and his property taken.
At his court martial he protested his loyalty and claimed he was forced to take part in the Rising.
He was executed on 28th June 1798.
His younger brother Thomas Grogan Knox was killed at Arklow serving with Castletown Yeoman Cavalry,
and another brother, John Grogan, was wounded with the Healthfield Yeomanry.
Bagenal Harvey
Beanchamp Bagenal Harvey of Bargy Castle was a lawyer and a member of the United Irishmen.
He was a man of liberal principles who supported the ideal of government reform and emancipation.
He was arrested at his own house at 11.00 p.m., on the 26th May, on the information given by a rebel
colonel under torture, Anthony Perry, and lodged in Wexford gaol.
He remained in Wexford until its occupation by the insurgents, where he was appointed Commander-in-Chief,
probably against his will.
Harvey, aged 36, was in command at the battle of New Ross on June 5th 1798, which ended in defeat for the
He was overwhelmed by this disaster and by the massacre of over a hundred suspected loyalists at
Scullabogue the same day. On the 7th June he was replaced as Commander-in-Chief by Fr. Philip Roche
and returned to Wexford where he was appointed President of the town committee. He lived on the west side
of Selskar near the junction with George’s Street.
Apparently confident that a treaty would be negotiated by Lord Kingsborough, he retired to Bargy Castle.
However shortly afterwards, accompanied by John Henry Colclough, he made his way to a cave on the
Greater Saltee Island where they planned to escape to France by sea.
They were betrayed and arrested, brought back to Wexford and hanged on the bridge on 28th June 1798.
Fr Mogue Kearns
Mogue Kearns was born at Kiltealy, on the slopes of the Blackstairs mountains, into a farming family.
According to a story current in 1798, Kearns was a student in Paris at the height of the French Revolution
and was hanged from a lamp-post by the mob. However, the weight of his body bent the lamp-post and his
toes touched the ground. He was then rescued by a doctor who brought him back to consciousness.
After his ordination, was appointed curate at Balyna, on the Kildare-Meath border.
He was not long in the parish when he was found to be politically active and was dismissed by Bishop Delaney.
On his return from Kildare, he took up residence in Enniscorthy. Kearns joined the Insurgents from the outset
and was prominent in the first battle of Enniscorthy on 28th May. From the camp at Vinegar Hill, Kearns led a
detachment of 2,000 poorly-armed insurgents northwards to attack the garrison at Bunclody.
On the morning of 1st June, they halted outside the town. Kearns ignored the advice of Miles Byrne to send a
detachment to the Carlow road to cut off the garrison's retreat and ordered the attack to begin.
The garrison retreated, but, meeting reinforcements, returned and counter-attacked.
The insurgent forces suffered heavy losses and had to retreat to Enniscorthy.
In the battle of Enniscorthy and Vinegar Hill, Kearns again played a prominent part but was wounded and had
to be carried by the retreating insurgents towards Wexford.
Kearns took refuge until his wound had healed and then joined a large number of insurgents who were hiding
in Killoughram Woods. The Protestant gentleman, Anthony Perry of Inch, and the Catholic priest, Mogue
Kearns were executed in Edenderry, County Offaly, on 12th July and buried together in the cemetery of
Monasteroris. A large Celtic cross now marks their grave.
John Kelly "of Killanne"
John Kelly is remembered in the ballad by P.J. McCall. Kelly is one of the mystery men of 1798.
Both friends and foes admired him as brave and good, but there are few facts about Kelly recorded in history.
He served in the rebel army for no more than a week and fought twice. He and the men of Killanne marched
through The Leap to the camp at Vinegar Hill on 29th May after the battle at Enniscorthy. He was one of the
leaders who led the rebels from Three Rocks and beat the government troops on 30th May.
He fought and was badly wounded at the Battle of New Ross at the Three Bullet Gate and then was brought
to Wexford.
There he remained until General Lake entered the town, when he was tried by court martial and hanged.
General Gerard Lake
Gerard Lake was born at Harrow, Middlesex on 27th July 1744. He served in the British army in the Seven
Years' War, in the American Revolutionary War, and in the wars of the French Revolution.
In 1794 he was appointed Governor of Limerick and became Commander of the Forces in Ulster in 1796.
Early in 1797 he set about disarming Ulster and destroying the United Irishmen organisation there.
Lake was unhappy with this appointment, fearing, he said, "the wrath of an embittered and exasperated people". However, this did not prevent him carrying out his task with brutal efficiency.
In April 1798, Lake was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Crown forces in Ireland,
replacing Sir Ralph Abercromby who had criticised the army in Ireland, describing it as
"in a state of licentiousness which must render it formidable to everyone but the enemy".
Lake moved quickly to put down the rebellion as soon as it broke out in the midlands.
He then concentrated his campaign in Wexford and was active in the defeat of the
insurgents at the battle of Vinegar Hill on 21st June. He was also present when the
French forces under General Humbert surrendered at Ballinamuck on 8th September.
After the rebellion, Lake was installed as M.P. for Armagh but resigned
in 1799. In 1800 he was made Commander-in-Chief in India and set about modernising
the Indian Army.
He became a full general the following year and, after a successful campaign against 
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Indian dissidents, he was created a Baron in 1804.
In 1805 he was removed from his command. He returned to England and was made a Viscount in 1807.
Lake died in London on 20th February, 1808 at the age of 64 years.
General Sir John Moore
General John Moore was born in Glasgow on 13th November 1761. He was the son of a physician.
Moore became an M.P. in 1784 and obtained a command in the British army when war broke out between
France and Britain in 1793.
General Moore was Commander-in-Chief of Government forces at Lacken Hill, Goff’s Bridge and Wexford town.
He defeated 5,000 insurgents lead by Fr. Philip Roche at Goff’s Bridge and Foulkesmills on 20th June 1798.
This victory was later attributed to the fact that the military had artillery and because of General Moore’s
commanding ability.
General Moore was considered very humane by the Wexford insurgents. As a soldier he carried out his duties
but without malice. However, he failed to control his Yeomanry and Hessian units and they committed many
atrocities. Moore was killed at La Coruna, Spain fighting against Napoleon’s army in the Peninsular War
in 1808.
A poem entitled "The Burial of Sir John Moore" was written by Charles Wolfe to commemorate his death.
Fr. John Murphy
Fr. John Murphy was born at Tincurry in the Parish of Ferns, County Wexford.
He studied in Spain, and returned to Ireland in 1785 when he became curate at
Boolavogue. In 1797, many Catholic clergymen swore allegiance (or loyalty) to the
British Crown. They encouraged local people to give up their weapons, and in return, receive
"protections" from the government. However many people had to leave their homes to
avoid persecution by the Yeomanry.
This is said to have driven Fr. Murphy into the rebellion.
On 27th May, Fr. Murphy led a large group of pike-men and defeated a party of
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government troops at Oulart, the next day he took Camolin and Enniscorthy, andencamped on Vinegar Hill.
After defeats at Arklow and Vinegar Hill, Fr. Murphy joined a rebel group that passed through Scollagh Gap.
They crossed the river Barrow and were defeated at Kilcumney.
Fr. Murphy went to Tullow where he was arrested. He was executed there with James Gallagher on 2nd July,
Fr. Michael Murphy
Fr. Michael Murphy was born in either Ballinoulart, Castleannesley or in Kilnew, County Wexford.
He was educated at a hedge school in Oulart, ordained at Wexford in 1785, and the following autumn went to
France. When he returned from France he became parish priest of Ballycanew, and according to Musgrave
"behaved himself with very great propriety till the rebellion broke out." He is reputed to have joined the rebellion
when his church was ransacked by the yeomen, on 27th May. He travelled to Gorey and then to Kilthomas Hill.
He joined Fr. John Murphy (of Boolavogue) on Ballyorril Hill.
Fr. Michael Murphy was killed at the battle of Arklow on June 9th 1798 leading an attack on a gun position
which defended the western approach to the town. He is buried at Castle Ellis.
Anthony Perry
Anthony Perry was the only son of a Dublin cardmaker. He was a Protestant, a member of the United Irishmen
and their organiser for North Wexford. He lived at Perrymount, near Inch.
He had been a Lieutenant in the Coolgreany Yeomen Cavalry Corps but resigned in protest at the outrages
perpetrated on the people. He was arrested about 23rd May and taken to Gorey.
For 48 hours he was tortured until he finally broke and made a confession .

Bagenal Harvey Commander-in-Chief of the Rebel forces, was arrested and later executed due to information
supplied by Perry under torture.
As a result Perry was driven into the insurgent ranks where he held high command and became influential.
He and Father Kearns were captured at Clonbollogue on the 12th July and hanged at Edenderry, Co. Offaly.

Fr. Philip Roche
Philip Roche was born in Monagrena near Boolavogue in the parish of Monageer about the year 1760 and
wasordained in Wexford by Bishop Caulfield on 17th May, 1785.
His first appointment as curate was in Ballyfad near Gorey. There he came into contact with the United
Irishmen organisation in the early 1790s.
On the outbreak of the rebellion Roche immediately joined the insurgents and soon held the rank of colonel
among them. After the capture of Enniscorthy on 28th May, Roche served on a committee of twelve that
controlled the affairs of the insurgent camp on Vinegar Hill.
During the rebellion Roche gained a reputation for personal bravery.
He liberally distributed written protections and was credited with saving the lives of many Protestants.
After the Insurgent defeat at Ross on 5th June, Roche was elected commander-in-chief of the insurgent
forces, replacing Bagenal Harvey. On 19th June, as government forces approached, Roche broke camp at
Lacken Hill and retreated strategically to the Three Rocks mountain outside Wexford town.
From there, Roche’s forces engaged Sir John Moore’s troops at Goff’s Bridge and then returned to their camp
at the Three Rocks.
On hearing of the insurgent defeat at Vinegar Hill on 21st June, Roche - against the advice of Miles Byrne
and Fr. John Murphy - decided to surrender himself in Wexford town and to try to obtain terms of surrender
for the insurgent forces. However, on his arrival in the town, he was recognised, pulled from his horse and
dragged through the streets to jail. He was court-martialled on 24th June, convicted and sentenced to be
hanged. The following morning at 11 o’clock Roche and eight others were executed on Wexford bridge.