This cabinet tells the story of the 1798 United Irishmen rebellion. The United Irishmen were a group of mainly middle-class Presbyterian merchants who undertook violent revolution to establish an independent Irish republic free of British control. They took their inspiration from 1776 American and 1789 French Revolutions.
Though the United Irishmen sought to unite Catholics and Protestants against the British, the rebellion was marred by significant sectarian violence.
The violence was committed by Catholics on Protestants and vice versa.
One of the most notorious incidents was the Scullabogue massacre in County Wexford on 5 June 1798 where 200 people, mainly Protestants, were killed by supporters of the rebellion.
Crown forces seeking to repress the United Irishmen were also involved in numerous incidents of torture and execution that often had a sectarian nature by targeting Catholics and their communities.
Ultimately, the sectarian violence during the revolt did not help the United Irishmen’s cause, scaring many potential supporters of their cause to back the Crown as the best guarantee of their security in the chaos of the rebellion.
After several pitched battles, the uprising was crushed with the loss of between 20,000 to 50,000 lives in Ireland.