The 1798 Rebellion, or Rising, was an uprising in Ireland against British rule, which was inspired by the ideals of the American and French revolutions. It was mainly organised by a group called the United Irishmen. Around 10,000 people died in three months. The British government assumed that the reason for insurgency was resentment against the Protestant Ascendancy (instead of nationalism), so they passed the Act of Union to take away that autonomy. (Incidentally, the flag which was created to symbolise the new union between Great Britain and Ireland is the one which is used by Great Britain today!) There were battles all over Ireland.

In Ulster, the rebellion was led by two men – Henry Joy McCracken (top picture) and Henry Munro (bottom picture). McCracken was a linen manufacturer who led the rebels (to a defeat) in Antrim. He initially escaped but, due to a chance encounter, was recognised by someone in the cotton industry. He was hanged in Belfast on 17 July 1798. Munro was a linen draper who led the rebels in Down, and commanded at the Battle of Ballinahinch. After defeat at that battle, Munro was ordered to be hanged before his own front door – this happened on 16 June 1798.

So, how much did nineteenth century industrial textile innovations, promoted by the Viceroy in Ireland, bankroll nationalistic movements? A bloody rebellion underpinned with cotton warp and linen weft?

This entry was posted in antrim, belfast, cotton, linen, northern ireland, personalities, ulster. Bookmark the permalink.

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