United Irishmen

United Irishmen


United Irish Society,

Irish political organization. It was founded at Belfast in 1791 by Theobald Wolfe ToneTone, Theobald Wolfe,
1763–98, Irish revolutionary. He was called to the bar in 1789 but soon turned his attention to politics. Inspired by the example of the French Revolution, he helped found (1791) the United Irish Society (see United Irishmen), which worked to unite
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. Disgruntled by the use of English patronage to control Irish politics, the organization aimed at legislative reform "founded on the principles of civil, political, and religious liberty." Yet there was, from the outset, an undercurrent of revolutionary striving toward independence that was encouraged by the progress of the French Revolution. Tone, with James Napper TandyTandy, James Napper,
1740–1803, Irish revolutionary. Originally a small tradesman in Dublin, he gained attention by his attacks on municipal corruption and his proposal to boycott English goods as a reprisal for the restrictions placed on Irish commerce.
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, started a branch at Dublin; this became the center of the movement, which spread rapidly throughout Ireland. The society was suppressed in 1794 and became a secret revolutionary organization. Tone was exiled and went to France to request aid. A French force did attempt an invasion in 1796, but it was wrecked off the southwest coast of Ireland. The British government waged a campaign of brutal repression in Ulster in an attempt, largely successful, to break up the cohesive center of the movement. In Mar., 1798, several southern leaders were arrested, and when rebellion did break out in May, it was in isolated, sporadic bursts. The only appreciable success was in Co. Wexford, but the rebels there were defeated in the battle of Vinegar Hill, June 21. Two months later a small French force landed, but it received almost no support and surrendered. A larger invasion force, led by Tone, was intercepted by the British navy, and Tone was captured. The force of the movement was spent, and it was not revived.


See studies by R. R. Madden (1858–60), R. Jacob (1937), and T. Pakenham (1969).

United Irishmen


a society of Irish bourgeois revolutionaries that existed from 1791 to 1798. Founded in Belfast.

Republican-democrats, such as T. Wolfe Tone, E. Fitzgerald, and T. Emmet, were the strongest element in the United Irishmen. They set forth a program of struggle for an independent Irish republic and for the abolition of the class and feudal privileges of the landlords and the Anglican Church. In 1794, as the result of repression, the organization went underground. It soon became the underground center for the preparation of an armed uprising against English domination. However, not long before the rebellion of 1798 the leaders of the United Irishmen were arrested. This deprived the insurgents of a centralized leadership.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Belfast Jacobin: Samuel Neilson and the United Irishmen
He believed the pair were making weapons for a group of Catholics called the United Irishmen, who were opposed to British rule.
Gan mlynedd cyn marwolaeth y pobydd lleol, ym 1799, roedd Hugh Kildea yn arweinydd lleol yr United Irishmen.
How did Belfast's Presbyterian community, the late eighteenth-century demographic majority and founders of the United Irishmen, become unionists by the nineteenth century?
The tour starts at City Hall and winds its way through the city, seeing places of interest from the spot where the United Irishmen were formed to modern murals and the Cathedral Quarter.
Samuel Thomson, a hedge school master, known as the 'Bard of Carngranny', penned over two hundred poems between 1790 and 1810 and held what may be best described as 'poet laureate' status in the Northern Star, the newspaper of the Society of United Irishmen.
This comedic poem translated from Gaelic to English was written in the late 18th century during a tumultuous historical time, notably the French and American revolutions, as well as the United Irishmen in Ireland.
This is the subject of an insightful essay by Sylvie Kleinman, but engaging as this is, it pales besides Hugh Gough's brilliant pithy dissection of French military strategy with respect to Ireland in the 1790s, which ought to be read by everyone interested in the history of the United Irishmen and Franco-Irish relations.
The Irish harp occupies a unique, yet complex utopian space in this period, and the instrument, and its tradition, formed part of an intricate utopian fabric that resulted in a revolutionary crescendo in the 1790s and ultimately, a rebellion by the United Irishmen in 1798.
The reader of these essays experiences the vertiginous pleasures of moving between Scottish (and other) nosologies and the tautologies that compelled Wordsworth and continue to ensnare his readers (Goodman) and the uneasy eye cast by the British government on the United Irishmen, recognizing in the archive of spies' reports that to more literal minds might seem to explain unrest, rather an exemplification of the collective paranoia they sought to combat (Burgess).
The word `croppy' was in reference to the short hair style the Irish rebels wore in the United Irishmen Rebellion of 1798 in County Wexford, Ireland.
Such divisions were central to the growing sense of Irish identity, which culminated into two distinct, yet important movements: the establishment of the Protestant Orange Order in 1790, and the failed rebellion of the United Irishmen in 1798.

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