Monday, July 25, 2016

1798 And All That

The Crawley family are just back from a holiday to the Republic of Ireland where amongst other things two of us managed to visit the national 1798 Centre in Inniscorthy.

For those of you haven't done the extensive research I've completed (i.e. read a couple of Wikipedia articles), the 1798 United Irishmen's Rebellion was an ultimately doomed uprising against British rule in Ireland.  The uprising (supported by a French expeditionary force, though you'd likely miss this fact if you visited the Inniscorthy centre) culminated in the largest concentration of rebels being surrounded and slaughtered by Government forces at Vinegar Hill in County Wexford.

The visitor centre was, I have to say, a little disappointing.  It uses audio visual techniques to put the rebellion in the context of Enlightenment thought as a direct successor to the American and French Revolutions, which is probably fair, but I came away thinking that I'd learned little more than I got from the aforementioned Wikipedia articles.

I'd have liked to see more contemporary artefacts and less use of design-for-the-sake-of-it.  I'm not clear what was added by a room in which major figures on each side were depicted as human-sized chess pieces.

The culmination of the tour is a film about the nearby "Battle" of Vinegar Hill. The room in which this happened was decorated with life-sized mannequins depicting the two sides.  I managed to get some pictures...

I'd like to have come away from the Centre with a better idea of the appearance and organisation of the two sides (I'm considering recruiting Sharp Practice 2 forces for the conflict) but I'm not convinced by what I've seen.  Some of the modern illustrations had British troops in stovepipe shakos while the mannequins were, as you see, in tricornes.  I rather suspect bicornes would have been nearer the mark.


Kaptain Kobold said...

Vinegar Hill sounded familiar and, sure enough, there was a Second Battle of Vinegar Hill fought six years later ... in Sydney!

Counterpane said...

Yes, it got a mention at the 1798 Centre - apparently some rebels were transported and ended up in the second battle!