Clues to the 1798 Rebellion in Mountmellick


Clues to the 1798 Rebellion in Mountmellick

Paddy Lacey reads from a diary from the 1790s

Richard Reid reads some of the epitaph on the 1798 Memorial

The 1798 Rebellion was a significant uprising in Ireland and a casual google search does not find much evidence for activity in Laois/Queen’s County. However, the monument on Wolfe Tone St. in Mountmellick is our clue to a number of significant events which took place here and nearby at the time of rebellion.


1798 Rebellion Monument:  Names of 11 men are inscribed on the monument and these men were hanged in its proximity between the 11th and 13th of June 1798. They were: Patrick Dunne, William Holohan, Francis Dunne, Willie Brock, Daniel Dunne, James Deegan, Thomas Dunne, Patrick Murphy, John Guilfoyle, Daniel Conroy and George Gilligan. The monument was erected in 1878 and the surrounding railing which represents pikes used in 1798 rebellion was added in 1913. Willie Brock was only 18 years old when he died and he was buried in Graigue Cemetery.

The two hands clasped on the cap are not normally found on Celtic Crosses. Both hands appear to be male and they indicate a farewell to comrades. 

The violence of 1798 was visited on Catholic and Protestant in Laois. This memorial reminds us that the struggle for land, power, status and wealth is a messy business. Eleven hangings in 2-3 days mirrored at least an equal number of violent attacks on the Protestant communities as we hear from Paddy Laceys’ reading of Robert Pim Goodbodys diary of events in the adjacent county of Kildare that year.