Battle of Bunclody

The battle of Bunclody or Newtownbarry as it was then called, was a battle in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which took place on 1 June 1798 when a force of some 5,000 rebels led by Catholic priest Fr. Mogue Kearns attacked the garrison at Bunclody as part of the Wexford rebels campaign against border garrisons.

The garrison was forewarned of the approaching rebels and had prepared defensive outposts facing the rebel line of advance. The rebel army occupied high ground to the west and stationed an artillery piece, captured in their victory over the military at the battle of Three Rocks, facing the approaches to town. As the bulk of the rebel army formed for the attack, their gunners opened an accurate fire on the exposed lines of soldiers who retreated into the cover of the town.

Seizing the moment, the rebels quickly moved in, forcing the garrison to flee across the bridge into County Carlow but crucially, failed to occupy this approach to the town. The rebels now had an almost bloodless victory and numbers of them began to celebrate, roaming the town in search of plunder and enemies. As rebel discipline began to waver, trapped units of yeomen, some of whom had barricaded themselves into their own houses, opened fire on the unsuspecting rebels milling in the streets outside.

Meanwhile, the garrison had paused in their retreat and upon hearing the sound of gunfire from the town, turned about and launched a surprise attack back across the bridge, which caught the rebels, distracted by the unexpected pockets of resistance, completely by surprise. In the rout that followed 400 of the rebels were killed and their army scattered for the loss of no more than half a dozen of the military.

Battle of Bunclody
Part of the United Irishmen Rebellion
Date1 June 1798
Result United Irishmen seize Bunclody but are then repelled by British.
United Irishmen Kingdom of Great Britain British Army
Commanders and leaders
Mogue Kearns ?
5,000 ?
Casualties and losses
400 killed fewer than 10 killed

Bunclody (Irish: Bun Clóidí, meaning "bottom of the (river) Clody"), formerly Newtownbarry (until 1950), is a small town on the River Slaney in Wexford, Ireland. It is located near the foot of Mount Leinster. Most of the town is in County Wexford; a small area at the north end of town is in County Carlow. Bunclody has received a number of high scores in the Tidy Towns competition. The town is known for the "'Eileen Aroon' Festival" held during the months of July and August.The R746 regional road intersects the N80 in the middle of Bunclody.

Irish Rebellion of 1798

The Irish Rebellion of 1798 (Irish: Éirí Amach 1798) was an uprising against British rule in Ireland. The United Irishmen, a republican revolutionary group influenced by the ideas of the American and French revolutions, were the main organising force behind the rebellion, led by Presbyterians angry at being shut out of power by the Anglican establishment and joined by Catholics, who made up the majority of the population. Many Ulster Protestants sided with the British, resulting in the conflict taking on the appearance of a sectarian civil war in many areas, with atrocities on both sides. A French army which landed in County Mayo in support of the rebels was overwhelmed by British and loyalist forces. The uprising was suppressed by British Crown forces with a death toll of between 10,000 and 30,000.

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