On the Anniversary of the 1798 Battle of Vinegar Hill, Anti-Imperialist Action Wexford, along with other supporters participated in a day of activism in Enniscorthy to remember the brave United Irish Rebels who fought in Enniscorthy and on Vinegar Hill to defend the last major battleground of the Wexford Republic.
To begin the day of activism, AIA members carried out a leaflet drop and information stall at the 1798 memorial in Enniscorthy which garnered massive support from both young and old in the town centre.
Following the 1798 stall the activists commenced their hike up Vinegar Hill standing where thousands of Irish rebels stood as they faced upwards of 15,000 British Redcoats. The panoramic view from the top of Vinegar Hill was breathtaking.
AIA activists were then joined by other hikers and sightseers on Vinegar hill and discussed the actions of the rebels 225 years ago.
On the 21st of June up to 20,000 United Irish assembled on Vinegar Hill and in the town of Enniscorthy, facing them was the might of the Occupation forces of the British Army led by General Gerard Lake. Lake had 1 plan which was to use 3 Columns to engulf Vinegar Hill and 1 Column to smash the rebels in Enniscorthy town.
General Lake commenced the battle with a fusillaide from his artillery guns. He then sent in his troops and cavalry.
The British redcoats force was met with ferocious resistance from the rebels on the hill which saw both the Irish and British win and lose ground in quick successions.
In Enniscorthy town Lakes’ troops were also heavily resisted and had to fight inch by inch.
Enniscorthy was eventually sacked by the redcoats and the rebels on the hill were squeezed further and further until they realised that General Needham’s Column of red coats had not fully engaged in battle which left a gap for the United Irish to retreat through, this gap became known throughout history as ‘Needhams Gap’.
The United Irish Generals bravely led the Irish rebels to the Three Rocks camp and eventually out Westwards, another Column that advanced through Needhams Gap’ led by Garret Byrne and his Ballymanus Corps and Edward Fitzgerald’s Shelmaliers moved quickly to the North to join up with General Joseph Holt’s Wicklow rebels, the plan now was to continue the fight of liberation by guerrilla tactics.
Included in the Ballymanus Corps was Captain Michael Dwyer who would soon become the British Army’s tormentor and the most wanted Irish guerrilla fighter.
Remember Vinegar Hill
225 years of Resistance
Continue to Resist British Rule