Skip to main content

Irish rebellion

Irish rebellion, 1798. The 1798 rising occurred in the summer, and involved between 30,000 and 50,000 insurgents and around 76,000 government troops. The intellectual leadership came from the Francophile United Irish movement (1791), originally middle class and urban and in favour of constitutional reform; but after 1795–6 there was an overlap between the United Irishmen and a rural protest organization, the catholic Defenders. As the possibility of non-violent reform diminished in the 1790s, the militancy of the United Irish movement and of popular protest developed: the prospect of French military aid after an abortive invasion at Bantry Bay (1796) also encouraged rebel preparations. The revolt was precipitated by the government's brutal efforts, especially in April–May 1798, to suppress sedition and conspiracy. There were two main centres of rebellion: in eastern Ulster, where the insurgents were decisively defeated at Antrim and at Ballynahinch; and in south Leinster, where the critical rebel defeat occurred at Vinegar Hill (Co. Wexford) on 21 June. A French landing, at Killala (Co. Mayo) in August, came too late to assist the Irish insurgents, and was defeated at Ballinamuck (Co. Longford) within a week of arriving. The rising cost perhaps 30,000 lives. It further discredited the Irish government with William Pitt, and reinforced his sympathy for a constitutional union between Britain and Ireland. As the first expression of popular militant republicanism, the rising, though a failure, had a lasting symbolic significance for physical-force nationalists.

Alvin Jackson

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Irish rebellion." The Oxford Companion to British History. . 17 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Irish rebellion." The Oxford Companion to British History. . (September 17, 2019).

"Irish rebellion." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved September 17, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.