In the wake of the great rebellion

Republicanism, agrarianism and banditry in Ireland after 1798

On Monday 19 September 1803, the most significant trial in the history of Ireland took place in Dublin. At the dock stood a twenty-five-year-old former Trinity College student and doctor's son. His name was Robert Emmet and he was standing trial for heading a rebellion on 23 July 1803. The iconic power of Robert Emmet in Irish history cannot be overstated. Emmet looms large in narratives of the past, yet the rebellion which he led remains to be fully contextualised. This book repairs this omission and explains the complex of politicisation and revolutionary activity extending into the 1800s, detailing the radicalisation of the grass roots, their para-militarism and engagement in secret societies. Drawing on a range of sources, the book offers a comprehensive insight into a relatively neglected period of history.

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‘This is a significant book based on impressive and pioneering archival research and will be required reading for anyone interested in late eighteenth-century and pre-famine Ireland. By showing the potent and complex ways that radical politics survived at a popular level throughout post-1798 Ireland, Patterson's study forces historians to reassess the roles played by sectarianism and agrarian protest in Ireland before the famine. These are important subjects and we have Patterson to thank for bringing them back to our attention.'
Sean Farrell, Northern Illinois University
American Historical Review
April 2012

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