Top 10 Historic Irish Rebel Sites

Throughout history, Ireland has experienced many conflicts and rebellions in the name of gaining independence from Britain. These rebellions were tough times for the island and inevitably resulted in losses of life.

Thankfully, these rebellions are now history and we can look back and try to understand these events. This article highlights ten Irish Rebellion sites and the historical significance of these locations.

1. Bodenstown Churchyard – Wolfe Tone’s Grave

The ancient Parish Church of Bodenstown is annually the scene of a political pilgrimage for Irish Republicans and held on the last Sunday in June. On that day, visits are made to the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone. Theobald Wolfe Tone one of the leaders of the 1798 Rebellion, was a leading figure in the United Irishmen Irish independence movement and is regarded as the father of Irish republicanism.

In November 1798, he was sentenced to be hanged but before this sentence was carried out Theobald Wolfe Tone died from his wounds eight days after he attempted suicide, he was buried at Bodenstown in 1798 near his birthplace at Sallins Co Kildare.

In November 1798, he was sentenced to be hanged but before this sentence was carried out Theobald Wolfe Tone died from his wounds eight days after he attempted suicide, he was buried at Bodenstown in 1798 near his birthplace at Sallins Co Kildare.

2. Beal-na-blath, Co. Cork – The location of Michael Collins’ death

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Michael Collins died at this scene during the Irish Civil War. Collins was a soldier and politician who was a leading figure in the struggle for, and achievement of Irish independence in the early 20th century.

Collins agreed to the partition of Ireland and the creation of the Irish Free State, becoming the leader of its provisional government. The division of Ireland resulted in a Civil War and Collins was shot and killed in an ambush in August 1922 during the Irish Civil War at Béal

The division of Ireland resulted in a Civil War and Collins was shot and killed in an ambush in August 1922 during the Irish Civil War at Béal na Bláth, Co. Cork. Undoubtedly the location of one of the most high profile killings in Irish history. There is a monument here in his memory.

3. Maze Prison, Lisburn – Location of the 1981 Hunger Strikes

Maze Prison (also known as The Maze, the H Blocks or Long Kesh) was a prison that was used to house paramilitary prisoners during the Troubles from mid-1971 to mid-2000. It was situated at the former Royal Air Force station of Long Kesh, on the outskirts of Lisburn. The prison and its inmates were involved in such events as the 1981 hunger strike.

The 1981 Irish hunger strike was the culmination of a five-year protest during The Troubles by Irish republican prisoners in Northern Ireland. The 1981 hunger strike was a showdown between the prisoners and the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. One hunger striker, Bobby Sands, was elected as a Member of Parliament during the strike, prompting media interest from around the world.

The strike was called off after ten prisoners had starved to death – including Sands, whose funeral was attended by an estimated 100,000 people. The strike radicalised Irish nationalist politics and was the driving force that enabled Sinn Féin to become a mainstream political party. Unfortunately, the site is not open to the public today as the Unionist parties objected to building a museum on the site.

4. Milltown Cemetery, Belfast – The final resting place of Hunger Strikers including Bobby Sands

Milltown Cemetery is a large cemetery in west Belfast. It lies within the townland of Ballymurphy, between Falls Road and the M1 motorway. Milltown Cemetery opened in 1869 and there are now approximately 200,000 of Belfast’s citizens buried there. The cemetery holds the remains of numerous Republican prisoners, including those who died on hunger strike in 1981.

5. Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast – Held many political prisoners during ‘The Troubles’

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Crumlin Road Gaol is a former prison which was taken out of service in 1996 is now a museum and conference centre close to the city centre which allows you to see the prison wings, execution cells, tunnels to the courthouse, and learn about the history of this building and its impact on life in the region.

A large number of political prisoners during The Troubles were kept here. The site is also famous for the execution of Tom Williams, a member of the IRA, who was executed on 2 September 1942. Williams, nineteen years old, was hanged for the killing of an RUC officer.

A large number of political prisoners during The Troubles were kept in Crumlin Road Goal. The site is also known for the execution of Tom Williams, a member of the IRA, who was executed on 2 September 1942. Williams, nineteen years old, was hanged for the killing of an RUC officer.

6. The GPO, Dublin – The Headquarters of the 1916 Easter Rising Rebels

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The General Post Office (GPO) is probably the most famous site of rebellion in Ireland. It is currently the headquarters of the Irish postal service. During the Easter Rising of 1916, the GPO served as the headquarters of the uprising’s leaders. The building was destroyed by fire in the course of the rebellion and not repaired until the Irish Free State government took up the task some years later.

The facade is all that remains of the original building. An original copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic was on display in the An Post Museum at the GPO, where an exhibition, Letters, Lives & Liberty, highlighted the history of the Post Office and the GPO.

n original copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic was on display in the An Post Museum at the GPO, where an exhibition, Letters, Lives & Liberty, highlighted the history of the Post Office and the GPO.

7. Moore Street, Dublin – The spot where the Easter Rising ended

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At 16 Moore Street, Dublin in 1916, the military council of the newly-proclaimed Irish Republic decided to surrender. After the shelling of the GPO, the leaders retreated to Moore Street where they entered number five – Dunne’s Butchers – and began tunnelling from one house to another until they reached number 16 – a poultry shop named Plunkets. After plans emerged to demolish the terrace, numbers 14-17 Moore Street were declared a national monument in 2007, guaranteeing their retention.

8. Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin – The execution of the 1916 Rising leaders took place here

Kilmainham Gaol: Stone-breakers Yard from Connolly cross.

The majority of the Irish leaders in the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol. The Gaol also housed prisoners during the Irish War of Independence (1919–21) and many of the anti-treaty forces during the civil war period. The Goal is best known for being the execution site of the 1916 Easter Rising Rebellion. This former prison is now a museum and tours are available here daily.

9. Arbour Hill Cemetery, Dublin – The final resting place of the 1916 Rising leaders

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The military cemetery at this prison is the burial place of 14 of the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising. Among those buried there are Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and Major John MacBride. The leaders were executed in Kilmainham Gaol and their bodies were transported to Arbour Hill for burial. The graves are located under a low mound on a terrace of Wicklow granite in what was once the old prison yard.

10. Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin – The final resting place of numerous Irish rebels

Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin contains historically notable monuments and the graves of many of Ireland’s most prominent national figures. These include the graves of Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, Maude Gonne, Kevin Barry, Roger Casement, Constance Markievicz, Pádraig Ó Domhnaill, Seán MacBride and Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

“Ireland unfree shall never be at peace” were the climactic closing words of the graveside oration of Patrick Pearse at the funeral of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa on 1 August 1915. The oration roused Irish Republican feeling and was a significant element in the lead-up to the Easter Rising of 1916.

The grave of Michael Collins, the nationalist leader who was killed in the Irish Civil War in 1922, is among the most visited sites in Glasnevin. Around him were buried at least 183 soldiers of the Irish Free State. In 1967 their names were recorded on memorial around Collin’s grave.

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