Carnew executions

Carnew executions
Location Carnew, County Wicklow
Date 25 May 1798
Attack type
Firing squad
Deaths 28
Perpetrator Kingdom of Great Britain British Army

The Carnew executions refer to the summary execution of 28 prisoners being held as suspected United Irishmen by the local garrison in the British army barracks base of Carnew Castle, Carnew, County Wicklow, Ireland on 25 May 1798.[1][2]


The Society of United Irishmen, a political organization originally created to achieve Catholic Emancipation had long threatened to instigate a full-scale rebellion in Ireland against Britain in the absence of Home Rule.[3] The rebellion finally took place in May 1798, but the only significant uprisings occurred in counties Wicklow and Wexford, two counties just south of Dublin. The rebels were met with a swift response from British forces and the bulk of the rebellion was suppressed within a year.[1]


By the morning of the 25 May, news of the long-expected outbreak of the 1798 rebellion in neighboring County Kildare and of military losses in the battles of Ballymore-Eustace, Naas, and Prosperous had reached the garrison in Carnew, who decided to take preventative measures by assembling the rebel suspects in detention. The suspects were marched from Carnew Castle to the local handball alley and executed by firing squad as a warning to the local populace.[2]

News of the summary executions, together with news of a similar massacre at Dunlavin, spread throughout County Wicklow and across the border into County Wexford, giving substance to the rumours of widespread killing already prevalent. On 7 June, the town was burned and sacked in a revenge raid by Wexford rebels, led by Anthony Perry.

See also


  1. 1 2 Thomas Bartlett and Keith Jeffery. A Military History of Ireland Cambridge University Press, 1997; ISBN 0-521-62989-6, p. 279
  2. 1 2 Gwynn, Stephan Lucius (1915). Famous Cities of Ireland. p. 275.
  3. "Society of United Irishmen profile". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 10 December 2015.

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