Kilbeggan’s Revolutionary Past

Did you know that there was once a bloody battle in the streets of Kilbeggan?

In the 1798 Rebellion many Irish people, inspired by revolutions in France and America, rose up against landlords and British rule. While the major fighting took place in Wexford, Mayo, Antrim and Down, there was plenty of drama in these parts too. Around Kilbeggan, thousands of local people had organised into a small rebel army. Once the rebellion nationally had kicked off, they marched on the town. They were met by British soldiers and local yeomanry, kicking off a morning of musket fire, cavalry charges and bloodied pikes right here on the Square and Main Street.

We held a talk on these dramatic events in Kilbeggan Library on January 25th. Visitors included descendants of some of those who took part. The discussion aired plenty of local insight and lore. Someone said it was ‘like a rambling house long ago’ – a rambling house or visiting house was a home in which people used to gather at night to share stories and songs.

For those who couldn’t make it, we have now recorded the talk and it is available to watch below. If you are familiar with Kilbeggan or interested in Ireland’s revolutionary history, you are sure to find the talk interesting. And you can find out a lot more in Westmeath 1798: A Kilbeggan Rebellion (Topic 1998) by Stan McCormack & Katherine Flynn.

To find out more about Kilbeggan's past please see out local history section of the website.