Plans for the rebellion had been successfully concealed from the authorities, until an accidental explosion at one of Emmett’s safe houses forced him to bring forward the date.
He led his followers through Dublin on the night of the 23rd July, with the intention of storming Dublin Castle and reading out a Proclamation of Independence. Emmet went ahead despite failing to secure the support of other United Irishmen rebels from across the country.
They were unable to overcome the guards at Dublin Castle, and the rebels dispersed into the city in a chaotic manner. Emmett witnessed a British soldier being dragged from his horse and piked to death, and ordered the rebels to stand down to avoid any more unnecessary bloodshed. However, he had lost control of them by this point and they continued on into the night carrying out brutal killings and destruction.
Emmett went into hiding but was caught after insisting on staying in Ireland to be near his sweetheart. He was tried with treason, and the authorities bribed his defence lawyer to throw the case. Emmett was defended valiantly by his lawyer’s assistant, who had refused to take a bribe, but was still found guilty and sentenced to death.
He delivered an emotional speech from the dock before he left the courtroom, which has gone down in Irish history. He was hanged and beheaded the day after being found guilty of treason.
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1834 St Vincent’s Hospital was opened on this day on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin in 1834. The hospital was founded by Catholic nun Mother Mary Aikenhead, but was open to anyone of any religion so long as they could afford its services. The hospital has since relocated but is now one of the leading medical treatment and learning institutes in Ireland.
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1998 On this day in 1998, the Irish Under 19 football team beat Cyprus 3-0 to reach the final of the European Championships. The Irish team went on to win the trophy after beating Germany in a penalty following a 1-1 draw. Robbie Keane was the Irish hero of the tournament and went on to become the country’s all-time leading scorer and make a record number of appearances.
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1999 The Guinness Blues Festival 1999 began on this day across Dublin. Various musicians performed in dozens of venues around the city, as the celebration of blues music got underway. The Guinness Blues Festival is just one of a number of events that the brewing giant has lent its name to over the years. As well as being a globally recognised brand, Guinness is also keen on doing its bit to help with community issues, and give talented people the help they need to achieve their goals.