were members of a movement that aimed to unite Irish Protestants
and Roman Catholics in an effort to make Ireland independent of
Britain and establish a truly national Irish parliament. In 1791,
Theobald Wolfe Tone,
William Rowan Hamilton, and Napper Tandy founded the Society of
United Irishmen in Belfast. In 1798, the United Irishmen rose in
rebellion in parts of Leinster and in eastern Ulster.
The Catholics of County Wexford put up the
strongest fight of the insurgent counties. They were led by Father
John Murphy. The Presbyterians of Antrim and Down led by Henry
Joy McCracken and Henry Monroe fought bravely against superior
numbers, but were quickly suppressed.
The campaign was lost before it began as
the English Crown had set up a net work of spies paying them vast
amounts to inform against the United Irishmen, in some cases the
equivalent of half a million pounds. The land agent of Lord Londonderry
a man called Maclean built Stormont Castle from the proceeds of
The French sent over an army of 1,000 men
under General Humbert, their landing was delayed because of bad
weather, when they eventually landed they were defeated by an English
army under Lord Cornwallis at the battle of Ballinamuck
in County Longford.. In 1801, the Act of Union joined the legislatures
of Great Britain and Ireland.
(See Irish History)