independent

Sunday 21 October 2018

1798 memorabilia at centre

Jacqui Hynes (left), manager of the 1798 centre with a Brown Bess Musket and tourism rep Mary O'Higgins with a cavalry sword and two infantry swords. These are just some of the 1798 items that have now gone on display at the 1798 centre in Enniscorthy.
Jacqui Hynes (left), manager of the 1798 centre with a Brown Bess Musket and tourism rep Mary O'Higgins with a cavalry sword and two infantry swords. These are just some of the 1798 items that have now gone on display at the 1798 centre in Enniscorthy.

BAGENAL Harvey's sword, complete with the original leather scabbard has gone on display in the national 1798 centre in Enniscorthy.

The fiercesome long weapon belonging to the United Irishmen leader was among the 1798 memorabilia once kept in the old Wexford County Museum at Enniscorthy Castle.

However, it was kept in storage by county archivist Gráinne Doran for more than four years since the castle was closed for extensive restoration work. Now the sword has been sent back to Enniscorthy on permanent loan and it may be admired by visitors to the centre at Arnold's Cross.

Also released from the vaults of Wexford County Council for exhibition in Enniscorthy is a copy of a book signed by Harvey called ' The Modern Music Master'.

Centre manager Jacqui Hynes is delighted too to receive a 'Brown Bess' long-barrelled gun and a pistol, as well as a rusty bayonet recovered from the site of the Battle of Tubberneering.

Another bayonet, reputedly used by Father John Murphy, has joined the display but Ms. Hynes confirms that she has no authenticated example of a pike, traditionally the trademark of the rebels. Indeed, the majority of the memorabilia which has survived down to the present are from the loyalist side.

One notable exception, now on show in the national 1798 centre, is a pair of spectacles worn by Matthew Kehoe, rebel governor of Wexford town during the rebellion. He did not survive the conflict, as he was executed by hanging from Wexford Bridge, his body then thrown into the river beneath.

His glasses, the lenses still intact, may now to be seen amidst a variety of regimental British army badges and buttons, along with a three-cornered felt hat once worn by a member of the yeomanry.

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