Clonsilla and the rebellion of 1798
This study examines the response of the inhabitants of Clonsilla to the social disorder, violent attacks and civil unrest that were a feature of their community throughout the 1790’s. As an agricultural community, the local gentry managed and promoted the local economy through the Farmers Society. Security concerns were addressed at meetings of the Association for the Protection of Private Property from 1792 and by the armed Clonsilla Cavalry Yeomanry corps later in the decade. Each organisation also became venue for the practise of parish politics, reputation building and the pursuit of personal vendettas. Detailed minute books, account sheets and parish registers originating from the gentry themselves are exploited to convey this aspect of the community’s experience. The extremities of treachery, violence and deception that visited the parish are reflective of the polarised nature of Irish society at this time. The bitterness of the power struggles fought between the local gentry reflect the social context in which they were played out and are indicative of the serious consequences of failure in this regard. The disenfranchised tenant population of Clonsilla had lived for four hundred years under the proprietorship of the powerful, infamous and nationally loathed Luttrell family. Their actions are the clearest indication of their true sentiments at this time. Both sides of this conflict organised themselves along pragmatic economic, social and geographical lines. As a result, interaction between the parish and the populations of Lucan, Castleknock, Dunboyne, Leixlip and surrounding neighbourhoods are a crucial factor in understanding the events as they are outlined in this study.
Ciarán Priestley is a school teacher from Hartstown, Dublin 15. This is his first publication. He is a member of St. Peregrines C.L.G.