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  • Familia1998article
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‘Take the Current When It Serves’ – Did the Rebels of North Down & the Ards Miss Their Opportunity in 1797?

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review 1998


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by Harry Allen

"In September 1796, Thomas Russell, Samuel Neilson, Henry Joy McCracken and a number of Belfast leaders of the United Irishmen were taken up on the orders of Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, the son of Lord Londonderry of Mountstewart near Newtownards.

The prisoners were immediately taken far from their northern power base to the brand-new Dublin gaol at Kilmainham as political prisoners. Three months later in late December 1796 General Lazare Hoche made his disastrous attempt at a landing in Ireland in Bantry Bay with his French fleet.

It was apparent that the focus of disaffection in Ireland had shifted."

This article examines how the rebels of North Down and the Ards may have missed their opportunity in 1797.