Rebellion in Kildare

United Irishmen gathered through the day on Wednesday 23 May in accordance with their orders and in the early hours of 24 May they rose in rebellion to the crown. The proposed national rising did not take place and initially their efforts were localised. A few skirmishes in Dublin produced little effect, but the capital was soon besieged with alarming reports from the County of Kildare. Large scale attacks were made almost simultaneously on Ballymore-Eustace, Prosperous, Naas and Clane. For the next week, much of the county was in rebel hands. Victories at Prosperous, Old Kilcullen and Rathangan however, did little to subvert the authority or strength of the military, concentrated in the garrison towns of Naas and Athy. By the end of May, the main rebel army had marshalled itself in the bogs of Timahoe, under William Aylmer of Painstown. This force maintained a successful predatory guerrilla war against the surrounding towns and garrisons for two months. They surrendered on 21 July at the Montgomery Mills, Sallins, the last major rebel army in the field until the arrival of the French in Mayo in August. On every occasion when faced with a substantial, well disciplined military force, armed with canon, the rebels had been disastrously defeated in Kildare. Surrender was indeed their most realistic option and the most humane solution for the new Lord Lieutenant, Cornwallis, who wanted a speedy end to the conflict.

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