Between 4 am and 5 am on the 25th May, roughly 1,300 rebels, under Captain Padraig O'Beirne from Nurney, attacked the town. The rebels, from Kildare, Nurney, Kildoon, Riverstown and Kildangan, were opposed by a corps of yeoman cavalry under Captain Frederick Hoystead, and yeoman infantry under Lt. Bagot, in all 80 men, of whom 14 were catholics. Captain Winter and his small force of Suffolk Fencibles and 9th Dragoons had been ordered to retreat by General Wilford the previous day.
The rebels attacked in three columns one by the canal, one by the turnpike and one by the main street. After some serious fighting in the streets, the rebels fled, leaving 63 dead; 5 yeomen were killed and 4 wounded. Many rebels went on to Queen's County, some returned home and no doubt some joined the camps soon established at Barnhill and the Gibbet Rath on the Curragh.
On the 29th May, General Sir James Duff arrived in Monasterevin, where he augmented his forces before marching on, to Kildare and the Gibbet Rath. Duff was garrisoned in Monasterevin for a period, during which time Fr. Edward Prendergast was executed on the 11th June for complicity with the rebels, having attended them at their camp at Barnhill.
After the execution, his body was placed under guard, but removed by Padraig O'Beirne and a group of rebels and interred in HarristownCemetery, where it remains to this day.
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