Naas and Johnstown

On the night of the 23rd May, the Munster mail coach was attacked and destroyed, the passengers hacked to death, near Naas. This was the planned signal for the rising. Men, gathered in the Tipper quarries (1,000-3,000), marched on the town around 2.30 am, Thursday 24th May, led by Michael Reynolds of Johnstown.

Naas was the strongest garrison in the county, consisting of 150 of the Armagh Militia, 24 of the 4th Dragoons, 35 of the Ancient Britons, 16 of the North Naas Cavalry under Captain Neville, and two field pieces, all under the command of Colonel Lord Gosford. The main attack along the Johnstown road, consisting of around 1,000 men led by Reynolds, almost made it to the goal but were repulsed. Rebels had attacked the town from other directions and the bulk of them almost reached the barracks but these were also repulsed. Around 30 were killed in the streets, with over 100 killed by the cavalry as they fled the town & the troops lost 22 men. Gosford even had 6 Cabins and 6 houses, including an Inn and an Alms house, destroyed to accommodate the canon fire.

More than 800 pikes and 20 firelocks were recovered, mainly from the quarries. One of the rebel leaders, John Andoe, was hanged in the town the next day. Michael Reynolds escaped to the WicklowMountains; he died from a wound received at the Battle of Hacketstown on the 25th June.

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