Search billions of records on



Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Croppies Grave, Graiguecullen

This article appeared in 'Fiacc's Folk' Parish Magazine in the 1997/98 edition. The article is unsigned

Croppies Grave, Graiguecullen

The Croppies Grave at ‘98 Street, Graiguecullen is the last resting place for more than 600 United Irishmen who died in action in the early morning of 25th May 1798.

The United Irishmen were betrayed by one of their leaders and fell into a well planned ambush. They were mowed down by shot and shell or smoked out of their plans of refuge and butchered like hunted animals.

The memory of the United Irishmen is honoured by the ‘98 Street Monument. The wall and railings of the grave were paid for with funds raised by the GAA. The memorial slab is the gift of an Orangeman, Rowan McCoombe.

The inscription on the slab reads:

“To the memory of 640 United Irishmen who fell in Tullow Street on May 25th 1798.”

The fighting in Graigue-Carlow in 1798 was perhaps of less strategic importance than in any other part of Leinster, but the massacre of 25th May was always cited as a characteristic example of the savage an unrelenting manner in which the king’s troops upheld the authority of the crown.

As in other parts of Ireland in 1798, the unabated series of Government abuses and the revolting practices of the Orange Order had, months before the outbreak, sowed the seeds of discontent in the minds of the Catholics. The cause of the Catholics was spearheaded by Sir Edward Crosbie, a member of the Established Church and owner of the large estate of Viewmount, about two miles outside Carlow town. However the attack on the United Irishmen was planned on this very estate by the assembled leaders.

On the 24th of May, the United Irishmen of the neighbourhood gathered at the appointed meeting place at Viewmount. By evening a force of about 1,195 men had assembled, including the following corps; 500 pike men from Ballon, Rathoe and Rathvilly, under Captain Jam Roche; 200 from Kellistown, Chaplestown and Ballinacarrig, and John Murphy and 275 pike men from Bennekerry, Rutland, Johnstown, Killerig and Pollerton, under Captain Nolan. An auxiliary corps of 200 ‘‘gunmen” under Captain William Murphy and Myles Doran, were assembled at Ballickmoyler with the object of joining in operations. The Queen’s County Corps were to march against the town first and having arrived at Graigue, on their own side of the Barrow, they were to fire three successive volleys as a signal for their brethren. Then the body at Viewmount would go into action, starting by the Staplestown route and entering at a thoroughfare called Tullow Street.

A few days before the outbreak, a turncoat named James Keogh, also called “Yellow Jim”, who had won the confidence of the Rebels by his loud denunciation of the Orangemen, and by various other devices, secretly informed the British Commander of the frill details of the conspiracy. With the greatest secrecy, the King’s troops stationed in Carlow’ were now instructed, not alone to repel the intended attach but also if possible, to annihilate the attacking body. “Dame the Croppies and no quarter” was the order of the day.

At the approach of dusk on May 24th, the King’s troops quietly took up positions assigned to them; ‘A’ Squadron of the 9th Dragoons posted themselves on Hanover Bridge, while Graigue Bridge was occupied by a strong Corps of Yeomen. Two Companies of the North Cork Militia extended from Bridewell Lane to Burrin Street and Potato Market and another Squadron of the Dragoons were stationed at Coal Market. A strong detachment of Durham Fencibles were in the old graveyard of St. Mary’s on Castle Hill, the most commanding vantage point. Most of the houses in Barrack Street and Tullow Street, through which the attacking forces were expected to pass, were taken possession of by Yeomen Infantry.

The Ballickmoyler auxiliaries started for their destination at the appointed time, but on arriving at Graigue Bridge, learned that the Bridge was occupied by the military. They decided to retreat. The insurgents at Viewmount waited impatiently for the agreed signal and none being heard, the Commander - in - Chief, Captain Roche, finally set his forces in motion, hoping to capture the town without outside aid.

Day was dawning when the insurgents reached Tullow Street.  Not a sound issued from the grey, closed-up buildings of Tullow Street, not a soul appeared to be stirring within. Then suddenly, the window shutters on all sides flew open and a fearful volley of shot brought down 50 United Irishmen. From every house and every roof-top the shot and shell rained down upon the assailants. The United Irishmen panicked and in their rush for shelter, they plunged headlong into an ambush in Barrack Street. There they were caught by another murderous crossfire, which brought down whole ranks at a time, including every leader of importance. This final blast completed the rout. The rebels, who had so far escaped death, threw away their weapons and dashed into the houses around hoping to find security.

This article appeared in 'Fiacc's Folk' Parish Magazine in the 1997/98 edition. The article is unsigned.

Noteworthy Anniversary

At a meeting of the Carlow Gaelic Atheltic Club on Tuesday, June 18,1889, the subject of the "Croppy Hole" and its "neglected and discreditable state, exposed to desecration of every kind" was discussed. It was resolved to co-operate with Carlow-Graigue Gaelic Club in raising funds to enclose the ground and erect a suitable memorial.

On Sunday, November 24,1889 a meeting was held in The Hall, Henry Street, Graigue at which Fr. Daniel Byrne, P.P. Carlow-Graigue presided.

After the meeting the gathering left the hall and marched to the Fair Green and formed a circle around the ground to be enclosed where Father Byrne turned the first sod to inaugurate the undertaking.

Source: Carloviana 1989/90 No.37. Page 8.

Croppies' Grave Tradition

Newspaper-cutting in the PPP.
Letter to Nationalist and Leinster Times.
Transcribed by M. Purcell 2013
September 1948.

 Sir -- Regarding the statement that the three trees, which stand at the "Croppies' Grave" were planted by Rowan McCombe, a sympathising Orangeman, there is in Graiguecullen a well-authenticated tradition that these trees were planted by Mrs Peggy Mullery (nee Delaney), who was born in '98 Street, and lived in a small thatched house opposite the "Croppies' Grave". It is said that she planted the trees with a spoon when she was a young girl of fourteen or so. She was well over ninety when she died. Her grave is in Sleaty. She often prayed for and talked of "the poor fellows" who were buried in the grave. She used to tell that , when the bodies of the Croppies' were being brought past what is now Dan Brennan's forge, one of the Croppies' who was only apparently wounded escaped into Caseberry's yard (at present owned by James Lawlor) and eventually made his way home. Mrs Mullery is remembered by several people in Graiguecullen. It was the late Father Dan Byrne P.P. Graiguecullen who organised the movement which transfigured the "Croppies' Hole" containing the remains of over 600 United Irishmen from being a neglected sandpit. It was the late Patrick McDarby, who made the railings.
(signed) Liam de Fuitne, Sleaty Street, Graiguecullen.

Crossing Graiguecullen Bridge at Easter 1966, to join in the Commemoration Ceremony at the Croppy Grave. It was one of the biggest parades ever in Carlow.
Source: Facebook
Crossing Graiguecullen Bridge at Easter 1966

Carlow Old IRA 1966


The information on this web site is for personal use only, and under no circumstances is it to be used/copied for commercial purposes by
Professional Researchers. Neither can it be used for the purpose of gain from any person and/or organisation.
© 2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects, IGP TM  By Pre-emptive Copyright - All rights reserved