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My first post.  Reading Musgraves history of 1798, I encountered the brief outline of John Clinch's execution for rebel ties. Through another site, I was supplied with links, one of which brought me to this site, and all offering some insights into the life of John Clinch. From the scant information I have recieved to date, I am left with several questions.

The initial information suggests that John's father and grandfather and great uncles were members of the Chuch of Ireland. Musgrave (who I understand must be read with an appreciation for his bias) tells of John Clinch cursing Fr. Harold for drawing him into the rebel movement. Another source mentions that once charged with treason, Fr. Harold was found in hiding at the Rahtcoole House (the Clinch home) and promptly arrested. How does one explain the association of the Clinch family with the Catholic priest of the village?

In County Wexford at the time of the Insurrection, all the Clinch and Clynch people are Catholic, poor, and several figure prominently in the rebellion. The fact that John comes from landed and wealthy lineage suggests a very different family line and, reasonably, of the Ascendacy.  Might anyone have knowledge of that period of time and this family?

All insights welcomed,




Thursday 2nd February 2017, 02:58AM

Message Board Replies

  • The National Archives in Dublin have a lot of records on the United Irishmen's Rebellion in 1798, and contain names of people arrested and executed. (Not that many were executed but a lot were required to leave Ireland). The records are not on-line and you would need to spend a day or two in the Archives to research them.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Friday 3rd February 2017, 07:57PM
  • Good Morning Elwyn,

    Thank you for the response. I will have to write to them and see what kind of crrespondence they are willing to carry on, being that i live in the state of New Mexico, USA.





    Saturday 4th February 2017, 03:20PM
  • Kevin,

    You probably need to employ a researcher to go through them all. Probably a day or two’s work.

    I have attached a list of papers held in the National Archives (State Paper Office). PRONI (the public record office in Belfast) also has papers relating to United Irishmen. They tend to focus on the insurrection in Ulster, but not exclusively so, especially as most instructions at that time emanated from Dublin.

    The broad impression that I gained from reading the papers in PRONI was that a considerable number of people were killed in fighting, but that after it was over, Lord Castlereagh (Secretary of State for Ireland) analyzed how likely it was that there would be further trouble. His and his Generals assessment was that support for the insurrection, whilst very strong in some parts of the country, had not really commanded widespread support, and that having defeated them heavily, the likelihood of further trouble was small. Furthermore in Wexford, RC United Irishmen massacred many Protestants, which led to a significant drop in support for the movement by many Protestants elsewhere in Ireland.

    So Castlereagh issued instructions to let most rank and file fighters go. A few leaders were to be executed to send a message but that it would be counter-productive to execute too many. Middle ranking Officers (who were potential future leaders could cause further trouble but weren’t worth executing) were to be treated differently. They were given an option. Face trial for treason (penalty execution) or leave Ireland permanently, with their families, and the charge would not be pursued. Not surprisingly, most opted for that option. Many went to the US, Canada and elsewhere.

    So, in my opinion, if your ancestor was executed, (as opposed to being killed in the actual fighting) he was probably a leader, and consequently may well  be documented somewhere in NAS.

    The United Irishmen’s intentions were to overthrow the established state, and so they were seen by the UK Government very much as Al Qaeda or Isis is seen today.  Terrorists posing a significant danger to society.  If President Trump had been around in 1798 and 1799, he might well have banned them from entering the US!

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Sunday 5th February 2017, 11:35AM

    Attached Files

  • My questions have narrowed a bit after subsequent reading of Rathcoole and John Clinch. Two men, Fyan and Molloy were tried and executed for their role in the the rebellion and are buried in the "old Catholic section" of the Church of Ireland cemetery. From, I see that Jmaes, William and two female family members are buried in graves adjoining Fyan and Molloy. Since there are only 56 family plots in the entire cemetary, I wonder just how small the "old Catholic section" is. I wonder what such a section meant in early nineteenth century Rahtcoole? and how Church of Ireland officials would permit rebels to be buried in their tiny cemetery?

    My earlier premise that the Clinches were members of the Church of Ireland is very much in doubt given the location of Clinch family graves in what must be part of the old Catholic section.

    Any local Rathcoole members reading this who might be able to shed some light on these questions?

    Kevin Clinch


    Wednesday 22nd February 2017, 03:37AM


    Can't give you specific local knowedge about this particular cemetery but it was common for other denominations to be buried in Church of Ireland cemeteries. Firstly, they were open to all denominations and secondly many had originally been RC cemeteries anyway, pre Reformation, and so the RC congregation continued to use them, rather than open a new cemtery. There are plenty of shared cemteries in Ireland to this day.


    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 23rd February 2017, 10:27PM