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Wexford Croppies' Graves In Meath

The recent celebration of our 75 years of Statehood passed off in a muted fashion

The recent celebration of our 75 years of Statehood passed off in a muted fashion. But already a great head of steam is being worked up over the bicentenary of the Rising of 1798, much of it from Wexford. And although the greatest propulsion, it can be argued, came from the North, there are obvious reasons why outdoor celebrations could bring their own troubles. No doubt suitable arrangements will eventually be worked out; there have been, and will be, Orangemen who will, at times, admit that in the days of Monro and Betsy Gray, an ancestor was "out" with them.

One small episode or sidelight on the history of the Rising is revealed or retold in an article by Diane Pollock of Mountainstown House in Meath, a few miles south of Nobber, more or less. She tells in her parish magazine of the Kells Union of C of I churches, that the family has received permission from their Bishop to hold an outdoor Service of Reconciliation on Arthur's Hill, Drakestown nearby, on July 4th, 1998 "to commemorate the unknown United Irishmen of Wexford, and a priest, Father Murphy, who are buried on our land at Mountainstown bog and Arthur's Hill in unmarked graves on what was then a road through this field". She writes that the Wexford "Croppies" were defeated at the Battle of Tara on May 26th, 1798 and the remnants scattered as they went their way northward.

They made a stand at Knightstown bog on July 14th and were completely routed. Some fled northwards to Kingscourt and Slane.

She quotes from a series of articles by Mrs Margaret Conway: "To the North and Northwest of Knightstown bog, the countryside round is full of traditions of the graves of Wexford Croppies' - particularly in the vicinity of Mountainstown bog . . . and as far north as Nobber and beyond it." Mrs Pollock says that enthusiastic support has already been expressed. The local PP, Rev. J. Clavin and the Rev. William Ritchie of the Church of Ireland are with them, and there will be invitations to bishops, pastors and clergy of other denominations. Dean Victor Griffin will be the preacher.

Help would be appreciated with catering, printing, amplification and other material needs. She hopes "that this act of worship will help heal the wounds of those Wexford people and descendants in Meath . . . and that the Croppies' souls will rest in peace". Y