ON THIS DAY: 29th JULY 1848: Battle of Ballingarry and the birth of the tricolour

Attack On The Police By The People Under Smith O'Brien In Ballingarry: Photo Credit: Walmart.com

By July 29th, 1848, most of Ireland had been truly devastated by the Great starvation. Outside of Ireland, Europe was being convulsed with revolutions. In France, King Louis-Philippe was overthrown, to make way for the second republic. Revolutions seeking the vote, and liberalisation, broke out in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy, and elsewhere.

Inspired by these events and the success of liberal, romantic nationalism on the European mainland, and disgusted by Daniel O’Connell’s acceptance of patronage from the British Liberals, a group known as Young Ireland broke away from O’Connell’s Repeal Association. They were lead by Thomas Francis Meagher, John Dillon, and William Smith O’Brien.

Meagher had gone to France to seek support for a rebellion. He returned with a new tricolour flag – the flag that would later become the national banner.

The rebellion broke out in Ballingarry on July 29th. It did not last long. Barricaded in Ballingarry, the rebels fought and exchanged fire with police for several hours before being defeated, and drifting away.

Though it lasted for only a single day, the famine rebellion – or the “young Ireland rebellion” would inspire the founding of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, gave birth to the national flag, and set in train the series of events that eventually lead to the treaty with Britain granting Ireland self governance.

A significant event, on this day, July 29th, 1848.

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