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The United Irish Patriots of 1798

1 of 2 portraits of John Sheares

The United Irish Patriots of 1798, after Unknown artist, 1798 or after - NPG D10700 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

The United Irish Patriots of 1798

after Unknown artist
coloured lithograph, 1798 or after
21 1/4 in. x 27 3/8 in. (541 mm x 695 mm) paper size
Reference Collection
NPG D10700


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The Society of United Irishmen was founded in Belfast in 1791. Its aim was to unite Irishmen, regardless of religion, in pursuit of political reform. It was initially an open and constitutional society but in the backlash against Radicalism that followed the French Revolution, it was formally suppressed in 1794. This provoked a more militant republicanism which began to ally itself with growing rural unrest. A rebellion erupted in the summer of 1798, timed to coincide with a French invasion on the west coast, but it was unsuccessful. Many of the patriots pictured here, including the Romantic hero Robert Emmett, were found guilty of treason or forced to flee abroad.