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Image of the Week ~ Glenmalure

Updated: May 3, 2020

Each Friday I will post an image of the week, which will be a photograph I have taken and I'll include a little story to go with it; all designed to keep the spirits up ~ GH

This photograph was taken two years ago in Glenmalure Hostel, which is run by An Óige - Irish Youth Hostel Association.

The house was previously owned by Maud Gonne and W. B. Yeats often visited and wrote some of his poetry there. We go there every year in order to hike in the Wicklow mountains and we have come to love the hostel and the people who host us. We have had some memorable nights in the hostel with poetry, song and music entertaining us into the wee hours of the night. For more on the history of the hostel, click here & here

Glenmalure is an incredibly historic valley for two reasons. One is the famous battle of Glenmalure which took place on the 25th of August 1580 during the Desmond Rebellions. An Irish force made up of the Gaelic clans from the Wicklow Mountains led by Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne and James Eustace, Viscount Baltinglas of the Pale, defeated an English army under Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey de Wilton. It is said that the bones of 1000 Englishmen rest in the valley.

The impressive looking Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne more commonly known by his Irish name, Fiach MacAodha Ó Broin. Ó Broin led his men in hand-to-hand combat against a large English force, and ultimately overwhelmed it, leaving a large number of his enemy dead or dying in the valley. It must have been a truly brutal encounter. To learn more about Ó Broin, click here

The second reason Glenmalure is famous is because of Michael Dwyer. Michael Dwyer (1772–1825) was a United Irishmen leader in the 1798 rebellion. He fought a guerrilla campaign against the British Army in the Wicklow Mountains from 1798–1803 and in the Glen of Imaal. The failure of Robert Emmet's Rising in 1803 led to a period of repression and renewed attempts by the English government to wipe out Dwyer's forces. Methods adopted included attempts to deny him shelter among the civilian population by severely punishing those suspected of harbouring his men, the offer of huge rewards for information, the assigning of thousands of troops to Wicklow, and the building of a series of barracks at Glencree, Laragh, Glenmalure and Aghavannagh and the construction, at considerable expense, of a famous military road through county Wicklow, which is still in use today.

In December 1803, Dwyer finally capitulated on terms that would allow him safe passage to America but the government reneged on the agreement, holding him in Kilmainham Jail until August 1805, when they transported him to New South Wales (Australia) as an unsentenced exile, where he suffered considerable hardships under the English Governor. To learn more about Michael Dwyer, click here & here

A stone commemorating the 200th anniversary of the 1798 Rebellion,

which saw a great deal of activity in Co. Wicklow.



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