The Post-Union Traveller, 1800–1820

  • Glenn Hooper


The late eighteenth century saw a sharp increase in contact between Ireland and France. In fact, so developed was the relationship between the two countries during this period that an attempt was made to land a fleet of 43 ships, complete with 15,000 troops, off the coast of Bantry Bay, County Cork in December 1796. Although the ultimate objectives of the mission were to be spectacularly thwarted by a combination of storms and disagreements, and the fleet forced to return to France with little engagement to report, the action constitutes not only a ‘great might-have-been in Irish history’ but a significant level of commitment and coordinated determination on the part of Theobald Wolfe Tone, the adjutant-general of the fleet, and prominent United Irishman.1 Indeed, the Bantry Bay episode boosted ‘popular disaffection in Ireland’ to such an extent that despite its failure a threat was still perceived in the country and the possibility that an, admittedly unaided, insurrection might eventually take place remained strong.2 With tensions running high, arms stockpiling and the mobilisation of troops becoming a feature of Irish life, then, it came as no surprise when rebellion was eventually precipitated on 23 May 1798. The insurgents were effectively crushed by 21 June of that year; another French expedition, which landed at Killala in County Mayo on 22 August, was also defeated.


Statistical Survey Constitutional Change Travel Writing Irish History County Survey 
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© Glenn Hooper 2005

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  • Glenn Hooper

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