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Events at Scullabogue and their Contrast with the Non-sectarian Ethos of the United Irishmen

Task Guidelines for the Assignment

Using the deposition of Richard Grandy as a starting point, discuss how events at Scullabogue contrasted with the non-sectarian ethos of the United Irishmen.

1. The document, the sworn testimony (deposition) of Richard Grandy, given on 23 June 1798 was widely circulated in the aftermath of the 1798 Rebellion. It contains his eyewitness account of the events at Scullabogue in which over 100 mostly Protestant, loyalist prisoners were massacred. Grandy was one of only two survivors of the horrific incident. A transcript of the document is on Loop and a pdf copy of Grandy’s original testimony can be located on the National Archives of Ireland 1798 site (facsimile 13).

1. Course Materials: Unit 1.

2. The History Lab-

3. Bartlett, Thomas, Ireland: A History(Cambridge, 2010), pp. 206-227.

4. Bew, Paul, Ireland: The Politics of Enmity, 1789-2006 (Oxford, 2007), pp. 31-48.

5. Curtin, Nancy J., The United Irishmen: Popular Politics in Ulster and Dublin, 1791-98 (Oxford, 1998).

6. Dunne, Tom, Rebellion, memoir, memory and 1798(Dublin, 2004).

7. Gahan, Daniel, ‘The Scullabogue Massacre, 1798’, History Ireland, 4:3, (1996), pp. 27-31,

8. Gahan, Daniel, ‘New Ross, Scullabogue and the 1798 Rebellion in Southwestern Wexford’, The Past: The Organ of the Uí Cinsealaigh Historical Society, No. 21, (1998), pp. 3-33.

9. Jackson, Alvin, Ireland 1798-1998: war, peace and beyond (Oxford, 2010), pp. 10-22.

10. Kelly, James, ‘’We were all to have been massacred’: Irish Protestants and the experience of rebellion’ in Thomas Bartlett, David Dickson, Dáire Keogh and Kevin Whelan (eds), 1798: A bicentenary perspective, (Dublin, 2003), pp. 312-330.

11. Malcolm, Elizabeth, ‘A new age or just the same old cycle of extirpation? Massacre and the 1798 Irish rebellion’, Journal of Genocide Research, 15:2 (2013), pp. 151-166.

Please do not use secondary school textbooks or Wikipedia.

This reading list is not exhaustive; it serves as a guide to the historiography of the subject. Feel free to read and cite other academic works of your choice.

1. This question requires you to discuss how events at Scullabogue in June 1798 contrasted with the non-sectarian ethos of the United Irishmen. Before you approach the question familiarise yourself with events surrounding the rebellion in Wexford; look at the points and arguments raised by historians.

2. The document is intended to serve as the starting point for your research and to help you become familiar with the use of primary sources. You may find the language used in the original document challenging at first – the letter ‘f’ is often used in place of the letter ‘s’ – however, a transcribed copy is available to you on Loop.

The Deposition of Richard Grandy as a Primary Source

3. Grandy’s testimony outlines his experiences over the nineteen days he spent with the rebels in County Wexford. While parts of his testimony may be fictitious, the description of the Scullabogue massacre is believed to be a reasonably accurate account.

4. Consider how the events he describes are regarded by contemporary historians. The articles by James Kelly, Elizabeth Malcolm, and Daniel Gahan are particularly relevant to the assignment as they attempt to understand the overall nature of the violence that occurred during the 1798 Rebellion. The intention is that the document should stimulate your thinking on the topic before you begin your research and analysis. An effective answer will be built upon wide reading and research of online and other sources.

5. You need to analyse the evidence presented in the document rather than simply provide a narrative of what happened. This means that while you must show some engagement with the document in question, you must also illustrate an ability to show an understanding of the historiography (what historians say) of the 1798 Rebellion in County Wexford.

6. The word count is 1500 words (+/- 10%). Part of the challenge in an assignment is to present a coherent argument within the prescribed word count.

7. Your assignment must have an introduction, where you give your key arguments, a main body broken into paragraphs (usually at least half a page in length) where you develop your arguments, and a conclusion where you sum up your ideas, along with posing some questions on the legacy of the topic. It should also include a bibliography that lists the works, including on-line resources, which you have consulted. It should also be footnoted throughout.

a. What does the language in the document convey about prevailing sectarian attitudes?

b. Grandy spent nineteen days with the rebels and provided medical aid to the rebel wounded so do you think his testimony is reliable?

c. How was Grandy treated by rebel commanders including Bagnal Harvey?

d. Is there any evidence that old scores were settled between rival Protestant and Catholic groups during the rebellion?

e. Did the press (newspapers and journals) play a part in stirring up sectarian feeling prior to the rebellion?

f. How did government atrocities at New Ross influence events at Scullabogue?

g. To what extent was Grandy’s deposition used as anti-United Irishmen propaganda after the rebellion?

No sub-headings should feature in this assignment.

The Wider Historical Context of the 1798 Rebellion and Scullabogue

You must ensure that your assignment has appropriate referencing as correct referencing is an important part of any academic work. Marks will be deducted from your assignments for incorrect referencing. Please note that there are a number of referencing systems used in different academic disciplines, but history students must follow the Irish Historical Studies Rules for Contributors referencing style which is available at:

Please refer to the DCU History Citation Guide if you are in any doubt.

A bibliography

a. Should feature a listing of all sources consulted in the preparation of the assignment.

b. Should list all sources referred to in footnotes.

c. Should list primary and secondary sources separately.

d. Should list secondary sources in alphabetical order (according to author’s surname)

Assignments should be typewritten. Please use the PowerPoint document on essay-writing from Tutorial 1 as a template. A copy of this document was posted to Loop.

Sentences should be relatively short, simple, and clear. A sequence of over-lengthy sentences, connected by commas, is neither advisable nor acceptable since it mars the clarity of what you are trying to say. A good idea is only of value if you can get it across. Construct proper paragraphs with a consistent theme and argument, and not ones with just one or two sentences, or paragraphs that go on for pages without a break. Indent the first line of new paragraphs. Do not use personal pronouns; maintain an objective tone throughout. Do not offer personal opinions; all statements must be backed up with evidence.

It is good practice to write your assignment, leave it for a day, and then come back to it with a critical eye, ensuring that ideas are clearly expressed, that arguments are followed through and that there is a logical progression from introduction through discussion to conclusion. Then rewrite in its final form. This can make all the difference between a poor and a good mark.  

This assignment will be evaluated in accordance with the Assessment Grading System which is available from the Humanities Course Handbook.

In completing this assignment you will be assessed on your ability to:

1. Comprehend and extract the main points in the document.

2. Conduct a reasonably critical analysis of the document.

3. Illustrate your capacity to engage with the historical source by direct quotation or citation of specific points in your assignment; all general points should be backed up with evidence from the document. Give specific references to the document.

4. Show evidence of wider reading. This evidence is reflected in your footnotes and the complexity of your arguments.

5. Indicate an ability to relate points extracted from the document to points made in secondary sources.

6. Indicate a capacity for independent thought on the document and on the subject as a whole.

7. Structure your essay coherently. A strong introduction and conclusion is essential. Your introduction should act as a map to your essay; in the introduction state your argument and delineate the points you will discuss in supporting your thesis. Be careful not to simply narrate facts. Instead, you should consider why the facts you offer are significant in the context of your argument. Your conclusion should summarise how you have answered the question.

8. Write clearly, paying attention to presentation, style, grammar, and spelling.

Submit one file to the appropriate assignment submission drop box in Loop by the due date specified. Please adhere to the naming convention when saving your file, for example, His3_A1_2021_JBloggs.doc

When submitting your assignment to Loop, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have submitted all parts of your assignment in full and in the correct format. Resubmission of assignments or part of assignments will not be permitted. Your tutor will grade your work based on the document you submit to the assignment submission drop box in Loop.

You must include a copy of the feedback grid within your assignment file. 

The reputation of Dublin City University and of its graduates depends on upholding the highest standards of learning and research.  Students have a right to be assessed on the quality of their own work, and have the corresponding duty to present only their own work for assessment. Plagiarism is a serious academic offence. DCU’s Plagiarism Policy is available at Please refer to the Humanities Course Handbook for further information relating to plagiarism and academic integrity.

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