Ballinamuck , County Longford
The literal translation of the name of this lovely villiage is “mouth of the ford of the pig.” The referenced pig being, of course, the great enchanted pig that dug the Black Pig’s Dyke. Parts of this ancient fortification range across County Cavan and County Longford. For more information click here
Ballinamuck is perhaps better known for the great and tragic events of 1798 that took place near this hamlet.
By the end of 1791, societies of “United Irishmen” had sprung up around the country and begun calling for democratic reforms including allowing Catholics to vote. The English initially granted some of the reforms, but that movement ended when war broke out between France and England.
When the English stopped the reforms, the Irish rose and rebelled against English rule, much as they had just 22 years earlier in America. French troops were provided to assist in the rebellion, but bad weather and bad luck prevented the French from carrying Ireland to freedom as she had carried America to freedom. For more information click here
One of the local risings was in County Longford. About 3,000 local poorly armed farmers were raised as volunteer troops by the Irish and they declared a provisional government under John Moor. The Irish Volunteers were supported by French troops under General Humbert. The English, led by Cornwallis – the very same general the Americans and French had defeated at Yorktown – was able to delay the French long enough to pull together sufficient English troops to defeat the French. The French were treated well after their surrender but about 2,000 of the Irish volunteers were ridden down, after they’d surrendered, and slaughtered by English cavalry. A metal cross marks the mass grave of about 900 of these men. Later at Ballninalee, Cornwallis celebrated his victory by ordering the murder by strangulation of an additional 130 prisoners. A mound known as Bully’s Acre marks their burial place.
Memorials may be found in abundance in the Ballinamuck area. They include a statue of the pikeman of the day (the pike being the weapon of choice for a foot soldier without a musket), a museum showing details and history of the fight, a 200th anniversary Memorial Garden built jointly by Ireland and France and numerous signs locating the major actions of the battle.
Gunner Magee’s Cannon
The Memorial Garden