Muskets at the ready for Vinegar Hill battle

David Medcalf

Battle fever will grip Enniscorthy at the weekend as two of the principal engagements of the 1798 rebellion are re-lived.

First, on Saturday, August 2, stand by from 1 p.m. for loud noises and close quarter combat as the rebels capture the town.

Then on Sunday, August 3, hundreds of re-enactors will be joined by thousands of spectators for the Battle of Vinegar Hill from 2 p.m.

Local pike men, women and children from around Wexford and the wider South East have been training for the occasion for the past months.

The rebel ranks will be swollen by experienced comrades in arms from Mayo where the visit of French General Humbert is regularly re-staged. Also on the way to Slaneyside are United Irishmen ranging from 16 to 24 years of age from Northern Ireland.

The Ulster contingent hail from towns such as Coleraine, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Larne, Limavady and Moyle.

They are part of the 'North East Peace III Partnership' which challenges attitudes to sectarianism.

Meanwhile, the forces of King George III will be well represented, with groups of seasoned re-enactors coming from around Ireland and Britain.

The list features regiments from England and Wales as well as the 27th Inniskilling Regiment, the 86th Leinster Regiment, the 87th Prince of Wales's own Irish, the 88th Connaught Rangers and the Royal Irish Artillery.

The organisers expect to have around 200 rebels facing up to 100 redcoats on the two days.

The third annual re-enactment maintains the pattern of growth in the event marking one of the most significant battles to take place on Irish soil.

Jacqui Hynes, manager at the 1798 Centre, said: 'It will be a sight to behold to live, breathe and witness a re-creation of history.'

The cannon bombardments, cavalry assThe fighting will be supplemented by a programme of activity at the '98 centre and Saturday's exhibition 'Rebels v Redcoats' polocrosse match, due to take place in the Showgrounds around 4 p.m.

Wexford People

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