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The Battle of Tallaght

Early in March, 1867, when famine was widespread in Ireland, there were rumours of a rising of the Fenians. They had been drilling, and had prepared pikes, guns, and ammunition. On Tuesday night, the 4th of March, 1867, large numbers of men moved along the Crumlin, Greenhills, Rathmines, and other roads, towards Tallaght. They didn’t know it, but the police were watching them. And, they didn’t plan it that way, but it turned out to be one of the coldest nights of the year.

Police station in Tallaght in 1867

What became known as “The Battle of Tallaght” took place on the main street of the village. The police in Tallaght sent for reinforcements from other stations. Therewere fourteen constables and a head constable under Sub-inspector Burke at Tallaght, and they took up a position outside the barracks where they commanded the roads from both Greenhills and  Templeogue. The first body of armed men came from Greenhills and, when they came under police fire, retreated. Next a party came from Templeogue, and was also dispersed. Some shots were fired, and some stones were thrown, but the rebels were not organised enough to trouble the well-armed police.
It is thought that there were a few thousand rebels, but they were freezing cold, hungry and totally unprepared for a battle. Many of them had no weapon at all. At least one of them was killed and a small number wounded.
In 1936 a skeleton, sword-bayonet and water bottle were found in a hollow tree stump near Terenure. It is thought that these were the remains of one of the Fenians who had taken refuge there after the Battle of Tallaght and either died of his wounds or was frozen to death.
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