‘The 1828 “invasion of Ulster” and the meeting at Ballintra’
On Thursday, 23 May 2024, Patrick Duffy, PhD candidate in history at Trinity College Dublin and Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar will deliver a talk at Drumhowan Community Centre. The talk will be based mainly on research from his master’s thesis, written at the University of Oxford in 2020-21, but developed further during his doctoral research at Trinity.
In September 1828, the Catholic leader John Lawless led a ‘tour of the north’ to fundraise for Daniel O’Connell’s Catholic Association in Ulster. Having successfully held meetings fundraised throughout Counties Meath and Louth in August and September, he arrived in Carrickmacross announcing his intention to visit Ballybay. An estimated 3,000 Protestants, mostly armed, led by the infamous Sam Gray gathered in Ballybay to prevent Lawless from entering. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Catholics assembled at what was then the Ballybay Catholic church, located at Ballintra graveyard. When the government banned public meetings and Lawless returned to Dublin, Ballybay was portrayed as a saviour of Protestant Ulster. Meetings in Derry declared the ‘Protestants of Ballybay’ as the contemporary Apprentice Boys who defended the Protestant province from the Catholic south. The prime minster, the duke of Wellington told the House of Lords when legislating for Catholic emancipation that the disturbances at Ballybay ‘seemed to indicate’ that Ireland was ‘verging towards civil war’. Charles Gavan Duffy incorrectly claimed Wellington ‘admitted’ that he was ‘coerced’ into conceding Catholic emancipation by the ‘assembling of a quarter of a million’ men ‘on the hill of Ballybay’. Ballybay was therefore at the centre of political events in Ireland and Britian in 1828.
Meeting at Ballintra church at 7pm on Thursday, 23 May to view the site of the meeting, followed by a talk on its background, key events, significance and legacy at Drumhowan Community Centre at 8pm. All welcome. Refreshments served.