ROBERT EMMET (1778-1803)

Emmet grew up strongly influenced by the flight for Catholic Emancipation. At twenty he witnessed Wolfe Tone's failure at attempting rebellion in 1798 and decided to take up the cause himself.

In 1802 he travelled to France to gain support for further rebellion in Ireland. He returned without success. In Dublin he started to gather as many men as possible to stage a rising. On July 23rd 1803 Emmet and his men set out to capture Dublin castle. But on failing to arouse much public support, their advance was quickly stopped and leaders arrested.

At his trail, Emmet gained enormous respect. "I wish to procure for my country the gaurantee which Washington procured for America," he told the court. His last speech became a slogan of Irish nationalism. "Let no man write my epitaph... when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not 'till then, let my epitaph be written." His words were a source of inspiration for many, including Abraham Lincoln who first read them as a boy in his Kentucky cabin.

On September 20th 1803, Emmet at the age of twenty five, was hanged.