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Wicklow is the county town of County Wicklow, Ireland. It is situated south of Dublin the island's east coast. In 795 AD, marauding Vikings landed in Ireland in order to capture slaves and plunder monasteries and settlements.In the middle of the 9th century, Vikings, attracted to the natural harbor at Wicklow, established a base there.

When the Norman Invasion ended, Wicklow was granted to Maurice FitzGerald, who began building the "Black Castle," which was a fortification that faced land on the coast just south of the harbor. The castle was occupied for a short time by three Irish clans during the uprising of 1641, but the clans left when English troops neared the town.

Sir Charles Coote, leader of the troops, was said by witnesses to have entrapped townspeople and "deliberate burning them to death" and that he had been engaging in "savage and indiscriminate slaughter" of the townspeople in revenge for the death of his father, who was active in the elimination of the Irish insurgents of 1642 and who died defending Trim Castle in County Meath.

The oldest surviving settlement in Wicklow is the Franciscan Abbey, which remains in ruins at the west end of Main Street, in the gardens of the Catholic parish grounds. The Gaol, which was built in 1702, and the town hall also still survive. The Gaol was restored in 1998 and is currently a popular tourist attraction.

Many nations had revolts, inspired to a large extent, to the American Revolution, and Ireland was one of those nations. There were deep divisions within the country, including political and economic differences within the country. The Protestant Ascendancy, referred to as "the Ascendancy," was the political, economic and social dominance by a small number of people in Ireland between the 17th to the early 20th century. This powerful minority included some landowners, clergy, and many in the professions. Meanwhile, the Catholic peasants, Jews, and the Presbyterians along with other denominations were quite unhappy with the situation. Property and other large holdings were gradually taken away from those not part of the Ascendancy.

In 1798, the Rebellion in Wicklow began as battles broke out in the town of Wicklow, the surrounding area, and County Wicklow. Those battles centered on driving out loyalist militia out of the region and wresting occupied areas fro the British military. Rebels used guerrilla tactics in the Wicklow Mountains, ambushing the enemy from hiding places already familiar to the rebels. Both leaders and other rebels were pursued, and many were found and housed at the gaol. One of the more notorious of the rebel leaders was Billy Byrne. He had led numerous attacks against loyalists and in 1799, he was tried and found guilty of being a principal rebel leader at the Battle of Arklow and Vinegar Hill. He was executed at the nearby Gallows Lane, which has since been renamed Friar's Hill. A statue of Billy at the center of Market Lane, just down the hill from the Wicklow Gaol.

 

 

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