An Irish Village

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Michael Dwyer Statue in the Glen of Imaal

'Invictus' means 'Undefeated'.

Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer, the Wicklow Chief

A paper delivered at the University of Melbourne on 1 August 2006

Chris Lawlor

Let me begin by thanking you for allowing me to deliver this paper here in the beautiful surroundings of Newman College in the University of Melbourne. I am very honoured to be here to mark the bicentenary of the arrival of Michael Dwyer with this talk, which, as you will know, is part of the University’s prestigious series of ‘Irish Studies Seminars’. I am especially grateful to Dr Elizabeth Malcolm and Mr Philip Bull as they have organised this seminar on the life and significance of Michael Dwyer, the man known as the ‘Wicklow Chief’, a man, indeed, whose exploits have almost assumed the proportions of myth in his native county.

The mythic quality of Michael Dwyer is something that I have grown up with in West Wicklow. The name of Michael Dwyer was “up there with the best of them”. A nineteenth century traditional ballad called “The Three Flowers” compares Dwyer with Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet. This ballad is merely one example of how Dwyer, who was not a major United Irish leader before the 1798 rebellion (although he worked his way up the chain of command somewhat during the conflict) was posthumously elevated to a status of leadership which he did not enjoy during his lifetime. Dwyer probably never saw Wolfe Tone, let alone met him. They moved in different circles. Unlike many of the leading figures within the United Irish organisation, Dwyer did not come from a well-to-do background. While planning the abortive rising of 1803, Emmet and Dwyer met only twice. Yet the guerrilla leader of a tiny band of freedom fighters in the Wicklow Mountains is mentioned as an equal in the same breath as Tone, the “Father of Irish Republicanism” and Emmet, the “Darling of Erin”. In the folklore of Ireland, the myth of Michael Dwyer has transcended his own time and place. No doubt Dwyer, the politically aware freedom fighter, would have been pleased. The legend lives on. This article will attempt to separate legend from fact… though an account of the facts of Dwyer’s life makes it easy to see how the legend developed!

Michael Dwyer was born in the Glen of Imaal in 1772. Making a living, especially from farming was difficult in this remote glen, deep in the Wicklow Mountains. Nevertheless, Michael Dwyer was the son of a small tenant farmer and he grew up among the people of this glen. The Dwyers were not rich – Michael’s parents, John and Mary, were ordinary people. His father, John Dwyer had married Mary Byrne of Cullentragh. Michael was their eldest son. The family moved from the townland of Camara to the townland of Eadstown in 1784, when Michael was about twelve years old. Eadstown was not quite as remote as Camara, but it was still situated well within the Glen of Imaal. The Dwyers were Roman Catholic, so Michael was educated at a hedge school. His teacher was Peter Burr. Burr was a remarkable figure. He was a graduate of the strictly protestant Trinity College, Dublin, but he was also a progressive thinker, who kept up with political changes at the time. Burr made sure that Michael Dwyer and his other pupils also knew about these changes.

And what changes they were! The late seventeenth century witnessed the American Revolution and French Revolution. Both of these events brought about huge changes and established two independent republics. The American War of Independence threatened the very concepts of "Empire" and British "superiority" in an age of imperialism. The loss of the American colonies was the first real blow suffered by the British Empire, and it cut deeply. The colonies were gone, but at least they were three thousand miles away. The French Revolution did not affect Britain as directly as the American one, in that they lost no land as a result of it. However, in its own way, the French revolution had an even more profound effect on British Loyalists because it threatened the very concept of Monarchy. Europe's Ancien Regime and the idea of the "Divine Right" of Monarchs were swept aside. The French were guilty of possibly the worst possible crime in Loyalist eyes -regicide. After all, who were Loyalists loyal to, if not the Monarch?

The establishment of the United Irishmen in Belfast in 1791fuelled Loyalist fears. Now Ireland, the island on Britain's doorstep, was showing separatist tendencies. In the Glen of Imaal, Peter Burr was among the first to join the new organisation of United Irishmen. Burr’s action probably influenced his old pupil, who became even more politically aware as new ideas infiltrated the Glen. Michael Dwyer also joined the United Irishmen in 1797.

At this stage, the government moved to quell the United Irishmen. Terror was employed as a tactic and this terror spread through Ulster and into Leinster during late 1797 and early 1798. A new part time force, the yeoman were founded in 1797 to assist the militia and regular army in tackling the United Irish threat. A reign of terror swept through Leinster and into County Wicklow. The United Irishmen were strong in Wicklow, where they had 14,000 sworn members. The United Irishmen’s second strongest Leinster county was Kildare with 11,919 members. Michael Dwyer lived in an area of Wicklow close to the Kildare border. The Glen of Imaal is in Dunlavin parish and Dunlavin village was a place that Dwyer visited often. The Roman Catholic parish was centred on Dunlavin, and Dwyer’s family worshipped there. Dunlavin was also the local market town, so as farmers the Dwyer family also had reason to attend Dunlavin’s markets and fairs. Dunlavin held a pivotal position between the principal towns of Kildare and West Wicklow, such as Naas, Kilcullen, Blessington and Baltinglass. In 1798, Dunlavin was also a garrison town for West Wicklow. The West Wicklow area saw harsh methods employed in the hunt for United Irishmen. The flogging triangle was used, as was half-hanging. Arrests of United Irish suspects followed. Dunlavin market house became a temporary jail. A kinsman of Michael Dwyer, John Dwyer of Seskin, was arrested in April 1798. His house in Imaal was burned and he was incarcerated in Dunlavin. Michael Dwyer was also wanted by the authorities, so he left his home and was lying low in the remote wilderness area at the head of the Glen of Imaal.

While Dwyer was evading the authorities, the rebellion broke out in West Wicklow (and Kildare). On the opening day of the rebellion, 24 May 1798, a horrendous massacre of prisoners occurred in Dunlavin. The authorities had good information from spies, such as John Smith, who had learned that many Dunlavin yeomen were also sworn United Irishmen. The Dunlavin yeomanry was divided into Dunlavin cavalry corps, which was led by William Ryves of Rathsallagh and the infantry corps, which was led by Morley Saunders of Saundersgrove. Another spy Joe Hawkins had uncovered a plot to kill Morley Saunders. On Monday 21 May 1798 Corporal James Dunn of the Saundersgrove corps had been arrested. On Tuesday 22 May eighteen more of Saunders’s men were arrested on the parade ground, and prisoners from Narraghmore and elsewhere joined local suspects in Dunlavin market house. On the morning of the 24 May, with rumours of rebel victories sweeping through a tense and volatile Dunlavin, some prisoners were hanged at the market house. The exact number is unclear, but between five and eleven men seem to have been hanged. Shortly afterwards, many of the remaining prisoners were paraded through the town – and thirty-six of them were shot at the corner of the fair green beside the Roman Catholic chapel. The sectarian nature of the massacre was overtly displayed. The wounded were finished off by pistol shots in the ear, but one man, David Prendergast, feigned death and was rescued. State terror had reached its zenith in the Dunlavin massacre.

The effects of the Dunlavin massacre were far reaching. News of the massacre was one factor that prompted Fr John Murphy to rebel and so the Wexford rebellion commenced. News of the massacre also had a profound effect on Michael Dwyer. Dwyer still lying low in the remote Glen of Imaal when the news reached him, but after Dunlavin, Dwyer went to Wexford, where he joined the rebels. At this stage, Dwyer was a captain in the United Irishmen. He was not, however, a principal leader. There is no record of his movements or journey to Wexford… this in itself indicated that he was not as yet very well known. Once in County Wexford, Dwyer joined the United army of North Wexford. The North Wexford campaign eventually led the rebels across the border into Wicklow, and the town of Arklow was to be the scene of the next battle. Dwyer’s bravery was noted at the Battle of Arklow. Despite the courage shown by Dwyer and others, the Battle of Arklow was a major defeat for the rebels, who had to retreat into Wexford once again.

Following an action at Kilcavan Hill, Dwyer and his comrades reached Vinegar Hill on 20 June. This was the eve of what was to prove to be the decisive government victory of the campaign in the southeast. Vinegar Hill was another major defeat for the insurgents, and marked the beginning of the end of the rising. On 21 June, the rebel forces broke and the main body retreated towards Wexford town. Dwyer, however, did not go with them. Instead, he retreated northwards, rejoining some of his comrades on the way. They spent that night at Peppard’s Castle and reached the sacked settlement of Aughrim on 24 June. The survivors of Vinegar Hill began to regroup. Their commander, Garret Byrne of Ballymanus, now decided to attack on Hacketstown, just over the Carlow border on 25 June.

At Hacketstown Michael Dwyer was given his first significant command as he led one of the rebel flanking parties. However, a determined loyalist resistance meant that the attackers’ losses were high as the defenders picked them off from within stone buildings. Solid resistance from well armed forces within well-fortified positions amply demonstrated that, without cannon, the rebels could not hope to take such positions. Once again, Dwyer’s courage was noted at Hacketstown. With two brothers named Laffan (Laphen) from Kilmuckridge, he managed to climb the barracks wall using scaling ladders. Despite this gallant effort, the barracks proved too tough a nut to crack and the rebels eventually had to withdraw.

The tide of war had firmly turned in favour of the government forces. Retreat into the fastnesses of the Wicklow Mountains was now the only sensible option for the beleaguered rebel forces, but Michael Dwyer could scarcely have imagined just how long his resistance would last in these fastnesses as he and his comrades trekked towards Glenmalure in the first week of July 1798. For a while, Dwyer defended the secluded valley at this time and he was referred to as “the Governor of Glenmalure”. However, Michael Dwyer evacuated Glenmalure with the remainder of the insurgents on 6 August and on the next day they arrived in the Glen of Imaal. Dwyer was home! The Glen of Imaal was geographically remote and the community within it was a close-knit one, which meant that Dwyer had many friends ready to shelter him locally. Even some elements of the yeomanry in this area were prepared to harbour Dwyer. Here, in Imaal he also had an extended web of kinship on which he could rely. Such support and shelter influenced Dwyer’s decision not to avail of a protection, which was offered to him in August. He feared becoming the target of a Loyalist reprisal attack. A protection might be all very well, but with the memory of the Dunlavin massacre and other incidents fresh in Dwyer's mind, no doubt he may have felt that such a protection might not be worth the paper that it was written on.

Dwyer considered the option of taking a protection, but ignored it and September saw him involved in the Battle of Keadeen. Dwyer and his men had decided to continue the fight. This battle was the first is a series of indecisive skirmishes, which harried and harassed the Crown forces. In fact, this was the beginning of a guerrilla campaign in the Wicklow Mountains that was on a par with the mountain campaign waged by the Austrian Andreas Hofer against Napoleon in the Alps. Dwyer, who realised that pitched battles had been disastrous, was probably the first Irish rebel leader to employ such ‘hit and run tactics’ and both Michael Collins and Dan Breen cited Dwyer as an inspiration for their own guerrilla campaigns during the War of Independence a hundred and twenty years or so later. While small-scale operations were Dwyer’s principal modus operandi during the protracted guerrilla campaign, there was always the element of hitting out against the crown forces. Dwyer’s operations were of necessity small-scale due to the dearth of numbers within his following. Moreover, any larger scale operations would have attracted the attention of the authorities and the very nature of guerrilla warfare involves small bands that hit both hard and fast before moving on rapidly. Such a campaign suited Dwyer, who was on home territory and who was a fieldcraft expert with finely-honed survival skills.

As the campaign progressed Dwyer became a household name. He was actually far better known than many of the now more famous United Irishmen whose roles were re-appraised during the post-famine era. Dwyer’s exploits were well known during his own lifetime and news of his daring escapades only served to fuel the growth of his legend. He became a Romantic figure, regarded as a criminal by the state, but considered a hero and champion by the people who sheltered him. A “social bandit” in the mould of Robin Hood, Michael Dwyer was idealised and turned into a myth who supposedly never killed but in self-defence or just revenge. The reality was however, that Dwyer was ruthless when he needed to be. Children, women, invalids – Dwyer either shot them or had them shot if he thought they posed a threat or would inform on him. So while affection for Dwyer was one factor in the aid given to Dwyer by the local populace, fear was definitely another. Of course, had Dwyer not had such a ruthless streak, it is probable that he would not have survived so long.

Dwyer’s guerrilla campaign continued into 1799. There is no doubt that many of Michael Dwyer’s exploits were hair-raising – the real stuff of which ballads were made. Narrow escapes such as the evasion of detection by assuming the disguise of a beggar man and boldly passing by the soldiers who were seeking him or lying across the rafters of Mangan’s house while the yeomen searched the building at ground level rank right up there with the legendary Robin Hood’s entry into a hostile Nottingham in the garb of a butcher or his hiding in the branches of a tree as the sheriff’s men passed beneath! Dwyer’s most famous exploit during his guerrilla campaign was probably also his narrowest escape. This occurred at the cottage of Miley Connell in Derrynamuck (also referred to as Dernamuck and Doire na Muc) on the night of 15 February 1799. For once, Dwyer’s lookout system had failed to alert him of approaching danger. Information received from a spy had led the military to the very door of Dwyer’s refuge. Connell’s cottage was the third in a clachan of three, situated at the end of an isolated boreen. The rebel occupants of the other two cottages had already been taken. Ned Lennon and Thomas Clerk surrendered at Hoxey’s house and Wat McDonnell (McDaniel), Patrick Toole, John Ashe, John Mickle, Hugh Byrne and Darby Dunn were captured at the home of the Toole family. The military, a detachment of Scottish Highlanders led by Captain Roderick McDonald, surrounded Connell’s cottage and called on the men inside – Michael Dwyer, Sam McAllister, Patrick Costello and John Savage – to surrender. They refused and Costello and Savage were killed in the ensuing battle of Derrynamuck. Sam McAllister also lost his life, which he sacrificed in order to give Dwyer himself a chance to escape. Dwyer emerged from the cottage and barefoot fled and in his underclothes before he burst through the Scottish line and ran to freedom. The whole sense of the dramatic was enhanced because this event happened in the middle of a very cold winter with deep snow covering the ground. During his flight he was lucky to slip on an icy patch as the bullets from a second volley whizzed past overhead. Dwyer was the only member of the rebel band to escape that night. The others were all either killed or captured.

Following his escape from Derrynamuck, Dwyer made for the house of Thaddeus Dwyer, who was a brother of the John Dwyer shot on Dunlavin green, and then went into hiding again. It is said that it took six weeks or so for his feet to recover after his barefoot flight. The prisoners taken at Derrynamuck were taken to Baltinglass, court-martialled and executed (except for Hugh Byrne who turned "Kings Evidence").

Dwyer’s mountain campaign of guerrilla warfare would continue long after his escape from Derrynamuck in February 1799. Indeed, when Lord Cornwallis stated in a letter of 13 July 1798: “Our war is reduced to a predatory system in the mountains of Wicklow and the bogs of Kildare” he surely could not have foreseen just how long Michael Dwyer and his followers would continue to hold out in the Wicklow mountains. Dwyer was involved in many dangerous escapades, near misses and scary moments. Tales such as the “sea whistle” incident, Dwyer’s shooting of the disabled informer “Danny the Bowl”, Dwyer’s narrow escape by impersonating the mad Augustus Fitzgerald, the escape from Rathdangan chapel and many more have come down through the generations. However, this article cannot record all of Dwyer’s perilous incidents! News of such exploits endeared him to the public at large both during his lifetime and after his death, and ensured that he became the subject of many ballads.

These ballads were vital because they ingrained Dwyer and his memory into popular culture. As noted already, Dwyer is synonymous with Wicklow in the minds of many people. He is also synonymous with the United Irish leadership. The fact that he was not one of the principal leaders during the main action of the rebellion in Wexford has been obscured by a nineteenth century revision of his role. The Romantic account of his resistance written by John Thomas Campion and the numerous ballads about his time in the Wicklow Mountains have helped to etch the figure of Michael Dwyer into folk-memory far and wide. Dwyer’s legend had been growing throughout his guerrilla campaign and posthumous literary works would later elevate Dwyer to hero status. His prolonged resistance in the Wicklow Mountains had touched a communal nerve. Dwyer was more than an outlaw, more than a rebel, more than a guerrilla leader to many people. He was a symbol of hope at a time and in a place of oppression. As he continued to elude capture, that symbol became brighter and the hope, instead of being dashed, grew in the breasts of an admiring public. Dwyer was a cause célebre in his day. To Republicans who had tasted defeat in the main rebellion, Dwyer’s continued defiance burned like an inspirational beacon. As long as there was any hope, however slight, of another revolution or another French invasion, Dwyer would remain in his mountain lair and await developments.

However, as the years passed, hope of such developments faded. By 1803, the Treaty of Amiens of the previous year, though short-lived, had shattered any remaining hope of French intervention in Ireland. In July of that year, Robert Emmet’s attempted revolution had petered out. Meanwhile the net was tightening on Dwyer and his followers. The completion of the Military Road through the mountains was a major boost to the Crown forces. This was possibly the first purpose-built road in Ireland – the purpose being to capture Dwyer and his band. Military barracks were occupied at strategic points along this road. There were garrisons stationed at Leitrim, Glencree, Seven Churches (Glendalough), Glenmalure and Aughavanna. This new reality considerably hindered Dwyer’s capacity for movement within the heart of the mountains. Coupled with this was the fact that the military had unleashed a campaign of arrests against known or suspected friends and relations of Dwyer. This strained Dwyer’s kinship network almost to breaking point. The situation was very bleak for the remnants of Dwyer’s pitifully small force as the winter of 1803 drew in. Without the kinship contacts, there was a lack of safe houses. Caves and other outdoor places of refuge such as abandoned mine workings were not suitable during a winter when snow lay several feet deep on the mountains. In this season cold, damp and dreary conditions awaited the Dwyer faction as they faced into their sixth winter “on the run”. With the changed political situation in France, the debacle that was Emmet’s abortive rising, the large garrisons stationed along the new Military Road, a renewed military campaign against him which began on 10 December and the absence of many of the arrested kin, Michael Dwyer’s thoughts turned to ending his guerrilla campaign and the drawing up of terms which would allow him to lay down his arms.

Dwyer made overtures via his wife to the liberal landlord and MP, William Hume of Humewood. The commander of the military, General Beresford, wanted Dwyer to surrender “upon the mercy of government” (i.e. unconditionally) but Hume, while informing Dwyer that the actual surrender would have to be unconditional, certainly gave some assurances to Mary Dwyer. The exact nature of these assurances, or at least of Hume’s ability to honour them, is unclear. Certainly Dwyer’s life was to be spared and safe passage to America for four of his leading followers and himself was possibly agreed upon. Dwyer may have been led to believe that he would obtain a full pardon on surrendering himself. Whatever the truth of the situation, there is no doubt that the United Irish Captain Michael Dwyer laid down his arms on what he believed were his own terms when he walked though the gates of Humewood and into the custody of the Yeoman Captain and M.P. for County Wicklow William Hoare Hume on 14 December 1803, thus bringing to an end the brilliant guerrilla campaign which had elevated him to the status of myth.

However, once the authorities had their man, they did not adhere to the terms that had been outlined by Dwyer. Dwyer wanted to be shipped to the fledgling United States of America. Instead, he was brought to Dublin under armed escort and imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol. Michael Dwyer remained a prisoner in Kilmainham from December 1803 to August 1805, as did some of his men. Dwyer and his followers were committed to Kilmainham on a charge of high treason. As state prisoners, they were not always satisfied with their treatment there. Dwyer had a long-running battle with the sadistic gaol doctor, Dr Edward Trevor. Eventually Dwyer’s fate was decided upon and Dwyer found out that he was bound for the penal colony of Australia. Michael Dwyer's captivity in Ireland finished in August 1805, when, in company with his wife Mary, his cousin Hugh “Vesty” Byrne, Byrne’s wife Sarah and their children, Arthur Devlin, Martin Burke and John Mernagh, the leader from the Glen of Imaal boarded the Tellicherry at Cobh, bound for Botany Bay.

The voyage on the Tellicherry took Dwyer and his comrades across vast, undreamt of expanses of ocean but it finally ended when the ship arrived at the entrance to Port Jackson on St. Valentine’s Day 1806. Despite initial confusion regarding the Wicklow rebels, they were each given a hundred acres of land at Cabramatta. The Dwyer group may have travelled to Australia on a convict ship, but they went as free men and it seemed that a new and peaceful life awaited them in the Southern hemisphere. However, when William Bligh (famous, or rather infamous, for his role during the affair of the “Mutiny on the Bounty”) succeeded Gidley King as Governor of New South Wales later in 1806, the peaceable new lives of Dwyer and his comrades were threatened. Bligh was paranoid about the possibility of an uprising in the colony and, considering their background, he perceived the Wicklow settlers as a huge threat. Dwyer was arrested as a possible ringleader of a rebellion that had not taken place and kept in solitary confinement on board the H.M.S. Porpoise. Following an elaborate show trial, Dwyer was found guilty of “conspiracy in order to raise a rebellion” and in May 1807 he was sent to the convict depot on Norfolk Island.

Dwyer was once again a prisoner, just as he had been in Kilmainham. He was moved from Norfolk Island to Van Dieman’s Land in January 1808. However, moves to oust Governor Bligh were afoot in Sydney and following the so-called “Rum Rebellion” he was removed from office. With the departure of Bligh, Michael Dwyer and his companions were pardoned and released from captivity. Under the more enlightened Governor Lachlan Macquarie, on 25 August 1810, Dwyer was appointed as a constable at George’s River. By 1819 Dwyer owned six hundred and twenty acres and the solid expansion of his land holding was further proof of his acumen and ability. In May 1820 Dwyer was appointed Chief Constable of Liverpool. Dwyer now served the King that he had rebelled against, but in a place where, by doing so, he could make a difference and help fellow Irishmen and their families.

However, Dwyer had also invested in a tavern called the “Harrow Inn”. This was perhaps not a good move on the part of a man who was well known to have a fondness for alcohol. The public house brought financial problems and Dwyer was removed from his position as chief constable due to misconduct. To boost his finances, Dwyer had illegally set land belonging to a woman named Ann Stroud. On Christmas Eve 1822 he was found guilty of “having broken the colonial regulations” and was fined £20. More serious however, he lost his spirit licence and was unable to pay his creditors. Many of his possessions and some of his lands were sold, and in 1824 he was incarcerated in the debtors’ prison in Sydney. He was released in May 1825, but was in poor health when he returned to one of his few possessions that had not been sold – his house at Cabramatta. Weak and suffering from dysentery, he lived only another three months and the Legend died on 23 August 1825.

Or did it? The death of Michael Dwyer in Australia only strengthened the legend of the wronged leader who was shamefully exiled by a deceitful establishment. It was now certain that this “Exile from Erin” was never to return. Dwyer’s acceptance of the positions of constable and later chief constable was either kept hidden or worked into the myth by portraying Dwyer as a dispenser of justice for other Irish exiles. Dwyer had been so well known during his guerrilla campaign and at the time of his transportation against his negotiated terms of surrender that he had achieved celebrity status. In those pre mass media days, the press had made him into a superstar. The longevity and Romantic nature of his mountain war had captured the imagination. Posthumously also, he became a valuable symbol – an icon – for Nationalists to aspire to and for Nationalist historians to incorporate into their corpus of literature. Although his guerrilla campaign was always peripheral to the bigger picture, the never-say-die attitude that it embodied was inspirational to a Nationalist Ireland that was crying out for heroes in the wake of the disheartening defeats of 1798.

On 14 December 2003, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern unveiled a statue of Michael Dwyer in his native Glen of Imaal. This is part of a process of remembrance. It is important to remember. This is not to say that Dwyer and his followers should become role models… but remembrance helps us to understand them, their motives and their sacrifice. With Dwyer we remember a man of the people – the son of a small tenant farmer. Dwyer was also a man of action and was personally involved in many battles.
With Dwyer, we remember what was, not what might have been. Here he differs from Emmet, Tone and Fitzgerald, who were all visionaries and who came from a privileged background. These visionaries did not have the practical survival skills of Dwyer, who held out for over five years and was excellent in the field. He was much more than a mere bandit and always had a United Irish agenda – Burr had taught him well! The visionaries were either executed or died in gaol. As a realist, Dwyer knew that his best – and only – option was Australia. The fact that he did not die for his cause does not belittle him. His mountain war gave inspiration and hope at a hard time and he became an icon to post famine nineteenth century nationalists. However, his later life was written out of nineteenth and early twentieth century histories and there was a tendency not to mention anything about his life in Australia. Perhaps this is wrong, especially as Michael Dwyer spent twenty of his fifty-three years in Australia. Following his death on 23 August 1825, Michael Dwyer was buried in Devonshire Street Cemetery, but in 1898 his remains were re-interred in Waverly Cemetery. A crowd of over 200,000 attended the re-interment and his memorial stone is the largest of all the monuments over any Irish patriot and still the highest headstone in Sydney. However, Dwyer is not a significant figure in Irish history because of his life in Australia. He is significant, rather, for his campaign of 1798-1803; a campaign that also inspired later Irish rebels. Without such men, we might not enjoy the freedom that we do today, and we do well to remember them and study the times in which they lived.