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In search of Michael Dwyer



Published in the bicentennial year of the end of Michael Dwyer’s famous guerrilla campaign in the Wicklow Mountains. This compact volume examines both the reality of Michael Dwyer the man, and the folklore surrounding Michael Dwyer the myth. Sources from both historical fact and oral tradition are used to give a balanced account of the life and times of this remarkable figure. Michael Dwyer was born in the Glen of Imaal in 1772. He joined the Society of United Irishmen and took part in the rebellion in Wexford in 1798. Following the defeat of the United armies in Wexford, Dwyer retreated into the vast wilderness area of the Wicklow Mountains. From here he carried out a spirited resistance to the Crown authorities, waging a relentless guerrilla campaign for over five years. Eventually, with no hope of foreign aid from Napoleonic France, Michael Dwyer finished his military campaign in December 1803.


Dwyer had arranged terms with the authorities and when he gave himself up, he expected that he and his entourage would be granted safe passage to America. He was held in Kilmainham Jail until August 1805, when he was transported to Australia. Moreover, he was once again imprisoned, this time by Governor William Bligh, when he was starting his new life in the penal colony. Following his release, further adventures awaited Dwyer before his death in Australia in August 1825. The legend that grew up around Dwyer is also examined. Popular ballads about his exploits played a vital role in keeping him to the forefront of the collective folk-memory and many of these ballads are included in the text, making this book a treasured memento as well as an excellent work of reference on the ‘Wicklow Chief’.


119 pp. Hardback limited to 100 copies, with accompanying numbered certificate.


‘Valuable perspective on a lesser-known nationalist character’. Sunday Independent.

In search of Michael Dwyer

SKU: 217537123517253
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