#OnThisDay 1798 Fr. Philip Roche, Matthew Keogh & other United Irishmen leaders were hanged on Wexford Bridge.
Fr. Roche, who was present at Vinegar Hill brought his column back to Three Rocks camp but knowing that the rebellion could not be won, he left on his own, went to Wexford town and surrendered. He was pulled from his horse, beaten and court-martialled. He was to. behanged also.
The gallows was rudimentary and the leaders were dragged from their feet several feet up into the air. The rope around Fr. Roche snapped and his unconscious body fell to the ground. Once he was revived, he was subjected to the whole ordeal again. His body was then thrown into the River Slaney.
Matthew Keogh was the presiding officer (effectively the Military Governor) of the Council of the People, a representative body the rebels had organised when they took the town earlier in the rebellion. He stayed in the town when the Crown Forces retook it, expecting his life to be spared but he was immediately subjected to a drumhead court-martial. He too was sentenced to be hanged. Being a protestant, Keogh said some prayed with an Anglican minister and a short speech before his death. The rope was placed around his neck and he met his end. However, even in death, the abuse was not over. His body was beaten again, then was beheaded, his body thrown in the Slaney & his head paraded through the streets of the town on a pike before being placed on display outside the court house.