Presbyterian Irish Republican Rebels
fighting for Irish liberty and Catholic Emancipation
in battle with
Yorkshiremen, Anglican Orangemen and Catholic Militias
fighting for King, Constitution and the freedom of Britain
Only in ULSTER! Saintfield 1798
On our float you can see men of the York Fencible Regiment (a regiment from which our lodge was formed) and rebels of the '98 at Saintfield.
The Fencibles were fighting for the Government of the time, for the King and Constitution, for the status quo.
The Rebels, stirred on by what had happened in America and France, were fighting for a republic, free from kings and with freedom from religious intolerance, and most importantly freedom from taxes levied in Irish goods.
The Battle of Saintfield was one of the few where the Rebels gained the upper hand, however the rebellion in total was put down. The rebels in Ulster was mainly Presbyterian, following, in their way, the path their relatives in America had laid with independence and freedom, to this end, they also demanded emancipation for their fellow Roman Catholic Irishmen. After the rebellion was put down, it transpired that many of their fellow Irishmen, did not have their high ideal, and massacres of Protestants in the rest of Ireland during the rebellion was common, and shocked those in the North who had fought in what they felt was a "just cause".
Soon came the Act of Union, binding Ireland to the rest of Britain. It was unwanted by Orangemen (who wanted their own, ascendancy parliament in Ireland retained) and by Rebels, however, they would soon be brought round.
Union brought all that the rebels had fought for: Freedom, personal and Financial, and even Catholic Emancipation, though that would take another 3 decades. The Orangemen saw Union as a stronger means of protecting that "civil and religious liberty" which they espoused. So it was that the foes across the battlefield were finally brought together as...
...Brethren In Arms