Theobald Wolfe Tone birthplace and tomb.
Wolfe Tone was one of the leaders of the United Irishmen. He was born in Dublin in 1763 and became a lawyer. He was a Protestant yet like many of the leaders of the United Irishmen he wanted to seek rights for his Presbyterian and Catholic countrymen.
In 1795, Wolfe Tone left Ireland for America to escape arrest. He next went to France to ask for soldiers to help with a revolution in Ireland. In 1796,Wolfe Tone sailed from France to Ireland with a French general called General Hoche and a fleet of thirty-five ships and about 15,000 soldiers. However, the ships got caught in terrible storms. Some ships sank and the sailors were lost. Many French ships waited off Bantry Bay for calmer weather but in the end they returned to France.
Wolf Tone’s diary shows how disappointed he felt about his unsuccessful attempt to land with French troops in 1796.
He wrote the following account on the 21st December 1796:
“There cannot be imagined a situation more provokingly tantalising than mine at this moment, within view, almost within reach of my native land, and uncertain whether I shall ever set foot in it..We were near enough to toss a biscuit ashore”
He wrote another account on the 26thDecember 1796:
“We have now been six days in Bantry Bay, within 500 yards of the shore, without being able to effect a landing…All our hopes are now reduced to getting back safely to Brest”
The ships had to return to France without a fight.