Croppies Grave is a Monument of great historical importance. It is the last resting place of over 640 United Irishmen who died on 25th May 1798 during the struggle for Irish independence with England at the Battle of Carlow.
The name Croppy (sometimes spelled Croppie) was used to describe Irish rebels (young, with their hair cut short) during the rebellion in Ireland from 1790 to 1798. Their mass grave – Croppies Grave is located at 98 Street in Graiguecullen. The united Irish were betrayed by one of their leaders and fell into a well-planned ambush. The monument on 98 Street commemorates fallen Irishmen.
The walls and balustrades of the grave were covered with funds obtained by GAA. “Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael) is an Irish and international association of sporting and cultural organizations that focuses primarily on promoting Gaelic Games – traditional Irish sports. The association also promotes Irish music and dance as well as Irish language.
The memorial is a gift from Orangeman – Rowan McCoombe. “Orange Order is a Protestant brotherhood based in Northern Ireland. Its members wear Orange sashes and are called Orangemen. The inscription reads: “In memory of 640 United Irishmen who fell on Tullow Street on 25th May 1798.” The fighting in Graigue – Carlow in 1798 was less strategic than the fighting in any other part of Leinster, but the 25th May massacre is always mentioned as a characteristic example of the wild and ruthless way in which royal soldiers held power.
The cross monument was unveiled on 24th July 1898 – to celebrate the centenary of the Rebellion. This is the work of James Walsh, a local sculptor who lived on John Street. The cross is made of limestone, which was excavated nearby in the Carlow – Graigue quarries. This impressive monument has a total height of fifteen meters. The arms are four feet in diameter. The inscription, which is in both Irish and English, reads: “In memory of 640 United Irishmen who gave their lives for their homeland at the Battle of Carlow on 25th May 1798.”
This monument is a Celtic Cross – a form of the cross, known for centuries to followers of pre-Christian religions, in which the four-pointed cross is placed in a circle, symbolizing Celtic wreaths, so-called ruta. Today (despite its pre-Christian origin) the Celtic cross is one of the forms of the cross accepted by the Catholic Church as a religious symbol of Christians.
It is the most famous Celtic symbol, very popular throughout Ireland. Celtic stone crosses are often very tall and heavily carved – just like the monument on the Croppies Grave.
The square where the Croppies Grave is located is fenced, but you can get close to the cross. There are residential houses around the square – it must be uncomfortable to live near a mass grave. Right next to the Croppies Grave there is a statue of the Virgin Mary, this is the park’s area – Governey Park.
Location of Croppies Grave: