A marriage certificate with the signature of Robert Emmet that was found at the Dublin Unitarian Church on St. Stephen’s Green was opened to the public Sunday.
The Irish rebel leader signed the marriage certificate of his sister Mary-Ann, and the document went undiscovered for over 200 years until Unitarian minister Bridget Spain was cleaning out a cupboard and unearthed the certificate, which is of significant historical importance as it is one of only a few remaining to contain his signature.
"We know our congregation was very much involved in the Society of United Irishmen during the 1790s, when it counted Robert Emmet as one of its members, and it is a particular pleasure to rediscover this important memento of those times," said Spain at the ceremony at the church on Sunday.
"The names of William Drennan, Archibald Hamilton Rowan and other less well-known United Irishmen also appear in our records, which have been donated to the Royal Irish Academy,"
The unveiling took place on the 206th anniversary of Emmet’s death, and Phillip Emmet, who descends from Thomas Addis Emmet, a brother of Robert’s, officiated the ceremony.
Emmet led an unsuccessful revolt in Dublin in 1803 and was later tried and executed.
Before Emmet was executed he made a famous speech when he said the following:
“When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not till then, let my epitaph be written.”