The National 1798 Rebellion Centre will be officially re-launched to much fanfare in the town of Enniscorthy on May 24. The Centre will host free celebratory activities during ‘Rebellion Weekend’ on May 25 and 26 with offerings for the family including a Druid Chef, traditional pike drilling and food foraging amongst some of the activities to mark the occasion.
The Centre was officially opened in 1998, during bi-centenary commemorations, to illustrate the significance of the 1798 Rebellion. According to the centre Manager Jacqui Hynes the exhibition was in need of upgrade and this brand new exhibition tells the story of the 1798 Rebellion in a vivid and exciting way, with the audience being taken on a journey by General Lake, John Shehan who is ‘The Croppy Boy’, the United Irishman leader Anthony Perry, and the dreaded ‘Tom The Devil’. Visitors will learn, in gruesome detail, how some 20,000 insurgents faced the might of 10,000 well-trained and well-armed Crown Forces in an exciting new audiovisual display.
According to Jacqui Hynes, Manager of the 1798 Centre, “The brand new re-development has increased appeal to a wider tourist audience. The project was funded by Wexford Local Development to the value €178,000 and supported by Wexford County Council & Enniscorthy Town Council.”
Jacqui says “The vision for this project was to re-develop our tourist attraction, to ensure the visitor offering is fresh, innovative, informative yet fun, accessible to all, and in a position to positively attract visitors to our town, county and region. We also upgraded and enhanced our existing displays and the way the story of the 1798 Rebellion is told.”
The 1798 Rebellion is accepted as the beginning of a long road to democracy and independence in Ireland, and insights to life during the period will be available for everyone to get involved in at the free Rebellion Weekend during May 25 and 26. Re-enactors and characters from the brand new audio-visual tour will roam the grounds of the 1798 Centre looking for talented pikemen and women, and telling their tales of life and their strategy for the upcoming battle.  The blacksmith will be on hand showcasing the techniques of making pikes and weapons and scores of traditional music plus food foraging for Rebellion food and tasters of food of the period will also be on offer along with cookery demonstrations of food from the time by the Druid Chef Rory Morohan.
Primary school children are invited to take part in pikeman training, and by the end of the weekend a 350 person strong force of pikemen will have learned the skills of battle in the 1700’s and the blacksmith will also have shown them how to keep their pike in tip top condition and ready for battle.
Commenting on the free Rebellion Weekend Jacqui said, “We are delighted to be able to offer free family activities during the Rebellion Weekend.  It is a great opportunity to learn about a pivotal moment in Ireland’s history through action and engagement, and kids will have the opportunity to become a pikeman or woman for the day and really get in insight to what life was like in 1798.”
For further details and to keep up to date with the events of the Rebellion Weekend visit the Facebook page.