ON THIS DAY 221 YEARS AGO: JUNE 5th 1798.
THE ASSAULT ON THE THREE BULLET GATE.
A SHORT ACCOUNT.
At approximately 3:30 in the morning Matthew Furlong approached the Three Bullet Gate under a Herald’s flag with a letter from Bagenal Harvey for General Johnson. It is said that this letter gave the defenders 4 hours in which to reply.
To the universal fury of his comrades, Matthew Furlong was shot as he approached the gate. The English sharpshooters had advanced into the fields outside the gates but were driven back by a force of about 600 insurgents led by John Kelly from Killann. The co-ordinated plan of attack on the Three Bullet Gate, Bunion Gate, Maiden Gate & Priory Gate was thrown into disarray when the incensed rebels attacked on seeing their comrade fall.
The Three-Bullet Gate was the scene of prolonged and fierce fighting that June morning. Repelling a cavalry charge by the Fifth Dragoons, Kelly’s pikemen breeched the gate and spilled into the town and drove the garrison out. The hated Lord Mountjoy arrived with the Dublin Militia as reinforcements although he was killed by a shot fired from a window overlooking the gate. Kelly, a massive figure of a man, was the central figure in the house-to-house fighting that raged murderously throughout the day. Then, as Crown forces were in full retreat, Kelly fell, seriously wounded in Michael Street. Without their leader, the rebel attack slackened giving the English officers the needed time to rally their fleeing troops. The fury of battle continued into evening, when the courageous, but now leaderless and ill-disciplined insurgents broke off the action after 15 hours of furious fighting and the British reinforcements turned the tide of battle.
Source: The National Hibernian Digest & Patrick Donovan