Opinion

Historic Dungannon Convention of 1782

IT WAS on Friday, 15th February 1782 that the first great colourful event in the history of the Irish Volunteers took place in Dungannon, County Tyrone. This great meeting was determined in the city of Armagh when the Southern Battalion of the County Armagh Volunteers passed a resolution calling for a meeting of every Volunteer association in Ulster in Dungannon.

Many historians have held that the place of venue of this meeting, known in history as the First Dungannon Volunteer Convention, was the old Meeting House of the Presbyterians in Scotch Street, Dungannon. This is incorrect. The church in question was the Episcopalian church of the parish of Drumglass, built in 1617, restored in 1670 and again in 1695. Francis Dobbs, agent to the Acton estate at Poyntspass, County Armagh and a major in the Armagh Volunteers, tells us that the meeting took place in this church. This is also confirmed in the files of the Belfast News Letter. As Thomas Davis, the Young Ireland poet, recalled: 'The Church of Dungannon is full to the door And sabre and spur clash at times on the floor, More honoured that church of Dungannon is now Than when at its altar Communicants bow.' (Formed during the crisis triggered by the need to defend Ireland from possible French invasion during the American War of Independence, the exclusively Protestant Irish Volunteers soon turned their focus to the reform of the landlord-dominated Irish Parliament and the easing of the Penal Laws against Catholics. The call by the famous Dungannon Convention for the right of the Irish Parliament to order its own affairs resulted in the 'Revolution of 1782' and the advent of 'Grattan's Parliament' - named after the 'Patriot' MP, Henry Grattan.)

Echo of German Bombing in South

IN THE Dáil yesterday, Mr Frank Aiken (Minister of Finance) said that the German Government had accepted responsibility for the bombing of Campile, County Wexford in August 1940. After negotiation the German Government awarded £12,000 compensation of which £4,000 was for personal injuries.

Edited by Éamon Phoenix e.phoenix@irishnews.com

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