From Dr. Wake’s Lodge to Rev. McGee’s House

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A glass lantern slide from our Mason collection today. We'd love to know who was the Reverend McGee? Where was his house? When / why was it under attack?

Collection: Mason Photographic Collection

Date: circa 1890 - 1910

NLI Ref: M44/3

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at


Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 5003
thomasholmesmason thomasmayne thomashmasonsonslimited lanternslides reverendmcgee nationallibraryofireland mcghee hacketstown

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    • 15/Jul/2022 08:27:30

    "In The Reverend McGhee's house successfully defended against the Rebels — [George} Cruikshank's thirteenth illustration for William Hamilton Maxwell's History of the Irish Rebellion in 1798 (1845), the illustrator, adopting a conventional English stance towards his subject matter, shows the Protestant clergyman's cool demeanour as the badly outnumbered Protestants of Hacketstown, with but a single soldier (seated at the table) for professional military leadership, defend the second storey of the Reverend McGhee's house. Here, at least Cruikshank does not denigrate the Irish rebels (whom he has elsewhere depicted as drunken louts ruled by a mob psychology rather than military discipline), showing only the determined resistance of seven defenders (one apparently a mere youth, and one a woman, the minister's wife, at the fireplace, making bullets from the pewter plates before her on the floor. Of a more genially humoristic order are his well-known book illustrations, now so deservedly esteemed for their inimitable fun and frolic, among other qualities, such as the weird and terrible, in which he excelled. But here, without hyperbole, distortion, or embedded symbols or texts, Cruikshank only implies the opposition without by the bullet-holes in the shutters and the smoke of the burning buildings blowing into the windows and mingling with the gunpowder smoke. Billowing white and darker smoke rises dramatically as one man, kneeling, discharges his weapon, two reload, and one prepares to fire. Cruikshank has made several noticeable changes: although there are two windows, as in the text, he has reduced the number of defenders from ten to six (since several men are guarding the front and the back of the house on the lower level), and has the wounded lieutenant rather than the clergyman making cartridges at the table, throwing the focus onto the middle-aged man in waistcoat and white breeches whom we may assume is the owner of the house, the stalwart Reverend McGhee. " From -

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    • 15/Jul/2022 08:42:36

    "Hacketstown was also subjected to attack on the night of 25 May [1798]. Who the leaders were is not clear but Rev. James McGhee gives this account: ‘In consequence of an information received this morning that a large body of rebels were marching to attack this town, Lieut. Gardiner and the men under his command and a party of - yeomanry commanded by Captain Hardy went out to meet them. Having reconnoitred their force, which amounted to about three or four thousand, they took up post on the hill under the Church and when the rebels came tolerable near, the officers made a fent, and retreated into the barracks. The rebels seeing this came on with a great shout imagining the day to be their own. In a few minutes Captain Hardy came up with about thirty of his troops and instantly charged them. On which the rebels retreated and general pursuit took place, and so complete was the rout that above 300 of the miscreants now lie dead on the field of battle. " From -

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    • 15/Jul/2022 09:12:55

    "In 1798 Hacketstown was the scene of two battles. The first, on May 25th, was little more than a skirmish when the poorly armed United Irishmen attempting to take the village were easily driven off by the troops garrisoning the town. The second battle, on June 25th, was a far more serious affair. Several thousand rebels, led by Garrett Byrne of Ballymanus, and including Michael Dwyer and his followers, tried to capture the military barracks in order to get the stores of firearms and ammunition that were kept there. The fighting lasted for nine hours and most of the houses in the village were destroyed when thatched roofs were set on fire to provide a smokescreen as the rebels attempted to capture the stone-built barracks. Several hundred rebels were killed and they failed to take the barracks although the military evacuated it and retreated to the safety of Tullow after the rebel forces had drawn off." From -

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    • 15/Jul/2022 09:23:29

    Sometimes Always the NLI is amazing - from 1798 - "Accounts have been received from Lieutenant Gardiner, of the Antrim militia, that early on Monday the 25th instant, a body of rebels, consisting of several thousands, marched from the mountains of Wicklow, to attack Hacketstown...." See -

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    • 15/Jul/2022 09:37:10

    Flickr is sometimes amazing! Via the [], this illustration and a link to the original book online - [] Edit - the grisly text details about what happened at McGhee's house are on page 172 -

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 15/Jul/2022 09:40:47[email protected]/ You are always amazing!

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    • 15/Jul/2022 09:47:57

    [] Wrong! At first I went off on a complete Wild Goose Chase with the wrong character -

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    Niall McAuley

    • 15/Jul/2022 11:00:35

    The 6" and 25" maps mark a Glebe House/Rectory just south of the 1780 CoI in Hacketstown, presumably where Rev. McGhee would have lived, but it looks as if that house is gone, and a modern house stands nearby. Streetview of where the house was.