This book investigates the underlying causes of this phenomenon and provides a detailed account of the experiences of all the major groupings, including the little known elements led by James Hughes and Michael Dalton. Myths regarding the dynamic Michael Dwyer of Imaal are dispelled by the first detailed examination and critical evaluation of his insurgent career. All Wicklow rebel activity, however, is assessed in terms of its nature, compatibility with the cause of the United Irishmen and influence on post-Rebellion Ireland.
Account is taken of such themes as the brutal 'white terror' visited on the county by resident loyalists in 1799-1801, the rise of the Orange Order, the building of the arterial Military Road and the administration of justice. The major role of Wicklow United Irishmen in Robert Emmet's plot of July 1803 is also reconsidered along with an analysis of the circumstances which gradually contained the Dwyer group in December 1803.