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Thursday, 14 July 2016

14‭ ‬July‭ ‬1798:‭ ‬The Patriot brothers John and Henry Sheares were executed on this day.‭ ‬They were both members of the Legal Profession and had joined the United Irishmen to fight tyranny and free Ireland from English rule.‭ ‬They were the sons of a wealthy banker who sat as a member of the Parliament in Dublin.‭ ‬In‭ ‬1792‭ ‬they had visited Revolutionary France and had caught the Spirit of the times there.‭ ‬They soon joined the United Irishmen on their return.‭ ‬However they trusted others without caution and were led into revealing details of the conspiracy to overthrow the Ascendancy.‭ ‬A Spy,‭ ‬one Captain John Armstrong who had befriended them in order to betray them,‭ ‬revealed their intentions to Dublin Castle.‭ ‬They were arrested on‭ ‬21‭ ‬May‭ ‬1798.‭ ‬Found guilty of treason,‭ ‬they were publicly hung, drawn & quartered outside Newgate Prison in Dublin.‭ ‬Both were buried in the vaults of St.‭ ‬Michan's Church in Dublin City where their perfectly preserved coffins [above] are still on display.

At midday on Saturday,‭ ‬July‭ ‬14th,‭ ‬the hapless men were removed to the room adjoining the place of execution,‭ ‬where they exchanged a last embrace.‭ ‬They were then pinioned,‭ ‬the black caps put over their brows,‭ ‬and holding each other by the hand,‭ ‬they tottered out on the platform.‭ ‬The elder brother was somewhat moved by the terrors of his situation,‭ ‬but the younger bore his fate with unflinching firmness.‭ ‬They were launched together into eternity--the same moment saw them dangling lifeless corpses before the prison walls.‭ ‬They had lived in affectionate unity,‭ ‬inspired by the same motives,‭ ‬labouring for the same cause,‭ ‬and death did not dissolve the tie.‭ "‬They died hand in hand,‭ ‬like true brothers.‭"
`Speeches from the Dock‭'
By D.‭ ‬S.‭ ‬Sullivan