Arthur O'Connor: The Most Important Irish Revolutionary You May Never Have Heard Of
ARTHUR O'CONNOR was an Irish revolutionary whose historical importance has been vastly underappreciated. He was the most important leader of the United Irishmen, the powerful conspiracy that culminated in the Rebellion of 1798. Although that uprising ended in failure, it was a watershed event in Irish history that left an important legacy of revolutionary precedent for later generations of Irish republicans and nationalists. The conflict in Ireland that persists to the present can be traced in an unbroken line to the war between the British government and the United Irish army in 1798.
Although Arthur O'Connor has not become an icon of romantic legend in Ireland, his revolutionary career was full of color, drama, and controversy. He was a skilled conspirator and a charismatic orator who was capable of charming the likes of Charles James Fox, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Napoleon Bonaparte. Many of his allies expected-and his rivals feared-that O'Connor would have become Bonaparte's anointed king of Ireland if the French had succeeded in driving the British out.