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Double Take: The site of the Harold's Cross house where Robert Emmet hid before his execution

An easy-to-miss plaque remembers his time there.

9273090138_87e72ed2f2_k Source: William Murphy

BESIDE A BLOCK of two houses in Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6,  is a small plaque remembering rebel leader Robert Emmet. 

While his grand statue in St Stephen’s Green is a well-known landmark, this plaque is much easier to pass by without a second glance. But it holds quite an interesting story, as marking the site of the house where Emmet hid before his eventual capture and execution. 

After his failed rising against British rule in July 1803, Emmet fled into hiding “and eventually ended up in a house Harold’s Cross under the assumed name of a lodger called Hewitt,” Pat Liddy of Pat Liddy’s Walking Tours tells TheJournal.ie.

“The plaque is beside a house that was built later and is not the house he was arrested in. The actual house, which stood on its its own, was demolished some time ago,” he says. “He wanted to be near his sweetheart, Sarah Curran, who lived with her father in Rathfarnham.”

house The site of the house where Robert Emmet hid before his arrest. Source: Google Maps

However, just a few weeks later, Emmet’s ‘safe house’ was discovered and he was arrested by Town-Major of Dublin, Henry Sirr, on 25 August.

Emmet was sent to Kilmainham Gaol and tried at what’s now known as the Special Criminal Court on 19 September. He was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to be executed.

Emmet was executed publicly the following day in front of St Catherine’s Church, Thomas Street, Dublin 8. He was forbidden to address the crowd, but is reputed to have said: “My friends, I die in peace and with sentiments of universal love and kindness towards all men.”

Today, the plaque, which was erected in 2003, remembers Emmet by a small sketch of his profile and the house as it was when he hid there. It reads: “Robert Emmet, arrested on 25 August 1803 here in Palmer’s House while hiding as a lodger under the assumed name of Hewitt after the aborted rising.”

More Double Take: The ‘smallest cemetery in Ireland’ that’s in one of Dublin’s most popular spots

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