The Croppies Acre memorial in Dublin commemorates the United Irish rebellion of 1798. It has been closed to the public for quite some time now, owing to anti-social problems.
This park serves a memorial to many young revolutionaries who were at the backbone of the first Republican movement in Ireland. Many were said to be buried here following their executions, though the claim is sometimes disputed. In a 1998 article about the memorial site, Aengus O Snodaigh noted that:
The most famous names to be recorded in the sad saga of Croppies’ Acre are those of Bartholomew Teeling and Matthew Tone, both hanged at the Provost Prison on Arbour Hill after the Battle of Ballinamuck on 8 September 1798. Bartholomew Teeling was a brother of Defender and United Irish leader Charles Teeling. Having come under suspicion himself he fled Ireland in 1796. Bartholomew was commissioned into the French Army at the instigation of Theobald Wolfe Tone, who also arranged a commission for his own brother Matthew, and took part in the failed expedition of General Hoche in December of that year….
The term ‘Croppy Boy’ was said to emerge from a hairstyle popular with revolutionaries of the day, their closely cropped hair a fashion adopted from French revolutionaries, associated with the anti-wig tendency in France. For many years this incredible site was unmarked, but the contemporary memorial at the site was erected in 1985, and includes some words from Robert Emmet:
No rising column marks the spot
Where many a victim lies
No bell here tolls its solemn sound
No monument here stands.
The site has been in the news in recent times for all the wrong reasons. In September 2012 the OPW, who are tasked with maintaining the site, made the decision to close it to the public. A recent article in the Irish Independent addressed this, and noted:
The Croppies Acre in central Dublin – described as “sacred ground” – has turned into a no-go zone because authorities say they can’t cope with drugs users and dirty syringes that litter the historical site.
Today some photographs from the memorial have emerged that demand attention. Posted to Facebook by the Sean Heuston Dublin 1916 Society, they reveal the extent to which the park has been abandoned by authorities. This particular image is shocking, but deserves a wider audience. Dublin is a city which suffers greatly to the scourge of addiction and drugs, and there is of course a need to provide for those suffering as a result. Yet this memorial park should not be allowed remain as it is, and there is an onus on the OPW and the city to maintain it.