The 1798 rebellion lasted for five months. During all that time, the United Irishmen gallantly fought against those that had ruled and oppressed their people for so long, led by General Theobald Wolfe Tone. Unfortunately, despite the perseverance of the people of Ireland and some help given by the French, the rebellion was eventually crushed on October 12th. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 50,000 soldiers and civilians were killed in the fighting. Wolfe Tone was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging but before the day of his execution he cheated the hangman by slitting his own throat. He died a week later.
Siobhan continued to fight alongside the United Irishmen, aiding the soldiers in any way possible, and Patrick, Seamus and Emmett were always by her side. The death of Roisin had fuelled their hatred for their enemies, making them more determined than ever to defeat the English and they continued to fight until the rebellion's final days.
After the rebellion ended, Siobhan and Emmett resolved to live the rest of their lives peacefully (or as close to peacefully as possible). By now, Emmett had long since given up his life of crime. He and Siobhan married and had three children: two sons named John and Daniel and a daughter who they named Roisin. Seamus eventually married as well and had a son. And when the time came, he followed in his father's footsteps as mayor of Hillcroft Village.
Siobhan lived to a ripe old age until she passed away in the autumn of 1831. In the last few years of her life, she kept an account of each day in a diary but this fact was not known until months after her death when Emmett, by chance, came across it one day and curiosity got the better of him. The final entry of Siobhan's diary was dated three days before she died and once he had read it, Emmett was certain that nothing had ever brought so many tears to his eyes.
Here follows the final testament of Siobhan O'Ceirin:
October 25th, 1831
I fear this shall be my very last entry so I shall attempt to make it a good one. I have felt the years catching up to me lately and I know I am not long for this world. Over these past few days, I have spent much time in reflection on all the years of my life and, oh, what memories come to mind! My childhood days in the old country house in Galway, my short time as a servant at Lord Harrison's estate, those long and dangerous months spent fighting alongside the soldiers of the United Irishmen and, especially, the times I shared with my dear sweet baby sister Roisin.
How I long for all the losses I have faced in my life to be reversed, but more than anything to have my sister back. The memory of the day she was murdered continuously haunts me. It will never fade until I am gone. Sometimes I cannot help but feel guilty for her; I was allowed to live, to marry, to have children of my own and watch them grow up and Roisin never got to experience any of those things. Emmett, God bless him, is a great comfort. He listens to all my tearful musings and provides endless words of condolence. Lord knows how he is able to tolerate my nonsense! He says that I should not mourn what I could not control. That I should be glad, for Roisin has been blessed with the gift of eternity in the everlasting kingdom of the Lord which is the very least she deserves. I am eternally grateful to have someone like Emmett by my side.
My greatest sympathies go to Patrick, for he loved my sister dearly and her death was a crippling strike to him. Although he rarely showed how the loss of the love of his life had affected him, the signs were always there. The gradual decline of his optimism, his reclusiveness and his overly vicious hatred for her killers. The man has never married, though whether it is out of fear of breaking his loyalty to Roisin or because he simply does not wish to, I am unsure. I think it is both.
Even as I write this, I can feel my end drawing closer. I know the time will soon come for me to bid farewell to this world and yet I am strangely unperturbed by this fact. Why that is, I cannot tell. Perhaps it is because I have always been aware that death is inevitable and even our best efforts cannot save us from it. I suppose in some ways death is almost a blessing. For, once our lives end, we are relieved of all the suffering and the burdens we have had to bear in life. If that is what is promised to us at the end of our days, then I shall gladly resign myself to my fate. And although I shall be leaving behind a few broken hearts, I take comfort in the fact that they shall someday be restored to me, just as I shall soon be restored to the family I have mourned for so long. I await that day with all eagerness and enthusiasm, for nothing on earth could be more rewarding.
I end this account with a final message to my beloved husband and my three beautiful children: Do not grieve when I am gone, for I shall be at peace in God's kingdom and though it may seem like an eternity, we shall soon be together once more. And if others dare to oppress you and threaten your freedom, do not be afraid to stand and fight, even if the price you must pay is your very life, for that is what our enemies fear more than anything: the courage of their victims and so long as we have that, we shall never truly be defeated.
May the war for liberty ever persist until all men are free!
Erin Go Bragh.