Bridget 'Croppy Biddy' Dolan
An active participant in the rebellion in South Wicklow, Bridget 'Croppy Biddy' Dolan turned British tout and provided evidence that convicted many of her former comrades in arms. She was an perfect witness for the Brits as she knew many of the personalities in South Wicklow. She had attended many of the outdoor meetings held by them prior to the United Irishmen Rising, by which time the local unit in Shillelagh boasted 1,080 members.
Born in the County Wicklow village of Carnew around 1777, she came from a poor family and was illiterate. She was a decent horse rider and learned the skill of shodding. Those skills made her a valuable asset for the United Irish army. She was by the age of 13 "an avowed and proclaimed harlot, steeped in every crime that her age would admit of; and her precocity to vice was singular''.
In January 1798 she lost her position in the household of Captain Thomas Swan of the Carnew Yeomanry. This most likely caused some amount of hate in regards to the British presence in Ireland. It could have been at this stage that Croppy Biddy became a sworn member of the United Irishmen.
When the Rising began she said she joined the army at Tubberneering on 4 June and remained in the field with the Wicklow rebels until August, having travelled as far as northern Meath. It is believe that she spent much of her time in the mountain base camps of the Wicklow United Irishmen under General Joseph Holt. It was stated afterwards that she had an affair with Holt before his wife Hester Long joined them.
Biddy left the United Irish camp in August, when she could see that they no longer had a chance of victory, and returned to Carnew. She was not immediately suspected of insurrectionary activities, but on 16 September 1798 she was arrested by Captain William Wainright of the Shillelagh Yeomanry in Coolkenna. She agreed almost immediately to turn tout and direct the crown forces to the hideouts and weapons stashes of the United Irish rebels. She was also willing to swear anything "that she thought would please the Orange party, who supplied her with money and whiskey''. Much of her evidence to the Rathdrum court cases against United Irish suspects was certainly fabricated.
She was paid for her services until at least 1803. She continued to live in Carnew until her death in 1827 at the age of 50. She was regularly stoned and abuse was showered on her by local nationalist youths for her treachery against the Irish people.