Betsy Gray

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Betsy Gray (died 1798), was an Ulster-Scots Presbyterian peasant girl from outside Gransha, Bangor in Co. Down, Northern Ireland who was killed as part of the 1798 Rebellion of the United Irishmen. She is the subject of many folk ballads and poems written since her time down to the present day.

She fought in the Battle of Ballynahinch against the Yeomanry, and was killed in retreat along with her brother and lover, having her right hand cut off before being decapitated.

She is a folk hero to both loyalists and republicans in Ulster, as typified by the centenary celebrations in 1898 where locals broke a monument to her sooner than let Nationalists, who travelled from Belfast, have a ceremony in her honour.[1]

Betsy Gray Cup[edit]

Today the Betsy Gray Cup is awarded by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in her memory in Ulster.

Betsy Gray in fiction[edit]

Betsy was featured in a novel which was semi-historical by Wesley Greenhill Lyttle, owner of a local newspaper The North Down Herald, and in a historic novel THE STAR MAN by Conor O'Clery, published in 2016 by Somerville Press.


  1. ^ Bartlett/Dawson/Keough: Thomas Bartlett, Kevin Dawson, Daire Keogh, The 1798 Rebellion: An Illustrated History, Roberts Rinehart, 1998, p.172