Lúnasa 2005      Iris na Gaeilge        uimh 9

Table of contents

Answer to Quiz page 4

1) Theobald Wolfe Tone, (1763-1798), a Dublin, Protestant lawyer, persuaded Napoleon to send an expedition to Ireland in December 1796. He sailed with it in the Indomptable. General Hoche, next to Napoleon in military importance, was its leader. Generals Grouchy, Humbert and Cherin were also on board. There were 43 ships and 12,000 men. Although close to land in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork, a landing was impossible because of a fierce and prolonged storm. The history of Ireland and Europe would have been utterly changed……for better or worse….had a landing been effected. (see Tone's Journal).

2) The Concorde was General Humbert's flagship when he landed at Killala, Co Mayo, from France, on 22 August, 1798. The other two ships in the expedition were Médée and Franchaise. A much larger fleet was to follow this force. Money to pay the men and purchase supplies failed to arrive at Brest from Paris in time. The fleet did not sail. Humbert was stranded in Ireland then, but made a gallant effort. He set up a provisional government, The Republic of Connaught, at Castlebar. Eventually, he was defeated at Ballinamuck, Co Longford on 8th. Sept. 1798, by Lord Cornwallis. (see 'The Year of Liberty', Thomas Packenham).

3) In October 1798 The Hoche, a French warship, attempted to land at Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal. There were eight other ships and 3,000 men in the group. Wolfe Tone was also on board. A battle with the British Fleet ensued. Outnumbered and badly damaged, the Hoche surrendered. Wolfe Tone was tried in Dublin and sentenced to death. He committed suicide and was buried at Bodenstown, Co. Kildare, now the scene of annual commemorations. (see "The Lives and Times of the United Irishmem" by Dr. Madden.)

4) John Mitchell, (1815-75), an Ulster Unitarian and a Young Irelander, was
sentenced to 14 years transportation to Van Diemands Land (Tasmania). in 1847. He sailed in the Scourge, a prison -ship, to Bermuda. In his "Jail Journal" he referred to those ships as 'hulks'. He was later transferred to another 'hulk' named Neptune, which took him to his final destination. His "Jail Journal'' gave a vivid account of his voyages and imprisonment and became a classic in English literature.

5) The Invincibles, an extremest group, assassinated Burke and Cavindish, two amiable Government officials, in Phoenix Park, Dublin, to the consternation of everyone. It was 1882. A comrade named James Carey betrayed them. He became a fugitive and escaped with his family for South Africa on the Melrose. He was tracked down and shot on board by "Pat O' Donnell, from the County Donegal'', as a song described. The ballot became so popular everywhere that it brought unprecedented fame to the Melrose.

6) Erskine Childers, an Englishman, his wife and a friend, a Miss Spring-Rice, landed 1500 rifles and ammunition from Germany at Howth, Co. Dublin in July 1914 in response to a similar gun-running by the Ulster Volunteers in April. The Ulstermen opposed Home Rule for Ireland : Childers supported it. His boat was the Asgard. Also on board was Darrell Figgis, author and politician.

7) Sir Roger Casement, a British civil servant who was earlier knighted by the King for exposing the ill-treatment of the natives in Brazil and in the Congo, organised a shipment of arms from Germany for a rebellion in Ireland in Spring, 1916.The consignment of arms was shipped in the Aud, from Waenemunde on the Baltic. The cargo was intercepted by the British navy off the coast of Co.Kerry. Her captain then scuttled the Aud. Britain was at war with Germany from 1914. Casement was captured, tried, and hanged on 3 August 1916, for treason.

8) In the beginning, the insurrection of 1916 in Dublin was a small- arms struggle. Soon, the British realised that it would require artillery to dislodge the rebels from their many strong- points in the city. A surprising move was the use of a gunboat called Helga. She sailed up the Liffey and bombarded Liberty Hall and Boland's Mills. Surrender came quickly then, after a week's heavy fighting.De Valera

9) When Eamonn De Valera escaped from Lincoln Prison in February, 1919, helped byMichael Collins, he made his way to the coast and became a stowaway. The SS Laplander took him to Canada. From there he journeyed to the U.S. where he worked to obtain subscriptions to an Irish national loan. (The Big Fellow, by Pierce Beasley).


10) By the Anglo- Irish Treaty of 1921 (article 6) it was agreed that Ireland (I.F.S) could have a navy when needed. To protect its Fisheries and Revenues, a boat was purchased and named the Muirichú. It was the first naval craft of the new Irish state. It did duty around the coasts for at least three decades. It was, in fact, the Helga, of 1916, having been re-commissioned and re-named by the Irish Government. (see "The Seahound'' by Daire Brunicardi. Collins Press).

11) The adventures of the diesel coaster, Kerlogue, was a thrilling feature of Ireland's Neutrality in World War II (1939-45). It was bombed and harassed frequently and went missing for long periods. But it always turned up safe, and afloat, if only just. Once, German aircraft "invited'' it to a battle scene off the Bay of Biscay. There it picked up 168 sailors from drowning. They were later held in The Curragh Internment Camp, Co. Kildare. Sixteen Irish ships were sunk and 168 of their seamen died during the War. Ireland had 56 ships in 1939.and rescued 521 victims during the conflict. (see 'The Long Watch', by Frank Forde.)

Back to Quiz