The Wearing o' The Green

Discussion in 'General Reenacting Discussions' started by Loyalist Dave, Mar 15, 2019 at 1:39 PM.

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  1. Mar 15, 2019 at 1:39 PM #1

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

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    So there is a gap in the specific time reenacting categories from 1784 to 1800..., so I put this here, and it deals with a rebellion quite like our own from the British in the time of the flintlock Bess and Charleville....

    WHY is The Color Green Associated With St. Patrick's Day in The United States?

    May to September 1798 - The United Irishmen began a revolt for independence, inspired by the American AWI and the French Revolution. It started out as a movement, very similar to the beginnings of the American AWI, in that the supporters wanted a parliament independent of Britain, but..., still would recognize George III as The King. It was also ecumenical, in that Church of England, Presbyterian, and Catholics joined together in this effort.

    In 1793, the English Parliament was forced to allow some concessions, and Catholic males in some cases were allowed to vote, but not hold office. Prior to that Catholics were heavily suppressed.

    December of 1796 14,000 French troops arrived off shore of Ireland to begin as support for an uprising, but due to stormy conditions they could not land, and thus were forced back to France due to the bad weather. (GEE how about that the North Atlantic IN DECEMBER had bad weather :confused:) It was said the British hadn't had such luck since the Spanish Armada. By March of 1797, Marshall Law was in effect in Ireland.

    The oppression had some rather gruesome facets. Something similar to the American tarring and feathering was the British, pitch-capping. A linen cap, was dipped into hot pitch or tar, and then applied to the victim's head (after the hair had been singed off), and thus it would burn the flesh on the scalp and come loose when the "cap" was removed. Infection would likely kill the victim. Here is one period description:

    "Flogging, half hanging, picketing, were mild tortures in comparison of the pitch caps that were applied to the heads of those who happened to wear their hair short, called croppies; the head being completely singed, a cap made of strong linen well imbued with boiling pitch was so closely put on that it could not be taken off without bringing off a part of the skin and flesh from the head : in many instances the tortured victim had one of his ears cut off to satisfy the executioner that if he escaped he could readily be discovered, being so well marked. "

    In March 1798 British spies within The United Irish caused the British to sweep up most of the United Irish leadership in raids in Dublin. Martial law covered most of Ireland at that point, and was poorly supervised, leading to a high level of brutality which put the United Irish under pressure to act.

    A rising in Cahir, in County Tipperary broke out in response, but was quickly crushed. Militants led by Samuel Neilson and Irish Lord Fitzgerald, as well as Edmund Gallagher, planned to begin a rebellion without French aid, with the day for beginning set for May 23rd, 1798

    The revolt was to begin in Dublin, but spies alerted authorities, and soldiers were waiting at the rally points within the city. This caused the Dublin contingent to disperse, but the neighborhoods surrounding Dublin rose as planned, and were swiftly followed by most of the counties surrounding Dublin.

    Combat began just after dawn on May 24th. Fighting quickly spread throughout Leinster, with the heaviest fighting taking place in County Kildare. Although the Army successfully defended well against all of the rebel attacks, the rebels gained control of much of the countyside. However, rebel defeats in places like Carlow and in County Meath dealt a crippling blow to the rebellion in those counties. In County Wicklow, hearing of the rebellion "Loyalists" (Protestants siding with the British) executed prisoners previously jailed as suspected rebels. Sir Edward Crosbie was declared guilty of being a leader of the rebellion and was executed for treason. :confused:

    Very similar to the AWI in the Southern Colonies, especially near the mountains, a bloody rural guerrilla war ensued against the British military and loyalist forces. In County Wicklow, Joseph Holt led a band of nearly 1,000 men and forced the British to commit substantial forces to the area until his capitulation in October.

    In the north-east, mostly Presbyterians rebelled in County Antrim on June 6th. They briefly held most of the county, but were defeated in Antrim. Rebels were also defeated in a pitched battel in Ballynahinch in County Down, after a previous victory at Saintfield.

    Although rebels succeeded in taking County Wexford, they then lost in a series of battles at New Ross, Arklow, and Bunclody, which kept the rebel forces bottled up within that county. The British combined with Loyal Irish forces eventually put 20,000 men into County Wexford, and on June 21st, defeated the rebels at The Battle of Vinegar Hill. the final defeats came on July 14th, at Knightstown Bog, in County Meath, and at Ballyboughal in County Dublin.

    Then on August 22nd, 1000 French arrived (hey better late than never and less than 10% of the force in 1796 :mad:) landing in County Mayo, and were joined by 5000 Irish rebels. A resounding defeat of British forces was had at Castlebar. The British actually broke and fled, and it was known as The Castlebar Races after that.

    This victory prompted the declaration of The Irish Republic, triggering supportive uprisings in Longford and Westmeath which were quickly defeated, and the main force was defeated at The Battle of Ballinamich, on September 8th, 1798. The Irish Republic had lasted a total of 12 days. The captured French were traded for British prisoners of previous wars held in France, but hundreds of the captured Irish rebels were executed by hanging.

    On October 12th of that year 3000 French, and previously expatriate rebel Tone Wolfe, were intercepted by the Royal Navy. Wolfe was tried in Dublin and found guilty, and sentenced to hang. He requested a firing squad, but was denied, so he slit his own throat in his cell.

    The flag of the United Irishmen and later The Irish Republic (for 12 days) was thus:
    United Irishmen and Irish Republic Flag.png

    The Irish referred to themselves as rebels as "The wearers of the green". Green was used in cocades, by the rebels, and another symbol was the Shamrock. Cultivation of the shamrock was outlawed. Many of the rebels escaped to the United States, and thereafter would proudly wear green on Saint Patrick's Day to show either their support for Irish independence, and/or they were expats who had actually fought in the rebellion.

    It is immortalized in the very old song, The Wearing of The Green from the 1840's..., based on a much earlier poem from 1798.

    Oh, Paddy dear, and did you hear
    The news that's going round?
    The shamrock is forbid by law
    To grow on Irish ground

    I met with Napper Tandy
    And he took me by the hand,
    And he said, "How's poor old Ireland
    And how does she stand?"

    "She's the most distressful country
    That has ever yet been seen;
    They're hanging men and women
    For wearing of the green."

    The wearin' of the green,
    Oh the wearin' of the green,
    They're hangin' men and women for,
    The wearin' of the green.


    And now you know why in America, we wear The Green on Saint Patrick's Day.

    If you get a chance on Sunday, you might take a minute to remember those men and women who died for independence, so much like our own struggle, but on the other side of the Atlantic.


    LD
     
  2. Mar 15, 2019 at 2:35 PM #2

    Ranger Boyd

    Ranger Boyd

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    Awesome stuff, LD. Thanks for sharing!
     
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  3. Mar 15, 2019 at 5:46 PM #3

    Nyckname

    Nyckname

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  4. Mar 15, 2019 at 7:59 PM #4

    tenngun

    tenngun

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    Well they fought for dear o’Ireland
    But bitter was their fate
    With manly pride and sorrow we’ll
    Remember ‘98
    And too their glorious cause
    Forever we’ll be true
    And we shall stand for freedom
    Come the rising of the moon
     
  5. Mar 18, 2019 at 8:17 AM #5

    Jeff Kaufmann

    Jeff Kaufmann

    Jeff Kaufmann

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    Well told and much appreciated.
     
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  6. Mar 19, 2019 at 7:27 PM #6

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

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    OOPS Typo...
    The fellow was Wolfe Tone, properly Theobald Wolfe Tone, not Tone Wolfe..., my typo :oops:

    LD
     
  7. Mar 19, 2019 at 11:57 PM #7

    Spence10

    Spence10

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    The association of the color green with Ireland actually goes back a lot further than the 1798 rebellion. Some say it began as early as the 4-5 century when St. Patrick used the shamrock as a teaching aid in converting pagans to Christianity. Or maybe because Leprechauns pinched anyone not wearing green.

    Spence
     

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