IMA Source Catalog

Gathering all the sources for historical Irish martial culture in one place.

Family History by John Dickey Braden, 1894

Then comes John Braden, my own father. He was about 17 years old when the family came to America. I have heard him tell many anecdotes of his early life in Ireland. His father as I have said lived at a place called Five-Mile-Town, this was near McGuires Bridge. He would often go up to Enniskillen on fair days to see the celebrated Enniskillen Dragoons, a troop of cavalry 600 in number. They were made up of the young protestants of the locality and as I recollect were furnished with horses and uniforms by Lord Cole who lived close to Enniskillen. Father said all of the 600 troopers rode black horses and when in full parade made a grand appearance. It was at these musters and parades that he saw the Irish lads in full enjoyment of the national sport of fighting with the shillalah. These were clubs of oak or black thorn generally cut from hedges and were about two feet long. It was a kind of exercise like fencing with swords when two would fight with them; each would grasp the stick firmly in the middle and he would then use it to guard off blows as well as to inflict them. Father would tell of one contest of this kind fought at Enniskillen by a friend of his from Five-Mile-Town and a bully from the city. After a long fight he knocked the bully down and as it happened he fell in the mud, when the friend from Five-Mile-Town sang out, “Ah, my maty, I think I put the County Seal on You.” This got the cheers on his side and the other fellow left the field of battle.


January 24, 2009 - Posted by | As sport, Faction fight descriptions, grip

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