IMA Source Catalog

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

“Autobiography of an Irish traveller ” 1835

Summited by Chris Amendola

” Oh !’ said he, ‘ I have my scouts and my spies every where, who give me immediate warning. I can go in two hours, across the country, to places which they would be as many days in reaching; so ignorant are they of the bye-roads, and places we frequent. Besides,’ added he, ‘ one of our stout-hearted fellows is worth a dozen of your trained soldiers, who only fight by rule; we, squire, fight with a stick better than they with a sword. There,’ he continued, pointing to a stout, well-built young fellow, about twenty-five years of age,—’ if there be a man in Ireland who can beat down his cudgel with a cutlass, then I’1l give my head for a foot-ball.’
” Being a skilful swordsman myself, and always very cool and deliberate in my play, I answered, that if they had a good strong broad-sword, I would play a match after breakfast, for the sake of amusement.
“‘ With all my heart,’ said the young man, ‘ we are near of an age and of a size;’ and when the breakfast was finished, a cudgel and broadsword were produced.
” ‘ Comrade,’ said I, ‘ before we begin, remember we are not to strike each other ! I shall either cut your cudgel out of your hand, or you will beat down my guard; and whoever does this three times in succession is the conqueror.’
” At it we went accordingly, and, in truth, I never saw a cudgel played in such style before. He kept on the defensive, and parried all my cuts for fifteen minutes, without having his guard broke in upon. After this, changing his method, he began upon the offensive; and, in the course of ten minutes more, my sword had been three times nearly struck from my grasp. I now threw it down, and gave him my hand, satisfied of his unrivalled dexterity; for, when at Berlin, I was considered the best broad-swordsman in the college. The lads were all pleased with our trial of skill, and not less so with the good humour I exhibited on being defeated. I am convinced no swordsman could have resisted my antagonist. His cudgel moved like lightning; the inner part, from his hand to his elbow, covering his body in a half circle, or otherwise, according to the blows aimed at him.”

December 15, 2009 Posted by | As sport, Historical descriptions, other weapon, prowess | , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Irishmen scuffing Collar & Elbow date unknown


January 24, 2009 Posted by | As sport, wrestling | , , , , | 1 Comment

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 | Leave a comment