IMA Source Catalog

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

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Monday 31 December 1827

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser Monday 31 December 1827

On Christmas day, an assigned servant of Dr. Rutherford’s named Maher, in company with some of Sir John Jamison’s servants, went to bathe in the Nepean, when Maher, happening to go beyond his depth, was unfortunatly drowned, although every exertion had been made by the other men to render him ever assistance. It appears that the unfortunate man was an Irishman, and the other four being Englishmen. Dennis Delany who had been present
at the search made for the body, swore he would be revenged on the four men for the death of his countryman, and sure enough he was as good as his word, for he turned to with his shillelagh, with the utmost fury and struck at them most unmercifully. Two of them have been dreadfully wounded and in particular one of them is not expected to live, his head having been so severely cut that he has remained speechless ever since the affray. Delany on being interrogated why he had used such a weapon replied with the utmost coolness, that with
nothing in his hand but his fist he would convince any man present of what he could do. No one however compelled inclined to try the experiment.

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October 6, 2012 Posted by | as crime, Historical descriptions, Old Newspaper clippings, prowess | Leave a comment

Shillelagh vs pistols 1837

The Cornwall Chronicle Saturday 23 December 1837
The Whiteboy – A Tale Of Truth
…”As I approached
the cries rose faint and short, and I soon discovered a female struggling violently with a well -dressed ruffian. I rushed to the spot, and wielding a knotty .blackthorn, bid the ruffian turn and defend himself. Great was my astonishment to discover Squire Craven, my father’s landlord, in the person before me. He turned with the rage of a tiger, and snatching a pistol from his bosom discharged it at me. Fortunately the ball only grazed my temple, and before he could present the second  pistol, I rushed upon him and leveled him to the earth. I beat him severely, and leaving him nearly motionless, I assisted the fainting object of his violence.

October 6, 2012 Posted by | Old Newspaper clippings, prowess | | Leave a comment

Faction Fighting Documentary

Here are links to a three part Irish Language documentary on Faction Fighting. I had my doubts at first but was pleasantly surprised. Highly recommended.

Na Chéad Fight Clubs (P1)

Na Chéad Fight Clubs (P2)

Na Chéad Fight Clubs (P3)

December 29, 2010 Posted by | as crime, Faction fight descriptions, Historical descriptions, other weapon, prowess, Stickfighting schools | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Some NY Times quotes 1857, 1861, 1878, 1895, 1924

Contributed by Stephen Logan:

December 5, 1857 p. 1 (excert from a longer, extremely interesting article that is well worth a read)

NY Times

ERIE RAILROAD STRIKE. Two Hundred Men Discharged at Peirmont – They Drive Off New Employees. Twenty-Five Metroploitan Volunteers Dispatched to the Scene of Riot. THE RIOTERS ARMED WITH MUSKETS AND CANNONS.

…Heedless of their threats, however, the Superintendent came to the city and hired two hundred laborers, who were got together and sent ip to Piermont on Thursday. They found upon their arrival the whole place up in arms and ready to give them a warm reception. They attempted to land but were warned off, but being placed alongside the dock by the steamboat there was bo alternative but to land and vindicate their claim to hold the place against the rebels. Clubs, stones, and missles of all kinds were now put in requisition, adnt he invanding and repelling forces were joined in a fierce contest. The new comers were seized and pitched into the dock, they were pummeled with shillelaghs and fists until they were obliged to beat a retreat. They entrenched themselves on board the boat, put their wounded under the care of the surgeon, (the cook,) and waited for thte steamer to carry them back to the City…

July 8, 1861 p. 4

European Emigration to this Port for the Half Year

…Of course no son of Erin would ever think of going over to America or New York – which is about the same thing – after he heard that; for, Pat is proverbially of a beligerent turn of mind, and has lately shown himself as happy to wield a rifle in Virginia as heretofore a shillelagh at Donnybrook, it could hardly be expected that he would emigrate with his wife and his brood of young ones to a country where a general scrimmage ended in a universal flight for life…

January 20, 1878 p. 4

A BRAVE TROOPER – When gallant Ponsonby lay grievously wounded on the field of Waterloo, he forgot his own desperate plight while watching an encounter between a couple of French lancers and one of his own men, cut off from his troop. As the Frenchmen came down upon Murphy, he, using his sword as if it were a shillelagh, knocked their lances alternately aside again and again. The suddenly setting spurs to his horse, he galloped in hot pursuit, but not quite neck and neck. Wheeling round at exactly the right moment, the Irishman, rushing at the foremost fellow, parried his lance and struck him down. The second, pressing on to avenge his comrade, was cut through diagonally by Murphy’s sword, falling to the earth without a cry or a groan; while the victor, scarcely glancing at his handiwork, trotted off whistling “The Grinder.” — Chambers’s Journal.

November 10, 1895 p. 30

IRISH FACTION FIGHTS – From the Westminster Review. The Origin of these senseless, brutal, and cruel conflicts is more or less shrouded in obscurity. It is abundantly clear that neither politics nor religion had anything to say in the matter. They probably originated in ‘hurling matches,’ a species of hockey, once a favored amusement among the youth of Munster on Sundays and holidays after “last mass.” These matches were generally played between neighboring parishes or counties, in some large convenient field or on a bit of “commonage.” The matches naturally caused a good deal of rivalry and jealously; disputes, of course, were inevitable, and it was only natural than a hot-blooded Tipperary gorsoon, finding himself getting the worst of an argument with a Limerick logician, should have recourse to the unanswerable and readier argument of the stick. The “hurley,” “common” or crooked stick used in the game was especially adapted for this species of argument; and judiciously applied, as a rule, immediately silenced an opponent. A ponderous “shillelagh” waved aloft, a piercing “whoop,” a dull thud, and a groan were the signals for a general scrimmage. In a twinkling, the whole filed was a seething, yelling mass of ferocious, wild-eyed, skull-cracking demons.

Such contests took tremendously and grew rapidly in popularity. By degrees a petty quarrel become a matter of well neigh national importance, and whole parishes and baronies took it up and vindicated their champion’s honor whenever opportunity permitted and then fates were propitious. Every male, and, indeed, may old ones, too, were members of some faction or another and thus year after year and generation after generation, the feud grew and throve, and not a man knew what on earth he was fighting for. The leading factions in County Limerick were the “Three-Year-Olds,” and the “Four-Year-Olds,” so called because of a petty dispute as to the age of a bull in the remote past. In County Waterford the factions were called the “Shawnavests” and the “Corrawats,” while in Tipperary the “Magpies” and the “Blackhens” were the most notorious. Although, of course, the women were non-combatants, never the less they belonged to one faction or another, and, did an opportunity present itself for wreaking vengeance, neither sex nor age afforded the least protection. Chivalry, sad to relate, was conspicuous by its absence.

March 13, 1924 p. 7

IRISH CENTENARIAN LIVELY – He Jumps a Fence and threatens a Neighbor With a Shillelagh. LONDON, March 12, — The dangerous age in the case of Owen Connelly of Laskey, County Sligo, Ireland, seems to be an even hundred years. Connolly, hale and vigorous centenarian, walked nine miles to the court house recently to answer a charge of having “used threatening language and abused,” one Patrick Brady. He jumped over a fence and threatened me with a blackthorn,” declared Brady. The magistrate dismissed the case.

July 8, 2010 Posted by | as crime, grip, Old Newspaper clippings, other weapon, prowess | , | Leave a comment

“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

Giraldus Cambrensis

From Louie again:

Giraldus Cambrensis who was in Ireland in the late 12 century 
speaking of the weapons of the Irish, he says, ” they use pikes, 
javelins, and great battleaxes, exceedingly well tempered;” and, 
that ” they wield the axe with one arm, their thumb extending along 
the shafts, and guiding the stroke, from whose violence neither 
helmet, nor coat of iron mail, arc sufficient protection; whence it 
has happened in our days, that a single stroke has severed a heavy-
armed horseman in two, thorough his massy covering of iron armour, 
one side falling one way, and the other a contrary way.” 
How powerful must the arm be, and how well tempered the weapon., to 
achieve what is here related by an eye-witness and an enemy! ” These 
hatchets’ he says, ” they always carry in their hand, as walking-
staffs, ready instruments of death, not requiring to be unsheathed 
like a sword, or bent like a bow ; without further preparation than 
raising the arm, it inflicts a deadly wound.”

An impartial history of Ireland, from the period of the English 
invasion to the present time: By Dennis Taaffe 1811

axehead

February 22, 2009 Posted by | 12th century, Historical descriptions, Period illustration, prowess | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MacGregor’s lecture on the Art of Defence, Paisley 1791

Dug up by Louie Pastore:

“I am told that a number of the Irish are very good at fighting with 
two sticks, viz. a short one in their left hand to guard with and a 
long one in their right, which they manage with amazing dexterity. 
This is practicing sword and dagger, the same as the evolutions of the 
backsword are performed with cudgels”
MacGregor’s lecture on the Art of Defence, Paisley 1791

February 20, 2009 Posted by | description of sticks, grip, knife, prowess | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New York Times January 20, 1878 p. 4

January 20, 1878 p. 4

 

A BRAVE TROOPER – When gallant Ponsonby lay grievously wounded on the field of Waterloo, he forgot his own desperate plight while watching an encounter between a couple of French lancers and one of his own men, cut off from his troop. As the Frenchmen came down upon Murphy, he, using his sword as if it were a shillelagh, knocked their lances alternately aside again and again. The suddenly setting spurs to his horse, he galloped in hot pursuit, but not quite neck and neck. Wheeling round at exactly the right moment, the Irishman, rushing at the foremost fellow, parried his lance and struck him down. The second, pressing on to avenge his comrade, was cut through diagonally by Murphy’s sword, falling to the earth without a cry or a groan; while the victor, scarcely glancing at his handiwork, trotted off whistling “The Grinder.” — Chambers’s Journal.

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Old Newspaper clippings, other weapon, prowess | , , , | Leave a comment

Cavan Observer 1864

LOCAL NEWS

MANSLAUGHTER IN THE COUNTY CAVAN–It is our painful duty to detail another case in which ungovernable passion, prompting the use of a dreadful weapon, known as a “loaded butt” has eventuated in the taking of life. The facts and circumstances of the present case, as transpired at the coroner’s inquest, appear to be, that a man, named Matthew FARRELLY, who resided between Bailieborough and Shercock, was, on the evening of the 11th ult., drinking in the public-house of William SLOANE, at Shercock. Farrelly was in conversation with a girl, when two men, named Daniel MARRON and Owen M’KENNA entered the house. Some altercation took place between the parties, when Marron struck Farrelly with a stick loaded with lead, and knocked him down. Whilst on the ground, Marron and his companion, M’Kenna, beat their victim so as to render him insensible, and from the effects of which he remained unconscious up to the hour of his death, which took place on the 26th ult. The coroner’s jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against Marron and M’Kenna, and they were committed to the county gaol to abide their trial at the forthcoming assizes. Our local magistrates have had frequently to comment on the use of this dreadful weapon–a “loaded butt”; and not long since, Mr. Thompson remarked that he would rather defend himself from a loaded pistol than a “loaded butt.” It is time that the use of these deadly instruments should be put a stop to.

January 27, 2009 Posted by | as crime, description of sticks, Old Newspaper clippings, prowess | , | Leave a comment

BALLINA CHRONICLE Wednesday, August 1, 1849

DARING OUTRAGE- GALLANT CONDUCT OF A FEMALE – On Sunday morning, the 22nd inst., some persons called at the bed-room window of a farmer, named Gilbert Egan, residing near Lisduff, and desired him to get up that all of his property was stolen; upon which his wife got out of bed and opened the door; when four fellows fiercely rushed in, following her into the bed-room where her husband was asleep. One of them had two stones in his hands; and while he was in the act of lifting his hand to strike Egan, Mrs. Egan caught him by the breast, knocked him down and took one of the stones from him. Another of the party then struck her with a large stick on the hands and shoulders, whereupon her husband jumped out of bed, seized the fellow by the throat and took the stick from him. Egan and his wife then armed themselves and beat the party out of the room, and while doing so, Egan received a severe cut in the temple which deprived him of strength. Nothing daunted, Mrs. Egan and two of her children encountered three of the ruffians in the kitchen, but in the struggle she and her children were severely assaulted. She called repeatedly to her servant boy, and a schoolmaster named Cleary, who were in the house, to come to her assistance and make prisoners of the party. This they very cowardly and disgracefully refused to do, alleging they were afraid of being killed! On leaving they told her to make her husband give up the land he had lately taken or they would give him a barbarous death. Two of the party have been arrested and identified and fully committed to Nenagh gaol. —Nenagh Guardian.

January 27, 2009 Posted by | as crime, Faction fight descriptions, Old Newspaper clippings, prowess | , , , , | Leave a comment