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Île d'Hiver | Winter Island > Stephen Lawlor

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Stephen Lawlor

From Soldiers and Chiefs,National Museum of Ireland. "For in far foreign fields from Dunkirk to Belgrade, lie the soldiers and chiefs of the Irish Brigade." Thomas Davis

For the 100 years from 1692 until 1792 the Irish Brigade served as an integral part of the army of France. They were allowed to retain their own red uniforms their officers and their flags. It is estimated that within that period two million men left Ireland to fight for foreign countries, 500,000 of those died for France.

"War-battered dogs are we, Fighters in every clime; Fillers of trench and of grave, Mockers be-mocked by time. War-dogs hungry and grey, Gnawing a naked bone, Fighters in every clime--Every cause but our own"
Emily Lawless, from With the Wild Geese

At the battle of Fontenoy in 1745 all of the Irish battalions which made up the Irish Brigade were
used as a single force and their action on that day decidedly ensured a victory over the British
coalition forces for France. The Irish Brigade was made up of the regiments of Clare, Lally, Dillon,
Berwick, Ruth and Bulkeley and included Fitz James' Horse.

In Ireland during those same years the Catholic population were subjected to the repressive penal
laws which were almost a state of enslavement. This harsh treatment at home guaranteed a steady
flow of men from each successive generation as young men followed fathers and uncles into military
service on the continent.

When I looked around Soldiers and Chiefs at Collins Barracks I was moved when I read the full list
of campaigns and battles, in so many parts of the world over so many years in which Irishmen took
part. Fontenoy is in many ways the focal point of this tragic but glorious part of our heritage. The
overwhelming majority of these men were almost entirely forgotten and much has happened in
between that has obscured their memory.

On it's disbandment in 1792 The Irish Brigade was presented with their flag by le Compte de
Provence (Louis XVIII). He stated "Gentlemen, we acknowledge the inappreciable services that
France has received from the Irish Brigade, in the course of the last 100 years; services that we
shall never forget, though under an impossibility on requiting them. Receive this Standard as a
pledge of our remembrance, a monument of our admiration, and our respect, and in future,
generous Irishmen, this shall be the motto of your spotless flag: 1692-1792 - Semper et ubique

Napoleon subsumed the remnants of those regiments into the French Army which put an absolute
end to the tradition. It is interesting to note that there were more Irishmen than Englishmen in
Wellington's Army during the Peninsular War as a direct result of that decision. The proportions
of Irish in the British Army around the world remained high for very many years to come.

Click on the thumbnails to view in full, dimensions refer to paper-size h x w [image size h x w].

All prices are for unframed work including 13.5% VAT available for sale in Graphic Studio Gallery

Fontenoy I - Clare's,
44 cm x 38 cm,
[12 cm x 14.5 cm],
Edition of 50,

Fontenoy II - Berwick's,
44 cm x 38 cm,
[12 cm x 14.5 cm],
Edition of 50,

Fontenoy III - Dillon's,
44 cm x 38 cm,
[12 cm x 14.5 cm],
Edition of 50,

Fontenoy IV - Lally's,
44 cm x 38 cm,
[12 cm x 14.5 cm],
Edition of 50,