Many of The Wild Geese were ordinary men who faced adversity head on. Knowing what was the right thing to do they followed that path without hesitation. Last week another Man of Action flung himself into adverse circumstances because it was the right thing to do.
Mark O’Mahony heard cries for help off the coast of Ballydehob in West Cork and, seeing distressed splashing over a kilometre out at sea, he raced to get his kayak and paddled towards the commotion, while his wife called for help:
‘I assumed people were in the water. I got into the kayak but I only had a broken paddle, so I was struggling to get out’
Despite having a broken paddle it took Mark 15 minutes to reach those in trouble: three young men who’s boat had sank. They had tried to swim the 1.5 km back to shore, but the powerful swirling currents prevented them from reaching the shore.
‘I found the first guy and he was trying to swim to shore. He was about 200m from the other two, who were further out’
Mark managed to secure the man and started to bring him to shore, while the lifeboats that his wife had called headed towards the other two. All three men were saved and transferred to Cork University Hospital. One of the men was stabilised after being treated for water ingestion and hypothermia. The other two men were also treated for hypothermia but made a full recovery.
Baltimore RNLI official Michael Cottrell said that their recovery was due to the quick actions of Mark and his wife:
‘[Mark] should take a lot of the credit. He made a great effort to help and surely saved their lives. Those lads owe him a lot’
We’ll certainly be raising a glass to Mark and his wife! Well done!
Wild Geese have flown far from Ireland since 1691. Many settled in new communities and raised families far from Ireland, writing new stands in the Legend of The Wild Geese. No matter how far they ventured, however, their ancestry and dream of freedom for everyone has united them.
In Texas two Wild Geese fought in the Battle of The Alamo in 1836: Davy Crockett and James Bowie.
James Bowie fought as part of the Texas Militia fighting the Mexican army lead by Santa Ana for the freedom of Texas. He marched into the Alamo in San Antonio de Bexar in January 1836, originally with orders to destroy the San Antonio Mission. However, he soon decided that the Alamo would be of great significance to Texas’ battle tactics. He wrote in a letter:
‘the salvation of Texas depends in great measure on keeping Bexar out of the hands of the enemy… I have come to the solemn resolution that I would rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy’
Bowie pledged himself to this for the remainder of his days. He lead Texas Militia troops in the stand against the approaching tyranny during a 13 day siege. He would fight for the freedom of Texas until the bitter end. In the final days of the Alamo, he suffered pneumonia, and as the Alamo was eventually stormed by the Mexican army, it is said that he even fought from his bed, determined to stand against the enemy until his final breath.
Although the Alamo fell to the Mexican army in March 1836, the sacrifices of the brave men at the Alamo spurred on the Texas forces who defeated the Santa Ana’s army a month later in April 1836.
James Bowie, a true Man of Action, did not die in vein.