We’re really pleased to see The Connaught Telegraph picked up our support of co. mayo’s flagship Gathering celebration!
County Mayo welcomed French troops at the weekend when the In Humbert’s Footsteps battle re-enactment took place. On Sunday 18th August we watched as Castlebar was overtaken with a re-enactment of the famous 1798 battle.
As part of The Gathering, In Humbert’s Footsteps not only brought history to life, but the event served as a reminder of the impact Ireland’s history has had on the world, as well as the country itself. Wild Geese have come back to Ireland, realising the dream of Patrick Sarsfield and his followers and proving that they play a very important role in the county’s future.
We were very proud to support the Victory Concert, as it was a chance to meet with Irish dignitaries, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and celebrate the Irish experience today.
After The Wild Geese left Ireland in 1691 they fought gallantly for their adopted communities. With ferocity and courage hey stood their ground on the battlefield, fighting for every cause but their own.
Patrick Sarsfield’s famous last words were ‘Oh, that this were for Ireland’. Sarsfield and many of the original Wild Geese did not see Ireland again after their departure, but in the early 1800s their descendants were given the chance to return home.
In his battle against the British Empire, Napoleon Bonaparte turned to Irish soldiers serving in Europe. He created the Legion Irlandaise to help lead an invasion of Ireland, recognising their skill on the battlefield, defiant hearts and abundant courage. They were at the core of his plans, at the head of an invasion force of 20,000 soldiers. The French and Irish cause was aligned. It was time for The Wild Geese to return home.
Unfortunately the invasion did not go according to plan. Napoleon’s forces could not break through the British blockade and fierce weather sent the ships back to the shores of France. Once again, The Wild Geese had to wait.
But ever the survivors the Irish Legion marched on. It received it’s own flag in 1804 and in 1805 it expanded into a full regiment, receiving troops from Ireland, Germany and Poland. It was the only foreign legion in the French army.
The regiment fought in many battles and were a particularly prominent force at the Siege of Astorga (21 March – 22 April 1810) when they lead the charge that captured the Spanish city. Undeterred from the failed attempt to return home, the soldiers in the regiment maintained a high level of commitment. The regiment’s drummer boy continued to beat his drum during the invading charge, even though he was critically wounded. For this, he was given the Legion of Honour.
The regiment was also awarded the French Imperial Eagle – a symbol of military importance.
In his memoirs, Napoleon wondered: ‘Had I gone on an Irish expedition rather than on the Egyptian one (1798 – 1801)… what would England be today? What would the continent and the political world be like?’
The tales of Irish soldiers have never been forgotten.
Our story begins in 1691 when Patrick Sarsfield and his followers left Ireland, hoping and believing that they would one day return. Since then countless ‘Wild Geese’ have left Ireland, their extraordinary stories being interwoven with the Legend of The Wild Geese.
Recently Hollywood (that’s Hollywood Co. Wicklow) mega-star Tom Cruise discovered his Wild Geese story when he was presented with a ‘Certificate of Irish Heritage’ during his visit to Dublin for the Irish premiere of Oblivion.
‘It was incredible. As a gift they went and researched my family. They traced my family back to the ninth century in Ireland
‘I had no idea it went back that far. I found our my ancestors were the rulers on north Ireland and they owned a town called Hollywood [in Co. Wicklow]‘
As it turns out, one of Cruise’s ancestors, Patrick Russell Cruise, was most definitely a ‘Man of Action’:
‘He was in New York and this guy who helped with running the family estates wanted to throw the tenants off the farm and he got on a boat, went all the way back, reinstated the tenants on the farm, fired the lawyer and they had this big dinner for him’
His family owned most of Dublin and genealogists showed Cruise the location of the family castle on a map, which he is keen to visit one day.
‘To learn about the history of my family – it was incredible. It’s a great honour for me and my whole family – I can’t wait to bring it back to them and enlighten them on their history… I’m very proud to be Irish’
Enjoy our Easter cocktail special: The Migration.
It’s easy to make at home and an ideal way to kick start the summer!
50ml The Wild Geese Rare Irish Whiskey
3 Quarters of a Fresh Lemon
20ml Passion Fruit Syrup
2 Bar Spoons Sugar
Muddle the fruit, sugar and syrup together before adding The Wild Geese Rare Irish Whiskey and shake hard. Serve in a rocks glass full of cracked ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and fresh passion fruit.
In case you’re struggling to make our new St Patrick’s Day cocktail, The Saint – fear not!
Click to watch Joe Gunner from the Portobello Star in London guide you through making this special cocktail to wow your friends this St Patrick’s Day!
Shake ingredients and strain into a tall glass full of ice, garnish with an apple fan.
The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey tasting at Harrods
87-135 Brompton Road
St Patrick’s Day Special Event: Gerry’s Wine & Spirits, Soho, London
74 Old Compton Street