Ireland has seen many waves of migration since 1691. ‘The Wild Geese’ who left their homes over the centuries were faced with an uncertain future, but chose to take control of their own lives and shape their own destiny.
A very important chapter in the story of The Wild Geese took place in Mexico in the 1840s. Over a million people emigrated from Ireland to America between 1840-1850. Escaping the infamous famine, these people sought new opportunities, and many joined the American army. However, when they were faced with an invasion of Mexico, a group of Irish soldiers – led by a man named Jon Riley – joined the Mexican army to aid in the country’s struggle for freedom.
They formed The Battalón de San Patricio – ‘Saint Patrick’s Battalion’. Comprised of primarily Irish and German immigrants, and African American slaves the Battalion sympathised with the struggle of Mexico, coming together in the hope of securing Freedom.
The Battalón de San Patricio flew a green flag, which read ‘Erin Go Bragh’ – which means ‘Ireland Forever’ – as they marched towards the battle field, keeping their homeland close to their hearts and igniting the fire that had started over a century before hand by Patrick Sarsfield.