Irish at Battle of Trenton – Wolfe Tone Bantry Bay – The Harbour Grace Affray at Today in Irish History

Dec 26: TODAY in Irish History:

** ** **

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

** ** **


1776: John Sullivan at Battle of Trenton

General John Sullivan at today in irish history

General John Sullivan 1740-1795

Battle of Trenton occurs where Continental troops under the command of John Sulllivan defeat and captured Hessian troops. For morale reasons alone this was an important victory to a revolutionary army that at the time was in low spirits.

Prior to the battle at Trenton when Sullivan advised his gunpowder was getting wet, Washington reportedly responded “”Tell General Sullivan to use the bayonet. I am resolved to take Trenton.”

John Sullivan was third son of Irish immigrants who settled in New Hampshire.  In 1772, he was commissioned a major in the New Hampshire militia and in 1774 he went as a delegate to the First Continental Congress, meeting at Philadelphia (PA). During the American Revolution Sullivan rose to the rank of General.

Other Irish involved in the campaign and associated with Sullivan  include Ulster born Brigadier General William Maxwell who fought with Sullivan in a 1779 campaign against the Iroquois who had sided with the British.


** ** **


1796: Wolfe Tone at Bantry Bay.

Wolfe Tone

Wolfe Tone 1763-1798

The French invasion fleet which had hoped to land in Ireland is marooned off Bantry Bay, Co. Cork in dreadful weather conditions unable to land. A despondent Wolfe Tone writes in his journal dated December 26th:

“Last night, at half after six o’clock, in a heavy gale of wind still from the east, we were surprised by the Admiral’s frigate running under our quarter, and hailing the Indomitable with orders to cut our cable and put to sea instantly; the frigate then pursued her course, leaving us all in the utmost astonishment. . . . All our hopes are now reduced to get back in safety to Brest, and I believe we will set sail for that port the instant the weather will permit. . . . Notwithstanding all our blunders, it is the dreadful stormy weather and the easterly winds, which have been blowing furiously and without intermission since we made Bantry Bay, that have ruined us.”


** ** **


1883: The Harbour Grace Affray

Tensions between Irish Catholics and Orangemen were not confined to the streets of Belfast. In Newfoundland, Canada a riot breaks out during an Orange parade in which five people are killed.  A group of up to 400 hundred marching men of the Loyal Orange Association were confronted by an estimated 150 Catholics who believed the post-Christmas march encroached on Catholic territory.  Violence broke out resulting in the death of one Catholic, three Orangemen and an apparently innocent bystander. The local police constable – a Protestant and Orange order supporter was charged with the murder of the Catholic marcher but acquitted.

Harbour Grace appears to have been a hotbed of religious intolerance on both side. The official Harbour Grace website notes that “A riot is noted in The Colonial Records of Harbour Grace in 1764 as a group of Irish Roman Catholics assembled, “riotously…to destruct the peace of our Lord the King.. and upon several persons… did make assault.” The offenders received lashes and/or fines. In 1775 several people were convicted of having Mass said at their homes. The offending people received such punishments as having their homes burnt down, their fish rooms demolished, their possessions sold, receiving fines, or being expelled from the island.”


** ** **]


Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish


This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: