At the moment I am exploring the historic nature of Rapparees in the Service of the Jacobite army in Ireland 1688-1691 and Irish Brigade activities in Northern Italy in anti-partizan operations. When the hunted become the hunter. So anyone wishing to add to this discussion feel free.

Tags: Jacobitism, Rapparees, Tories

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Okay after finishing my dissertation on Rappareesism, it is very evident that the subject is far from a simple one. What we have are irregular forces in the service of James II and William III. The issue really comes when one goes to explore the subject and tries to establish the relevance of the force, in the context of the early modern Irish warfare and their affect of the conflict in Ireland overall.

What I discovered were a number of anomalies in the existing narrative that at first glance are straight forward enough, but when you dig through the narratives, articles, journals, essays and books it becomes clear that this subject is treated as incidental, unimportant and irrelevant. This may be a polemical position to take, but I have just gone through 25 books, numerous journals and a dose of articles. And only one book treats the subject as a serious military subject and that is Dr. Eamon O' Ciardha's in his book 'Ireland and the Jacobite cause 1685-1766 -A fatal attachment (four Courts 2002), this should have been called 'A light to the blind part II' 

So what is the outcome of the research you may wonder! The outcome is that there are in fact four types of belligerent in the context of irregular force in Ireland during the war of 1688-1691. You have the Tory who for all intent and purposes is a bandit, thief, robber and murderer. You have a Rapparee who is officially anyway an irregular Jacobite partisan, you have the Protestant rapparees such as the Enniskillener's and other Williamite militia's, who are sectarian in nature which is important to consider when viewing their actions. Then you have a surprise, the vigilante country person who attack and carries out retaliatory action against the occupation forces of William III. As I mentioned this is far from a straightforward subject. But I will endeavor to keep it as clear as possible.

Brendán Ó Buachalla sums the problem up in his article 'Jacobitism in official documents.'

The study of Jacobitism does not loom large in Irish life or historiography. In fact, in most recent work on modern history (both monogram and general surveys) either ignore the phenomenon or dismiss it.  This is in stark contrast to modern British historiography in which Jacobitism, once dismissed as peripheral, anachronistic, romantic irrelevant – is now deemed central to the understanding of Hanoverian and Georgian Britain. The fact that Jacobitism was never realized as open rebellion in Ireland has undoubtedly influenced Irish historians’ attitudes to it as also has the paucity of the published evidence and the fact one of the main sources for Jacobite rhetoric and ideology in Ireland is Irish political poetry, still unfortunately a closed book to most Irish historians.[1]

Researching this subject can and does prove difficult, for those with an interest in this feel free to join this forum, give your opinions, ask questions or discuss the subject.Over the next few weeks I will add more bits to this any questions drop me a line, time permitting.
Many regards Tomás Ó Brógáin, Vive le Roi!

[1] Ó Buachalla, B., Irish Jacobitism in Official Documents, ‘Eighteenth-Century Ireland / Iris an dá chultúr’, Vol. 8 (Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society ,1993)


It is quite a broad subject. There are numerous biographies on certain individuals for example 'Freney the Robber'.


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