MacAuliffe in Exile
The Siege of Cork by King William. From a contemporary German painting. The defending garrison was commanded by Major Dermot McAuliffe.
n the years that followed the loss of their lands the name MacAuliffe appeared frequently in records of military service, both in Ireland and the countries of Europe. Shortly before the Battle of the Boyne, the Irish poet Daithi o Brudair wrote;
"A gallbhuionn lear meabhruiodh ar gcrochadh gan choir,
Is tug clann mhileadh fann bhrigheadh gan clothram gan choir,
Do reamhruiodh le tean bidh i bhflocas le poit,
Bramfai ag MacAmhlaoibh i gCorcaigh san phort."
"Ye gang of foreigners who planned to have us hanged unfairly,
Who left the Irish weak without rights or property,
Who grew fat in self-indulgence from excess of food and drink,
MacAuliffe in the Fort of Cork will kick ye until he makes ye sore."
(Note that the rhyming is lost in the English translation)
The MacAuliffe mentioned here is believed to have been Major Dermot MacAuliffe of Lord Kenmare's Infantry Regiment, stationed in Kinsale in 1689. Daniel MacAuliffe was a lieutenant in the same regiment and Teige MacAuliffe was a lieutenant in Colonel Roger McElligott's Regiment.
John MacAuliffe of Castlemacauliffe was the reigning chieftain at this time but, as mentioned earlier, this was a nominal title only, as he was by now only a tenant of Lord Orrery. John was outlawed in 1690 and the following year sailed for France with his family. John's pedigree is recorded in "An Leabhar Muimhneach (The Book of Munster)" as follows;
John was the son of
Florence, the son of
Dermot, the son of
Malachy Oge, the son of
Dermot, the son of
Malachy, the son of
Auliffe, the son of
Conor, the son of
Conor, the son of
Auliffe, the son of
Conor, the son of
Conor, the son of
Auliffe Alainn (from whom MacAuliffes get their name), the son of
Donough MacCarthy, the son of
Murchach MacCarthy, the son of
Teige MacCarthy, the King of Desmond (South Munster)
About the year 1700 Teige O'Dineen, poet of the MacCarthys, wrote the following lines lamenting the passing of the clans of Duhallow;
"Nil geilleadh in Eallaibh d'fhear Ceanna Tuirc faoi bhuannacht,
Na ar aonchor acu d'on aicme sin Chaoimh shluathaigh,
Do ghleiribh gasda glinn meardha min Chluana,
Na d'aon do'n mhaicne o Theamhair ghlais mhin Luachra."
"In Duhallow there is no submission given to the Man of Kanturk,
Nor at all to that tribe, the O'Keeffes of the hosts,
To the pure, wise and spirited nobility of Clonmeen,
Nor to any of the clan from the smooth green slopes
of Taur Luachra."
The "Man of Kanturk" was Mac Donagh MacCarthy of Kanturk; the "O'Keeffes of the hosts" lost their remaining lands after the Battle of the Boyne; the "nobility of Clonmeen" were the O'Callaghans, who fared better than most when, after Cromwell's time, they secured lands in County Clare; the MacAuliffes were the "clan from the smooth green slopes of Taur Luachra."
The Treaty of Limerick
In the battle for the kingship of England between James II and William of Orange the Irish had supported James, who used Ireland as a base. The Irish gave him their support because they believed they would be better off with a Stuart king on the throne of England than the Dutch Protestant William. Their final defence of Limerick and the subsequent capitulation under the treaty signed there in 1691 is regarded as one of the most glorious moments in Irish history.
The Irish army at this time was a new phenomena for Ireland - being well-trained, disciplined and organised along modern lines under Patrick Sarsfield, a skilled soldier descended from the O'Moores of Leinster. Though there were some early victories the Irish, by then abandoned by James, had eventually been driven back to Limerick where they mounted a spirited defence. They held there for a month, fighting off continued English assaults. Seeing the great difficulty his army would have in taking the Irish stronghold, Ginckel, the commander of the English forces, offered generous terms. The Irish were given a choice of serving in the army of England without loss of rank or pay or, alternatively, passage to a country of their choice except England or Scotland. They could take with them six brass guns of their choice and half the store of ammunition. The defenders were to be allowed to march out of Limerick "with all their arms,
colours flying, drums beating and matches lighting." Even in capitulation it was a moment of glory for Ireland.
Only 1046 men chose to serve in the English army, while the rest of the nearly fourteen thousand-strong force opted to leave. In the event 19,025 people comprising of soldiers, civilians, nobles and clergy sailed for France, preferring exile forever to life under English domination.
There can be no doubt that MacAuliffes were among the defenders at Limerick, and in the ranks of those who left for France, because soon afterward their names began to appear in the records of the armies of Europe. We have already seen that John, the son of Florence, was outlawed in 1690 and left for France in 1691 with his family. As this was the same year as the signing of the Treaty it seems very likely that he, too, was among the defenders of Limerick.
A feeling of the heart-rending anguish their decision to leave must have caused is caught in the following verses by Aubrey De Vere - a soliloquy of a brigade soldier sailing away from Limerick:-
"I snatched a stone from the bloodied brook,
And hurled it at my household door!
No farewell of my love I took:
I shall see my friend no more.
I dashed across the churchyard bound:
I knelt not by my parents' grave:
There rang from my heart a clarion's sound,
That summoned me o'er the wave.
No land to me can native be
That strangers trample, and tyrants stain:
When the valleys I loved are cleansed and free,
They are mine, they are mine again!
Till then, in sunshine or sunless weather,
By Seine and Loire, and the broad Garonne
My war-horse and I roam on together
Wherever God will. On! On!"
The spot where the Treaty was signed is marked by a large stone - the Treaty Stone of Limerick, seen by the people as a memorial of Irish honour and heroism, and a reminder of English treachery. The Treaty of Limerick had provided also for better conditions for the people of Ireland, including protection of their rights and freedom to practice the Catholic faith. King William, it has to be said, had signed the Treaty in good faith but it was the English parliament, over whom he had little control, who then repudiated it and brought the harsh Penal Laws down upon the Irish for the next one hundred years. After this treachery the call "Remember Limerick" became the battle-cry of the Irish Brigade fighting in Europe.
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"Life springs from death; and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living nations."
In 1800, the population of Ireland was almost twice as large as that of the United States. By the year 2000, America’s population was about 60 times that of Ireland.
Much of the information on this page is derived from
D.H Allen 'The McAuliffes of Clanawley'1991.
The MacAuliffe Regiment
Following the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, thousands of Irish soldiers left Ireland for Europe. France and Spain were at war with England and both countries eagerly recruited these tough soldiers who relished the opportunity to confront their old foe.
In 1709 King Phillip V of Spain commissioned the first permanent Irish regiments in the Spanish army. These regiments were headed by Dermot MacAuliffe and the Marquis of Castlebar. While thousands of Irishmen had served in Irish regiments in the Spanish army in preceding decades, the regiments had lacked continuity, being raised only for particular campaigns and then disbanded when that war was over.
"The Irish in 1710, signalized themselves in Spain, where Phillip V and his Austrian competitor, the Archduke Charles, were early in the field....
Among the royal regiments were two of Irish infantry, newly formed of deserters from the enemy, in Catalonia and Portugal. These regiments were commanded by Don Demetrio (Dermot) MacAuliffe and Colonel Don John de Comerford, the former the head or chief of the ancient sept of the MacAuliffes, of the barony of Duhallow, in the north-west of the County of Cork."
(O'Callaghan: "History of the Irish Brigades in the Service of France").
Dermot MacAuliffe became the first colonel of the new infantry regiment which was to become known as the MacAuliffe Regiment. The regiments of MacAuliffe, Comerford and MacDonnell combined to form the "Brigade of Irish Infantry of Castelar" which played a distinguished part in the Battle of Saragossa and later engagements. The commanders of these regiments earned distinction by placing themselves at the head of their forces to lead them into battle. In 1715 Teige (Don Tadeo) MacAuliffe suceeded Dermot as colonel of the MacAuliffe Regiment.
The regiment distinguished itself in numerous engagements including the Siege of Barcelona in 1710 and the capture of Palma, the capital of Majorca, in 1711. It took part in later engagements as part of Spain's war with England and Austria, including an attack on Sicily in 1718, in which the regiment's colonel, named only as Colonel MacAuliffe, was mortally wounded. D. H Allen speculates that this may have been Teige, or it could have been Michael MacAuliffe, the last reputed chief of the clann . Michael is said to have died in battle in 1720 while colonel of a regiment of the Spanish army, most likely the MacAuliffe Regiment, by then renamed the Ultonian Regiment. The change of name was made in 1718 when, by decree of the King, every unit of the Spanish army was to be given a permanent title. Thus the MacAuliffe Regiment became the Ultonian Regiment.
As such it saw service in various parts of Europe and Spain's South American colonies over the next hundred years or more. Numbers of instances of the MacAuliffe name appear in Spanish military records for the period.
How fierce the smiles these exiles wear,
who're wont to look so gay;
The treasured wrongs of fifty years are in
their hearts today.
The treaty broken ere the ink wherewith
'twas writ could dry,
Their plundered homes, their ruined shrines,
their women's parting cry,
Their priesthood hunted down like wolves,
their country overthrown!
Each looks as if revenge for all were staked
on him alone.
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28 January 2008
MacAuliffe in Exile
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This page last updated 12 May 2011
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