Colooney 1798

The battle of Colooney was a small battle between the French Expeditionary forces under General Humbert and the Limerick Militia under Colonel Vereker on 5th July 1798.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

From "The year of Liberty"

In the north west of lreland, Humbert had managed, in his masterly way, to throw off his pursuers and keep the initiative. In one bound -fifty-eight miles marched in the span of a night and a day he had reached the outskirts of Sligo. Ahead of him the garrison was almost defenceless. Its commander, Colonel Vereker, had more courage than experience. He pushed forward with his yeomanry and militia to a strategic village called Collooney. And there they stood, a few hundred rustics from Sligo and Limerick, to contest Collooney with the veterans of Bonaparte's Army of ltaly.

The action that followed was to be one of the most celebrated in the whole rebellion. It earned a peerage for Vereker; he took the motto of "Collooney"; and people spoke of him as the Irish Leonidas. In fact the battle was of little direct significance. After a short skirmish, a hundred of Vereker's men surrendered and were sent back to Sligo on parole, and there were about fifty casualties on each side. Humbert pushed on unchecked to the north. In one sense however, Vereker had achieved a victory, Humbert had learnt that the Irish militia did not always run at the first shot; and with such a small force as his, he could not afford very many Collooneys.

The Year of Liberty

Thomas Packenham




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