The 1798 Battle of Collooney recalled in lots at history sale

Des O’Sullivan investigates lots at an upcoming history sale in Dublin focusing on ‘The Year of The French’.

The 1798 Battle of Collooney recalled in lots at history sale

The Battle of Collooney on September 5, 1798 — in which the French under General Humbert along with a troupe of United Irishmen, were defeated by the Limerick City Militia under the command of Colonel Charles Vereker — is recalled in two significant lots at the James Adam history sale in Dublin on April 19.

In August 1798, sometimes remembered as The Year of the French, General Joseph Humbert led an invasion of Ireland where he joined forces with Irish rebels in an attempt to overthrow the British.

With an army of about 3,000, the French and the United Irishmen defeated the British at Castlebar.

As they advanced on Sligo their front line was turned by the 300 strong Limerick City Militia. With his advance to Colloney and by various ruses, Vereker tricked Humbert into thinking he was the vanguard of a superior force.

Though criticised for being foolhardy and leaving Sligo defenceless, Vereker and the militia were held in high esteem for what was seen as a great victory over the French.

The Battle of Collooney extinguished a serious threat felt by the British in Ireland.

Their bravery was rewarded by gold and silver medals inscribed “To the Heroes of Colooney 5th Sept 1798”. Vereker later opposed the union saying: “I have defended my country with my blood and there is nothing in the gift of the crown that would tempt me to betray her by my vote.”

He inherited the title 2nd Viscount Gort. The family later built Lough Cutra Castle to the designs of John Nash. Adams’s sale will include two items listed as the property of the 9th Viscount Gort.

The Collooney Presentation Cup made by James Scott in Dublin in 1802, inscribed to the heroes of Colloony with the arms of the City of Limerick is estimated at €20,000 to €25,000. A sabre, the sword of honour presented to Vereker in gratitude by the city of Limerick with the makers mark of Richard Teed, is estimated at €30,000-€40,000.

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