The Palmy Days of Duelling, Hard Drinking, Fun and Jollification
- Arizona Republican; Phoenix, Arizona;June 20, 1893
IRELAND OF OTHER TIMES
The Palmy Days of Duelling, Hard Drinking, Fun and Jollification.
Never was such a time of feasting and jollification as the palmy days of
the Irish parliament, says All the Year Round. The county elections were a
continued scene of fighting, fun and revelry. It is one continuous
Donnybrook affair, and the county elector, with a good coat on his back and
money clinking in his pocket
Steps into a tent, just to spend half a crown,
Steps out, meets a friend, and for joy knocks him down
With his sprig of shillelah and shamrock so green!
With the same gayety of heart, the gentlemen fought their battles with
more deadly weapons. At that time dueling was a recognized part of the
social code. The "thirty-six commandments," arranged by a gentleman of
Galway, formed a complete set of rules on all the punctilios of the duello.
According to the printed rules of Galway, seconds, if desirous, may exchange
shots at right angles to their principals, and, lest the gentlemen should
have forgotten their mathematics, there is a diagram to explain how the
right-angled fire is arranged. The pistol was a national weapon, the long,
heavy dueling pistol, which was handed to the principal by his second, "the
flints hammered and the feather-spring set." Some Irish gentlemen who had
served in France tried to substitute the small sword for the pistol, and a
dueling club was formed in Dublin - "a most agreeable and useful
association" - the members of which styled themselves the "Knights of Tara,"
and who strove by practice in the fencing school and on the field of honor
to bring the rapier into fashion again. But their practices were denounced
as "frivolous" by the regular blazers and national habits were too strong
for the innovators. "Well hit, but no lives lost," was the bulletin most
hoped for on the conclusion of a duel, for the kindly Irish nature recoiled
form occasioning the death of a neighbor, and perhaps a friend, but wounds
were glorious and none could doubt the honor of one who had been winged on
such an occasion.
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News