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"The Irish Code" - Dueling

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    Bismark Daily Tribune Bismark, North Dakota November 5, 1897 THE IRISH CODE Dueling as It Flourished Fifty Years Ago in the Green Isle. In the Green Isle
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2006
      Bismark Daily Tribune
      Bismark, North Dakota
      November 5, 1897

      Dueling as It Flourished Fifty Years Ago in the Green Isle.
      In the Green Isle dueling flourished 50 years ago as much as it did in
      France. When a Trinity college student asked the provost what books he had
      better bring to college, the latter said: "Never mind the books. Bring a
      case of pistols." The students were in the habit of settling those little
      affairs either just before or just after morning prayers. All the
      distinguished Irishmen a hundred years ago were duelists.Curran, Grattan,
      Sheridan, Barrington, Fitzgibbon, Flood, O'Connell were often "out" and in
      our day the O'Gorman Mahon had 22 affairs to his credit. The bar led the
      Lords chancellors and masters of the rolls fought like cornets of horse.
      Lord Norbury fought Fighting Fitzgerald and two others, besides
      "frightening" Naper Tandy, as the Irish historians tell us. Galway was great
      with the pistol, Tipperary with the sword. Two English "fines lames," Major
      Park and Captain Creed, went to Ireland to find foemen worthy of their steel
      and found them in Mr. Matthew and Mr. Macnamara, who fought with them in a
      private room at an inn, wounded them nearly unto death, nursed them back
      into health and were rewarded with their friendship. Colonel Barrington and
      Mr. Gilbert, two middle aged married men, had a desperate duel in 1759
      because they did not wish to leave an unsettled quarrel as a legacy for
      their children. They fought on horseback with sword, pistol and "skeen," or
      Irish bowie knife. First the pistols were fired, Barrington receiving some
      of the charge in his face, but he rushed on Gilbert, killed his horse with
      his broadsword, dismounted, and, putting his "skeen" to the other's throat,
      called upon him to "ask for his life on pain of death." Gilbert agreed to
      shake hands and be friends, but without condition or apology. Barrington
      Fighting Fitzgerald, a well known character, a cousin of the Earl of
      Desmond, an Eton boy, an Oxford graduate and an officer in the Sixty-ninth
      foot, fought 18 duels and was thought by many to be made. He hired a gang of
      ruffians, waylaid and killed a gentleman on the king's highway and was
      hanged at Castlebar. Among others he encountered Martin of Galway, the Rev.
      Richard Bate and Captain Harvey Ashton, afterward killed at Madras in a duel
      with Colonel Allen. The Ashton duel and another fought by Clive with a
      Calcutta civilian indirectly helped British arins to many victories. The
      first made way for a Colonel Wellesley, afterward better known under another
      name, to an important command before Seringapatam. The second had, by
      displaying the desperate courage of Clive, secured him a military
      appointment in a time of emergency.
      --- Cornhill Magazine.

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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