Sunday, July 7, 2013

Who Were The Wild Geese?

The term “Wild Geese” refers to the young men of Ireland forced to leave their beloved homeland for service in the armies of Europe and America. They are all the Irish men and women who have left Ireland for the freedom they could not achieve at home.

The first flight of the Wild Geese took place after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The Irish, under the command of Patrick Sarsfield, supported King James II, the Catholic King of England, in his fight against William of Orange. Upon losing their stronghold at Limerick in 1691, the Irish forces surrendered. According to the rules of warfare of the time, the victorious William gave Sarsfield a choice: return to his lands in Ulster and swear allegiance to Parliament and the new king, or take his army and leave Ireland forever. Sarsfield departed Ireland with 10,000 soldiers for service in France, and thus, the first flight of the Wild Geese had begun.

A second flight of the Wild Geese, as Shane and his friends from Deceptive Hearts see it, took place in the mid-19th Century, when An Gorta Mor (the Great Hunger) and the tyranny of the landlords drove the starving masses away from their beloved emerald shores, scattering the Irish to the four winds.

The Wild Geese Series is dedicated to those brave adventurers who sought a better life in the New World.

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