Thursday, October 20, 2011
This magnificent Danish square-rigged ship sailed into the bay this week and moored overnight at Bantry. Two hundred and fifteen years ago irish patriot Wolfe Tone led a convoy of forty-three similarly rigged ships from Brest towards Bantry where Tone hoped to land sixteen-thousand french troops to support the ambition of his United Irishmen to rid their island forever of its self-appointed English masters. Unfortunately, for the United Irishmen, and all those from subsequent generations on all sides who have given their lives for the futile cause disallowing folk the freedom that is their birthright, the foray turned into disaster. A storm blew many of the ships off course leaving only sixteen to sail into Bantry Bay. Nonetheless an attack was prosecuted but gales, sleet and snow prevented its having any chance of success. The French, defeated more by weather than by Bantry’s english defenders, eventually returned home. Wolfe Tone went on to lead further more or less disastrous expeditions until, in 1800, he was captured, tried and sentenced to death. In prison he cheated the english gallows by cutting his own throat.