It’s not every day that you will see the Irish tricolour flying alongside its French cousin in any part of France.
John Devane was fortunate to witness this unique occasion and sent on these photographs. La Rochelle was celebrating an important date in its history.
Sunday 6th August was the exact 225th anniversary of the day that a French fleet sailed from La Rochelle to the aid of the Irish Rebellion.
The 1789 French Revolution was a huge source of inspiration for Irish nationalists who were themselves hoping to rise up against their oppressors.
The French fleet landed in Killala Bay, County Mayo under the command of General Humbert. They occupied the town of Killala. Then, with 1,500 Irish auxiliaries, they marched against Castlebar and routed General Lake’s army which was almost twice their size. This spectacular victory became known as The Races of Castlebar, because of the speed with which the English militia turned and fled. The historian, Thomas Pakenham, described it as “one of the most ignominious defeats in British military history.”
The 1798 Rebellion was the most widespread of all the Irish Rebellions. Eleven counties in Ulster, Leinster and Connacht rose against English rule over six months in 1798, leaving 30,000 dead.