Monday, March 17, 2008

The Wearing of the Green 
In observation of St. Patrick, a brief military history of Cromwell's brutal quelling of the Catholic uprising in 1649.

The (Catholic) Confederates faced a disadvantage that negated the town's impressive fortifications, however: there was a traitor in their midst, Captain James Stafford. Had Stafford's treason not occurred, Wexford would no doubt have been a tougher nut to crack. On October 11, Stafford gave Cromwell entrance to the town. The scenes that followed mirrored those at Drogheda. Many Franciscans and other priests were killed. Three hundred women were massacred while standing at the cross in the public square. They had hoped that being near the cross would soften the hearts of the Christian soldiers. Instead it identified them as Catholics, and they were put to death. The churches were then destroyed. The total number of dead at Wexford was about 2,000.

We wear green in a spirit of revelry now. And we take the shamrock lightly. But there was a time and place where simply wearing a shamrock was a deadly serious act of political defiance, which could get you tortured and hanged.

Pleist amach,


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