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"Irish Soldiers at the Sieges of Girona, 1808-1809" Topic


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Tango0125 Jun 2020 10:36 p.m. PST

"Today, the picturesque and popular touristic medieval city of Girona boasts between 80,000 and 100,000 inhabitants. Two hundred years ago, Girona was a sleepy Catalonian town with a population of 6,000 civilians and about 2,000 seminarians, and its garrison held 400 soldiers of the first battalion of the Ultonia Regiment. The Ultonia was one of three Irish regiments in the Spanish Army, the name Ultonia being a latinisation of the name of the Irish province of Ulaidh (Ulster). The first of these regiments was formed in 1698 and was called the Irlanda Regiment. Contracts signed in 1709 with Demetrio MacAuliff and Reinaldo MacDonnell made possible the formation of two further Irish units which would later become the Ultonia and Hibernia Regiments.

In 1808, the Ultonia Regiment was composed of soldiers of Irish ancestry and led by officers of Irish origin. Its colonel was Antonio O'Kelly, born in Ireland in 1743, and among his staff in the Ultonia were Lieutenant-Colonels Pedro O'Daly (of Galway origins) and Ricardo MacCarti (born 1753 in Ireland), Sergeant-Major Enrique Josť O'Donnel y Anethen (born 1776 in San SebastiŠn to parents from County Mayo). Its commander was Juan O'Donoban (born in Spain of Irish origins) and its captains were Pedro Sarsfield and Patricio Fitzgerald (both born in Spain of Irish origins), and Daniel O'Sullivan Beare who was the son of Tadeo, Earl of Berehaven. Many officers and men were accompanied by their wives and children, which was the custom of the time. Reflecting the Irish diaspora, both the French Napoleonic Minister of War Louis de Lacy Gaultier and his Spanish counterpart Gonzalo O'Farrill were of Irish origin. Soldiers of Irish origin on both sides of the Napoleonic wars would fight each other and die in the six long years of the war…."
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