The Irish rebellion of 1798 is a painful memory. Following the American and French Revolutions, the Irish Republicans – with the help of the French Directory- tried to evict the British Crown and its imposed sectarianism. It was short (around 4 months) but fiery as around 34 battles took place all over the country. The British victors punished the Republicans mercilessly, leaving profound scars.
One of the last few battles took place in Colooney, close to Sligo. A combined force of Irish Republicans and French soldiers took on British soldiers as well as Limerick militia men under the command of a certain Charles Vereker. Although the battle is considered a Republican victory, it was mostly a Pyrrhic one. Many men were lost from an army 4 times the size of the British one which successfully slowed its advance leading to a series of decisive Irish defeats. Much of the honor was given to Vereker who was awarded peerage as well as this sword.
A presentation saber built in 1803 on the model of the infantry officer pattern of the same year and presented to “the hero of Collooney awarded by the Grateful Citizens and Corporation of Limerick for his defeat of French Troops under the command of General Humbert at the Battle of Collooney 5th September 1798”. The blade was made in Solingen and exported by a London based seller named J.J. Runkel. It was then decorated and hilted by Richard Teed, a jeweler and sword maker who was in charge of making the famous Lloyds Patriotic Fund swords in 1804.
The symbolism on this sword is quite apparent. The lion biting the tail of the snake in perhaps a metaphor to St-Patrick chasing the snake out of Ireland; the snake here being presumably the French. The labors of Hercules are also pictured on the grip, and the blade is decorated with many battle trophies.