“The Cork Men and New York Men”


"Of the gallant Cork men Mixed with New York men. I'm sure their equal can never be found." They "boldly enter" (Ireland?) with arms, and John Bull pursues them, but are not caught. Their deeds are to be celebrated


It would appear (though the evidence is murky) that this refers to one of the less-disastrous exploits of the Fenians (who are most noted for their failed attempts to free Ireland by absurd methods such as invading Canada).

In 1867, at the time of the Fenian Rising in Ireland (for the context of which see, among other things, "James Stephens, the Gallant Fenian Boy" and "The Smashing of the Van (I)"), a call went out for ships to run guns from the United States to the rebels.

Eventually the ship the _Jacknell Packet_, a brig of 200 tons, was acquired for the purpose (see Robert Kee, _The Bold Fenian Men_, being Volume II of _The Green Flag_, p. 43). The Fenians managed to come up with about 5000 firearms, three cannon, and 38 officers with commissions from the "Irish Republic."

On April 21, 1867, the ship's name was changed to _Erin's Hope_. She eventually reached Sligo Bay -- where the Fenian officer Richard O'Sullivan Burke (for whom see "Burke's Dream" [Laws J16]) told them there was no one to accept the weapons.

The ship then blundered around Ireland looking for someone who wanted the guns. It never found such a place. A few of the men eventually went ashore, where many of them were arrested. The ship itself made it home -- but it accomplished nothing at all.

Sullivan is the author of a number of Irish patriotic poems, of which "God Save Ireland" is probably the best-known. - RBW

Cross references


  1. PGalvin, pp. 89-90, "The Cork Men and New York Men"
  2. BI, PGa089


Author: T. D. Sullivan (1827-1914)
Earliest date: 1962 (Galvin)
Keywords: Ireland ship