Irish Partisans: Rapparees of the WilliamiteWars, 1689- 1691


  • Ruairi Gallagher


To better understand this article, one shouldread the previous piece I wrote in the IrishMarxist Review 9 on Irish Tory socialbanditsduring the Cromwellian and Restorationperiods of seventeenth century Ireland.This article, along with my previous work inIMR 9, was based on a BA dissertation thatI had completed a number of years ago.

This article will, nevertheless, analysethe Irish partisans that were active throughoutthe WilliamiteWars in Ireland: the Rapparees.They differed somewhat from theirTory social-bandit predecessors, insofar asRappareeism was more politicised and wasrecognised as a political force under the articlesof the Treaty of Limerick signed in1691. What the Rapparees and the Torieshad in common, however, is that theyboth provided Ireland with fighting-men andfighting-leaders throughout the upheavals ofthe seventeenth century. Despite this, theRapparees, like the Tories, lacked a revolutionarypolitical ideology that could have elevatedthe insurgency above the out-datedpolitics of feudalism. Perhaps if Socialismor Irish Republicanism had been discovereda century earlier, the subject Irish peoplecould have then rejected feudalism in itsentirety and liberated itself from the deadweightof colonialism and foreign rule? Ofcourse it’s counter-factual history, but it’s aquestion well worth asking.