General Humbert invades Swinford, project 52 #27.

On Saturday 28th of June 2014 General Humbert invaded Swinford and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the last time he was in Swinford in 1798. General Humbert’s army landed in Kilcommon Co. Mayo on the 22nd of August 1798 and captured Ballina the following day, where Irish insurgents joined his Army.

General Humberts army

General Humberts army

Photo: f7.1, 1/400 sec, ISO-100, @32 mm.

Two days later General Humbert leaves 200 soldiers in Ballina and takes 1500 french and newly recruited Irish soldiers to Castlebar, the largest garrison town in north Connacht at the time. The battle that took place is famously known as “The Races of Castlebar”. Castlebar was liberated under General Humbert’s command by 12 midday. John Moore was appointed the first President of the republic of Connacht.

General Humbert unveils plague

General Humbert unveils plague

Photo: f/7.1, 1/320 sec, ISO-100, @18mm.

General Humbert and his army head north towards Longford to cross the river Shannon and its on this part of his journey that he stops in Swinford, on the 28th of August 1798. This part of Humbert’s journey through Mayo is not so well documented, not as well as the landing in Kilcommon and Killala or the famous “Races of Castlebar”. I can only go by what local historians and Swinford Historical society know of the events that took place in Swinford.

Plague on Corleys hotel

Plague on Corleys hotel

Photo: f/7.1, 1/200 sec, ISO-100, @40 mm.

Humbert’s army set up camp in the grounds of Brabazon’s estate in Swinford and General Humbert himself stayed in Corley’s hotel in the square in Swinford Town, (now known as “The Hagan”). Brabazon at the time was sympathetic to the French revolution which is why he let Humbert’s army camp in the grounds of his estate. Anthony Corley, the proprietor of Corley’s hotel was also friends of Brabazon. The soldiers took the gates from the archway in the square beside Corley’s hotel, which led to the Brabazon estate and cooked two steers which Brabazon had given to them!

For more information visit In Humbert’s Footsteps.

Michael Maye

Following Mayo football all around Ireland and halfway around the world. Been known to take the odd match photo sometimes! P.R.O. of Swinford Tidy Towns & committee member since 2004. I also admin on MayoClub51.com. Member of Swinford camera Club since 2009 and current P.R.O.

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