Last week we launched one of our newest record sets on the site, the Freemen of Dublin City 1774-1824. The record set is derived from a nineteenth century printer’s gallery which never reached publication and should prove useful for those of you with Dublin tradesmen in your Irish family trees. It covers almost 6000 men admitted to the Freedom of the City of Dublin between 1774 and 1824, including tradesmen and craftsmen, along with makers of furniture, silver and clocks and masters of other branches of the fine and applied arts.
As always, one of our favourite things to do is browse through the records looking for famous Irish men and women. In this directory we managed to find famous Irish revolutionary James Napper Tandy. You can see from the record below from 1787 he is listed as “tradesman”.
It was from this position as a tradesman that Tandy began to take an interest in politics. He first became a representative of the Guild and Merchants in Dublin Corporation and later joined the Dublin Volunteers, from which he was expelled for his often radical proposals, such as the expulsion of the Duke of Leinster. He co-founded the United Irishmen with Theobald Wolfe Tone and became secretary of the Dublin branch. He left for Philadelphia, American circa 1792 when the government of the time proscribed the United Irishmen.
In 1798 he made his way to Paris where other Irish refugees, including Wolfe Tone, were planning a rebellion in Ireland supported by a French invasion. A a meeting with Napoleon. Tandy sailed from Dunkirk in charge of a French Naval ship and accompanied by a few United Irishmen, some French soldiers and a considerable amount or arms and ammunition. He arrived at Rutland Island of the coast of Donegal in September 16 1798.
Upon hearing that the Connaught rebellion had been crushed, Tandy realised his rebellion would be futile and decided to retreat around the north of Scotland to avoid the English fleet. He made his way to Hamburg, capturing an English ship along the way, but was detained by the authorities upon arrival.
He was deported back to Ireland where he was tried and condemned to death. However, Napoleon intervened demanding his release as part of the Treaty of Amiens (1802). Tandy arrived in Bordeaux to a hero’s welcome and was honoured with a military parade and a full general’s pension. He lived in Bordeaux until his death in 1803.
Tandy has been immortalised in the famous Irish ballad “The Wearing of the Green” in the lines:
I met with Napper Tandy,
And he took me by the hand,
And he said “How’s poor Ireland?",
And how does she stand?