Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1691 Irish ropaire

Subjectropaire 'rapparee' bandit
Culture: Catholic Irish
Setting: Protestant Ascendancy, Ireland 1691-1801
Evolution1573 Irish ceithernach > 1691 Irish ropaire

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Walsh 1979 p88 (writing in 1847)
"The habits and usages which English writers of the sixteenth century impute to the 'wild Irish,' were not wholly extinct eighty years ago.  Men from the woods and mountains infested the neighbourhood of populous towns, having holes and dens from which they retired, like wild beasts to their lair; when pursued, they thus suddenly sunk into the earth and disappeared, and were passed by their pursuers.  They lived like the subjects of the Irish chieftain, who pronounced a malediction on any of his tribe that would dwell in a house built with hands.  The den of the modern rapparee was usually in a situation commanding a view of the road, from which he could pounce, like a vulture on his quarry, on the passengers, and return with his prey to his rock."


* Hurley 2007 p172-173
"[F]ighting with 'sword and skeen' was a Gaelic tradition in duels.  Irish highwaymen of the 17th and 18th centuries, were called 'Rapparees' possibly after their use of the rapier sword.  Many rapier fighters often used two blades or a rapier and dagger, and it is possible that the two stick style, may have been handed down for generations in Ireland, directly from the first Rapparees.  The consistent evidence though, suggests that the 'rapier theory' behind the Rapparee name is ... mistaken.  Consistent and continued Irish use of the broadsword (and later sabre) over the rapier, makes it just as likely that the Rapparees -- mountain based guerrilla fighters -- used the broadsword in their battles."


* Barth 1977 p56, 57
"Ancient feuds between families or different parties were often fought out with shillelaghs at county fairs.  Irish novels of the eighteenth century frequently describe this.  Only later, after the Irish were drawn together by a national spirit, did such feuding end."
    "[...] A real shillelagh was never swung, but grasped in the middle.  A fighter used two.  With one hand he dealt a blow.  With the other, he warded off the 'whack' of his opponent."