I suppose I have been interested in original Wild Geese all my adult life. As is often the case with Irish History, our first approach is via songs sung at school (eg Clare's Dragoons),rte radio (Jackets Green), folklore (Galloping Hogan).
Of course the real story deserves more serious consideration. The legend of the Wild Geese provides a kind of framework that the more serious student can work on.
I was lucky to spend a lot of time in East Galway in the early 1970s. Aughrim, Portumna, and nearby Athlone is rich in Jacobite folk memory. And I met two men there, Sean Ryan (Portumna) and Martin Joyce (Ballinasloe) who separately were quietly working on raising of the Jacobite profile. This led me...over the years...to places with Jacobite connections -- Ballyneety, Limerick, Boyne, Derry, and further afield, Culloden and Carlisle.
Indeed the study of the Jacobite period is one of those odd things. The History is even better than the Legend.
Indeed for those of you interested, there is actually a database online thru NUI Maynooth/St Patrick's Drumcondra which actually lists every Wild Geese soldier.
But there was for me a turning point after 1998 when I got access to the Internet. I discovered that there are STILL Jacobites who still drink toasts to the King Over the Watters (sic). To be more precise they think they are still Jacobites.
Inevitably English, they pour scorn on the notion of an Independent Ireland or Scotland.
And as for a Republic ... well, that's simply, in their view, "satanic." In their mindset Lucifer himself was the first Republican. He tried to overthrow the Supreme King. So...if you like me are a Republican (in any part of the world) prepare yourself for eternal damnation.
There is, of course, a logic of sorts to this.
In the Legitimist view, the authority of designated dynasties comes direct from GOD via the Pope. The last three Popes, all born in Republics refused to be crowned. In the Jacobite view Poland, Germany and Argentina are not legitimate nations. They all belong to legitimate Kings. The current King of England, Scotland and Ireland is Francis I. He is officially the Duke In (sic) Bavaria. He is now 80 years old. I feel sorry for him. He is a patron of the arts, a charitable person with many connexions to Romania and he was as a child in a nazi concentration camp.His family opposed Hitler.
While being described by his "subjects" as the legitimate King of England, Scotland and Ireland...he himself has made no such claim. his silence is treated as "Royal discretion" by his wannabe subjects...but it seems he cant be bothered with people who have not moved on from 1688.
Legitimacy does of course have implications for (say) Brazil (property of Portugal), Columbia (Spain)....and the United States of America (which "legitimately" with Canada is the British Dominion of North America). Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, no matter how eccentric or unrealistic. But it saddens me that the honourable study of the sacrifice of incredibly brave men and women is undermined by Jacobite legitimists and fantasists.
But to act as devil's advocate for just a moment, let us suppose that James II was the legitimate ruler of Ireland in 1688.
The logic of this is that Seamas an Cac abandoned his Irish subjects to their Williamite-Orange fate. That the War west of the Shannon had become a quasi-independent movement. After the Flight of the Wild Geese, the red-coated Jacobites were absorbed into the regular French Army (around 1698 I think). The extent that officers were pro Stuart and the rank and file anti-English is a factor.
Likewise after Culloden, those Highland clans who two days after Culloden (1746) re-assembled at Ruthven barracks to continue the fight received a message from their Bonnie Prince (already fleeing thru the Highlands), that they should "look to their own safety". In other words, he abandoned them....the second time a Stuart had done that. By any reasonable calculation the Jacobite cause was lost. In the late 18th and 19th century the Irish looked to their own safety via the establishment of a Republic. The European allies gave up on a Stuart restoration and the throne/s passed to Charlie's Brother....Cardinal Henry Stuart who happily took a pension from the Hanoverians and the Stuarts themselves finally abandoned their own "heritage".
The throne/s pass thru less convincing but despotic Italians via Austrians into respectable Bavarians. But consider this -- the Proclamation of 1916 establishing our Republic pays tribute to our gallant allies in Europe. The Germans. And those Germans included in their High Command....the "Jacobite" Crown Prince. In other words, the Jacobite non-claimants actually endorsed the Republic of Ireland.
Alas it is too much to hope that the unrealistic modern Jacobites who drink the health of the King Over The Watter would actually respect the wishes of their "legitimate sovereign".