Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Balfour letter on failed 1796 French invasion of Ireland
Balfour letter on failed 1796 French invasion at Bantry estimated to fetch up to €300
An eyewitness account of the failed French invasion at Bantry dated December 31, 1796, comes up at Whyte’s Eclectic Collector sale in Dublin on January 21.
A three-page letter written by Colonel Thomas Balfour of the North Lowland Fencibles to his wife in Orkney reads: “We have been marched here in consequence of an alarm spread by a French fleet appearing off Bantry Bay ... one officer and four seamen ... landed and have been made prisoners”.
“Expedition d’Irlande” was a 15,000 strong invasion force gathered by the French Directory for landing in Ireland in December 1796.
The fleet left France on December 15 and the operation was abandoned in Bantry on December 29. The letter is estimated at €200 to €300.
The auction will include maps, historical manuscripts, medals, militaria, sports memorabilia, advertising, travel, coins, and banknotes.