Munster Volunteer Registry, 1782: Introduction

Reprint of the Munster Volunteer Registry 1782 (with notes). Transcribed by Robert Day, f.S.A. President, presented as a lecture to the Cork Historial & Archaeological Society. Published in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society 1894, Vol. II.

This Pamphlet, as a contemporary record of the Volunteers of Munster, is of such rarity that I have thought it worth transcribing for our Journal. It will be of interest, not merely to the general reader, but to the descendants of the various families whose names are associated with those who held command and officered the Volunteers, and to all Irishmen who are imbued with the true spirit of patriotism, and who rejoice in being descended from those who, to defend their homes from foreign invasion sprang to arms, and were equipped, armed and accoutred at their own personal charges. Not a town, village, townland or hamlet in Ireland but had its cavalry or infantry corps, until the flame of patriotism burst forth and shed its light and influence from the causeway to cape Clear and from the Tuskar Rocks to the Cliffs of Moher; the glorious result being that not less than 100,000 men stood to their arms, and by their unanimity and determination won for their country a free trade with England, in which the tax on irish manufactured goods was all but abolished, and commercial advantages were gained for the country, without which its industrial life, already but extinguished, would have been utterly destroyed.

The different corps of Munster were early applied to for returns. Such as sent them are dated regularly, and those without dates never favoured the author with any, so he was obliged to insert them according to the best information he could procure from the different, reviews of this summer. N.B.-All cavalry wear helmets, infantry hats, except flank companies. The uniform, waistcoat, and breeches of every corps (except those mentioned buff) are white.

“Every troop of cavalry consists of, at least, as under, some more – Farrier 1, trumpeter 1, serjeant 1, rank and file 40; total, besides Officers, 43. Where two troops are in a corps, they are not more than thirty rank and file each troop. Infantry corps of more than one company consist each company of- Serjeants 2, corporals 2, drums and fifes 2, rank and file 50; total 56. Such corps as consist of one company only are much stronger, being in general from sixty to one hundred rank and file. In the different corps gentlemen of the first distinction are privates. The Cork Union and Glin Artillery have complete bands of ten each.”


A publication tending to transmit to posterity an authentic record of the Volunteer Corps of this kingdom has long been ardently wished for, the utility of a work exhibiting in a small compass every desirable information of the most glorious patriots any nation could ever boast of, is too obvious to require the aid of comment to facilitate its reception.

Did I address myself to a less illustrious body, I might, perhaps, call in the assistance of panegyric; to the Volunteers of Ireland, panegyric must yield to the feelings of gratitude. Our country rescued from usurpation, and elevated to a rank among the nations of Europe; our rights secured, our commerce revived, and our coasts protected from the insults of an enemy, are blessings too firmly imprinted in the minds of Irishmen to challenge the unmeaning compliments too often the style of dedication.