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A Kildare O’Neill in the Invalides

James Durney

In June 2010 Eoghan Ó hAnnracháin gave a lecture titled ‘O’Neills in the Invalides’ at the gathering of the Association of O’Neill Clans in Paris. Ó hAnnracháin contributed an article to The Irish Sword. The Journal of the Military History Society of Ireland, Vol. XXVIII, Summer 2011, No. 111, based on this lecture in which he provided the details of nineteen veterans with the O’Neill family name, who had served in the armies of France, between 1670 and 1745. This cohort of O’Neills consisted of one half-pay officer, six sergeants, three corporals, one trooper and eight soldiers, all born in Ireland. The French army archives in the Château de Vincennes have extensive files on Irish regiments, on Irish officers and also on those Irish soldiers who were admitted to the old soldiers’ home – the Hôtel Royal des Invalides (H.R.I.). Admission to the home required relatively long service – one entrant had served for forty-two years. Of the nineteen mentioned in the article, one – Germain Onelle – was from Co. Kildare.

Germain Onelle: aged 55; native of Co. Kildare; soldier in Linchy’s company, Dillon (formerly Greder alemand, Furstemberg and Hamilton) regiment, where he served 23 years according to his certificate; he held an order from the marquis de Barbezieux to be admitted; married in Paris.
Admitted:11 March 1700.

The names of the nineteen O’Neills were entered in the records of the H.R.I. without an apostrophe after the ‘O.’ Moreover, the way in which the name was spelled would suggest that they pronounced it after the Irish manner, as Néill. According to Ó hAnnracháin particulars of what finally became of Germain Onelle are not found in the registers.

Of the nineteen O'Neills admitted to the old soldiers' home in France, one was from Kildare

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