Crimean War

The Irish in the Crimean War

In 1854, Irish soldiers made up around 30–35 per cent of the British army. An estimated 30,000 Irish soldiers served in the Crimea.

The best known battle of the Crimean War was the 25-minute Charge of the Light Brigade, in which 673 horesmen charged down the wrong valley at Balaclava. 114 horsemen were Irish and its leaders had interesting Irish connections.

Lord Raglan, who commanded the whole British army in the Crimea, had estates in Dublin, though he never set foot in Ireland. His name was given to the Dublin street about which Patrick Kavanagh wrote his most famous poem. Lord Cardigan, who led the charge, spent some years with the army in Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Dundalk and Kilkenny. His brother-in-law Lord Lucan gave the final order to charge. He owned vast estates in Mayo, where he was MP. During the Famine, he was known as "The Exterminator", regarding his tenants as vermin to be cleared off the land. He was an ancestor of the Lord Lucan who disappeared in 1974 after allegedly murdering his nanny. Captain Nolan, who took Raglin's orders to Lord Lucan was of Irish decent. He was killed in the first minutes of the charge. There is a view that he tried to prevent the Light Brigade charging down the wrong valley.