The mexican flag proudly flies on another foreign country; in fact it is also raised with a special ceremony every September 12th. Where? On the town of Clifden, Ireland, this act takes place in the center of the city in honor to the St. Patrick’s Battalion (Batallon de San Patricio)
The Saint Patrick’s Battalion was a unit of defectors from the US army composed of mostly Irish immigrants and other European nationalities who fought as part of the mexican army, during the Mexican-American war (1846-1848), and named after the Irish patron St. Patrick. They followed their conscience and enlisted to join the mexican army to help fight against the US in said war. Skilled gunners and disciplined soldiers who fell in love with Mexico. Their bravery and newfound loyalty was short lived and most of them were hung for treason. A handful survived and the most notable man was John Riley (Juan Reley as the name he used to enlist in the mexican army, and name which he was buried with, in Veracruz, 1850), who rose to the be captain of said battalion.
John Riley was not hanged but had both sides of his face branded with the letter “D” for deserter, and so he had to grow his hair to cover it up. There is a bust to his memory in Plaza San Angel in Mexico City, and IN FACT there is another monument honoring his memory in the town where he was born, Clifden Ireland, which was a gift from Mexico honoring the man who fought along side the mexicans.
The Irish legacy: Many of the men who escaped and/or survived actually remained in Mexico and thrived, prospered and even embraced the mexican culture. IN FACT, we had our own mexican President Mr. Alvaro Obregon (President from 1920-1924) who was of irish descend (Alvaro O’brien), and Ignacio Comonfort (President from 1855-1858) By the way, initially Abraham Lincoln, then a US senator in his late 30’s, opposed the war and so did John Quincy Adams who famously gave his resounding “NO” in the chamber.
We also had many irishman who were forced, with reluctance, to join the US army during such war. Most notably was Philip Crosthwaite, early settler of San Diego and ROSARITO; In fact we have a “colonia” (track) named after one of his descendants to the East side of Quintas del Mar, right here in Rosarito, and even a street bearing his last name. His descendants still live in Rosarito and many hold important positions in government. So now, when you drive to the East of Quintas del Mar through colonia Crosthwaite, you’ll know that we have our own “Irish connection” that dates back to mid 1800’s. Amazing hu?
I LOVE my community and I love history. This is my 2nd blog (check out #1 and #3), I hope you’ve liked them so far; I will be posting more from time to time. To embrace a community involves to know everything about it, and that’s what I am all about. Allow me the privilege to help you if you ever have a need to acquire real estate in Baja, trust me I KNOW my area very well, I am sure you can tell. Gracias! (52) 661-119-3325