Captain George O’Malley 1786-1860:
his manuscript narrative and Smuggling career analysed.

This lecture was delivered on Monday, 10 November 2011 by Prof. Louis Cullen gave a talk on

Captain George O’Malley- is known in folklore for several poems attributed to him. He grew up in Ballinakill, co. Galway, where his father Patt was a small smuggling master in the 1790s and early years of the nineteenth century. As was the case for many other smugglers the island of Guernsey was his source of supply. It was finally closed to smugglers in 1805 and 1807 by British legislation. That explains why he exited the trade and moved to Clare Island. It also explains why his son inherited no business and from 1808 to 1818 his career was abroad as mariner and adventurer. He returned to Mayo in 1818. Apart from growing up in a smuggling milieu he had had no direct involvement in smuggling. In a boom in tobacco smuggling post 1815 he became involved as a master of large craft maintained by smuggling houses in Flushing in the Low Countries. The businessmen were English, the crews also but, because of the need of local knowledge, the captains were Irish. This boom was halted by the advent of the Coast Guard a paramilitary force which made its appearance in the west in 1821; He made his peace with the authorities in 1828.

Professor L.M. Cullen is professor emeritus of modern Irish history in TCD.  He is a graduate of University College, Galway and of the London School of Economics. He has had visiting posts in St  Andrews University , Strathclyde University, (Glasgoe), Ecole des hautes etudes  (Paris)., All Souls College Oxford, Hosei University (Tokyo) and over many years in the International Research Centre in Japanese Studies, Kyoto. He has always had an interest in the smuggling trade, reflected at the outset in articles in the late 1950s, and it is had been a recurrent theme in many of his later writings.