Risteárd Buidhe Kirwan

Risteárd Buidhe Kirwan (1708–1779) was an Irish soldier and duellist.


Kirwan was a son of Patrick Kirwan of Cregg and Mary Martin of Dangan. Both towns are in County Galway, and his parents were members of the Tribes of Galway. He was an uncle of the scientist Richard Kirwan, and a cousin of Richard Martin MP, founder of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

He travelled to France for his education. He joined the regiment of Dillon of the Irish Brigade. He became famed as a swordsman and duellist, and for his stature, which measured six feet four inches in height. Among his closest acquaintances were Lord Clare and Maurice de Saxe. He participated in the Battle of Fontenoy (1745).

His became notorious because of his duelling, and was obliged to leave France. He joined the Austrian service. He retired in 1751 and returned to Ireland. He married Maria Birmingham, a relative of Baron Athenry, and had issue. He was nicknamed Risteárd Buidhe a' chlaidhimh (swarthy Richard of the sword) and Nineteen-duel Dick.[1]

A watch presented to him by Louis XV, set with diamonds and pearls, was in the possession of the Kirwan family as of 1949.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ellis, Peter Berresford. "'Nineteen Duel Dick' from Galway". Irish News UK. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012.