In the Irish Confederate Wars of the 1640s and 50s, irregular fighters on the Irish Confederate side were known as "tories", from the Irish word tóraidhe (modern tóraí) meaning "pursued man". The tories were usually Confederate soldiers whose units had broken up and who regrouped in small bands in rugged country such as the Wicklow Mountains or the Bog of Allen.
From 1650-53, during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, the tories caused the occupying English Parliamentarian forces a great deal of trouble, attacking vulnerable garrisons, tax-collectors and supply columns and then melting away when faced with detachments of English troops.
The guerrillas were eventually defeated by evicting all civilians from areas where they operated, selling those who refused to surrender into slavery and finally publishing surrender terms allowing tories to leave the country to enter military service in France and Spain.
The last organised bands of tories surrendered in 1653. After the war, many tories continued their activities as ordinary criminals, the Cromwellian authorities called them "private tories".
The ranks of tories remained filled throughout the post-war period by Irish Catholics whose land and property was confiscated in the Cromwellian Settlement.
Redmond O'Hanlon was one of the most famous of the post-war outlaws.
Under Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell, each locality had to raise a regiment to support the Jacobite cause. Most did so, but James and his French backers did not have the resources to arm and pay them all, so many of them were disbanded.
It was from these bands that most of the Rapparees were organised. They armed themselves with whatever they could find or take from Protestant civilians, including muskets, long knives (sceana or "skiens") and half-pikes.
The rapparees got their name from this last weapon - a pike about 6 feet (2 m) long, cut down from the standard military pike which was up to 16 feet (5 m) long - which was known in Irish as a rapaire.
Throughout the campaign, the rapparees caused major logistical problems to the Williamite army, raiding their rear areas and killing their soldiers and supporters. Many rapparee bands developed a bad reputation among the general civilian population, including among Catholics, for robbing indiscriminately.
George Story, a Williamite officer, tells us that the rapparees hid their weapons in bogs when Williamite troops were in the area and melted into the civilian population, only to re-arm and reappear when the troops were gone.
The rapparees were a considerable help to the Jacobite war effort, tying down thousands of Williamite troops who had to protect supply depots and columns.
Many rapparee bands operated in Ireland well into the 18th century. Famous figures include Count Redmond O'Hanlon, and Eamonn Ryan - Éamonn an Chnoic ("Ned of the Hill"), who entered Irish folklore through songs and poems about their exploits.
The Pogues released a song based on Ryan, titled "Young Ned of the Hill", in 1989.
Raparees have often been depicted in fiction, for example in Thomas Flanagan's Year of the French, "Joshua's son Jonathan, who in 1690 had raised his company to serve King William at the Boyne and Aughrim and Limerick, rode home to Mount Pleasant and defended it for five years against the sporadic sallies of the rapparees, the swordsman, masterless now, of the defeated James Stuart."
Captain Cooper also boasts that, "When your great lords were off in England, it was men like my great grandfather fought off the rapparees."
Blending in with regular civilians and hiding their weapons in the bogs, these civilians were often able to avoid being captured or killed by enemy troops such as Captain Cooper's great grandfather.