Ottoman Aid to the Irish

November 10, 2007  |  History

In 1845, the onset of the Great Irish Famine resulted in over 1,000,000 deaths. Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid declared his intention to send 10,000 sterling to Irish farmers but Queen Victoria requested that the Sultan send only 1,000 sterling, because she had sent only 2,000 sterling. The Sultan sent the 1,000 sterling but also secretly sent 3 ships full of food. The English courts tried to block the ships, but the food arrived Drogheda harbor and was left there by Ottoman Sailors.

Due to this the Irish people, especially those in Drogheda, are friendly to the Turks.

(Note, in 1845, the 10000 pounds dedicated to the Irish from the Sultan would be worth approximately 800,000 pounds today, that is $1,683,280 US Dollars.

On the other hand, the Queen gave the equivilant of 160,000 pounds today or 336,656 US Dollars)

There are multiple stories as to the origin of the Drogheda seal, but one story is that this event led to the appearance of Ottoman symbols on Drogheda United’s emblem.

Ottoman Medal    Drogheda Coat of Arms Drogheda Football Logo
Ottoman Medal    Drogheda Coat of Arms   

The Osmanli Traveller blog has copied to text a writeup by a Christian Priest who wrote about the Sultan of the time in his travelogue. His account mentions this incident briefly. What is interesting is that without knowing of the secret sending of the ships, the priest was already impressed with the character of the Sultan in his response to the Queen.

On the Character of Sultan Abdul Majid Khan, by the Rev. Henry Christmas M.A. (Christian Priest) written in 1853:

‘One or two anecdotes will put his character in its true light. During the year of famine in Ireland, the Sultan heard of the distress existing in that unhappy country; he immediately conveyed to the British ambassador his desire to aid in its relief, and tendered for that purpose a large sum of money. It was intimated to him that it was thought right to limit the sum subscribed by the Queen, and a larger amount could not therefore be received from his highness. He at once acquiesced in the propriety of his resolution, and with many expressions of benevolent sympathy, sent the greatest admissible subscription.

It is well known that his own personal feeling dictated the noble reply of the divan to the threatening demands of Austria and Russia for the extradition of the Polish and Hungarian refugees. “I am not ignorant,” was his reply, “of the power of those empires, nor of the ulterior measures to which their intimations point; but I am compelled by my religion to observe the laws of hospitality; and I believe that the sense and good feeling of Europe will not allow my government to be drawn into a ruinous war, because I resolve strictly and solemnly to adhere to them.”

This is the true spirit of Christianity, and there is more it in the Mohammedan Sultan of Turkey, than in any or all of the Christian princes of Eastern Europe.’

- “The Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Medjid Khan: A Brief Memoir of His Life and Relign, with Notices of The Country, its Navy, & present Prospects” by the Rev. Henry Christmas, M.A., 1853

Also note, this generosity and compassion occurred during the time of the supposed ‘downfall’ of the Ottoman empire according to Western history books, and Sultan Abdul Majid in himself is not counted as one of the greatest of Ottoman Sultans. A simple examination of the events surrounding this engagement will open anyone’s eyes to the high station of the character of Sultans combined with their skillful ability to traverse political waters to achieve moral, Islamic ends. And how many secrets missions remain as yet uncovered?

 


31 Comments


  1. Thank you so much for your informative posts about the Ottomans! Please keep them coming..

  2. Indeed, keep them coming.

  3. Bismillah.

    Assalamu alaikum Sidi Yursil,

    JazakAllah khayran for posting this. Really interesting. You learn something new everyday.

    Ma’salama

    Sufyan Yunus

  4. That was really interesting!

  5. MashAllah

    beautifull account. The brish empires repression of the Irish is no secret, especially in the famine and this information shows a bit of humanity, by the Muslim Sultan to the Irish Catholics.

    Allahu Akbar!

  6. What an interesting post! I just discovered your blog through the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture. I’ve bookmarked you and will come back and explore some of the other fascinating looking post I see.

    Tim Agazio
    Genealogy Reviews Online

  7. what a amazing story to read. fantastic im always proud to born as a TURK. NE MUTLU TURKUM DIYENE !

  8. Irish people are very good also very friendly people that i become across. they might drink bit tomush than us Turks but still we get on very well indeed.. greetings to my friends n ireland.
    Also thanks for your effort spending time to puting this historical informatin in here .

    adem odabasi

  9. wow what an amazing story, i just heared about it and i could not believe it, untill i just read the whole story, i am proud to be a TURKISH girl, person whatever !!!!!!!!!

  10. Sultan abd ul Medjid was my great great grand father and I did not know this !
    I dont think the rest of the family knows either .
    Thank you for informing us and the world of the humanity and generosity of this family who has been so often caricatured .

  11. Astınishing as I have relised that Turks to be more helpfull than I used to know….

  12. What astonishing is that I really had not realised that Turks are intensively helpfull.

  13. ecdadımızla gurur duyuyorum osmanlı torunu olarak

  14. thank you kind turkish people
    from an irish catholic
    you should be proud of yourselves

  15. I am really proud to be Turk.This story shows that we Turks like to help who needs help.We are the grand grand childs of this great empire.

  16. Once again, a great reminder of our glorious history, national character and values.

    Maybe this one incident might allow some to understand why we Turks, take unusual amount of pride in our flag, history, ancestors and the blood that runs through our veins.

    Ne Mutlu Turk’um Diyene. ☾☆

  17. I am turk and ı am so proud to be turk .

    drogheda united also our team

  18. This helpfull attitude because of Ottoman empire was a muslim country. Islam say help eachothers, even christian and jews. Islam says behave well to your neighbour, even christian or jews, become generous. Don’t break people’s heart. True islam is those. But sometimes people don’t do their believe’s orders. I am too much happy to born as muslim. Islam is means what is the best, beautiful for peoples. Islam is means peace. And those were in Ottoman empire.

  19. I would like to thank your ancestors, by thanking you for your most generous help in the past. I have been to Turkey four times (not just to the holiday destinations) and have found you to be a kind, generous, helpful and welcoming people. Thank you. I will visit again. Inshallah. I am delighted to receive this information as it certainly was not in our History books at school. Thank you.

  20. In the name of my Irish ancestors I thank the great Turkish nation for their generosity and for the help they provided to the starving Irish under British oppression. This story deserves to be spread far and wide.

    • Those who had been in Turkey are the lucky ones,who discovers the truth about my nation.But it is not possible to say this for the people who had not been there.They are unlucky since the only information they get from the history books and or the media are not really saying the truth. On the other hand,one can not blame the western historians and the media reporters but we as the Turks are not really good to advertise.Help and forget,be good even to your enemy…some of the old sayings here,and we grow our kids with these teachings.
      Hope in the near future with a good quality of advertisement there will be a bridge whice will connect the civilized western europeans to our humanist anatolians. Because we need that,the world needs this indeed.

  21. i am proud and happy) all so irish people nice people

  22. We were always near who they People need us and they were suffering by cruelty countries.
    I am thankfull to My Ancestors like you..
    They were in the true place..
    We Turks still ready to help who they need us..
    see u
    recai

  23. Ottoman so proud to be the grandson of that, I hope that the future of justice in the world again. I love the Irish. Drogheda fc and trabzonspor wish you success

  24. We the irish people will never forget the generousity of the Turkish people at a time when we were being raped and bullied by our genocidal ,delinquint and greedy neighbours.Neighbours who built their disgusting empire on the backs of small and defenceless peoples.
    Many many thanks to our true friends the Turks.

  25. we all should be happy what we do to man kinde what ever religion we are every religion should respect all a religiongs end of the day there is only one god we say allah you say god there is only one god
    irish people please saport the turks much as you can please remember there has never been a so called armenian genocide this so called is only a propreganda sorry my engils spleing and i hope all ways the turks and the irish be frainds for ever

    sorry i for got to say this please the irish people please put this to your parlement and country but this to your gocvement they can investecate that there has never been armenian so called genocide by the turks to the armenians please but peticians to your goverment this propaganda to the turks nothing ellse peace to every one a thing that has never happend it is only a polictall propaganda

  26. Hello.Firstly I want to say that I’m so pround and happy to be a Turk.We sent you some help and we forgot it.It was not very big for us,but it was a very big help for you.That’s our culture,and that’s so good.You were poor then,but today,you are big and good country.And,you use your power for helping today’s poor people.For example,we sent shipment for Gaza with us.That was good.Many of European people aren’t so good.They hate us…But,you don’t hate us,You like as,and you are a humanist nation like us.Always help each other… :)

    “NE MUTLU TÃœRK’ÃœM DÄ°YENE…”

    • Greetings to you Alparslan Tekin and much respect to your ancestors who at the time of the irsh famine helped my starving ancestors. All my life, and I am now an old man, I have heard the stroy of how the Ottoman Emperor helped Ireland in its time of need. We will never ever forget this.

  27. oh my god! that is so friggin’ great :D you know what?.. i would do the same if i were the sultan. i dont know how to explain but that is how our logic works. like the other previous comments say: its because of our ancient teachings. help people who are in need, if your enemy surrenders cease fire, respect the elder ones even if they are lesser educated than you, since they have greater experience etc.

    i’ve always felt some kind of connection to the irish people. as i was working as a waiter in a restaurant on cyprus i met an irish couple. we had a very long talk about william wallace and irish history. i wish i had enough time to visit your beautiful country… but my studies keep me ocupied for now.

    well anyway :D some day i’ll visit drogheda
    see ya there

  28. Indeed we turks maintain our turkishness forever.And this a gift given by allah to us.
    Our identity demands to always be fair,tireless,tough,kind,powerful,patient,great,severe,courageous,honorable…concise TURK.

    May allah allows us to unify 220 million turks as one big honorable family.
    Then this family will abandon injustice and will teach peace and humanity.

    As we did in history several times.

    “Türk kocar, kilici kocamaz!”

    Burhan Karahan

Trackbacks

  1. nibrahim.net.in » Blog Archive » Muslims in history
  2. Ottoman Aid to the Irish « Ya Allahoo!
  3. When Muslims Aid the Irish « Saifuddin
  4. The Character of Sultan Abdul-Mejid Khan « Osmanli Traveller
  5. Mind, Body, Soul » Blog Archive » The Ottomans: For the Modern Muslim
  6. The Importance of Heritage, Culture and History « Saifuddin
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