Description: 18th Century Guidon of Costello Volunteers, County Mayo.
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An 18th century silk swallow tailed flag of a form typically carried by light cavalry regiments. The obverse with black ground with scalloped, shamrock-bordered cartouche centred by a mounted Volunteer offering his services to Hibernia, beneath Gaelic script ''Mo Rish agus mo Thir'', which roughly translates as my king and my country; the reverse with red ground and a gilt Maid-of-Erin harp beneath ''Costello Volunteers'', within a border of shamrock.
Other Notes: The Costello family who gave their name to the Barony of Costello in County Mayo were originally Nangles, or de Angulos who came to the area with the Normans in the 12th century. The first reference to this family is in the Annals of the Four Masters in 1193. The sons of one of the first Nangles, Gilbert de Nangle, became known as the Oistealb, and gave rise to the surname Mac Oisdealbh, later MacOisdealbhaigh, anglicised to MacCostello. It was the first recorded instance of a Norman family assuming an Irish ''Mac'' name. Thenceforward, they became thoroughly Irish.
The MacCostello land was in the part of Mayo now known as the Barony of Costello until the end of the 16th century. In 1565, their seat of power was near Ballaghaderreen (now part of County Roscommon). Their name, although the Mac has now been dropped, is a common surname in both Mayo and County Galway where it is usually spelt with an extra ''e'' at the end.
The Costelloes were one of the many great Irish families [which, during the seventeenth century destruction of everything Gaelic, produced famous rapparees who fought against Oliver Cromwell and the parliamentarians. The local Costelloe landholders had lost the title to their lands to Theobald Dillon, 1st Viscount Dillon during the period of the reconquest in the province of Connacht. To save expense and ensure the smooth legal transfer, he persuaded them to allow him to surrender their lands for them in one land-title in the surrender and regrant process and have it regranted in his name, becoming the legal landowner in the process. He never returned this title to the lands to the native owners, which would lead to rapparee actions by Dudley (or Dubhaltach Caoch) Costello against the Dillons in the seventeenth century. Dudley was an officer in the army of the Confederate Catholics in 1642, and later became a colonel in the Spanish army. Returning to Ireland after the Restoration and disappointed by his failure to recover the family estates, he devoted the rest of his life to wreaking vengeance on the new Dillon proprietors.
The Costello Volunteers were raised in 1779 and were also known as MacCostelloe''s Regiment. They were commanded by Colonel Charles Costello. Little is known of their involvement in The Great Rebellion and this guidon seems to be the only artefact connected with these Mayo/Roscommon Volunteers.
By the early 19th century the main family residence was at Edmondstown. Most of the Costello estate was in the parishes of Aghamore and Kilcolman, including one townland in the barony of Frenchpark. In 1862 Arthur Robert Costello, son of Charles, advertised for sale in the Landed Estates'' Court about 1100 acres in the baronies of Gallen and Costello, county Mayo and about 1050 acres in the parish of St Johns, barony of Athlone, county Roscommon. In the 1870s however he still owned 7513 acres in county Mayo and 1038 acres in county Roscommon. The Costello estate was sold to the tenants in the 1880s and the house to the Bishop of Achonry. In 1878 Charles Costello of Kilfree, Gurteen, county Sligo owned 174 acres in county Mayo and 1330 acres in county Sligo. Most of this property was in the barony of Coolavin. After 1909 an offer was accepted by J.P. Costello on over 180 acres of his estate in county Sligo.