The Bridge, Athlone

The defence of the bridge is one of the most gallant exploits in Irish history. Colonel Richard Grace, who held the position for the Jacobites, was offered security in his estates and military honours, if he surrendered, by the Duke of Schomberg. At night, when the offer reached the Jacobite general, he was in his quarters, playing the familiar Irish card game of spoil-five with his officers. The six-of-hearts happened to be the "deckhead." Grace took it from the pack and wrote on the back, "It ill becomes a gentleman to betray his trust," and gave it to the Williamite messenger. The "six-of-hearts" is still known as "The Grace's Card," especially in Kilkenny, where the general's estates were.


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