Thursday, August 07, 2008

More Irish history

I love Ireland and its many stories. Even my novel, LOST SON OF IRELAND, takes in some of the history. The book takes place in 852 Ireland, when the Norse wanted to reclaim Dublin from the Danes. I just dragged some characters through the times, just to see how they might act. It was a fun book to write.

This comes from IrishHistory.org

Essex sent to Ireland : His Failure There

Elizabeth, however, was not a ruler likely to allow a country the possession of which she knew, in the then condition of Continental affairs, to be of almost vital importance to the very existence of England, to slip thus easily from her grasp. She resolved to send across the Channel such a force as would not only, she felt sure, speedily crush the rebels, but would extend her authority over the whole island, and make her in reality ” Queen of Ireland.”

In her selection of a leader for the expedition she allowed herself to be swayed rather by feeling than by reason. Her choice fell on Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, a handsome man of thirty-two, having many superficial advantages, but whose success in military affairs had not, so far, been remarkable. He was the son of Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, whose attempt at a Plantation in Ulster had ended so unfortunately, and since Leicester’s death in 1588 he had been the Queen’s chief favourite.

The title of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, more honourable than that of Deputy, was now conferred on him. The army placed under Essex’s command was, with the exception of that which followed Richard II in 1394, the largest that had ever crossed from England to Ireland. It numbered 16,000 infantry and 1,300 cavalry, all well armed and equipped. If the troops already in the country be added, we may estimate that the Lord Lieutenant had at his command a force of at least 21,000 or 22,000 men.


Towards the middle of April 1599, Essex landed in Dublin and at once proceeded to ignore the instructions which he had received before leaving England. Rightly judging that if the leader of the rebellion were once crushed, the whole coalition against her would fall to pieces almost of itself, Elizabeth had ordered Essex to at once attack ” the Arch-traitor Tyrone.” In Dublin, however, the Lord Lieutenant met many persons, some of them high officials, who had either themselves been dispossessed by the rebels of great estates in Munster, or were related to those who had so lost them. These men, ” aiming rather at their private interests than the public good,” persuaded Essex to turn south.

He marched through the midland counties to Limerick and Waterford, then back through Wexford and Wicklow. A series of disasters marked his way. Near Maryborough his rearguard was shattered by Owney O’More at the head of 400 men. The pass where the encounter took place was afterwards known, from the many English helmet plumes that strewed the ground, as ” the Pass of the Plumes ” (t)eo,|\riA tiA Cteitroe).

In Co. Limerick the Burkes and the O’Connors inflicted defeats on the forces of the Lord Lieutenant and his allies.Still more disastrous on the morale of the army than these reverses was the almost continual skirmishing; a species of warfare to which the English soldiers were unaccustomed, and for which their heavy armour and equipments rendered them unfit. It was with a force ” weary, sick and incredibly diminished in numbers ” that the Lord Lieutenant returned to Dublin in June.

Elizabeth was both disappointed and enraged at the poor results achieved by the splendid army from which she had hoped so much, ohe brushed aside Essex’s attempts at explanation, and reproached him for his disobedience in a tone to which the haughty favourite had been httle accustomed from his hitherto indulgent Sovereign. She so far relented, however, as to send him, at his request, a reinforcement of 2,000 men. Yet, even after the arrival of these additional troops, Essex hngered in Dublin, allowing his forces to waste away by illness and desertion. or two months there was virtually a pause in the military operations ; then, early in August (1599), Essex ordered Sir Conyers Clifford, who, since his raids in the previous year, had remained mostly in and about Ballymote, to advance across the hills, called in English the Curlews (CoipufUAo), into Sligo, and, having raised the siege of Collooney Castle, where O’Connor Sligo was being hard pressed by the Irish, to proceed into Fermanagh.

Essex sent to Ireland : His Failure There

Elizabeth, however, was not a ruler likely to allow a country the possession of which she knew, in the then condition of Continental affairs, to be of almost vital importance to the very existence of England, to slip thus easily from her grasp. She resolved to send across the Channel such a force as would not only, she felt sure, speedily crush the rebels, but would extend her authority over the whole island, and make her in reality ” Queen of Ireland.”

In her selection of a leader for the expedition she allowed herself to be swayed rather by feeling than by reason. Her choice fell on Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, a handsome man of thirty-two, having many superficial advantages, but whose success in military affairs had not, so far, been remarkable. He was the son of Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, whose attempt at a Plantation in Ulster had ended so unfortunately, and since Leicester’s death in 1588 he had been the Queen’s chief favourite.

The title of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, more honourable than that of Deputy, was now conferred on him. The army placed under Essex’s command was, with the exception of that which followed Richard II in 1394, the largest that had ever crossed from England to Ireland. It numbered 16,000 infantry and 1,300 cavalry, all well armed and equipped. If the troops already in the country be added, we may estimate that the Lord Lieutenant had at his command a force of at least 21,000 or 22,000 men.

Towards the middle of April 1599, Essex landed in Dublin and at once proceeded to ignore the instructions which he had received before leaving England. Rightly judging that if the leader of the rebellion were once crushed, the whole coalition against her would fall to pieces almost of itself, Elizabeth had ordered Essex to at once attack ” the Arch-traitor Tyrone.” In Dublin, however, the Lord Lieutenant met many persons, some of them high officials, who had either themselves been dispossessed by the rebels of great estates in Munster, or were related to those who had so lost them. These men, ” aiming rather at their private interests than the public good,” persuaded Essex to turn south.

He marched through the midland counties to Limerick and Waterford, then back through Wexford and Wicklow. A series of disasters marked his way. Near Maryborough his rearguard was shattered by Owney O’More at the head of 400 men. The pass where the encounter took place was afterwards known, from the many English helmet plumes that strewed the ground, as ” the Pass of the Plumes ” (t)eo,|\riA tiA Cteitroe).

In Co. Limerick the Burkes and the O’Connors inflicted defeats on the forces of the Lord Lieutenant and his allies.Still more disastrous on the morale of the army than these reverses was the almost continual skirmishing; a species of warfare to which the English soldiers were unaccustomed, and for which their heavy armour and equipments rendered them unfit. It was with a force ” weary, sick and incredibly diminished in numbers ” that the Lord Lieutenant returned to Dublin in June.

Elizabeth was both disappointed and enraged at the poor results achieved by the splendid army from which she had hoped so much, ohe brushed aside Essex’s attempts at explanation, and reproached him for his disobedience in a tone to which the haughty favourite had been httle accustomed from his hitherto indulgent Sovereign. She so far relented, however, as to send him, at his request, a reinforcement of 2,000 men. Yet, even after the arrival of these additional troops, Essex hngered in Dublin, allowing his forces to waste away by illness and desertion. or two months there was virtually a pause in the military operations ; then, early in August (1599), Essex ordered Sir Conyers Clifford, who, since his raids in the previous year, had remained mostly in and about Ballymote, to advance across the hills, called in English the Curlews (CoipufUAo), into Sligo, and, having raised the siege of Collooney Castle, where O’Connor Sligo was being hard pressed by the Irish, to proceed into Fermanagh.


Posted on August 5th, 2008 under Irish Success.

1 comment:

Regan said...

Hello Dorice. I found your name on a list of Irish Historical Romances and wondered if you'd like me to review one of your Irish historical romances for March when I update my Best Irish Historical Romances list. You can access the current list on the right side of my Regan's Romance Reviews blog, http://reganromancereview.blogspot.com. You can email me at RomanceRegan@yahoo.com or via my blog.

Regan