1601 The Battle of Kinsale

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A map of 1601 Battle     It was the battle which changed the course of Irish history. The Irish forces were defeated,the nobility fled and the Plantations of Ulster followed,the reprecussions of which are clear from Ireland's most recent bloody history. In previous months,troops from Spain led by Don Juan d'Aquila landed in Kinsale despite Irish requests that they land further up the coast. They were surrounded by the crown forces led by Lord Mountjoy.D'Aquila had been promised horses and the support of the whole of Munster but very little of either materialized.
    In the meantime, 'Red'Hugh O'Donnell,having summoned his troops and local chiefs to Ballymote in Sligo, embarked on a hard journey on foot across mountains and flooded land to Munster and into Innishannon where he met up with the forces of Hugh O'Neill, arriving in Kinsale in late December 1601.
     Storms and torrential rain foiled Irish plans of a night time attack. A rare occurence of St. Elmo's Fire,an electric storm,caused many of the horses in the Irish camp to bolt. O'Neill crossed difficult terain with a force of 5000 to attack the English camp, but they were ready for them, dispatching them in a bloody skirmish his troops panicked and many fled. O'Donnell's forces were similarily routed and they too gave up the ghost.
    The Spanish surrendered soon after. The battle was over. In all, the English lost as many as 5000 men, mostly through starvaton and disease, but their superior tactics won them a decisive victory.

The museum has many artiacts relating to the battle, including maps,a cannon and a belt worn by O'Neill.

Kinsale Museum, Market Square, Kinsale   ph: (021)4777930       Email                 Site created by Mandy Byrne 2001