Saturday, September 20, 2008

Battles of the Eleven Years War

The Series of conflicts in Ireland between 1641 and 1643 are collectively known as the Eleven Years War ('The Irish Confederate Wars' is another name sometimes given to these wars; though to be exact the Confederate Wars only began in October 1642 and ended in 1649, shortly before the Cromwellian invasion.) This conflict was probably the most devastating war to be fought in Ireland- William Petty, the 17th Century English scholar, estimated that the war resulted in the deaths of 600,000 people- this estimate is thought by modern historians to be on the high side, but the lowest modern estimate is around 200,000 killed, with somewhere in between these two extremes being the mainstream view.

Despite the magnitude of this conflict, outside of Ireland it is surprisingly hard to get information on this conflict: the English Civil War, a considerably smaller contemporary conflict has been written about in far greater detail. The general lack of interest in this major Irish war is obviously unjustified, and I am attempting to generate a clearer picture of the conflict than can be found in the small amount of available material on the war.

Battles of the Eleven Years War

Below is an attempt to list the major battles of the Eleven Years War. There were three phases of the war- the initial Uprising (lasting approximately 12 months, from October 1641 until the foundation of the Confederation of Kilkenny in October 1642); the Irish Confederate Wars of the 1640's, and finally the Cromwellian Wars (or Cromwellian Invasion) which dates from early 1649 when the Irish Confederates entered into an alliance with the Royalist supporters of Charles I. This was a major threat to the Parliamentarian regime in England, and thus in August 1649 a major invasion into Ireland was orchestrated by Cromwell.

Defining which conflicts can be called 'battles' is not clear cut; there is a very Encyclopedia Britannica definition which describes a battle as an engagement in which over 1,000 soldiers are killed, but this description is obviously too neat (by this definition the engagement at Valmy in 1792- one of the more important conflicts of the French Revolutionary wars- would not be classed as a battle, despite involving tens of thousands of soldiers). In my view the number of soldiers engaged in the overall fight is of more importance: therefore the list below comprises battles in which around 1,000 soldiers altogether were engaged.

The dates below conform to the Julian Calender: as was the case in Britain the Greogorian calender was not widely used in Ireland until the 18th century.

The Irish Uprising: October 1641- October 1642

  • November 1641- Battle of Lisburn

  • November 1641- Battle of Julianstown

  • December 1641-March 1642- First Siege of Drogheda

  • January 1642- Battle of Swords

  • March 1642- Siege of Carrickmines

  • March(?) 1642- Siege of Cork

  • April 1642- Battle of Kilrush

  • May 1642- First Siege of Limerick

  • July 1642- Battle of Liscarrol

  • August 1642- First Siege of Galway

  • The Confederate Wars: October 1642- January 1649

  • November 1642- Battle of Bandonbridge

  • February 1643- Battle of Rathconnell

  • March 1643- Siege of Timolin

  • March 1643- Siege of New Ross

  • March 1643- Battle of Ross/Ballibeg

  • May 1643- Battle of Clones

  • June 1643- Battle of Funcheon Ford

  • September 1643- Battle of Portlester

  • May(?) 1644- Battle of Finae Bridge

  • Janurary-March 1645- Siege of Duncannon

  • June 1646- Battle of Benburb

  • August 1647- Battle of Dungans Hill

  • September 1647- Siege of Cashel

  • November 1647- Battle of Knocknanauss

  • July 1649- Raid of Castletown

  • The Cromwellian Wars: 1649-1653

  • March- August 1649- Siege of Derry

  • August 1649- Battle of Rathmines

  • September 1649- Second Siege of Drogheda

  • October 1649- Siege and Sack of Wexford

  • November 1649- Siege of Waterford

  • November 1649- Battle of Arklow

  • December 1649- Battle of Lisnagarvey

  • March 1650- Siege of Kilkenny

  • April - May 1650- Siege of Clomnel

  • May 1650- Battle of Macroom

  • June 1650- Battle of Ticroghan

  • June 1650- Battle of Scarrfholis

  • July 1650- Siege of Charlemont

  • August 1650-Siege of Athlone

  • October 1650- Battle of Meelick Island

  • October 1650- October 1651- Second Siege of Limerick

  • January 1651- Raid on Balenoy

  • March 1651- Siege of Finea

  • June 1651- Siege of Gourtenshegore

  • July 1651- Battle of Knocknaclashy

  • August 1651- May 1652- Second Siege of Galway

  • February 1652- Raid of FitzPatrick Fort

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