The battle of Liscarroll

July 1642

The Battle of Liscarroll was fought in County Cork in July 1642, at the start of the Eleven years war. An Irish Confederate army around 6000 strong and commanded by Garret Barry- a professional soldier - was defeated by an English force commanded by a Protestant Irishman, Murrough O'Brien, Baron of Inchiquin.

Adapted from Wikipedia

Opposing forces

The Confederate army was composed of militias created by local lords after the Irish Rebellion of 1641. The English side was made up of soldiers sent from England and the English settlers in Munster - such as the Boyle family, two of whom were Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery and Richard Boyle, 2nd Earl of Cork.

Garret Barry seized Liscarroll Castle on the Awbeg river - seeking to cut off the English held city of Cork. Inchiquinn marched the troops out of the city to re-take the castle and the battle was joined close by.

The Confederates cavalry were led by Oliver Stephenson, a descendant of Elizabethan English settlers, but who sided with the Irish rebellion because of his Catholic origins.

The battle

Stephenson's horsemen charged Inchiquin's force, creating disorder and even capturing Inchiquin himself . However, in the melee, Stephenson was killed by Inchiquin's brother (through the eyepiece of his helmet) and the Irish cavalry fell back. The Irish infantry lacked the training and discipline to withstand a cavalry charge and took flight when attacked, leading to a rout of the Irish forces. The vast difference in arms was also a major factor in the defeat of the Irish, some 1500 against 500 muskets. Most Irishmen were armed with pikes.

Casualties & consequences

Over 700 Irish Confederates were killed, including a high proportion of officers like Stephenson. The local Catholic gentry were ruined by the battle, for instance the Fitzgerald family of the House of Desmond lost 18 of their members. They were buried in a collective grave just outside Liscarroll. In addition, Inchiquinn executed 50 more Confederate officers whom he had taken prisoner - hanging them the next morning. The battle meant that Cork would be a British and Protestant stronghold for the rest of the war.

Reenactment of the Battle

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