Following the English victory in the Battle of Kinsale, the leaders fighting in Cork returned to protect their homelands.
The Lord Deputy of Ireland, Charles Blount, 8th Baron Mountjoy, had succeeded where his predecessor, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, had failed.
If the template for ruthless and systematic destruction of crops, animals and food supplies as a military tactic in Ireland was laid in the late 16th century, it reached its apogee in the middle of the next century, in a brutal war that raged from 1641 until 1653.
This war, started by the rebellion of Irish Catholic gentry in October 1641, pitted Catholic against Protestant but also split the Protestant English and Scottish along the lines of Civil War raging in those countries between King and Parliament.
Cromwell is easily Irish history’s most resistant figure to a favourable re-evaluation.
A member of a long-standing Drogheda family, I grew up close to where the walls of the town were breached on 9/11 1649. As a young adult I joined the Old Drogheda Society and a short glimpse into local history later I began to question the truth about the massacres.
Angry debate still continues over the extent of the British government’s responsibility for the Great Famine of the 1840s but in earlier periods, the culpability of various military commanders in Ireland is more clear-cut.
While on one level Ireland seems to be coming to terms with the dying embers of centuries of anti-British sentiment, below the surface it is a different story.The traditional counties of Ireland subjected to plantations (1556 to 1620).This map is a simplified one, as in the case of some counties the area of land colonised did not cover the whole of the area coloured.Hard weather and a bad harvest, or, as we will see, deliberate destruction of crops and animals by armed forces, could pitch the poor into starvation very quickly.At this point, they would be forced into reliance either on mutual aid or charity to survive until the next harvest.