Podcast: Siege Warfare in 17th Century Ireland, with Padraig Lenihan

A contemporary map of the siege of Limerick 1690. (Courtesy of limerickcity.ie)

Cathal Brennan and John Dorney speak to early modern military historian Padraig Lenihan about siege warfare in early modern Ireland, as broadcast on the Irish History Show.

The 1600s were the era of great sieges in Irish history as Ireland was wracked by three major wars, the Nine Years War (1594-1603, the Eleven Years War (1641-1652) and the Jacobite-Williamite War (1689-91).

You can also listen to Padraig talk about this era of calamity in Ireland here.

Here we talk about the techniques involved in siege work. These ranged from surrounding a town and letting starvation and disease takes its toll, as at Derry in 1689, to direct and bloody assaults as at Drogheda by Cromwell in 1649, to failed assaults such as those at Clonmel in 1650 or Limerick in 1690. They also included more technical operations that involved extensive sapping and artillery bombardment such as Thomas Preston’s siege of Duncannon in 1645.

We also talk about the dreadful toll that such sieges too on the civilian population of Irish towns in that period.

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