galteeman

Ad Honorem
Apr 2008
2,198
Sodom and Begorrah
yes, very true, but didn't the pope back the Irish with gold and troops and intend to place the Irish monarchy in the hands of the Philip of Spain of all people. that's still a pretty big catholic-protestant spat considering the very real threat that a 'foreign' ireland would present let alone papal one.
Sammy it is true that O'Neill and his allies invited the king of Spain to be king of a 'Catholic Ireland' but it is hard to see in reality how Spain could exercise power in any meaningful way from far off over a fragmented and chaotic Ireland. The notion of a united Catholic cause was really only a front to get aid in his quest for independence from the English crown. Also the irregular Spanish contribution was mostly an effort by them to divert English resources away from the war in the Netherlands rather than an attempt to help fellow Catholics and achieve soverignty in Ireland.
 

galteeman

Ad Honorem
Apr 2008
2,198
Sodom and Begorrah
The only difference I can see is that in 1570 when Elizabeth found out about about the killings she at least tried to put a stop to it. The Irish wars of the Tudor age are far more complicated than a simple Catholic-Protestant 'spat'. I've read around the subject and it still defeats me! :eek:
Yes its hard to get your head around the Tudor wars in Ireland. Ireland was indeed a complicated and chaotic place at this time. I'd say that the Tudors looked at Ireland which was supposed to belong to them and thought what a mess! We have no control here! Lets sort this out once and for all. That is what they set out to do but it took a lot longer and and was a lot harder and more expensive than they had hoped. And in the end after more than 60 years of war, what they achieved was only a partial sorting out because with the coming of a more strident Protestant faith a whole new ingredient for strife entered the equation.
Here is my take on events.
At the beginning of the Tudor period Ireland had about 90 seperate mini kingdoms ruled by about 60 major Gaelic clans but with approximatly 30 Anglo Norman lordships as well who were to varying degrees Gaelisized. These had a complex system of alliances and emnities between each other and the English government of the Pale of Dublin.
Initially the wars involving the English were mostly to do with the English government trying to extend greater control over these groups which was resisted. The crown tried carrots and sticks offering titles to some native clan chiefs etc. in return for submission and the adoption of English laws. The very chaotic nature of the clan system of inheritance led to disputes over succession rights and constant overthrowings and rebellions. Many even of the Gaelic Irish fought for Elizabeth and later against her. Aodh O'Neill for example was once a favorite of the crown and fought for her against the Maguires and was wounded, later he was to become her greatest enemy. For most of the period the majority of crown troops in the country were Irish mercenaries. The Irish clans could not hope to face an English army in the open field as their weapons and training were inferior and outdated. In the beginning they were still using massed ranks of Galloglass armed with axes and claymores against English musket and pike formations. Imagine charging into a volley of muskets wielding a 6 foot handled axe only to meet a forest of pikes and then take another volley at point blank!. Imagine the Irish cavalry although renowned for their skill and horsemanship was still without stirups which made them unable to couch a lance, preferring to use their lances overarm. However the Irish learned as they went along and made excellent use of the heavily forested and boggy terrain of the day to achieve ambush style victories such as Curlew Pass, Yellow Ford, Clontibret and Glenmalure. In the long run the superior resources and technology of the English and the systematic laying waste of the clan territories ground them down.
I would say that the Tudor wars were mostly about the crown getting real control of Ireland, ending the clan system and making the Gaelic population live loyaly to the crown. Even though there were instances of people rebelling because of Elizabeth's heresy, such as the 3rd Viscount Baltinglass , religion was a mostly a secondary issue. When the crown realised that resistance to authority was stronger than they had hoped for and that many of the Gaelic leaders were unwilling or unable to live by these terms they resorted to plantation of settlers and removal of the natives.
I have read that Elizabeth was supposed to be upset at the massacres of civilians but it didn't really seem to translate into an actual relenting on the ground in Ireland. You say that in 1570 she tried to put a stop to them, well there was plenty of massacres well after that time. For example most of the O'Moore leadership who we mentioned earlier were treachorously massacred at a supposed peace conference atMullaghmast in 1578. Also over 200 of the
Clandeboye O'Neills were massacred at an English 'peace conference' in 1574.And of course we have the infamous Rathlin island massacre of the MacDonnells in 1575 with the slaughter of over 500 mostly women and children.
Based on these and other terrible events it would seem that she musn't have been too upset after all.:rolleyes: :)