Cromwell arrives in Ireland

Published in Confederate War and Cromwell, Cromwell, Early Modern History (1500–1700), Features, Issue 4 (July/August 2011), Volume 19

Oliver Cromwell—spent most of the voyage to Ireland being seasick. (Buccleuch Heritage Trust)

Oliver Cromwell—spent most of the voyage to Ireland being seasick. (Buccleuch Heritage Trust)

On 13 August 1649 Oliver Cromwell and a flotilla of around 35 ships sailed from Milford Haven to Dublin. Cromwell spent most of the voyage being seasick. A second, larger fleet of approximately 84 vessels sailed the next day and also arrived at Dublin after adverse weather prevented them from landing in Munster. A third, smaller flotilla came into Dublin a few days later. With his forces safely landed at Dublin, Cromwell marched his army into the field. In September and October 1649 he stormed the towns of Drogheda and Wexford. In his justification for the massacre that took place at Wexford Cromwell blamed the privateering actions of the inhabitants, writing that:

‘. . . yet God would not have it so, but by an unexpected Providence, in his righteous justice, brought a just judgement upon them, causing them to become a prey to the soldier, who in their pyracies had made preys of so many families, and made with their bloods to answer the cruelties which they had exercised upon the lives of divers poor Protestants’.

Despite Cromwell’s victories in the autumn of 1649, the war dragged on for the next four years.

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