The Treaty of Limerick

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  • Limerick City History

Patrick Sarsfield

Patrick Sarsfield, First Earl of Lucan
Courtesy of 'The History of County Dublin, 1906'.

Patrick Sarsfield was born around 1655 in Lucan. His family were landed and owned a large estate. His mother was the daughter of Rory Og O'More, an important Irish rebel. Sarsfield fought with the army of James II and came to prominence when he captured and destroyed William's convoy of cannons and ammunition en route to the first siege of Limerick in 1690. After the Irish army called for a truce to end the 1691 siege, Sarsfield took on the role of chief negotiator for the Irish, while Ginkel negotiated on behalf of William of Orange.

The Treaty of Limerick

The Treaty of Limerick was signed on 3 October 1691. It is believed that it was signed on a rock known as the Treaty Stone. The Treaty Stone is displayed on a pedestal in Limerick city.

The Treaty of Limerick had military and civil articles. The military articles were concerned with how the Jacobite forces would fare now that a truce had been called. The civil articles were about protecting those Jacobites who chose to remain in Ireland. They also outlined how Catholics would be treated in an Ireland ruled by a Protestant monarch.

Under the military articles, members of the Jacobite army could leave Ireland for France, along with their wives and children. Many chose to do so, and this departure became known as the Flight of the Wild Geese. Jacobite soldiers could also join the Williamite army, which some chose to do.

Under the civil articles, Jacobites who remained in Ireland were to be left in peace as long as they pledged allegiance to King William. They were allowed to keep their estates and property. Catholic noblemen were also permitted to carry arms under the Treaty. Despite this, the Penal Laws came a few years later in the mid-1690s. Under these laws, Irish Catholics were deeply persecuted, and the Treaty of Limerick was ignored.