The Battle of Kinsale

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  • Moments in Cork History

What was it all about?

The Battle of Kinsale was one of the most important battles in Irish history. It finally brought success to England in its fight to conquer Gaelic Ireland. It was fought on Christmas Eve morning 1601, in the small unknown port of Kinsale. On one side were two of the most important Gaelic leaders in Ulster, Hugh O'Neill and Hugh Roe O'Donnell. On the other, was Lord Deputy Mountjoy and his English Army.

Spanish Allies

O'Neill had persuaded the Spanish King, Phillip III, to send 6,000 men to help the Irish in the battle. But only 4,000 Spanish soldiers actually made it to Kinsale. The port was beseiged by Spanish and English forces for over two months, until O'Neill arrived with his army in mid November. They had walked over 300 miles through bog and mud in freezing weather, so by the time they reached Kinsale, O'Neill's men were in no condition to fight. Click on the map to view the battleground more closely.