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Thursday, 4 June 2015

Irish battles

It's nearly two weeks since I last rolled dice in anger. I am getting the shakes. Don't know how I'll last until next Monday. May have to sneak off for a solo quickie ...

On the plus side, the reason is that I've been on holiday, touring round southern Ireland. This was educational for me as Irish history is not one of my strong points. Some highlights:

Waterford: as well as its 'Viking triangle', it boasts a statue of its famous son, Thomas Francis Meagher. Yes, that Meagher, the one who had a hand in designing the Flag of Ireland, was convicted and transported to Tasmania, escaped to the USA, and recruited and led the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War.


Kinsale: Charles Fort. Perfectly preserved C17 star fort, with a decent little museum. Built some decades after the Siege and Battle of Kinsale (1601) which were decisive in completing the English conquest of the island of Ireland, the fort featured in the Williamite conflict in the 1690s and also in the Irish civil war in 1922.

Baltimore (the original one): pretty little fishing village right at the SW corner of Ireland. Something of a tourist hotspot these days. Notable for receiving some very undesirable tourists in 1631 when Barbary corsairs raided and took over 100 inhabitants as slaves. Supposedly the pub we stayed in used to hide IRA weapons under its floor.

Enniscorthy: Battle of Vinegar Hill.
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Pic from here
So I vaguely knew that there had been a rebellion in Ireland in the 1790s but I hadn't appreciated the scale of it. There were French landings to aid the rebels but these were rather small. The major battle at Vinegar Hill, in County Wexford, saw an unaided Irish army of 20-30,000 defeated by about 15-20,000 Crown forces. This is certainly large enough to be worth looking into as a potential Bloody Big Battles! scenario. It prompted me to do some browsing to see what other wargamers have already done with it (because of course, however obscure the action, some wargamer somewhere will have given it a go). I was delighted to find that just last month the battle was thoroughly explored by these brave boys at SAS Wargames . Great to see such enthusiasm and dedication. Inspiring!