What was the Siege of Smerwick (1580)?

Introduction The Siege of Smerwick took place at Ard na Caithne (known in English as Smerwick, a Norse-derived name meaning ‘Butter-bay’) in 1580, during the Second Desmond Rebellion in Ireland. A force of anywhere from 400 to 700 (accounts vary) Papal freelance soldiers, mostly of Spanish and Italian origin, captured the village but were forced… Read More


What was the Second Desmond Rebellion (1579-1583)?

Introduction The Second Desmond Rebellion (1579-1583) was the more widespread and bloody of the two Desmond Rebellions in Ireland launched by the FitzGerald dynasty of Desmond in Munster against English rule. The second rebellion began in July 1579 when James FitzMaurice FitzGerald landed in Ireland with a force of Papal troops, triggering an insurrection across… Read More

What were the Desmond Rebellions (1569-1583)?

Introduction The Desmond Rebellions occurred in 1569-1573 and 1579-1583 in the Irish province of Munster. They were rebellions by the Earl of Desmond, the head of the FitzGerald dynasty in Munster, and his followers, the Geraldines and their allies, against the threat of the extension of their South Welsh Tewdwr cousins of Elizabethan English government… Read More