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National - Event Notice
Sunday April 02 2006
02:00 AM

Commemoration to mark 350th Anniversary of Gaelic War.

category national | history and heritage | event notice author Tuesday March 28, 2006 00:11author by Craobh Gal Greine - Craobh Gal Greine Report this post to the editors

A commemoration to mark the 350th anniversary of the Gaelic War against Cromwell, is to be held on the 2nd April 2006, at the National Monument in Cork City.

Between the years 1652 - 1659, English Troops murdered over 500,000 Irish men, women and children. Another 100,000 (possibly as high as 250,000) Irish people, mainly children were sold into slavery to places like Barbados and the Caribbean. There was about 30,000 Irish soldiers sent into exile as wild Geese and another 50,000 became known as Toraidhe (Tory's) who fought a guerrilla war against English colonialism. The English also forced over 500,000 Irish from their homes into the barren regions of Connacht and Clare as part of the Plantations and Extermination project. But in the midst of all this chaos, the Irish fought bravely against English tyranny and killed possibly as high as 100,000 English soldiers and Colonists in the period. Republican Sinn Fein in Cork is invited to lay a reed to show the continuity of the fight against English occupation then and today.

Cogadh na dTóraithe
Cogadh na nGael in aghaidh Chromail

350ú cuimhne 1652 – 1659

Commemoration at National Monument, Cork City on Sunday 2nd April 2pm to mark

Craobh Gal Greine is a Irish Cultural society based in Cork open to all Irish Nationalists. The society, promotes, Irish language, culture, history, nationalism, etc. It is non political, except on the issue, that we support the absolute freedom of Ireland both from English occupation and the European Union.

A commemoration to mark the 350th anniversary of the Gaelic War against Cromwell, is to be held on the 2nd April 2006, at the National Monument in Cork City.

Between the years 1652 - 1659, English Troops murdered over 500,000 Irish men, women and children. Another 100,000 (possibly as high as 250,000) Irish people, mainly children were sold into slavery to places like Barbados and the Caribbean. There was about 30,000 Irish soldiers sent into exile as wild Geese and another 50,000 became known as Toraidhe (Tory's) who fought a guerrilla war against English colonialism. The English also forced over 500,000 Irish from their homes into the barren regions of Connacht and Clare as part of the Plantations and Extermination project. But in the midst of all this chaos, the Irish fought bravely against English tyranny and killed possibly as high as 100,000 English soldiers and Colonists in the period.

Craobh Gal Greine have decided we will mark the occasion with a commemoration, so the suffering of our ancestors will not be forgotten, in our generation. The commemoration coincides with a period in history, when 1000 Irish boys and 1000 Irish girls between 12 and 14 were taken from the vicinity of Cork city and sold into a life of slavery.

Republican Sinn Fein in Cork is invited to lay a reed to show the continuity of the fight against English occupation then and today.

Our long term project is to get a monument erected to mark this period of our history in Cork, and this is to get the ball rolling, and get people interested.

Here are just a few notes on the events of the period that we will be commemorating.

The Gaelic War against Cromwell was one of the most fiercely fought battles against the tyranny of English rule in our island. With the unfortunate death of Eoghan Rua O Neill and the renewed attacks by the English against the Gaelic Confederates, during the period of 1652 – 1659 the Gaelic clans were at severe war against the English planters and Crown Forces. With most of the country being dispossessed of their territorial lands and being forced into the province of Connacht, the Gaelic warriors became known as Tory’s from the Gaelic word ‘Toraithe’.

Once Cromwell landed in Drogheda in 1649 and slaughtered over 3,500 people committing desperate war crimes against the Irish people the resistance was slowly changing from open warfare to precision raids against the English garrisons. In 1650 the Irish made a strategic mistake by placing Fr. Mac Mahon in charge of the Irish forces at Scarrifhollis instead of Henry O Neill, which resulted in 3,000 Irish warriors being killed, and both O Neill and mac Mahon being executed. In 1651 5000 Irish died in the siege of Limerick with many Irish leaders were executed along with a further 800 Irish soldiers. While moral in the country had already being low from the Confederate wars which saw the population of the country reduced by over 616,000 people out of the 1.6million people, worse was to come.

While most of the records of the war were destroyed in 1922 through the bombing of the Four Courts, there are still some important events still in record from the period. The O Byrnes, O Tooles and Kavanaghs put up a huge resistance in the Wicklow mountains against the English troops coming from Dublin and in 1652, 4,000 of the English cavalry searched the mountains and burnt all the crops of Irish farmers in the surrounding countryside. The English along with executing 14 priests burnt 300 men women and infants to death in a house in Wexford. Sean O Fhiona O Conchurbhair a great Irish chieftain was executed in Kerry along with twelve of his brethren. In Carrickmacross 15 Tories were killed while holding out in a cave and another five were executed upon their surrender. Murtagh Cullen a leading Tory pregnant wife was put to death after they kept a priest refuge. In Cork and Clonmel over 200 Irish were put to death, yet there was some success with a Tory army in Connacht killing over 270 English soldiers near Inishbofin, but many locals including a number of priests were killed in reprisal.

In 1653 the O Sullivans and O Driscolls were two of the most senior tribes in Cork and Kerry that led a continuous war against Cromwell plantations. Feiritear an Irish chieftain along with a Bishop Egan and Fr. Tadhg O Connor were hanged in Killarney, while Phelim O Neill, one of the most important Gaelic chiefs in Ireland at the time was executed along with many of his troops. The O Flaherties in Galway seized Galway town and destroyed much of the Crown Forces around Connacht but late in the year Eamonn mac Morogh na Maor chief of the clan was captured in a cave in Galway, and killed. Many of the chiefs of the smaller clans loyal to the O Flaherty’s were also executed as a warning to the people of the district with a further 200 executions in Cashel. Fr. Donogh O Kennedy a Jesuit priest was executed along with his brother Eamonn and father Colonel Dermot O Kennedy. Both Col. Edward Fennell and Lt. Col. William Bourke were hanged in Cork and a further 200 executions took place in Dublin.

Eamonn Dubh O Reilly one of the most notorious and successful Tory’s was executed along with Fr. Tadhg Moriarty, Fr. William Tirry of Tipperary. Fr. Bonaventure Carens were executed in Killarney while the most famous Tory of the period Blind Donogh O Derrick and Irish Chieftain John Byrne were executed. In 1954 the Tory’s managed to seize one of the English war ships that was transporting them to Barbados and killed all the English onboard. The reprisal was the English who were transporting 300 Irish slaves to Barbados place all of them upon a desert island and let them starve to death in cruel conditions.

In 1655 several Tory’s including Daniel Mulachy of Kildare were killed along with Edward Hetherington a Tory leader who was pursued after he took the lives of seven English soldiers. The Irish on the continent who were transported from Ireland as wild geese (at least 40,000) took to war against the Waldeness who supported Cromwell, while maintaining a good supply of weapons onto the west coast to maintain a resistance against the English. In 1656 the English seized Donogh O Derricks wife and transported her to Barbados while in the same raid executing four Tory’s, while in Waterford they killed a further two Tory chiefs. The English starved Fr. John Carolan to death while Fr. Patrick Archer was executed after 210 English soldiers drowned tear Timoleague. In 1657 three of the most senior Tory’s in the country were executed, they being Henry Archer, William Shaffe and Daniel Kennedy. In all about 400,000 Irish people lost their lives during the Cromwell conquest with a further 100,000 plus being transported to slavery in Barbados and the Caribbean islands. The Irish were disposed of most of their lands and had to flee to Connacht during a severe winter without their crops. The English who had a scorch earth policy destroyed most of the forests in the country and reduced the cattle population from 4,500,000 to 1,200,000 in an attempt to starve the people to death

author by Craobh Gál Gréine - Craobh Gál Gréinepublication date Wed Mar 29, 2006 18:00Report this post to the editors

News Release

350th Anniversary Commemoration
In memory of 2,000 Cork children kidnapped and sold into Slavery

A chardie,
You are invited to attend a Commemoration in memory of over 600,000 Irish people killed during the Gaelic War against Cromwell; at 2pm on Sunday 2nd April 2006 at the National Monument, Grand Parade, Cork.

The Gaelic War against Cromwell was one of the darkest periods of our history, when between the years 1652 – 1659 -English forces in Ireland committed gross acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the native Irish. With an enforced policy of transplantation, slavery and murder; Ireland was reduced to a wretched state, with the impoverished Irish subjected to a life of famine and hardship. The Commemoration will recall how approximately 350 years to the date - 2000 children from the area surrounding Cork city (1000 boys/1000 girls), between the ages of 12 – 14 were forcibly taken from their parents and shipped to Barbados to face a life of Slavery, Rape and Murder. They joined a further 120,000 Irish men, women and children who were subjected to the most barbaric English regime inflicted upon mankind. One of the many example of the cruelty perpetrated against the Irish sent into slavery - tells how a young girl being pregnant with child was cruelly beaten to an inch of her life; while others were burnt from their feet upwards, having been nailed to the ground as a form of execution.

While 50,000 Gaelic Tories actively took arms against Cromwell in defence of the Irish people, the sheer barbarity of English rule prevented a Nation-wide unity to stop the colonial project, of transplantation and murder. Due to the scorch-earth policy of burning crops and the extermination of 70% of all life-stock by the English forces; plague, famine and repression saw morale drop to one of active resistance to one of survival. The Commemoration will recall the heroic lives of Irish heroes such as Anraí Ó Néill and the Gaelic chiefs, Muircheartaigh Ó Cuilinn, Eamonn mac Moragh, Diarmada Ó Cinnéide, Sean Ó Fhiona Ó Conchurbhair, Eamonn Dubh Ó Raghallaigh, Donnchadha Ó Diarmada, Eoghan Ó Broin, Anraí Archer, Liam Shaffe and Donal Ó Cinnéide; all who died in their struggle to keep Ireland free from English rule. It will also recall the great Gaelic clans of Munster and Ireland such as the Mac Amhlaoibh, Ó Briain, Mac Carthaigh, Mac Cormaic, Ó Conaill, Ó Ceallacháin, Ó Cruadhlaoich, Ó Duineachdha, Ó Drisceoil, Ó Fhearghaill, Ó Murchadha, Ó Ruairc and Ó Suilleabháin etc.; who fought bloody and intensive battles that saw thousands of English soldiers fall to the Gaelic sword. It is with great honour that we commemorate our ancestors who struggled hard for the Freedom and Culture of our Nation

Organised by An Craobh Gál Gréine
Irish Cultural Society

author by Gearoid O Murchadhapublication date Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:57Report this post to the editors

Dear author,
Your article on the Cromwellian wars in Ireland is simplistic in content and interpretation, lacks any context and completely disregards the reasons Cromwell came to Ireland in the first place.

The article would have been much more balanced if the author had made reference to the fact that four separate armies were operating in Ireland at this time, Cromwells included, all fighting for very different causes.

With regard to Drogheda, it might be worth mentioning that this town was held by an English Royalist Garrison as indeed were a number of other town’s primary along the east coast when Cromwell besieged Drogheda.

The ‘slaughter’ at Drogheda is at best an exaggerated event; recent studies (NUI Maynooth) have showed that it was only ‘men at arms’ who were executed. A list of those Officers executed along with others exists, not one of whom has an Irish surname!

I could go on and indeed some of the events the author refers to did occur, though again we have been handed down an exaggerated version of events which have served politics in the past.

A more mature approach by the author would have seen the Cromwellian war put in context of the English Civil War, the divided loyalties of the Gael/ Old English to both factions in England and what part the Ulster Plantation Army had played in events.

By all means commemorate the Cromwellian wars, but do so with clarity of what it is you are proposing to commemorate.


G O'Murchadha.

author by Craobh Gál Gréinepublication date Sat Apr 29, 2006 01:05Report this post to the editors

A chara,
The above article was written as an invitation to people to attend the commemoration. The commemoration itself offered the historical context of the Cromwellian war in Ireland, through the oration given by a local historian. Indeed Ireland was divided at the time and English monarchy was every bit as barbaric as Cromwell in our country. Yet the facts of the situation still remain the same. That Crowmell was a murderer and serial killer committing acts of gross genocide throughout our nation, in the interest of gaining power and profiting on the sufferings of the Irish people. There are many books written on the subject, Peter Beresford Ellis's book comes to mind, that puts the whole Cromwellian conquest into the bigger picture, of the struggles within England and amongst the Irish. The commemoration awakened the memory of the event and recalls the suffering that the Irish had to endure. Hopefully because of its publicity people can read into the subject and era and learn a greater deal of our history from historians.

author by Craobh Gál Gréinepublication date Sat Apr 29, 2006 01:07Report this post to the editors

ps. the first article submitted at the head of the page, was initially sent out to people just giving them a brief history of the event. That was not originally intented to appear as a webpage.

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Sun Apr 30, 2006 00:06Report this post to the editors

Though few people these days have ever heard of him, Fr James Finnerty was much talked about in the 1600's - not just in Ireland, but in England as well, and also in Rome.

Born into one of the most eventful, most complicated, and most violent periods of Irish history, Father Finnerty's life began in 1614 (in Tuam, County Galway) during the reign of James I, and he died in 1683 during the reign of Charles II.

At the beginning of the 1600's the bulk of the land of Ireland was owned by Catholics. By the end of that century, the most of it belonged to Protestants.

Further information on Fr Finnerty, and on several of the people directly and indirectly responsible for the horrific circumstances he and many other people of his time lived through, can be found at the following address:


Among the lesser known of those mentioned at the above address is Sir Fredrick Hamilton, an English army officer who apparently kept a journal of his activities in Ireland during this period. Some of the entries in his diary are as follows:

".... hurt drivers, killed three, brought home their heads to our Collonel, with a lusty prisoner who was hanged next day."

"Killed about 30 in 3 cabbins, and hanged our guide, who died a most obdurate villain."

"Marched towards the Rosse, where we killed 60 of their ablest men with 2 of their famous priests."

"Sent a party of horse and foot upon them, where we had good sport in killing near 60 of them - with all three Captains, and Captain Teige O' Connor's wife."

"Burned and killed in the houses upwards of three score persons."

"Took prisoner Charles Maguire after breaking his leg; to cure him had him carried on a barrow to the gallows, where he rayled at us for not getting a souldier's death after having served in France and Spain."

"..... in burning the Toune of Sligo where it confest by themselves was destroyed that night neere 300 soules by fire, sword, and drowning: to God's Everlasting Great Honour and Glory, and our Comfort."

As stated in the quote below, Fr Finnerty spent some time in England:

"As to Father O Finaghty's sojourn in England, there are several references to this in the collection, Nunziatura di Fiandra, the first dated 21 July, 1663, stating that it was the Queen (Henrietta, wife of James I) during her illness who had sent for him and that he had healed many in London; another a week later, that the House of Commons, upset by the great reputation he had acquired by performing miracles, had ordered him to leave the kingdom."

Fr James Finnerty was buried in a cemetery named after him in East Galway, called CHAPLEFINNERTY CEMETERY. Around 1990 a local priest (Father Fallon) started holding Mass Ceremonies in the graveyard once each year in Fr Finnerty's memory. Although Father Fallon died shortly afterwards, and is in fact now buried within 15 yards or so of Father Finnerty, this memorial service continues to be held once each year. It takes place on the first Sunday after Ascension Thursday (which moves according to the dates set by Easter).

Several photographs of Chaplefinnerty Cemetery, including Fr Finnerty's unusual and interesting headstone, can be seen at the Internet address provided above.

Related Link: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.com/
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