1594 in Ireland

Events from the year 1594 in Ireland.

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See also:Other events of 1594
List of years in Ireland





  1. ^ "Attacks". Enniskillen Castle Museums. Fermanagh District Council. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits

The Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits took place in County Fermanagh, Ireland on 7 August 1594 when a force of Irish Army soldiers led by Sir Henry Duke was ambushed and defeated by an Irish force under Hugh Maguire and Cormac MacBaron O'Neill in the region of the fords of the Arney River on the approaches to Enniskillen. Duke's men were a relief column for the town which had been under siege since May.

The battle acquired its distinctive name due to the supplies of the Crown forces, largely hard biscuits, which were scattered and left floating in the river. The battle was an early exchange of Tyrone's Rebellion, and exposed the vulnerability of Crown forces to ambushes in the wilder parts of Ulster with its thick woods and bogs.

List of participants in the Nine Years' War

This article is a list of the participants, both civilian and military, of the Nine Years' War in Ireland. The war was fought in the late 16th and early 17th century and was a conflict between a coalition of Irish lords and their Spanish allies against the English and their authorities in Ireland.

In order to be listed here an individual must have a historical record of their conduct, position or any role they played in the war during the years 1593-1603.

Nine Years' War (Ireland)

The Nine Years' War, sometimes called Tyrone's Rebellion, took place in Ireland from 1593 to 1603. It was fought between an Irish alliance—led mainly by Hugh O'Neill of Tyrone and Hugh Roe O'Donnell of Tyrconnell—against English rule in Ireland, and was a response to the then-ongoing Tudor conquest of Ireland. The war was fought in all parts of the country, but mainly in the northern province of Ulster. The Irish alliance won some important early victories, such as the Battle of Clontibret (1595) and the Battle of the Yellow Ford (1598), but the English won a decisive victory against the alliance and their Spanish allies in the Siege of Kinsale (1601-2). The war ended with the Treaty of Mellifont (1603). Many of the defeated northern lords left Ireland to seek support for a new uprising in the Flight of the Earls (1607), never to return. This marked the end of Gaelic Ireland and led to the Plantation of Ulster.

The war against O'Neill and his allies was the largest conflict fought by England in the Elizabethan era. At the height of the conflict (1600–1601) more than 18,000 soldiers were fighting in the English army in Ireland. By contrast, the English army assisting the Dutch during the Eighty Years' War was never more than 12,000 strong at any one time.

Siege of Enniskillen (1594)

The Siege of Enniskillen took place at Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, Ireland when a Gaelic Irish force under Hugh Maguire and Cormac MacBaron O'Neill, laid siege to the royal garrison of Enniskillen. Although the garrison was able to hold out for a lengthy period, the besiegers were ultimately successful and massacred the defenders once they captured them.

Hugh Maguire, the Gaelic lord of Fermanagh, had objected to the behaviour of the newly appointed Crown sheriff Humphrey Willis. Willis embarked on a programme of raiding and spoiling of Maguire's territory. Maguire was not strong enough to resist the sheriff, but after receiving troops from Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, Maguire expelled Willis. Maguire launched two major raids into Connacht, in which his followers plundered and caused great destruction. This was part of a proxy war fought to distract the Crown while Tyrone strengthened his position in Ulster. A hoped for, the Crown responded by dispatching an Irish Army force under Sir Henry Bagenal and the Gaelic leader Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone (outwardly still loyal to the Crown) who defeated an Irish force at the Battle of the Erne Fords. However, Maguire's main force remained unscathed. In February 1594 forces Captain John Dowdall captured Enniskillen after a nine-day siege. Artillery was placed on the high ground surrounding the castle, but the guns were too small to make much of an impact on the castle walls. An amphibious assault made a breach in the outer bawn wall, forcing the Irish to take shelter in the keep. Dowdall threatened to destroy the castle with gunpowder if the garrison did not surrender. The defending Irish surrendered, possibly 30-40 men and 40 women and children (Dowdall suggested this was closer to 200), after which Dowdall had them put to the sword. Captain Thomas Lee who was present described this as a great dishonor to the Queen as the occupants had surrendered ‘uppon composicion, And your majesties worde being past to the poore beggars that kept it, they were all notwithstandinge dishonourably putt to the sworde in a most miserable state'. A royal garrison was left in place.

In June 1594, now acting with the covert support of Tyrone, Hugh Maguire laid siege to Enniskillen which was now isolated in hostile country. Maguire's forces grew rapidly with support arriving from other northern leaders such as Hugh Roe O'Donnell and Cormac MacBaron O'Neill. The constable, James Eccarsall, had just 50 foot and 24 horse to defend the position. Many of the garrison had fallen sick due to food shortages and exhaustion brought on by incessant skirmishing with the Irish. Maguire and his allies were able to defeat a government relief force for Enniskillen at the Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits. Nonetheless, a second relief force commanded by the Lord Deputy William Russell was able to successfully relieve the beleaguered garrison by 30 August. He put fresh supplies in and then withdrew.The castle was again attacked in January 1595, when Maguire attacked at night. His men overran the outer defences but the garrison held out in the tower. The Irish withdrew, taking with them the garrison's three boats.The garrison's plight was not lost on the authorities in Dublin, but the crown did not have enough troops for a relief force, and Lord Deputy Russell considered withdrawing the garrison. In May 1595 the garrison agreed to surrender Enniskillen in exchange for their lives. However the entire garrison was then massacred. Russell reported that the garrison had surrendered on terms to Cormac MacBaron O'Neill, who later reneged on his word and had the entire garrison slaughtered. This was inconsistent with the treatment of other garrisons, such as the Blackwater Fort, who were granted liberal terms to leave their position in February 1595. However, they may have been killed in retaliation for given Dowdall's treatment of the Irish ward of Enniskillen the previous year.

Years in Ireland (1101–present)
1594 in Europe
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