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The History and Topography of the County of Clare by James Frost

Part III. History of the County of Clare
Chapter 21. Catholic Confederation

Ludlow gives a full account of his progress through Clare

We here give further particulars of Ludlow’s raid into Clare, taken from his own account. His force, marching towards Inchicronan, were overtaken by the night at Sixmilebridge, where one of the horses that carried the medicine chest fell into the river and was drowned. On the following day, they arrived before Clare Castle, and their leader lost no time in summoning it to surrender. Although the place was of very great strength, the garrison agreed to give it up, and they marched out the following morning, each man returning to his own home. Ludlow, after placing a garrison in it, under command of Colonel Foulk, proceeded towards Carrigaholt. On his way to that place, a cold which he had taken at Clare castle, by lying in his tent during a stormy and chilly night, became so aggravated, that his Adjutant-General, Allen, earnestly pressed him to go on board one of the ships that attended the army with ammunition, artillery, and provisions. Being unwilling to quit his men, he covered himself, over his buff coat, with another of fur, and then placing over all an oiled wrapper, he betook himself to his own bed in an Irish cabin. There, he fell into so violent a perspiration before morning, that he was obliged to detain two troops of horse for his protection till it should have ceased, while the rest of the party marched westwards. After an interval of two hours, although the perspiration had not gone off, he took horse designing to overtake them. The wind and hail beat so furiously in their faces, that the horses tried, several times, to turn about for shelter, and in course of the day, the foot had to wade over an arm of the sea, nearly a quarter of a mile broad, up to their waist in water. At night, they arrived within sight of Carrigaholt, their commander’s distemper being but little abated. Next day they summoned the castle, which, after some parleying, was given up on the day following. A garrison being placed there, Ludlow, with the remainder, turned their faces towards Limerick. On their way back, they were met by Ireton, and it was arranged between them that they should proceed to Burren, “of which it is said that it is a country where there is not water enough to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him, which last is so scarce that the inhabitants steal it from each other, and yet their cattle are very fat, for the grass growing in turfs of earth of two or three foot square, that lie between the rocks, which are of limestone, is very sweet and nourishing. Being in these parts, we went to Leamaneh, a house of that Conor O’Brien, whom we had killed at Inchicronan, and finding it indifferent strong, being built with stone, and having a good wall about it, we put a garrison into it and furnished it with all things necessary.” On the day following, Ireton, with a party of horse, proceeded to look at other places where he designed to post garrisons, with a view to the prevention of provisions being sent to Galway. The weather being stormy and inclement, he took a severe cold, but he could not be persuaded to go to bed at Leamaneh, till he had decided a complaint laid before him, against one of his officers, for some violence done to the Irish. Next day, the whole party proceeded towards Clare castle, over a way so rocky, that they rode nearly three miles together upon one of them, whereby most of the horses cast their shoes, and although every troop came provided with horse shoes, by the end of the day a horse shoe was sold for five shillings. At Clare castle, on the subsequent morning, the lady Honoria O’Brien, daughter of the deceased Earl of Thomond, being accused of protecting the goods and cattle of the enemy, under the pretence that they belonged to her, and thereby abusing the Deputy’s safeguard, came before Ireton, and being charged by him with it, and told “that he expected a more ingenious carriage from her,” she burst into tears, and assured him that if he would forgive her, she would never do the like again. She asked Ludlow to intercede for her; he did so, and Ireton in reply said, “As much a cynic as I am, the tears of that woman moved me” and thereupon gave order that his protection should be continued to her. From hence, that is from Clare castle, Ludlow was persuaded by Ireton to go to Bunratty castle, and it being Saturday, to stay there till the following Monday, in order to promote his recovery from the cold from which he suffered. When he came to Limerick, on the day last named, he found the Deputy lying very ill, after having been let blood, and sweating exceedingly, with a burning fever upon him, at the same time. In spite of his illness, he continued to make arrangements for placing his army in winter quarters, that being all that now remained to be done of the military service for that year. The disease proved too strong for his constitution, and he succumbed to it in some days afterwards.

In the following year, the people of Burren, relying on the security of their places of retreat, refused to pay the contributions they had promised. Upon this, Sir Hardress Waller laid the country waste, and seized whatever property he could find there, so that it might be no longer useful to the enemy. [8]