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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

Siege of that city; A detachment of troops, under command of Ludlow, ordered to proceed from Limerick into Clare; They blow up Carrigaholt, rout the Irish at Ennis, and hang Conor O’Brien; After a little time the Cromwellians become masters of nearly the whole County

No time was lost in laying siege in form to Limerck. Earth works were thrown up at the Clare side of Thomond bridge, and the ships in the river were ordered up with the guns. These had just arrived from the mouth of the Shannon after the taking of the castle of Carrigaholt from Sir Daniel O’Brien. [6] A body of soldiers, consisting of 2,000 foot, 12 troops of horse, and 8 troops of dragoons, was detached into the county of Clare under command of Ludlow. He traversed the county during nearly a week, and in that interval he blew up Carrigaholt, engaged and put to rout a considerable body of the Irish near Ennis, and slew, at Inchicronan, Conor O’Brien of Leamaneh, “a Colonel of Horse, the most considerable man of the county, though not acting in chief; he was the most lamented in the county, and his cutting off gave a stop to the proceedings of the enemy and did break that Regiment of Horse commanded by him.” Immediately after Ludlow returned to Limerick, the Clare forces, under David Roche, son of Lord Fermoy, sent a message from Quin, by a woman, to Hugh O’Neill, Commander-in-Chief of the Garrison of Limerick, to the effect that they were about to come to his aid, and that they would wait at Sixmilebridge to learn from him how they could best render assistance. The woman was intercepted by the English at Thomondgate, and being conducted into the presence of one of their generals whom she was taught to believe to be O’Neill, she delivered her message. The information she possessed being extracted from the poor creature, they hanged her, “for fear of giving further intelligence,” as they said. Another messenger from Roche to the Governor of Limerick was caught. He bore an intimation that, on the night of the 31st of July, a light should be exhibited from the mountain of Glenagross, indicating to the garrison that relief from Clare was coming. To meet these forces, the English strengthened their guards at Fybogh (Meelick), Pass, and at other points on the Thomond side of the town, and Colonel Ingoldsby, with a body of horse and dragoons was sent to Sixmilebridge to confront the Catholics; he there learned that they had marched in a body of 2,500 strong from Ennis to Doon, on the boundary of Galway, and he returned to Limerick.

In a little time, we find the English in possession of Clonroad. From that place, early in September, they came to lay siege to Clare Castle. Gradually they spread themselves over the whole county and subjected every place of strength to their authority. On the 8th of September, Ireton visited Bunratty castle, and finding it well adapted for baking bread, and for the purposes of a magazine, he placed in it, Captain Preston, with his troop of horse and company of foot, with instructions to plunder the country and lay up the spoil in the castle to serve as a future provision for supplying the wants of the army.

Clare castle was surrendered to Ludlow on the 1st of November, by Captains William Butler, and Donogh O’Connor, acting on behalf of Colonel MacEgan, the Governor, who was then absent. The usual terms accorded to the Irish garrisons by Cromwell and his Lieutenants, were conceded to the defenders of Clare. They were at liberty to march out with bag and baggage, and such of them as desired, “except Romish priests, Jesuits, and Friars” to live in protection, should have liberty so to do, submitting themselves to all Ordinances of Parliament. [7]