Clare County Library
Clare History
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | Search this Website | Copyright Notice

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

Part III. History of the County of Clare
Chapter 30. Reign of James II. and William and Mary. 1689 to 1700.

Clare’s yellow dragoons sent to Ulster; The regiment acts badly at the Boyne; Letter from Lord Clare to Donogh O’Brien of Ennistymon, ordering him to arrest and imprison all Protestants found in the county; Names of some of these

At the opening of the campaign Clare’s Dragoons were sent to Ulster in charge of Sir James Cotter. There they formed part of the numerous and well-appointed force commanded by Lord Mountcashel and destined to reduce Enniskillen. On the 26th of July, 1689, they were encountered, near Lisnaskea, by two troops of horse and two companies of foot, directed by Captain Martin Armstrong. An ambush was prepared for them, and Armstrong, attacking them with his horse, made a feint to retire as if in disorder. They, pursuing their opponents, fell into the ambuscade, and, while the enemies’ foot poured a volley into their midst, they were set upon by the horse, and almost cut to pieces. The next year the regiment was called out under the name of Clare’s Dragoons, and it was engaged at the Boyne. There it acted badly, its conduct being the more disgraceful because of the superior style in which the other regiments of James’ cavalry fought at that battle. In the December of 1690, they were quartered at home, and, as on account of their misconduct there at a former time they had been severely punished, Sir Theobald Butler, James’ Solicitor General, wrote to Sir Donogh O’Brien, the high sheriff, a letter, apologising for again sending them into the county of Clare, and suggesting that they should be quartered as the high sheriff should appoint, with injunctions that they were to suffer condign punishment for any outrage they may perpetrate against those upon whom they might be billeted. [4] Whatever the faults of Clare’s Dragoons may have been while in the condition of raw recruits, their shortcomings were afterwards, in many a field, “from Dunkirk to Belgrade,” gloriously expiated.

From a letter written by Daniel Viscount Clare to Donat O’Brien, Esq., at Ennistymon, [5] we learn that he was at Cork on the 10th of August, 1689. It gives his kinsman the intelligence that three frigates, laden with arms and ammunition were to arrive from France at Kinsale, and that reinforcements of ships and men were also on their way to Ireland. He goes on to request that Mr. O’Brien shall ask of Father Teague and the other Catholic clergy to pray for the success of their deliverers, and adds, “You are to remove all the Protestants from Clare Castle and keep them confined in Pierce Creagh’s house, with a guard of your militia men and townsmen, except George Stamer, whom you are to leave at Clare Castle with a guard I order for him, Mr. Purdon, and Thomas Hickman, who are both to remain under the charge of Hugh Sweeny at Clare Castle along with George Stamer. And herein fail not, without delay, to confine Bindon, Hewitt, and such other townsmen as are in the county, though you have not them in the list returned from Dublin, as Colpoys, young Lee, young Vandeleur, Smith, and all such, especially when you hear of an invader. Take every one of them that are young (Sir or Mr.), and let the common sort lie in the prison, and the rest strictly guarded, or rather put into some strong castle with a grate to be locked on the outside like Ballyhannon (Castlefergus). The old folks need not be so strictly used, but leave not a young Protestant in the county without strait confinement for which this will be your warrant. Signed, CLARE.” [6]

In the course of the following year (July, 1690,) the undernamed Protestants were confined in the county gaol by order of the high sheriff—Edmond Blood, Benjamin Lucas, John Emerson, John Hobson, Thomas Faircloth, Robert Wheeler, John Bodely, Henry Hudson, John Bugler, Sam Huleatt, John Huleatt, John Woodroffe, John Partridge. [7]