Monday 3 October 2011

Battle of Monasternenagh

On this day - 3rd October 1579 - was fought the Battle of Monasternenagh in Co Limerick between the English forces of Sir Nicholas Malby and an Irish/Anglo-Irish host under John of Desmond - half of the latter whose numbers were composed of the MacSheehy Galloglass sept. Despite the tenacity of the galloglasses making up to three frontal charges on the English lines and breaking through the English pike formations in more places than one - the impact of English small arms fire-power was to be telling and the Irish forces were hurled back in retreat after failing to make the decisive breakthrough. The Irish only began to give ground when pressed by English cavalry on their flanks and rear - 'a great number of constables of the Clan Sheehy' were cut down 'probably from gunfire rather than in close combat...' It was to be the only large set piece engagement of the Second Desmond Rebellion.

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