In Armagh, the Irish confederate forces, under Felim O’ Neill, held the strategic and modern fortress of Charlemont.
The Cromwellian invasion of Ireland was underway and in early August of 1650 the Parliamentarians troops, under the combined leadership of the infamous Sir Charles Coote and Robert Venables, moved against the fort using mortars and heavy cannon.
On August 14th the Irish requested terms of surrender.
The siege of Charlemont was one of the bloodiest that the Parliamentarians had faced in Ireland. Due to Coote’s reputation, the Catholic defenders had expected to fight to the end. However, on this occasion, Cootes was quite lenient and allowed the defenders to leave for the European continent.
Felim O’ Neill escaped back into the province of Ulster where he was eventually captured and executed. Cootes and Venebales capture of Charlemont left them free to march south to Athlone.
English forces take control
As the Parliamentarian forces cemented their hold over the rest of Ireland the Confederate forces in the West were spurred into taking measures to defend their territories in the West.
The Cromwellians led by Coote and Venables marched to Athlone where they were joined by Henry Ireton who had been in Wicklow hunting down and killing Tóraidhe, the remnants of defeated Confederate forces in Munster.
The Irish forces were under the command of the Marquis of Clanricarde. Initially, Clanricarde was able to advance into English territory in Leinster causing the Parliamentarians to fall back to Roscrea.
- Sir Felim O’Neill of Kinard (1604-1653) – O’Neill Clan Website.
- Charlemont Fort – Wikipedia.org
- The War Of Three Kingdoms In Ireland – 1641-48 – Scotswars.com (Web Archive)
- Sir Charles Coote, 2nd Baronet, Earl of Mountrath, c.1610-61 – british-civil-wars.co.uk
Last updated August 6, 2019.