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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Siege of Limerick 1691 : Thomond Bridge

Limerick, a city in western Ireland, was besieged twice in the Williamite War in Ireland, 1689-1691. On the first of these occasions, in August to September 1690, its Jacobite defenders, supporters of deposed monarch James II, retreated to the city after their defeat at the Battle of the Boyne (1 July 1690).
One of the bloodiest engagements of the 1690 conflict occurred at Thomond Bridge on 22 September. The Irish, having held Thomond Gate, were driven back to Thomond Bridge by Williamite troops, under William III. At King John's castle, the command was given to raise the drawbridge, and halt Williamite advance led by Lord of Ginkel, a Dutch general in Williamite service. However, in the heat of the battle, the bridge was raised too soon, trapping the Irish soldiers. Of 850 Irishmen, only 120 made it inside the castle. 118 were taken prisoner, and over 600 drowned or were killed on the bridge.
Soldiers on both sides wore red and blue coats: troops were distinguished by the color of the feather in their caps or by the color of their sleeves. Identifying friends or foes would have added to challenge of battle ! The model presented at King John Castle's museum shows the action on and immediately in front of the Clare side of Thomond Bridge as the drawbridge is being raised.


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