The Scots attack Dublin

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXI

"The stout defence of Dublin is already mentioned; and, as on the fate of this metropolis the duration of English rule depended in Ireland, the public spirit and intrepidity of the citizens of Dublin ought, according to Lord Hailes, be held in perpetual remembrance. The citizens took the defence of the city into their own hands. The chief civic dignity was at that time most worthily borne by Robert Nottingham, who seems to have distanced the celebrated Sir Richard Whittington considerably, being seventeen times Mayor of Dublin.

Knowing the close connexion between the Earl of Ulster and the Bruces (he was father of the Queen of Scots), the Mayor headed a strong band of citizens, and resolved to make him a hostage for the safety of the city. This was not effected without loss of life. The Mayor succeeded, and announced 'he would put the earl to death if the city was attacked.' This prompt step had the desired effect. Robert Bruce feared to risk his father-in-law's life, and, instead of entering the city, turned aside and encamped. Time was gained, of which the citizens promptly availed themselves. That night the blazing suburbs told they were ready to anticipate the fire of Moscow, rather than allow their invaders to possess their capital. They also worked so hard to strengthen the walls, that the Scots, seeing such determination, broke up their camp and retired. The value set upon the earl as a hostage was so great, that, although the King of England instantly wrote for his liberation, he was detained until the Scots left the kingdom.

"Disappointed in their efforts on Dublin, the Scots ravaged the Pale, burned Naas, plundered Castledermot, passed on to Gowran, and advanced to Callan ;thence they went to Limerick. Sir Edmond Butler followed with an army of 30,000 well-armed men; but, at the express desire of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, the Lord Deputy, who was himself desirous of having the command against the King of Scots, delayed the encounter.

"Mortimer did not accomplish this; for, shortly after, Robert hastened to his own kingdom, leaving a great number of his bravest knights to carry on the war for his brother. Edward continued in the north for several months, and once more proceeded south.

"'For he had not then in that land
Of all men, I trow, two thousand,
Owtane (except) the Kings of Irischery
That in great route raid him by,
Towart Dundalk he tuk the way.'