The Wars of Cromwell

Justin McCarthy
Chapter VI | Start of Chapter

His system of warfare in Ireland was merciless. He carried his policy of destruction to extremes which were unusual even in the fierce warfare of those days. When he captured Drogheda and Wexford he was not satisfied with the destruction of all the fighting men, but he put to the sword the priests and any of the other non-combatants. Under Cromwell's iron rule new confiscations were always taking place. Some of the most famous ruins seen by the traveller in Ireland to-day are castles and fortresses which belonged to Irish families, but were captured by the English during Cromwell's wars and given by Cromwell as a reward to some of his most useful followers. No one who visits the south of Ireland is likely to miss the chance of seeing the famous Blarney Castle, and the peasant on the road-side could tell him that it belonged to an ancient Irish family, but was captured by the English during Cromwell's invasion, and given with its estates to the head of an English family. No period during the preceding years had done so much to intensify the national hatred of the Irish for English rule as the short season of Cromwell's Protectorate.