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 On This Day 19th August in Irish History

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PostSubject: On This Day 19th August in Irish History   Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:25 pm

1504- The Battle of Knockdoe was fought near Lackagh, Co. Galway. It had no real political significance being basically a feud between medieval warlords, yet it was one of the bloodiest battles in Irish history. The fight was between Gearóid Mór Fitzgerald, who happened to be the King's Deputy, and Ulick Burke, a troublemaker from Clanrickarde, south Galway. Burke or De Burgo wanted to establish himself as lord of all of Connaught. He had attacked and destroyed castles of the O'Kellys - Lords of Ui Maine, in Monivea, Garbally and Castleblakeney. In addition, Ulick, as Earls will, was tupping O'Kelly's wife. At the same time he was married to Fitzgerald’s daughter, Eustacia, another Casus Belli.
Siding with Fitzgerald were leading families of Ulster, Leinster and Connaught, O’Donnells. O’Connors and Mac Dermotts and the Burkes of Mayo, another branch of the De Burgo family. All joined forces with the Earl of Kildare to put manners on Clanrickarde.
Burke had the support of the chiefs of Munster, the O’Briens of Thomond, MacNamaras, Kennedys and Carrolls. The last two being names in my family tree. We could never pick a winner. Scottish mercenaries fought on both sides. These lads used battle axes as their main weapon which may have given the hill on which the battle was fought it’s name, Cnoc Tuagh, the Hill of the Axes.
In all there were about 10,000 participants, with Burke outnumbered 3 to 2. 1500 of Burkes men died while 1000 died on the Fitzgerald side. The battle lasted all day ending in a victory for the Fitzgeralds. Next day they moved on to Galway, looting Claregalway Castle en route and taking hostage two sons and a daughter of Burke.
Some sources say this was the first battle in Irish history where gunpowder was used. The Burkes of Clanrickard faded into obscurity for some decades after the battle. Around the summit of Knockdoe are many cairns where the dead of the battle are buried. One mound is reputed to be the graves of the two sons of O’Brien of Thomond.


Francis Ledwidge was born in Slane, Co. Meath. You’ll remember that he died on 31st July.

The Call to Ireland
by Francis Ledwidge

We have fought so much for the nation
In the tents we helped to divide;
Shall the cause of our common fathers
On our earthstones lie denied?
For the price of a field we have wrangled
While the weather rusted the plow,
' twas yours and 'twas mine and 'tis ours yet
And it's time to be fencing it now.

1930- Frank McCourt was born in New York. He is responsible for the most depressing book in the history of Irish Literature. The man makes Peig Sayers look like a party animal.
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PostSubject: Re: On This Day 19th August in Irish History   Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:03 pm

Great article on Knockdoe Lestat. Liked the comparison between Frank McCourt and Peig.
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