Nine Years War: A Turning Point In Irish History

The Nine Years War and its aftermath are without question one of the great turning points of Irish history. In addition to witnessing the zenith of Gaelic military power and sophistication, perversely, it also led to the final destruction of native military and political power. Despite the apparent modernisation of the native Irish forces it is not hard to find articles and attitudes which view the war as a contest of the backward and militarily weak Irish, against the modern armies of Elizabeth I. The historian John Keegan noted that, the way a person fought was a cultural expression. Following on from this, the image of primitive and obsolete styles of warfare by the native Irish could imply a culture which was also archaic and resistant …show more content…
The key indicators of this revolution was the growth of army size, development of disciplined firepower-centric infantry, construction of trace itallienne fortifications and ocean-going broadside sailing ships. Though Ireland was geographically on the periphery of Europe, Ireland and the course of the Nine Years War was profoundly influenced by the transformations taking place in continental Europe. The stereotypical native hosts of armoured gallowglass, kern and Scottish mercenary redshanks had little part to play in a war where for the most part military pragmatism and innovation dominated. The reality was so different that sometimes that one must wonder how or why this confusion continues to occur. Thomas Bartlett raised this in his 2002 O’Donnell lecture in which he suggested that Irish military history of this period has been marginalised by a perception that Gaelic warfare was primitive and had nothing to do with the innovation in military methods occurring in continental Europe. Modern assessments of warfare in early-modern Ireland have suggested that, despite the construction of some modern fortifications and the occasional deployment of artillery, Ireland was generally unaffected by the military

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