Practised in the Art of War: Limerick Sieges, 1642 to 1691
Friday 3rd October to Sunday 5th 2014
Convened by: Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society
Supported by Limerick: City of Culture
As part of Limerick’s year as City of Culture the Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society hosted a three-day conference on the four 17th-century sieges of Limerick. These were the 1642 siege of Limerick castle by the Catholic and Royalist forces of the Irish Confederacy in 1642, the Cromwellian siege of the city by Henry Ireton in 1651, and the two Williamite sieges of the city – failed in 1690 but finally successful in 1691.The conference explored the transition from medieval to modern siege techniques, the international flavour of the armed forces involved, the logistics of seventeenth century campaigning and the effects of this half century of siege activity on Limerick’s citizens as well as the four sieges themselves.
Friday 3rd October:
The conference commenced on the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Limerick, which ended the 1691 siege, with a tour of Limerick Castle led by archaeologist Ken Wiggins (the archaeologist who led excavation of the castle and author of Anatomy of a Siege: King John’s Castle Limerick 1642).
Kjeld Hald Galster (formerly Danish Royal Life Guards and the Royal Danish Defense College) delivered the keynote lecture, ‘The Danish Expeditionary Force in Ireland 1690 and 91’, which was followed by a wine reception and the unveiling of local artist Ester Barrett’s painting The Siege of Limerick.
Saturday 4th October:
The conference explored the following topics through invited presentations:
Ancient, medieval, modern: continuity and change in the conduct of siege warfare by Peter Purton (Hon. Treasurer, Castle Studies Group)
'An iminnent feare of death every houre': the taking of Limerick castle in 1642 by Ken Wiggins (archaeologist and author of Anatomy of a Siege: King John’s Castle Limerick 1642)
Siege, Storm & Slaughter: The Archaeology of 17th century Sieges in Ireland by Damien Shiels (military archaeologist, Rubicon Archaeological Services)
Siegecraft, starvation and subterfuge: Ireton's reduction of Limerick in 1651 by Col. James Burke (Military Engineer, Irish Defence Forces)
Supplying the armies: military logistics in Ireland 1689-91 by Dr Harman Murtagh (President of the Military History Society of Ireland)
Limerick in 1690 and Vaubanian siegecraft by Dr Pádraig Lenihan (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Feeding war: The role of civilians between the Williamite sieges of Limerick, 1690-91 by Dr Alan Smyth (Researcher, Trinity College Dublin)
Terms and Conditions; the treaties that ended the sieges by Liam Irwin:
Sunday 5th October:
Damien Shiels and Brian Hodkinson (Limerick City Museum) led a walking tour of the walls of seventeenth century Limerick, with emphasis on the 17th-century defences of Irishtown and the ‘breech’ that was the main focus of the vigorous defence of Limerick in 1690.