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Monday, 15 August 2016

15‭ ‬August‭ ‬1569:‭ ‬The sack of Enniscorthy on this day by Sir Edmund Butler,‭ ‬the brother of the Earl of Ormond.‭ ‬The Co Wexford town held a great Fair on this date,‭ ‬named‭ ‘‬Lady Day‭’ ‬after Our Lady the Mother of Christ.‭ This date in August is celebrated in the Catholic Calendar as the Feast of her Assumption into Heaven. ‬

This was one of the great Medieval Fairs of Ireland where people would come from miles around to trade and buy the wares on offer.‭ ‬Many valuable commodities would be available and those with the coinage to buy or goods to barter would be there in plenty.‭ ‬But the Fair this year was held against a backdrop of a vicious War full of atrocities and counter atrocities committed by both sides.‭ ‬As the townsmen and country folk went about their business a large Geraldine raiding party overcame them.‭ ‬This was no doubt a well planned operation,‭ ‬designed to loot and punish the inhabitants who considered themselves under the protection of the Crown of England.

The Earl of Ormond,‭ ‬i.e.‭ ‬Thomas‭…‬,‭ ‬being at this time in England,‭ ‬his two brothers,‭ ‬Edmond of Caladh and Edward,‭ ‬had confederated with James,‭ ‬the son of Maurice.‭ ‬These two sons of the Earl went to the fair of Inis-corr on Great Lady-Day‭; ‬and it would be difficult to enumerate or describe all the steeds,‭ ‬horses,‭ ‬gold,‭ ‬silver,‭ ‬and foreign wares,‭ ‬they seized upon at that fair.‭ ‬The Earl returned to Ireland the same year,‭ ‬and his brothers were reconciled to the State.
Annals of the Four Masters

No quarter was given to the hapless inhabitants.‭ ‬Many of the Anglo-Irish Merchants were put to death and their bodies thrown in the River Slaney and their womenfolk raped.‭ ‬It was reported that‭ ‘‬divers young maidens and wives‭’ ‬were defiled before their parents and husbands faces‭’‬.‭  ‬The Castle of Enniscorthy was also taken and ransacked and lay abandoned for thirteen years thereafter.‭