The Spanish forces arrived in Kinsale, Co Cork in September 1601. However, their army was much smaller than the Irish leaders had hoped for. In spite of this, the Irish were in a good position at the onset of the battle. Red Hugh O’Donnell persuaded a more cautious Hugh O’Neill to attack the assembled English forces, led by Lords Mountjoy and Carew.
The battle was a disaster for the Irish; O’Neill’s forces failed to surprise the English, and were forced to retreat to higher ground, thus losing the advantage. They were mowed down by the English cavalry. On seeing this, O’Donnell’s rear guard forces fled. Everything happened so quickly that the battle was over before the Spanish even rode out into the battlefield.
The Spanish captain, Don Juan del Aguila, quickly gave up hope and nine days later surrendered to Mountjoy. With his armies depleted and with much of the…
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