Sir Peter Carew in Ireland

A. M. Sullivan
c. 1900


CAREW set out from Cork on the 20th of April, at the head of his army; on the 30th they reached Dunamark, about a mile north of the town of Bantry, having on the way halted, on the 23d at Owneboy, near Kinsale; 24th, at Timoleague; 25th, at Roscarbery; 26th, at Glenharahan, near Castlehaven; 27th, at Baltimore, where they spent two days, Carew visiting Innisherkin; 29th, "on the mountain, at a place called Recareneltaghe, neare unto Kilcoa, being a castel wherein the rebell Conoghor, eldest sonne to Sir Finnin O'Drischoll, knight, held a ward."

Carew spent a month in encampment at Dunamark, by the end of which time the fleet arrived at the same place, or in the bay close by, having come round the coast from Cork. Meantime his message for a war-muster against O'Sullivan had spread throughout Munster. On the other hand, such effort as was possible in their hapless plight, was made by the few patriot leaders in the province; all perceiving that upon Dunboy now hung the fate of the Irish cause, and seeing clearly enough that if they could not keep off from O'Sullivan the tremendous force ordered against him, it must inevitably overwhelm him. Accordingly, spreading themselves eastward around the base of the Bear promontory, and placing themselves on all the lines leading thereto, they desperately disputed the ground with the concentrating English contingents, beating them back or obstructing them as best they could. Above all, the endeavor was to keep Wilmot's Kerry contingent from coming up.

Tyrrell was specially charged to watch Wilmot—to hold him in check at Killarney, and at all hazards and any cost to prevent. his junction with Carew at Bantry. Tyrrell posted his force so advantageously in the passes leading southward from Killarney, and held them so firmly, that for weeks Wilmot's most vehement efforts to force or flank them were vain. At length, by a feat which merits for him, as a, military achievement, everlasting praise—a night march over Mangerton Mountain—Wilmot evaded Tyrrell; pushed on through a mountain district, scarcely passable at this day for horsemen, until he reached Inchigeela; thence he marched though Ceam-an-Eigh Pass (unaccountably left unguarded), and so onward till he reached Bantry. By this junction Carew's force was raised to nearly four thousand men. "While waiting for Wilmot, the daily occupation of the army, according to the lord president's account, was sheep-stealing and cow-stealing.[1] At Dunamark Carew was joined by the sons of Sir Owen Sullivan, uncle of Donal of Dunboy; and to the information and co-operation given his enemies by these perfidious cousins, Donal most largely owed the fate that subsequently befell him.

On the 14th of May a council of war was held in the English camp to determine their course to Bearhaven; whereat it was decided to march by the southern shore of the bay, called Muintervaria, to a point nearly opposite Bear Island; from this point, by means of the fleet, to transport the whole army across the bay to Bear Island; and thence across to the mainland close by Dunboy; this course being rendered necessary by the fact that Donal's forces defended the passes of Glengarriffe, through which alone Bearhaven could be reached by land from Bantry. On the 31st of May, accordingly, Carew marched from Dunamark to "Kilnamenghe on the sea side, in Mountervarry." The two next following days were occupied in transporting the army to Bear Island, upon which, eventually, the whole force was landed. A short march across the island brought them to its northern shore, in full view of Dunboy, barely a mile distant across the narrow entrance to Bearhaven Harbor.


[1] "The first of May, Captaine Taffe's troop of Horse with certain light foote were sent from the Campe, who returned with three hundred Cowes, many Sheepe, and a great number of Garrans they got from the Rebels.

"The second Captaine, John Barry, brought into the Campe five hundred Cowes, three hundred Sheepe, three hundred Garrans, and had the killing of five Rebels; and the same day we procured skirmish in the edge of the Fastnesse with the rebels, but no hurt of our part.

"The third, Owen Osulevan and his brothers, sonnes to Sir Owen Osulevan (who stands firme, and deserved well of her Majestie, being Competitours with Osulevan Beare) brought some fiftie Cowes and some Sheepe from the enemy into the Campe.

"The Rebells, receiving also notice that the President was marched so neere to the Countrey of Beare, withdrew themselves out of Desmond (as before) into Glangarve, whereby opportunitie was offered to the Governour of performing some good service. For Donnell Osulevan More, a malicious Rebell, remained with great store of cattell and certain Kerne in Iverah; which being made knowen to Sir Charles, upon the fifth of May, hee secretly dispatched a partie of men, which burnt and spoyled all the Countrey, and returned with foure thousand Cowes, besides Sheepe and Garrans."

"A Sergeant of the Earle of Thomond's with a partie of his Company, drew to Down-Manus, whence hee brought a prey of threescore and sixe Cowes, with a great many of Garrans."—"Pacata Hibernia."