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A study of secular architecture in seventeenth century Co. Cork

A study of secular architecture in seventeenth century Co. Cork

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by Rachel Konisberry. Originally submitted for Bachelor of Arts at NUI Galway, with lecturer Dr. Rory Sherlock and Dr. Carleton Jones in the category of Archaeological Studies
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Ireland) Competition by Rachel Konisberry. Originally submitted for Bachelor of Arts at NUI Galway, with lecturer Dr. Rory Sherlock and Dr. Carleton Jones in the category of Archaeological Studies

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
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02/04/2014

 
A Study of secular architecture in 17
th
Century Cork Introduction
The late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century in Ireland witnessed a new phenomenon in castle types, namely, the fortified house and the military fort. Thechanges in English colonial policy in Ireland in the sixteenth century resulted in militaryand civic settlements which left a permanent stamp on the landscape (Loeber, 1991, p.10). Numerous castles and fortified houses were constructed and dozens of militaryforts were erected (Ibid). However, the advent of gunpowder and new sophisticatedweaponry as well as changing fashions possibly signalled the demise of the true castleand heralded the introduction of these new hybrids (Sweetman, 1995, p.44). Thisdissertation will explain the secular architecture of seventeenth Century Cork looking in particular at military forts and fortified houses.
Background to study1.1 The Nine Years War
The Nine Years War, also known as Tyrone’s rebellion, began in 1594 and ended in1603. The war was fought betweenthe second Earl of Tyrone,Hugh O’Neill,Red Hugh  O'Donnelland their supporters, against theEnglishgovernment inIreland.Hugh O’Neill and his troops had been very successful in the battles at Clontibret and the Yellow Fordand by 1598 their rebellion had spread throughout most of Ireland. For the majority of the Nine Years War the situation seemed precarious for the English and the outcome was far from obvious. Unfortunately for the Gaelic Irish chieftains the Nine Years War ended in1
 
defeat which ultimately led to the Flight of the Earls in September 1607. After the war,many castles continued in use as English garrisons including Dublin and Limerick castle(Kerrigan, 1995, p.57). The numbers at most garrisons were reduced at this time and it isclear that some of the fortifications were neglected (Ibid). After the ‘Flight of the Earls’in 1607, fears of Spanish invasion were revived. This fear ensured that new forts andfortifications were constructed at Kinsale and Cork harbour (Ibid).
1.2 The Battle of Kinsale
It was during the Nine Years War that the Battle of Kinsale occurred. It occurred as aresult of O’ Neill needing assistance from Spain. In January 1601 Philip III of Spaindecided to send an army of six thousand men to Ireland (Palmer, p.327). The Spanishlanded at Kinsale on the twenty-first of September 1601 (Ibid). The Spaniards remainedin Kinsale and the outposts of Castle Park and Ringcurran Castle; this prevented theeffective use of the harbour by the English fleet (Kerrigan, 1995, p. 37). Ringcurraneventually surrendered after bombardment by culverins and cannon (Ibid). Castle Park resisted for longer, but after the surrender of the small garrison, the English placed threeculverins there to fire on the town (Ibid). At the end of November, Tyrone and his allies joined the Spaniards at Kinsale (Ibid). However, this battle outside the town resulted inan English victory and the Spanish forces later surrendered.
1.3 Munster Settlement
2
 
In Cork, there was an increase in English settlers after 1606. In 1607, the Bishop of Cork wrote that ‘West Cork was still largely uninhabited by Irish’ (Breen, 2007, p.33). Largetracts of land were open to colonisation by new arrivals (Ibid). It is estimated that theEnglish population in the county was around five thousand people. During this plantation,settlement occurred outside the original seignories of the 1580’s and a few Gaelic lords became involved in the mortgaging of land to new planters (Ibid). The economic focus of these early planters on the coast was the fishing industry, whereas further inlands it wason agricultural production and trade (Breen, 2007, p.50). Industrialisation is evident inthe form of iron-working, which, in turn led to widespread deforestation (Ibid). By the1620’s it is likely that there were in excess of ten thousand planters in Munster (Ibid., p.35).The position of large towns and cities such as Cork was politically more ambiguousduring this period (Breen, 2007, p.34). In theory, the citizens of Cork remained loyalduring the conflicts at the turn of the century. It has been suggested that they did playapart in aiding rebel activity through the supply of arms and participating in trade withthe rebels (Ibid). The population of Cork was overwhelmingly Catholic, and even thoughthis religious alliance to the rebels was present, it was not enough to encourage the urbaninhabitants to rebellion. Instead during times of uncertainty, the merchants maintainedtheir trade with Europe (Ibid).3

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