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The Kirwins of Galway at the Battle of Aughrim 1691
Posted by: Adrian Martyn (ID *****7691) Date: April 03, 2003 at 07:53:55
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Dear kinsmen and women,

The following is an excerpt from a Kirwin family Ms. written about 1870 by Andrew Kirwin of Galway, son of Martin Kirwin and Bridget McCann. Martin, who died in 1881, was the third son of Richard Bui (Yellow [haired] Richard) Kirwin, a solider of fortune. Andrew obviously wrote this account from family folklore with a view to publication, though his account was never proberly revised. It was published in the Galway Advertiser on a number of occasions in commeration of the battle during the 1990's. This one was published on the 15th July 1999, three hundred and seven years after Aughrim. The extract is as follows:

"Patrick Kirwin, together with his father, Martin Kirwin, his granduncle Martin More Kirwin of Knockaduiniadough, and several other members of the family, took a most active part in the troubles of 1690. They headed a large body of the Cregg men and were on their way to Aughrim when Andrew Kirwin of Knockaduiniadugh died.

The father and son proceeded to Aughrim, but, finding that their countrymen were unable to accomadate them, they and their tenentry amounting to 700 armed men, took possession of the Castle of Derrymacloghny and remained there to protect the pass.

Shortly afterwards another body of troops arrived, headed by O'Kelly and his kinsmen and their numerous followers. On the eveining before the battle [11th July 1691] a messenger arrived directing them to leave Derrymacloghny at 6 o clock next morning and march to a small village called Lough {?}, situate {illegible} to seven miles {and there join up with} the Mayo men, and from thence to proceed to Aughrim the morning following.

These uncompromising patriots commenced their journey and arrived at the place of their destinatin at 2 o clock in the morning. They remained there untill 8 o clock, expecting the arrival of the brave Mayo men, who were commanded by that {unreadable - possibly: treacherous} William O'Donnell, but in vain as he took a contrary direction.

"The consequence was that the Creggmen, commanded by the gallant Captain Patrick Kirwin (though only nineteen years old), and his father, the Athlegue men commanded by Shane More O'Kelly, the Gallagh men commanded by Loughlin O'Kelly, Donogh O'Kelly, John Blake, Nicholas French of Cross, and Nicholas Ffrench of Curagry, the latter's son and heir. The Tuam men were commanded by the three Lally's or O'Mullalys of Tullinadaly.

Jonick Kirroavan of Ballygaddy, John Bodkin of Carrobeg and Donough More O'Kelly of Doonmore, were oblighed to proceed to the feild of aciton with a small force, which were in danger of being attacked by the advance party.

"They all arrived at Derrmacloghny early in the day and to their utter suprise and astonisment, heard that the Mayo men were on their way to join the English, and that a large reinforcement commanded by Colonel Herbert were close at hand to attack the castle by suprise .... to the castle and then stood determined to risk their lives in defense of their unfortunate, illfated country.

The attack commenced with great fierceness, but in consequence of the superior force that was on the other side, the Irish were defeated with great slaughter.

"Several gentlemen of rank were killed on the occasion: Those of our countrymen who fell whose names have survived are the following - Martin French and Dominick French, both of Spiddal, sons of Edmond French; Walter Blake, John Blake, Marcus Blake and Geoffrey Blake of Galway; Hyacinth Darcy, John Darcy and Edward Darcy; Marcus Joyce and John Joyce; Peter Kirwin, Edmond Kirwin, Marcus Kirwin, Francis Kirwin, Patrick Kirwin FitzAndrew, Richard Kirwin, Valintine Kirwin and Robert Kirwin; Donaugh Kelly of Bally Donaugh, Kelly of Gallagh, Donaugh Kelly of Mullaghmore and Donaugh Kelly of Kilnuit, Brian Kelly of Ahereragh, Brian of Ballyforan and his brother Robert; James Lynch and twenty of his kinsmen; Denis Jennings and his four sons; William Lally and his two sons; Edward Morris of Galway and Robert Martin; thirteen of the O'Maddens; twelve of the O'Hallorans of Galway and various others too numerous to mention."

As can be seen a great many of the men killed in action were, like the Kirwins, member of the infamous merchant families of the town of Galway known to history as "The Tribes of Galway". The names of the families were - Athy, Blake, Browne, Darcy, Deane, French, Font, Joyce, Kirwin, Lynch, Martyn, Morris, Skerrett.

If anyone has any futher queries on the above please feel free to contact me. I also wrote a book on the Tribes two years ago should anyone wish to purchase a copy, but I plan to publish a new, much expanded version as soon as the first edition is sold out. Therefore I would heartily welcome any Kirwins who wish to contact me and add their family history to the book.

Is mise le meas,

Adrian James Martyn, Galway, Ireland.

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