This Saturday, August 15th is the 421st anniversary of the Battle of the Curlew’s.
English forces led by Sir Conyers Clifford came from Athlone on their way to raise the Siege of Collooney.
They stopped off by the Boyle river (there was no town here at that stage), arriving early evening.
Tired, weary and hungry after their hike from Athlone, the 1496 foot soldiers and 205 horse men expected an overnight stop.
To their dismay Clifford ordered the march to resume across the mountain.
Meanwhile up on the Curlieus Brian O’Rourke and Conor McDermott’s men lay in wait.
Tactically, they led the approaching army into the bog and struck.
A fierce battle ensued for over 2 hours resulting in the deaths of 232 men including Sir Coyners Clifford.
The head of Clifford was sent to Red Hugh O’Rourke who dispatched it to Collooney – proof of an Irish victory.
Sir Coyners Clifford was afforded a respectful burial on Trinity Island in Lough Key.
The defeated English army now back in Boyle Abbey decided not to try and force their way over the Curlews again.
Instead, the beaten army made their way over the Boyle river and headed back to Athlone.
The Battle of the Curlews was fought on 15th August 1599 in the seventh year of the Nine Years War.