Hardiman's History of Galway

Chapter 4: From 1484 to the commencement of the Irish Rebellion in 1641

Spanish armada vessel wrecked in the bay, 1588

Chapter 4

From 1484 to the commencement of the Irish Rebellion in 1641

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Old map of Galway

The year 1588 was rendered memorable for the destruction of the celebrated Spanish Armada. One of the ships which composed this ill-fated fleet was wrecked in the bay of Galway, and upwards of seventy of the crew perished. Several other vessels were lost along the coast; and such of the Spaniards as escaped the waves, were cruelly butchered by order of the lord deputy, Sir William Fitz-Williams, who, finding, or pretending to find, fault with the alleged lenity of Sir Richard Bingham, the president ot the province, commissioned Robert Fowle, deputy marshal, who dislodged these unfortunate men from their hiding-places, and in a summary manner executed about two hundred of them, which so terrified the remainder, that, though sick and half-famished, they chose sooner to trust to their shattered barks, and the mercy of the waves, than to their more merciless enemies, in consequence of which multitudes of them perished. In order the more effectually to satiate his thirst for their blood, and to seize their rumoured treasures, the lord deputy himself made a journey into Connaught, where this sanguinary man arrived in June, 1589, and on the 20th of that month he came to Galway. Sir Murrough O'Flaherty, William Burke, the blind Abbot, and several others of the principal inhabitants of Mayo and Iar Connaught, came in and submitted; but were put under conditions to give hostages, disperse their forces, deliver up all the Spaniards and Portuguese to whom they had given refuge, pay fines, and make amends for all spoils which they had taken. Fitz-Williams, while he remained in town, caused several of the Spaniards, delivered up on this occasion, to be beheaded near St. Augustin's monastery on the hill, amidst the murmurs and lamentations of the people;qq and, having thus wreaked his vengeance on these unfortunate men, he departed for Dublin.

Next: Sir William Russell, lord deputy, arrives and investigates the state of the town and province, 1595

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