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Cuellar's Narrative of the Armada

Cuellar's Narrative of the Armada and His Adventures in Ireland


            In 1588, the Spanish Armada of 130 ships set sail from Lisbon, its mission to transport a Spanish army from the Low Countries to invade England. As every schoolboy knows, they were defeated after several battles with the English defenders, and forced to sail north around Scotland and west of Ireland on their way home. More than 20 ships were wrecked off the Irish coast; those of their crews which managed to struggle ashore were mostly butchered by the English or their Irish allies. A few managed to take refuge in those parts of Ireland still holding out against the English conquerors; one of these was Captain Francesco de Cuellar. His ship was wrecked at Streedagh Strand in Co. Sligo, but he managed to get ashore alive. His subsequent adventures included being apprentice to a blacksmith, and enduring a siege by the English in a castle which had been deserted by its Irish occupants. He was eventually shipped to Scotland (at that time an independent country) and subsequently to the Spanish-held Netherlands, where he wrote this account of his adventures. This remained unknown until it was discovered and published in 1885, and publicised in an article by Hugh Allingham in The Ulster Journal of Archaeology , April 1895. A full translation by Robert Crawford followed, and is presented here


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Armada Losses on the Irish Coast by Caoimhín Ó Danachair
Hugh Allingham's article.

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