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'Good Morning in Kinsale'
(Check the discussion page for information on this timeline. I'm doing something a little different with this one)
25th December 1601
The united armies of the Gaelic lords of Ulster, most notably Hugh (The Red) O'Donnell and Hugh O'Neill, march to Kinsale in Cork to meet their Spanish allies who have landed there to aid them in their rebellion against English interference in Ireland. While the Irish have much further to march than the English, a sudden storm delays the English arrival until a few hours after the Irish and Spanish Armies meet. This gives them just enough time to entrench around the town and deploy cannon from the Spanish ships. The first battle consisted of a English cavalry charge on the Irish-Spanish positions. The British General Mountjoy was not aware of the significent presence of Spanish cannon. Wave after wave of English cavalry was slaughtered before the attack was stopped. A slow infantry advance was also beaten back with musket fire and cannon. Hugh O'Donnell's part of the army then separated from the main force and advanced. Severely weakened by several unsuccessful attacks Mountjoy fled, only to be captured hours later by Irish scouts. The Spanish General Aquila demanded his immediate execution but the Gaelic lords persuaded them that he would be more useful alive. Casualties were enormous on the English side, losing 6,300 men of 7,000. The remaining 700 deserted to find refuge in various English forts and settlements. The Irish-Spanish force only lost about 400 of 10,000 men.
Following the near total defeat at Kinsale, and the capture of their most talented general, the English retreat to their heavily fortified keeps and forts dotted around the country. They cannot hope to defeat the Spanish-Irish force in a battle with the remaining forces scattered around the island. O'Donnell and O'Neill move with impunity, there is no real resistance to their army. Aquila wants to march on Dublin and take the Pale. O'Donnell wants to destroy the remaining English forts in Munster. O'Neill wants to return to Ulster and displace the English Planters there. After weeks of indecision, the three leaders decide to march on Dublin, ousting the English lords along the way. News of their victory has preceded them. All over Ireland, displaced natives slaughter their English lords. Dublin burns to the ground during Easter, following the destruction of the powder magazines in Dublin Castle caused by rioters. When the three leaders reach Dublin in May there is little to conquer or liberate. They agree to march to Ulster to depose the recent English settlers. Aquila sends word back to Spain that the adventure was a success and calls for reinforcements. Spain sends two dozen ships loaded with over five thousand troops to Ireland.