Heritage campaigners have called for action following the theft of information signs about one of the most important battlefield sites in Irish history.
Members of Kinsale History Society have called on Cork County Council to secure, from theft, the remaining Battle of Kinsale signs.
But they have also called for the remaining signage to be upgraded, for an improved battle display in the town’s museum,and in the long term, for a dedicated Battle of Kinsale centre, given that the town is a gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way tourist route.
It follows the theft of at least two of the landmark green and white metal signs which were erected in the 1960s at various points around the historic Cork harbour town.
An audit by the history society has also revealed the remaining signs have deteriorated due to weathering and vandalism.
“Members of the history society have now asked the local authority to address the situation as a matter of urgency, and have written to councillors for the Bandon-Kinsale Municipal area requesting them to intervene without delay,” a spokesman said.
The signs mark significant areas and events linked to the 1601 Battle and Siege of Kinsale, when a 4,000-strong force of Spanish soldiers landed in Kinsale in a failed bid to help Irish rebels, including O’Neill and O’Donnell, fight British rule in Ireland. English forces bombarded the Spanish with artillery fire for almost three months.
Despite reinforcements from the Irish, the better-trained English won the Battle of Kinsale on December 24, 1601.
The Spanish eventually surrendered, handing the English a decisive victory which effectively broke Irish resistance. The aftermath also prompted the Flight of the Earls.
The sign thefts emerged during Heritage Week after archaeologist Paul O’Keeffe presented an update to the local history society on survey work one of the best-preserved siege sites in Ireland or Britain which has been completed in recent months.
Mr O’Keeffe and Brendan Shields combined historical maps and computer modelling to locate artillery fire sites along the 10kms of trenches and siege works built around the sites of the main English camps, Mountjoy, Thomond, and Carew, and from where the English troops pounded the town walls with canons.
The Battle of Kinsale was fought between about 5,000 Irish and 3,000 English troops about four miles north-west of the town on Christmas Eve 1601, and was over within hours, with the English victorious. Of the 1,200 casualties, it is estimated 1,000 were Irish or Spanish. However, it is thought up to 7,000 people died during the 77-day siege.
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