The first Siege of Athlone, 1690
As a result of their victory at the Boyne, the Williamites effectively gained control of the eastern half of Ireland. Though James had fled, his Irish Catholic supporters, led by men like Patrick Sarsfield, decided to continue the war. The River Shannon now became the key frontier, as the Jacobites held the vital strategic castles of Athlone and Limerick. In mid-July 1690, a 7,500 strong Williamite force, commanded by the Scottish General James Douglas, attacked Athlone. The castle was defended by 2,000 men, led by the experienced veteran; Colonel Richard Grace. He ordered the abandonment of the eastern part of Athlone Town, and withdrew his forces over the Shannon, and broke down the bridge behind him. When he was summoned to parley terms for surrender, he defiantly fired his pistol in the air and declared that was the only negotiation he wanted. The Williamites lacked the necessary heavy siege artillery, and their field guns made little impression on the strong walls of the castle. Knowing that it would result in many casualties, General Douglas decided against trying to cross the river, and once he discovered that the defenders were to be reinforced, he lifted the siege and withdrew. The gallant defence of Athlone by Grace and his garrison, preserved the line and enabled the Jacobites to continue fighting the war for another year. For Athlone, the greatest test was yet to come.
Filetype: MP3 - Size: 8.17MB - Duration: 35:40 m (32 kbps 22050 Hz)
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