Saturday, 23 April 2016

Le Duc on the Road - Part deux - Athlone Castle

So this one came about a few weeks ago as I had to take my eldest daughter to an athletics meet in Athlone.

Remembering my late 1600s history of Ireland (and in between events), I of course remembered a certain siege. The castle is still there (alright, there has been a bit of rebuilding since the heavy bombardment during the second siege!) and a fantastic Nine Years War section with videos, uniforms and interactives. It was refurbished in 2012 with the new museum part added.

Originally a wooden structure, and existing through the medieval period, the castle gained notoriety during the sieges that occurred during the Williamite wars in 1690 and 1691.

Colonel Grace's refusal to surrender to General Douglas, a desperate bridge battle (Donnybrook - I'm looking at you for re-enactment rules) and a massive bombardment during the second siege are all notable events. There is plenty of fodder here for suitable scenarios.

View from the west, before crossing the bridge.

Proceeding up the entry-way - reputedly built well after the siege with sections of rubble to provide the foundations.

Some great full size art pieces - great period flavour. Grace's refusal to surrender...

Williamite artillery train.

Video interactives showing the history of the second siege (I had the place to myself).

 Great maps and artwork - showing the progression of the fight.

 The fight at the bridge - Ginkel's engineers and the defenders. Crying out for a Donnybrook scenario.

 Period uniforms for the senior officers - stylised in artsy fashion.

Col. Richard Grace

Gustavus Hamilton


 View back into town across the bridge - looking east.

 View toward the ford of the river - very approximately where Ginkel's troops would have crossed to end the second siege (there would not have been an Indian Restaurant there at that time ...ahem).

There was a lightning strike in 1697 which blew up the (then) magazine and further destroyed the walls. They've taken precautions now - clearly - the heaviest lightning conductor I've ever seen !

 The 'keep' and museum area.
View from the outside walls.

Would certainly recommend a visit if you're in Ireland. A great slice of late C17th history too.

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