Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Le Duc on the Road, Part VII - Aughrim

There have been rumours of late of a planned 'Battle of Aughrim' game in the planning stage, using Field of Battle. :)

Living 4 hours from the battlefield of course, means that on the ground research was required!

There is as excellent heritage centre at Aughrim, and Donal - the 'man on site' is very knowledgeable and helpful - even to annoying wargamers !

 A year after the Boyne, Bloody Aughrim was more militarily devastating and had greater impact - effectively sounding the death knell of the Jacobite cause in Ireland and it is justifiably remembered for the death of St.Ruth, a French commander leading the Irish, after his being decapitated by a stray cannon ball; an action which in turn is forever recorded as having led to a snatching of 'defeat from the jaws of victory', as the Jacobite morale broke.

There are a few Prince August 40mm semi flat miniatures on a large 12'x8' replica battlefield. You can guess of course, that I suggested that the table should be used for 25mm units and a wargaming convention of sorts should be arranged. Here's hoping.

 This map folds out to A2 size. Even if you're familiar with the battle, this is a fantastic (and free) battlefield guide. It shows basic troop movements, but key, it shows the road/trail to follow for best viewpoints of Jacobite & Williamite lines and attacks/approaches.

The only drawback is that much of the battlefield is on farmland, or had no road through the 'middle', but the handout map more than makes up for that by directing attention to features and sites.

 In the centre itself, there is a lovely selection of Prince August 40mm semi flats. Donal uses these for kids and adults alike, to show the main features of the battle - if only there were more of course. We had a long discussion on Patrick Sarsfield's position at the battle, and the effects of St Ruth's death across the Jacobite lines using the battlefield layout presented here. Granted, there aren't enough figures - and the table and map layout is crying out for a larger scale wargame.

 The Jacobite right flank. We pointed here a lot during our Sarsfield discussion.

Some larger displays.

There's the usual DVD show, with good production values, and a good presentation of the events and repercussions (and some flag presentations).

More Prince August stuff.

Other displays dotted around the walls - good introductory stuff for the period.

A rough OOB presented on a modern OS map. Oh, how useful this is for the FoB scenario to come.

 Using the map guide, it's easy the walk (or drive) the battlefield. Now, the perimeter road is a country lane, and is open to traffic, so care is suggested. This is the view looking east to the Williamite lines and Urraghry Hill. The bogland is considerably more drained than it was in 1691, but we can imagine the quagmire as the Williamites advanced toward the heights in the foregroud. The Bloody Hollow is off to the right.

Good use of signs every few hundred yards on the roadway, and you can visualise where you are in line with the map, and the lines of advance.

Looking north across the line of advance (the cow wouldn't get out of the way).

The causeway toward Lutrell's Pass - portions of the raised road and bogland still evident, even today.

The remnants of Aughrim Castle on the Jacobite left - a small fortification which was a ruin even in 1691, with the monument to St Ruth, erected in the 1960s, beside it. Burke's/Luttrell's dragoons - made a deal/got given the wrong calibre of ammo/were suppressed by enemy fire, depending on what source or conspiracy theory you believe.

 Looking from north to south across the middle of the battlefield. Most of the action occurred across this boggy expanse.

A great trip and as with most heritage/interpretive centres, some great local knowledge and advice, and Donal really knows his stuff.  ...I still want to set a game up on that table though ...


  1. What a great way to get a closer connection with your game.

    1. Definitely. No matter what people think, there are areas of that battlefield that are just eerie. Makes the hair stand up on the back of the neck - and I'm not normally one for battlefield 'ghosts'.
      I'm sure that 'Bloody Aughrim' still echoes down the years.

  2. Wow you certanly do your research!. A facinating post and your right, that table is begging for a large scale game!

    1. Yeah - it was a massive table - but with too few figures. Crying out for a bunch of gamers and a convention :)

  3. That's a very impressive visitor's centre and one huge Wargaming table. Nice pics of the surrounding area.

    1. Cheers MJT
      Loving your blog by the way.

  4. Excellent stuff! Aughrim is probably my favorite battle of the 9 Years War/War of Two Kings period. Really great to see actual pictures, particularly pictures of Aughrim Castle and the causeway. That map you snagged is a great resource. Can't wait to see this one on the table.

    1. Thanks Doug. I have a lot more pics - especially of the information signs/points, and battlefield (but didn't want to bombard the blog with pictures of sheep!), if you're interested. Let me know and I can email.

      We have aan ACW game with FoB coming up, and then I intend to get cracking on Aughrim. I might even order a 'marsh' style battlemat from Cigar Box Battles - hmm tempting.