First published in Ireland only in 1883, this book is a fascinating account of the Irish campaign of 1649-1650 led by Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), the English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as told by the Irish Rev. Denis Murphy of the Society of Jesus.
“The object of this work is to give an account in full detail, as far as is possible, of Cromwell’s Irish campaign, which began in August, 1649, and ended in May, 1650. It is a portion of history but little known. It lies for the most part in a few books, some of them difficult of access by reason of their scarcity, others written in a language not intelligible to the greater number of readers. Traditions, indeed, there are still surviving of the doings of Cromwell and his followers, many of them having, no doubt, a foundation of truth; but many, too, exaggerations at best, and not a few wholly unfounded and false. In truth, there is hardly a ruined church throughout the length and breadth of the land, the destruction of which is not attributed to Cromwell, or a crumbling castle of which it is not said that
He did it pommel,
And made a breach
In its battlement.’
“Evil deeds are attributed to him as done where he never set foot, and names are given to places that would seem at first sight to record his presence there, but in reality have had their origin in the wish of his followers to perpetuate their leader’s fame, or in the hatred of those among whom they dwelt, who would hand down the record of his cruelties by an appellation which in their minds summed up all manner of evil.”