Owen Roe Sails up the Lackagh Bridge.

Owen Roe O’Neill was in Spain in the mid 1600s once he heard word that he was needed back in Ireland he set sail on the St. Francis out of Santander on June 30th 1642.

There was a tense atmosphere on the days leading up the departure as the Spanish sailors worried they might get caught at sea by the English Man-O-wars. The sailors wore brightly coloured clothes and baggy trousers while the English soldiers under Oliver Cromwell were all dressed in green uniforms.

Typical clothing worn by Spanish Soldiers 1632.
Mosquetero, piquero, arcabucero. 1633. The new york public library digital collection

St. Francis

The ship measuring around 140ft in length, had 3 masts, one tall in the middle and two smaller ones on either side. On board they were carrying 30 cannons with both the Irish and Spanish flag raised together. The Spanish sailers proved unaccustomed to coldness and the chopping seas and alot fell ill.

After 4 days at sea the coast of Ireland came into view. They didn’t try land at Kinsale as this was already under British rule. On July 6th they arrived on the coastline of Donegal and the ship sailed up the lackagh river to be met by Sir Felim O’Neill.

Published by mairead collett

Living the rural Life in Donegal, raising children and writing about my local area.