Battle of Lisnagarvey

Battle of Lisnagarvey
Part of the Irish Confederate Wars and
Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Date 6 December 1649
Location Near Lisnagarvey, County Down
Result Parliamentarian victory
Royalists English Parliamentarians
Commanders and leaders
Major-General George Munro, 1st of Newmore& Lord Clandeboye Charles Coote
Colonel Robert Venables
3,000 5,000
Casualties and losses
1,500 Low

The Battle of Lisnagarvey took place near Lisburn, 20 miles (32 km) south of Carrickfergus, in south county Antrim, Ireland in December 1649. It was fought between the Royalists army (many of whom were Scots) and the Parliamentarians during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.


When the army of Oliver Cromwell landed in Dublin in August 1649, the only large town in Ulster held by the Parliamentarians was Derry. Charles Coote’s forces had managed to resist the Royalist/Confederate alliance in 1649 thanks to an alliance of convenience with Owen Roe O’Neill and his Ulster Irish army. After Cromwell had conquered the Major town of Drogheda in September, he sent Colonel Robert Venables with a force of 5,000 men to conquer east Ulster while Cromwell himself headed south with the rest of the army.

Within days Venables had occupied Dundalk, and shortly after he captured the Port of Carlingford and a number of nearby castles with the help of a Parliamentarian frigate. The next day the parliamentarian cavalry captured Newry. The only serious resistance encountered by Venable’s force occurred on 27 September, when some of Felim O’Neill’s Ulster Irish launched a surprise attack on the Parliamentarian camp near Lisnagarvey. These however were beaten off. Shortly after, the Scottish garrison in Belfast also surrendered without a fight. A considerable quantity of arms and ammunition was obtained by the Parliamentarians in these actions.

In the meantime, the force of Charles Coote became active once again. Coote’s first target was Coleraine. Some of the Protestant townsmen opened a gate and let his forces in, Coote then proceeded to massacre the garrison. Most of the defenders were in fact Protestants of Scottish birth, but Coote was not one to show mercy to an enemy. Coote’s forces than joined Venable’s at Belfast, who was preparing an attack on Carrickfergus.

The battle

In early December, Major General Monro’s mostly Scottish army, 3,000 strong, joined forces with the Royalist Lord Clandeboye. The Royalists marched north in an attempt to stop the Parliamentarian army from taking Carrickfergus. After learning of their approach, the Parliamentarians moved to intercept the Royalists, and the two armies met near Lisnagarvey (Lisburn) on the Sixth of December. The advance guards of the two armies became engaged in a fight. Panic rapidly set in amongst the already demoralised Royalists. When the main Parliamentarian army came within sight, most of the Royalists were in flight. The Parliamentarians immediately attacked, and slaughtered 1,500 retreating Royalists. Most of the weapons and supplies of the Royalist army were lost. Clandeboyle surrendered shortly after the battle while Monro fled to Enniskillen.


The rout at Lisnagarvey ended resistance by the Scottish Ulster forces to the Parliamentarian army. Carrickfergus surrendered to Coote on 13 December. True to form Coote had the families of the Scottish garrison thrown out of the town and into the winter cold. Thereafter only a few strongholds in Ulster remained in Royalist hands. Early in 1650 Monro surrendered Enniskillen to Coote for ₤500 and returned to Scotland. The Ulster Irish army was now all that was left in the way of a Parliamentarian conquest of Ulster.

See also


  • Scot-Wheeler, James (1999). Cromwell in Ireland. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-2884-9.

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