Capture of Bandon

The Capture of Bandon occurred in 1689 when the town of Bandon in County Cork, Ireland was forcibly seized from its rebellious Protestant inhabitants by a force of Irish Army troops under Justin MacCarthy. The skirmishing at the town took place during the early stages of the Williamite War in Ireland. The Jacobite success at Bandon helped suppress any chance of a general Munster uprising against the rule of James II similar to that which occurred in Ulster the same year. The slogan "No Surrender!" is believed to have been first used at Bandon and subsequently taken up, more famously, by the defenders at the Siege of Derry the same year.

Capture of Bandon
Part of Williamite War in Ireland
DateFebruary–March 1689
Result Jacobite victory
Williamite forces Jacobite forces
Commanders and leaders
Justin MacCarthy
Casualties and losses
Light Light


In 1685 the Catholic James II had come to the throne. This led to sharp reversal of government policy in Ireland, which had previously favoured the Protestant inhabitants but now was quickly changed by James' representative Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell. Under Tyrconnel's administration, the army and civil government were mostly purged of Protestants, who were replaced by Catholics. In Bandon, the previous town burgesses were replaced by Catholic nominees.

Tyrconnell's actions led to a growing hostility amongst the Protestant inhabitants across the island towards the King and his Irish government. Bandon was a historic centre of Protestants, dating back to the Plantation of Munster in the Elizabethan era and was a natural focus of dissent against James's rule. In 1688 similar opposition in England led to the Glorious Revolution, in which William III successfully invaded with a Dutch Army. Many Protestants now believed William to be their rightful King while Catholics, and some Protestants, remained loyal to James. During the growing turmoil, many rural County Cork Protestants came to shelter in Bandon.


Fearing a potential outbreak of rebellion in Bandon, the government sent a detachment of the Irish Army under Captain Daniel O'Neill to take the town.[1] They reportedly entered on a Sunday morning while the inhabitants were attending church services. The following day 24 February, sometimes referred to "Black Monday", the townspeople rose up and attacked the soldiers. Various sources say between three or eight of the redcoats were killed and the remainder driven out of the town. Using their captured weapons the Protestants then made an effort to prepare Bandon to withstand an assault.[2]

Having received word about the growing rebellion in the county, Tyrconnell in Dublin had already despatched six companies of infantry under Justin MacCarthy, an experienced Irish Catholic soldier. Instead of immediately assaulting Bandon, MacCarthy had first seized nearby Cork, another major centre of Protestants in the south of the country and clamped down on other potential dissidents. He then proceeded to Bandon with his troops, plus some cavalry and artillery. Although they had previously hung out a banner proclaiming "No Surrender", the defenders negotiated a surrender in exchange for generous conditions. Despite the usual punishment for rebellion being death, the town corporation was fined £1,000 and the walls ordered to be demolished.[3]

The comparatively light terms imposed on the town were a part of a wider attempt by King James to convince Protestants of his goodwill towards them. It angered more hardline Catholics, including MacCarthy's nephew Lord Clancarty, who wanted a harsher punishment for the rebels.[4]


The fighting at Bandon was part of a succession of defeats of locally raised Protestant troops both across Munster (at Castlemartyr) and Ireland as a whole, with the Ulster-raised Army of the North suffering heavy defeats at the Break of Dromore and the Battle of Cladyford. The advance of the mainly Catholic Jacobite Army was halted by the successful Protestant Defence of Enniskillen and of Derry. The arrival of large-scale reinforcements under Marshal Schomberg and King William reversed the tide, and Dublin was captured following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The same year Brandon was re-taken by Protestant forces following Marlborough's successful Siege of Cork. The walls were not rebuilt, as they were becoming increasingly militarily obsolete.


  1. ^ Wauchope p.48
  2. ^ Wauchope p.48 & Childs p.52
  3. ^ Childs p.52
  4. ^ Wauchope p.49


  • Childs, John. The Williamite Wars in Ireland. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2007.
  • Wauchope, Piers. Patrick Sarsfield and the Williamite War. Irish Academic Press, 1992.