Part of an investigation
of Oliver Cromwell by Richard Bailey & Chris Culpin
For notes on how historians and others interpret Irish history, please click here
A. ‘Young Ned of the Hill’, The Pogues
|A curse upon you, Oliver Cromwell, |
You who raped our motherland,
I hope you’re rotting down in Hell,
For the horrors that you sent.
To our misfortunate forefathers
Whom you robbed of their birthright,
‘To Hell or Connaught’* - may you burn in Hell tonight.
B. From Antonia Fraser’s biography of Cromwell, 1973
Drogheda taught the lesson of what a siege and a storm meant. It undoubtedly frightened many lesser garrisons into peaceful surrender. Militarily then the sack of Drogheda could fairly be said to have done what Cromwell wanted.
|2||The conclusion cannot be escaped that Cromwell lost his self-control at Drogheda, literally saw red - the red of his comrades’ blood - after the failure of the first assaults, and was seized with one of his sudden brief and cataclysmic rages. There were good military reasons for behaving as he did, but they were not the motives that drove him at the time, during the day and night of uncalculated butchery. The slaughter itself stood quite outside his normal record of careful mercy as soldier.|
1. Read Antonia Fraser’s piece on the events at Drogheda.
Explain who she is, and discuss how she would have obtained information, evidence etc.
a. What does she say about Cromwell?
b. Does she attempt to justify his actions? How? What does she say?
2. Sentiments and accuracy in interpretation:
a. Which of the two views of Cromwell would you trust more? Explain in detail.
b. Whose sentiments would you go along with, the Pogues’ or Antonia Fraser’s?(Some explanation of justification and sentiments may be required.)
For a map of the Cromwellian Land Settlement, please go to