Colonel Richard O’Farrell’s Regiment of Foot

After the trauma (!) of researching Turlough MacHenry O’Neill, I'm giving the O'Neills a wide berth for a wee while, and researching a not-O'Neill regiment.

The monumental job of cutting and drilling away cast on pikes that are much too short

The Farrells were rulers of Annaly, roughly the modern County Longford. They lost about a quarter of their lands in the plantation of Longford in 1618 but were still in control of the county at the outbreak of the 1641 rebellion. So it comes as no surprise that they joined the rebellion in 1641, setting out their grievances in a letter to Lord Dillon, who presented it to the Dublin government on their behalf:
The Papists in the neighbouring counties are severely punished and their miseries might serve as beacons unto us to look unto our own, when our neighbours houses are on fire. 
They expressed their support for the king and enclosed an oath of loyalty to him. However, they also voiced their disappointment that as Catholics their loyalty had not been rewarded:
There is an incapacity in the Papists of honour and the immunities of true subjects, the royal marks of distributive justice and a disfavour in the commutative . . . when the old families of the English and the major part of us the meer Irish did swim in blood to serve the crown of England; and when offices should call men of worth, men without worth and merit obtain them . . . The restraint of purchase in the meer Irish of lands in the escheated counties and the taint and blemish of them and their posterities doth more discontent them than that plantation rule; for they are brought to that exigent of povertie in these late times that they must be sellers and not buyers of land.  
Richard Farrell had fought abroad in Spanish service, returning to Ireland with Owen Roe O'Neill. Richard raising a regiment, in 1643, and declaring for his friend. However, there was a bit of  hedgesitting by the family; Richard's brother Lisagh, who became his lieutenant-colonel, kept links open with the Old English of Leinster, while some members of the family joined the royalist army of Ormonde.

Not long after being raised the regiment fought at Portlester in August 1643.

In 1646, Richard commanded his regiment at Benburb, where they fought on the right wing of the Ulster Army. During the Siege of Dublin, the regiment was routed  while attempting to bring a relief convoy to the beleaguered garrison of Dundalk.

Farrell, by now a Lieutenant General led the defence of  Waterford in 1649, one of the few Irish officers experienced in siege warfare (thanks to his time in Flanders); his actions repulsing Cromwell's advances. Waterford would fall in January 1650 to Henry Ireton's big guns.

The regiment were sent by O’Neill to the relief of Ormonde after the royalist forces were defeated at Rathmines in 1649.

Following the defence of Waterford, Richard went back to Ulster, where he served under Bishop Heber McMahon at the battle of Scarriffholis. 

After this last major defeat for the Irish forces Richard took command of the Ulster Army. He and his regiment fled to Charlemont, which fell to a siege on 14th August 1650. Farrell would be captured in 1652 and signed terms to end the war in 1653 on behalf of all the surviving remnants of the Ulster army. The 5,000 troops at his command were permitted to leave Ireland to fight in Continental armies not at war with England. However, Richard was forced to stay behind to stand trial for the murder of a man called Capt. John Pigot, who had been killed in a massacre by troops under his command in 1646. He was acquitted and then followed his men to Spain, which at that stage was in alliance with Cromwellian England.

Lots of headswaps in this regiment, a handful of morions and cabascets. There is a predominance of PP  'Irish hats' and monmouth caps to represent Irish baraid. The lowland officer standing in for an Irish officer wearing an Irish bonnet, or baraid caol. 

I also went for slightly brighter trews than I painted on the dreaded Colonel Turlough MacHenry O’Neill of the Fews' Regiment of Foot.

Custom casualty marker from Warbases. Flag, as always, from Maverick Models.

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  1. Lovely. I often wonder why the 1641 rebellion seemed to be such a surprise when it happened...If you keep kicking a dog it will bite you, and that ain't the dogs fault.

    1. Thanks Dex.

      Charles really did seem to understand the consequences of his actions, or he was so wrapped up in the divine right of kings that he genuinely believed he was infallible.


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