For centuries, historians have debated the question of Kinsale's suitability as a landing place. From the Spanish perspective, it was quite suitable as a base, and for the Irish, Kinsale was too far removed from O'Neill and O'Donnell, who were constrained by the success of the new Lord Deputy (Thuillier 2001). Moreover, d'Aguila was cut off from his northern allies, and the support of local chiefs never came, thus the harnesses they had brought from Spain for horses promised by the Irish were useless (Thuillier 2001). Furthermore, the Spanish General, Brochero, the Spanish Naval Commander, left as directed after nine days with all the ships, leaving Kinsale Harbor open to the English Navy (Thuillier 2001). Nevertheless, Spanish forcers controlled Kinsale for 100 days, and for a shorter period, Rincurran and Ringrone Castles and Castle Park with an observation post on Compass Hill (Thuillier 2001).
Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, proved to be a commander capable of defeating the Irish (Guttman 2006). Within days, Mountjoy was in Cork, and by October 26th, the English were camped outside the town. They immediately began to win back strategic positions that the Spaniards had occupied, first Rincurran and then Castle Park, moves that allowed the English fleet to take possession of the harbor (Thuillier 2001). Mountjoy now turned his attention to the town, setting up a battery, 600 yards outside and to the east of Cork Gate on high ground, and then bombarded the inhabitants (Thuillier 2001). Another battery was placed overlooking the Carmelite Abbey to the west. The Spaniards resisted, and executed numerous attacks on the English, the most notable of which occurred on the night of December 2nd, "when by feigning to attack the New Battery to the west, they rushed out, overcame the First Battery east of the town and spiked the guns...Later that night the New Battery received similar treatment" (Thuillier 2001). Conditions were becoming difficult for both the English and the Spaniards. As the English approached the town, they destroyed all the crops within a five mile radius, thus they were now finding it difficult to feed themselves (Thuillier 2001). Moreover, approximately forty soldiers each day were dying from camp diseases, and the Spaniards were also suffering as they awaited assistance from the north (Thuillier 2001).
The northern confederacy of Irish Chieftains, who had been confined to their territories in the Ulster, now began to make their way to Kinsale, arriving in late December 1601 at Coolcarron, a hill three miles to the north of Camphill, where there were roughly 6,000 English (Thuillier 2001). O'Neill wanted to starve the English into submission, which was a wise and cautious approach, however he yielded to pressure from O'Donnell and d'Aguila to break the English siege and join the Spaniards in town (Thuillier 2001). In the lead were the Spaniards, O'Neill's forces were in the middle, and O'Donnell commanded the rearguard. From Ardmartin, the English observed all this movement, and essentially outmaneuvered them (Thuillier 2001). O'Neill's men began to leave the battle scene, as did O'Donnell's. The scene became referred to as the Ford of the Slaughtering, for it was said that the stream flowed red with blood (Thuillier 2001). When the Spaniards realized the extent of the Irish defeat, d'Aquila offered parley and Mountjoy accepted and provided them safe conduct to Spain. O'Donnell went to Spain seeking help, but died there, and O'Neill pursued by Mountjoy, returned to Ulster with the remainder of his force, but with no support from abroad or at home, he surrendered in 1603 (Thuillier 2001). No longer an independent chieftain, O'Neill was under English control. The Irish had lost their ancient way of life and soon would lose their territory (Thuillier 2001).
In order to receive full pardon and permission to return to their estates, O'Neill and the other Chieftains were forced to swear loyalty to the Crown and disband their private armies (Peters 2005). Although they tried to resume their lives, Ireland had changed, and thus in September 1607, the Ulster aristocracy left their homeland in what is called the Flight of Earls (Peters 2005). O'Neill and the others left at midnight at Rathmullen on Lough Swilly with their families, and sailed for Spain, however they were forced by the winds to take shelter in the Seine, and passed the winter in the Netherlands (Hugh1 2006). In April 1608, they headed out for Rome, where they were greeted by Pope Paul V (Hugh1 2006).
In 1616, O'Neill died in Rome, while his lands were confiscated and divided into plantations for English and Scottish Protestants (Guttman 2006). Unfortunately, the legacy of O'Neill's defeat would result in centuries of violent struggle in Northern Ireland between the descendants of his native Catholics and the descendants of the Protestant settlers (Guttman 2006).
The Battle of Kinsale had a devastating effect on Ireland, for the government, systems of control, language, customs, religion, and ownership of the land, all changed as a consequence of that battle (Thuilier 2001).
Guttman, Jon. (2006). The History Channel: History.net. Retrieved December 05, 2006 at http://www.historynet.com/wars_conflicts/15_16_century/3037156.html?featured=y&c=y
Hugh O'Neill. (1998). Retrieved December 05, 2006 at http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/HughOneill.htm