From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Mayo Historical and Archaeological Society
The Massacre at Ardnaree, 1586
By Noel O'Neill
4, Mar 2004 - 20:07

St. Muredach's Cathedral and the river Moy on a Spring evening.

Slaughter of the Scots.

The river Moy, with the lights of St. Muredach’s Cathedral reflecting on its tranquil waters, belies the fact that a terrible tragedy occurred here. On the 23rd of September 1586, Sir Richard Bingham, intent on breaking the defiance of the Irish tribal chiefs, caught up with a large force of Scottish mercenaries who had been waiting at Ardnaree to join forces with the O’Dowd’s of Tireragh on the promise of pay and land for their services.

Bingham’s army of about 200 horse and 800 foot soldiers made a surprise attack on the Scots who were trapped between the cavalry and the river. The Scots were driven into the flooded river and men, women, and children were drowned or shot. The bodies piled up on the riverbank or were swept downstream to the sea and still the massacre continued.

A report by one of Bingham’s officers tells the grim story. “ We did drown or kill, as we did judge, about the number of a thousand or eleven hundred for there did by swimming about a hundred escape, for we cannot this day get over the water to Tirawley to them for want of boats but truly, I was never, since I was a man of war, so weary with killing of men”.

Mayo Historical & Archaeological Society

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