Irish participation in the Armada of 1588: Émigré ambitions and Spanish strategists, and local responses
Dr Declan M. Downey, RAH University College Dublin
Abstract: Contrary to the traditional Anglophone historiography of the Armada of 1588 which regards Philip II’s invasion project as being entirely focused upon Elizabethan England, and that the disaster that befell the Armada on the Irish coast was tragic collateral damage, this presentation provides a corrective revision. Drawing from primary source evidence in the archives of Simancas, Brussels and Vienna, this paper will demonstrate that there was considerable Irish involvement in the planning and preparation of the Armada from as early as 1583. Also, it will explore and examine the significant roles played by Irish personnel in the Armada, and in its aftermath in the Spanish naval, military and political establishments. It will conclude with a critical assessment of local Irish responses to the Armada and its impact.
Declan M. Downey, LLM (Leiden), PhD (Cantab.), lectures in Modern European & Japanese Diplomatic History at University College Dublin, where he coordinates the BCL Law with History Degree programme. He is the first Irish citizen to have been elected to membership of the Spanish Royal Academy of History in 2009. His research and publications on Irish relations with the Spanish and Austrian Habsburg monarchies, have achieved international awards and distinctions. In 2008, King Juan Carlos I conferred the Encomienda en la Orden de Isabel la Católica on him. Dr Downey is the CoSecretary of the Council for Spanish-Irish Historical Studies, and he is a Trustee of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.