Francisco De Cuéllar was a captain of the galleon San Pedro of the squadron of Castille, one of the front line squadrons of the Spanish Armada. Following the battles with the English fleet in the Channel, de Cuéllar was accused and convicted of breaking fleet sailing orders.
Condemned to death, he argued his case sufficiently well, to obtain a reprieve. Conditional to reprieve, was that he remain on board the Levanter La Lavia under the supervision oh the Judge Advocate, Martin de Aranda.
This then was how he came to be aboard La Lavia, whe she in company with La Juliana and Santa Maria de Visón also from the sqadron of Levant, became trapped off the Sligo coast Streedagh. These three ships remained stormbound here for four days, on the fifth day the weather worsened, as the storm increased, all three were driven ashore foundering on Streedagh Strand.
Francisco de Cuéllar survived this disaster and set out to reach safety, first here in Ireland, travelling from Sligo to the Causeway Coast of North Antrim, from there to Scotland, and from Scotland to Spanish held Antwerp.
From Antwerp he wrote a long letter detailing his adventures in Connaught and Ulster, that led to his subsequent escape.
It is this letter discovered in Spanish archives in the 19th century.
This is the full text of Captain Francisco de Cúellar’s memoirs of his harrowing experiences in Ireland following the shipwreck of the Spanish Armada, his trek through Sligo and Leitrim; his dealings with the local Gaelic chieftains O’Rourke and McClancy; before finding safe passage to mainland Europe, ahead of his safe return to Spain.
The Career of Captain Francisco de Cuéllar 1578-1606 Introduction Captain Francisco de Cuéllar has become indelibly associated with the northwest of Ireland, in particular, Streedagh, where he was shipwrecked in 1588. The tale that he wrote of his experiences in Ireland provides one of the most colourful narratives associated with the ill-fated Spanish Armada. We … Continue reading De Cuéllar’s Career
This heritage trail is encompassing Francisco de Cúellar’s entire journey from Sligo to the North Antrim coast and escape to Spanish held Antwerp, from where he wrote his account of his adventures in Ireland.