Today in Celtic History ! Today in Celtic History

July 31, 1689

King James at the Docks.

July 31, 1689


The Enniskillen Protestants defeat Jacobite forces at Newtownbutler, Co. Fermanagh


The Jacobite war broke out in 1689, when the Catholic King James II of England, was removed from the throne, by a revolution that brought his son in law, the Protestant William of Orange to power. James fled to France and with the backing of King Louis, arrived in Ireland on 12th of March with a French army. Ireland with the exception of a large part of Ulster had remained loyal to James, and he hoped to use it as base from which to recover the English throne.

Although the war in Ireland was only a secondary front in a much larger war between the European powers, the result determined the political and religious freedoms of those who would live in Ireland for the following two centuries. "The two sides were more evenly matched that in any other Irish war". Because victory was guaranteed to neither side, the Jacobite war is one of the most critical points in Irish history.

The siege of Irish Protestant stronghold Derry, proved more difficult than anticipated by the Jacobite regime. Hindered by a lack of equipment, an "undisciplined army, and an unenterprising command," Jacobite failed in their attempts to seize the city and instead had to resort to a blockade.

On July 31st Lieutenant Colonel William Berry left Enniskillen with the cavalry, Wolsley followed with the infantry. Mountcashel hearing of Wolsleys approach sent Hamilton with a regiment of dragoons to block the Williamites. They were ambushed by Berry at Lisnaskea, defeated and withdrew to Dublin. Mountcashel moved forward to Newtownbutler and waited for Wolsley. When he reached Newtownbutler the Williamite commander launched a frontal attack over a bog. The Jacobite left flank broke, and they were routed. Large numbers of Jacobite troops were killed in the retreat. It was this rout that gave Bloody pass on the Cavan, Fermanagh border its name. Wolsley withdrew to Enniskillen fearing another attack from Sligo.

The Jacobite army's failures at Derry and Enniskillen were soon followed by disorder and widespread desertion.


  • 7/31/1661

    July 31, 1661

    The Act of Settlement confirms some adventurers' landowning rights but allows claims from 'innocents' and royalist supporters

  • 7/31/1689

    July 31, 1689

    Robert Lundy, Governor of Derry/Londonderry, advises surrender at the approach of James's army but is overruled and allowed to escape. The city holds out under siege for 105 days and is relieved on this date

  • 7/31/1737

    July 31, 1737

    Robert Adair, MP for Philipstown, dies on this date, having 'had one of his legs cut off above the knee for a mortification and died soon after'

  • 7/31/1786

    July 31, 1786

    "Kilmarnock Edition" of the poems of Robert Burns "Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect" first published.

  • 7/31/1834

    July 31, 1834

    Inauguration of the first Dublin - Dun Laoghaire horse-drawn "train service"

  • 7/31/1838

    July 31, 1838

    Enactment of the Irish Poor Law

  • 7/31/1845

    July 31, 1845

    Caledonian Railway Company authorised to commence business.

  • 7/31/1877

    July 31, 1877

    Minority of Home Rulers begin obstruction tactics in Commons

  • 7/31/1893

    July 31, 1893

    Founding of Gaelic League in Ireland

  • 7/31/1893

    July 31, 1893

    Founding of the Gaelic League in order to revive the use of the Irish language and foster appreciation of Ireland's Celtic heritage

  • 7/31/1917

    July 31, 1917

    Death of poet Francis Ledwidge, from Slane, Co. Meath, who is killed by a stray shell at Ypres during World War I

  • 7/31/1922

    July 31, 1922

    Harry Boland shot by Free Staters in Skerries; he would die three days later

  • 7/31/1965

    July 31, 1965

    Cigarette advertising banned on television in Britain.