8th July 1689

8th July 1689

A view of Culdaff Bay, in County Donegal.


In extracts from “The Siege of Derry 1689: The Military History” author Richard Doherty explains why part of the Williamite Fleet began to move around the Inishowen peninsula to Inch Island in Lough Swilly:


“…since Inch was so valuable to the Jacobites for supplies, it made sense to deprive them of that source of supply by occupying the island. This had the further advantage of providing a rallying point for local Protestants…It would also allow sailors and soldiers to have some liberty from the crowded conditions of their ships and, as had already been suggested to Kirke, the Island would provide a location for a hospital.
In a direct line, Inch is only a little more than six miles from the walls of Derry…A body of men would have had to march no more than eight miles to reach the city from the island…Thus Williamite soldiers on Inch represented a very real danger to the Jacobites about Derry who now had to be wary of an attack from behind.”


From Richards’ Diary of the Fleet:


“Monday 8th [July 1689] We plied to windward between the mainland and Innistrahul island; but the current ran so strong that we could make nothing off, and were forced to bear away with the rest of the Fleet into Culdaff Bay, and there came to anchor. At the same time, we made the yacht coming away before the wind: she soon came up with us: she found no ships in Lough Swilly. Capt. Rooke sent her away to acquaint the Major-General of it”.


[The ‘Henrietta’ yacht was sent into Lough Swilly two days previously, to check whether rumours of a large number of ships, possibly the enemy’s, were moored there]