Earl of Lucan

, originally from Herefordshire, settled in Ireland not long after the Anglo Norman conquest, at Sarsfieldstown in County Meath.

While some of Patrick Sarsfield's feats have become household legends, very little is known about his youth. Even his date of birth is uncertain, but it is possible that he was born at Lucan before the family's ejection in 1649. He was educated in France and spent much time in London where he was involved in some " affairs of honour "


Sarsfield's Cottage

I am grateful to Joe Guilfoyle for kindly sending me this photograph of a painting of the cottage located in Lucan Demense, known as Sarsfields Cottage.

Joe's father lived here in the thirties and Joe recalls his last visit during the fifties, when only the tiled floor of the conservatory remained.

Sarsfield first saw service in 1691 under Monmouth against the French. He entered Dongans regiment in 1678. During the last years of the reign of CharlesII, he served with English regiments attached to the army of Louis XIV. On the accession of James II, to whom Sarsfield showed unswerving loyalty, throughout his military career, he returned to England, where he took part in many battles. At Sedgemoor, in 1685, he was wounded, but was also promoted to Colonel. When James was deposed in 1688, he sailed for France, and Sarsfield went with him. They returned to Ireland in 1689.

Under James, Sarsfield took part in several Irish battles but his most notable feat was at Limerick. Defending the city against William of Orange, Sarsfield sneaked out at night and blew up the siege train at Ballyneety, thus depriving William of his guns, ammunition and stores. On this occasion William failed at Limerick.

Following Limerick, more battles took place where the Jacobites were aided by French soldiers. However, following defeats, the Irish retreated to Limerick once again. This time the siege lasted for a month.There appeared to be no hope of receiving further French aid and to add to his problems, Sarsfield discovered that his youthful companion and near neighbour at Lucan - Henry Luttrel - was with his infamous friend Captain Clifford, carrying out secret negotiations with the enemy to betray the city and their comrades.

There followed the Treaty of Limerick and the subsequent departure to France of a large number of the Irish army including Patrick Sarsfield. They set sail from Limerick on 22nd December 1691 on French ships, which had arrived too late to help in the siege.

Sarsfield was given a commission of Marshal de Camp (Lieutenant General) by Louis XIV. He and much of the Irish army fought bravely in the service of the French King in Flanders against the same Dutch and English armies. He was wounded at the Battle of Landen, on 19th August 1693, and died some three days later at Huy. Sarsfield was survived by his son James, and by his mother and two widowed sisters who were living in France at the time.

Sarsfield was created Baron of Rosberry and Viscount of Tully by James II, and in 1690, he was made Earl of Lucan. He was described as "tall and handsome". In the words of O'Callaghan the historian - "His character may be comprehended in the words of simplicity, disinterestedness, honour, loyalty and bravery". The title Earl of Lucan died with James Sarsfield in 1718.





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 Last updated 15 September, 2001