Book Review – ‘Ireland and the War at Sea 1641–1653’ by Elaine Murphy
As Elaine Murphy notes in this study, naval affairs are a relatively neglected topic in early modern Irish historiography. In part this may be due to the scattered, fragmentary nature of the surviving evidence, but it is also the product of a well-established tradition of naval history that concentrates on grand strategy, battles and fleets to the neglect of sea warfare which did not conform to this pattern. Building on work by Jane Ohlmeyer, N. A. M. Rodger and others, this new book, a model of its kind, effectively challenges a narrowly focused naval tradition by providing a wide ranging examination of the maritime conflict in the seas around Ireland during the civil wars of the 1640s and early 1650s. While exploring the vital role played by naval warfare, the author also seeks to integrate it with broader political, economic and military changes….