After the wrecking of two Armadas by storms, the new Spanish king Philip III was determined to end English support for the rebellious Netherlands by providing tit-for-tat assistance to the Irish insurrection. Once again, bad weather stymied his plans, forcing the Spanish fleet to land at Kinsale, a poor base for an invasion, as it was practically indefensible. England’s Lord Deputy in Ireland, the Earl of Mountjoy, reacted immediately. Within a week, he had arrived in Cork, and quickly had the Spaniards under siege. The Earl of Tyrone, Hugh O’ Neill, the Irish rebel commander, would have preferred to concentrate his forces in the north but, egged on by his bellicose ally Hugh O’ Donnell and unwilling to jeopardize the Spanish alliance, he marched to Kinsale. The attempted relief was a disaster; Mountjoy routed O’ Neill and his allies, and the Spanish garrison under Juan del Aguila was forced to surrender.
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