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The Castle at Limerick

The Castle at Limerick

Cartographer: [Bodley, Josias]

Medium: Ink and tempera on parchment

Date: 1611

Shelfmark: Cotton Augustus I.ii f.33

Length: 39.2

Width: 39.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript Map

This is a plan of the castle at Limerick. It dates from around 1611 and is therefore contemporary with the English plantation scheme. This scheme involved the division of the counties of Donegal, Londonderry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Armagh and Cavan into plots of land to be given to English and Scottish settlers and Irish who agreed to plant and conform to Protestantism. Here the fort is shown as a roughly square structure with a bastion at each corner. The areas of the fort are named via an alphabetical key, indicating the munitions house, the port and the drawbridge. One of the bastions is angular and it is noted that this is the ‘new bulwark’. Angular bastions were adopted by the English as early as the 1540’s, copied from Italian examples. They have the advantage of providing fire power outwards and flanking power along the walls so that no blind spots exist, enabling defenders to cover all the surrounding area. The draughtsman is likely to have been Josias Bodley, an engineer by training who held the offices of Superintendent of Castles and Director-General of Fortifications in Chichester and had been the main surveyor in the first major attempt to calculate the size of the confiscated territories of Ulster in 1609.

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