Battle of Skerries

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Battle of Skerries
Part of the Bruce campaign in Ireland
Date 26 January 1316
Location near Ardclough, County Kildare
Result Scottish/Irish victory
Royal Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland.svg Kingdom of Scotland and Irish allies Coat of arms of the Lordship of Ireland.svg Lordship of Ireland and Irish allies
Commanders and leaders
Edward Bruce Edmund Butler, Earl of Carrick
Maurice FitzThomas
at least 6,000 10,000 approx
Casualties and losses
unknown, probably low unknown, probably high

The Battle of Skerries, also named the Battle of Ardscull, was a battle in the Bruce campaign in Ireland – part of the First War of Scottish Independence – fought on 26 January 1316, resulting in a Scottish victory. It was part of the Irish campaign of Edward Bruce, brother of Robert Bruce, king of Scotland. The site of the battle was Skerries near Ardclough {probably should be Ardscull as Ardclough is in North Kildare near Sallins} in County Kildare.

The battle[edit]

Edward Bruce, earl of Carrick, had landed in Ireland in May the year before, and been proclaimed king of the island in June, which the Irish population saw as a positive thing since Bruce's goal was to remove the English. Bruce continued on his march south, before again encountering the government forces in January.[1] The Hiberno-Norman forces, summoned by the justiciar of Ireland, consisted of men such as John FitzThomas FitzGerald, Maurice FitzThomas FitzGerald, Thomas FitzJohn, John and Arnold Poer, Maurice de Rocheford and Miles and David de la Roche.[2] Though these forces heavily outnumbered those of Bruce, internal strife broke out in the Anglo-Irish ranks, a fact that Bruce could take advantage of. Though suffering heavy losses, the Scots held the battlefield, effectively winning the battle.[2]


The official English account of the battle blamed unfortunate terrain and bad luck for the government forces' loss, not an entirely convincing explanation. The same account also claims that the Scots lost many of their greatest men, while their opponents only lost one man.[2] After the battle the Scots withdrew to Leix, while the Anglo-Irish forces kept them under surveillance from nearby Castledermot, while their leader withdrew to Dublin. Here John Hotham, the king's envoy to Ireland, made a great effort to ensure the loyalty of the Irish nobles.[3] By May, however, Bruce had returned to his safe base in Ulster, while Hotham had returned to his new position in England as Bishop of Ely.[1][3]


  1. ^ a b Duncan, A.A.M (2004), "Bruce, Edward, earl of Carrick (c.1280–1318)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, retrieved 2008-07-19 
  2. ^ a b c Haines, Roy Martin (2003), King Edward II: Edward of Caernarfon, His Life, His Reign, and Its Aftermath, McGill-Queen's Press, pp. 290–3, ISBN 0-7735-2432-0 
  3. ^ a b Buck, M.C (2004), "Hotham, John (d. 1337)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, retrieved 2008-07-19