Spouses, spies and subterfuge: the role and experience of women during the Nine Years War (1593-1603)

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O'Neill, James
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Women provided domestic, commercial and medical support to both English and Irish armies during the Nine Years War (1593-1603). Consequently, they were exposed to the perils of war and suffered accordingly. They lived and died in siege camps, beleaguered garrisons and suffered the brutality of punitive attacks on the civilian population. However, women were more than passive observers or hapless victims. Women influenced the course and conduct of the war to a greater extent than previously acknowledged. Women were indispensable elements in intelligence and communication networks, providing information and carrying letters between both allies and belligerents. All classes of women were involved, acting as envoys and go-betweens between Tyrone's Irish confederates and the crown. The influence of spouses guided the will of powerful (and not-so-powerful) husbands, with results that affected the course of the war.
Nine Years War , Women , Intelligence , Communication networks
O'Neill, J. (2021) 'Spouses, spies and subterfuge: the role and experience of women during the Nine Years War (1593-1603)', Proceedings of The Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature, 121C, pp. 1-24. doi: 10.3318/PRIAC.2021.121.02
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