Below are a selection of images taken from John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande, with a Discoverie of Woodkarne, which was published in 1581 AD. Dedicated to Philip Sidney, the book is largely a pro-English propaganda piece which praises the deputy-ship of Philip’s father Henry Sidney and his military campaigns in Ireland. Although it casts the Irish in a less than favourable light, the book does afford a relatively rare insight into the dress and appearance of Ireland’s late 16th century inhabitants (as well as contemporary English military equipment). Today only one copy of The Image of Irelande, with a Discoverie of Woodkarne survives and this is stored at Edinburgh University Library.
A soldier holding a battle-axe hands a spear to an Irish chieftain in full dress, with a page holding the chieftain’s horse.
An armed company of the Irish soldiers (kerne), carrying axes and pikes attack and burn a farmhouse and drive off the horses and cattle.
The Mac Sweynes seated at dinner and being entertained by a bard and a harper
The Irish chieftain receives the priest’s blessing before departing to fight the English, who are shown in full armour
The English solders return in triumph, carrying severed Irish heads and leading a captive by a halter
Sir Henry Sidney, Lord-Deputy, accompanied by an armed force, sets out from Dublin Castle for a progress through Ireland. A number of rebel heads can be seen impaled on spikes above the castle gates.
The English army is drawn up for battle, while Sidney himself parleys with a defiant messenger from the Irish
Sidney and the English army on the march with standards and trumpets
The English army puts the Irish army to flight. The piper is cut down with his pipes beside him
Turlough Lynagh O’Neale and the other kerne kneel to Sidney in submission.