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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jun, 2011 4:07 pm    Post subject: One last Irish shield question         Reply with quote

Sorry guys for yet another shield thread, but if you'r up for it, here goes. Does anyone know of steel target type shields being used by light cavalrymen. I ask because they seem to be depicted in John Derricke's Image of Irelande. Now while the images of Irish soldiers from this source are questionable, the images of the English seem to be more accurate, so is there any other evidence for steel targets used by light cavalrymen from Britain or Ireland.

I've also been curious for a long time about what kind of shields were used by Irish kern. I used to think that they used shield similar to Scottish targes, but now I'm not so sure. One reason, is that although they are described by some texts as being armed with wooden targets, I now think that these might in fact have been bucklers, as the two terms (target and buckler) are often used interchangibly in these texts. Another reason is practicality. A targe seems too small to offer any real protection again missile weapons from other kern, and if needed for close quarters, I think a buckler would be a better choice.

Another shield possibility for Irish cavalry or kern, would be something similar to the one from the portrait of Sir Neil O'Neill, which may have even been passed down to Sir Neil from one of his ancestors.

Éirinn go Brách


Last edited by Stephen Curtin on Sat 25 Jun, 2011 6:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
Reading list: 18 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,172

PostPosted: Sat 25 Jun, 2011 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It seems that the question of Irish cavalry has already been asked (but not resolved) here

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...ght=targes

But if anyone has any further thoughts on this subject I would love to hear them.

Éirinn go Brách
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
Reading list: 18 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,172

PostPosted: Sat 25 Jun, 2011 7:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So I've been doing some more thinking about Sir Neil O'Neill's targe, and the more I do, the more I think that this is what the shields of 16th century kerns or hobilars would have been like. First, It's large size seems a perfect for defending lightly armed troops from the missiles of the enemy. Second, the other unusual feature of this shield, is that it is red in colour. Edmund Spenser mentions that the Irish had "round leather targets, coloured after the Spanish fashion". And last but not least, there does not seem to be any signs of embossing on this shield, this is something that it shares with another 16th century example, the O'Donovan shield. Now this might seem weird, but the two noblemen who owned these shields surely would have had some embossing on their targes but perhaps this can be explained by this feature not coming in untill after the 16th century. Well what do the rest of you think?
Éirinn go Brách
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jun, 2011 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is another portrait, which possibly shows what a 16th century Irish shield looked like

http://wikien4.appspot.com/wiki/Thomas_Lee_(army_captain)

This portrait, painted in 1594, depicts Thomas Lee, a captain of the English army in Ireland, posing with the gear of an Irish kern. Obviously his clothes have been modified from the Irish fashion, to better suit Elizabethan tastes, so this painting has to be taken with caution, so baring that in mind, let consider his shield. We can't see much of it in the painting, but we can make out that it is made of wood, and that it is a bit larger (not as large as Sir Neil's) than later targes. This fits in with my theory that the 18" - 20" targe was probably too small to be optimised for a kerns style of combat, and so similar but larger shields were used at this time in Ireland and possible the highlands of Scotland.targes. This fits in with my theory that the 18" - 20" targe was probably too small to be optimised for a kerns style of combat, and so similar but larger shields were used at this time in Ireland and possible the highlands of Scotland.

Éirinn go Brách
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