WI: Spanish armada invaded Ireland instead of England?

What if instead going directly to England, the Spanish together with their armada decides to take Ireland instead so it can be used as a launch pad for future invasion of Britain. Now if they succeed to take Ireland, how will this change Irish, Spanish and English history? Also their history related to their empires? Would the Irish population be receptive towards Spanish rule?
 
The problem is that it wouldn't matter. As I understand it, the soldiers that the Armada needed to coquer England weren't in Spain but in Flanders. So first they had to sail to Flanders, pick up the soldiers they need and than sail back to Ireland, which means probably the exact same thing happens as OTL , since it is exactly the same route. And exactly as dangerous to England, since Ireland was seen as the backdoor to England.
 
The problem is that it wouldn't matter. As I understand it, the soldiers that the Armada needed to coquer England weren't in Spain but in Flanders. So first they had to sail to Flanders, pick up the soldiers they need and than sail back to Ireland, which means probably the exact same thing happens as OTL , since it is exactly the same route. And exactly as dangerous to England, since Ireland was seen as the backdoor to England.
Correct, whilst, as with all naval ships of that time, they were large marine contingents aboard, the main fighting force was awaiting transport. Whilst there is a theory that the naval forces may have made an attempt to invade the Isle of wight to gain a base but were forced to give battle to the English fleet, they did not have the numbers to land on the mainland unaided. So they end up as you say in the same position that allows fireships and the same storms will wreck them on the way around Great Britain.
 
The problem is that it wouldn't matter. As I understand it, the soldiers that the Armada needed to coquer England weren't in Spain but in Flanders. So first they had to sail to Flanders, pick up the soldiers they need and than sail back to Ireland, which means probably the exact same thing happens as OTL , since it is exactly the same route. And exactly as dangerous to England, since Ireland was seen as the backdoor to England.
There were actually just under 20k soldiers on board of the Armada. If it had been launched in support of one of the Irish Rebellions instead of in 1588 that would have been more than enough to help the Irish win, no need to pass by Flanders.
 
There were actually just under 20k soldiers on board of the Armada. If it had been launched in support of one of the Irish Rebellions instead of in 1588 that would have been more than enough to help the Irish win, no need to pass by Flanders.
so basically we have a free ireland?
 
More like under new management
It would hardly be a bad thing for the Irish; perhaps even the viceroy himself would be an Irishman, maybe a Neill. It would be interesting to see how long Ireland could remain under Spanish suzerainty, possibly until the fall of the Hapsburgs. Maybe a Spanish prince could become the king after gaining independence. I can envision a standing army in Ireland, given that the English surely do not appreciate Spain being so close. In the event of any Anglo-Spanish war, Ireland would likely be one of the primary targets. It's conceivable that an army (tercio) composed mostly of Irish soldiers would be deployed.
 
There were actually just under 20k soldiers on board of the Armada. If it had been launched in support of one of the Irish Rebellions instead of in 1588 that would have been more than enough to help the Irish win, no need to pass by Flanders.
How succesful would it be for Spain on the long run? They might certainly have some success, but for England Ireland was seen as the backdoor. The only way to (relatively) easily invade England. Which is why the english put so much effort into controling Ireland; to avoid Spain, France or whoever uses it to invade England. England would try to take it back, at any cost, for the security of England.It seems to me it would just another front for the Spanish that were already overstretched in those days.
 
There were actually just under 20k soldiers on board of the Armada. If it had been launched in support of one of the Irish Rebellions instead of in 1588 that would have been more than enough to help the Irish win, no need to pass by Flanders.
Maybe but then the Spanish tried that in 1603. The rebellion failed and the Spanish went home.
 
More like under new management
New catholic management which would probably be better for the Irish.
Of course they would, the Irish were legally considered Spanish citizens by royal decree since those times, with full rights as any other "Spaniard" (meaning Castilian, Basque, etc.) living in the land. Spain even had an Irish Prime Minister (Ricardo Wall) way before the UK.

Ibero-Hibernian Brotherhood.png
 
Check out my timeline The Emerald Years. TL;DR Spain conquers Ireland, the Irish are happy about it, the Armada still fails to conquer England because England had another year to prepare, the English try to recapture Ireland but get driven out largely by Irish troops, and England eventually gives up.

The reason I think England might give up is that while England would really want to recapture Ireland, doing so would be very difficult. Spain would give Ireland the one thing it had lacked since Brian Boru: unity. Instead of garrisoning a large Spanish force in Ireland, Spain would probably choose to raise and arm an Irish army to defend the island, with the Spanish presence being mostly naval. At that point, conquering the island would be extremely difficult for England, especially if they have to fight Spain at the same time.
 
Hello,

Ireland might become a base of operations for the Spanish if they wish to conduct covert operations in England or provide support for opposing movements that are in the interests of Spain. Events that have not been displaced by butterflies may include opposing Oliver Cromwell or support of King James II. Of course, Spain’s control or influence of Ireland may change greatly with the end of the Hapsburg dynasty.
 
Maybe but then the Spanish tried that in 1603. The rebellion failed and the Spanish went home.
The Spanish only sent 3000 men, not exactly the equivalent of an armada. Also that was 8 years after the Tyrone's rebellion had broken out, by which point the Irish were already on the defensive. To make matters worse the Spanish landed their soldiers in Munster while the English had already suppressed the revolt there, so the Spanish force was immediately besieged by them in Kinsdale which was the beginning and end of their whole involvement in the war...
A proper force landing in Irish-held territory (which at some point was 80% of the island) would have been more than enough to overwhelm the last English strongholds.​
so basically we have a free ireland?
How succesful would it be for Spain on the long run? They might certainly have some success, but for England Ireland was seen as the backdoor. The only way to (relatively) easily invade England. Which is why the english put so much effort into controling Ireland; to avoid Spain, France or whoever uses it to invade England. England would try to take it back, at any cost, for the security of England.It seems to me it would just another front for the Spanish that were already overstretched in those days.
At least for a while the Spanish will be successful. The English army of the time simply wasn't a match for its Spanish counterpart, however with Spain right on their doorstep I'd expect the English would finally push through some reforms in order to get a proper army in the style of France and the Netherlands. If Spain then still experiences the decay of the late 17th century as iotl holding Ireland will just no longer be realistic for them and they'll have to greatly reduce their forces or evacuate altogether... England remains much larger (by population) and richer than Ireland so Ireland will need some form of outside support to remain outside of England's control, so the mid-to-late 17th century could see a 3rd conquest of Ireland in such a scenario.​
 
The Spanish only sent 3000 men, not exactly the equivalent of an armada. Also that was 8 years after the Tyrone's rebellion had broken out, by which point the Irish were already on the defensive. To make matters worse the Spanish landed their soldiers in Munster while the English had already suppressed the revolt there, so the Spanish force was immediately besieged by them in Kinsdale which was the beginning and end of their whole involvement in the war...
A proper force landing in Irish-held territory (which at some point was 80% of the island) would have been more than enough to overwhelm the last English strongholds.​
Maybe - 20,000 is more than 3,000 and the Plantation in Munster was probably less complete 15 years earlier. But there's a reason Kinsale was chosen in 1603, it was a safe harbour; although Cork harbour would have been even better it may have been too well defended. Could a rebellion in Munster succeed with help in 1588 - IDK?

Perhaps the 1588 Armada should have landed in Galway instead? Though that's pretty remote from the main areas of English control and the Ulster Earls. Would they have been able to join forces in say Athlone for a push on Dublin and the Pale? Is 1588 too early for a Rebellion in Ulster anyway? Sailing to an Ulster port might be difficult
At least for a while the Spanish will be successful. The English army of the time simply wasn't a match for its Spanish counterpart, however with Spain right on their doorstep I'd expect the English would finally push through some reforms in order to get a proper army in the style of France and the Netherlands. If Spain then still experiences the decay of the late 17th century as iotl holding Ireland will just no longer be realistic for them and they'll have to greatly reduce their forces or evacuate altogether... England remains much larger (by population) and richer than Ireland so Ireland will need some form of outside support to remain outside of England's control, so the mid-to-late 17th century could see a 3rd conquest of Ireland in such a scenario.​
I could see the English controlled area contracting to Dublin and a Pale around it. Possibly including other East coast ports like Wexford/Rosslare and Waterford. I think it would be too difficult for Spain to control the Irish Sea and interdict shipping supplies and reinforcements to them. And once King James inherits the English throne, he will want to control Ulster in order to dump the troublesome Scottish Covenanters somewhere outside Scotland. As you say eventually the English will modernise their army along Spanish lines and seek to regain dominance of Ireland.

There are some potential butterflies regarding the Low Countries though. English support for the Dutch will be less as they need to focus their manpower and money on holding/reconquering Ireland. Same for Spain though, it will have less of both to send through the 'Spanish Road' to Brussels. Which effect will be dominant?
 
At least for a while the Spanish will be successful. The English army of the time simply wasn't a match for its Spanish counterpart, however with Spain right on their doorstep I'd expect the English would finally push through some reforms in order to get a proper army in the style of France and the Netherlands. If Spain then still experiences the decay of the late 17th century as iotl holding Ireland will just no longer be realistic for them and they'll have to greatly reduce their forces or evacuate altogether... England remains much larger (by population) and richer than Ireland so Ireland will need some form of outside support to remain outside of England's control, so the mid-to-late 17th century could see a 3rd conquest of Ireland in such a scenario.​
I think logistics would make an English invasion of a united Ireland very difficult -- without a friendly port, it'll be a nightmare to support an army big enough to occupy the whole country.
 
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