Cromwell spent only nine months of his eventful life in Ireland, yet he stands accused there of war crimes, religious persecution and ethnic cleansing. In a century of unrelenting, bloody warfare and religious persecution throughout Europe, Cromwell was, in many ways, a product of his times. As commander-in-chief of the army in Ireland, however, the responsibilities for the excesses of the military must be laid firmly at his door, while the harsh nature of the post-war settlement also bears his personal imprint. A warrior of Christ, somewhat like the crusaders of medieval Europe, he acted as God's executioner, convinced throughout the horrors of the legitimacy of his cause, and striving to build a better world for the chosen few.
Micheal O Siochru is a native of Dublin, lectures in history at Trinity College, Dublin and has written extensively on seventeenth-century Ireland. His publications include Confederate Ireland 1642-1649: A constitutional and political analysis (Dublin, 1999) and Kingdoms in crisis: Ireland in the 1640s (Dublin, 2001).