Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone

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Hugh O'Neill
Hugh O'Neill, 1608.jpg
Only authenticated depiction of Hugh O'Neill. Part of a fresco in the Vatican depicting a coronation ceremony in Rome in 1608. [1]
Earl of Tyrone
Reign1587 – 1607
Coronation 1595
Predecessor Turlough Luineach O'Neill
Successor Henry O'Neill
Bornc. 1550
Tyrone, Ireland
Died20 July 1616 (aged c. 66)
SpouseKatherine O'Neill
Joanna (Siobhán) O'Donnell
Mabel Bagenal
Katherine Magennis
House O'Neill Dynasty
Father Matthew O'Neill
MotherSiobhán Maguire
Religion Roman Catholicism

Hugh O'Neill (Irish: Aodh Mór Ó Néill; literally Hugh The Great O'Neill; c. 1550 – 20 July 1616), was an Irish Gaelic lord, Earl of Tyrone [lower-alpha 1] (known as the Great Earl [2] ) and was later created The Ó Néill. O'Neill's career was played out against the background of the Tudor conquest of Ireland, and he is best known for leading the resistance during the Nine Years' War, the strongest threat to English authority in Ireland since the revolt of Silken Thomas.

Irish language Gaelic language spoken in Ireland and by Irish people

Irish is a Goidelic language of the Celtic and Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of habitual but non-traditional speakers across the country. A non-traditional speaker is known as a Gaeilgeoir.

Irish people Ethnic group, native to the island of Ireland, with shared history and culture

The Irish are a nation and ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry, identity and culture. Ireland has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeological studies. For most of Ireland's recorded history, the Irish have been primarily a Gaelic people. From the 9th century, small numbers of Vikings settled in Ireland, becoming the Norse-Gaels. Anglo-Normans conquered parts of Ireland in the 12th century, while England's 16th/17th-century (re)conquest and colonisation of Ireland brought many English and Lowland Scots people to parts of the island, especially the north. Today, Ireland is made up of the Republic of Ireland and the smaller Northern Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland hold various national identities including British, Irish, Northern Irish or some combination thereof.

Gaels Ethnic group in Europe

The Gaels are an ethnolinguistic group native to northwestern Europe. They are associated with the Gaelic languages: a branch of the Celtic languages comprising Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic. Historically, the ethnonyms Irish and Scots referred to the Gaels in general, but the scope of those ethnicities and nationalities is today more complex.


Early life

O'Neill came from a line of the O'Neill dynastyderbfine – that the English authorities recognized as the legitimate successors to the chieftainship of the O'Neills and to the title of Earl of Tyrone. He was the second son of Matthew O'Neill (Feardorcha Ó Néill), reputed illegitimate son of Conn, 1st Earl of Tyrone.

The derbfine was a term for patrilineal groups and power structures defined in the first written tracts in Early Irish law. Its principal purpose was as an institution of property inheritance, with property redistributed on the death of a member to those remaining members of the derbfine. Comprising all the patrilineal descendants over a four-generation group with a common great-grandfather, it gradually gave way to a smaller three-generation kinship group, called the gelfine.

The Earl of Tyrone is a title created three times in the Peerage of Ireland.

Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone, was King of Tír Eógain, the largest and most powerful Gaelic lordship in Ireland. In 1541 O'Neill travelled to England to submit to Henry VIII as part of the surrender and regrant policy that coincided with the creation of the Kingdom of Ireland. He was made Earl of Tyrone, but his plans to pass the title and lands on to a chosen successor Matthew were thwarted by a violent succession dispute that led to another son, Shane O'Neill, emerging triumphant.

Shane O'Neill (Seán an Díomais), a legitimate son of Conn, employed the ambivalent status of Matthew's paternity to affirm his own claim to the title The O'Neill, although illegitimacy in itself made little or no difference in terms of the Irish legal system of derbfine, where five degrees of consanguinity through the male line with a blood ancestor who had held the O'Neill title were required of any claimant. Once Matthew was accepted by Conn as his son, he was as entitled to the O'Neill lordship as Shane, [3] although, if proven, Shane's constant assertion that Matthew was actually an adoptee, [4] affiliated to the O'Neills, [lower-alpha 2] rather than the illegitimate issue of Conn would have rendered his claim to the earldom void [5] and would have entirely disqualified him from succession also under derbfine.

Shane O'Neill, was an Irish chieftain of the O'Neill dynasty of Ulster in the mid 16th century. Shane O'Neill's career was marked by his ambition to be The O'Neill – sovereign of the dominant O'Neill family of Tír Eoghain—and thus overlord of the entire province. This brought him into conflict with competing branches of the O'Neill family and with the English government in Ireland, who recognised a rival claim. Shanes's support was considered worth gaining by the English even during the lifetime of his father Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone. But rejecting overtures from Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex, the lord deputy from 1556, Shane refused to help the English against the Scottish settlers on the coast of Antrim, allying himself instead with the MacDonnells, the most powerful of these immigrants.

In the ensuing conflict for the succession Matthew was killed by the Ó Donnaile followers of Shane and Conn, placing his sons Brian and Hugh in a precarious situation. The continuing support for their claims came from the English administration in Dublin Castle, which was anxious to use the reliance of the sons of Matthew on their support to break the independent power of the O'Neill lords of Ulster. This was part of a general English policy to transform Irish Gaelic titles into feudal titles granted under the Crown that would bring them entirely within the English legal system through a policy known as surrender and regrant, in which the Irish forcibly surrendered their lands to the Crown and had them granted back into their keeping as property of the Crown, rather than the property of the sept, or Gaelic extended family.[ citation needed ]

Dublin Castle Irish government complex and historical castle site in central Dublin

Dublin Castle is a major Irish government complex, conference centre, and tourist attraction. It is located off Dame Street in Dublin.

Ulster province in Ireland

Ulster is a province in the north of the island of Ireland. It is made up of nine counties: six of these constitute Northern Ireland ; the remaining three are in the Republic of Ireland. It is the second largest and second most populous of Ireland's four provinces, with Belfast being its biggest city. Unlike the other provinces, Ulster has a high percentage of Protestants, making up almost half of its population. English is the main language and Ulster English the main dialect. A minority also speak Irish, and there are Gaeltacht in southern Londonderry, the Gaeltacht Quarter of Belfast and in Donegal, where 25% of the total Gaeltacht population of Ireland is located. Lough Neagh, in the east, is the largest lake in the British Isles, while Lough Erne in the west is one of its largest lake networks. The main mountain ranges are the Mournes, Sperrins, Croaghgorms and Derryveagh Mountains.

The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their sub-divisions. Legally ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context. It is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capacity, as Head of the Commonwealth, or as the king or queen of his or her realms. It can also refer to the rule of law; however, in common parlance 'The Crown' refers to the functions of government and the civil service.

Hugh succeeded his brother, Brian, as baron of Dungannon, when the latter was assassinated by Shane's Tánaiste, or deputy, Turlough Luineach O'Neill, [6] in 1562. He was proclaimed Earl of Tyrone in 1585 but when he went through the ancient ritual of becoming 'The O'Neill', the chief of Tír Eoghain, in 1595, he had thrown down the gauntlet to Tudor power. [7]

Brian Ó Néill, Baron Dungannon was an Irish aristocrat of the Elizabethan era. He was part of the O'Neill dynasty, a powerful Gaelic family in Ulster. Brian's father was Matthew O'Neill, 1st Baron Dungannon who had been given his title by Henry VIII as part of the surrender and regrant policy. Matthew was assassinated by his half-brother and rival Shane O'Neill in 1558. Shane tried to have the government recognise Matthew and his sons as illegitimate, but they continued to be supported by the Viceroy the Earl of Sussex in Dublin.

Dungannon town in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland

Dungannon is a town in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is the third-largest town in the county and had a population of 14,340 at the 2011 Census. The Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council had its headquarters in the town, though since 2015 it has been covered by Mid-Ulster District Council.

Tanistry is a Gaelic system for passing on titles and lands. In this system the Tanist is the office of heir-apparent, or second-in-command, among the (royal) Gaelic patrilineal dynasties of Ireland, Scotland and Mann, to succeed to the chieftainship or to the kingship.

O'Neill became a ward of the state and was brought up in the Hovenden household at Balgriffin, outside Dublin, [8] but after the death of Shane he returned to Ulster in 1567 under the protection of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland. [2] In Tyrone, Hugh's cousin, Turlough Luineach O'Neill, had succeeded Shane O'Neill as The O'Neill, or chieftain, but was not recognized by the English as the legitimate Earl of Tyrone. The Crown therefore supported Hugh O'Neill as the rightful claimant and as an ally in Gaelic controlled Ulster.[ citation needed ]

Balgriffin is a part-rural suburb of Dublin, Ireland, centred on a hamlet. It lies within southern Fingal in the traditional County Dublin and it is partly in the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council and partly that of Fingal County Council.

The Lord Deputy was the representative of the monarch and head of the Irish executive under English rule, during the Lordship of Ireland and then the Kingdom of Ireland. He deputised prior to 1523 for the Viceroy of Ireland. The plural form is "Lords Deputy".

Tyrone Gaelic kingdom of ancient and Medieval Ireland

Tyrone was a kingdom and later earldom of Gaelic Ireland, comprising parts of present-day County Tyrone, County Armagh and County Londonderry. The kingdom represented the core homeland of the Cenél nEógain people of the Northern Uí Néill and although they ruled, there were smaller groups of other Gaels in the area. Also known as the guidance of Land. One part of the realm to the north-east broke away and expanded, becoming Clandeboye, ruled by a scion branch of the Ó Néill.

During the Second Desmond Rebellion in Munster, he fought in 1580 with the English forces against Gerald Fitzgerald, 15th Earl of Desmond, and assisted Sir John Perrot against the Scots of Ulster in 1584. [2]

In the following year he was summonsed to attend the Irish House of Lords in Dublin as Earl of Tyrone and, [2] in 1587 after a visit to the Court in England, he was awarded a patent to the lands of his grandfather, the first earl, Conn O'Neill.[ citation needed ] His constant disputes with Turlough were fomented by the English with a view to weakening the power of the O'Neills, but with the growing power of Hugh, the two came to some agreement and Turlough abdicated in 1593. Hugh was subsequently inaugurated as The O'Neill at Tullyhogue in the style of the former Gaelic kings, and became the most powerful lord in Ulster. Turlough died in 1595. [2]


O'Neill's career was marked by unceasing power politics: at one time he appeared to submit to English authority, and at another intrigued against the Dublin government in conjunction with lesser Irish chieftains. [2] In keeping with the practice common at the time, he bribed officials both in Ireland and at Elizabeth's court in London.[ citation needed ] Though entirely supported by the Dublin administration in his early years, he seems to have been unsure whether his position as head of the O'Neills was best secured by alliance with the English or by rebellion against the advance of their government into Ulster from 1585.[ citation needed ]

In the early 1590s, English government in Ulster took the form of a Provincial Presidency, to be headed by the colonist, Henry Bagenal who lived at Newry.[ citation needed ] In 1591, O'Neill roused the ire of Bagenal by eloping with his sister, Mabel, but showed his loyalty to the crown with his military support for his brother-in-law in the defeat of Hugh Maguire at Belleek in 1593. [2] After Mabel's death,[ citation needed ] O'Neill gradually fell into a barely concealed opposition to the crown and sought aid from Spain and Scotland. In 1595, Sir John Norris was ordered to Ireland at the head of a considerable force for the purpose of subduing him, but O'Neill succeeded in taking the Blackwater Fort before Norris could prepare his forces. O'Neill was instantly proclaimed a traitor at Dundalk. [2] The war that followed is known as the Nine Years' War.

Nine Years' War

O'Neill followed Shane's policy of arming the people, rather than relying as Turlough had done upon Scots mercenary soldiers, such as redshanks or Irish professionals employed under buannacht. This policy allowed him to field an impressive force, with cavaliers and gunpowder supplied from Spain and Scotland, and in 1595 he gave the crown authorities a shock by ambushing and routing a small English army at the Battle of Clontibret. He and other clan chiefs then offered the crown of Ireland to Philip II of Spain who refused it.[ citation needed ]

In spite of the traditional enmity between his people and the O'Donnells, O'Neill allied himself with Hugh Roe O'Donnell, son of Shane's former ally and enemy Hugh O'Donnell, and the two chieftains opened communications with King Philip II of Spain. In some of their letters to the king – intercepted by the lord deputy, Sir William Russell – they were shown to have promoted themselves as champions of the Roman Catholic Church, claiming liberty of conscience as well as political liberty for the native inhabitants of Ireland. In April 1596, O'Neill received promises of help from Spain, and thereafter chose to temporize with the authorities, professing his loyalty to the crown as circumstances required. [9] This policy was a success and, even though Sir John Norris sought to bring him to heel, O'Neill managed to defer English attempts on his territory for more than two years.[ citation needed ]

In 1598, a cessation of hostilities was arranged and a formal pardon granted to O'Neill by Elizabeth. Within two months he was again in the field, and on 14 August he destroyed an English army at the battle of the Yellow Ford on the Blackwater river, [10] in which engagement the English Commander, Henry Bagenal, was killed. [11] It was the greatest of all setbacks to English arms in Ireland.[ citation needed ] If the Earl had been capable of driving home his advantage, he might have successfully upset English power in country, as discontent had broken out in every part — and especially in the south, where James Fitzthomas Fitzgerald with O'Neill's support was asserting his claim to the earldom of Desmond at the head of a formidable army of Geraldine clansmen — discontent broke into open rebellion. But Tyrone, who possessed but little generalship, procrastinated until the golden opportunity was lost. [10]

Eight months after the battle of the Yellow Ford, a new Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Essex, landed in Ireland [10] with an expeditionary force sent there from England of 16,000 troops and 1500 horse. [12] After months of ill-managed operations in the south of the country, and loss of three-quarters of his forces to disease, desertion, and execution of hundreds of troops for cowardice [13] he had a parley with Tyrone at a ford on the Lagan on 7 September 1599, when a truce was arranged. [10] Elizabeth was displeased by the favourable conditions allowed to O'Neill, [10] as she pointed out, if she had intended to simply abandon Ireland she would not have needed to send Essex there,[ citation needed ] and by Essex's treatment of him as an equal. [10] The Lord Lieutenant then traveled back to the Queen's court near London without permission – a desperate move, which culminated, more than a year later, in a failed attempt at an uprising in London, and weeks after, his execution for treason on February 25, 1601. [14]

The queen was in a tricky situation, because political discourse was dominated by the issue of the succession to the throne, just as her most illustrious military commanders were being frustrated by O'Neill in the middle of the Anglo-Spanish War.[ citation needed ] Tyrone continued to concert measures with the Irish leaders in Munster, and issued a manifesto to the Catholics of Ireland, summoning them to join his standard as he protested that the interests of religion were his first care. After a campaign in Munster in January 1600, during which the English Plantation of Munster was destroyed, he hastened north to Donegal, where he received supplies from Spain and a token of encouragement from Pope Clement VIII. [10] At this point the controversial Jesuit, James Archer, was effectively operating as his representative at the Spanish court.[ citation needed ]

In May 1600 the English achieved a strategic breakthrough, when Sir Henry Docwra, at the head of a considerable army, took up a position in O'Neill's rear at Derry; meanwhile, the new lord deputy, Sir Charles Blount, 8th Baron Mountjoy (a protégé of Essex [15] ), marched in support from Westmeath to Newry, compelling O'Neill to retire to Armagh. A large reward was offered for the rebel's capture, dead or alive. [10]

In October 1601, the long-awaited aid from Spain appeared in the form of an army under Don Juan de Aguila, which occupied the town of Kinsale in the extreme south of the country. [10] Mountjoy rushed to contain the Spanish, while O'Neill and O'Donnell were compelled to hazard their armies in separate marches from the north, through territories defended by Sir George Carew, in the depths of a severe winter. They gained little support en route.[ citation needed ] At Bandon they joined together, and then blockaded the English army that was laying siege to the Spanish. [10] The English were in a poor state, with many of their troops disabled with dysentery, and the extreme winter weather made life in camp very difficult. But owing to poor communications with the besieged Spanish and a crucial failure to withstand the shock of a daring English cavalry charge, O'Neill's army was quickly dispersed. The Irish army retreated, and the Spanish commander surrendered. The defeat at the battle of Kinsale was a disaster for O'Neill and ended his chances of winning the war.[ citation needed ]

O'Donnell went to Spain to seek further assistance, where he died soon afterwards (poisoning was suspected[ citation needed ]). [10] With a shattered force, O'Neill made his way once more to the north, where he renewed his policy of ostensibly seeking pardon while warily defending his territory. English forces managed to destroy crops and livestock in Ulster in 1601–1602, especially in the lands of O'Neill's principal vassal, Donal O'Cahan. This led to O'Cahan's withdrawal from O'Neill, and fatally weakening his power. In June 1602 O'Neill destroyed his capital at Dungannon and retreated into the woods of Glenconkeyne. [16] Early in 1603, Elizabeth instructed Mountjoy to open negotiations with the rebellious chieftains, and O'Neill made his submission in the following April to Mountjoy, who skilfully concealed news of the death of the Queen until the negotiations had concluded. [10]

Peace settlement

O'Neill went with Mountjoy to Dublin, where he heard of the accession of King James. He presented himself at the court of the king in June, accompanied by Rory O'Donnell, who had become chief of the O'Donnells after the departure of his brother Hugh Roe. The English courtiers were greatly incensed at the gracious reception accorded by James to these notable rebels. [10]

Although O'Neill was confirmed in his title and core estates, upon his return to Ireland he immediately fell into dispute with Chichester's Dublin administration. [10] Under the 1603 peace agreement most of his land had been given to his former Brehon law tenants. in the case of the Bann Fishery, the government eventually established that his entitlement to the benefit of that property was nullified on account of the original Anglo-Norman conquest in 1172, a precedent of significant implications for the former Gaelic polity. [17] In the meantime, it was the dispute over O'Neill's rights concerning certain of his former feudatories – Donal O'Cahan being the most important – that led to his flight from Ireland. They were now freeholders of the Kingdom of Ireland, with new legal rights, but O'Neill expected them to support him as in the past, which they declined to do. In O'Cahan's case the Ó Catháin clan had traditionally inaugurated the O'Neill kings in the past. Chichester consider O'Cahan's case to be pivotal, as if he caved in to O'Neill then other Ulster chiefs might also be persuaded to give up their freehold rights, and another war might follow.[ citation needed ]

This dispute dragged on until 1607, when O'Neill was invited by King James to go to London to argue his case. Warned, however, that his arrest was imminent[ citation needed ] (and possibly persuaded by Rudhraighe Ó Domhnail, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell – whose relations with Spain had endangered his own safety) the decision was made to flee to Spain. [10]


"The Flight of the Earls" occurred on 14 September 1607, when O'Neill and O'Donnell embarked at midnight at Rathmullan on Lough Swilly on a voyage bound for Spain. Accompanying them were their wives, families and retainers, numbering ninety-nine persons. Driven by contrary winds to the east, they took shelter in the Seine estuary and were told by the Spanish to pass the winter in the Spanish Netherlands and not to proceed to Spain itself. In April 1608, they proceeded to Rome, where they were welcomed and hospitably entertained by Pope Paul V. [10] The journey to Rome was recorded in great detail by Tadhg Ó Cianáin. [18] In November 1607 the flight was proclaimed as treasonous by James I. [19] A bill of attainder was passed against O'Neill by the Parliament of Ireland in 1613. [10]

The hopes of the earls for military support foundered as Philip III of Spain wanted to maintain the recent 1604 peace treaty with James I of England, the Spanish economy had gone bankrupt in 1596 and its European fleet had been destroyed some months earlier by the Dutch Republic at the Battle of Gibraltar. This suggests that the Flight was impulsive and unplanned.[ citation needed ]

O'Neill died in Rome on 20 July 1616. [10] Throughout his nine-year exile he was active in plotting a return to Ireland, toying variously both with schemes to oust English authority outright and with proposed offers of pardon from London. When the former Crown loyalist Sir Cahir O'Doherty launched O'Doherty's Rebellion by the Burning of Derry in 1608 it raised hopes of a return, but the rebellion was quickly defeated. Oghy O'Hanlon was Hugh's nephew and played a leading role in O'Doherty's Rebellion. As a principal rebel leader, Oghy O'Hanlon had been stripped of his inheritance by Sir Arthur Chichester, and he may have been taken into protective custody before his exile to Sweden. O'Hanlon was presented into Swedish military service and threatened with execution if he resisted. [20] [21]

Upon news of his death, the court poets of Ireland engaged in the Contention of the bards.[ citation needed ]

Status in Ireland

In 1598 O'Neill appointed James FitzThomas FitzGerald, the so-called Sugán Earl, as Earl of Desmond. Two years later in his camp at Inniscarra near Cork city he then recognized the celebrated Florence MacCarthy as the MacCarthy Mor or Prince of Desmond. [22] The fiasco of the 1599 campaign by Essex in Ireland added to the power vacuum in most parts of Ireland.[ citation needed ]

O'Neill had little influence on the Lords of the Pale in Leinster, and his army had to feed itself by plunder, making him unpopular. He made enemies of some lords by interfering in their traditional autonomy if they did not give him their entire support. These included Lord Inchiquin, Ulick Burke, 3rd Earl of Clanricarde, The Magennis of west County Down and Tiobóid na Long Bourke.[ citation needed ]

O'Neill issued a proclamation to the Pale Lords on 15 November 1599, many of whom were Roman Catholic, protesting that his campaign was not for personal power but only for the freedom of the Catholic religion. [23] This was unconvincing to them, as before 1593 he had practised as an Anglican, and was not known for having any great interest in religion.[ citation needed ]

At the international level, O'Neill and O'Donnell had offered themselves as vassals of King Philip II of Spain in late 1595, and suggested that Archduke Albert might be crowned Prince of Ireland, which was declined. In late 1599, in a strong position after Essex's failed campaign, O'Neill sent a list of 22 proposed terms for a peace agreement to Queen Elizabeth, including a request on the status of future English viceroys. This amounted to accepting English sovereignty over Ireland as a reality, while hoping for tolerance and a strong Irish-led administration. The proposal was ignored. [24]


O'Neill was married four times: [10]

It is probable O'Neill married a fifth time, for mention is made of a young countess of Tyrone during his residence in Rome. He had, in addition, numerous illegitimate children, of whom one, Con, who was left behind at the time of the flight, was educated at Eton College as a Protestant, and died apparently about 1622 in the Tower of London. [26]

Dramatic portrayals

Hugh O'Neill was played by Alan Hale Sr. in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939).

Hugh O'Neill was portrayed by Tom Adams in the Disney film: The Fighting Prince of Donegal (1966) with a character name change to Henry O'Neill.

In the 1971 BBC drama Elizabeth R he was played by Patrick O'Connell.

O'Neill is the central character in Brian Friel's play Making History (1989), which is concerned largely with his third marriage to Mabel Bagenal: Friel describes the marriage as a genuine if ill-fated love affair.

Running Beast (2007), a musical theatre piece by playwright Donal O'Kelly with music by the composer Michael Holohan, commemorating The Flight of the Earls 1607–2007


  1. Hugh is usually referred to as the 2nd Earl of Tyrone (Canny 2008). But if his elder brother Brian is counted, Hugh is 3rd.[ citation needed ] By the patent of the earldom, Brien was de jure earl between their grandfather's death in 1559 and his own assassination in 1562. He never claimed the earldom, and did not call himself earl. He may not have been of age to take his seat in the Irish House of Lords, and he certainly did not control Tyrone.[ citation needed ]
  2. The genealogy Hiram Morgan has prepared notes on Matthew as "affiliated".(Morgan 1993, pp. 86–87).
  1. "Priest penetrates Vatican secrecy in quest for lost portrait of Irish rebel leader Hugh O'Neill". Mid-Ulster Mail. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 McNeill 1911, p. 109.
  3. Brady 1996, p. 23.
  4. FitzSimons 2001 , pp. 138–152; Brady 1996 , p. 22
  5. Morgan 1993, p. 23.
  6. Morgan 1993, p. 214.
  7. Sean O'Faolain, The Great O'Neill: A Biography of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, 1550–1616, Dufour Editions, 1997.
  8. Hiram Morgan, Tyrone's Rebellion (Dublin, 1993), pp 92–3
  9. McNeill 1911, pp. 109–110.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 McNeill 1911, p. 110.
  11. John McGurk, 'The Battle of the Yellow Ford, August 1598', Dúiche Néill: Journal of the O'Neill Country Historical Society, no. 11 (1997), pp 34–55.
  12. Lytton Strachey, Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1928, p.202
  13. Strachey, p.206-208
  14. Strachey, p.242-268
  15. Strachey, p.183
  16. McCavitt p.44
  17. See Peter Carew for similar legal moves in support of colonial policy
  18. Ó Cianáin, T., "The Flight of the Earls", CELT (UCC) Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  19. A Proclamation touching the Earles of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, 1607; CELT (UCC) Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  20. Nicholas P. Canny, "Making Ireland British", 2001, ISBN   9780198200918
  21. Gráinne Henry, "Ulster Exiles in Europe, 1605–1641"
  22. Irish Pedigrees: MacCarthy Mor#123
  23. Morgan 1994.
  24. "Hugh O'Neill's War aims", online version published by CELT (UCC) Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 Canny 2008.
  26. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Dunlop 1895, p. 196.
  27. “Heroines or Victims? The Women of the Flight of the Earls”, Jerrold Casway in New Hibernia Review / Iris Éireannach Nua, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Spring, 2003), pp. 56–74

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The Battle of the Yellow Ford was fought in western County Armagh, Ulster, in Ireland, near the River Blackwater on 14 August 1598, during the Nine Years War (Ireland).

The Battle of Clontibret was fought in County Monaghan in May 1595 during the Nine Years War between the Crown forces of England's Queen Elizabeth I and the Irish army of Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone. The battle ended in victory for Tyrone, and was the first severe setback suffered by the English during the war.

Hugh McShane O'Neill was an early modern Irish nobleman and rebel. Genealogies list Hugh as either the son of Con MacShane O'Neill, 3rd son of Shane O'Neill, or as the 10th son of Shane O'Neill himself. In either case he was a grandson of Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone, and Gearoid Mór Fitzgerald, 8th Earl of Kildare, and of the primary line of the O'Neill of Tyrone clan. Shane was the Prince of Ulster and Chief of all the O'Neill septs until his death in 1567. Hugh gained his patrimony, like his father, from the O'Neill sept clan he'd been fostered by; the McShanes of Killetragh and the Glenconkeyne forest. This group was also called the "Wild Clan Shanes of Killetragh" or the "McShane-O'Neills".

Ó Néill dynasty Group of families of Gaelic origin prominent in Ireland and elsewhere

The Ó Néill dynasty is a lineage ultimately all of Irish Gaelic origin, that held prominent positions and titles in Ireland and elsewhere. As Kings of Cenél nEógain, they are historically the most prominent family of the Northern Uí Néill, along with the Ó Dónaill, Ó Dochartaigh and the Ó Donnghaile dynasties. The Ó Néills hold that their ancestors were Kings of Ailech during the Early Middle Ages, as descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages.

MacShane Surname list

MacShane is a patronymic surname originating in Ireland. The surname evolved from the given name Shane, a derivative of John, of Hebrew origin. Early records spelled the name Mac Seáin or Mac Seagháin. Historically, the MacShanes from Ulster are a branch of the O'Neills, while in County Kerry, the surname was adopted by the Fitzmaurices. MacShane is uncommon as a given name.

Con(n) MacShane O'Neill (1565–1630) was an Irish flaith or Prince of Ulster, the Lord of Clabbye, nobleman, rebel, and political leader in the late 16th century and early 17th century.

Henry MacShane O'Neill or Anraí MacSéan Ó Néill was an Irish flaith, a son of Shane O'Neill. He was the leader of the MacShane in the late 16th century and early 17th century, and sought control of the O'Neill Clan, fighting with his brother against Hugh O'Neill.

The Treaty of Mellifont, also known as the Articles of Mellifont, was signed in 1603 and ended the Nine Years' War which took place in the Kingdom of Ireland from 1594 to 1603.

Sir Arthur O'Neill or Sir Art O'Neill was an Irish soldier and landowner. He was part of the O'Neill dynasty, which was the most powerful Gaelic family in Ireland at the time. He was the son of Turlough Luineach O'Neill, the head of the O'Neill dynasty until 1595. He was the second son of Turlough, but his eldest brother Henry O'Neill died in 1578. At times he had a strained relationship with his father, and offered his support to Turlough's rival Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone. When Tyrone succeeded Turlough as head of the O'Neills and began Tyrone's Rebellion, Arthur offered tacit support to his distant cousin.

Conn O'Donnell was a member of the O'Donnell dynasty of Donegal. At various points in his turbulent career, Conn either opposed or allied himself with the English Crown, Shane O'Neill or Turlough Luineach O'Neill, as the situation and his personal advantage dictated in order to pursue his rivalry with his father's younger brother, Hugh mac Manus O'Donnell.

On 16 February 1595, a Gaelic Irish force assaulted and captured the English-held Blackwater Fort at Blackwatertown in County Armagh. The Irish were led by Art MacBaron O'Neill, brother of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and marked Tyrone's break with the English Crown as he openly waged war against the English forces in Ireland.

The Battle of Belleek, also known as the Battle of the Erne Fords, was fought on the River Erne near Belleek in Fermanagh, Ireland, on 10 October 1593. It was part of the buildup to the Nine Years' War. The battle was fought between a Gaelic Irish army under Hugh Maguire, lord of Fermanagh—who had begun a revolt against the English—and an English Crown expeditionary force under Sir Henry Bagenal, supported by Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone. Maguire's force was defeated, but the bulk of his army was unscathed. Hugh O'Neill would later join Maguire in war against the English.



Further reading

Secondary sources

  • Gerard Anthony Hayes McCoy Irish Battles (Belfast, 1989) ISBN   0-86281-212-7.
  • Nicholas P. Canny The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland: A Pattern Established, 1565–76 (London, 1976) ISBN   0-85527-034-9.
  • Nicholas P. Canny Making Ireland British, 1580–1650 (Oxford University Press, 2001) ISBN   0-19-820091-9.
  • Steven G. Ellis Tudor Ireland (London, 1985) ISBN   0-582-49341-2.
  • Cyril Falls Elizabeth's Irish Wars (1950; reprint London, 1996) ISBN   0-09-477220-7.
  • Jefferies, Henry A. (2000). "Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, c. 1550–1616". In Charles Dillon, Henry A. Jefferies and William Nolan (ed.). Tyrone: History and Society. Dublin. pp. 181–232.
  • Colm Lennon Sixteenth Century Ireland — The Incomplete Conquest (Dublin, 1995) ISBN   0-312-12462-7.
  • O'Faolain, Sean (1970) [1942], The great O'Neill. A biography of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, 1550–1616, Cork
  • James O'Neill, The Nine Years War, 1593–1603: O'Neill, Mountjoy and the Military Revolution (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2017).
  • J. J. Silke The Siege of Kinsale

Primary sources

Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Turlough Luineach O'Neill
Ó Néill
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Brian O'Neill
Earl of Tyrone