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Title: Eleanor Hull (1860-1935)
Author: A History of Ireland and Her People (1931)
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0800111h.html
Language:  English
Date first posted: February 2008
Date most recently updated: February 2008

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Eleanor Hull



VOLUME 1—To the Close of the Tudor Period

I. Pre-Christian Ireland
II. Early Christian Ireland
III. The Northmen
IV. Clontarf and After
V. The Normans in Ireland
VI. The O'Conors of Connacht and the O'Briens of Thomond
VII. The Invasion of Edward Bruce and the Gaelic Revival
VIII. The Statute of Kilkenny
IX. The Geraldines: The House of Desmond and the House of Kildare
X. The New Policy of Henry VIII
XI. The Change in Religion
XII. Sir Henry Sidney
XIII. Shane O'Neill and the Scots in Ulster
XIV. The First Plantations
XV. The Desmond Rebellion
XVI. Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone
XVII. Essex in Ireland and the Ulster Campaign
XVIII. The Munster Planters
XIX. Fineen (Florence) MacCarthy Reagh
XX. The Battle of Kinsale
XXI. The Flight of the Earls and the End of Mediaeval Ireland


I. Pope Adrian's Bull "Laudabiliter" and Note upon It
II. Letter from Cathal Crovdearg O'Conor, King of Connacht, to Henry III,
          circa 1224
III. Extract from a Letter written by Richard II to his Uncle, the Duke of York,
          on his Arrival in Dublin, February 1, 1395
IV. Intelligence Message for Henry IV on the State of Ireland in 1399
V. List of Books belonging to the Library of Gerald, Ninth Earl of Kildare, 1526
VI. Letter of Conn O'Neill during his Imprisonment in Dublin Castle, 1552
VII. Letter of Shane O'Neill to the Earl of Sussex, Viceroy of Ireland, 1561
VIII. Historical Work done by Sir George Carew relating to Ireland

VOLUME 2—From the Stuart Period to Modern Times

I. James I and Ireland
II. The Plantation of Ulster
III. Wentworth in Ireland
IV. The Rebellion of 1641-42
V. The Confederate Wars in Ireland
VI. The Ormonde Peace
VII. Cromwell in Ireland
VIII. The Restoration
IX. James II in Ireland
X. James II's Irish Campaign
XI. After Limerick
XII. Commercial Disabilities
XIII. The Struggle for Legislative Independence
XIV. Grattan's Parliament
XV. Revolution and Rebellion
XVI. The Union
XVII. O'Connell and Emancipation
XVIII. The Famine
XIX. Young Ireland and the Fenians
XX. Remedial Legislation
XXI. Parnell and the Land League
XXII. John Redmond and Home Rule
XXIII. Sinn Fein and the Rising of Easter Week, 1916
XXIV. War and Conciliation
XXV. The Treaty
Epilogue. 1922-1930


I. Phelim O'Neill's Commission from King Charles I
II. Oration of P. H. Pearse over the grave of O'Donovan Rossa
III. Proclamation of the Irish Republic, April 24, 1916
IV. Commission given by Eamon de Valera to the Envoys to the British Government,
          October 7, 1921
V. The Three Oaths
VI. Articles of Agreement on the Boundary Question
VII. Speech of Arthur Griffith in Dail Eireann on December 19, 1921,>
          in moving the approval of The Treaty
VIII. Poem 'Renunciation' by P. H. Pearse
IX. 'Moral Force' by Terence MacSwiney




Old Matthew Paris writes: "The case of historical writers is hard; for if they tell the truth they provoke men, and if they write what is false, they offend God." Of all histories this dictum is perhaps most true of Irish history, which has been studied rather in terms of present-day political issues than in terms of actual retrospect. The most urgent of these political issues having been, up to a recent moment, the relations of England toward Ireland, this part of the history has to a certain extent, though often with much prejudice, been dealt with by all writers on Ireland; but the conditions of the country under native rule have been much more inadequately studied. It is taken almost for granted by patriotic writers that native Ireland was enjoying a Golden Age from which she was rudely awakened by the irruption of the English, who, in destroying it, put in its place a ruthless despotism, increasing in severity from age to age There is no more exacting problem than that of the rule of a dependency by an outside power; and in studying this problem, as Lecky truly says, "Irish history possesses an interest of the highest order...In very few histories can we trace so clearly the effects of political and social circumstances in forming national character, the calamity of missed opportunities and of fluctuating and procrastinating policy; the folly of trying to govern by the same methods and institutions nations that are wholly different in their character and their civilization." [1] The problem was much more complicated than modern writers allow; the conditions in Ireland itself account for much; and it is perhaps because the theory of a Golden Age breaks down upon closer study that the internal history of the country, as exhibited in its own annals, has been scrupulously avoided by Irish writers anxious to lay all the blame of misgovernment upon forces over which Ireland had no control. In the new situation, now that Ireland has once more regained freedom of action unhampered by outside interference, a reconsideration of the whole subject seems urgent. The professed desire of many of the younger school of Irishmen is for a return to the conditions, the methods, and the laws of the past as a rule of guidance for to-day. A clear understanding as to where this ambition leads calls for a reading of history which takes into account both sides of the problem, and endeavours fairly to estimate the actual conditions of native life in Ireland as well as the many and varied attempts of England to deal with it. The early intentions of the ruling power to act justly toward Ireland broke down in a despair that led to the most ruthless methods of resettlement. The fault was partly English, partly Irish, but still more largely that of the officials, who intervened between the English Crown and the Irish people. How Ireland would have developed had the Normans never set foot in Ireland is a question as impossible to answer as a similar question concerning England. The coming of the Normans was as inevitable in the one case as in the other; nothing at that time could withstand the sweep of their victorious onrush over Western Europe; and the result of their conquests was in both cases permanent and mixed of good and evil.

[1] Historical and Political Essays.

I have endeavoured in the following history to interpose as little as was possible between the reader and the contemporary authorities to which all writers of history must go, if they would study the matter at first hand. The result has been in numberless cases a surprise to myself; so different is the report of the man on the spot from the commonly received opinion of the present day. Irish history is a series of contradictions; its unexpectedness creates its absorbing interest; it refuses to march along the simple lines marked out for it by the modern political writer; it is illogical, independent, averse to rule. In these circumstances it has seemed best, so far as space permitted, to let the original writers speak for themselves.

By this means some portion of that fresh flavour which we taste in old personal documents, letters, and memoirs of the time may be retained, and the fault which Montaigne charges against "the middle sort of historians" that "they will chew our meat for us" is partly avoided. The writers of the day were undoubtedly often prejudiced, partial, or even false; but their memorials are all we have to depend upon; and especially in the Tudor period, when Irish history is well documented on all sides, they never held their tongues. We might like them better if they had not talked so much; but at least we have their unbiased opinion, and it is not difficult for any intelligent reader to make the necessary deductions for their individual points of view. To know the history of any period we must know the men who made that history; the personal element can never be omitted with safety in preference for wide general deductions. History never repeats itself, for the men who made it yesterday are different from the men who are making it to-day. But it is upon the men that the trend and conclusions of history depend.

I have to acknowledge with gratitude the kindness of the following noblemen and gentlemen who have allowed the use of photographs of portraits from their private collections for this work: His Grace the Duke of Devonshire, for a portrait of the first Earl of Cork, called the 'Great' Earl of Cork, now at Hardwick Hall, formerly at Lismore, attributed to Paul van Somers; the Right Hon. Lord Sackville, for the portrait of Katherine FitzGerald, the "Old Countess of Desmond," at Knole; the Right Hon. Lord de l'Isle and Dudley, for the portrait of Sir Henry Sidney, at Penshurst Place; Lady Nesta FitzGerald, for the portrait of Garrett Oge, ninth Earl of Kildare, at Carton, Maynooth; the Hon. Francis Agar-Robartes, for the portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh, at Wimpole; Mr Francis Joseph Bigger, for the portrait of Shane O'Neill, at Castle Shane, Ardglass; and the Rev. F. H. Hodgson, for the portrait of Sir George Carew, first Earl of Totnes, at Clopton House, Stratford-on-Avon. I have been unable to discover the owners of the two interesting portraits of Hugh O'Neill, second Earl of Tyrone, which were exhibited in the Loan Collection of Portraits, London, in 1866. Though known as a portrait of Hugh O'Neill, the younger of the two portraits has a faint inscription across the top of the picture, which seems to read, "Haec est Christophori simulaia canalis imago quem jaculum transfixa coxendice peremit."

To Mr Newport B. White I am indebted for kindly translating King Cathal "Crovdearg" O'Conor's letter in the Appendices, and to my brother, Mr C. M. Hull, for help in proof-reading and indexing.



When Agricola in the fifth year of his British campaign (A.D. 82) "manned with troops that part of the British coast which faces Hibernia, with a forward policy in view," [1] the fate of Ireland, for good or ill, hung in the balance. Wherever the Roman arms made themselves felt, wherever by conquest or colonization Imperial law, religion, ideas, extended themselves, there followed as an inevitable consequence the profound modification, if not the extinction, of the native habits of life, and mythology. Ireland for many hundreds of years fell under no such yoke as that imposed by the Roman rule in Britain and Gaul. In spite of the Roman general's belief that "with one legion and a fair contingent of irregulars Hibernia could be overpowered and held," he never set foot upon her shores; for seven centuries after Agricola's day no important attempt was made by any outside power to subdue and colonize Ireland. Set apart by the surrounding ocean from the overwhelming catastrophes that overtook Europe after the fall of Rome, Ireland was left undisturbed to work out her own destiny. In Gaul and Britain, with the dying out of the native tongue and the adoption of a debased form of Latin, the native records, oral or written, were to a great extent lost; our knowledge of the customs, traditions, and beliefs of these countries, except for a few inscriptions and monuments, is derived solely from the observations of the conquerors.

[1] Tacitus, Agricola, xxiv.

In Ireland, on the other hand, thanks to its exemption from Roman dominion and the preservation of the native tongue, a mass of traditions, which were later preserved in writing, remain. Most of them have come down to us in the form of stories connected with special districts and relating to personages some of whom appear to have had an actual existence in history, and they are so full of detail as to habits, dress, and ways of life that we can form from them a clear idea of social conditions in Ireland at a time before history proper can be said to begin. They supply the most complete record of a civilization during the pre-Christian period preserved by any European nation north of the Alps. They claim to represent the life of the first century of the Christian era and onward; and the results arrived at by archaeology serve to confirm the truth of this tradition. Some of the ornaments described in the tales, for instance, are known to have ceased to be worn elsewhere within the first century of our era; and, though this does not preclude the possibility that in a country so remote from the general current of European influences as Ireland was they may have continued to be worn until a later period, it does tend to prove that the extant descriptions date from a period when these ornaments were still familiar to the story-tellers. Such are the beautiful brooches of the La Tène period and especially the leaf-shaped fibulae found in Ireland, descriptions of which occur as part of the dress of heroes in the Cuchulain tales; in Britain and Gaul, where they were also worn, they fell into disuse before the close of the first century. Though not nearly so common as the penannular brooch, with the circle pierced by a long pin, of which the Tara brooch is the best-known example, six specimens of the fibula have been found, three having been discovered at Emain Macha or Navan Rath, the centre of the Cuchulain tales in which these descriptions occur. It is evident that the bards who recited these stories, and possibly those who first committed them to writing, must have seen such brooches actually in use, otherwise they could not have been so accurately described.

The earliest tales of Ireland are partly concerned with mythological personages who seem to have been regarded as deities, known as the Tuatha De Danann, and partly with the doings of a group of heroic men and women, of whom the hero Cuchulain is the central figure. The chief centre of the group was Emain Macha in Ulster. In this district the outlines of forts, burial-places, and chariot-paths may still be seen, and the neighbourhood still retains old names and traditions corresponding to the legends as we have them written down in manuscripts of the tenth and eleventh centuries. The same may be said of the neighbourhood of Rath Cruachan, now Croghan, in Connacht, which is the centre of a similar group of Connacht traditions. In general the tales relate to an ancient struggle for pre-eminence between Ulster and Connacht, which was then ruled by a queen named Meave (Medhbh) as formidable as the British warrior-queen Boadicea (Boudicca). She is said to have gathered to the contest the "Four Great Fifths"or provinces into which Ireland was then divided and to have invaded Ulster, primarily to regain possession of a famous bull, but actually to assert the authority of Connacht and the South over that of the North. The incidents and fights into which the war resolved itself, in which her chosen warriors fought in single combat the champion of Ulster, Cuchulain, form a long and varied story. The Táin bó Cualnge is the chief epic of early Ireland.

There has been much dispute as to how the early division into five provinces was made. According to an old tradition, the first partition was carried out in the time of the Firbolg, one of the pre-Gaelic peoples of Ireland, and was later confirmed by the Milesians (or Clann Mileadh), the last invaders of ancient Ireland. According to this division Ireland consisted of Leinster, Connacht, Ulster, and two divisions of Munster. At the date of the Cuchulain or Ulster cycle of tales the monarch of Ireland, Eochaidh Feidhlioch (pronounced Yohee Feiloch), the father of Queen Meave of Connacht, redistributed the country in exactly the same way; which was, as Keating says, "the most permanent division ever made in Ireland." [2] This was also the tradition related to Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis) when he came to Ireland with Henry II. Professor Eoin MacNeill gives prominence to the Leinster tradition, which divided Leinster, instead of Munster, into two sections, and included Tara in the northern half, but this division was probably only temporary. [3] The erection of Meath into a separate province was only accomplished, according to an old belief, in the reign of Toole the Legitimate (Tuathal Teachtmhar), who reigned for thirty years at the end of the first and beginning of the second century. The local sept were the Luighne of Tara, a branch of a family of the same name settled in the Sligo district. At the close of the Ulster cycle we find the reigning king, Cairbre Nia Fear, giving his name to the territory of Meath as "Cairbre's Fifth" or Province, and disposing of part of his inheritance by gift to Conor (Conchubhar), King of Ulster, in return for the hand of his daughter in marriage. But from the earliest times the kings of Tara would seem to have exercised some undefined superiority over the provincial princes, and the repartition of the provinces by Eochaidh while monarch of Ireland shows that this right was submitted to and recognized. But all these ancient traditions must be received with caution. It was to the interest of each province to claim for itself the glory of having given High-kings to Tara, and the local writers did their best to give expression to these provincial aspirations. From an historical point of view little reliance can be placed on them.

[2] Keating, History of Ireland, ed. P. S. Dinneen (Irish Texts Society), 1, 107, 109, 185. There is a comparatively late cycle of tales dealing with Eochaidh, which may reflect the ideas of later days about the High-kingship.
[3] Phases of Irish History. Professor MacNeill does not give references; but has argument seems to be founded on the late composite Leinster text, Cath Ruis na Ríg, ed. E. Hogan, pp. 23 seq., which has been copied by Keating.

As time went on frequent changes took place. The early Ulster stories place the centre of the Northern power in the eastern portion of the province, with Emain Macha as its chief seat of authority. The chief incidents in the stories occur in parts of the present counties of Louth, then called Murthemne or Cuchulain's country, which was included in Ulster, and in Armagh, Down, and Antrim. Western Ulster takes no part. But during the Norse period the centre of power has swung west, and we find the princes of Ulster reigning from Aileach, five miles north-west of Derry in Co. Donegal, where a great fort is still to be seen.

In Tudor times the large part of Ulster west of the Bann was in the hands of the two powerful families of the O'Neills and O'Donnells, with their underlords or "Urraghs." The O'Neills occupied Tir-Eoghan or Tyrone, which then comprised, besides the present county of this name, the whole of Derry north to Lough Swilly, while the principality of the O'Donnells occupied Tir-Connell or Donegal.

The other provinces underwent similar changes. Munster, in Norse times, was divided between the Eoghanachts with Cashel as their capital, and the Dalcais or Dalcassians under the great family of the O'Briens, who made their chief seat at Kincora, near Killaloe on the Shannon, the succession to the kingship of Munster alternating between the two families. But later the province was partitioned into North Munster or Thomond, ruled by the O'Briens, which sometimes included Tipperary, Clare, and part of Limerick, sometimes only Clare; and South Munster or Desmond, which extended over Kerry, Cork, Waterford, and the south of Limerick. Co. Clare seems by geographical position to belong naturally to Connacht, and it passed back to that province about 1579 during the viceroyalty of Sir Henry Sidney, though the Earls of Thomond resisted the change.

The chief business of each province was transacted at public assemblies, to which people from all parts of the province congregated and to which merchants, native and foreign, brought their wares for sale. At these meetings laws were promulgated, the genealogies and provincial records rectified, and decisions come to by the brehons. Games and horse-racing formed part of the recreations of the assembly, and they may have had a religious significance. At the time of the marking out of the territory of Meath several of the sites where these gatherings (aonach) were accustomed to be held were brought within the limits of the central province, and forts were built beside them for protection. The meetings seem to have been connected with the quarterly festivals, for the assembly of Tlachtgha met with sacrificial rites at the beginning of winter (samhain), and that of Usneach at the beginning of summer (bealtaine). At the assembly of Taillte, held at the beginning of August (lughnassa), the marriages of the young people were arranged by their parents for the year, the men keeping themselves apart on one side and the girls on the other, while the arrangements were talked over and contracts made. Contracts for service seem also to have been part of the business of the fairs.

Originally these festivals had been the provincial assemblies of the separate provinces of Munster, Connacht, and Ulster, but they seem to have assumed a more general character with the readjustment of the provinces to form the new province of Meath. Ossory or Southern Leinster retained its own important fair of Carmen, which was divided into three parts, "a market of food, a market of live stock, and a great market of foreign goods." It is said to have been attended by Greeks, bartering gold and splendid clothing. One slope was given up to racing, another to cooking, and a third to women employed in making embroideries. The preliminary public business of law-giving and the execution of justice being disposed of, debts having been settled, arrests and distraints composed, and horse-racing tricks reprimanded, the company gave themselves over to gaiety and buying, while jugglers, bone-men, fiddlers, pipers, and masked actors carried on their trades in one part, and storytellers related the ever-fresh Fenian tales of destructions, cattle-preys, and courtships to crowds who never wearied of hearing them. [4]

[4] O'Curry, Manners and Customs, iii, App., 523-547.

These annual or triennial festivals served the purpose of keeping all parts of a province in touch. They were meeting-places for friends from a distance, and probably, like the still existing 'pardons' of Brittany, they had a religious purpose. Each was established on the site of the burial-place of some ancient female deity, and no doubt arose out of celebrations organized in her honour, with sacrifices and ceremonies which kept alive the cult. [5]

[5] Keating, History of Ireland, ii, 245-253.

The assembly or feis of Tara was the most important of all these meetings. It met once in three years in times of peace, and was attended by representatives of all the provinces. It was a sign of unusual disturbance if it were omitted. There the laws were promulgated or recited and rectified, annals and records added to, and genealogies brought up to date. It formed the central authority for the whole country, and was the main symbol of union between the provincial kingships. Men of rank attended it from all parts of Ireland, each captain of a band of warriors being followed by a shield-bearer. The monarch of Ireland or Aird-Rí presided, and banquets of great ceremony were held, each guest having his appointed place arranged beforehand according to rank and marked by the hanging of the owner's shield behind the seat he was to occupy. The women were provided for in a separate chamber, just as they had separate portions of the ground set apart for them at the fairs. The trumpet sounded three times as the guests entered and took their seats, each under his own shield. In the time of Cormac mac Art these assemblies were solemnized with great splendour; the dress of the king and his nobles being described as magnificent. That these old descriptions are substantially correct is rendered probable by the beauty of the ornaments actually recovered, such as finely decorated brooches, torques or waist-belts, rings and collars, all of which must have been worn by persons of rank. [6] Very fine examples of inlaid or chased bronze scabbards have also been found. Sickles and reaping-hooks for cutting rushes or reaping corn show that the custom was to cut the ears of the grain, which was then frequently stored in underground granaries for safety in times of turmoil. The cultivation of wheat was so general that it is referred to as a standard of value; barley was grown for malt; and ale was drunk, as well as mead, from early times.

[6] Armstrong, Catalogue of Gold Ornaments, National Museum, Dublin; W. Ridgeway, Date of the Cuchulain Saga; Macalister, Ireland in Pre-Celtic Times (1921); G. Coffey, The Bronze Age in Ireland; and cf. article on "The Distribution of Gold Lunulae in Ireland," in Proceedings of the Royal lrish Academy, vol. xxvii, Section C.

The High-kingship of Cormac mac Art in the third century may be accepted as historical; it represents the climax of the power of the kings of Tara in pre-Christian times. His reign is the centre of a number of stories pointing to the magnificence of his Court and the extent of his influence, but so many of the legends surrounding him are clearly folktales, that the whole tradition must be treated with reserve. It, however, incorporates one certainly historical fact, that of the dispersion of the clan of the Deisi, who migrated from Meath to the south of Ireland and to South Wales about this time. It is possible that at one time Connacht occupied a similar position of eminence to that which Tara obtained in Cormac's reign, for the pre-Christian kings of Ireland were buried at Clonmacnois, where the monastery of St. Ciaran was afterward built. From early times this seems to have been a sacred spot.

Tara itself was undoubtedly a religious centre before becoming the political headquarters of the High-king, and the rites with which the king was initiated point to a religious sanction for his election, and also to the belief that in his person he represented a divine idea. Though he was possessed of special privileges his life could hardly have been a happy one, for he was encompassed with taboos (geasa) which he dare not break without forfeit of his life or good fortune, and omens accompanied his every action. His existence must have been hampered at every point by ancient regulations. All Irish kings were subject to these restrictions, but they accumulated about the person of the king of Tara, as being the superior ruler, and a semi-divine personage. [7]

[7] Book of Rights, ed. O'Donovan, xlii-xlviii, 2-25; Folklore, March 1901; R. A. S. Macalister, "Tara" in P.R.I.A. vol. xxxiv, Section C, No. 10.

How the election of a king of Tara was carried out is not clear. The choice was probably in the hands of representatives from the different provinces, but it had to be ratified by certain ancient omens, such as the crying out of the Lia Fail, or "Stone of Destiny," when he stood upon it. Such omens were probably worked, as in other primitive societies, by the priests or Druids. The election of the provincial kings was also accompanied by curious and, to us, sometimes repugnant ceremonies, which continued in the native parts of the country up to a late date. Each king had his fixed retinue of officers of the household—his bards, law-givers, story-tellers, porters, stewards, and military body-guard, who attended to the regulation of the royal precincts, and to the arming or provisioning of the household. [8]

[8] Kilkenny Archaeological Journal, vol. ii.

If any uncertainty as to the succession existed the aid of soothsayers seems to have been resorted to. These men, after incantations, proclaimed the successor in a dream or ecstasy. In such a case as the election of King Conaire, the person indicated by them was quite unexpected by the electors. In the choice of Lugaidh of the Red Stripes a Convention of the Four Provinces of Ireland was held, attended by princes from all parts of Ireland, and this may have been the ordinary procedure. [9]

[9] Derga, ed. Wh. Stokes, pp. 14, 17; Hull, Cuchulain Saga, pp. 231-32.

The inauguration ceremonies varied in different parts of the country. They took place on special hills or under ancient trees of great size, consecrated by time and tradition to this use. Though Keating and other Irish historians contest the truth of the old accounts, they are undoubtedly not imaginary, for they correspond closely to those of many peoples in a similar stage of progress. Some of the rites, such as that of handing to the newly elected chief a white rod as a symbol of the justice that ought to attend his rule, are of a solemn and suggestive character. A high standard of moral rectitude was set before the king, and such precepts as the following were laid down for him by his instructors. They are an appeal to the old wisdom of the fathers. "Speak not haughtily Mock not, insult not, deride not the old. Make no demands that cannot be met...Let not prescription close on illegal possession...Let the heir be established in his lawful patrimony; let strangers be driven out by force of arms. Do not sacrifice justice to the passions of men." [10]

[10] Instructions of King Cormac mac Art, R.I.A. Todd Lect., vol. xv.

In historical times elections were made in a more regular manner. The election was by popular vote and was taken at a mound (dumha), where the electors assembled and recorded their decision by shout or proclamation. The claimant had to be of the ruling family, and he was "the best of the noble heroes in knowledge, true learning and princely honour." If the election was disputed, both claimants appeared richly attired and armed, and when the decision was made the chief nobles placed their hands in his in token of fealty and placed the royal diadem (mind-righ) round his head, giving thanks to God for sending him. They then gave hostages for fidelity to the newly made king. Such an election is recorded of Callachan, King of Cashel, in the tenth century. [11]

[11] Caithreim Callachan Caisil, ed. A. Bugge, p 61.

Disputes and consequent wars for the succession were of constant occurrence. Primogeniture was not recognized, and sons born out of wedlock were equally eligible with the legitimate sons. The claimant was seldom the son of the late chief, but usually a cousin or nephew, chosen within certain family limits [12] for his position or capability. Though this system was good in theory, as being directed to the selection of the strongest candidate, the uncertainty with which elections were attended led to perpetual family feuds, murders, and mutilations, in order to get rid of possible rivals, a mutilated man being incapable of holding the princely office. This gave rise to the system of 'tanistry' in later times, by which the incoming chief was chosen during the lifetime of the reigning king, and thus secured the recognition of the sept, with the hope of a peaceful succession. But even this did not always secure the end in view; and the question of the succession of the Irish princes was one of those crucial points on which the English and Irish differed seriously throughout the Tudor period.

[12] Eoin MacNeill, Celtic Ireland, pp. 114-143

For centuries, from the date of the battle of Ocha (483) in the reign of Laery, we find the High-kingship of Tara held by the line of the Northern and Southern Hy-Neill in regular and alternate succession; but after the death of Malaughlan II (1022) it was seized by the O'Lochlans, a branch of the same house, and held by them in contest with the O'Conors of Connacht, one of whom, Roderick O'Conor, was in power at the date of the Anglo-Norman invasion. Once before, in the reign of Dathi (d. 428), Connacht had been the superior power, but only for a short interval. Munster had never placed a king in the royal seat until Brian wrenched the sceptre from Malaughlan II and reigned till his death at Clontarf; his son was sometimes reckoned as his successor. But through centuries, Ulster held, almost undisputed, the supreme power.

The old tales and laws present us with a picture of a warlike people whose children were trained from their boyhood to the use of arms, the sons of chieftains being admitted to knighthood at the age of seven and girded with miniature weapons suited to their age. This custom was continued up to a late period, for when the four provincial kings, O'Neill of Ulster, O'Conor of Connacht, MacMorrogh of Leinster, and O'Brien of Thomond, were invited to Dublin to meet King Richard II and offered English knighthood, they replied that they had been knighted when they were seven years of age. The little spears put into the hands of the young aspirant to knighthood were not empty symbols; they were intended to test his expertness in the actual implements of warfare which he would be called upon to use in after life, war being considered as the natural activity of the vigorous man.

Instruction in horsemanship, hurley, swimming, and shooting was given at an early age even to sons of the smaller chiefs, while children of the lower ranks were taught the care and herding of lambs and calves, kids and young pigs, kiln-drying, combing wool and wood-cutting; girls learned the use of the quern for grinding corn, and also kneading, dyeing, and weaving. They afterward took a large part in the work and superintendence of the farm and agriculture. Girls of high rank were trained in sewing, cutting out, and embroideries. The fine needlework of the Irish women was famous. The 'Raven-banner' of Earl Sigurd the Stout of Orkney, carried by him at Clontarf, which spread out in the wind like a flying bird, had been wrought for him by his Irish mother, a daughter of King Carroll (Cearbhal) of Ossory; and one of the prettiest pictures from old Irish romance is that of Emer, daughter of Forgall, seated in the pleasure-ground before her father's fort at Lusk, teaching the daughters of the neighbouring farmers fine needlework and embroidery.

Children of high rank were brought up and taught by foster-parents, fosterage forming among the Irish and Scotch Gaels the most enduring and the closest tie, as it was the most perfect expression of the unity of the clan as one family. From the son of the chief downward, every child of the higher ranks was nurtured by a family of a lower class. This formed an indissoluble bond of affection and a sure foundation of mutual sympathy between members of the clan. The chieftain who had been brought up in a farmer's family and had passed the first seventeen years of his life among his children had a knowledge of the conditions of life among his own retainers and a sense of their needs such as could have been gained in no other way. On the other side, the love of the foster-parents for their foster-children exceeded the affection which they bestowed upon their own offspring, and the families who fostered the chiefs felt for them a passionate affection. It was a bond at once sane and romantic, and it was seldom broken through life. The foster-son was bound to aid or support his foster-parents in old age or poverty just as much as the fosterer was bound to train and instruct him in youth. The obligations and the affection were mutual. The laws of fosterage were rigorously laid down; the fosterling's food, his clothes, his instruction, his payments, being all regulated by law. The child went provided with suits of clothes according to his rank; satin and scarlet, with silver on the scabbards and brass rings on the hurling-sticks, and brooches of gold for the sons of kings; plain black and white or saffron woollens for the humblest grades. Each child had to bring at least two suits of clothes, one new and one worn, the children of the highest chiefs wearing two colours every day and new clothes of two colours every Sunday, embroidered with gold and silver; the richness and variety of the colours worn corresponding to the rank of the wearer. They probably wore tartans.

The food of the poor child was 'stirabout' with salt butter; the higher-born child ate the same, but it was made with new milk and wheaten meal, while the sons of kings had fresh butter and honey. Chess-playing, the chief recreation of the higher classes in Ireland from the earliest times, was taught to boys of these classes along with more solid occupations. Girls paid a larger fosterage fee than boys, as being less useful to their foster-parents, but less was expected from them by way of return. The girl was of full age at fourteen years, the boy at seventeen; but if he were a king's son he was presented with a horse at seven. It was the duty of his tutor to instruct him fully in preparation for his degree, and to chastise him without undue severity. [13]

[13] Ancient Laws of Ireland, 11, pp. 147-103, 349.

The old laws show that the position of women in early Ireland was legally high, and the position of the 'wife of equal rank' where the marriage was made with the full consent of both parties was a good one. It carried with it equal rights between the husband and wife. Each owned the property—lands and household stuff and cattle—brought in at marriage, and both retained their rights over their own share, all family decisions about the children being made by mutual consent. In cases of separation, which had to be open and public, the woman took away with her all that she had contributed to the marriage stock. In law their word was equal, the evidence of the woman being equally admissible and equally valid with that of the man. Wedding gifts were divided, one-third going to the woman and two-thirds to the man, but the man, not the woman, paid the dowry. The wife received a stipulated share of all profits on farming or industry carried on by her; and, as the care of the farm as well as of wool and cloth-weaving, dyeing, malting, and similar pursuits, seems to have been in her hands, this must have amounted to a considerable regular income in the case of large farming operations. If she had been "a great worker" during her married life she was entitled on separation to one-ninth of the increase. [14] All women might give presents to their poor neighbours out of their separate property, and the woman might entertain half the company allowed to her husband. In the absence of her husband she could make contracts or reclaim debts. If she failed to enforce a debt there was a curious provision by which the contending parties might make "a lawful combat with their distaffs and comb-bags" in the presence of their guardians. The elaborate provisions relating to separated couples show that separation was frequent. A variety of other connexions besides regular marriage between men and women are provided for, the woman who bore sons having always a superior claim to the sonless woman. "The woman of equal rank, and the first wife with sons and without sons, and the adulteress with sons, these four women may give their own 'honour-price' in excess (of the actual debt) in presence of their husbands or in their absence, in loan and in lending at interest, in bargains and contracts. The adulteress without sons shall not give, in the absence of the man, anything but a hook and a distaff and such implements; and she shall not give in his presence anything but what her partner may order." [15] The power to exact an 'honour-price' in case of injury received showed that the aggrieved person held a position of dignity recognized by the clan. The ordinary sufferer from an injury could only exact compensation for the actual injury done him; but the man or woman of position claimed, over and above this, an extra compensation equivalent to their rank, rising by stages until it reached the 'honour-price' of the chief. If the culprit failed to pay the due compensation, it fell to his relatives to pay it, or in the last resort to the chief. Fines were regulated and debts reclaimed by the laws of ' distress ' which form a very large part of the Irish 'customary law.' [16] They were paid, as a rule, in cattle, which were driven into the village pound and retained there until the debt was discharged. Only persons of the lowest class, who owned no property that could be used to repay a debt, were imprisoned. Such a man was fettered or chained about the neck and fed on the smallest possible amount of food until the chief compelled him to do his duty. [17]

[14] Ibid , p. 391.
[15] Anc. Laws, ii, 379, 387.
[16] Ibid., i, 85 seq.
[17] Ibid., i, 105-7.

The descriptions of the dress of high-born women, as well as of kings, and of their utensils are of the most elaborate kind. Eochaidh, King of Ireland, is said to have seen Etain "at the edge of a well with a bright comb of silver adorned with gold, washing in a silver basin wherein were four golden birds and little bright gems of purple carbuncle in the rims of the basin. Her mantle folded and purple, a beautiful cloak with silvery fringes and a brooch of fairest gold. Her kirtle long, hooded, of green silk with red embroidery of gold. Marvellous clasps of gold and silver in the kirtle on her breasts and shoulders. On her head two golden-yellow tresses, each plaited in four locks, with a bead at the point of each lock. The hue of her hair seemed like the flower of the iris in summer, or like red gold after the burnishing." [18]

[18] Togail Bruidne Da Derga, ed. Wh. Stokes, p. 6.

The wide cloak, reaching to the knees or the feet, was common to all classes and periods and served many purposes, but a short cape with hood and tight-fitting jerkin with kilt were also worn. The linen undergarment was loose and thickly pleated and usually dyed saffron-colour.

Weapons were the broad sword, used for a downward stroke, spears and javelins of many kinds, and large bronze, hide, or wooden shields. Warriors fought from chariots, some of which were scythed like those of the Britons. Chiefs and charioteers were experts in the management of the horses, as they became in later times in horsemanship, when riding took the place of the chariot. Irish feats of skill in springing on to running horses, riding without saddle, and executing feats of agility on horseback were recorded with wonder by many visitors to the country, and horsemanship is still a passion in Ireland. Chariots were the usual means of entering into battle up to the seventh century, and decorated bronze bits have been discovered in Co. Mayo, adorned with late Celtic designs. Battles were, in the main, a series of single combats, ending with a general engagement. The duels were frequently fought in streams on the borders of territories, and a stranger was challenged in passing from one province to another by the warrior appointed to watch the ford.

One chief cause of wars was the raid for cattle, in which, along with personal and household goods, the wealth of a tribe consisted. Position depended upon the number of herds and flocks possessed by a tribesman, and there was an elaborate system by which cattle were loaned out by the chief or by large owners to those who needed them, in return for services rendered. According to the amount obtained, the borrower took a higher or lower place in the community, and rendered heavier or lighter service. It would appear that these middlemen were the 'Brugaid' or 'Bruigfer' of whom we hear as occupying large farms, which also acted as inns or houses of hospitality for wayfarers at central points along the main roads.

From the earliest times of which we have any record the inhabitants of Ireland were a Gaelic-speaking race, though it is not to be inferred that this language was aboriginal. At least for 1500 years the Celtic tongues have been spoken only in the extreme west of Europe—in Ireland, and the west of Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany. They once had a wider range, but were pushed west by the spread of Roman culture and of the Latin language and by the Teutonic tribes who invaded the western half of the Empire and brought about its fall. It was probably from the mountain zone of Central Europe that the Celtic tongues spread over to the west. These people lived in pile-dwellings and were not given to movement.

Of the earliest inhabitants of the Celtic lands we know little with certainty. The latest researches in ethnology suggest the conclusion that the earliest race of which remains have been found in Ireland was a short, dark, and long-headed people, correlated with the Mediterranean European stock, who maintained intercourse with their brethren over the sea. Their blood, however, was not quite pure, and remains of individuals of alien racial character have also been found. These people are assigned to the late Stone (Neolithic) and Early Bronze Ages; they were the builders of the dolmens, or cromlechs, whose structures remain over an area extending from Japan, India, and Syria, along the north coast of Africa, and round by Spain, France, Holland, and Denmark, besides Cornwall, Wales, and Ireland. This race has given to Wales, Scotland, and Ireland the majority of their small brunette inhabitants. The wide distribution of their monuments would suggest a seafaring people, coasting along the shores, for the larger number of the dolmens are near the coast. They must have had a solemn cult of the dead; no one who has visited the great tombs of New Grange or Dowth on the banks of the Boyne, or who has seen the impressive alignments and the massive menhirs, or standing stones, at Carnac in Brittany, can fail to feel the reality of their belief in some form of worship connected with the dead.

These people were traders and workers in metal—copper, tin, and gold; and long before the arrival of the conquering race of tall, fair-haired people, who became dominant over many parts of Ireland, they were working gold in Wicklow and exporting, among other articles, the beautiful gold lunulae, or crescent-shaped neck ornaments, which have been found in Denmark, the north of France, Belgium, and Germany, in Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland, and in great numbers in Ireland itself. History has no beginning, and more than a thousand years before Christ traders may have been exchanging their wares along the Mediterranean shores, by way of Sicily, Spain, and Ireland, and so north to the Baltic.

At a period which is supposed not to be older than between 350-400 B.C. a new race came to Ireland. These were a tall race of fair-haired people, who brought with them the use of iron, and their arrival in Ireland marks there the beginning of the Iron Age. A people of Nordic origin, they came from the north of Europe. They were much like the Northmen and Normans, who in later days were to dispute with them the supremacy in Ireland, forerunners perhaps of the vikings who were to pour into Ireland in the ninth and tenth centuries. Being equipped with better weapons, they conquered [19] and assured domination over the original inhabitants, who probably differed from them, not only in race, but in religion and language; and, though there is no reason to think that the older peoples were inferior in courage and skill to their conquerors, the new-comers oppressed them as slaves and enacted laws to prevent intermarriage between the conquered and the conquerors. The old inhabitants seem to have sunk into the 'unfree communities' (daer-chlanna) or serfs; they had no rights, being despised by the ruling race as inferiors and reduced to servile ways of making a livelihood. [20]

[19] R. A. S. Macalister, Ireland in Pre-Celtic Times (1921). Cf. G. Fletcher, Ireland, pp. 82-94; H. J. E. Peake, The Bronze Age and the Celtic World;, H. J. Fleure, The Races of England and Wales; G. Coffey, Bronze Age in Ireland.
[20] For the castes in Irish society see Ancient Laws of Ireland, vol. iv.

The earlier Mediterranean people seem to have had a matriarchal form of life and government, memories of which lingered on in the tradition that the provincial assemblies, such as those of Tara and Taillte were founded in commemoration of famous women, and were held in celebration of their burial-feasts. War and learning were alike presided over by women-goddesses; there was a group of three war-goddesses, Morigan (or Neman), Macha, and Badb; another group, collectively called Brigit, presided over poetry and art. The cult of fairies and of well, stream, and forest spirits, and perhaps also the worship of animals, seems to belong to the most primitive forms of belief, and was widespread; but attempts to analyse the different strata of ancient beliefs can at present only be conjectural.

The old Irish traditions of origin, which describe the arrival in the country of a succession of peoples called the race of Partholan, the sons of Nemhed, the Firbolg, and the Milesians or children of Mileadh, are not to be regarded as having an historical basis. The actual facts of ethnology do not support these myths. But they in a general way indicate the early belief in the existence of races older than the dominant fair-haired, tall people of historic times, who were known as Milesians. The old legends describe the earlier race, called the Firbolg, as a small dark people who were despised by the conquering Milesians; they were supposed to be possessed of every evil trait of character. To the newer and superior race the Firbolg were as truly "meere Irish" as the Gaelic speaker was in later days to the speaker of English, and he was despised accordingly.

A body of people, known as the Erainn, seem to have been dominant in Munster and to have emigrated from the north of Kerry into Co. Antrim, while portions of the same communities are found in Connacht and Meath. These people have been thought to have given their name to the country, but this derivation is very doubtful. [21] They may have been scattered fragments of a population more widely spread in ancient times. Ptolemy, writing about A.D. 150, speaks of Brigantes in South-eastern Ireland similar to the inhabitants in the north of Roman Britain of the same name, and of Manapii on the coast of Wexford, whose name associates them with the Belgic people on the Continent. More important were the Cruithne or Picts, whom we meet in historical times occupying the whole of Scotland north of the Forth to the Orkneys, as well as the islands of Skye and Lewis. In Ireland they peopled the parts of Eastern Ulster, now known as Cos. Down and Antrim. Tradition gives them a much wider area; they seem to have occupied large parts of the present counties of Armagh, Tyrone, Derry, and Fermanagh. It would seem likely that they were once the dominant race in Ireland as in Scotland, although no trace of their language remains in Ireland. In Scotland there are a number of place-names which retain the word, such as Clais-nan-Cruitneachad, "Hollow of the Picts," in Sutherland; Carnan Cruitneachad, "Cairns of the Picts," in Ross; and Cruitneachan or "Pict's places" in Inverness. [22] The constant Irish tradition is that they passed over from Ireland to Scotland.

[21] Dr Pokorny suggests Ever as the true base of the name, which the Romans changed into Hibernia from the Iverni of Ptolemy.
[22] A. B. Scott, The Pictish Nation, People and Church (1918).

In early Christian days several well-known teachers from the North of Ireland went over to teach Christianity to these Pictish peoples of Scotland. St Finnbarr, Abbot of Moville, in Co. Down, St Moluag of Bangor in the same county, SS Comgall and Cainnech or Kenneth, the companions of St Columcille, were all north of Ireland Picts, who made their home among the Picts of Scotland; dedications to them are found all over Pictland. Another headquarters of Pictish missions was St. Ninian's "White House" in Galloway, then also a Pictish district. The descent of the Picts and Scots on Northern Britain in the latter part of the fourth century was probably the result of a combination of the Northern Picts of Ireland with those of Caledonia. The link of race would make the two peoples natural allies. Roman, British, and Saxon records alike confirm the accounts of the Irish chronicles as to the onslaught made upon Britain by the Picts and Scots or Irish. Ammianus Marcellinus says: "At that time the trumpet, as it were, gave signals for war throughout the Roman world...The Picts, Scots, Saxons, and Atticotti harassed the Britons with incessant invasions." Later he tells us that Theodosius had been sent to Britain to drive back the Picts from the gates of London. [23] Gildas writes that Britain groaned in amazement under the cruelty of two foreign nations, the Scots from the north-west and the Picts from the north. "The Britons abandoned their cities and the protection of the wall, dispersing in flight, and the enemy pursued them with unrelenting cruelty, butchering our countrymen like sheep." Bede tells us that they came at two intervals, being checked for a time by the return of the Roman troops at the appeal of the Britons and by the building of the second wall between the Forth and Clyde, to endeavour to push the invaders back into the mountainous parts of Britain. In this they appear to have been unsuccessful.

[23] Ammianus, xx, xxvi-xxviii; Gibbon, iii, 44-46 (Bury, 5th ed.)

The Irish annals place these events in the reigns of Crimthan (Criffan) the Great, who "gained victories and obtained sway in Alba [Scotland], Britain and France," and in that of his successor, Niall of the Nine Hostages, who reigned from 379 to 405. "The power of the Cruithne [Picts] and of the Gaels advanced into the heart of Britain and drove the inhabitants to the Tyne. Their power increased over Britain, so that it became heavier than the Roman tribute, because the aim of the northern Cruithne and Gaels was the total expulsion out of their lands." [24]

[24] The Irish Version of Nennius, ed. J. H. Todd (Irish Archaeological Society, 1848), p. 73.

It was into an almost solid Pictish population that, near the close of the fifth century, Fergus the Great, son of Erc, with his brothers, Loarn (Lome) and Angus, passed over with a body of followers from Dalriada in Ulster (now Co. Antrim) into Argyllshire, and made a settlement there. The title of Lome is still retained in the family of the Dukes of Argyll as that of their eldest sons. Their new home, then called Alba, henceforth became known as Scotia Minor, to distinguish it from Scotia Major, the name by which Ireland was commonly known at least up to the fifth century at home, and much later on the Continent. Scotia, or Scotland, was finally adopted as the general name for Alba and gradually dropped as a title for Ireland. In 563 the great-grandson of Fergus granted the island of Iona (or Hi) to St Columcille, known in Scotland as St Columba, and the saint repaid this courtesy by arranging for the release of the young colony from some of its dues to the mother-country and by officiating at the coronation of Aedan, its king. Scottish Dalriada grew in power and influence, and in the reign of Kenneth MacAlpin (d. 858) the submission of the Picts and the marriage of the King to a Pictish princess united the country under one crown. But the religious bonds which held together the monasteries under the Columban Rule in both countries, and the love of both for their great founder, kept the two Dalriadas of Antrim and Argyll closely united, and it was only the Norse descents on the coasts of Cantyre at the end of the eighth century that finally severed the connexion of Argyllshire with the old country.

Coming farther south, the study of place-names shows that there was a large infiltration of Gaelic peoples throughout the north-western portions of England, while in Anglesea, the Isle of Man, and over considerable districts in Wales they formed an important element in the population. The intermixture of the Cymric and Gaelic races probably began very early, but the distinction between the two was recognized well into historic times in Britain, and we hear much of the Gwyddel or Gael in old Welsh literature. In the Isles of Man and Anglesea a Gaelic population of Irish origin and speaking Irish inhabited the islands up to the Norse period. They were only partly driven out by the Norse from Man, and of the names occurring in the early inscriptions in that island almost half are Gaelic. The island had been Christianized by the Irishman MacCuil, originally one of the most violent adversaries to St Patrick's mission. To show his penitence he placed himself, at the saint's suggestion, in an open boat, his feet being locked together with an iron fetter, the key of which he threw into the sea. He had neither rudder nor oar, and only one small and poor garment for covering. Departing quickly "from this Irish land," he was bidden by the saint to come to shore wherever the boat might drift, there to remain obeying the commandments of God. He came to the coasts of Man (Evonia) and found there two holy bishops, with whom he worked, succeeding them on their deaths in the episcopate. [25]

[25] Muirchu, Life of St Patrick, ch. xxiii.

In Central and South Wales and in the neighbouring counties of Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall traditions of large Irish settlements are found in both Welsh and Irish literature, and these are confirmed by the existence of ogham inscriptions in a form of Irish older than that of any existing manuscript and by the large number of Gaelic place-names. An old statement in Cormac's glossary of ancient words, written probably in the tenth century, says that the Irish made great depredations in these districts, and that in the middle of the third century they built forts in Cornish Britain; "for not less was the power of the Gael in the West over the sea than it was in Ireland itself." He speaks also of forts built by Crimthan the Great a century later. Allowing for national exaggeration, we may yet accept this old account as substantially true. About the time of Cormac MacArt, in particular, very close relations seem to have existed between the Britons and the Irish kings. Armies of British came over to assist in Irish wars, and there were frequent intermarriages between princes and princesses of the British and Irish royal houses. [26] A well-substantiated story relates that in his day (254-277) a sept named the Deisi were expelled from their patrimonial lands in Meath and driven south, part of them settling in Leinster and South-eastern Munster, and another body crossing over to South Wales and making their home there. [27] The Welsh Iolo manuscripts mention three invasions of Wales by the Irish, in one of which the leader, Aflech Goronawg, took possession of Garth Madryn, but, having married the daughter of the king of the country and won the goodwill of the inhabitants, he obtained the rule of the district for himself and his descendants, who remain still intermixed with the original Welsh. [28] They were the parents of Brychan, the head of the great family of saints of that name, one of the "three saintly tribes of Britain," the other two being Cunedda and Caw. They are largely represented in North-east Cornwall, having settled down among the Irish already established there, but their original home was in Brecknock, which, with Carmarthen and Pembroke, was to a considerable extent peopled by Irish, who probably had the upper hand until the withdrawal of the nation from foreign wars after the death of Dathi early in the fifth century.

[26] Silva Gadelica, ed. S. H. O'Grady, ii, 355; Keating, History, ii, 281, and see ibid., p. 239.
[27] For this story see Y. Cymmrodor, xiv, 101-135; Anecdota from Irish Manuscripts, (1907), i, 15 seq; Ériu, iii, 135 seq.
[28] Iolo Manuscripts, p. 78.

These settlers appear to have come chiefly from two centres, Leinster and Co. Kerry. The former band belonged almost exclusively to Wexford, Waterford, and Ossory, and a number of Ossorian names are found both in Cornwall and in West Brittany on lapidary inscriptions. Of Kerry names Map Laithen, said to have been erected in Cornwall in the time of Crimthan, was probably the work of the Hy-Laithen from that county. The Maccodechet stone at Tavistock shows that a portion of the Deceti sept from Kerry settled in this neighbourhood; their name is found also in Anglesea. Of two stones at Lewannic, one bears the Kerry name Ullagnus (Olcan or Olacon) and the other the Irish word ingen, a daughter. When we come to Christian times proofs of intercommunication multiply. Christian inscriptions in Irish begin about the middle of the fifth century. Of these Wales has a hundred and thirty-five, Devon and Cornwall thirty-three, and there are others in the Isle of Man. They show that Christian teaching must have been accepted among the Irish for some time in their own country, if it had found its way at this date among the immigrants into Britain. The discovery of these Irish Christian inscriptions strongly supports the ancient and persistent tradition that the south-eastern portions of Ireland had received Christian teaching at a very early date. It is with this district that the names of the pre-Patrician saints and churches are connected, and we find episodes in the Lives of these saints which show a constant intercourse with Britain. The chief of the pre-Patrician saints are St Ailbe in Emly, Co. Tipperary; St Ibar of Bec Éire, or 'Little Ireland,' in Wexford Harbour; the pilgrims from which place gave their name to Bec Éire, now Beckery, at the sacred haunt of Glastonbury, which was constantly visited by Irish from this district; St Abban of Moyarney, on the borders of Wexford; and St Declan of Ardmore, in Co. Waterford. Some Lives add St Kieran of Saigher (Seir), in King's County, who is identified with St Piran of Cornwall, but he seems clearly to be of later date. The exact dates of all these early saints are uncertain. Whether pre-Patrician or not— and the weight of testimony certainly is on the side of a date earlier than St Patrick—these little Churches must have arisen independently of his preaching. Passages in St Declan's Life show that they prided themselves on their separate origin and organization, and difficulties arose when Patrick presented himself in the Deisi country. The controversy between the two Churches may be only a reflection of a later dispute for priority between Cashel and Armagh, thrown back into the time of the principal founders of the Churches of Northern and Southern Ireland; but it is exactly the sort of controversy that was inevitable if these Southern Churches looked back to an independent origin and an earlier date than that of the Apostle of Ireland, whose later glory had obscured their own. [29]

[29] Life of St Declan, ed. P. Power (Irish Texts Society), xvi, 34-37; Vitae Sanc. Hib., ed. C. Plummer, i, 8, 55, 217-218, and ii, 40, 45.

We may note that there was a close connexion between these early saints. Declan, Ibar, and Ailbe were friends, and St Ibar was Abban's maternal uncle as well as his teacher. He is said to have crossed from his own monastery of Bec Éire, or Beckery, in Wexford to the west of Britain, where he landed among pagans and built a church at a place called by him by the same name; this is undoubtedly the site of Glastonbury, which, like the original oratory beside which the great church of Malmesbury was afterward built, was founded by Irish hermits. Both Britain and Ireland are said to have been largely heathen in his time, and in Wexford few would listen to his teaching. Yet pilgrims, anchorites, and monks passed in large numbers both to and from Ireland. Three thousand went with Ibar. In an Irish Litany which is one of the most ancient documents of the Irish Church there is an invocation to thrice fifty clerics who went with St Abban on pilgrimage, and also to thrice fifty other pilgrims who came with him to Ireland, of the men of the Romans and Letha (Armorica or Latium?). In spite of the confusions in date in these old Lives, it seems unnecessary to reject their witness to the existence of small communities of Christians in the South of Ireland before St Patrick which are otherwise in accord with all we know from other sources. Eventually reports of the existence of these churches were carried to the Bishop of Rome, and in the year 431 Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine to preach to the Scots "believing in Christ."

Outside the borders of Ireland itself there are undoubted proofs that the country was recognized as Christian before the time of St Patrick. Already about 350 we find an Irish bishop presiding over the see of Toul, named Mansuetus, or Mansuy, of whom a twelfth-century writer says: Fuit idem venerandus Pater, sicut relatu maiorum didicimus, nobili Scotorum genere oriundus. [30] In Gaul, about 430, we find an early Irish Christian with the undoubtedly Gaelic name of Michomeri, which Professor Meyer thinks to be a corruption of Michomairle. He lived at Auxerre and died in Champagne. Heric's versified Life of Germanus says of him: Discipulus qui sanctum virum de Hibernia fuerat prosecutus, cui Michomeri vocabulum fuit. We remember also that, before 432, St Patrick found at Auxerre and brought back with him to Ireland a bishop named Iserninus, born on the borders of Carlow and Wicklow. The native name of this bishop was Fith. The intercourse with Gaul was constant, both in commercial and Church matters, and the Life of St Ailbe tells us that he had been long a pupil in the school of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers (350-356). Jerome, who was still a young man at the time of his death, likens Hilary's Latin eloquence to the rush of the river Rhone. He was, too, the first writer of church hymns, and his hymn Hymnum dicat is found among the ancient collections used in the Irish churches. It may have set the example of the use of hymns in the Irish church offices, for the Irish hymnologies are among the oldest in Western Europe. Those used in liturgical worship were all in Latin, but there are besides a number of religious poems composed for personal ends, many of them in honour of saints or as charms to ward off danger or disease, both in Latin and Irish. The beautiful eucharistic hymn Sancti venite is purely Irish in origin.

[30] Martene and Durand, Thesaurus Novus Anecdotorum (Paris, 1717), iii, 991; Kuno Meyer, Learning in Ireland in the Fifth Century (1913), p. 23, note 17.

It is through the writings of St Jerome that we know that one of the two exponents of the Pelagian heresy, either Pelagius himself or his companion Coelestius, was of Irish birth. He tells us that he was descended from the Scots (Irish) de vicinia Britannorum, and that he was "reared on Scotch porridge." He would appear to be speaking of the author of the teaching he was combating and not, as is usually thought, of Coelestius, its principal exponent. Both travelled widely. Though the teaching of Pelagius found its most numerous adherents in Britain, he did not address himself to the Britons; he is found in Rome, in Sicily, and in Palestine. Had he not retired from Rome before the descent of Alaric with his Goths in 409-410, he would with his own eyes have witnessed the sack of the Eternal City. It may, perhaps, be permitted us to suppose that it was the stir made by his doctrines which was the immediate cause of the mission of Palladius to Ireland, as it was the cause of the mission of Germanus to Britain. Two years after the first visit of Germanus from Gaul in 429 Pope Celestine consecrated Palladius and "sent him to the Scots believing in Christ as their first bishop," so that, to borrow the words of Prosper of Aquitaine, "while he laboured to keep the Roman island [Britain] Catholic he also made the barbarous [i.e., pagan] island [Ireland] Christian." [31]

[31] Prosper, Lib. Cont. Collatorem, ch. xxi, 2 (Migne, Pat. Lat., li, 271); Bede, Eccl. Hist., Bk. I, ch. xiii.

It was during the wars of Niall of the Nine Hostages (379-405), who was himself of mixed Irish and British blood, his father Eochadh Muighmheadhon having married Cairionn of the dark ringlets, daughter of the King of Britain, [32] that Patrick was brought as a slave-boy to the land in which, in after days, his lot was to be cast. The ambition of this prince plunged his country into the wars both of Britain and of the Empire. Irish onslaughts in company with the Picts had obliged the leaders of the Britons to implore the return of the Roman legions which had been drawn off to protect the Empire from the assaults of the barbarians at their own gates. When these troops were finally withdrawn Britain, harassed by the Picts and Scots on the north as well as by Saxon pirates on the south, and abandoned by the Romans, rallied at last to attempt its own deliverance. Under Maximus and under the later Constantine, who were elected leaders of the revolt in Britain, British armies passed over to Gaul to contest the title to the Empire of the West. Both were received with acclamations, and before both the Roman and German armies retired across the Alps; in 408 Constantine became master of Gaul and Spain. In these important events, which have been much obscured by modern historians, bodies of Scots or Atticotti took part; they formed two bands or brigades, called the Honorians, and fought on the frontiers of Gaul along with mixed mercenary bodies of Moors and others who took the same name. Many of these Atticotti, whom St Jerome says he had met in Gaul, seem to have been drawn from the Irish settlers in Argyllshire and from Ireland. This accords with the Irish accounts, which say that Niall passed over to Gaul with a mixed body of troops drawn from Scottish Dalriada as well as from Ireland. He is said to have plundered in the neighbourhood of the river Loire, and there he met his death, but not by the armies against whom he was fighting. For a king of Leinster, who had been banished by Niall to Alba, accompanied the Dalriadian contingent to Gaul, and one day while Niall was resting in the shade by the river he had his revenge by casting an arrow at the King from the shelter of an oak grove on the opposite side, and so slew him. King Niall was succeeded by Dathi, a Connacht prince, who continued the wars of his predecessor in Gaul and who is said to have been killed by a flash of lightning in the Alps. Dathi's body was brought back to Ireland and buried at Cruachan, the place of interment of the Connacht kings. With his death the external wars of Ireland came to an end, and the country, freed from the distraction of foreign expeditions, had time to organize its internal affairs and to build up its system of social and religious life. The power of Niall's family did not pass away with his death. With one brief interval, when Dathi's son, Olioll Molt, was king, the race of Niall sat for five centuries without a break upon the throne of Ireland. They were elected alternately from two branches of the family, and were known as the Northern and Southern Hy-Neill.

[32] Keating, History, ii, 373. Niall's son Eoghan married the daughter of a Saxon king; see Silva Gadelica, ed. S. H. O'Grady, ii, 516.



The wars of King Niall in Britain and the bringing over of large bodies of Irish and Scoto-Irish troops to aid the British wars on the Continent must have greatly strengthened the intercourse already existing between the two countries. It has been a favourite doctrine with one class of historians that Irish interchange with Britain was practically non-existent, and that during all the early centuries Irish commerce and mercantile intercourse passed over and round the island that lay closest to its shores, making its way to the Continent by routes that skirted north and south of it. Such a doctrine, unlikely in itself, is denied by all we know from archaeology, language, and history as to the early relations between the two countries. They were, as we have seen, not only in constant communication, but there was a large intermixture of Gaelic blood all along the western districts, those lying closest to Ireland. Intermarriages, which took place even in the kingly families, must have been frequent among the fighting and mercantile classes, and the period upon which we are now entering saw those ties drawn yet closer by a sympathy in the practice and aims of the religious life and by the frequent interchange of teachers and scholars between the two countries. Early Irish history shows no sign of a desire for isolation; its people kept up a natural intercourse with the whole West of Europe from Norway to Spain, but, as was only to be expected from the geographical position of the two countries, it was most constant with Britain and Scotland. A new and abiding link was now to be formed by the coming of St Patrick to Ireland, and it ought to have been of happy augury for the future good relations between the neighbouring islands that the Irish, instead of choosing as their patron saint one of "the host of the saints of Ireland," a native of their own race and country, gave that honour to a man of British race.

The strangest doctrines as to the birthplace of St Patrick have been put forward from time to time, but it is clear that the main authority on the question must be the writings of the saint himself. His own testimony is explicit. In his Confession he frequently mentions the land of his birth. In chapter xxiii he writes, "And again, after a few years, I was in Britain with my kindred, who received me as a son and in good faith besought me that at all events now, after the great tribulations I had undergone, I would not depart from them anywhither." Elsewhere he speaks of proceeding to Britain, "and glad and ready I was to do so, as to my fatherland and kindred, and not only that, but to go as far as Gaul..." (chapter xliii). The earliest life of St Patrick, that by Muirchu, is still more explicit. It opens thus: "Patrick, who was also called Sochet, was of the British race and born in Britain." These passages have been transferred to Brittany in Gaul by many writers from the time of Keating onward; but it is impossible that they could refer to that country, which up to the middle of the sixth century, at least, was known as Armorica, and only adopted the name of Brittany after the flight of the Britons before the Saxons, when large numbers of the persecuted Britons passed overseas and settled on the opposite coasts. [1] For more than a hundred years after Patrick's birth, the date of which must have been 389 or thereabouts, this exodus had not begun. But it was a British population which eventually took root there.

[1] At the Second Council of Tours, in 567, the inhabitants were spoken of as the Britons and Romans of Armorica; and see J. Loth, L'Émigration bretonne en Armorique (1883).

The exact place in which Patrick was born is, and will probably always remain, uncertain. Muirchu calls it Bannavem Thaburinde, or Taberniae, and says that it was "not distant from our sea" (i.e., the Irish Channel), which is a clear indication that it was somewhere on the sea-coast of Britain. Very early Irish writers identify it with Ail-cluide, i.e., "the Rock of Clyde," or Dumbarton. It is so identified in a very ancient note on the name 'Nemthur' in the hymn Genair Patraicc; and also in the Hymn of St Secundinus in praise of the saint, called the first hymn made in Ireland, where it is said, "Now Patrick, of the Britons of Ail-cluide was his origin." Notes found on early copies of his Life in Oxford [2] and in Trinity College, Dublin, [3] make the same statement. There was evidently no prejudice against his British origin in the minds of the early Irish ecclesiastical writers.

[2] Rawl. B. 512, at the foot of fol. 21a.
[3] MS. H. 3. 18, p. 520, 1 20; see Tripartite Life of St Patrick, ed. W. Stokes. PP. xv, xlvii.

The Roman legions at the time of Patrick's birth still retained their hold on Britain, from which they did not finally withdraw till about 418, when the lad had grown to manhood. The Roman organization, though it was gradually breaking up over parts of the country with the recall of the army and officers to the defence of Rome, still held sway over the northern province. The year of his birth had witnessed the defeat and death of Maximus, who had drawn out of Britain a great army, many of whom afterward settled in Armorica as the first contingent of that army of fugitives which was to make a little Britain of their Frankish home, and also the triumphal entry of Theodosius into Rome. During his youth the tidings of the revolt of the barbarians, the invasions of Italy by Alaric and Radagaisus, and the flight of the Emperor Honorius must have been received with eagerness and terror in Britain. The triumphs of Stilicho must have been the more welcome from the protection he had, in an earlier day, extended to their own shores but they were followed, while Patrick was yet but a youth, by the frightful news of the Gothic sieges and sack of the Eternal City under the terrible Alaric. In all these startling events the young Patrick would feel an almost personal interest; his family, whether natives of Strathclyde or Roman in descent, formed part of the Roman organization in Britain; he had been brought up proud of his "free birth" and "noble rank" as the son of a Roman decurion; and it was one of the highest sacrifices he was afterward to be called upon to make when he "sold his noble rank for the profit of others; and became a slave in Christ to a foreign nation [Ireland] for the unspeakable glory of the eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." [4] Patrick's call to work among this "foreign nation" did not come very early in his life. If, as seems probable, he was born in the year 389 he must have been over forty years of age when Palladius was sent as bishop to the Irish people in 431. [5]

[4] Letter to Coroticus, ch. x, p. 56. Newport White's translation (1920) is used in these quotations. There are also translations of the Saint's writings by Archbishop Healy and others.
[5] The date of St Patrick's birth was probably 389 (this is the date accepted by Prof. Bury in his St Patrick); that of his return to Ireland as bishop, 432; and of his death, 461.

The mission of Palladius had not been a success. Three little churches on the coast of Wicklow attest the reality of his visit, but he soon retired, and died, Nennius tells us, among the Picts. Muirchu, the earliest biographer of St Patrick, says that "the wild and rough people" to whom Palladius was sent "did not readily receive his teaching, nor did he himself desire to spend a long time in a land not his own." It is easy to understand that a foreigner unable to speak the tongue of the people to whom he was sent, and assuming among them episcopal functions, would not be warmly welcomed. Palladius showed, indeed, no anxiety to continue his work among an unwilling nation, whom he perhaps despised, because their ways of life and their primitive form of Christianity were wholly unlike anything to which he had been accustomed.

St Patrick first came to Ireland as a young lad with no official status and with little knowledge of religion. It was during the time of the distant raids and wars of Niall of the Nine Hostages that he and other British youths were carried away from their homes into slavery in Ireland. His own account of himself in his Confession, written in old age when his work was almost done, is our safest guide to a knowledge of his early life. It begins thus: "I, Patrick, the sinner, am the most illiterate and the least of all the faithful, and contemptible in the eyes of very many. My father was Calpurnius, a deacon, one of the sons of Potitus a presbyter, who belonged to the village of Bannavem Taberniae. Now he had a small farm near by, where I was taken captive. I was then about sixteen years of age. I knew not the true God; and I went into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of persons, according to our deserts, because we departed away from God, and kept not His commandments, and were not obedient to our priests who used to admonish us for our salvation. And the Lord poured upon us the fury of His anger and scattered us among the heathen, even to the ends of the earth, where now my littleness may be seen amongst men of another nation." [6]

[6] Confession, ch. i, p. 31.

Thus, humbly and simply, opens the testimony of the man whose work was to leave so deep an impression on the nation to whom he first came as a slave. The Confession, found in the Book of Armagh, is not an autobiography giving the events of his career in order; it is written hurriedly and late in life, under the stress of deep feeling, to defend himself against evil reports put out by his enemies. They hoped to destroy the effect of his work in Ireland by bringing up against him some error of conduct committed in his extreme youth, when he was not yet fifteen years old, and had not yet learned to believe in the living God. [7] He points to the wonderful success of his mission to Ireland as a testimony of its acceptance by God, against the malice of those 'elders' who endeavoured to undermine it. St Patrick's own writings are two in number, but only one is found in the venerable book which takes its name from Patrick's primatial see of Armagh, being long preserved in the abbey church of that city. The writings were copied by a scribe, Ferdomnach by name, [8] at the request of the then abbot, and from a note at the close of the Confession it would seem that he was copying from a manuscript believed to have been written by the saint's own hand. The note runs, "As far as this folio [53 of the manuscript] was written by Patrick's own hand." If we may judge by the difficulty the scribe appears to have had in deciphering it, and the gaps that are found in it, it must have been an old and worn copy.

[7] Ibid. ch. xxvii, p. 40.
[8] Probably between A.D. 807 and A.D. 846.

The chief facts that we learn about the saint's early life are that he was the son of a deacon of noble rank who was also a decurion, or civil officer under the Roman administration, and the owner of a farm on which the boy was brought up. He was of good birth and, as he proudly asserts, a free-born citizen under Roman law. That his father was a man of some wealth is shown by the mention of the manservants and maidservants of whom the marauders made havoc when they attacked his home. [9] The combination of offices held by Calpurnius, which seems strange to us, was not uncommon under the later system of Roman administration. The duties of an Imperial decurion were so onerous that those holding the office often fell heavily into debt. They were responsible for the collection of the taxes of their districts, as well as for the upkeep of the roads and other matters; and many of them entered the army or the church to escape from their obligations to the state. [10] If Patrick's father and grandfather were men of this type it is likely enough that religious teaching took but a small place in the household, and we can understand how the boy, brought up in a family outwardly Christian, could grow up without education and in ignorance of the true God.

[9] Letter to Coroticus, ch. x, p. 56.
[10] See S. Dill, Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire (1899), pp. 250-253, and Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire (1923), ch. i, p. 59. The curiae, or corporations of the cities, were formed of the richest landowners, who bore the burdens of the municipality on their shoulders.

An early and almost universal tradition places the scene of Patrick's captivity with a pagan farmer of Co. Antrim. Here, as he tells us, "tending flocks was my daily occupation; and constantly I used to pray in the daytime. Love of God and the fear of Him increased more and more, and faith grew and the spirit was moved...Before daybreak, I used to be roused to prayer in snow, in frost, in rain, and I felt no hurt...because the spirit was then fervent within me." [11] Muirchu, his earliest biographer, tells us that the name of his master was Miliuc and that his house lay on the southern slopes of Slieve Mis, or Slemish (Co. Antrim). Later in his life, when he returned to Ireland from Gaul, Patrick's first act was to make his way north, carrying in his hand the price of his release from service. But the pagan, "hearing that his old slave was coming to see him to endeavour to make him adopt a religion which he disliked," and fearing that his former slave "would lord it over him," gathered all his property round him and set fire to the house in which he lived as chief. Patrick, coming full of a gracious purpose, was so stupefied at the sight of the blazing pyre that he was speechless for two or three hours. [12]

[11] Confession, ch. xvi, p. 36.
[12] Muirchu, Life of St Patrick, ch. xii, p. 81.

St Patrick's life was a varied one. After his escape from slavery he was taken on board a ship by heathen men carrying in their cargo a number of hounds, probably the already famous Irish wolfhounds which were considered meet gifts for princes in after days. He landed after a stormy passage, on a desert shore, probably in Gaul, which was then wasted by the invasions of the Goths. He seems again to have fallen into captivity; later, he apparently visited his kindred in Britain, who "received him as a son" and besought him, after the great tribulations he had undergone, not to depart again. [13] But Patrick was haunted by visions of "a man coming from Ireland with countless letters," who gave him one, entitled "The Voice of the Irish"; and as he read he thought he heard the voice of them who lived beside the wood of Foclut, which is nigh to the Western Sea, crying with one mouth, "We beseech thee, holy youth, to come once more and walk among us." [14] This vision decided Patrick's future life. He spent some years in Gaul, travelling much, and studying, according to the summary of Tirechan, at the monastic island of Lerins (Atalanensis) and, according to Muirchu, under St Germanus of Auxerre; probably he passed some time in both centres of learning. There is no direct mention of a visit to Rome by his earliest biographers, but it is not improbable that Patrick visited the central church of Christendom at some time during his stay on the Continent. Muirchu speaks of him as "the venerable traveller" when he re-crossed to Ireland, and he himself speaks of being "nearly worn out" when he returned. But the fervour of his soul carried him through nearly thirty years of work in Ireland, work which left an impress on nearly every part of the country. He says that he baptized many thousands and ordained clergy everywhere, "not demanding from any even the price of my shoe"; "sons and daughters of Scotic [Irish] chieftains becoming monks and virgins of Christ." [15]

[13] Confession, ch. xxiii, p. 38.
[14] Ibid. ch. xxiii, pp. 38-39.
[15] Confession, ch. 1, p. 48; ch. xli, p. 45.

His task was a hard one. He was plundered and bound in irons by a chief who "eagerly desired to kill him"; he faced Laery, King of Tara, surrounded by his host of Druids; he had to grieve over the raids of Coroticus, a British king, who carried off newly baptized Christians "still in the white array" of their baptism, to sell them into the hands of Scots and apostate Picts of Strathclyde, cruelly butchering and slaughtering others with the sword. He revised the native system of law and committed it to writing. He taught everywhere the Latin tongue, the language of the Church and of the Scriptures, as he used them. He had to face slander both from the elders of the Church in Britain, and even from "his dearest friend," whom he does not name, but who would seem from the context to have been St Germanus, his teacher at Auxerre, who also gave him consecration. [16] But he succeeded where Palladius had failed; partly, no doubt, because of his familiarity with the Irish tongue, acquired during his years of slavery, but still more because of the simple sincerity of his own life and teaching. In his old age he writes thus in the opening of his Epistle to Coroticus: "Patrick, the sinner, unlearned verily; I confess that I am a bishop, appointed by God in Ireland. Most surely I deem that from God I received what I am. And so I dwell in the midst of barbarians, a stranger and an exile for the love of God. He is witness if this be so." It was undoubtedly the intention and hope of St Patrick to establish in Ireland a Church system similar to that with which he had been familiar in Britain, in Rome, and in Gaul. Roman Britain had long been Christian, and three British sees had been represented at the Council of Arles in 314, and a larger number at the Councils of Sardica in 347 and of Rimini in 359. At an even earlier date Christianity had spread into parts of Britain where the Roman arms had never penetrated, for Tertullian, in 208, had already spoken of "districts in Britain, inaccessible to the Roman arms, but subdued to Christ." [17]

[16] Ibid., ch. xxxii, p. 41. St Germanus was born about 378 and died in 448. He visited Britain twice, in 429 and 447.
[17] Adv. Jud., vii.

Whence this original Christianity had penetrated to Britain it is impossible to say. But the Roman districts of Britain, at least, were early organized into sees, and Patrick, who was proud of his Roman faith and citizenship, [18] and who came to Ireland the second time as an ordained bishop, would naturally endeavour to establish in the country of his adoption the orderly system to which he had been accustomed at home and abroad. In accordance with this desire he founded the earliest bishopric in Ireland, that of Armagh--the first, and for the next 650 years the only fixed episcopal see in Ireland. It is interesting that he chose as the site a spot close to Emain Macha (Navan Fort), the old centre of the heroic tales of Ulster, then disused, so far as we know, but evidently still retaining something of its old prestige. There seems no other reason for the choice of so retired a spot for his bishopric. The few Christian communities in the south-east of Ireland grouped themselves round native teachers, but they were growing up on native lines, with special peculiarities. In particular, they had no episcopal organization, or fixed sees, and the efforts of the Apostle of Ireland to introduce the system prevailing generally in the churches of Western Christendom did not prove a success For centuries afterward bishops in Ireland did not occupy fixed sees, and the country was not laid out in dioceses. They exercised their episcopal functions within the monasteries in a position subordinate to the abbot, who was their head and superior officer. Some others were wandering bishops, who moved about within or outside the country on missionary journeys. Even Armagh did not long retain its metropolitan character. On the death of St Patrick in 461-462, he was succeeded in the bishopric by his pupil, St Benen, and from that time till the death of Ailill, the fifth of his successors, there was a regular sequence of bishops of Armagh after the usual Church manner of organization; but from 526 onward the title of bishop is, except in rare instances, dropped, and the holders of the see are styled abbots, the future bishops being apparently, as in other Irish monasteries, subject to the abbot. [19] Thus Armagh, unable to resist the pressure of native custom, fell into line with the other Christian settlements all over the country and became primarily a monastic centre. It was not until the twelfth century that the archbishopric of Armagh was restored, and the bishopric of Cashel substituted for the abbacy of Cashel in the south, by the direct action of the Pope. Between the time of St Patrick and this late date the native Irish Church had quietly pursued her way, covering the land with Christian settlements formed on a tribal basis and within the limits of the tribe, each under some noted saint or teacher who was the inspiring spirit of his group and the abbot of his monastery. The importance attached to the office of abbot in Ireland is quaintly expressed by the Irish custom of calling the Pope Abbot (Abb) of Rome instead of Bishop of Rome, while in a singular invocation known as the "Path Protector" St Columcille speaks of Christ as "Son of Mary, the Great Abbot." It was only slowly, in the course of centuries, that the native Church gave up certain national peculiarities, such as the form of the Irish tonsure, and the old date of keeping Easter. It retained its marked monastic character all through the period of its greatest activity, and it carried on that work of evangelization and education not only within, but far beyond the limits of Ireland, which has ever since been considered its greatest glory.

[18] "Church of the Scots," he exclaims, "nay, of the Romans! In order that ye be Christians as well as Romans ye must chant in your churches at every hour of prayer that glorious word, Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison" (Dicta Patricii, from the Book of Armagh). Even if these words are later St Patrick's day they seem to convey the spirit of his teaching.
[19] H. J. Lawlor, in P.R.I.A., vol. xxxv, Sect. C, No. 9 (1919).

St Brigit's monastery of Kildare formed a link between the Church of St Patrick and the monastic foundations that sprang up all over the country with an almost simultaneous growth from about 530 onward. It was a mixed convent, and Cogitosus, the father of Muirchu, who wrote her life, [20] tells us that in his time the church of Kildare was large and lofty, with many pictures and hangings and ornamental doorways. It had a partition which ran down the church lengthways, dividing the men who sat on the right from the women who sat on the left side of the nave. It was in her church that the Welsh historian of the Norman conquest saw in 1185 the illuminated book which was of such great beauty that he was ready to assert that it was the work of angelic and not of human skill. Kildare may have been one of the centres for this exquisite work; very early it possessed a school which produced chalices, bells, and shrines.

[20] Trias Thaumaturga (Louvain), p. 524. This must have been the earliest life of any Irish saint.

During the twenty-five years after Brigit's death many of the most famous of the Irish foundations were established and were in full working order. Nendrum, in Strangford Lough, now Inish Mahee, or Mahee Island, under Abbot Mochaoi; Clonard and Moville, Co. Down, under the two Finnians; Clonmacnois on the Shannon under Ciaran; Bangor under Comgall, Glasnevin under Mobhi, were among the earliest of which we know the history, but the two monasteries of Birr and Clonfert, under the two Brendans, that of Molaise of Devenish in Lough Erne, and that of Senan on Scattery Island in the Shannon, were probably founded about the same date. Many of these famous men studied together in the school of Finnian of Clonard and formed lasting friendships. The latter was known as "Finnian the Wise, teacher of the saints of Ireland." The most important group of monasteries was that founded by the great Columcille, the future founder of Iona, or Hi, in Scotland, who in rapid succession established the monasteries of Derry, Raphoe, Durrow, Glencolumcille, Lambey, Swords, and many others, the head of the group being Kells, in Co. Meath.

The extension of the monastic system was abnormal, and it cannot be understood unless we have formed a clear idea as to what an Irish monastic foundation of this period was like. It was no single building of large size capable of holding numbers of persons. It generally arose around the person of some teacher whose fame had gone abroad and around whose hut, often intended originally as a hermitage or retreat, the cells of his pupils began to be raised by their own hands, made, according to the conditions of the district, either of wattle or of stone. Gradually, as people gathered, and fresh huts and oratories were constructed, the place would assume the aspect of a regular settlement. Rules were laid down, and a regular order was introduced into the work and worship of the day, and some of these establishments attracted as many as three thousand persons. They were partly educational, partly agricultural, and wholly religious. They came gradually to include the larger part of the entire Christian population. Each establishment was self-contained, having its own fields for growing corn and vegetables, its own mills, kilns, storehouses, and barns. The students and monks did the entire work of the place, sowing, reaping, carrying burdens to the mill, grinding corn, and performing in general the duties of the settlement. Even the abbots and bishops are found ploughing the fields, grinding corn, and fulfilling other agricultural offices. The extreme simplicity of life in these early monasteries must be carefully borne in mind. Part of each day was set apart for the instruction of students and part for active duties, while the offices of the Church were regularly and minutely observed. It was a system suited to the needs of a primitive and unlettered people and well calculated to guide and elevate them. These communities set before the entire population a new ideal of ordered, industrial life, sanctified by religion and enlarged by study. The highest saints retained to the end this primitive simplicity. St Brigit, after she had founded Kildare, still milked the cows, herded sheep, baked bread, churned milk, and carried on the ordinary work of a household, besides her care of the sick and lepers. When Columcille went to Bishop Etchen for consecration, he found him ploughing in his fields; when, in later life, he visited Clonmacnois the monks gathered hastily from the little grange farms on which they were working in order to receive him with honour. He himself and St Ciaran of Clonmacnois reaped and ploughed, and even ground corn in the quern, which was the office of the women-slaves. Nor did they look upon such labours as derogatory; they rather felt them to be ennobling and elevating. St Nathalan, a Scottish Celtic monk, believed "that in the lowly work of cultivating the earth, he approached nearest to the divine contemplation; therefore, though of noble birth, he practised with his own hands the lowly art of cultivating the fields," and this must have been the attitude of many even greater than he.

Reading and writing, the copying and multiplication of copies of the Gospels and the Psalms, the study of Latin and the making of ecclesiastical bells, crosses, book-satchels, and covers for illuminated books, occupied all of the day not occupied in religious or agricultural matters. The industry of many of these great teachers in copying books, chiefly the Gospels and Psalms, was remarkable. St Patrick is said to have "sowed the four books of the Gospel in Erin"; and St Columba is stated to have written three hundred books with his own hand, this being his chief occupation whenever he went for a time into retreat in the island of Eigg. St Finnian of Clonard is said to have given a copy of the Gospels to every church he founded. Besides the books needed for the services of the Church, we read of boys going to school with leather satchels of books upon their backs, and in the libraries that gradually grew up in connexion with the monastic schools these hand-written volumes were preserved in such satchels hung round the walls on pegs. A few have survived the lapse of time and still exist.

In the beginning few, if any, of the copies were illuminated; they were designed solely to meet the needs of the oratories scattered over the country; but two at least of the most elaborate and precious specimens of Irish illuminated art, the Book of Durrow and the Book of Kells, now in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, come down from the seventh and eighth centuries, proving that already the art of book-illumination had reached its highest beauty of execution. Kells was the central church of the large Columban group of monasteries, taking precedence even of Iona, so there was a reason for the preservation there of this exquisite specimen of the draughtsman's art. It once had a wonderful cover of great value from the precious stones with which it was inlaid, but at an early period this cover was stolen, and it no longer exists. The Book of Durrow had a special sanctity from the belief that it was the work of Columcille's own hand; it seems, at least, to have been copied from his original. Both books are copies of the Gospels. The metal covers, on which the gold-workers of the day lavished their most careful art, are of later date; they were used for enclosing bells, manuscripts, and relics.

An ancient Irish Catalogue of Saints mentions that one of the special features of the 'second order' of saints was the great variety in their masses and monastic rules, one of which was said to have been introduced into Ireland by the British or Welsh bishops David, Cadoc, and Gildas. There is no doubt that the rules varied in different monasteries, each founder framing his own rule for the guidance of the monks who joined his foundation. They differed considerably in length and strictness. Some contained only general admonitions to penitence, love of God, fasting, and prayer, with a spirit apart from the world and devoted to the contemplation of heavenly things. Many are in verse, no doubt in order to be more easily remembered or for chanting. One of them, ascribed to the King-abbot of Cashel, Cormac MacCuilennan, in the ninth century, describes the low-voiced congregation singing the melodious song of the believers; he calls on them to join in the chanting of the rule, "the song which the ancients have sung." [21] In some rules we can trace the gradual introduction of severer admonitions, added to the original simpler regulations, and imposing greater mortifications. Of one called "An old Irish metrical rule" we have two versions. One, which apparently gives the original standard of an early date, says "These are thy three rules--have thou nought else more dear --patience, humility, and the love of God in thy heart." The other enjoins more explicit humiliations: "Three hundred prostrations every day and three at every canonical hour; two hundred blows on the hands every Lent will be a help." [22] There still exist rules attributed to SS. Ciaran, Manach Liath, or "the grey monk," Carthach or Mochuta of Rathin, Columban, Maelruain of Tallaght, and other well-known founders of monasteries. They were probably in use in the foundations established by the saints whose names they bear. Some were of great severity; the rule of St Columban, which divided the working day between copying manuscripts, teaching in the schools, and labour in the field and forest, enjoined severe punishments for the least infraction of the orders, amounting to two hundred stripes for some offences or rigorous and prolonged fasting for others. The discipline in the monastery of St Fintan at Clonenagh was so stern that the neighbouring clerics, feeling that the life of these monks was a reproach to them, begged Fintan, for the love of God, to relax its extreme rigour. His monks were not allowed to have any animals or ever to eat meat; even milk and butter were not permitted and, if offered, must be refused. He finally consented to make some changes for the brethren, but continued the same way of life for himself.

[21] Ériu, ii, 63 seq.
[22] Ériu, 1, 191 seq.

The old Irish tract De Arreis shows to what a pitch punishments for ecclesiastical offences could be carried in the Irish Church. [23] There were, however, monasteries where such excessive austerities were discouraged. In the rule of St Ailbe it is said that if the erennach, [24] who had under his charge the secular affairs and provisioning of the establishment, were wise, his rule should not be too harsh; "as the food shall be, so will the order be." "Let it not be too strict, neither let it be lax; let it not be a rule without knowledge, so that each may be able to bear his yoke." [25] In Tallaght, where Maelruain the Abbot did not approve of listening to music, as distracting the mind from its religious duties, and would allow neither a morsel of meat to be eaten nor a drop of beer, "the liquor that causes forgetfulness of God," to be drunk during his lifetime, we are told that fasting was not commended, but that a regular measured pittance was preferred by the Abbot. To a man much given to severe austerities he even refused admission, saying, "Those who are here, while they do their proper share of work, are able to eat their rations. Thou wilt not fit among them. Thou wilt neither do active work nor be able to eat thy rations." [26]

[23] Revue Celtique, xv, 485 seq.
[24] The erennach (airchinneach) seems to have combined the offices of archdeacon and steward; he farmed the Church lands. See O'Laverty Down and Connor (1887), iv. 61-62.
[25] Eriu, iii, 97 seq.
[26] P.R.I.A., vol. xxix, Sect. C, No. 5 (1911).

Of the monastic schools of Northern Ireland the three most important were Armagh, Bangor, and Clonmacnois. We have the fullest account of Bangor, preserved by the pen of the great St Bernard, in his life of St Malachy, or Mael Maedoc Ua Morgair, who in the twelfth century rebuilt the monastery, destroyed by the raids of the Danes in the early ninth century, when "its learned men and bishops were slain by the sword," and the relics of Comgall, its founder, shaken out of their shrine. But the tradition of its ancient fame was fresh in the mind of Malachy as he set about to rebuild, and he had communicated to his close friend, St Bernard, his own enthusiasm for the original Bangor of the sixth century. "For, indeed," the latter writes, "there had been formerly a very celebrated monastery under the first father, Comgall, which produced many thousands of saints, bringing forth most abundant fruit to God, so that one of the sons of that holy community, Lugaid by name, is said to have been the founder, himself alone, of a hundred monasteries." Bangor was founded in 559, and according to the Latin life of Comgall, so great a number of monks resorted to him that there was not room for them, and he had to found cells and monasteries in different parts of Ireland and Scotland to contain them all. He is said to have presided over three thousand monks, but such figures have to be accepted with caution. Still, the numbers in some of the Irish and Welsh foundations were very large. St Columban the most distinguished of the Bangor saints "who poured forth like a flood into foreign lands," is said by St Bernard to have established at Luxeuil the system of continuous church worship practised at Bangor, where the choirs succeeded each other in turn, "so that not a moment of the day or night was empty of praise." The Antiphonary of Bangor, found at Bobbio, shows that St Columban founded his cycle of the divine offices on the order familiar to him in his old monastery. The continuous office may have been a feature of the many monasteries called Bangor, or Benagher, in Ireland and Wales.

No less distinguished was the school of Clonmacnois on the Shannon, founded by St Ciaran near the site already famous as the burial-place of ancient kings, but now to become still more famous as the principal seat of learning and literature in the West. To Colcu, its fer-leginn, or chief professor, Alcuin addressed a letter from the Court of Charlemagne, enclosing a contribution of fifty shekels "from the King's bounty" and from himself fifty shekels, with a request that they will pray for him and for King Charles. He also sent a gift of oil to divide among the bishops, oil being now "a scarce article in Britain." He addresses Colcu, who has left a curious poem called "The Besom of Devotion," as "the blessed master and pious founder," and his letter is full of interesting details on matters of public interest in France and Europe generally, showing that even an isolated school like Clonmacnois was concerned about the current events of the larger world. Much literary and historical work of value was accomplished in later times at Clonmacnois. There the Leabhar na h-Uidhre, or "Book of the Dun Cow," was compiled about 1100; it contains the most ancient surviving collection of the old romances, together with much other material. The oldest existing annals, written by Tighernach partly in Latin and partly in Irish, were also produced there in the eleventh century, and the Chronicum Scotorum was probably written there. There must have been an extensive library in the monastery, for Tighernach quotes freely from Latin authors as well as from Irish and British authorities. The remains of its churches, its round tower, and its splendid crosses attest its former importance; but of Bangor not a trace is left.

The Norse raids of the ninth century made a break in the continuity of the schools, large numbers of the professors and scholars passing over to the Continent so that they might carry on their work in safety; but when quiet returned the old haunts in Ireland again became homes of study. It was at this time that Clonmacnois and Armagh attained their highest position as places of learning, the number of fer-leginn or professors increased, and Armagh, in particular, held so high a position that it was ordained at the Synod of Clane in 1162 that no one should henceforth be permitted to give public lectures in Holy Scripture or in theology unless he had spent some time studying at Armagh. This would seem to imply that Armagh was then considered the chief school or university. When the city was burned down in 1020 the library fortunately escaped, though the books in the dwellings of the students, all of course in manuscript, were destroyed.

During these centuries the borders of Ireland had been freely opened to the world, and commerce and friendly intercourse were encouraged with all who desired it. In the most active period of her early Christianity pilgrims seem to have gathered from every land to her shores. A Litany of Saints, known popularly as the Litany of Aengus, [27] composed about the seventh century, mentions lists of these foreigners who came to enter the Irish monasteries, or to make their home in the country. Roman pilgrims to various foundations are mentioned, and Gauls appear to have come in considerable numbers. The presence of Romans in Ireland is also attested by the inscription Septem romani in the churchyard of St Brecan at Aranmore. [28] In the life of St Senan we hear of a ship's crew of fifty Italians "from the lands of Latium" coming on pilgrimage to Ireland. [29] A Frankish priest and an English archdeacon are said to have settled in Glendalough, and seven Egyptian monks in Desert Kilaigh. Greeks are said to have trafficked at the Irish provincial fairs, and some of them appear to have settled down permanently, for as late as Ussher's day there was a Greek church at Trim in Co. Meath, its site retaining the name of Greek Park up to recent times.

[27] Edited by Charles Plummer (Henry Bradshaw Society), vol. lxii (1925), pp. 54 seq.
[28] Petrie, Christian Inscriptions, ii, Pl. XIV.
[29] Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore, ed. W. Stokes (1890) p. 209, l. 2069.

Nor were her nearest neighbours excluded. One of the most important settlements, frequently mentioned, was that of the Saxons in Mayo, in a district which bore the name of "Mayo of the Saxons" until much later times. It was the adverse result of the Synod of Whitby in 664, where the Columban and the Continental teachers disputed the question of the correct date for keeping Easter, that determined the emigration of these Columban monks under Bishop Colman from Northumbria to Iona and thence to Ireland. Colman was accompanied by many of the nobility and of the lower ranks of the English nation, who thought as he did, and they passed over in the year of the great plague, called in Ireland the Buidhe Conaill, which was raging alike in Ireland and England, and settled in the solitary island which Bede calls Inis-bo-finde, or "the Isle of the White Cow," now Inisbofin, off the coast of Connemara. Here he founded a monastery for the Columban monks of both nations. [30] They were willingly received by the Irish, who supplied them with books and food, but they do not seem to have agreed well, for they eventually separated, the Irish monks remaining at Inisbofin, while the English monks settled in Mayo (Magheo, "the Yew Plain" ), where a large establishment grew up, which was constantly recruited from England. Some of them devoted themselves to conventual life, but others, choosing to apply themselves to study, wandered about from one teacher to another according to the Irish plan. The Litany of Saints speaks of 3300 students who settled in Mayo, under Bishops Gerald [31] and Egbert, the latter a young English noble "who long lived a stranger in Ireland for the sake of the eternal kingdom." He afterward became Abbot of Iona and did much to induce the monks to adopt the Roman date for the celebration of Easter, having been enjoined to do so in a vision, "because their ploughs do not go straight." He was stricken with the plague, but recovered, and passed a long and strenuous life in combating the peculiarities of the Columban Church customs and bringing them into conformity with the general Western use. [32] Bede mentions the names of many others who went over to Ireland, either to adopt the hermit's life or for study. One of these was Wictbert, who became the first missionary to Friesland.

[30] Bede, Eccl. Hist., Bk. III, ch. xxvi-xxvii, and Bk. IV, ch. iv; Calendar of Aengus, ed. W. Stokes (1880), August 8, and note on p. cxxx.
[31] P. 57; and see "Life of St Gerald," Vitae Sanc. Hib., ii, 106 seq.
[32] Bede, Eccl. Hist., Bk. III, ch. xxvii; Bk. IV, ch. iii; Bk. V, ch. ix, xxii.

In the notes to the Calendar of Aengus [33] we hear of several early settlements of English besides those of Inisbofin and Mayo in Connacht. One was in the barony of Cianachta, in the present Co. Londonderry; another at Tullalease of the Saxons (Tulach-leis na Saxan), in Co. Cork; still another at O'Connell Gawra (Ui Conaill Gabhra), in Co. Tipperary. This shows that up to the twelfth century, when many of these notes were added to the Calendar, distinct English settlements were recognized in different parts of the country. They must have been still existing when Henry II came over. In the tenth century, when the schools of Armagh were at the height of their influence, they were resorted to in such numbers by English students that one-third of the monastic city was set apart for them. It was known as Trian Saxan, or the "Saxon Third," or "Quarter," and retained this name up to a late period.

[33] Calendar of Aengus, note on December 8, pp. clxxx-clxxxi; and see also p. cxxxv, where the district of the Little Saxons is mentioned, near Scattery Island, in the Shannon.

There are numerous records both of friendly and warlike relations between the two peoples during the early centuries which accord well with the known facts. Keating remarks that Ireland was a place of refuge for Britons who fled from the oppression of the Romans and Saxons, and that they found land there for themselves and their families, teaching their children Irish and carrying back with them many Gaelic words to England. He speaks of townlands named after them Graig na mBreathnach ("the Hamlet of the Britons" ), Baile or Dun na mBreathnach ("the Village or Fort of the Britons"), etc. [34] Intermarriages between Welsh and Saxon princesses and Irish chiefs are mentioned in many of the old stories. Later on, Keating quotes Hanmer's record of the visit of a king of Wales named Cadualin, who was banished to Ireland by Edwin, son of Æthelfred, in 635, and of two British princes, Haralt and Conan, who fled to Ireland in 1050 and were protected by the Irish; also of another Welsh chief, Bleithin ap Conan, who was maintained there in 1087. "Thus from age to age did they cultivate alliance and intercourse with one another."

[34] Keating, History, ii, 69,70-72, quoting Hanmer's Chronicle for the latter statement.

An earlier Lord of Pembroke than Strongbow is said to have married a daughter of Murtogh O'Brien in 1101; and Griffin ap Conan, the prince who occupied the throne of Wales in the time of Henry I of England, could boast that both his mother and grandmother were Irishwomen, and that it was in Ireland that he was born and educated in polite manners. The Norman-Welsh who accompanied Henry II to Ireland came to a country with which they were familiar, and with which they had long had intimate dealings.

In the North of Ireland the connexion was particularly close. Though the Romans had never, in a military sense, set foot in Ireland, Agricola says that in his day her harbours were well known at Rome. A considerable number of silver coins dating from the time of Constantius II to that of Honorius, with others about the same date, have been found in the North of Ireland, especially about Coleraine, showing that a certain amount of trade was in progress with Roman Britain, or Gaul. [35] During the seventh and eighth centuries the British took part on several occasions in the wars of Dalriada, or Eastern Ulster, on one side or the other. A host out of Britain, Saxon-land, and France is said to have assisted Con-gal Claen in the great historical battle of Magh Rath, or Moira, against his fosterfather King Donnell, prince of the peoples of Conaill and Eoghan, in 637. [36] This battle is mentioned by Adamnan and called by him Bella Roth.

[35] See Sir W. Ridgeway's paper on Niall of the Nine Hostages (Journal of Roman Studies, 1924).
[36] Battle of Magh Rath, ed. J. O'Donovan (Irish Archaeological Society, 1842).

Besides the intercourse with Britain there was also an independent trade with Gaul and Spain. The oldest version of the "Wooing of Emer," one of the most famous of the Cuchulain stories, speaks of "wine of Gaul" being brought to Ireland by one who purported to come on an embassy from the King of the Gauls--an early example of a trade destined to continue for many centuries. In the life of St Ciaran of Clonmacnois we hear of "a cask full of wine from the land of the Franks" being bestowed upon him. This was one of those acts of friendly intercourse which show that a constant interchange was kept up between that now retired spot and the Frankish Court and nobility. In Jocelyn's Life of St Patrick we are told that wine, honey, iron, and salt were imported into Dublin from ancient times, while the exports were mead, beer, shoes, and gloves. Wine was at all times a large article of import. Spanish and French wines were the usual beverage drunk in all the larger houses from the fourteenth century onward, whisky (uisge beathadh) becoming common about the sixteenth century, though the bards ignored and perhaps despised it. We hear of a chief of the Hy-Many who received an annual tribute in wine from one of his underlings; it was shipped into a harbour in Connacht, and carried up to his house. The "sea-laws" of the Book of Aicill relate to trading regulations for vessels arriving either from Britain or from abroad on the Irish coasts; [37] and Jonas in his life of St Columban, who crossed from Ireland to Nantes, speaks of a ship "which plied for the sake of commerce" between the two countries. Among the articles of commerce were the splendid wolfhounds bred in Ireland, which were so highly esteemed throughout the Middle Ages that they were offered as royal gifts to friendly potentates up to the seventeenth century; St Patrick's vessel sailing to Gaul contained a pack of these noble dogs. [38]

[37] Ancient Laws and Institutes of Ireland, iii, 423.
[38] Confession, ch. xix, p. 37.

From an early period Leinster was closely connected with Gaul, and a considerable portion of its inhabitants derived their origin from that country. "There was," says Keating, quoting old traditions, "a special friendly understanding between the Leinstermen and the French." He makes the curious statement that in early times "every province in Ireland had formed a special alliance of friendship beyond the sea, the Clann Neill [of Western Ulster] with the Scots, the men of Munster with the English, the [Eastern] Ulstermen with the Spaniards, the men of Connacht with the Welsh, and the Leinstermen with the Franks." [39] He quotes this from a poem of the bard John, son of Torna O'Mulconaire, who lived early in the fourteenth century, when these traditions were still alive among the people. The story that King Lowry (Labhraidhe) the Exile sought an asylum in France and returned bringing with him many foreigners "who were not of the Gael" seems to have confirmation from other sources. There is a tradition that the province of Leinster (Laighin) was named from the broad green-blue iron heads of the spears (laighne) of the foreigners who accompanied him; and those newcomers, known as Galian, were looked upon with jealousy by the older inhabitants on account of their superior celerity and expertness in matters of camp-warfare, as the story of the Táin bó Cúalnge shows. [40] The name is sometimes applied to the whole of the Leinstermen. The only instance of a chariot-burial being alluded to in Irish story is in connexion with this Lowry, who may have become familiar with this mode of burial of chiefs in Gaul. [41] There are many Gaulish names in the Irish genealogies, and we hear in early times of a place in Westmeath called Bordgal, the Irish form of the French Burdigala, or Bordeaux. The Litany of Saints mentions seven bishops of the Irish Bordgal, and in the life of St Colman MacLuachan [42] it is stated that two places were bestowed upon the saint in what was afterward Queen's County, called Bordgal and Lemchail. There seems to have been still another place of the same name, commonly corrupted to Bordwell, in the parish of Aghaboe; old records give it under the earlier form. It would seem likely that these places in Ireland were named by settlers from the French Bordgal, or Bordeaux.

[39] Keating, History, ii, 167, 168.
[40] Windisch, Táin bó Cúalnge, p. 51; Hull, Cuchullin Saga, pp. 125-126.
[41] Dobbs, "Chariot-burial in Ireland," in Zeit. für Celtische Philologie (1912), viii, 278.
[42] Todd Lectures, R. I. A. (1911), p. 63, and note on p. 116.

Dr Kuno Meyer, [43] following up an interesting suggestion made by Professor Zimmer, ascribes the revived intellectual impulse visible in Ireland from the sixth century onward to the arrival from Gaul of a body of learned men flying in the fifth century before the irruption of the Goths and Huns, and he relies for this explanation on a passage in the writings of a Gaulish grammarian named Virgilius Maro, who lived in the fifth century, near the time of the exodus of which he speaks, and whose works were read in Ireland. Virgilius says that "the depopulation of the entire Empire commenced...and owing to their devastations all the learned men on this side of the sea fled away, and in transmarine parts, i.e., in Hiberia and wherever they betook themselves, they brought about a very great advance of learning to the inhabitants of those regions." Zimmer and Meyer would read "Hibernia" for "Hiberia," or Spain, which would not be called a "transmarine" district or be reached across sea. The comparative quietude of Ireland would make it a natural place of resort for the hunted scholars. However this may be, it is certain that Ireland never lost touch with the main currents of classical and theological literature in Europe and the East, and that traditions, legends, and apocryphal literature, as well as some knowledge of Greek and a full competence in Latin, survived there, much of which was stamped out elsewhere by the inroads of the barbarians. Ireland never suffered the decay of religion and learning consequent on the devastations which befell Gaul and threw back its civilization for nearly three hundred years.

[43] Learning in Ireland in the Fifth Century (1913).

We may take it that Ireland had, before the seventh century, absorbed into its population large numbers of foreigners Leinster was intermixed both with British and Gaulish settlers, the South must always have had a considerable Spanish element, and Ulster an admixture both of Norse, Picts, and Scots. There were English or Saxon centres in Ulster, Connacht, and Munster. Even before the historical period of the Norse incursions, which brought in a large new element, the Irish nation, far from being a pure race, must have been one of the most varied in Western Europe; but long before the eighth century these had become absorbed into the older populations, speaking their language, and living in large part like the people among whom they had settled. The stranger, from whatever country he hailed, if left to himself without outside interference made himself speedily at home and grew proud to call himself an Irishman. It was outside influences alone that interrupted this natural process.

In the seventh century we find, on the other hand, Irish students crowding the classes of Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury, who had come to England from Rome in 664, and whose instruction in Greek made his school a centre for those who desired the higher learning. The restless Irish scholars seem to have had some sharp passages at arms with their teacher. Aldhelm, who was also a student, describes how they baited the Archbishop, who, however, proved more than a match for his unruly pupils. "He treated them as a truculent boar treats the Molossian hounds. He tore them with the tusk of grammar and shot them with the deep and sharp syllogisms of chronography, till they cast away their weapons and hurriedly fled to the recesses of their dens."

At the same time that Irish students were studying Greek with Theodore at Canterbury, and Latin and the arts under the teachers of Malmesbury, English youths were resorting to Ireland, thus bringing about an interchange of thought and learning which was to the advantage of both countries. Among the numerous students whom Bede mentions as having gone for study to the Irish schools was Aiden, first bishop of Lindisfarne (635), who is said to have spoken English so imperfectly on his return that Oswald, King of Northumbria, who had also made himself proficient in the Irish tongue during a long banishment in that country, went about with him to translate his sermons. Later the young Northumbrian prince Aldfrid (sometimes erroneously confused with Alfred the Great), who had been excluded from the throne on account of illegitimate birth, and who was of a studious disposition, crossed over to devote himself to literature, "suffering a voluntary exile to gratify his love of knowledge." He was recalled to the throne on the death of his brother Egbert and proved a worthy and noble king. He is said to have been "most learned in the Scriptures," and he "nobly retrieved the ruined state of the kingdom while confining it within narrower limits." In Ireland he was known as Flann Fina, from his mother, Fina, who according to Irish accounts was of the Irish race of Niall. He loved the country of his exile, and a poem in its praise is ascribed to him. Among other students of high rank was the Frankish prince who afterward became King Dagobert II, who passed his youth in foreign lands as an exile from his country, and whose student days were spent at the school of Slane, in Westmeath. It is a testimony to the widespread reputation of the Irish schools in the seventh century that one of them should have been chosen for the education of this Frankish prince by the lords of his household. On his return home in 670 the young prince was attended by a train of Irish friends, one of whom, St Arbogast, he raised to the see of Strassburg. His successor founded there a monastery for ' Scots ' or Irish in 687. Another of his followers, Maelceadar, an Irish warrior, became a person of distinction at Dagobert's Court. His wife, St Waldetrude, the patroness of Mons, accompanied her husband when he went on a visit to his native land to invite Irish teachers to come over and settle in the Frankish kingdom.

Students repairing to Ireland for study were free to pass from school to school and to choose their own masters. There must have been some great attraction in the Irish student's life, for Aldhelm, in a letter addressed to three young men just returned from Ireland, exclaims, "Why does Ireland pride herself on a sort of priority, in that such numbers of students flock there from England, as if here upon this fruitful soil there were not an abundance of Argive and Roman masters to be found, fully capable of solving the deepest problems of religion and satisfying the most ambitious students?" [44]

[44] The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, under 891, speaks of three Irish pilgrims who arrived in England in a boat without any oars, and who were cared for by King Alfred the Great. Their names were Dubhslane, Macbeth, and Mealinmun.

Many of the foremost of the Welsh teachers and saints gained part of their education in Ireland. St Gildas, the historian, frequently visited the country and is said to have "revived faith and discipline" and to have given to it a special Mass. St Cadoc, or Cathmael, the Wise, founder of the important monastery of Llancarvan, had been baptized and instructed by an Irish hermit named Tathai, who had settled in Wales and who taught St Cadoc grammar, the Scriptures, and the liberal arts for twelve years. Determining to perfect himself in the advanced learning then only to be acquired in Ireland, St Cadoc passed over in a coracle built by himself to Lismore, where he was received by "the master of the city [monastery] and all the clergy," and he remained three years "perfecting himself in the learning of the West." All his life he continued to wear the rough and hairy mantle "such as the Irish wear out of doors," and one of his special treasures was a small bell of peculiar sweetness which he brought back from Lismore. [45] St Padarn, St Cybi, and others built churches in Leinster, and as late as 1058 St Sulien the Wise, founder of the college of Llanbadarn Fawy, "stirred by the example of the fathers," spent thirteen years studying in Ireland. Some valuable manuscripts of his family and school remain. On the other hand, many of the chief Irish founders of monasteries passed part of their early life in Wales. It is even said that when the "Priority and Headship" of the Welsh Church was in question, the population being undecided whether to elect St David or St Gildas, the young Finnian of Clonard, who was standing among the huge assembly, was called upon to give an impartial opinion. He gave his award for St David "in such good Welsh that it might have been his mother-tongue." [46] An example of what was constantly going on is the story of the "fleet of Irish ships" which one day sailed into the harbour of Hayle, in Cornwall, where they were attacked by the inhabitants and many killed. The few who escaped entrenched themselves on a hill, and they gradually extended their power over the Land's End district. A large part of Cornwall became Irish, the original inhabitants taking flight overseas to Brittany, along with emigrants from Devon and Wales. There are also a great number of dedications to Irish saints in Brittany. From the north of Scotland southward to Cornwall we find Irish dedications in great plenty; St Brigit is found all over the Hebrides, St Finnbarr of Cork in Argyllshire, St Cainnech of Aghaboe is the St Kenneth of St Andrews. St Bees Head is so called from St Bega, and Brandon Head, near Bristol, from St Brendan, the navigator saint. The wide influence of the Irish Church in early times is clearly shown. [47]

[45] W. J. Rees, Lives of the Cambro-British Saints, pp. 313-317, 326, 352.
[46] Stokes, Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore, pp. 222-223.
[47] Plummer, Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae, Introduction, pp. cxxiv-cxxvi; Baring-Gould and Fisher, British Saints, Introduction.

In the heart of Somerset the romantic village of Glastonbury was in old days known as "Glastonbury of the Gaels." It was founded by an Irish monk and seems to have been the special resort of pilgrims from Beggery Island in Wexford Harbour. The Irish tradition is very strong in Glastonbury. On either side of the figure of St Dunstan on the great seal of the monastery are found those of St Patrick and St Brigit. It was an old belief that St Patrick died here, but this "Sen-Patrick," or old Patrick, was probably another saint of the same name. Nevertheless, this tradition was one of the most persistent causes of the flocking to Glastonbury of Irish students and pilgrims. The life of St Dunstan says that "men of the Irish nation inhabited the place in large numbers, men who were most skilful and had fully given up their mental energies to the prosecution of the liberal arts; who, that they might the more entirely devote themselves to philosophy, leaving their native land and laying aside all their old habits, had hastened to Glastonbury, attracted by love of their first preacher St Patrick, whose corporal shell is from antiquity said to have been deposited there." [48] It is possible that it was the presence of these Irish students that infused into the severe mind of St Dunstan that love of music and the liberal arts for which he and his monastery became celebrated, just as in the neighbouring monastery of Malmesbury, founded by an Irish hermit named Maelduf, Aldhelm found a congenial atmosphere for the cultivation of that love of music which led him in later days to sing, on open ways and bridges, songs and religious poems to the chance passer-by.

[48] Vita Sancti Dunstani, ed. William Stubbs (1874), pp. 10, 74, 256, etc.; cf. William of Malmesbury, De Antiquitate Glastoniensis.

Though the western coasts were naturally the first to be invaded many Irish wanderers found their way farther afield. The dreamer of one of the earliest visions of heaven and hell, St Fursey, or Fursius (b. 633), was a Galway youth "of noble Irish blood, but much more noble in mind than in birth." He made his way across England and settled in the kingdom of Sigebert of the East Angles, in order to escape from the crowds that followed him in his own country. There he built his monastic cells "pleasantly situated in the woods and with the sea not far off," wherein he might the more freely indulge his heavenly studies. It was there he saw his strange vision of the other world, the earliest of those apocalyptic writings which were to find their culmination in the thirteenth century in the Divina Commedia of Dante. [49] Fursey seems to have been accompanied by a band of Irish followers, for, when he decided to cross to France to found his two monasteries of Péronne and Lagry on the Marne, he left behind him at his older foundation two priests of Gaelic name, Gobban and Dicuil, and took with him another named Ultan to join his anchorite cell in France.

[49] Bede, Eccl. Hist., Bk. iii, ch. xix.

This is not the place to relate at length the lives and labours of the Irish evangelists abroad. The place of honour must be assigned to Columban, who passed forth with twelve companions from the great school of Bangor, Co. Down, landed in Gaul, and reached Burgundy about the year 574, at the age of thirty-one. He settled down among the forests of the Vosges, building his simple monastery under the walls of a ruined castle at Annegray, and living chiefly on the wild fruits and herbs of the woods. Here he composed the rule for his monks, and though it was severe the gentle character of its followers drew many to join his order. He boldly attacked the vices of the three kings who ruled in Gaul, and he won over one of them, Sigisbert, who offered him land on which to build. Twice he was called into Italy to combat the Arian heresy and his conversion of the Lombard king, Agilulph, who began his reign in 590, led to the offer of any piece of land he might choose if he would consent to stay in Italy. He longed for solitude and chose a spot high among the Apennines which was destined to become famous as the monastery of Bobbio, the fourth of the monasteries founded abroad by Columban, the other three, Annegray, Luxeuil, and Fontaines being in Gaul. The grant of King Agilulph, making over the land to Columban, still exists, as do also a knife, cup, and bell said to have belonged to the founder. But the most splendid memorial of Bobbio is the valuable collection of manuscripts, many of them now in Rome, Turin, and Milan, which formed its library. A catalogue drawn up in the tenth century and attributed to Abbot Gerbert (967-972), who afterward became Pope Silvester II, contains a list of 700 volumes, 220 of which had been presented by scholars who are named, while the rest had been acquired from various unstated sources. The explanations of passages in the classical books and on copies of portions of the Bible made by Irish students in their own tongue are among the oldest surviving specimens of the Irish written language. They are known as the Turin and Milan 'glosses.' Eighteen monasteries in Germany and Switzerland, over thirty in France, and many in Italy and the Netherlands (to give these countries their modern names) earned on into the Middle Ages the work and memory of their Irish founders. The canton of St Gall was named after one of the companions of St Columban, who was so much attracted by the quietude of the region that he refused to cross the Alps into Italy, a country then rent by religious disputations. His monastery became one of the chief houses of call in the Middle Ages for pilgrims passing into Italy to visit Rome. At Salzburg, in the Tyrol, the bishopric dates back to Fergal, or Virgil, once Abbot of Aghaboe in Queen's Co. Over the canton of Glarus still waves the figure of St Fridolin, its Irish patron saint. St Cathaldus, patron of Taranto in Southern Italy, and St Colman, patron of Lower Austria, were Irishmen. When travellers enter Florence by the western gate they pass under the portals of St Fredianus, or Finnian, the Irish preacher and Bishop of Lucca. As they climb the sweet slopes of Fiesole they may rest beside the spot where Donat or Donatus built his hut and chapel.

Outside the city of Paris may be visited the holy well of St Fiacre, an Irishman whose shrine was so much frequented in the Middle Ages that it gave a special name to the carriages that bore pilgrims thither, and in Paris a cab is still a fiacre. From the shores of Iceland and the Faroe Isles down to the vine-clothed hills of Italy we find the cells, the traditions, and the manuscripts of Irish monks and travellers.

Among the twenty-nine chief monasteries which in the eighth century obeyed the Columban rule were, besides those we have mentioned, the almost equally well-known foundations of Péronne, Reichnau, Ratisbon, Seckingham, and Würzburg. When, in 723, the Saxon Winifred, better known as Boniface, was sent to the Franks as Papal legate, not one of the German or Bavarian tribes to which he went could be considered pagan, and in this work of Christianization the Irish had borne a considerable part. The last of the Irish foundations to be recognized as such was St James's of Ratisbon, known as the Monasterium Scotorum. But when the word 'Scotia' ceased to be applied to Ireland, and Scotsmen from Scotland claimed the monastery as their own foundation, it was handed over to them by Pope Leo X, and the remaining Irish monks were forced to leave.

It was during the disturbance of the monastic life at home through the onslaughts of the Northmen that Europe was flooded for a second time with Irish missionaries and teachers. The schools in Ireland were broken up, and life and property were rendered insecure. As the Norsemen and Danes penetrated farther into the country the monasteries became the chief points of attack, and the quiet pursuit of learning became more and more difficult. Then the thoughts of Irish men of letters turned naturally to the already existing Irish foundations abroad. The story of the foreign work of the Irish teachers thus falls into two parts. There were first the early missions like those of Columban and St Gall; of Finnian of Moville, known abroad as St Frediano of Lucca (500-588); of Ursus of the Val d'Aosta (c. 550); and of Cathaldus of Waterford (c. 618), who became Bishop of Taranto about 680, and whose brother Donatus founded a church near Naples about the same date. These men were followed in the ninth century by the great influx of learned men who gathered principally round the schools of Charlemagne and of Charles the Bald; from which centre they spread gradually over all Southern and Central Europe. The earlier movement was inspired by the love of adventure, the desire for solitude, and the craving to undertake missionary work among foreign nations. The later effort was made in response to the well-known ambition of Charlemagne to make the schools at Paris a centre of advanced learning. He welcomed with enthusiasm teachers who could assist him in carrying out his aims.

An old story, which, even if it be rather a parable than an historical fact, well describes what actually happened, tells us that "when the illustrious Charles began to reign alone in the West, and literature was everywhere almost forgotten, it happened that two Scots of Ireland, Clemens and Albinus, came over with some British merchants to the shores of France. These Scots [Irishmen] were incomparably skilled in human learning and in the holy Scriptures. As they had not merchandise for sale, they used to cry out to the crowds flocking to the churches, 'If anyone is desirous of wisdom, let him come to us and receive it, for we have it to sell.'" [50] The report of these men came to the ears of Charles the Great, who, being a lover of wisdom, ordered them to be brought before him without any delay. He asked them whether the report was true that they did really possess wisdom. They replied that it was so and that they were ready to impart such as they had to any who would seek it worthily. They required nothing in return but food and raiment, a convenient dwelling, and ingenuous minds. This was about the year 772. Clemens remained in France, and became magister palatinus or Instructor to the Imperial Court, teaching all children of the nobility and of the lower ranks who desired to attend his classes. Albinus was sent as ambassador to Pope Adrian I (772-795) by King Charles, who had succeeded to the Frankish throne in 769; [51] later he was placed by him in charge of the monastery of St Augustine in Pavia, where he continued to lecture until his death to all who desired to receive his instruction. Charles had added the kingdom of Lombardy to his dominions when, in 774, he entered Pavia and took its king Desiderius prisoner.

[50] The story is related by a monk of St Gall of the ninth century, and is accepted by Muritori, Ussher, Lanigan, and Hadden.
[51] Charles was crowned Emperor in the year 800; he died in 814. Lothaire succeeded Louis le Débonnaire in 817 and died in 855.

Pavia became a great centre of Irish learning. In 825 the French King Lothaire, who had been educated under two Irish teachers in the schools of his grandfather Charlemagne, desired one Dungal to accept the post of Principal of Pavia University, while Clemens remained at Paris. The edict of Lothaire declares that "through the extreme carelessness and indolence of certain superiors, true learning had been shaken to the very foundations on all sides"; therefore it had pleased him to desire that students should assemble from Milan, Brescia, Lodi, Vercelli, Genoa, Como, and other neighbouring towns, to the instruction to be given at Pavia under the superintendence of Dungal, and that neither poverty nor distance should serve as an excuse to the people. Dungal was one of that "vast train of philosophers" who, Eric of Auxerre says, removed to France in the ninth century, along with "almost all Ireland" flying as refugees before the Norse and carrying with them their books and valuables. The Irish saints' names scattered so thickly about Belgium, France and Brittany, and the great number of Irish manuscripts in foreign libraries, attest the truth of this passage. Dungal had arrived at the Court of Charles the Great about 780. He was a poet, theologian, and astronomer, and he became the trusted friend of the Emperor, to whom he wrote a letter that is still extant. In a Latin poem addressed to Charles he calls himself the Irish exile (Hibernicus exul). It begins, "These verses the Irish exile sends to King Charles." His letter is on the subject of a double eclipse of the sun which occurred in 810; the phenomenon so much excited the curiosity of the Emperor that he asked Dungal, then a recluse in St Denis, to write for him an explanation of the event. At Pavia he speedily attracted students from the surrounding states, many of whose names are still remembered, and his school acquired wide celebrity. He greatly esteemed Virgil and was acquainted with the early Christian Latin poets, such as Prudentius and Fortunatus. His numerous Latin verses prove his taste and his love of poetry. In a poetic address to the Emperor he exclaims, "Dost thou demand of what avail are the verses of our song? Ah, my friend, dost thou not know the names of the Muses, or can it be that scornfully thou dost despise their gifts? While the starry worlds revolve in their loftiest long will be heard throughout the ages the everlasting names of the Muses by whom the glorious deeds of kings are celebrated." [52] Another Dungal, whose tracts show some acquaintance with the works of Greek as well as of Latin authors, took part in the discussion that rent the Church during part of the eighth century about the honour that should be paid to images. He was called upon as the only man able to enter into controversy with the Spanish bishop, Claudius, on this subject of the Western iconoclasm. [53]

[52] Martène and Durand, Vet. Scrip. Coll. (1729), vol. vi, p. 811. Quoted by M. Stokes, Six Months in the Apennines, pp. 213-214.
[53] Yet another Dungal presented his valuable library to Bobbio at a later date. Traube, in his O Roma nobilis, distinguishes five Dungals, all of Irish birth, but this seems uncalled for; see also L. Gougaud, Les Chrétientés Celtiques, pp. 287-288.

Nearly all the chief Irish saints wrote hymns and poems, both religious and secular, sometimes in Latin and sometimes in the native tongue. We find chance compositions penned on the borders of old manuscripts at home and abroad, such as the "Student's Address to his Cat" or the "Lines to the Blackbird"--the one written on the margin of a codex of St Paul's Epistles in the monastery of Carinthia, the other as a marginal note on a copy of Priscian found in the monastery of St Gall. [54] Columcille wrote his tender and patriotic verses in both tongues; his contemporary and namesake, Columban, left several Latin poems written while he was abroad, notably the charming epistle addressed to his friend Fedolius in Adonic verse, in which he prays him "not to despise these little verses by which Sappho loved to charm her contemporaries." The Book of Hymns of the ancient Church of Ireland has a number of early hymns and eulogies of Irish saints both in Irish and Latin. The poetic fervour of the hermit monks, who lived in the closest intimacy with nature, brought forth a group of poems, both on religious subjects and on the natural beauties of the woods and streams and stormy ocean beside which they passed their peaceful days. These poems are unsurpassed in any literature for the delicacy of their sentiment and their vivid perception of the life of bird, and beast, and insect, the humble companions who lent interest to their solitude.

[54] Originals and translations in Stokes and Strachan, Thesaurus Palaeo-hibernicus, ii, 290, 293; and cf. Hull, Poem-book of the Gael, pp. 132, 139.

The most important of the gifts of knowledge which the Irish were able to restore to a rent and distracted Europe was the study of the Greek tongue. From a very early period the study of Greek seems to have formed part of the curriculum in Irish monastic schools. Columcille is said as a child to have "learned Greek grammar," though his earliest lessons were given him by a bard. The abbot Aileran of Clonard, writing about the year 600 a curious work on the mystical meaning of the names in our Lord's genealogy, quotes apparently from Philo as well as from Origen, Jerome, and Augustine. The old glossaries occasionally give Greek equivalents for Irish words, and Greek vocabularies and paradigms have been found in Irish manuscripts abroad. These occasional words in glossaries do not necessarily argue any extensive acquaintance with the language, but they show that its study was still alive in Irish monastic schools in the ninth century. It was from St Gall that the Greek copy of St Paul's Epistles with a Latin translation between the lines, known to scholars as Codex Boernerianus, was brought to Dresden. It dates from the ninth century and was therefore probably acquired or copied either in the time of the abbot Moengal (under whom the school of St Gall attained its greatest fame both as a seat of learning and as a school of music) or in that of Grimald, who was abbot from 854 to 872, and who bestowed upon the library a collection of valuable manuscripts. The few fragments in Irish script still remaining at St Gall are made up into miscellaneous collections, in which the precious St Gall palimpsest of Virgil is found side by side with several very ancient fragments of the Gospels. [55]

[55] H. J. White, Old Latin Biblical Texts, Nos. II, III.

Two Irish scholars of the ninth century are admitted to have been the first Greek authorities of their day. These were Sedulius Scotus ('the Irishman') and Johannes Scotus. Sedulius, who was Abbot of Kildare about 820, sought the Court of Charlemagne and was appointed by him to an important post at Liege, where he remained for many years. He arrived there one winter's day, through deeply drifted snow, exhausted by hunger and fatigue, but he received a welcome appropriate to his gifts and learning, and soon entered upon his professorial duties. He continued at Liege from 840 to 860 and died soon afterward at Milan. He tells us that "many learned grammarians" from his country were studying under his tuition at Liege. It is probable that his Treatise on Government was written for the instruction of Charlemagne's grandson, Charles the Bald, for whom also he composed numerous poems. When Charles visited the monastery Sedulius the Irishman presented a poem in his honour. He wrote commentaries in which he displays his reading by the variety of works from which he quotes. He corrects his Latin New Testament by a Greek original and he refers to the Hebrew readings. He composed a grammatical treatise on the basis of Priscian and Donatus, as well as the Treatise on Government of which we have spoken, which was discovered in the Vatican Library by Cardinal Mai. He was not only a man of exceptional erudition and versatility, but he was also a graceful Latin poet. His verses on "The Lily and the Rose" in which these flowers contend in rivalry for the palm of beauty are worthy of Thomas Moore. He is not to be confused with the fifth-century Italian poet of the same name who wrote the Carmen Paschale.

Undoubtedly the most remarkable thinker produced by the Irish schools and one of the foremost thinkers of the Middle Ages was John 'Scotus' or 'Scotigena,' or 'John the Irishman,' though he preferred to call himself John Ériugena, from Ériu, the old native name of his country. [56] John lived at a time when Western Europe was disturbed by the invasions of the Northmen, who were pouring down upon Northrumbria and Ireland, sacking the towns of Western France, Bordeaux, Rouen, Toulouse, and making their way inland to the gates of Paris. It was "with the din of war crashing around him" that, sometime about 847, John crossed over to France to obey the behest of Charles the Bald, who, amid the terrors of war, was building up under his own immediate care a school of philosophy at which learned men from every country were welcomed and given the opportunity of promulgating their ideas. The man, "little of stature but of merry wit," who came at his call from Ireland captivated the affection of the King, as his teaching was speedily to stir the attention of Europe.

[56] An alternative form is Ierugena; in later manuscripts the incorrect form Erigena appears. Ériu is the oldest form of the name of Ireland in the native tongue, with dative Érinn or Ére, from which the forms Erin and Ierne seem to be taken.

It was John's knowledge of the Greek language that induced the French King to invite him to his Court. Though his capital was then at Laon, he was attracted to Paris by its neighbourhood to the abbey of St Denis, which Charlemagne had chosen as the burial-place of his house, and which was then universally believed to have been founded by Dionysius the Areopagite, the earliest Athenian convert of St Paul. Works attributed to this man were supposed to have been discovered, but the knowledge of Greek, the language in which they were written, had so completely died out in the west that no one could be found to translate them. Charles probably remembered that an Irish teacher in the schools of his grandfather Charles the Great, and whom he had met at Liege, was not only a learned Latinist and a graceful Latin poet, but possessed as well some knowledge of Greek. The memory of Sedulius induced him to send for help to Ireland, and John, on his arrival, was able to carry out the wishes of his patron, and produce a translation which, owing to the then general ignorance of the language, threw Anastasius, Librarian of the Vatican Library, into the deepest astonishment. "It is wonderful," he exclaimed, "that this uncivilized man, dwelling on the confines of the world, should have been able to understand such things and to translate them into another tongue."

It was from his knowledge of Greek philosophy, especially of Plato, that John rose to the conception of things which he elaborated in his great work On the Division of Nature. "In the simplicity of his general plan," it has been said, "he surpasses all the philosophers of the Middle Ages." He accepts Plato's conception of a world of ideas as the pattern on which the sensible universe is made, thought to him being the only reality and goodness its essential significance. The inherent dignity of man's nature must assert itself in the end. "The soul may forget her natural goods, may fail in her striving towards the goal of the inborn virtues of her nature; the natural powers may move, by fault of judgment, towards something which is not their end," but not for ever, for the universal tendency of things is upward. "Our nature is not fixed in evil; is for ever moving, and seeks nought else but the highest good, from which as from a beginning its motion takes its source and to which it is hastening as to an end." Since all things proceed from God, so in God they find their final perfection. John was not a pantheist, for he believed in personal immortality. "This," he writes, "is the end of all things visible and invisible, when all visible things pass into the intellectual, and the intellectual into God, by a marvellous and unspeakable union; but not, as we have often said, by any confusion or destruction of essences or substances." His effort was to produce a philosophy of religion; he was led to conclusions on the essential goodness of human nature, and the negative and transient nature of evil, which were not acceptable in his own day, but many of which were revived, perhaps unconsciously, in the works of later thinkers. This belief in the dignity of human nature and its innate desire for good marks the conceptions of two mediaeval Celtic teachers, Pelagius and John Scotus, The one, with restless energy, was untiring in endeavouring to get his views accepted by a Church to which they were unwelcome; his doctrine is still the only heresy against which, in the Articles of the English Church, its adherents are warned by name. The other addressed himself to a more limited audience; and up to the death of his patron, Charles the Bald, John continued to enjoy the protection of this enlightened prince, whose scholar's instinct led him to encourage unfettered discussion, and whose respect for learning made him the personal friend of the scholars who gathered round him.

John came to a dreadful end at the hands of his own pupils and his own countrymen. On the death of Charles in France he was invited to repair to England by King Alfred the Great, and placed by him in charge of Malmesbury Abbey. Here he is said to have fallen a victim to the turbulence of his Irish pupils, who set upon him with the sharp ' stiles ' with which they wrote, inflicting wounds of which he died. [57]

[57] For an admirable essay on John Scotus see R. Lane Poole, Mediaeval Thought and Learning, ii, 46-68, from which the above quotations are taken. The question of the identity of John Scotus with the teacher of Malmesbury is fully discussed in Appendices I and II of the above-mentioned work.

It was not only in classical studies that Irishmen of the ninth century stood in the forefront of the knowledge of their time. They were also geographers and mathematicians. Fergal, or Virgil, of Salzburg has the double reputation of being a teacher of geometry and a missionary. At home he had been abbot of Aghaboe, and he must have been beloved in his native land, for he is one of the few among the host of Irish teachers who went abroad who is remembered in the annals and martyrologies of the homeland. His death is recorded in the Annals of Ulster under the date 784. On going to France he was recommended to Odilo, Grand Duke of Bavaria, by King Pepin (752-768), to fill the see of Salzburg. He had already achieved a reputation before leaving Ireland, for he was known there as the Geometrician; from his Greek studies he had learned the theory that the earth was a sphere and that there are antipodes. This theory was believed to run counter to the religious doctrines of the day, and Fergal was condemned again and again by the ecclesiastical authorities. But he still continued to maintain that the world was round, that the sun and moon passed beneath it, and that there must be inhabitants on the other side. No measures were actually taken against him, and he seems to have gone on quietly administering his diocese, while occasionally he startled the mediaeval world with new knowledge, wrought out in his study in the intervals of episcopal work.

An equally interesting writer was Dicuil, who lived about 820 or later, and who wrote in his old age a geographical work called De Mensura Orbis Terrae, which was discovered by M. Letronne about 1812 in the French National Library. Dicuil was a very intelligent man who was not content merely to compile an account of the world's geography from the records of the classical writers, though he was familiar with these and quotes from Solinus, Pliny, Isidore of Seville, Priscian, and many others. But he was also at great pains to find out any new material which could be contributed at first-hand by those who had travelled in little-known regions. The island of Iceland, for instance, was not discovered and peopled by Norsemen before 874, but Dicuil, who probably wrote half a century earlier, gives a long account of it. He corrects the common idea of his day that the island was surrounded with a sea of ice, remarking bluntly that those who made such reports "have evidently lied"; but he says that at a day's sail farther north the frozen ocean had been found, for certain clerics who visited the island went beyond it in the depth of winter. He describes, among other interesting details, the long days near the solstice, when the sun "hardly disappeared at all, but seemed only to hide itself behind a hill, so that, even during its short absence, the light of day does not fail." All this, he says, he had learned from some Irish anchorites who had visited the island over thirty years before and had remained there from the month of February till August. The account he gives of these hardy wanderers, who, despairing of finding nearer home the quiet they longed for, had pushed their way into the frozen seas, remarkably bears out the tradition handed down in the Icelandic Landnámabóc, which gives the history of the settlements on Iceland by the Norse. This old book says that when the Norse arrived in the island, flying before the harsh laws of Harold Fairhair, they found there already "Irish bells, books, and croziers." This passage is so interesting, as bearing on the wanderings of the Irish anchorites, that it will be well to quote it in full. It occurs in the prologue to this native record of the 'land-takes ' of Iceland and runs as follows: "Before Iceland was peopled from Norway there were in it men whom the Northmen called Papas [Fathers]; they were Christian men, and it is held that they must have come oversea from the west, for there were found after them Irish bells, books, and crooks [croziers], and more things besides, from which it could be understood that they were Westmen. These things were found east in Pap-isle, and it is stated in English books that in those times voyages were made between those countries." [58]

[58] Landnámabóc, Prologue.

It is an important testimony to the accuracy of this Icelandic record to find that Dicuil had conversed with those who knew some of these early explorers. He had also met a "man worthy of trust" who related to his master, the abbot Sweeney (Suibhne), how he had landed on the Faroe Isles after having navigated "two days and a summer night in a little vessel of two banks of oars." He found that they also had been inhabited nearly a hundred years before by eremites who had gone out of "our Scotia [Ireland]," but whom the inroads of the Northmen had driven away from Faroe, since which time the islands had been inhabited by an innumerable multitude of sheep, who were probably the descendants of those introduced and reared by the Irish hermits. To this day the sheep that are found on the Faroe Islands are of a breed unknown in Norway, but resembling those of the Western Isles of Scotland and the inhabitants have a peculiar method of rearing their sheep, unlike that of Norway. The name Faroe or Faerey Isles means "The Sheep Islands." [59]

[59] P. A. Munch, Chronica Regum Manniae et Insularum (1860), p. viii. Dicuil also wrote a remarkable treatise on astronomy which has been printed by M. Esposito in P.R.I.A., vol. xxvi, Sect. C, p. 378 seq. (1906-7).

As life at home became increasingly difficult for learned men new colleges of Irish began to spring up abroad, and Würzburg, Ratisbon, Fulda, Mayence (Mainz), Constance, and Nürnberg were all crowded with Irish students. They have left behind them many precious manuscripts, the fruit of their learning and patience. In the Imperial Library at Vienna is a copy of the Epistles of St Paul transcribed by a Donegal monk of Ratisbon in 1079. His name, Marianus "Scotus," shows the country of his birth, and his book was written "for his pilgrim brethren" who joined him from Ireland. Seven of his immediate successors were natives from the North of Ireland. Another Irish monk of the same name is associated with the Irish abbeys of Cologne and Fulda. He was educated at Moville in Co. Down, but, leaving his native land, he became an enclosed monk of the abbey of St Martin at Cologne. Though living as a solitary he wrote there a History of the World and various tracts of a controversial nature. His reputation spread, and when Siegfried, the Superior of Fulda Abbey, visited Cologne in 1058 he induced Marianus to return with him and take up his residence at Fulda. He became for the second time a professed 'incluse' in May 1059, taking up his abode in a cell in which another Irish incluse had lived and died sixteen years before. He died at Mayence, having followed his friend Abbot Siegfried thither, the remaining thirteen years of his life being passed in seclusion. All this we learn from his own diary, which has fortunately been preserved. A touching marginal note in a copy of his History gives a glimpse of the feelings which passed through the mind of an Irish scribe when, in foreign lands, he received tidings of events passing at home. It reads: "It is pleasant for us to-day, O Maelbrigte [i.e., Marianus], incluse in the inclusory of Mayence, on the Thursday before the feast of Peter, in the first year of my obedience to the Rule; namely, the year in which Dermot, King of Leinster, was slain. [60] And this is the first year of my pilgrimage from Scotia [Ireland]. And I have written this book for love of the Scots all, that is, the Irish, because I am myself an Irishman."

[60] King Dermot MacMaelnamo (Mael-na-mbó) of Leinster, who died in 1072.

At home the growing power of the Church had, even so early as the days of St Columcille, led to a struggle between the founders of monasteries and the central authority of Tara. The abbots began to exercise an authority independent of the secular arm and claimed, among other powers, the right to shelter criminals behind the 'law of sanctuary,' refusing to give them up to justice. Thus a merciful provision, intended to shelter an accused man from the vengeance of his pursuers until his case had been lawfully tried, was interpreted into a defiance of all legal punishment, the abbots in this way claiming an authority superior to that of the State even in matters not directly concerning the Church. The question was fought out by a test case in the reign of Dermot MacCarroll (Cearbhall), High King of Ireland about 538-565, a man of just aims and high ideals and determined to uphold the authority of the state. The story has taken the form of a parable in which the twelve chief saints of Ireland, as representing the Church, solemnly excommunicate Dermot by ringing of bells and "fasting upon" him. [61] Their action led to the downfall of Dermot and, with him, of the central supreme authority of Tara. After his time its position waned, and it was deserted as the seat of government. Thus the kingship was weakened just at the moment when a strong government would have been invaluable to the country. The last feis, or triennial festival, of Tara is recorded in the reign of Dermot. The Calendar of Aengus, composed late in the Norse period, speaks of "Tara's mighty town with her kingdom's splendour" as having perished, though the chief monastic foundations, in spite of Danish assaults, still survived, and "a multitude of champions of wisdom abode yet in great Armagh." But though Tara was deserted the name and title of Áird-rí continued up to the reign of Rory O'Conor, who submitted to Henry II, and during the Norse period a succession of powerful princes occupied the throne. Among signs of advance was the checking by St Columcille of the overgrown numbers of the bards, who were accustomed to go about the country in large bodies demanding entertainment and impoverishing the population. The exemption of women from warfare was obtained by St Adamnan, or Eunan (d. 704); and the adoption by the Irish Church of the customs and discipline of the Catholic Church in such matters as the date of keeping Easter and the form of the tonsure was largely secured by the persistent efforts of the same reformer. His powerful influence was exercised both at Iona (Hi), of which he was abbot, and in Ireland, where he held two important Synods, one at Armagh and another at Tara, where spots still known as the "Tent" and "Chair" of Adamnan are shown. He, like his great predecessor at Iona, St Columcille, was a Donegal man, and he wrote the most authoritative life of the founder, besides a book on the Holy Land highly praised by Bede. He was, as his writings show, a man of force and imagination.

[61] Silva Gadelica, ii, 70-74, 82. A speech of great dignity is put into Dermot's mouth. To "fast upon" a man from whom a debt was due was the legal form of enforcing a demand upon a man of higher rank under the Brehon law. It has recently been revived as the 'hunger-strike.' See Ancient Laws and Institutes of Ireland, i, 83, 113.

The state of the country during the close of the seventh and the eighth centuries declined with the decline of the restraining influence of the monastic schools, which had to a large extent replaced that of the secular arm. Disputed successions and enfeebled princes combined to produce a condition of disorder, and the gloom and misery of the period was accentuated by frequent and terrible visitations of pestilence which spared neither princes nor abbots, while the common people were swept away in vast numbers. Abbots of Clonard, Fore, Clonmacnois, and other monasteries, died of it. About 666-669 four abbots of Bangor, Co. Down, succumbed to it in succession. These plagues were followed by a great mortality among the cattle, which added the misery of famine to that of sickness. Extreme frosts are said to have occurred at the same time.

With the passing away of the founders of the greater monasteries the reverence in which these institutions were held seems to have declined. Early in the eighth century began that sacrilegious system of burning the monasteries which the Northmen copied but did not originate. In the period immediately preceding the first recorded Norse descents there is not a year in which the destruction of some old foundation is not noted. For instance, in 774 Armagh, Kildare, and Glendalough were burned. In 777 Clonmacnois was destroyed, in 778 again Kildare, in 783 Armagh and Mayo, in 787 Derry, in 788 Clonard and Clonfert, besides numerous smaller monasteries and churches. [62] The Danish fury shows us nothing worse than this. Quarrels and actual conflicts between the brethren were frequent. Both monks and students were armed and obliged to attend the warlike expeditions of their chiefs in the same way as other subjects; it is perhaps not surprising that, being trained and expected to fight, they should often have turned their arms against each other. They even appear in Church councils fully armed. [63] It was not until 803 that the clergy were legally exempted from hostings and wars. But a custom sanctioned by time did not easily die out; we shall find the clergy taking an active part in tribal warfare up to the beginning of the tenth century, though by that time a feeling seems to have been growing up that it was unseemly for monks and clergy to appear on the battlefield.

[62] Annals of Ulster, at above dates.
[63] Ibid., 806, 816. Notices of students "with shields and spears in their hands" at the monastery of St Aedh of Ferns will be found in the Life of St Aedan. Cf. W. J. Rees, Lives of the Cambro-British Saints, p. 566.

Never had Ireland been in a weaker condition morally and politically than at the moment when the foreign invader first arrived upon her shores; never was she less prepared to resist the fierce attacks of the Northmen whose conquering arms, spreading westward, fell at the close of the eighth century on the undefended coasts of Ireland.

But a great need called out the finer elements in the nation, and, in spite of the terror of the Norse incursions, the period was one of revival. A succession of purposeful rulers resisted with energy the onsets of the Northmen, and the gradual amalgamation of the two peoples brought to each some elements which were needed for the permanent benefit of both nations. The Danish period in Ireland, usually regarded as one of destruction and fury only, was, in fact, one of distinct advance both in material and intellectual conditions. It found Ireland an open country without large towns or solid fortifications, its chief centres the groups of simple huts gathered round the monastic foundations or along the river-mouths. The close of the Norse occupation left her with a number of walled towns, the beginnings of the larger towns of the present day, with fleets capable of penetrating to the Hebrides or Man, and with a commerce that made cities such as Dublin and Limerick centres of wealth and activity. Stone-built bridges, churches, and round towers showed an advanced style of building and the use of the true arch brought about a revolution in architecture; stone buildings also began to replace the old stockaded forts of the native princes. From the same period come many of the sweetest lyrics that Ireland has ever produced and a large body of prose literature. The most important religious poem of Ireland, the Psalter of the Verses (Saltair na Rann), relating Biblical events from the creation of the world to the final judgment, and containing a hundred and fifty poems in imitation of the Psalter, was composed toward the close of the tenth century.

It may be called the Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained of early Ireland. Few Irish poems are written on so extended a plan. To reach this state of renewed life the country had to go through a baptism of fire; but, comparing the Ireland of the eighth century with that of the eleventh, there is no question but that a great step forward had been taken, if not in the direction of internal peace at least in the direction of external prosperity.



The "fury of the Northmen" from which the mediaeval litanies of these islands and of Brittany prayed to be delivered began to fall upon Ireland toward the close of the eighth century. It was the backwash of a mighty movement which embraced all Southern and Western Europe and extended itself to the borders of Russia, then an almost unknown country. All the Scandinavian nations took part in it, but it was only the fleets of the Norsemen and Danes that visited the shores of Britain and Ireland, the main direction of Swedish expansion being toward the East. When the first recorded fleet of the foreigners appeared before Rechra in 795, and burned Inis Patraic [1] in 797 (798), the rumours of their descents on the shores of Northumbria had already reached Ireland. The Annals of Ulster speak of the "devastation of all the islands of Britain by Gentiles" or heathen men, under the year 793. This report doubtless refers to the ravaging of Lindisfarne, the news of which seems to have reached Ireland soon after the event. Though the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle speaks of these first-comers as Danes, it is almost certain that they came from Norway, not from Denmark. The place from which they started was Haerethaland, now Hordaland, on the west coast of Norway, directly opposite the northern shores of the British Isles. The Irish name for Norway, Ioruaith or Hirotha, may be a reminiscence of this word. But even before 793 there must have been settlements of Norse in Northumbria, for we hear of a synod held at Finn-Gall or " Fair Foreigners," a place evidently named after the Norse invaders, in the north of England in 788. The descents of the Norse on Ireland were by way of the Orkneys, Caithness, and the Hebrides; those of the Danes chiefly by the south coasts of England and Wales. The Norse were hardy seafarers, who pushed out north-west to the shores of Greenland, Iceland, and North Britain, and thence made their way down the western coasts of Scotland to Ireland; the Danes, who were not naturally a sea-loving nation, were inclined to hug the shores. They landed on the coasts of Britain and eventually established themselves as kings of England, a monarchy which, though shortlived, was remarkable for the vigour of the great Canute, whose vast realm at one time included Britain, Denmark, and Norway and came near to adding Sweden as well. Canute's dream of a Northern confederation of nations, to be ruled from Britain, though it was never realized, became very nearly an accomplished fact; but the weakness and follies of his successors dissipated all that his genius had achieved.

[1] It is uncertain whether this was the island of that name, near Skerries, Co. Dublin, or a place now called Holm-Peel in the Isle of Man. Probably it was the former.

Thus the two peoples, Norsemen and Danes, met upon the shores of Ireland, the one descending from the north, by way of Scotland and the Hebrides, the other from the south, by way of England and Wales. In Ireland they tried their mutual strength, for the aim of the Danes was to oust the earlier Norsemen from the fruit of their conquests and to establish settlers from Denmark in their stead. To a large extent they succeeded, for the Norse kingdom of Dublin, firmly established by Olaf the White in 853, came to an end, and the Danish kingdoms of Dublin, Waterford, and Limerick took its place. It is the Danes, not the Norse, who are remembered in Ireland. In the Irish Chronicles the distinction is usually well preserved, the Norse being called Finn-Gaill, or "Fair Foreigners," and the Danes Dubh-Gaill, or "Dark Foreigners." The plunderers of Rechra appear to have been a chance party of the Danes who had been ravaging in Glamorgan and South Britain, the first serious attempts at conquest being made by the Norse who fell upon the North of Ireland. The Gwentian Chronicle calls the plunderers of Rechra "black pagans from Denmark" and adds that when the Cymry, or Welsh, had driven them into the sea and killed very many of them they went to Ireland and devastated Rechreyn (Rechra). This was probably Lambay Island, off the coast of Co. Dublin, and not Rathlin on the Antrim coast, which would have been quite out of their way. The Annals of Clonmacnois also call them Danes (A.D. 792, recte 795).

The viking period began in these islands earlier than is usually supposed and lasted longer. Zimmer shows that the Norse were settled in the Orkneys two centuries before their first descents recorded in history, and even then were carrying on trade between Ireland and Scandinavia. They came both for booty and on trading expeditions, often combining both professions as occasion served. The earliest mention of Limerick is in the Icelandic Landnámabóc, where Hrafn, the Limerick-farer, is said to have spent a long time in Limerick in Ireland, which looks as if the town had already become a trading centre. Dublin, too, was very early a resort of the vikings, and the old song of Starkad, who was slain by Ragner Lodbrok, relates among his hero-deeds, "having taken the chief of the Irish race, I rifled the wealth of Dublin."

Lodbrok himself is said to have slain King Melbrik (Mael-brigde) of Dublin and to have found the city "full of barbarian wealth." In Egil's saga we hear of ships fitted out "for the Irish trade"; and many of these searovers settled down, married Irish wives, and made the trading towns they had established in Ireland their headquarters. One Bjorn, "a right doughty man," went sometimes on freebooting and sometimes on merchant voyages. His father refused his request for a fighting ship, but made him master of a trading vessel and bade him "go south to Dublin, for that voyage is now most highly spoken of." [2] The division of the descents of the Northmen on Ireland into two periods, a preliminary movement consisting of raids round the coast and up the waterways, in order to become familiar with the country, and a later period of settlement, is only a very partial description of what actually occurred. The building of towns and settlements in the country by no means put an end to plunderings for booty. The Norse lord, whether he lived in Norway or in the Hebrides (Sudreyer), [3] made his spring-viking and his autumn-viking as regularly as the seasons came round, with a space for sowing his seed and reaping his harvest between each distant raid. The terror of the Northmen was not confined to a brief period; it went on until late into the twelfth century, practically up to the time of the Norman invasion, for the coasts of Ireland lay conveniently within the range of coasting voyages. Half a century before we have any records of their doings in the Norse annals we hear of them pushing their way up the Irish rivers, robbing the monasteries of their ornaments, sacred books, and valuables, and burning the fragile structures to the ground. They made trading centres at every important river-mouth, to which the peasants of the interior brought down their goods for barter, and out of which were to grow the chief seaport towns of Ireland—Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, Cork, and Limerick. As early as the middle of the ninth century we hear of a mixed race called the Gall-Gael (Gaill-Gaedhil) of partly Scandinavian and partly Irish blood, who began to collect formidable armies. Intermarriage and settlement must thus have been frequent at a date when it is customary to think of the Norse as mere occasional raiders along the coasts. To the Irish it seemed that "great sea-cast floods of foreigners" poured in at every harbour and river-mouth and began to overrun the whole country by means of its waterways. Two fleets of sixty sail appeared simultaneously on the Boyne and Liffey, and, though their landing was disputed with vigour, the invaders succeeded in penetrating to Lough Erne and raiding Meath. For the first time, in 836, Ath-Cliath, henceforth to be known as Dyflin or Dublin, fell into their hands, and by a stroke of high policy they determined to make it their headquarters in Ireland. Standing on one of those splendid natural harbours which the Romans had envied, it lay within direct touch of the western coasts of Britain and was to form the main future passage for commerce and navigation between the two countries. Hitherto, as its name indicates, it had been the main ford across which ran the highway between the south-east and Tara, carried over the Liffey by a hurdle-bridge. Probably a village existed on the banks of the river where the bridge crossed it. But in the hands of the Norse it was to become not only a trading town and the capital of Olaf the White, but a chief link with the Scandinavian kingdoms of Northumbria and the Western Isles. There they planted their 'Thing-mote' for the administration of justice in the Scandinavian manner; there they built a fort on the site occupied by Dublin Castle in later days; and round "entrenched Ath-Cliath" they made their walls and gates. Norse names, such as Howth, Lambay, Leixlip, Skerries, cluster about the district north of the city which is still known as Fingall, or the place of the Fair Foreigners, as the Irish termed the Norse.

[2] The Saga of Egil Skalligrimson. It describes conditions in the middle of the tenth century.
[3] The Sudreyer, or Sudreys, were the Southern Hebrides. Later the word was corrupted into Sodor, which is now used in the title of the Bishops of Sodor and Man.

The choice of Dublin as the capital of the Norse kingdom brought about a corresponding change in the position of Armagh, which from the time of St Patrick onward had, both ecclesiastically and nationally, been looked upon as the metropolis of Ireland. Its great age and its connexion with the patron saint, its important schools and its abbatial dignity, had made it the real capital of the North. It was on this account that Turgeis, or Turgesius, styled in the Annals Lord of the Gall or Foreigners, who arrived in the North of Ireland in 842, with "a great royal fleet" attacked Armagh, plundering it three times in one month, the first of these dreadful experiences which had befallen it at the hands of the foreigners. Turgeis, who is said to have come "to assume the sovereignty of the Gall of Ireland," appears to have had two chief aims; first he desired to unite under his rule the Norse settlers, who had hitherto been without any definite central authority, and to consolidate their conquests in the face of the incoming Danes, who were already beginning to "exercise authority" over the Norse who preceded them; and, secondly, he wished to re-establish paganism in Ireland. To give himself the necessary position of authority he "usurped the abbacy" of Armagh, claiming thereby the spiritual as well as the temporal power over the North. He aimed at a pagan revival in the very place specially consecrated to Christian worship, and Forannan, Abbot of Armagh, had to fly into Munster. He next set up his wife, Ota (Old Norse, Audr), as a priestess and giver of oracles in the second great centre of Christian influence in Northern Ireland, Clonmacnois, and she pronounced her oracles from the high altar of St Ciaran's city. Turgeis has been identified with Thorgils, whom the historian Snorro Sturleson believed to be a son of Harald Fairhair, and who is said to have gone on a viking expedition into Ireland. The dates, however, are difficult to reconcile. If he was a devotee of the god Thor, as this name would indicate, his anxiety to establish the worship of Thor in Ireland would be explained. In Scandinavia the priesthood did not form a separate caste; the head of a family or village was also its priest and offered sacrifices to Thor.

The attempt of Turgeis to introduce the worship of Scandinavian deities into Ireland was not so hopeless as might at first appear. The intermarriages between Irish women and Norse husbands had brought about a widespread reversion toward paganism, the converts becoming even more fierce and sacrilegious than the foreigners themselves. Turgeis died a miserable death in 845, having been taken prisoner by the King of Ireland and drowned by him in Loch Owel in Westmeath, but his evil influence survived him. We hear that "many of the Irish forsook their Christian baptism and joined the Lochlanns or Norse, plundering Armagh and carrying away its riches. They even adopted the name of Norsemen, with the religion and customs of their former foes," and "though the original Norse were bad to the churches, these were far worse, in whatever part of Erin they chanced to be." The writer of this passage ascribes the awakening of this anti-Christian spirit to the fostering by the newcomers of Irish children, who thus imbibed from infancy ideas contrary to their own country and religion. Fosterage was equally common among both peoples, few Norse or Irish children being reared at home. Norse children were 'knee-seated' with some distinguished friend of the family, who, exactly as in Ireland, brought them up and set them out in life, frequently making the adopted child the heir. From this intercourse sprang the mixed race called Gall-Gael, who formed a considerable section of the nation and had their own fleets and armies. They formed bodies of mercenary troops, whom each party tried to bring over to its side, and were difficult to reckon with; they entered the forces of the Danes, Norse, or Irish indifferently, and are found fighting sometimes for and sometimes against their country.[4]

[4] MacFirbis, Three Fragments of Annals, ed. J. O'Donovan (1860), pp. 127, 129, 139. These Gall-Gael are not to be confused with the mixed Norse-Gaelic population of the same name in Galloway, though they sometimes fought in alliance with them; see Annals of the Four Masters, 1154.

After the death of Turgeis his conquests seem to have collapsed, and the next attempts were made by foreigners in the south. When King Malaughlan I came to the throne in 846 the seas between Ireland and the Scottish coasts swarmed with vessels, "so that there was not a point of Erin without a fleet." Forts sprang up on all the rivers along which the raiders could navigate their ships, and these gradually assumed the appearance of a network over the whole country. The King's first step was to clear out the nests of marauders or "sons of death" who were plundering from centres such as Loch Ramor in Cavan, after which he turned his arms against the foreigners of Meath and inflicted on them a severe defeat at Sciath Nechtan. Here fell the chieftain Tomar, who is called tanist (or heir) to the King of Lochlann and who seems to have been the ancestor of the Norse kings of Dublin. "The Sword of Carlus and the Ring of Tomar" were treasured as royal heirlooms in the city; in later times they were carried off by Malaughlan II by force in token of the supremacy that he had gained over the Norse of Dublin, who went by the name of the "Race of Tomar" or "Tomar's Chieftains." [5] The Ring of Tomar may have been one of the sacred iron rings on which it was customary with the Norse to swear judicial oaths. The Sword of Carlus seems to have been part of the royal insignia of the foreign kings of Dublin. Carlus was son of Olaf the White. He was killed in the battle of Killoderry in 866 (869). It may have been in consequence of the fall of Tomar, a scion of the royal house, that Olaf the White arrived in Dublin in the year 853 with a prodigious fleet. He seems to have been a Norse chief from the Hebrides, though his genealogy is given differently in the Northern and Irish accounts. The story of his wife, Aud the Deep-wealthy, who returned to Iceland by way of the Hebrides after the death of her husband, is told in Laxdaela Saga. Olaf came to Ireland to dispute the supremacy over the Irish with the Danes, who were making rapid advances both in the North and in Munster, and who, in the year succeeding the accession of King Malaughlan, had captured and plundered Dublin, the seat of Norse authority. These Dubh-Gaill or "Black Foreigners," as the Irish called them, probably rather on account of their deeds than their complexion, brought terror alike to the Norse and the Irish. They had the fierce habits and also the accommodating spirit, half pagan, half Christian, which characterized the Northmen of the viking period. When trading with Christian folk they were 'prime-signed,' or marked with a cross, so that they might enter into fellowship with Christian men, but at home they worshipped Thor as their ancestors had done. "I am prime-signed, but not baptized," said a man named Toki to King Haraldson, "because I have been in turn with heathen and Christians, though I believe in the White Christ." So the Danes who now arrived in the North of Ireland adopted Patrick as their protector and offered their spoils to his church at Armagh. Malaughlan was forced to come to terms with the Norse against the Danes, "but though Olaf promised many things and swore to observe them, he did not observe the smallest of them after leaving Malaughlan's house, but plundered all his land."

[5] Book of Rights, ed. J. O'Donovan (1847), p. xxxvi.

Malaughlan's efforts against the foreigners were impeded by the struggles of two restless foes who were disputing the monarchy with him, Aedh Finnliath, his successor, and Carroll (Cearbhal or Kjarval) of Ossory, a prince whose power so impressed the Northmen that we find him mentioned in the opening passage of the Icelandic Landnámabóc as King of Dublin at the same time that Harald Fairhair reigned in Norway and Alfred the Great in England. He was on friendly terms with the Norse and married his large family of daughters to famous vikings of the Hebrides or Iceland. His daughter Rafarta married Eyvind the Eastman, a great trader, who had a fleet fitted out specially for raiding the Irish coasts. Another, Aithne, married the father of Sigurd the Stout, who fell at Clontarf carrying the raven-banner which she had wrought. His descendants went home to Iceland and founded families there, calling their children partly by Norse and partly by Irish names. Carroll is said to have been "a person worthy to possess all Erin for the goodness of his countenance, hospitality, and valour," but he was an uncertain ally, and a thorn in the side both of the foreigners and of the Irish King. He crushed the Norse chief Orm, or Horm, in Munster, but he failed the Munstermen at the moment of battle, and involved them in a hopeless defeat. He wasted Leinster, and in 858-859 the King of Ireland had to summon a convention of princes and abbots to force Carroll to pay him his dues. He died in 887. But in 902, the year after the death of Alfred the Great, whose activities in England had broken the strength of the foreigners in that country, the invaders met with so severe a reverse in Ireland that they are said to have been expelled from the country and to "have escaped half dead, having been wounded and broken." Thus the first period of their power ended in rout and defeat.

A partial pause in hostilities or "forty years' rest" is reckoned in the annals between 876 and 916, years during which the Danes found it necessary to withdraw their troops in order to concentrate against the wars of expulsion that Alfred was waging against them in England. But fighting was going on all the time, and, in spite of it, the Norse kings of Dublin were again consolidating their power. Ivar, brother of Olaf the White (?), who in the Annals of Ulster is styled Rex Nord-mannorum totius Hiberniae et Britanniae,[6] was succeeded in turn by Ivar, his grandson, Sitric Gale and Olaf Godfreysson.

[6] He may have been Ivar Beinlaus, son of Ragnar Lodbrok.

Under Olaf Cuaran, or Olaf of the Sandal, whose name is famous in romance and history, the power of the Dublin Norse rose to its greatest height. Ragnall (d. 921) captured York in 919, and he and his successors ruled a kingdom which included all Northumbria south to the Humber, making their headquarters sometimes at York and sometimes in Dublin. But at the battle of Brunanburh, or Brumby, fought near the mouth of the Humber in 937, their power was broken in the defeat of the most formidable combination ever made by the Norsemen, including Scottish and Irish contingents, by Athelstan, King of England; and Olaf Cuaran, the Norse leader, only escaped back to Dublin "with a few," leaving five kings dead on the field.

In their nailed barks the Northmen departed
Bloody relic of darts, on roaring ocean
O'er the deep water Dublin to seek,
Back to Ireland, shamed in mind.[7]

[7] Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 937.

In Ireland the power of the Norse attacks had been weakened even during the forty years' truce by a series of determined rulers, of whom the greatest were Niall Glundubh, or "Black-knee," and his son Murtogh of the Leather Cloaks in the North, and Cormac MacCuilennan and Callachan of Cashel in the South. These princes kept up a continuous fight, though with varying success, against the invaders.

The least warlike but in many ways the most remarkable of these princes was Cormac, who reigned for seven years (901-908) from his capital on the rocky cliff of Cashel which rises out of the plain of Tipperary. The existing group of buildings, consisting of the palace and cathedral, and the chapel of wonderfully rich decoration known as Cormac's Chapel now crowded on its summit, are all later than the tenth century, but they occupy the site of an earlier fort or palace.[8] The round tower was built, like most of the round towers of Ireland, about this date, as a protection against the Danish pirates. Cormac belonged to a race of abbot-kings, who in his day occupied the throne of Cashel. His predecessor and his successor were, like himself, at once abbots and princes, combining in their persons the religious and royal functions. His temperament was quiet and peaceful, and devoted to studious pursuits. He has left a glossary of obscure Irish words which were already, in his time, falling out of use, and he either initiated or continued a work called the Psalter of Cashel, containing "all the inhabitations, events, and septs that lived in this land, from the first peopling and discovery thereof," which seems to have been compiled after his accession to the throne. He is described as "a most excellent scribe, bishop, and anchorite," and "as a holy man, master of Gaelic and Latin; proficient in law, in wisdom, knowledge, and science; most pious, most pure." [9] But the times in which he lived and the influence of the warlike ecclesiastic Flaherty, Abbot of Scattery Island, who was Cormac's successor, involved him in wars against his better judgment. In the fateful battle of Ballymoon, in which Cormac fell (908) fighting against the men of Leinster, the clergy of Leinster are said to have abused Flaherty roundly for inducing the King to enter the battle to his own destruction. "Nobles of Munster," exclaimed one of the leaders, "fly from this abominable battle and leave the clergy, who could not be quiet without coming to battle, to fight it out between themselves." The law exempting ecclesiastics from warfare had evidently become a dead letter, if it had ever been enforced at all, and "the life of a cleric in battle was not more spared than that of a layman." Cormac was killed by the fall of his horse into a trench, just as he was urging a foster-son "who was an adept in wisdom and jurisprudence, in history and Latin" to escape. When Cormac's head was brought to Flann, King of Ireland, he was filled with horror. "It was a monstrous thing," he exclaimed, "to have taken off the head of the holy bishop," and he had it interred with reverence.[10]

[8] Cormac's Chapel was built in 1127 by King Cormac MacCarthy.
[9] MacFirbis, op. cit., p. 215. The Psalter of Cashel was continued by King Brian, who brought it up to date. The Book of Rights is believed to be a portion of this book.
[10] MacFirbis, op. cit., pp. 209, 213. O'Donovan tells us that the stone on which King Cormac's head was cut off is still shown on the site of the battle two and a half miles north of Carlow.

The last days of old Flann Sinna, who reigned as King of Tara for over thirty-six years, saw the outbreak of new and more determined attempts to establish a permanent footing in the South. From this time may be dated the seacoast towns, of which the most important were Waterford and Limerick, ruled by branches of the great house of Ivar; but even the less important trade centres, Cork, Youghal, and Wexford, seem at this period to have undergone a rapid expansion. Wexford is described by Giraldus in 1170 as having walls, towers, and battlements.[11] But Waterford (Port Lairge) continued to be the seat of the Southern line of Danish princes and the capital city of the Munster Danes. Already in the "Kraku-Mal" of the Ragnar Lodbrok cycle we hear of Waterford as one of the places visited by his viking troops.

[11] Giraldus Cambrensis, Conquest of Ireland, ch. iii.

Marstein, Erin's king, whelm'd by the irony sleet,
Allayed the hunger of the eagle and the wolf;
The slain at Wadras ford [Waterford] became the raven's booty;
We hewed with our swords!
South in Leinster, at break of day, we held our game of war.[12]

[12] Vigfusson and F. York Powell, Corpus Poeticum Boreale (1883), ii, 343. Marstein was the Melbric of Saxo.

Probably the first settlement was at Gaultire, or Gall-tire, "the Foreigner's Country," where there had been a settlement since 891. Waterford, like Dublin, had its walls and gates and its 'Green,' or Thing-mote, of judgment.[13] This nucleus was added to from time to time, especially after the "forty years' rest," when Ragnall, grandson of Ivar, and Ottar the Black, with "innumerable hordes," are said to have arrived. They raided all Munster, subdued it, and demanded from it heavy taxes. Though independent of Dublin, both Waterford and Limerick were in close contact with the Scandinavian kingdom of the Isles and with Man; their princes are found fighting in the Hebrides on the way to and from Ireland. The position of Waterford made it a centre from early times for trade with Britain, especially with Bristol. When the Normans landed there they found a merchant ship with a cargo of corn and wine lying in the harbour; and it became the port for the extensive slave trade carried on with Bristol. Limerick and Waterford seem to have been on friendly terms, and though each had its own line of princes, we do not hear of fighting between them. Limerick became an important harbour for Danish fleets; they anchored round what is now King Island (Inis Sibthonn) in the Shannon, and the arrival, about 919-920, of Tamar, son of Elge, with an immense fleet, enlarged this then small settlement in the river-mouth into a regular resort for Danish fleets. They speedily pushed their way northward; and their "mighty deeds" included raids on Loughs Derg and Ree,[14] from whence they made their way into Connacht and even across to Meath.

[13] Alexander Bugge, Caithreim Callachan Caisil, p. 70.
[14] Wars of the Gael with the Gall, ed. J. H. Todd, p. 39.

The heavy blows inflicted by the Irish on the Danes of Limerick must have greatly weakened the colony, and we hear of Morann, the viking chief of the island of Lewis in the Hebrides, coming to the help of the Danish city.[15] The Irish fought at a great disadvantage, for they wore no armour, but only tunics, with shields for protection; their weapons were swords, spears, clubs, and arrows; but the Northmen were encased in suits of armour, upon which the blades of the Irish took no effect, while the helmets of the Danes were impervious to the blows delivered with their clubs.[16] The battleaxe, later the favourite weapon of the Irish, was introduced by the Northmen; but both nations used it at the time of the Norman invasion.

[15] Caithreim Callachan Caisil, pp. 61, 65.
[16] Ibid., p. 64.

The years of the brief reign of Niall Glundubh (917-919) were the worst hitherto experienced by the Irish. Sixteen fleets are said to have arrived simultaneously to ravage Munster, one of them being commanded by the celebrated Inghen Ruadh, or "Red Maiden," the woman-warrior of whom terrible stories are told. The necessity of self-defence forced the Irish to imitate the Danes in building fleets of fighting vessels, and from this time we hear of considerable fleets of "brown-planked" barks in Munster used by the Irish. Regular levies of warships, "ten from each cantred," were raised and could be mustered on occasion. We hear of "Limerick of the ships and bulwarks" and the "king of Foyle of the ready ships." The fleet with which Murtogh of the Leather Cloaks penetrated to the Hebrides, "after gaining victory and triumph," was evidently a full fighting fleet. Most of the Irish words connected with ships and shipping, and many of those connected with commerce and markets, are of Norse origin. The native Gaelic words for boats, such as currach, a canvas or skin-covered bark, or ethar, a ferry-boat, indicate a very primitive sort of craft, which could not have met the "nailed barks" of the Norse on equal terms. The Irish also adopted Norse weights and measures, and the first coins minted in Ireland bear the names of Ivar and Sitric.

Building and fortifying went on all over the country; the massive tower known as Ragnall's or Reginald's Tower, in Waterford, still bears the name of its Danish ruler. Limerick is spoken of as "Limerick of the riveted stones," and even Armagh is called "Armagh of the great towers," while in Dublin arose the battlemented tower from which King Sitric looked out on the battle of Clontarf. Beneath it lay the bridge over the Liffey, called Droichet Dubhgall, or "the Dane's Bridge," later, when the Normans had driven the Danes into Ostmanstown on the north side of the river to be called Ostman's or Eastman's Bridge.

In addition to the ordinary articles of tribute, cattle, cauldrons, drinking horns and vessels, chariots and swords, we now hear of "imported gold and silver," "steeds brought across the green sea," and "foreign shields," as part of the tributes paid from prince to prince, or from the foreigners to the Irish princes. Bondsmen and bondswomen formed an important article of tribute, in one case "ten foreigners without a knowledge of Gaelic" being among the demands. Irish girls of high rank were carried away into slavery, as we know from the beautiful story of the daughter of King Myrkiartan, probably Murtogh of the Leather Cloaks, who was carried to Iceland as a slave, and whose son, Olaf the Peacock, or Olaf Pa, is the hero of Laxdaela Saga. Tributes were also paid from the Irish to the Danes, "a severe tribute" being demanded by the Dublin Norse from Leinster. On the other hand, the Danes had to attend the kings of Cashel in battle, in return for maintenance by them in their territory.[17] In 919 Niall Glundubh, or "Black-knee," King of Aileach, in Donegal fell in the fierce battle of Kilmashog, near Dublin, in a vain effort to recover the city from Sitric Gale, the Norse king. One of the few Irish entries in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records, but incorrectly, under the year 921: "This year King Sitric slew Neil his brother." Though victorious, Sitric left Dublin the next year and never returned, Dublin falling into the hands of his brother or cousin Godfrey, and the great kingdom of the Norse became henceforth divided.

[17] Book of Rights, ed. J. O'Donovan (1847), pp. 51, 207.

Around the Irish princes who succeeded Niall Glundubh a number of stories or sagas have grown up, written in their praise by their poets and chroniclers. Murtogh of the Leather Cloaks, Callachan of Cashel, Brian Boromhe, or Boru, has each his story, written in the romantic manner of the bards. Substantially true, these stories are yet coloured by poetical imagination or provincial pride. This form of historical romance seems to have grown out of the union of the two nations who were at this period brought into such close contact. It also influenced several of the sagas of Iceland; some bear Irish names, as Cormac's Saga and Njal's (Niall's) Saga, others deal with Irish subjects, such as Thorstein's Saga or Brian's Saga, which take the battle of Clontarf as their central topic. The saga, as we may call it, of Murtogh, King of the Northern Hy-Neill, son of Niall Glundubh, who reigned from his fort of Aileach in Donegal, describes a tour made by him round the provinces of Ireland in the depth of winter in assertion of his authority after a series of defeats of the foreigners. He was accompanied by an imposing force of a thousand picked men, who were clad in sheepskin or cowhide cloaks, which served as wraps by day and tents by night, and from which he received his sobriquet of "Murtogh of the Leather Cloaks." He received tribute from the Norse of Dublin and "blood-money of red gold," besides a prince of their royal house as hostage. From Munster he carried off King Callachan of Cashel in fetters—an audacious stroke of policy, which made a noise in its day; and in Connacht a young son of Teigue of the Three Towers was entrusted to his care. On their arrival at Aileach the captive princes were received with honour and treated to a banquet, at which Murtogh himself and his queen waited on the hostages, after which they were delivered by him voluntarily to the King of Ireland as his superior lord. This chivalrous and successful prince fell in battle at Ardee in the same year (943) by the sword of Blacaire, Lord of the Foreigners, and the feeling of his countrymen is voiced by the chronicler: "Alas! since Murtogh does not live, the country of the Gael will ever be orphaned!" [18]

[18] The courtesies of Murtogh to his captives remind us of the later chivalries of the Black Prince. For the poem of Cormacan, Murtogh's bard (ed. J. O'Donovan), see Tracts relating to Ireland, (Irish Archaeological Society 1841), vol. 1.

A romantic tale has also grown up round Callachan of Cashel, the prince of Munster whom Murtogh took as a hostage. Like the King of Aileach he made a strong stand against the Northmen, but he was less fortunate in his efforts than his Northern rival, for he was twice a prisoner in their hands. They endeavoured also to entrap him by arranging a marriage between him and a sister of Sitric, lord of Dublin,[19] in order to entice him into their power. When he was on his way to Dublin to bring about the match Callachan was secretly warned by Sitric's queen that it was intended to take him prisoner. The warning came too late. As he turned to retrace his way he found himself surrounded by ambushed troops, who bore down upon him, killed his followers, and took him captive to Dublin and thence to Armagh. The men of Munster lost no time in collecting a great army to rescue their chief. They marched north to Armagh, only to find that the Northmen had got notice of their intentions and had quietly sent Callachan off with an escort to Dundalk, and thence to their ships in the harbour. Destroying as they went, the angry Munstermen pursued the party down to the brink of the sea. Their wrath was fierce when they saw their king bound with ropes and suspended from the mast of Sitric's ship. At this moment the Munster fleet under Failbe, King of Desmond, which had been making its way round by sea, entered the harbour. The Norse were caught between the land and sea forces, and a furious battle began. Failbe boarded Sitric's ship, a sword in each of his hands, and, while he kept the foe at bay with his right hand, with his left he cut down the ropes that bound Callachan and set him free. The two warriors cut their way back to Failbe's ship, but Failbe was overpowered and his head cut off on the side of his own boat. Callachan escaped safely and returned home in triumph to resume the sovereignty of Munster and to carry his revenge upon the Danes as far as the cities of Cork, Waterford, and Limerick. The Munster story speaks of Callachan's great size and ruddy face. The Northern chroniclers are not so favourable, and the annalists of Clonmacnois describe him as "that unruly king that partaked with the Danes," probably in memory of the fact that he and the foreigners had once plundered their monastery in company. But Callachan acted with magnanimity on more than one occasion, and he succeeded in keeping down the Danish advance in the south. He is said to have fought fifteen battles with the enemies of his country in the course of his career.

[19] This may have been the Sitric taken prisoner by Murtogh. He is otherwise unknown.

The wars and miseries of the city of Dublin during the perpetual attacks and sacks of the cramped mediaeval town led to their natural results. In 950-951 the unfortunate city was visited by a terrible pestilence, called in the Annals of Ulster "a great leprosy and bloody flux," which became known in Ireland as the Dolor Gentilium. It was followed by a plague among the cattle and bees, so that the country must have been in a miserable state of sickness and famine, in addition to the constant terrors of war. In the Annals of the Four Masters we hear that the famine was so intolerable that "the father would sell his son or his daughter for food." It is to the same period that the worst oppressions in Munster are also ascribed. The clergy had to go into hiding and many of the Irish were reduced to servitude. Heavy imposts were laid upon them: "an ounce of gold yearly from every man in Ireland or else the nose from his face." Foreign overseers were placed over every townland and every household was forced to take in a foreign soldier, who, if he were not satisfied with his treatment, could summon his host before the assembly. The milk of the babes of one year and of the sick had to be given to the soldier.[20]

[20] Keating, History, iii, 175-177; Wars of the Gael with the Gall, pp. 49-51.

But toward the close of the tenth century a check was given to the power of the Danes by the rapid rise of two rulers, one in the North and the other in the South, whose able and persistent efforts came near to bringing the foreign dominion to an end. Had not Brian of the Tributes been so fortunate in his eulogists, posterity would probably have regarded Malaughlan II (commonly miscalled Malachy) as one of the most commanding figures that ever occupied the seat of the High King of Ireland. His fame has, however, been overshadowed by that of his rival Brian, who deposed him, and whose poets and chroniclers put forth unusual efforts to glorify the first prince from Munster who succeeded in breaking through the long tradition of monarchs drawn from the Northern branches of the family of the Hy-Neill. Malaughlan II came to the throne in 980, and it was only after a reign of twenty-three years that Brian deposed him. During all that time he had pursued a steady and successful policy of opposition to the common enemy, similar to that which Brian was carrying on in the South. In the first year of his reign he inflicted on the foreigners of Dublin, at the battle of Tara, one of the heaviest defeats they had ever experienced. It is safe to say that Clontarf was rendered possible by this weakening defeat. As a result, Olaf Cuaran withdrew from Ireland and sought an asylum in Iona among those Columban monks whom the Norse had so often ravaged. With his retirement the whole of the North was freed from subjection to the foreigners of Dublin. Malaughlan forced the Danes to set free the Irish hostages and all slaves, and obliged them to give him hostages in token of subjection. Ragnall, Olaf Cuaran's son, fell in the battle, and Sitric, another son by Gormliath, succeeded to the rule of the Danes of Dublin. This was Sitric Silkenbeard (Silki-skeggor), the Danish king who was present at the battle of Clontarf. He had an uneasy reign. He was expelled from Dublin in 994, when his foe Ivar of Waterford unseated him, but he returned and drove out Ivar a couple of years afterward and reinstated his authority. Malaughlan allowed his enemies no rest. He immediately followed up his success at Tara by a three days' and three nights' siege of Dublin, which gave way before his "great army." He carried off booty and hostages and issued a proclamation bidding every Gael who was in servitude to the foreigner to return to his own territory in peace. So complete was the triumph of Malaughlan that the Annals of the Four Masters add that this was the end of the "Babylonian Captivity of Ireland; next, indeed, to the captivity of hell."

Two years later we find Malaughlan, who was doubtless aware of the growing power of Brian, descending on his sept, the Dalcais, and plundering Thomond. He cut down the ancient tree of Magh Adhair, under which, according to Irish custom, the chiefs of the O'Briens were inaugurated, following up this humiliation by marching on Waterford and inflicting a defeat on Ivar, with the men of Leinster along with him. He took prisoner Gilla-Phadraic, Ivar's son,[21] ravaged Leinster and passed on to inflict a similar fate on Connacht. In 989 he fell again upon the fort of Dublin. For twenty nights he besieged the fort, the Danes within having meanwhile nothing to drink "but the saltish water of the seas." He took the fort with great slaughter of the defenders and wrung from them his full demand, an ounce of gold out of every garden and croft in the city, to be paid for ever on Christmas Night. Shortly afterward Malaughlan asserted his supremacy over the Danes of Dublin by carrying off the royal insignia, the Ring of Tomar and the Sword of Carlus, which were taken by him forcibly with many other jewels. This possession of the Danish trophies and the imposition of the first annual tax upon them shows that the tide had turned in favour of the Irish kings. At this moment of their greatest power Malaughlan and Brian entered into friendly negotiations against their common enemy. "To the joy of all the Irish" they joined their armies and together obtained hostages from the Danes and plundered Dublin. A year later, in 1000, the two armies united in Co. Wicklow and inflicted on the foreigners a crushing defeat at Glenmama, a battle which was sternly contested on both sides. Brian and Malaughlan pursued the retreating Danes to Dublin, where they again burned the fort and expelled Sitric, Brian remaining encamped in the town from Christmas to Epiphany. The account of the wealth found in the city is surprising. Besides quantities of gold and silver, bronze and precious stones, goblets and buffalo horns, the poets of the day sing:

[21] It is curious to find a Danish prince calling himself the gilla, or servant, of Patrick.

We brought silk out of the fortress,
We brought bedding, we brought feathers,
We brought steeds goodly and fleet,
We brought blooming fair white women.

This was "the barbarian wealth of Dublin" of which the Northern saga speaks. Every yeoman in Munster gained enough to furnish his house with gold and silver and coloured cloths and property of all sorts. As a part of the "mutual peace" agreed upon between them the monarch of Ireland handed over to Brian all hostages held by him from the South of Ireland, whether foreign or Irish, thus acknowledging Brian's undivided authority over Munster, in return for a solemn renunciation on Brian's part of any claims on the High Kingship. In a few months' time this compact was broken by Brian's designs on the throne of Ireland, which were fully revealed in the following year.

At this turning-point in the story we must trace the rise to power of the King of Munster. The early career of Brian had been one long adventure. He and his elder brother Mahon were sons of Kennedy, a prince of the Dalcais who had withdrawn his claim in favour of Callachan of Cashel of the rival house of Eoghan, or Owen, an old arrangement between the two houses having provided for the alternate succession of the two Munster houses of the Eoghanacht and the Dalcais. The former had their seat in Cashel, the latter in Clare. The fort of Kincora, the 'Head of the Weir,' near the present town of Killaloe, on the Shannon, was the palace of the Dalcais. Kennedy of the Dalcais never reigned, but on the death of Callachan the succession passed by right to Mahon, who determined to continue Callachan's policy of a steady resistance to the Danes. After a period of waiting Brian stirred up his brother to more vigorous action, and he took the bold step of marching on Limerick to attack the Danish camp outside the city. The two armies met at Sulcoit, and after a fierce encounter the Danes were routed and the Munstermen pursued them into the city and sacked it, "the fort and good town being reduced to a cloud of smoke and red fire." A terrible orgy followed on the hills above the town, every man being put to the sword, and every "soft youthful matchless girl and every blooming silk-clad woman" of the Danes being degraded and enslaved "for the good of the souls of the foreigners who were killed," as the writer adds with a grim attempt at irony.[22] Mahon followed up the important defeat of Sulcoit (968) by seven routs of the Danes, and the people, encouraged by his successes, everywhere turned on the foreign soldiers billeted in their families and killed them. At the height of his success the career of Mahon was cut short by the jealousy of two rival clans under their chiefs Donovan and Molloy, who treacherously invited Mahon to their house and had him killed. Even the Bishop of Cork, under whose protection he had put himself, took part in the murder.

[22] Wars of the Gael with the Gall, pp. 77-83.

The horrid deed brought Brian to the throne as the undisputed head of the chiefs of Munster. He inflicted a just retribution on the murderers of his brother, slaying "that ripe culprit Donovan" along with his Danish ally Harald, or Aralt, and then set himself to continue Mahon's policy. He took hostages from Leinster and pushed his way up the Shannon into Meath and Connacht. In 998 he made his first compact with Malaughlan, who was closely watching the advance of his ambitious designs, now revealing themselves as directed against the monarchy. It was in the very year of the combined victory of Glenmama over the foreigners (1000) that we find the record, "The first turning of Brian against Malaughlan," to which the Northern Annals of Tighernach add "through guile and treachery." A brief entry in the same annals: "Brian of the Tributes reigns," announces the accomplishment of his ambitious purpose, but the Four Masters give the date of his accession as 1002. The Annals of Ulster do not mention his elevation to the kingship, but they later speak of him as King of Ireland, while his rival is named King of Tara.

Brian is said to have attained the age of seventy-six years when he replaced Malaughlan on the throne. The Annals of the Four Masters give the date of his birth at 925, and he is said to have been twenty-four years older than his rival. According to the Annals of Ulster, however, Brian is said to have been born in 941, which would make him sixty-one at the time of his accession, a much more probable age. The ambition of every prince who had risen to power by his own exertions was to secure the public recognition of his position by making an armed circuit of the provinces of Ireland, to obtain the open submission of the provincial chiefs by taking hostages from them. In the second year of Brian's reign he attempted such a circuit, but was refused entry into the North and was obliged to turn back. Not till after the delay of a year did the North consent unwillingly to give hostages to Brian rather than to go to battle with him. It was during Brian's circuit into Ulster that he visited the city of Armagh, where he spent a week discussing the question of the primacy as between the foundation of St Patrick and Brian's own abbatial church of Cashel. In the end Brian solemnly confirmed to Armagh the ecclesiastical supremacy over the whole of Ireland which the clergy of Armagh might well have feared would, on the accession of a prince of Munster to the throne of Ireland, pass from them to the Southern Church. There is still to be seen in the Book of Armagh an inscription written on this occasion by Brian's scribe under the eyes of the King himself, confirming these rights to the Church of Armagh. The entry ends as follows: "I, that is Calvus Perennis [i.e., Maelsuthain, Brian's secretary], have written under the eyes of Brian, Emperor of the Scots [Irish], and what I have written he determined for all the kings of Maceria [i.e., Cashel]." [23]

[23] O'Curry, Manuscript Materials, pp. 76-79, 529-531; the original of this inscription is given, ibid., pp. 653-654 (1861). The Book of Armagh is now in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.

Ten years before this visit of Brian to Armagh a great misfortune had befallen the city in the destruction by lightning of the chief part of its religious buildings, "both houses and churches and its belfry and sacred wood," say the annals. Doubtless one of the most treasured objects in the city was the Book of Armagh, in which Brian inscribed his name and which contained some of the writings of St Patrick. When a few years later, in 1020, nearly all the city was again burned down, including its fort, the damhlaic or great church with its leaden roof, the bell-house with its bells, along with several oratories and houses, and the old preaching-chair and abbot's chariot, fortunately the library or house of the manuscripts was spared. Had it been burned with the rest the Book of Armagh would have been lost to us. Brian completed his patronage of Armagh by laying twenty-two ounces of gold upon the altar, after which he returned to Munster bringing the hostages of Eastern Munster with him. Next year he carried out his design of enforcing his imperial supremacy over Ireland by making the grand circuit of the provinces.

Having now accomplished his aims, Brian settled at home, and for nine years, up to the close of his life, he occupied himself with little interruption in securing the well-being of his own province of Munster. He made bridges and roads, built or strengthened a number of fortresses in different parts of the South, living himself chiefly at his favourite fort or palace of Kincora in Co. Clare. Close to it was a place called Boromhe (pronounced Boru) to which the tributes of cattle were brought to be given to Brian, and from which he came to be called, from the number of the tributes, Brian Boromhe, or "Brian of the Tributes." [24] He built churches and belfries, executed justice, and encouraged learning. He exercised a wide hospitality, and the peace of his reign is symbolized by the story of the solitary woman who could pass in safety from one part of the country to the other, carrying a gold ring on a horse-rod.[25] He sent professors over the sea "to teach wisdom and knowledge and to buy books beyond the sea and the great ocean, because the books and writings in every church and in every sanctuary had been burned and thrown into the water by plunderers; and Brian himself gave the price of learning and the price of books to each one who went on this service."

[24] His title had nothing to do with the special tribute out of Leinster known by the same name. For the fort of Boromha and Brian's name see Wars of the Gael with the Gall, p. 141; Ériu, vol. iv, Part I, pp. 68-73. The name Brian in this form is Breton, and only became common in Ireland after this date.
[25] The same legend is told of the reign of King Edwin of Northumbria, in Bede, Eccle. Hist., Bk. II, ch. xvi; and see Annals of the Four Masters, 1167.

But though things were outwardly prosperous there were signs of coming trouble. Leinster was restive under Brian's restraining hand and the necessity forced upon it of giving large tributes to him. The Norse were smarting under the defeats that they had received, and were showing unusual activity in forming alliances, fomenting dissatisfaction, and gaining adherents both within and without the country. Brian on his side was not unaware of what was going forward, and he was gathering the whole of the forces over whom he had control in one final effort to drive the Danes permanently out of Ireland.



Things came to a climax in 1014, when on Good Friday from sunrise to sunset was fought, under the walls of the Danish fort of Dublin, the famous battle of Clontarf, in which Brian and many of his auxiliaries fell, but which ended in a defeat of the Danes so decisive that though they were not driven from Ireland they never again regained their former supremacy over the Irish people. The battle of Clontarf is famous alike in Irish and Northern story. Of few battles have we so many independent accounts. Besides the long recital of the fight and the causes that led up to it in the Wars of the Gael with the Gall, we have a Norse account of the battle in Njal's Saga and fragments of a separate saga called the Saga of Thorstein, Sidu Hall's son, which is later than Njal's Saga and quotes from it. Both may, as Vigfusson thinks, be parts of a lost Brian's Saga. Were it not for these saga tales we should hardly have realized the importance of the battle from the Icelandic point of view.

The spark that started the conflagration was struck by a woman. It arose out of a family quarrel which quickly enlarged into a national struggle. Gormliath was the fiercest and most dreaded woman of her day. The saga says that "she was the fairest of women and the best gifted in everything that was not in her own power, but it was the talk of men that she did everything ill over which she had any power." Her natural gifts were great, that is to say, but she did nothing with them but what was bad. Already when she comes into the story as wife of Brian Boromhe she had been married to two husbands, first to Olaf of the Sandal (Cuaran), by whom she became mother of Sitric Silkenbeard, the reigning king of the Dublin Danes, and later to King Malaughlan, who had handed her over to Brian, perhaps as part of the spoils of war or in token of their alliance, as was customary in those times.

These unions may have been all irregular. At the date of her death, which did not occur till 1030, when she must have been a very old woman, the annals speak of Gormliath's "three leaps, which no woman shall ever take again, a leap at Dublin [to Olaf], a leap at Tara [to Malaughlan], a leap at Cashel of the goblets above all," this last being in reference to her marriage with Brian. We find her at Kincora when our story opens, but there was no love lost between her and Brian, and she was busily engaged in stirring up against him her brother Maelmora, King of Leinster, who had always rendered the tributes exacted by Brian from Leinster with great ill-will. At the battle of Clontarf she is found back in Dublin, with her son Sitric, egging him on to the defeat of Brian. "So grim," say the Northern sagas, "had she become against King Brian after parting with him that she would gladly have had him dead."

A false move in a game of chess was the immediate cause of the outburst. Maelmora, who had come to Kincora to bring his tribute of ship-masts to Brian, was teaching Conang, a young lad, to play chess with Morrogh, Brian's son. He advised a move which lost the game to Morrogh. Angry words arose. "It was thou that gavest advice to the foreigners at the battle of Glenmama by which they were defeated," Morrogh said angrily. "I will give them advice again, and they will not be defeated," retorted the King of Leinster. Without taking leave of anyone, Maelmora departed next morning in a furious passion, and hardly had he returned home when he began to stir up the chiefs of his own province, declaring that he had received insult in the house of Brian. They declared for war, and were joined by the princes of Ulster, who were only too glad of an opportunity to throw off the unwelcome yoke of Brian. Great hosts began to assemble. Gormliath in Dublin was gathering a formidable alliance of Danes from the Orkneys and the Isle of Man to the aid of her son Sitric, whom she brought into the quarrel to support her brother Maelmora, and all over the country the stormclouds gathered.

A vivid account is given in Njal's Saga of the arrival on Yule-night at the Orkneys of Sitric Silkenbeard's heralds to demand aid from Sigurd the Stout, Jarl (or Earl) of Orkney, in his rising against Brian. Sigurd's mother had been Audna, or Eithne, one of the daughters of Carroll (Cearbhal), King of Ossory, and he was familiar with affairs in Ireland, for he made constant viking expeditions there. Eithne, who was something of a soothsayer or 'wise woman,' had on a former occasion shown her mettle when her son had hesitated to go on an expedition against a jarl in Scotland, on the ground that his enemy's forces were seven to one "Had I known that thou wouldst wish to live for ever," she replied, "I should have reared thee up in my wool-bag. It is fate that rules life, and not the place where a man may go. It is better to die with honour than to live with shame." She had woven for him the raven banner, which floated in the form of a bird over the host, and which brought Sigurd to his death at Clontarf. It was said to bring victory to him before whom it was borne, but death to him who carried it. Sigurd at first refused to go out against Brian, but the promise of the kingdom of Ireland if they slew King Brian, with the hand of Gormliath, Sitric's mother, finally induced him to give his promise.

Gormliath, when she sent her son abroad to seek for help, had said to him, "Spare nothing to get them into thy quarrel; whatever price they ask, give it." All those to whom he went conspired to say the same thing; when he went on from Orkney to interview the chiefs of two fleets of thirty viking ships lying off the Isle of Man, they also asked as their reward the kingdom of Ireland and the hand of Gormliath. Sitric at once promised, only stipulating that they should keep the terms a secret from Sigurd the Stout. He went home with the news that the pirates of Man and the Earl of Orkney would be prepared to join their forces to those of the Danes of Dublin and the Leinstermen by Easter time of the new year. No doubt the Danes in Ireland hoped for the foundation of a kingdom similar to that which King Sweyn Forkbeard of England (1013-14) was endeavouring to found between Britain and Denmark. But it was not destined that a Danish Canute should ever rule a united kingdom from Ireland.

The battle of Clontarf was fought on Good Friday, 1014. Brian and his forces marched on Dublin, burning all the way, so that the Norsemen when they arrived in Dublin Bay saw all the land one sheet of flame. The battle was fought on the north side of the river Liffey, on the low lands beside Clontarf, and up to the wooded country on the higher ground now known as Phoenix Park. Here, with the wood of Tomar behind them, the Irish forces were drawn up, facing the bay by which the Danish auxiliaries were landing from their ships. On the south side of the river stood the Danish fort, from the height of which Sitric and Gormliath followed the course of the battle going on below them. Another spectator watched beside them. This was Sitric's wife, who was Brian's daughter, married to the chief of her country's foes. Her feelings must have been a strange compound indeed of fear and hope. All day long the contest lasted, from high tide in the morning, when the foreign troops landed and beached their boats, to high tide at night, when they sought their boats' in order to flee seaward. But the low tide of midday had carried the boats out to sea, and they had no place of retreat, seeing that they were cut off between the Bay and Dubhgall's bridge on the one hand, and between it and Tomar's wood on the other. They retreated to the sea "like a herd of cows from the heat of the sun, or pursued by gadflies." There they were cut off and lay dying in heaps and hundreds. To the watchers on the battlements of Dublin Castle it seemed all day like the reaping down of a field of oats. Sitric believed that it was his mercenaries who were gaining ground. "Well do the foreigners reap the field," he said brutally to his wife, whose secret heart he knew to be with her countrymen; "many a sheaf do they cast from them." "By the end of the day the result will be seen," was her reply. Later, when the terrible rout of the Danes on the shores of Clontarf was going on, Brian's daughter had her revenge. "It seems to me," she said, "that the foreigners have gained their patrimony. They are going to the sea, their natural inheritance. I wonder are they cattle, driven by the heat? But if they are, they tarry not to be milked." The answer of her husband was a blow across the mouth. Close to the weir of Clontarf, where the river Tolka seeks the sea, Turlogh, the young grandson of Brian, pursued a flying Norseman across the stream. But the rising tide flung him against the weir, and, being caught on a post, he was drowned, still grasping the hair of the Norseman, who lay dead beneath him.

The age of Brian, who was seventy-three years old when the battle was fought, prevented him from taking a leading part in the fight. His tent was pitched at some distance behind the fighting hosts, on a slight height, from which the contest could be seen. He had, in any case, been unwilling to engage on Good Friday, and he remained all day from dusk to eve absorbed in prayer. A lad who tended him stood at the door of his tent and reported from time to time the ebb and flow of the battle. Toward nightfall a viking chief from the Isle of Man, named Brodir, made his way to the tent. This Brodir bore an ugly character, even in the North. He had been a Christian, but, in the words of the saga, he had become "God's dastard, and now worshipped pagan fiends and was of all men most skilled in sorcery." He came up the hill with intent to kill Brian, for his wizard arts had told him that if the fight were on Good Friday, though Brian's hosts would win the day, he himself would fall. Brian's lad had just reported the disastrous news that the banner of Morrogh, Brian's son, which led the Irish troops, had fallen, and he was in the act of endeavouring to induce Brian to mount his horse and fly, when Brodir entered the tent. Brian had refused to take refuge in flight, and was making his last bequests, still kneeling on his cushion, as he had knelt all day, with his psalter open before him. But as the blue-armoured foreigner rushed in he rose and unsheathed his sword.

Brodir passed him by, and noticed him not. One of his two followers had in former times been in Brian's service, and he said, "Cing, Cing, this is the King." "No, no," said Brodir, "but Prist" ("it is a priest"). "By no means so," replied the man; "this is the great King Brian." Then Brodir turned, and swung his gleaming, double-bladed axe above Brian's head. The old King made a cut at the ferocious viking with his sword, wounding his leg, and both fell together, Brian's head being cleft through by the axe. Then Brodir stood up and with a loud voice exclaimed, "Now may man tell his fellow-man that Brodir hath felled King Brian." But his triumph was shortlived; he was taken by the Munstermen and put to a horrible death on the spot. The slaughter on that day was terrible. Hardly a leader on either side was left alive. Both Morrogh, Brian's son, and Maelmora, King of Leinster, on the other side, were among the slain. Jarl Sigurd the Stout of Orkney fell, carrying the fatal raven's banner under his cloak. A young Icelander of his bodyguard, as fearless as he was brave, took up his stand with a few others beside Tomar's Wood, refusing to fly. When, seeing the rout, all beside him turned to run, Thorstein stooped down to tie his shoestring. An Irish chief, coming up at the instant, asked him why he did not fly with the others. "Because I am an Icelander," said Thorstein, "and were I to run ever so fast I could not reach home to-night." Struck by his coolness, the Irish chief set him at liberty, and Thorstein went to Munster with Brian's sons, and was well beloved in Ireland. When, a week later, Hrafn the Red, one of Sigurd's men, returned to Orkney, having escaped with his life, he was asked by Jarl Flosi, "What hast thou to tell me of my men?" Hrafn could make no reply other than, "They all fell there."

Considerable differences are to be observed in the accounts of the battle as to the part taken in it by King Malaughlan. A long Munster report, put into Malaughlan's own mouth, says that he was so horrified by the storm and contest of the battle that he and his forces were too frightened to take part in it. Nothing could be more unlikely than that the victor of the battle of Tara, during whose reign the foreigners had been repeatedly beaten down and reduced to slavery, would have been affected in such a way by the sight of a battle. Still less is it likely that he would have publicly proclaimed himself a coward. The Annals of the Four Masters distinctly assert that he took part in the battle, and that the enemy forces "were afterward routed by dint of battling, bravery, and striking by Malaughlan from the river Tolka and Finglas to Dublin against the foreigners and Leinstermen." The Annals of Ulster say nothing of his defection. It would seem that the Meath troops were stationed behind the Dalcais, at some distance in the rear, and the Wars of the Gael with the Gall states that an understanding had been entered into between Malaughlan and the Danes that if he would not attack them they would refrain from attacking him. It is quite likely that Malaughlan, who had all to regain by Brian's overthrow, was, as the Annals of Clonmacnois say, "content rather to lose the field than win it." In the earlier part of the day he probably stood aside, but when he saw the foreigners apparently winning he broke in with his troops and took his part in the struggle. This theory at least would reconcile the conflicting accounts. The death of Brian restored Malaughlan to the throne of Ireland, and up to the last days of his life he continued without intermission to harry and attack the foreigners. He reigned eight years after Clontarf, dying in 1022. Those of the annalists who do not admit the right of Brian to the throne of Tara give him a reign of forty-three years in all. He died in retirement at Cro Inis, opposite his fort of Dun-na-sciath on Lough Ennell, in Westmeath, with the Abbot of Armagh and the leading men of Ireland beside him.

The battle of Clontarf was an incident rather than a conclusion. It did not close the Danish period in Ireland, but it inaugurated a new phase. For the next two hundred years or more we find the Norse existing in the country as a separate nationality, adhering to their own interests and holding the cities they had founded round the coasts. Dublin remained in Danish hands. Kings of Norway and jarls of the Isles and Man could still look to Ireland with the assurance of a friendly welcome or even with the hope of a possible reconquest, and the fleets of both nations met on the seas for merchandise or war. Some of the Northern jarls claimed great possessions in Ireland as well as in Scotland. Thorfinn, youngest son of Earl Sigurd the Stout of Orkney, who fell at Clontarf, held rule "from Thurso-skerry to Dublin" and was everywhere beloved in his wide-flung dominions. Important battles, not mentioned in the Irish chronicles, are remembered in the sagas. A great battle, much heard of in the North, was fought at Ulkfeksfiord (?Dundalk Bay) by a jarl of Orkney, in which an Irish king Konofogor (Conor) gained a victory, so that Earl Einar had to flee back to Orkney after losing his men and all his booty. This was in 1018, and is not mentioned in the Irish annals.[1] Of Guthorm, the nephew of St Olaf, King of Norway, it is said about the year 1050 that Ireland was for him a land of peace and that he had his winter-quarters in Dublin and was in great friendship with King Margad.[2] They are found plundering together in Bretland (Wales), but they quarrelled about the division of the booty, and in this unfriendly fight Margad fell. They fought on St Olaf's Day, and the booty was so great that Guthorm is said to have made an image of St Olaf out of every tenth penny of the loot.[3] This Irish king would seem to have been a king of Dublin called in the annals Eachmargadh (?Each-marcach, "The Rider of a Steed"), who came to the throne in 1035, was deposed by Ivar, son of Aralt, in 1038, but was restored in 1046, when Ivar was expelled. In spite of his Irish name he was a nephew of King Sitric, who left the kingdom to him when he went overseas to Rome. In 1052 Eachmargadh also went overseas, apparently on the Welsh expedition from which he never returned. At this time the kingship of the Danes of Dublin seems to have been disputed between princes of the Norse or Danish race and the kings of Leinster, for Dermot, son of Maelnambo, King of Leinster, succeeded him. He was the ancestor of King Dermot MacMorrogh, who took his family title from this Dermot's son. He and his son Morrogh were both styled "Kings of the Danes of Dublin."

[1] Saga of St Olaf Haraldsson, ch. lxxxvii (Heimskringla, Laing's edn., ii, 382.
[2] Saga of Harald Hardrade, ch. lvi (op. cit., iii, 410).
[3] Ibid., ch. lvii (op. cit., iii, 412).

But the Norse king whose memory is most clearly preserved in Ireland was Magnus Barelegs (reigned 1093-1103), so called because on his return from his Western viking raids he and his men adopted the Scottish and Irish custom of wearing the plaid and kilt. "They walked barelegged in the streets and wore short kirtles and over-wraps" to the great astonishment of their people. Magnus came three times on expeditions to the West and spent many years in Ireland. His close relations with Murtogh Mór [4] O'Brien, King of Munster, make it necessary that we should take up the course of events in Ireland after the battle of Clontarf.

[4] It is not to be supposed that such words as Mór ='Great,' Oge = 'Junior,' Fionn = 'Fair,' Donn = 'Dark,' Liath = 'Grey,' Boy (buidhe) = 'Fairhaired,' Reagh (riabhach) = 'Swarthy,' etc., were part of the Christian name or surname ; they were personal adjectives, which sometimes were adopted to distinguish different branches of the family. The MacCarthys Reagh were a junior branch of the MacCarthys, of which the MacCarthy Mór was the head ; the O'Conor Donn (now Don) was the senior branch in rank of the O'Conors. In other cases the adjective denotes the district ruled over, as O'Conor Faly (Failghe) or O'Conor Kerry (Ciarraidhe). We use the double 'n' in this name where the family seems to be distinct from the ruling family of Connacht, such as the O'Connors of Offaly, or O'Connors Faly, Offaly being a district comprising parts of Leix.

The shattered army of Munster had fought its way back to the Shannon carrying the wounded on litters, but they were impeded by the unpatriotic attempt of the prince of Ossory to hinder the return by throwing his clansmen across the path of the marching troops. But the wounded warriors caused themselves to be tied upright to stakes set in the ground among the fighting men, so that they might bear their part in the conflict. Struck with fear and pity, the army of Ossory refused to fight such dauntless heroes and allowed them to pass on.

The rise of Brian and the intrusion of a king of Munster into the line of the High Kingship of Ireland, hitherto alternating between the Ulster and Meath branches of the race of Niall, had interrupted the custom of centuries. The interruption was more than momentary, for it had established a precedent which the princes of the South naturally thought might well be followed by Brian's descendants. Hence a new uncertainty arose regarding the succession to the throne of Ireland and a fresh cause of strife. Brian, during the course of his long reign, had come nearer than any king before him to establish his authority over the whole island; only Ulster, as always, had refused to recognize him and gave him, only when forced into it, a grudging and unwilling submission. The personal nobility of Brian, his benevolence and wisdom, added much to the dignity of his reign. To the Northmen he was "the best-natured of all kings, who would thrice forgive outlaws the same offence before he would have them judged by the law," while the Munster Chronicles loudly proclaim the justice of his rule and the benevolence of his heart, praising his patronage of learning and devotion to religion. Though on his fall Malaughlan, King of Meath, returned to the position from which Brian had ousted him, the brilliant possibility of attaining to the High Kingship was never absent from the minds of Brian's powerful family. A short interregnum was filled by the joint regency of two good and learned men, Cuan O'Lochain, a chronicler and judge as well as a poet, of the distinguished family of the O'Lochains of Meath, and Corcran the cleric, who was connected with the Waterford district of Lismore. They governed the land like a free state, and not as kings; but the arrangement was brought to an end by the slaying of Cuan by the men of Teffia two years afterward, in 1024, an act which brought that family into great disrepute. The interregnum, however, lasted for eighteen years after his death.

Then began a series of reigns most of which are accounted by the chroniclers reigns "with opposition," that is, they were not acquiesced in by the whole country, and there was generally a rival king who disputed the title to the throne. Three kings of the O'Brien family of Munster, two of the O'Conors of Connacht, and two of the O'Lochlans of Ulster held at various times the coveted title, though "with opposition"; and more than once a monarch of Leinster aspired to it. Some of these kings, in particular Murtogh O'Brien (d. 1119) and Turlogh O'Conor (d. 1156) were men of great power as well as of vast ambition. Each fought steadily for his own hand, and between them "great storms of war" swept through Ireland or, as the annals express it, Ireland became between them "a trembling sod." They succeeded in making their names and influence felt outside their own country, willingly entering into foreign alliances in order to strengthen their claims at home. The respect felt outside Ireland for Murtogh Mor (called Murchad by the Norse), the strongest representative of his house next to King Brian, is shown by the request that came to him from "the nobility of the Isles," that is, from the Hebrides and Man, who, on the death of their ruler Lagman, son of Godred Croven, asked Murtogh to send them some worthy person to act as regent until Godred's son should come of age to govern. Murtogh sent over his nephew Donald MacTeige, impressing upon him the duty of ruling a country which was not his own with all possible bounty and moderation. But the choice was unfortunate. Donald's rule was so tyrannical and his crimes so great that the Hebridean chiefs formed themselves into an association and expelled him from the Isle of Man. He is said to have been killed by the men of Connacht in 1115 during a raid into his own country.[5]

[5] P. A. Munch, Chronica Regum Manniae, at 1095.

Murtogh Mór instituted friendly relations not only with the Northmen of Dublin, the Isle of Man, and Norway, but also with the kings of England. William of Malmesbury tells us that Murtogh, King of Ireland, and his successor were so "devotedly attached" to Henry I that they wrote no letters but such as tended to soothe him and did nothing but what he commanded. He adds, however, that on one occasion Murtogh acted for a short time rather superciliously toward the English and had to be brought to a better mind by the suspension of navigation and foreign trade, upon which Ireland largely depended; this seems to have had the desired effect, seeing that "soon after his insolence subsided." "For," adds the chronicler, "of what value could Ireland be, if deprived of the merchandise of England?" [6] This mercantile dependence on England is illustrated in the twelfth century by the facility with which the largest of the towns, such as Dublin, could be reduced to starvation when an English blockade was established by sea, the inland trade being evidently quite insufficient to cope with an emergency.[7] That there was a trade in fine cloth as well as provisions is shown by the well-known story of the Skrud-viking, or "Broadcloth cruise," of the great viking chief of the Orkneys, Swein Asliefsson, who, when he was approaching Dublin with his ships for a raid about 1150, met two merchant ships coming from England laden with English cloth and other merchandise bound for Dublin. He set upon and plundered the vessels and "took every penny out of them," leaving to the merchants "only a small quantity of provisions and the clothes they stood up in." They sailed away to the Orkneys with the fine cloth sewn to their sails, so that it looked as though these were made entirely of rich cloth.[8]

[6] Chronicle of William of Malmesbury, Bk. V, 1119.
[7] Giraldus Cambrensis, Conquest of Ireland, ch. xix, xxii.
[8] Orkneyinga Saga. Skrud means fine or costly material.

It is possible that King Murtogh found it difficult to keep on good terms with princes so much opposed to each other as King Henry I of England and King Magnus of Norway, for both of them accused him of uncertain conduct. Murtogh was second son to Turlogh O'Brien and reigned thirty-three years. A letter from Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, written in 1074 to this Turlogh, styles him, "Magnificent King of Ireland," and the Archbishop remarks that the Almighty showed great mercy toward the Irish people when He gave Turlogh supreme power over that land. But it detracts a little from this praise that by the very same messenger who transmitted this letter to Turlogh, Lanfranc sent another epistle to Godred, or Godfrey, at that moment Danish king both of Man and Dublin, calling him also "glorious King of Ireland." This letter recommends to him Patrick (Gilla-Phadraic), whom he had just consecrated as the second Danish bishop of Dublin in 1074.[9] Turlogh was never, in fact, supreme king of Ireland, though he came near to asserting his claim when, in 1080, he marched at the head of an army into Meath attended by the clergy of Munster. He then received the submission of Malaughlan, King of Tara, who brought with him the Bishop of Armagh carrying the famous relic, the Bachall Isa, or "Staff of Jesus," supposed to have been given by our Lord to St Patrick.[10] But his claims were never acknowledged by the princes of the North, and after his death, six years later (1086), he is usually styled "King of Ireland with opposition." [11] Turlogh died at Kincora after a long illness. His son Murtogh Mór who succeeded him, as we have seen, set about immediately to assert his claim to the throne of Ireland, in opposition to a formidable rival in Western Ulster, Donal MacLochlan, who claimed the overlordship against the O'Briens. During the greater part of a long reign this contest continued. The fury with which it was waged is shown by the frequent efforts made by the abbots of Armagh to bring the sanguinary struggle to an end, but the most they could do was to impose a truce upon the combatants from time to time.[12] The hewing down of several of the sacred trees under which from very early times the kings had been inaugurated shows also the bitterness with which these wars were conducted.[13] Both princes were men of determination and ability, and both felt that the contest was finally to decide the rival claims between the North and South. In the course of the struggle each combatant razed to the ground the principal palace of the other, Murtogh ordering his men, in the vehemence of his anger, to carry away the very stones of which the fortress of Aileach, the royal seat of the Hy-Neill, was built, a stone in every sack of their provisions, all the way from Donegal to Kincora. He declared that he would rebuild his own destroyed residence out of the ruins of that of his enemy.

[9] Godred styled himself Rex Hiberniae. In the Annals of Loch Cé his death is recorded under 1075 . "Goffraidh, son of Ragnall, King of Ath Cliath [Dublin] mortuus est."
[10] Giraldus Cambrensis, Topography of Ireland, ch. xxxiv.
[11] The Annals of Loch Ce call him King of Erin.
[12] Ibid., under dates 1097, 1099, 1102, 1105, 1107, 1109, 1113, etc.
[13] In 1099 the craebh-thelcha or "spreading tree of the hill," under which the kings of Ulidia were inaugurated, was cut down by the Cinel Eoghan. It gave its name to Crewe, a townland in Co. Antrim. In 1111, in retaliation, the sacred trees or grove of the Cinel Eoghan at Telach-og, or Tullyhog, in Co. Tyrone were hewn down by the Ulidians ; and in 1143 Turlogh O'Brien hewed down the Ruadh-Bheithigh, or Red Birch, the royal tree of the Hy-Fiachrach of Connacht. The inauguration tree of Murtogh's own race had been cut down by Malaughlan, King of Tara, in his wars with Brian Boromhe; it stood on Magh Adhair in Co. Clare.

It was in the course of this struggle that Murtogh came into close relations with King Magnus Barelegs, who came three times to Ireland and affianced his son Sigurd to Murtogh's daughter. The marriage took place in 1102 on Magnus's last visit to the country. The Norse King came over with the definite intention of making himself master of the country. "On hearing of the delightfulness of Ireland, the abundance of its pro duce and the salubrity of its climate, Magnus could think of nothing else but the conquest of the country." His first step was to send over his shoes from the Isle of Man to Murtogh, "bidding the Irish King carry them on his shoulders through his palace on Christmas Day, in presence of the envoys," in token of Magnus's superior authority. The courtiers, furious at such a request, prayed the King not to agree to it. But Murtogh said that he "would not only carry the shoes, but eat them, rather than that Magnus should ruin a single province of Ireland." [14] They renewed their friendship, plundering together in Dublinshire, and the Norse King passed a winter in Kincora with the King of Munster. "Why should we think of faring home?" he sang shortly before his death. "My heart is in Dublin. Youth makes me love the Irish girl better than myself." He was fated to fall in the country of his affection. While waiting for the arrival of some cattle needed to provision his homeward voyage from Ulster, he and his men fell a prey to an ambush in the swampy ground at the head of Strangford Lough below Downpatrick. The King was conspicuous by his armour and the emblems on his shield. He fell under a stroke from an Irish axe, such as the Danes had taught the Irish to use. This was in 1103.[15] This is the last descent of a Norse king upon the shores of Ireland until King Hakon Hakonsson's abortive attempt in 1263, shortly after the fatal battle of Down. But viking raids continued regularly up to the Norman period, well-known vikings such as Swein Asliefsson plundering the Isles and the coasts of Ireland twice a year, in their spring and autumn seafaring. It is probable that the landing of the first band of Normans on the Southern shores was looked upon by many of the inhabitants as one of these old accustomed viking raids. But the Normans had come to dispute with the Norse the possession of the towns. An interesting remark made by MacFirbis the genealogist early in the seventeenth century tells us that up to his own day the greater part of the merchants of the city of Dublin belonged to the descendants of the son of Olaf Cuaran, that is Sitric Silkenbeard, showing that the Norse commercial activity survived in the old Norse city even after the Norman conquest. It is difficult to imagine the posterity of this fierce and ambitious prince developing into a trading community; but the Norse added to the original population a fresh and vigorous stock possessed of much practical ability. At the end of the thirteenth century the Annals of Clonmacnois mention the families of Dalemare, Ledwitch, ffrayne, and MacCabe as of the remnant of the Danes who remained in the kingdom.[16]

[14] P. A. Munch, op. cit., 1098; Keating, History, iii, 309.
[15] Magnus Barelegs' Saga, ch. xxvii (Heimskringla, Laing's edn., iv, 111).
[16] Annals of Clonmacnois, 1299.

They evidently looked on the Normans as of Danish or Norse stock. There were of true Norse stock the MacCabes and MacLeods, the MacKeevers (Ivar), the O'Hagans (Hakon), MacSorleys (Somhairle), Kettles (Ketel), MacManus (Magnus), MacCaffereys (Godfred), Cottars (Ottar), and MacAwleys (Olaf), who not only became thoroughly nationalized but in some cases chiefs of Irish districts. It is difficult not to see in the MacLochlans and the fierce MacSweeneys, or MacSwines, the descendants of mixed Norse and Irish blood. Lochlann was the common Irish name for Norway or, perhaps, rather for the Hebrides, from which so many of the race descended upon the North of Ireland. MacFirbis gives a considerable list of Danish settlers in different parts of the country. The intermarriages and consequent interchanges of name began early and went on apace, showing the terms of comradeship and familiarity on which, in spite of wars, the two peoples stood.[17] A number of Norse place-names replaced the earlier Irish names, especially on the east coast. Howth, Skerries, Lambay, Dalkey, Leixlip, near Dublin, are names given by the foreigners, as are also Smerwick in Kerry, Waterford, Wexford, Arklow, and Carlingford and Strangford Loughs or fiords. Donegal means "the Fort of the Foreigners," and the old Irish names of three provinces added the Norse termination 'ster' to the original Irish name.[18]

[17] MacFirbis, On the Fomorians and the Norsemen, ed. Alexander Bugge (1905).
[18] Joyce, Names of Places; A. Walsh, Scandinavian Relations with Ireland during the Viking Period (1922).

The adoption of Christianity by the Danes about the beginning of the eleventh century brought about great changes in the life, as in the architecture, of the Danish towns of Dublin, Waterford, and Limerick. Olaf Cuaran, Sitric's father, died at the Columban monastery of Iona, which in the past the Danish vikings had ruthlessly wrecked, and his brother-in-law, King Olaf Tryggvsson (995-1000) had been baptized "to the West over in Ireland," probably in the Skellig Isles off the Kerry coast.[19] They would therefore appear to have united themselves to the Irish native Church. But Sitric and his successors were sharply divided from it. Their bishops sought consecration from Canterbury and held no intercourse with the Irish clergy for at least half a century. We may ascribe this adoption of the non-Celtic system of Church government to Sitric's visits to Rome, where he probably received baptism. On his return he set up a Church organization in the city of Dublin in every way formed on the Roman model. Bishops, and not abbots, ruled in the Danish cities, and each bishop had his own diocese. The men chosen by the Danes as their first bishops appear all to have been Irishmen, but they were Irishmen who had received their training in England or abroad, and had been brought up under the discipline of the Anglo-Roman Church. [20] Donogh O'Hanley had been a monk at Canterbury; Samuel O'Hanley, a monk at St Albans; Patrick of Dublin, "who had been nourished in monastic institutions from his boyhood," was well known to Archbishop Lanfranc, and Gilbert of Limerick was the friend of Anselm, whom he had met in Rouen when Anselm was called over to the deathbed of William the Conqueror. Malchus of Waterford had been a monk at Winchester. They were all men with a knowledge of affairs outside their native land, and they had been educated in the Roman methods of Church government. From the first they set about to organize their dioceses on the model in which they had been trained. They professed obedience to Canterbury, from which they had received consecration, five bishops of Dublin, one of Waterford, and one of Limerick having been consecrated in Canterbury in the time of Archbishop Theobald (1138-61). When Cellach of Armagh, as Primate of the Irish Church, claimed the obedience of the Danish bishops to his authority, they wrote to Ralph, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1121, "We will not obey his command, but desire to be always under your rule." [21]

[19] This is Worsaae's opinion. It is erroneously assumed that Olaf was baptized in the Stilly Isles, off Cornwall. Olaf was for some time in Ireland, and took home an Irish wolfhound, which never left his side during his life. After Olaf's death at the fatal battle of Svold the dog was found dead on the mound which he thought contained the remains of his master. See Saga of Olaf Tryggvsson, ch. xxxii, xxxv (Heimskringla, Laing's edn., ii, iii, 115).
[20] The dates of the earliest bishops of Dublin are; Donat, 1038-1074; Patrick, 1074-84; Donat O'Hanley 1085-9 ; Samuel O'Hanley, his nephew, 1095-1121; Greine, or Gregory, first Archbishop, 1121-61; Laurence O'Toole, 1162-80.
[21] See also the submission of Patrick, second Bishop of Dublin, to Canterbury, in Ussher, Works, iv, 564.

The churches that they erected bore foreign names, such as St Olaf (or Olave), St Werburgh, and St Audeon, and they enshrined in them the relics of foreign saints. The rapidity of their church building shows that the Danish people as well as their princes had become Christian. About 1040, twenty-five years after the battle of Clontarf, the foundations were laid of the church of the Holy Trinity, known later as Christ Church Cathedral, church dedications to native saints beginning about this time to give way in favour of dedications to the Trinity, or to the Blessed Virgin and Church saints. Its history had a complete parallel development to that of Christ Church at Trondhjem. It remained so Danish in sympathy that even at the end of the fourteenth century no Gael could get employment in connexion with this church. All these churches were crowded together within the narrow limits of Danish Dublin, close round the fort or castle. In later days the Norman successor to Archbishop O'Toole built St Patrick's outside the walls as a rival to the Danish cathedral, the ancient differences between the two cathedrals and their struggles for priority witnessing to the double national and spiritual life existing side by side. In the end priority was secured by the older church.

Nevertheless, just as the Danes had bishops of Irish nationality, so they were supported in their church extension by the Irish population of the towns. The Irish contributed grants of land to Dunan, or Donatus, the first bishop, for the foundation of his church and the episcopal palace beside it. The Danes seem to have taken part in the popular election of the bishops, a novel and interesting feature of the Danish Church system in Ireland, and at the Synod of Athboy in 1167 Ragnall, chief of the foreigners, attended, surrounded by a bodyguard of a thousand horsemen. At the Synod of Kells (Ceanannus), held in 1152 and presided over by Cardinal John, who brought the pallia for the four archbishops, Dublin, Cashel, Tuam, and Armagh, Danish and Irish bishops sat together and conferred in common on the new arrangement of the dioceses.[22] Possibly the example of the Danish Church in their midst may have helped to bring about the abandonment of the ancient system of Church government, hitherto so tenaciously adhered to, and consecrated by the example of the founders of the Church. Leading ecclesiastics, both of the Irish and Danish sees, united in an effort to bring the Celtic Church into conformity with the Roman discipline. The energy with which they applied themselves to the task is shown by the number of conferences and synods held during this century, seven meetings having been held between 1110 and 1167. They must have been imposing assemblies. As many as twenty-five bishops and over three hundred clergy "both monks and canons" attended one of them. At the Synod of Usneach in 1105 "three hundred and sixty priests and one hundred and forty deacons and many other clerics" were present.[23] At later meetings large numbers of laity attended, thirteen thousand horsemen, of whom, as we have seen, one thousand were Danes, having been present at the Synod of Athboy in 1167. It was at the Synod of Rath-breasal, held in 1110 and presided over by Gilbert of Limerick in his capacity of legate of the Holy See, that the question of regulating the diocesan system was seriously taken up.[24]

[22] Keating, History, iii, 315.
[23] Keating, History, iii, 297.
[24] Gilbert was an Irishman though he was bishop of the Limerick Danes. His name is a Latinized form of the Irish Gilla espuig or "Servant of the Bishop," often anglicized to Gillespie. He signed his name in Irish below the Acts of this Synod, for which see Keating, History, iii, 299-307, quoting from the lost Annals of Clonenagh. See also H. J. Lawlor, St Malachy, xxxvii seq.

The general plan adopted was that of two archbishoprics, Armagh and Cashel, under whom ten bishops were appointed for the North of Ireland and ten for the South. It is noticeable that their decisions in respect of Leinster and Connacht are put in the form of suggestions rather than commands, these two provinces being too independent of the rule of Cashel or Armagh for it to be taken for granted that they would adopt the decisions of the archbishops and clergy of either. The views of the Danes of Dublin, in particular, were, no doubt, an uncertain factor in the situation. But the first bold step had been taken. The principle had been laid down that a bishop, in Ireland as elsewhere, must be attached to a diocese, and the first efforts were made to mark out these new dioceses, which naturally followed the general limits of the tribal boundaries. The wandering unattached bishop and the bishop attached only to a monastery disappeared as an institution with the signing of the Acts of the Synod of Rathbreasal (1110).

As the head of his diocese the bishop took henceforth an independent and superior position. He was brought out of the monastery into the world. There does not seem to have been any wide opposition to the change among the bishops, but the old abbacies naturally resented a change which placed them under the jurisdiction of the bishop in whose diocese the abbey stood. Great foundations, proud of their descent from the early saints and counting their origin from the first days of Irish Christianity, could not easily accustom themselves to the new position. In spite of all efforts to bring them into the general scheme, monasteries like Clonmacnois, Derry, and Fenagh remained even up to the fifteenth century quite outside it.[25] The old "evil custom" of hereditary succession and the familiar tribal organization were too deeply rooted to be broken through. While, in general, the South and East of Ireland, with the towns, conformed, Connacht and Ulster stood out for the preservation of their independence. The reformers got much support from the O'Briens and MacCarthys of Munster, but they got none from the O'Neills of Ulster, and with Ulster went Connacht and the West. Ecclesiastically as well as politically, the North and West lay outside the radius of reforming movements, and their customs and ways of life underwent little change.

[25] Book of Fenagh, ed. W. Hennessy (1875).

The chief agent in bringing about the new system was St Malachy, the friend and correspondent of St Bernard, whose beautiful life of the Irish Primate [26] is an invaluable record of the conditions of Church life in Ireland as seen from the Roman standpoint. Malachy, whose real name was Maél Maedóc ua Mórgáir, was born in Armagh in 1095. He was educated by a Danish recluse, Ivar O'Hacon, or Hagan, from whom and from a three years' stay with Malchus, Bishop of the Danish church of Waterford, he imbibed the ideas of church discipline of which he became so ardent a champion. He became Bishop of Connor and Abbot of Bangor and in 1137, for a short time, and most unwillingly, Primate of Armagh. His humility, his love of voluntary poverty, and his energy as a missionary teacher in his backward diocese, of the condition of which he gives a distressing account, disinclined him to undertake the duties of the Primacy. But he was called to larger work even than this. The decisions of the Synod of Rathbreasal were incomplete without the bestowal of palls on the two Archbishops, and Malachy was empowered to undertake the long journey to Rome to beseech their bestowal on the Archbishops of Armagh and Cashel. Twice he had to make the journey across the Alps, the Pope not considering his credentials sufficient on the first occasion; but the labour was atoned for to Malachy by the opportunity it gave him of cultivating the friendship of St Bernard, at whose Cistercian monastery he rested and where, on his second visit, death overtook him. The almost womanly tenderness felt for him by St Bernard is shown by the letters he addressed to him and by the beautiful memorial sermons delivered to his monks by the great saint on the anniversaries of Malachy's death. When St Bernard died five years later he was buried in the habit worn by his friend.

[26] St Bernard's Life of St Malachy has been translated by H. J. Lawlor (1902). The letters and sermons are included.

The formal appeal for the palls was not without effect. At the Synod of Kells (1152) Cardinal John Paparo brought over four palls, one for each province, thus erecting Dublin and Tuam into archbishoprics along with Armagh and Cashel, an unexpected act of generosity not altogether pleasing to the Irish people, who saw the new Danish see of Dublin placed on a level with the ancient Primacy of St Patrick. But the gift had a purpose; it severed the connexion between the Danish Church and Canterbury, and made it part of the Church of Ireland.[27] Henceforth, in spite of local differences, there was up to Elizabeth's day but one Church in the country with four Archbishops, and Rome as the final court of appeal. It was largely to the untiring energy of St Malachy that this consummation was due.

[27] For the Synod of Kells see Keating, History, iii, 313-317.

St Malachy had fallen upon an evil time. The synods which met during the twelfth century were not altogether occupied with questions of organization; they were also called upon to deal with social reform. The sweeping condemnation of Malachy when he first undertook the charge of the diocese of Connor, however much we may discount its bitterness as the result of a different point of view in ecclesiastical matters, must have been true of many of the outlying parts of Ireland. There were few priests and neither preaching nor singing in the churches. The people were "dead in regard to rites, impious in regard to faith, barbarous in regard to laws, and shameless in regard of morals"; "though Christians in name, they were in fact pagans." The Acts of the Synods and the pages of the annals alike bear out these terrible accusations. The restraints of life had been removed during the long Norse sway. The old monastic system had broken down over large parts of the country, and the new diocesan and parochial system had not yet been established to take its place. It is no wonder that St Malachy was so anxious for a change of organization. Raid-ings, burnings of dwellings and villages, and the marchings and assaults of bodies of armed men made peaceful occupations impossible. Feuds between bishops and abbots became more frequent. Wars and pestilences were not occasional; they never ceased; the country lived under arms, not only for certain seasons as the vikings did, but at all times.

The annals of the eleventh and twelfth centuries give a lamentable account of the general state of the country, especially in the North and West. There was no sanctity for church or abbot; abbots were killed at the door of their own monasteries, and churches and round towers full of people were ruthlessly fired if they stood in the path of a passing body of troops. The sanctity of oaths, even when sworn on the most sacred objects, was disregarded, and men were killed by treachery and guile even when placed under the special protection of the clergy.[28] The different states were at constant war with one another, and the uncertainty of succession to the chieftainship opened the way for interminable broils within the limits of each state. Among the numerous aspirants within the same family who were more or less eligible for election to the chieftainship the most sanguinary wars arose, all the more embittered because the warfare was between men of the same kith and kin. Even after the introduction of tanistry, by which the successor was designated by the reigning chief and recognized by the people during his lifetime—a system intended to put an end to these tribal disputes—personal ambition or force of character continued to disturb the regularity of the succession. To guard against this there were to be found in every chieftain's courtyard a number of unfortunate youths of high position who were held in confinement, either to secure them from disputing the position of the chief or as hostages for the fealty of their families. Many of them passed long periods in imprisonment, and they were liable at any moment to be blinded or killed in their fetters if their friends showed any disposition to support their claims or if their captors had any reason to doubt the fidelity either of their relations or of their clan. On almost every page of the annals we read of the blinding or execution of some one or more of these unhappy lads, whose only crime was to have been born within the limits of the succession to the lordship of their people.[29]

[28] Annals of Loch Cé, 1055, 1060, 1089, 1128, 1138, 1170, 1185, etc.
[29] No less than eight young men of the O'Brien family were blinded by their near relations between 1153 and 1185, four of them by Donal Mór, who died in 1194. See also Annals of Loch Cé, 1092, 1093, 1265, 1266, 1368, etc.

Nor, when the chief was elected and inaugurated, was the clan permitted to settle down in peace. Every prince or chief, as soon as he was elected, thought it incumbent on him to prove his right to the chieftaincy above his competitors, whom his elevation had defeated and disappointed, by reducing any outstanding province or state that declined to recognize his authority. These expeditions were known as the creacht righi, or regal raids, and they were a constant pretext for external wars. The rule of succession to the High Kingship equally forbade any possibility of quiet; for any aspirant to the high position from the North to become eligible must possess, besides his own province of Ulster, one province in the South; and an aspirant from Munster must in like manner have the command of Connacht or one of the other provinces besides his own kingdom. Hence the warlike expeditions and circuits made by princes aiming at the supreme power, often undertaken even before the death of the reigning monarch, with a view to establishing their right to the succession. Such a custom cut at the root of any consolidation of the monarchy and led to interminable wars for the supreme authority.[30] Thus, although in many directions progress had been made during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the political organization showed no tendency toward settling down into any shape that promised a peaceable or progressive native rule. The Ireland into which the Normans precipitated themselves toward the close of the latter century found the country, so far as the general administration of the provinces was concerned, in a state of anarchy. They added one more factor to the already entangled situation.

[30] Annals of the Four Masters, 1083, 1265, 1559, 1562.

If from a political point of view the country showed little progress, it is otherwise when we turn to art, architecture, and poetry. The Irish continued to build their churches on the small scale founded on traditions believed to have been handed down by St Patrick, and when St Malachy, fresh from seeing the great churches of York, Clairvaux, and Rome, proposed to erect a stone oratory at Bangor in 1140 the people were scandalized. They "drew attention to Malachy's frivolity, shuddered at the novelty, and exaggerated the expense." [31] But the richness with which these small buildings were decorated gives them a distinct place in the original developments of Romanesque. Cormac O'Cillan, Abbot of Clonmacnois (d. 964), King Brian (d. 1014), and Conor O'Kelly, who built Clonfert in 1166-67, were all great ecclesiastical architects working on purely Irish models. The chapel erected by King Cormac MacCarthy on the Rock of Cashel in 1127 shows this type of design in its greatest luxuriance.[32] Most of the round towers also date from the Norse period, and the finest of the high crosses and metal work. Before the coming of the Normans the erection of the first Cistercian monastery, Mellifont on the Boyne, consecrated in 1157, began a new era in church building.

[31] Lawlor, Life of St Malachy, pp. 109-110.
[32] Margaret Stokes, Early Christian Architecture in Ireland (1920), pp. 126 seq.

It is of great interest that there remain certain charters given to monasteries, written both in Irish and Latin, dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, which show that grants of land and privileges were legally witnessed and executed before the coming of the Normans to Ireland. The earliest of the Gaelic charters conveys a grant of land at Kells, "with its vegetable garden, to God and pious pilgrims," no pilgrim having any right in it until he should have devoted himself to God and proved his piety. The grant included two tracts of pasture-land "with their meadows and their bogs...with their houses and outhouses, and with their lawns as far as the Cathach of Domnach Mòr [Donaghmore]." This charter, which was drawn up about 1080, was made by the King of Tara and the Abbot of Kells, with all the clergy, for a priest of Kells and his kinsmen who had purchased the ground for twenty ounces of gold, and a large number of influential persons became securities for the grant "as they were passing round the land and through the middle of the land;" an early example of 'beating the bounds.' A similar grant in Irish was made to Kells (c. 1128-40) also for the support of pilgrims, "in the year when the cattle and swine of Erin perished by a pestilence." This deed is witnessed, among others, by Tiernan O'Rorke, whose wife ran away to Dermot MacMorrogh, in the presence of his sons, Donchad and Sitric. Most of these early grants secured the land given from any future claims of rent, tribute, or coigny from king or chief.[33]

[33] Gilbert, Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of Ireland, Pt II, Nos. LIX, XLIV.

Even more interesting is a Latin charter founding the monastery of Duisk,[34] in which the signature of King Dermot MacMorrogh himself appears as the founder along with those of the donor, Dermot O'Ryan, chief of Odrone, Lawrence, Archbishop of Dublin, and others. These charters show that lands were regularly conveyed or purchased in the ordinary manner, and also that the Latin hand and language as well as Gaelic were used for such purposes before 1170.

[34] Now the monastery of Graigue-na-managh, Co. Kilkenny See ibid., No. LXII (1).



It was while the country was in this unsettled condition that a new turn was given to the course of events by the appeal of Dermot MacMorrogh, King of Leinster, to King Henry II of England to become his ally in his quarrel with Tiernan O'Rorke, Prince of Breifne (Counties of Leitrim and Cavan). This was the first step in the drama of events which led to the permanent establishment of the English in Ireland. The coming of the English has been often treated as if it were an isolated occurrence, a sudden bolt from the blue for which nothing in the previous history of Ireland had made preparation. But, as we have seen, the relations between the two countries had become increasingly close in the twelfth century, and both in politics and commerce the two neighbouring kingdoms had frequent interaction. When, therefore, an Irish prince made his appeal for help to an English king against his personal enemy there was nothing to cause special surprise either to his own people or to the sovereign to whom he applied. Nor was the idea of adding Ireland to his great empire a new one to Henry. Lord already of Normandy, Anjou, Aquitaine, Maine, Touraine, Poitou, suzerain of Brittany, King of England, prince of dominions which made England the centre of power in the West, Henry had long turned his thoughts toward Ireland. Already in 1155 he had considered that the island to the west would be a fair gift to make to his favourite brother William, and he had made tentative preparations by consulting his Council of Winchester about its conquest and had sent the learned John of Salisbury, then coming into notice as one of the most remarkable men of his day, to the English Pope, Adrian IV, to request permission to add the island of Ireland to his dominions. But the King's mother, the Empress Maud, or Matilda, resisted the project, and it was temporarily dropped, though after the death of Prince William in 1164 the thoughts of the King still occasionally returned to the idea, with the object of making his son John lord of Ireland.

But the Papal permission and benediction, often erroneously styled a Bull, lay in his archives unused till long after Adrian's death, and the ensuing contest between rival Popes made it, for the moment, of little avail for the purpose for which it had been given.[1] Henry's mind was fully occupied with the affairs of his unwieldy and disunited empire; most of his time was spent in France, and to his English subjects this king, who only visited his English kingdom for short intervals with absences of from four to eight years between the visits, was almost a foreigner. He spoke no English but only French or Latin with a smattering of many other tongues "from the Bay of Biscay to the Jordan." Only gradually did this descendant of the conquering Normans, who by marriage or inheritance was also lord of the greater half of France, come to recognize the superior importance of his English possessions. He was absorbed at the moment in the affairs of his French territories, and the dream of a conquest of Ireland might never have been revived but for the sudden appearance of an Irish King coming in his own person to request that Henry would help him in the recovery of the kingdom of Leinster, from which his rebellious sub-chiefs had driven him. This unexpected appeal revived all Henry's old ambitions; it gave an excellent opening, which might prove profitable to himself, for interference in the affairs of Ireland. His gracious reception of Dermot showed that the proposal was not unwelcome to him.

[1] For the Bull Laudabiliter see Appendix I.

It was soon after Christmas in the year 1166 that Dermot MacMorrogh, King of Leinster (b. 1110), sought Henry's aid to extract him from the difficulties that his own misconduct had brought upon himself and his province. Wild as were the times in which he lived, Dermot is singled out among the princes of his period as being so intolerable that he was expelled by the chiefs over whom he ruled. Gerald of Wales avers that "the cruel and intolerable tyranny which he imposed upon the chiefs of the land" was the result of youth and inexperience, but this can hardly be accepted as an excuse for a prince who had occupied the throne for over thirty years when he was driven out. Already in 1133 he is stated to have imposed "great tyrannies and cruelties" upon his Leinster nobles, seventeen of whom he had blinded or slain. He had confirmed himself in the possession of his kingdom by the killing of two princes and the blinding of a third. He spoiled churches without compunction. A still more brutal and unseemly act was the forcing of the Abbess of Kildare to leave her convent and to marry one of his people; at the same time he slew nearly two hundred of her nuns and townsmen who endeavoured to defend her. He was in perpetual strife with the men of Ossory and the King of Meath, as well as with the O'Rorkes of Breifne and the O'Kellys of Oriel.[2]

[2] A large district west of Lough Neagh and the Lower Bann.

He fought with the Dublin Danes against the Danes of Waterford. All this was much in the manner of the times, but the fact that Leinster was 'confirmed' to Dermot on more than one occasion shows that he held his position with an unusual degree of precariousness. He is said to have been "hated by his Leinstermen." Dermot is described by Gerald, the historian of the conquest, as very tall, "of a large and great body, a valiant and bold warrior of his nation and by reason of his continual halowing and crying, his voice was hoarse; he rather chose to be feared than loved; a great oppressor of his nobility, but a great advancer of the poor and weak. To his own people he would be rough, and grievous and hateful to strangers. He would be against all men and all men against him." [3] The act for which, according to the popular judgment, Dermot was driven out of Ireland, his abduction of Dervorgil, wife of Tiernan O'Rorke, Prince of Breifne, occurred in 1152, fourteen years before his expulsion.[4] Tiernan belonged to a family noted for its pride and turbulence from the days of Art O'Rorke, "the Cock," who in 1031 had descended the Shannon in boats to menace Thomond (Clare) and had met with a signal defeat at the hands of Donogh O'Brien, to those of Elizabeth. Descended from old kings of Connacht, they never forgot their high estate or ceased to try to recover it. They had been ousted by the O'Conors, and pushed back into the narrower limits of Breifne, which they shared with the O'Reilleys. Standing thus in the gangway between the warlike Cinel Eoghan of Tyrconnel in Ulster and the province of Connacht, their country was perpetually overrun with armies in whose wars they became involved; but in the eleventh century they were chiefly bent on recovering their position by a series of wars with Thomond. In 1084 the son of "the Cock" had fallen in battle with Murtogh O'Brien, and his head had been cut off and exposed by O'Brien on the hills above Limerick. It was recovered four years later by Rory O'Conor and Donell MacLochlan, and Limerick and Kincora were burned by them in revenge.

[3] Giraldus Cambrensis, or Gerald of Wales, was of the great family of the FitzGeralds, or Geraldines. He came over twice to Ireland, first in 1183 with his brother Philip de Barry and Richard de Cogan, and later, in 1185, with Prince John. To him we owe much of our knowledge of contemporary events and personages.
[4] Grace, Annales Hiberniae, 1167, says that Dermot MacMorrogh, Prince of Leinster, "while O'Rorke, King of Meath, was far from his country, ravished his wife with her own consent, and at her own solicitation." The date, at least, is incorrect.

Tiernan (or Tighernan) O'Rorke, who now plays an important rôle in the annals of his country, had been stripped of fresh portions of his territory alike by the kings of Ulster and Connacht. In the Book of Fenagh, written in O'Rorke's own district of Breifne, Dervorgil, his unfaithful wife, is called "the wife of one-eyed Tiernan of many crimes." One of these crimes for which the annalist says no equal had previously been found in Erin, and which earned the malediction of both laymen and clergy, was the profanation, openly in his own presence, of the Abbot of Armagh and the plundering of his retinue, many of whom were slain; even a young cleric, specially protected, was killed. The annalist exclaims that this act was like contempt of the Lord Himself and that it produced a universal distrust of any protection throughout the country.[5]

[5] Annals of Loch Ce, 1128.

Dervorgil may have been weary of life with such a man; she is said to have been carried off by her own consent and at the instigation of her brother, who had his own scores to pay off against Dermot for the latter's rebellion against their father the King of Meath. A year later, Dervorgil was restored, with the rich dowry of cattle and valuables that she had carried with her on her elopement. But though this act made some sensation at the time, and though years afterward O'Rorke demanded a heavy eric of a hundred ounces of gold from Dermot (probably nearly £5000 of our money), "more for the shame than the loss that he had suffered," the event had no immediate influence on Irish affairs beyond the fresh cause of revolt and disaffection that it provided. It had all been over long before Dermot sought King Henry in Aquitaine. The restless energy and ceaseless journeyings of Henry II made it always difficult to know in what part of his widespread dominions he would be found. "The King," said one of his courtiers, "never sits down, but is on his legs from morning till night." When Dermot, after searching for him "up and down, forwards and back," at last arrived before him, he was far away beyond seas in the remote parts of Aquitaine and, as always, "much engaged in business." The meeting of these two men, who represented in their persons the future relationship and destiny of their two countries, is interesting. There was probably something sympathetic between the English King, with his square, stout build, his muscular arms and neck bent forward, and his grey eyes that flashed so readily into anger, and the Irish Prince, whose huge frame and tall stature announced the warrior and whose voice had become hoarse by constantly raising his war-cry in battle. Henry, brought unexpectedly face to face in a French city with a representative of a country that had often been in his thoughts, at once agreed to Dermot's request. He gave him a letter authorizing all who desired it to go with Dermot, and liberally provided him with gifts and with the money necessary for his enterprise. Dermot returned to Bristol, where he stayed on both journeys with one Robert FitzHarding, an influential citizen and friend of King Henry, who assisted him in his efforts to induce the nobles of South Wales to accompany him to Ireland.

Though Dermot was forced to return to Ireland alone and to lie hidden for a time in his house at Ferns or at the monastery near by, he had been successful in securing a promise of help from several of the Norman lords who had recently carved out for themselves at the sword's point properties in South Wales, and who promised to follow him as soon as their preparations were complete. Many of them were men of good birth but broken fortunes, who, in the free manner of the Norman kings, had been granted lands in different parts of England and Wales "if they were able to conquer them," as rewards for their services at the battle of Hastings and elsewhere. Others were mere freebooters, whose advent into Wales was marked by the most frightful cruelties to the inhabitants and many of whom were in sore need of money to support their impecunious families. To all of them Dermot held out a variety of tempting baits; and to the most powerful of them all, Richard of Striguil, Earl of Pembroke, the ancestor of the house of the de Clares, later to be more familiarly known by his sobriquet of "Strongbow," he offered the great bribe of the hand of his daughter, Aoife, or Eva, with the succession to the kingdom of Leinster after his own death. Earl Richard had forfeited the royal favour by his support of King Stephen, and to a man who possessed high titles, but little means to support them, the prospect of restoring his fortunes in Ireland out of the way of the royal displeasure must have been an attractive one. To Robert FitzStephen, who had been kept a close prisoner by Rhys, the Welsh king, for three years, but who was now released at Dermot's request, were promised the town of Wexford and some adjoining lands to be held in fee by him and his half-brother Maurice FitzGerald. The town of Wexford, being a Danish city and in Danish hands, could, like most of Dermot's other gifts, only be obtained by conquest.

"A knight, bipartite, shall first break the bonds of Ireland." So ran an ancient prophecy attributed to Merlin, and men thought they saw the prophecy fulfilled when FitzStephen, who was on his father's side an Anglo-Norman, or rather Welsh-Norman, and on his mother's a Cambro-Briton, and whose armorial bearings were bipartite, gave his word to follow Dermot across seas. He was the first of that remarkable family who supplied no less than eighteen knights to take part in the conquest of Ireland, and who were the progenitors of the famous line of the Geraldines, Earls of Kildare and Lords of Desmond. They brought with them also one of their own family to be the historian of the conquest, the Archdeacon Gerald de Barry, called Cambrensis, or "the Welshman," through whose vivid pages, supplemented by an old French poem for which the materials were supplied by the scribe and interpreter of Dermot MacMorrogh, we are enabled to follow the fortunes of each member of the family. It is an unusual piece of historical good fortune that we should possess these two independent reports, which supplement each other and which tell the same story from two different points of view, both of the writers being closely interested in the persons and events of which they supply the record.

Though the adventure which Dermot-na-nGaill, or "Dermot of the Foreigners," set on foot is commonly spoken of as the coming of the English to Ireland, few of the adventurers could be called Englishmen. The leaders were Normans, French-speaking Lords, recently settled in Wales, the most westward offshoots of that turbulent and ambitious race which, starting from the same Northern homes from which the earlier race of Northmen had come, had in their piratical raids southward gradually established their rule in Normandy and up the Seine, and swept round the coasts of Spain to find a footing in Sicily, Apulia, and Calabria. Just a hundred years before Dermot sought the help of Henry II, William of Normandy had completed the onward march of his race by his conquest of England, but the two nations were only slowly uniting into a homogeneous population. All the differences of language, tradition, and systems of law and tenure, which were to complicate the future relations of the two peoples in Ireland, were now in process of being fought out in the neighbouring country. As later in Ireland, the conquering knights who were spreading over the land stood haughtily aloof from the main body of the population, whom they were endeavouring to accustom to new feudal relations as their underlings. Most of the knights who volunteered to follow Dermot to Ireland had made their homes in the extreme south-west of Wales, from which Earl Richard de Clare, or "Strongbow," took his title of Earl of Pembroke, a district often known as "little England beyond Wales." Their men-at-arms were largely Flemings who had come over from Flanders in the reign of Henry I, and had been settled by him among his enemies the Welsh, in the hope that their solid virtues, their love of industry and commerce, and their brave and robust character, might ease his task in subduing the rebellious Welshmen. These Flemings were destined to form a useful and permanent element in the towns of Leinster, and to give their name to the family of the Flemings, Lords of Slane.[6] Of these Normans, Welsh, and Flemings, few would have styled themselves Englishmen, though there may have been an admixture of English citizens from Bristol, interested through the efforts of FitzHarding in Dermot's enterprise. The Annals of the Four Masters speak of the "fleet of the Flemings" which Dermot induced to come over, and of "seventy heroes, dressed in coats of mail." The Irish looked on this little army with contempt; the great hosts collected by Rory O'Conor and O'Rorke "set nothing by the Flemings." The arrival of these new gaill, or foreigners, may have seemed to them only one more attack, and an insignificant one, of their old foes the vikings, who still from time to time descended on the coasts, carried off their prey, and departed again. What the coming of these "seventy heroes" meant for Ireland they were only slowly to discover.

[6] A Richard Fleming established himself in a castle at Slane before 1176. In that year all his followers, a hundred or more, were destroyed by the King of the Cinel-Eoghan of Ulster. See Annals of Loch Ce, 1176.

The so-called conquest of Ireland falls into three sections: the arrival of the first-comers under FitzStephen, FitzGerald, and Maurice de Prendergast in May 1169; the landing of Earl Richard, or "Strongbow," and the events following this in August 1170; and, finally, the visit of Henry II in October of the next year, 1171.

When Dermot had returned to his own country it did not seem as though the Norman lords who had promised him their aid were in any hurry to carry out their engagements. No forces seemed to be arriving to the support of the few men who had accompanied him on his return. In his impatience Dermot sent over his companion and interpreter, Morice Regan, to whom we owe the French poetical version of this history, to stir up the dilatory barons. He increased his offers by a general promise of land, horses, armour, and money to any who would volunteer. Robert FitzStephen led the way, and in his party came Meiler FitzHenry, Miles FitzGerald, son of the Bishop of St Davids, Maurice de Prendergast, and Hervey de Montmaurice, all Norman-Welsh scions or connexions of the great house which derived from Nesta, or Nes, the daughter of Rhys ap Teudwr, last independent king of South Wales, by her two husbands and by Henry I, who was grandfather to Meiler and Robert FitzHenry. They were thus closely allied by blood with Henry II. FitzStephen marched straight on Wexford, and after a short contest the town surrendered and was handed over, with the adjoining lands, to the newcomers. The victorious army then marched northward into Ossory to reinstate Dermot; by a sudden charge of cavalry they met and defeated a large body of men who had entrenched themselves behind stockades in a difficult country of woods and bogs. To the savage delight of King Dermot two hundred heads of his enemies were laid dripping at his feet.

But a strong combination was being formed against Dermot. "The wheel of fortune turned and those that were above were threatened with a sudden fall." Rory (or Roderick) O'Conor, King of Connacht, had just succeeded to the sovereignty of Ireland on the death of Murtogh O'Lochlan, a prince of the house of Ulster. Rory was destined to be the last king of an independent Ireland. A hundred years before, the aged Donogh, son of King Brian Boromhe, being deposed, had taken the pilgrim's staff and set out to end his days in Rome. It was said that he took with him the crown of Ireland, which remained in the possession of the Popes until Pope Adrian gave it to King Henry II after the latter's conquest of the country. The story must be metaphorical, for we hear of no crown in the possession of Henry, nor did he even style himself King of Ireland. But it symbolizes the condition of the supreme monarchy during the century that elapsed between the death of Donogh and the death of Rory O'Conor, in whose time the overlordship came to an end. All the kings who reigned between these two had ruled with disputed authority. The balance of power had swung from the O'Briens of Munster away to the O'Lochlans of the north-west of Ulster; but Connacht, which had been advancing in power and influence, was able to place on the throne two of her princes during the twelfth century. The policy of Rory O'Conor, who for years had been reigning king of Connacht before he attained to the throne of Ireland, had been to try to weaken the other provinces and at the same time to satisfy the rival aspirations of the underlords by subdividing the provinces between them. Three times he had enforced a division of Munster between the O'Briens and MacCarthys, princes ever at war for ascendancy; twice he had divided Meath and once Tyrone (Tir Eoghan) in Ulster. But the only result of his policy had been still further to weaken the already enfeebled country. So far from showing a disposition to unite, Ireland during the last years of her independence was more broken up into rival chieftainries than ever before.

Rory had usually sided with O'Rorke and Malaughlan of Meath against Dermot, and on hearing of his advance northward accompanied by foreign troops armed in such coats of mail as had never before been seen in Ireland he sent messengers all round the island and convoked a great assembly to march against him. He also tried to detach FitzStephen from Dermot's side with large offers, and when these were declined he appealed to Dermot to come over to his side and aid him in exterminating the foreigners, on an undertaking to restore to him his kingdom of Leinster. These offers having been likewise refused, the armies were drawn up in battle, but at the last moment peace was made between the rival kings, on condition of the restoration of Dermot to the throne of Leinster and his recognition of Rory as King of Ireland Dermot gave his son Canute (Cnut) to Rory as a hostage and secretly engaged to bring no more foreigners over to Ireland.

The peace was a fortunate one for Dermot, for already some of his 'fair-weather friends' were falling off and desiring to return to Wales. The most serious defection was that of Maurice de Prendergast, who fell out with Dermot and offered his services to MacGillapatrick of Ossory, Dermot's old enemy, who "leaped to his feet with joy" when he heard the news. Henceforth Prendergast is known as Maurice of Ossory, but he did not long remain in Ireland. Hearing of plots to massacre him and his followers, he watched an opportunity to escape to Waterford and take ship to Wales. His defection was partly atoned for by the arrival of FitzGerald, half-brother to FitzStephen; but still Dermot's plans, which had been expanding with each success, did not ripen as he wished. Leinster, which he had won back, no longer sufficed him; he aspired to replace Rory as King of Ireland. In the autumn he wrote to Earl Richard in this strain: "We have watched the storks and swallows; the summer birds have come and are gone with the wind of the south; but neither winds from the east nor the west have brought your much-desired presence." Strongbow had indeed been prudently waiting to hear the result of the successes of the first adventurers. He was of a more gentle build and retiring nature than most of Dermot's helpers. His grey eyes, feminine features, and weak voice bespoke the quiet gentleman rather than the bold man-at-arms. Out of the camp he had the air of a simple soldier, and he was at all times more disposed to be led by others than to command. But, encouraged by Dermot's assurances that he had regained his kingdom, he set about preparing for the great hazard. Having obtained the King's permission to go, he sent forward Raymond le Gros, a brave and stout soldier, who crossed over, erected a fort between Wexford and Waterford, and after a sharp skirmish brought to his camp seventy of the principal townsmen as hostages. The first act of wanton cruelty shown by the adventurers stained their bravery on that day. Raymond, in a noble speech, prayed for pity on these citizens, but the fighting men, worked upon by Hervey de Montmaurice, gave their voices for their immediate execution; and the unfortunate hostages were beheaded, it is said by a girl, and their bodies thrown over the cliff into the sea.

When Earl Richard arrived from Milford Haven he took Waterford by assault after severe fighting and entered the town, slaughtering as he went. The Danish rulers, Reginald (Ragnall) and the two Sitrics, held out for a time in Reginald's Tower, the massive Danish stronghold which still stands to prove the solidity of their defences, but the Sitrics were finally taken and put to the sword, Reginald and an Irish chief named MacLoghlan of Offaly being saved by Dermot's intervention. Then, the town having been garrisoned, Dermot was sent for to bring his daughter, Strongbow's promised wife and prize, and the marriage of Strongbow and Eva was solemnized with great state, a symbol of the union, for good and evil, between the two countries.[7] The news of the fall of the Danish towns of Wexford and Waterford filled the citizens of Dublin with dismay. From all parts of Ireland they summoned help, and Dermot received tidings that between Dublin and the South all roads were blocked and passes barricaded, and that Rory with an immense army lay at Clondalkin ready to oppose his passage. He summoned the Earl and laid before him a bold plan. Avoiding the open ways, he marched straight across the mountains of Glendalough, appearing before the gates of Dublin with an army of over five thousand men. The citizens, having the fate of the Danish cities of the South before their eyes, sent Laurence O'Toole, Archbishop of Dublin, to treat for peace. While negotiations were going on, young Miles de Cogan, with a party of hot-headed followers, grew impatient of the delay and fell suddenly on the city, taking it by a surprise attack. Asculf, the Danish king, fled away by sea, and Strongbow entered the town, of which, in reward for his services, he appointed de Cogan the Warden.

[7] The celebrated picture of this event painted by Maclise errs in making the marriage take place immediately after the slaughter of the inhabitants and among the slain. This is a pictorial exaggeration.

At this critical stage of the story a break occurs. In the manuscript of the poem which has related his history there are dashed across the page the words Si est mort li rei Dermot. Propitius sit Deus anime! ("King Dermot is dead. May God have mercy on his soul!").[8] He died, according to the Annals of the Four Masters, on May 1, 1171, at his home in Ferns "without will, without penance, without the body of Christ, without unction, as his evil deeds deserved." To his own retainers in Ireland he had a better aspect. "Very rich and powerful" they held him; "he loved the generous, hated the mean, the noble king who lies buried at Ferns." Dermot of the Foreigners had some good qualities. He founded the priory of All Hallows in Dublin, and the Cistercian monastery at Baltinglas; and the famous Book of Leinster, which preserves the records of his Province, was drawn up at his instigation. It was written by a Bishop of Kildare in Dermot's reign. Dervorgil also devoted herself to church-building. The beautifully decorated church of the nuns of Clonmacnois was erected by her, and she made munificent gifts to the new Cistercian monastery of Mellifont near Drogheda, which the enthusiasm of Archbishop Malachy was founding on the Continental pattern. He had liberal helpers in Tiernan O'Rorke, Dervorgil's husband, and in Donagh O'Carroll of Oriel, while the erring wife presented a chalice of gold to the new church, with fine cloth for the altars and threescore ounces of gold. Dervorgil, who died in 1195, at the age of eighty-five, was buried in the monastery she had helped to endow. The abbey church had been consecrated with great solemnity in 1157, several princes and seventeen bishops, with the Papal legate, being present. It was the mother-church of five Cistercian houses founded about this time by Irish princes. These buildings mark in a definite way the dying out of the old native forms of organization and the closer union with the Roman Church and system. The visits of Papal legates, beginning at the date when Cardinal Paparo presided over the Synod of Kells in 1152, also point to a definite change of position. The liberality of Dervorgil to two religious foundations, of which one belonged to the old form of Irish Christianity and the other to the foreign orders now for the first time making their home in Ireland, is symbolic of the double allegiance of the people, and of their lingering affection for a system now gradually to pass away. Between 1139 and 1272 thirty-four abbeys of the Cistercian order were founded in Ireland, of which twelve were established before 1172. These include St Mary's, Dublin, and Mellifont, founded in 1142, with the latter's daughter-abbeys—Bective, in Meath, called De Beatitudine; Baltinglas, in Wicklow, called De Valle Salutis; and Boyle, in Roscommon.[9] The introduction of the Cistercian and Augustinian orders led to a great architectural outburst all over the country, in which the Irish princes took the lead. The Norman adventurers, men of the race which was covering England and Normandy with splendid cathedrals and abbeys, entered into the work, and, besides the massive keeps and castles which gradually replaced the earlier earthen forts all over the provinces, there arose during the thirteenth century stately abbeys, whose outlines we admire in their ruin to-day.

[8] The Song of Dermot and the Earl, ed. G. H. Orpen (1892).
[9] See the list given in Grace's Annales Hiberniae, Appendix I, pp. 169-170.

At this moment it must have seemed to Strongbow that he had realized all the hopes with which he had come to Ireland. He had married Aoife (Eva), who brought him a rich inheritance; and Leinster, from Waterford to Dublin, was subdued. King Dermot was dead, and it only remained to enter peacefully into his promised lordship as his successor. But, just when all seemed fair, he found himself encompassed with difficulties. First came a demand from Henry, who in his far realm of Aquitaine had from time to time received exaggerated reports of the doings of his knights in Ireland, that all his feudatories should return to England before Easter on pain of forfeiting their lands, a command that he followed up by ordering a blockade of the Irish ports. All supplies and reinforcements at once ceased, and the Earl, much embarrassed, sent off Raymond le Gros to the King with the following letter: "It was with your licence, if I remember rightly, my Lord and King, that I crossed to Ireland to aid your faithful vassal Dermot...Whatever lands I have had the good fortune to acquire here, inasmuch as I owe them all to your gracious favour, I shall hold them at your will and disposal." The letter was a politic one and gave the Earl time to plan out his future movements. Events pressed upon him. The Irish, to whom the idea of an Irish prince bequeathing his kingdom outside his family, and moreover to a foreigner, was hitherto unheard of, rose in revolt; "all the Irish of Ireland" were suddenly ranged against Strongbow, save his wife's brother, Kavanagh, and two minor chiefs. They lay, sixty thousand strong under Rory's banner, at Castleknock outside Dublin, Tiernan O'Rorke being in their company. Archbishop Laurence O'Toole exerted himself to strengthen the combination by going through the country and rousing up the chiefs, and by inviting over Godred of Man and the lords of the Isles, who were to blockade the city on the sea-coast side, while the Irish, including the Archbishop's troops, surrounded it on the north, west, and south. A two months' siege ensued, during which, partly owing to the Norse blockade and partly to that carried out by Henry's orders, no food could be got into the town, and provisions were running short. Moreover, news was brought that Robert FitzStephen was closely besieged in his half-built fort at Carrick, and, soon after, that he had been captured and sent prisoner to Wexford. Strong-bow attempted to treat with Rory, but again the young knight-errant Miles de Cogan cut a straight road out of the difficulty. Keeping the matter secret, a little band of six hundred knights with some Irish under Donal Kavanagh suddenly sallied out of the town and crept close up to the stockades of the Irish camp before they were perceived, with Miles at their head shouting his war-cry of "De Cogan!" The Irish were quite unprepared for the attack. Rory and many of his men were bathing in the river at some distance from the camp, and, being left without leaders, the unarmed Irish "fled through the moors like scattered cattle."

After collecting the spoils, which sufficed for a whole year, Earl Richard marched straight to Wexford, hoping to release FitzStephen; but, hearing that his captors would put FitzStephen to death if he advanced, he abandoned the attempt, and, receiving an urgent message from Henry, who was now in England near Gloucester gathering a large force to take with him over to Ireland, Strongbow hastily delivered Dublin into the care of Miles de Cogan and Waterford to Gilbert de Boisrohard, and set out to face his angry liege. It required some courage to confront the blazing eyes of Henry "Curtmantle" when "the demon blood of Anjou" mounted to his face, but the Norman poem says that Henry assumed a friendly manner toward the Earl and at this time made no show of anger. On reflection the King may well have thought that a subject who had gained a fifth of Ireland with its two chief towns, and who was ready to resign all claim to Dublin and the coast towns and fortresses, holding the remainder as a fief under himself, had not done so badly for his kingdom. The matter was settled for the time, and the King set out with his usual promptitude for Waterford, accompanied by the Earl and a splendid fleet. He had in his army 4500 knights and archers. On October 17, 1171, Henry landed at Crook, a little below Waterford.

Henry's stay in Ireland had the aspect of a triumphal progress. As far west as Limerick and as far north as the borders of Ulster the Irish chiefs came in and made submission to him. It was recognized that the prime object of his visit was not to fight the Irish, but to take over the Norse towns and to check the growing power of his own barons; and kings who had stoutly withstood the aggressions of a set of Norman knights, apparently each fighting for his own hand, now came in without a contest and made their submission to the overlord. Dermot MacCarthy, King of Cork, Donal O'Brien, King of Limerick, who surrendered his capital into Henry's hands, MacGillapatrick, Lord of Ossory, and Malachy O'Phelan, chief of the Decies, and after them the lesser chiefs of Munster, came in, and were courteously received and sent away with gifts. In Dublin Tiernan O'Rorke and other chiefs submitted.

Henry brought over a considerable army, but he did not shed Irish blood. "All the Irish in Ireland" had risen against the barons when they found Dermot giving away the tribal lands, or the barons conquering them, but they did not rise against Henry; on the contrary, they seem to have looked on him as their natural protector against the aggression of his nobles. A curious instance of the general attitude is shown in the action of the citizens of Wexford, who had imprisoned FitzStephen. They informed Henry that they had acted on his behalf against his rebellious vassal, who had invaded the country without the King's licence. Henry, "who loved the baron much," taking his cue from this curious argument, had FitzStephen brought before him to Waterford, soundly rated him, and committed him to prison in Reginald's Tower with great show of wrath and anger, "for he feared the Irish would murder him." At Waterford he had him under his own eye. He took an early opportunity of setting him at liberty, though he did not hesitate to reap advantage from his present helplessness by requiring him to relinquish the town and lands of Wexford into the King's hands—a method of asserting his suzerainty which Henry had already practised with success in dealing with his barons in South Wales.[10]

[10] Giraldus Cambrensis, Conquest of Ireland, Bk. I, ch. xxxi.

The most significant of the submissions made to Henry was that of the Aird-ri of Ireland, Rory O'Conor, who took the oath of allegiance on the borders between his own province of Connacht and that of Meath, side by side with O'Brien, King of Thomond, his then ally. This submission of the High King to the foreign sovereign was an act of the greatest importance. It can hardly be said to have been obtained by conquest or even by an overwhelming show of military force. The Irish kings had bowed to the inevitable, but they do not seem to have bowed unwillingly, for they believed that Henry alone could keep in check his marauding nobles. Rory by his submission recognized an authority in the kingdom superior to his own, a High Kingship to which even his own must look up. From this moment the office of High King of Ireland practically came to an end, for Rory had no successor; he was the last of the historic line. The office from henceforth was felt to have been transferred into the hands of the English King.

The relations for the moment were of the friendliest kind. The festival of Christmas 1171 saw these Irish princes gathered with their retainers to the Danish city of Dublin, then "a very thronged port, emulating our London in commerce," [11] as the guests of the English King. They were entertained in so sumptuous a style that provisions threatened to run short and were sold at excessive prices, no cargo vessels having been able to cross on account of the severe tempests. For the accommodation of the guests Henry had a palace of peeled osiers or wattle constructed "after the manner of the country" just outside the then narrow walls of Dublin on the rise of the Howe over the Stein, where St Andrew's Church now stands, This was the site of the Danish Thing-mote, or national assembly, and was called in the tenth century Hoggen-green, from the Scandinavian word hoga or howe, a hill or tumulus. It is only within the last couple of centuries that this historic site has been levelled and its mould spread over the present Nassau Street. In Henry's day it looked out over the ' Green ' of the town, stretching down to the borders of the Liffey, which then flowed through open fields to the bay at Clontarf. The 'Stein,' then the usual landing-place for Dublin, was so called from the long stone on which capital sentences were carried out under Norse rule, after decrees of death had been passed at the Thing-mote; it was only removed in the seventeenth century. The novelty of Henry's entertainment and the splendour with which it was carried out astonished his guests, who "learned to eat crane's flesh, which they had hitherto disliked." Meanwhile the Norman archers stationed at Finglas amused their leisure by wantonly cutting down and burning as firewood the old yews and ash-trees which had been planted in former days by Abbot Kenach round the cemetery.[12]

[11] Chronicle of William of Newburgh, ed. Thomas Hearne (1719), pp. 194-195.
[12] Very old yews still form a walk at Glasnevin, close to Finglas, perhaps the descendants of these groves. It is now known as Addison's Walk.

From Christmas to Lent Henry was busy visiting parts of his new dominions and settling the future administration of the country. He appointed Hugh de Lacy first Justiciar, and garrisoned the towns. He visited Lismore and Cashel, and in pursuance of the conditions laid down by the Pope he arranged for a synod at the latter place for the correction of morals and to introduce the payment of tithes. He was occupied in planning a new fort for Lismore when, the wind changing at last, he received at Wexford ill news of great importance. Two legates, commissioned by the Pope, had arrived in England to inquire into the murder of Archbishop Thomas a Becket and were threatening to lay the country under an interdict; at the same inauspicious moment he learned that his sons had risen in rebellion against him. Such tidings were too urgent to be ignored, and, breaking off his plans in Ireland, the King set sail from Wexford on Easter Day 1172, "after the celebration of Mass," [13] landing in St David's Bay at noon of the next day. "Thus," say the Annals of Clonmacnois quaintly, "the King's Majesty made a final end of an entire conquest of Ireland."

[13] Annals of Loch Ce, 1172.

When Henry left Ireland he had received hostages as overlord from Leinster, Meath, Munster, and the chiefs of Oriel and of Eastern Ulster,[14] besides the still more important submission of Rory of Connacht. Thus every province was represented in the formal acts of submission to the King of England. Such general offers of fealty had never been made in Ireland save to the acknowledged Aird-ri, and even then, as a rule, only when exacted by force. It is the more remarkable that they should have been obtained by Henry without the use of compulsion and that the whole country should have participated in making them. This submission, however, did not include any acceptance of the rule of Henry's Norman barons, whose advance was checked in a practical way by the heavy defeat of Strongbow at Thurles by Donal O'Brien and King Rory in 1174, two years after Henry's departure, while in Meath the Irish demolished the forts which de Lacy was erecting to secure his new grants. But in the following year, after consultation, Rory O'Conor and Donal O'Brien were ready to renew their allegiance to the King of England in the most formal and solemn manner at the Council of Windsor (October 6, 1175), in the presence of the King, barons, and bishops of England. As his representatives at this council Rory sent three of the highest ecclesiastics in Ireland: the distinguished Laurence (or Lorcan) O'Toole, traveller, scholar, and statesman, who had been transferred from his abbey at Glendalough, in Wicklow, to the posts of Archbishop of Dublin and Chancellor; the Archbishop of Tuam (Co. Galway); and the Abbot of St Brendan. Through them, with every circumstance of solemnity, the Aird-ri ratified his former treaty, promising "to hold his lands well and peaceably of the English King as his liege lord," and in token of this to pay an annual tribute of a tenth of all choice skins of animals slain in Ireland, to be approved by dealers, and of birds (of the chase), and wolfhounds. The Danish cities of Dublin and Waterford, with the adjacent lands as far as Dungarvan, and the whole province of Leinster, pledged by Dermot MacMorrogh to Strongbow, were reserved to be held of the King directly. Apart from these reserved lands, Rory was to hold sway over the lesser chieftains and to receive their tributes as of old, King Henry's tribute being added as an additional claim.[15]

[14] Ibid., 1171.
[15] Henry of Hovenden, Annals, 1175. The destruction of wild birds in Ireland has been wholesale. In a Parliament held in 1480 duties were imposed on the export of hawks and falcons to restrain the carrying of them out of the land. Even at that date they were in danger of becoming extinct. The last golden eagle was shot at Killarney only some forty years ago.

In case any of the chiefs should rebel against the King or against Rory or refuse to pay tribute, the King of Connacht was authorized to judge them, and if necessary to remove them from their possessions, to be helped therein by the King's Constable of Ireland. Two years later, in 1177, a council was convened at Waterford, and the solemn compact of Windsor was renewed in the presence of the Papal legate, Cardinal Vivianus, "who openly showed the King's right to Ireland" and enforced it by a threat of Papal excommunication against all who should refuse obedience to Henry's authority. Thus in a series of explicit steps the office of overlord was confirmed to the King of England. Into the hands of the new overlord Rory and his successors placed their hostages in token of homage and fidelity, as formerly they had been committed to the Aird-ri. Rory's own hostage was his son, and it was while conducting him to Normandy in November 1180, to place him in Henry's keeping, that Archbishop O'Toole fell ill in the monastery of Eu and died there.[16]

[16] The common idea that Rory was ignorant of the import of his acts cannot be maintained. For some years he had considered the matter before sending his son as hostage. His adviser, Laurence O'Toole, was one of the most able and learned, as well as devout, prelates of the day, and fully qualified to deal with State affairs.

When exhorted by the monks of Eu to make his will, "God knows," he said, "out of all my revenues I have not a coin to bequeath." It was at the Council of Waterford that the much-disputed and misnamed "Bull" of Pope Adrian was first brought forward, conferring on Henry II the papal approval of his expedition to Ireland, and the right of dominion over the island. It was given in accordance with the general claim made by the Popes over all islands, which it was believed were under the special protection of the Papal See, and was conditional on his promise to endeavour to reduce the country to social and ecclesiastical order. Pope Adrian, who was an Englishman, bade the King of England go forth to the conquest "for the enlargement of the Church's borders, for the restraint of vice, the correction of morals and the planting of virtue, the increase of the Christian religion, and whatsoever may tend to God's glory and the well-being of that land." Shortly before, Pope Alexander II had given his approval in a similar manner to William I on his Norman conquest of England. In September 1172 the then Pope, Alexander III, also had given his benediction to the enterprise in Ireland in three letters, couched in very similar terms, to the King himself, to the Legate of the Apostolic See in Ireland with the archbishops and bishops, and to the kings and princes of Ireland, exhorting obedience to the sovereign, and saying that "he has learned with joy that they have taken Henry as their king." He commanded the prelates to assist Henry in his government of Ireland, and to smite with ecclesiastical censures any of its kings, princes, and people who shall dare to violate the oath of fidelity they have sworn." [17] Thus, supported by Papal authority, the Synod of Cashel met some time in 1172, soon after the departure of Henry, under the presidency of Christian O'Conarchy, Bishop of Lismore and Papal Legate; Gelasius (Gilla MacLiag), the Primate, being too far advanced in age to be present, though he later travelled to Dublin to express his approval of the measures passed. These chiefly made for Church discipline and for the contract and observance of lawful marriages; and the prelates took their first step in the Anglicizing Church policy afterward pursued by ordering that all divine offices should be celebrated according to the forms of the Anglican Church, "for it is right and just that as Ireland has received her lord and king from England she should accept reformation from the same source." Though several Irish bishops were present no voice was raised in dissent, and thus, approved and supported by ecclesiastical as well as secular authority, began the rule of England over Ireland.[18]

[17] Sweetman, Calendar of Documents, 1, No. 38.
[18] Gesta Henrici, i, 28; Roger of Hovenden, ed. W. Stubbs, ii, 31.

It must be allowed that the claim of the English kings to govern Ireland was at least as good as that by which any European monarch held his throne. The excuse provided by the invitation of Dermot to Henry made it even stronger than most of these others. It was better than that by which the Normans held England, which was purely the right of conquest, and in which no general submission of those in power had ever been obtained. Henry or his successors would undoubtedly have attempted the conquest of Ireland at some time; the island lay too close at hand for a people who had conquered large parts of Western Europe to remain indifferent to it, and we have seen that to acquire Ireland had been long projected in Henry's mind. The circumstances under which the new relations began were auspicious; but the retirement of the King placed the centre of authority at a distance, and the English monarchs were forced to leave the actual power in the hands of the ambitious Norman nobles who ruled in their name on the spot. To them the acquisition of lands and authority was the only object aimed at; and the quarrels of these foreigners among themselves for position and property were not less fierce and persistent than those they carried on with the Irish whose lands they coveted. The Crown could only step in at intervals, and its authority gradually faded into the distance before the always present domination of the barons, which soon developed into semi-independence; it became a matter of individual choice with them whether they became Irish and renounced their allegiance to the English Crown or whether they remained English and strangers in their adopted country. Thus a sense of division which no length of time has healed, sprang up from the beginning; neither good rule nor bad rule served to lessen it in the eyes of a considerable section of the people; to the native Irish the English remained a foreign nation, whose right was disputed, and whose rule was accepted only through necessity. They continued to be looked upon as interlopers.

A permanent result of the visit of Henry II to Dublin was the giving of a charter conferring that city on the inhabitants of Bristol, the town which had most cordially aided the King and Dermot MacMorrogh in raising troops for the Irish undertaking. This remarkable charter, the oldest municipal document relating to any Irish town, is the first of seven original extant charters of dates between 1172 and 1320 concerning Dublin issued by English kings. It was designed to bring to an end the Norse authority over the Irish capital, and to transfer the city definitely under English control. Up to this time the Norse rulers still looked upon it as the capital of their Irish dominions; though for some time back this assumption of authority had been challenged by the Irish princes of Leinster who had never abandoned their claims on Dublin as part of their possessions, so that we find both Irish and Norse governors styled kings of Dublin. Up to the arrival of the Normans all the larger towns were occupied chiefly by Danes or Norse, and had Danish or Norse governors. We have seen that when Miles de Cogan entered the city the governor of the capital was Asgall, or Asculf, son of Ragnall mac Torcaill, and that he fled away by sea. He is sometimes called king, but Ragnall, his father, is styled Mór Maer, or High Steward of Dublin, the latter title being probably a more correct designation; Asgall was taken and beheaded by the English in 1171, after a battle fought "on the green of Dublin" between de Cogan and Tiernan O'Rorke accompanied by the men of Meath and the Danish troops.[19] Henry, when making his grants to his barons, expressly retained in his own hands the Danish towns with some part of the surrounding districts.

[19] Annals of the Four Masters, 1171; Annals of Loch Ce, at same date; Giraldus Cambrensis, Conquest of Ireland, Bk. I, ch. xxi.

He designed to attach them directly to the Crown, and to make them centres of English influence, which, in fact, they remained through centuries. By the Bristol charter,[20] which gave to Bristol men settling in Dublin all the privileges possessed by them at home, he encouraged merchants of that city, doubtless old traders between the two towns, to come over and establish themselves in Ireland; the charter was enlarged in 1174, and gave to the burgesses of the capital liberty to transact business throughout the entire land of England, Normandy, Wales, and Ireland, free of any toll or customs whatever, and these privileges were confirmed more than once in the reign of King John. The giving of the Bristol charter was followed by a large influx of merchants from all parts of England, Scotland, South Wales, and even from Flanders, Brabant, and France. An old list of names of citizens shows that towns as far separated from each other as Edinburgh, Lincoln, Cardiff, and Cirencester, contributed their quota to the inhabitants of Dublin as tailors, mercers, spicers, goldsmiths, and followers of many other occupations. They formed themselves into merchant guilds, and carried on an active trade during the thirteenth century in corn,[21] cattle, and derivative products; live stock, fish, and skins; silk and cloth of gold; English and Irish and foreign cloth, worsted, linen, and the thick Irish mantle or 'falaing,' as well as iron, brass, steel, glass, lead, and timber. Irish products were on sale in England and abroad in 1207; a 'tymbre' of forty Irish marten-skins was ordained by Philippe Auguste to be furnished by merchants coming from Ireland to the port of Rouen; and both peltry and silk from Ireland paid tolls in Paris in the thirteenth century; while droguet, or drugget, is said to have taken its name from Drogheda.[22]

[20] Sir John Gilbert, Historical and Municipal Documents of Ireland (1870) charters of 1171 and 1185, at pp. 1, 2, 49.
[21] For the mention of large shipments of corn to France, see Gilbert, Facsimiles of National Manuscripts, Pt. II, No. LXXXIII; to England, Sweetman, Calendar, 1, Nos. 756, 1052, 1055, etc.; to Galloway and the Isles, ibid., No. 1040.
[22] Francisque Michel, Recherches sur le commerce des étoffes de soie (Paris, 1854), ii, 244.

Of these merchants a fair proportion came from Bristol, several of them becoming free citizens between 1225 and 1250, and holding posts of distinction such as those of Provost and Mayor of Dublin. As time went on, the old Scandinavian inhabitants were pushed out, and they settled on the north side of the Liffey in a suburb which became known as Villa Ostmannorum (later corrupted into Oxmantown),[23] similar settlements being made in Cork, Waterford, and Limerick, as the English colony increased in number in these cities. Though they are seldom named in charters, they kept a firm hold over trade, and they were associated by King John in an inquiry held in Dublin in 1215. One Richard Olaf was Keeper of the Exchange of the King of England in the reign of Edward I. In Waterford, a charter of denization was granted by Henry II, and later confirmed by Edward I, to certain old Ostman inhabitants of the town, and Ostman jurors served on inquisitions in all the old Danish cities. In Limerick, which long continued to be mainly a Danish town, twelve English and an equal number of Ostmen and Irish jurors took part in an inquisition as to the property of the See of Limerick, taken by William de Burgh in 1202. The cantred of the Ostmen in that town lay on both sides of the Shannon, and under its first charter the Provost was a Syward.

[23] Ostman, or Eastman, became a general title for the Scandinavian inhabitants about this time, and included all these nationalities.

In 1200 the King still retained in his own hands "the cantred of the Ostmen and the Holy Isle," when he granted the custody of the city to William de Braose. In these civic communities the Irish had no legal part unless they became Anglicized, though the fact that they acted as jurors in equal numbers with English and Danes in Limerick shows that they took more part in civic affairs than is generally supposed. There was constant traffic between them and the English settlers in the towns, as the list of native commodities proves; but the frequent changes of name at this time make attempts at identification impossible. Numbers of the sons of Irish chiefs were called by Norse names, Olaf, Sitric, Magnus, etc.; even Dermot MacMorrogh called his son Cnut. The Irish no doubt found it more convenient to trade with the newcomers under Norman or English names. An example of this is furnished by the deed of Anglicization of an Irish-born merchant of Dublin who called himself Robert de Bree. He only secured his charter of Anglicization in the reign of Edward I, but he held considerable properties in the city, and his descendants intermarried with leading citizens. There must have been many similar cases. The privileges of Dublin were enlarged both under Prince John and Henry III, and were extended to other towns. Traders who were not citizens might not tarry in Dublin beyond forty days, nor buy corn, wool, and hides except from citizens. They could not sell cloth by retail, nor keep wineshops except on shipboard.[24] The import of wine was very large and brought in a good revenue to the kings.

[24] Gilbert, Historical and Municipal Documents of Ireland (1870), charter of 1192, p. 51.

In pre-Norman days the principal drink seems still to have been mead or ale, though there had been a trade in French wines from the earliest times. When Kincora was burned down in 1107 it is recorded that sixty keeves, or vats, of mead and ale ('brogoid' or 'bragget') were destroyed. Later on, wine became more common, and we learn that when the army of Edward Bruce entered Dundalk in 1315 the abundance of wine found there made it difficult for him to keep his men in hand. English weights and measures were introduced into Ireland early in the thirteenth century, though the old Irish 'crannock,' or wicker basket, was still used as a measure; and strong walls and forts and good bridges were proceeded with, special aids of money being subscribed by the townsmen of Dublin and Drogheda for the purpose. The Dublin mayoralty was established in 1229. Annual fairs were permitted in all the chief cities for eight days each, and the afterward notorious Donnybrook Fair became the chief annual market for Dublin.

Merchants of Lucca seem to have been specially active in the Irish trade. They are frequently mentioned. In 1291 a petition was sent in by the company of Richardi of Lucca, praying for relief. They complained that they had been unlawfully seized by the King's Treasurer and his agents at Ross, Waterford, Limerick, Kilkenny, Youghal, and Cork, and imprisoned with confiscation of their goods. These Lucca merchants were money-lenders on a large scale.[25] But the forced prisages as loans taken from merchants became very oppressive, and in 1220 it was complained that the cities had become so impoverished by them that merchants hesitated to bring their merchandise thither. Dublin had become "odious to traders."

[25] Gilbert, Facsimiles of National Manuscripts, Pt. II, No. LXXXI.

We must return to the date of King Henry's departure for England. Neither to the Irish nor to the Norman knights left behind him was there any finality in Henry's 'conquest.' His last acts before his departure put an end to all hope of this He made a new disposition of the lands and offices of his grantees, plainly designed to weaken the power of Earl Richard and to divide the Geraldines. It was the first step in that policy of keeping the Norman colony weak and separated in order to preserve the distant influence of the Crown that was to prove in later days so frequent a source of demoralization to the settlers. Nothing, as we may well believe, could have prevented the ambitious and restless Norman barons who had reached the extreme westerly coasts of Wales from ultimately crossing to the country which on a fine day they could see distinctly from the opposite headlands. It became, therefore, the plain policy of the King either to support his vassals and bind them to the Crown by fair treatment, or to let them set up semi-independent, strong principalities of their own. But he did neither. He granted all Meath to Hugh de Lacy [26] by service of fifty knights, and made him Constable of Dublin, passing over Strongbow; the gallant Miles de Cogan he took with him to Wales, where Raymond le Gros, who had been refused Earl Richard's sister in marriage, soon followed him. His retention in his own hands of the coast towns, and of a strip of land on the Wicklow shore, was plainly designed to keep Strongbow in check and to weaken his power. On another of his nobles, the afterward famous John de Courcy, Henry, after the manner of many earlier Norman grants, bestowed Ulster "if he could conquer it." These are new names—barons who had come over with Henry and who had borne none of the struggles of the first-comers—and though de Courcy and de Lacy proved to be among the ablest of Henry's settlers and the best fitted for the work in hand, their appointments must have been received with chagrin by their predecessors.

[26] The de Lacys took their name from their property in Normandy. The first baron had fought with William the Conqueror at Hastings, and received in reward a grant of land in the Welsh Marches. Hugh was the fifth baron. The family estates included Ewyas Lacy, Stanton Lacy, and Ludlow Castle. One of the family founded Llanthony Abbey.

That the King, although he appeared to slight Strongbow, had not lost faith in him is shown by his sending for him and de Lacy shortly afterward to Normandy to aid him in his troubles with his rebellious sons. With them went many of the veteran troops that had served in Ireland to fight for the King, apparently with Irish followers, against the Earl of Leicester and the King of Scotland. Earl Richard's prompt obedience and valuable help restored him to favour, and he was shortly afterward sent back to Leinster, granted Wexford and the castle of Wicklow, and appointed to the custody of the coast towns. Strongbow returned none too soon; during his absence the country had risen in revolt against the new lords. Tiernan O'Rorke, who saw the castles of de Lacy advancing farther west and the foreigners pushing their way into his country, demanded redress. A meeting had been arranged at Tlachtgha, or the "Hill of Ward," near Athboy, in Meath, at which Tiernan attended with a large following. While the discussion was going on between him and de Lacy the latter was surrounded and would have been killed but that his bodyguard, who suspected treachery, had lingered within sight on the pretence of tilting in the French fashion, and came up to his rescue. One of them ran his spear through O'Rorke and the horse he was mounting, slaying at the same time three of his clansmen who at the risk of their lives had brought him his horse. This is the English version of the old chief's death. The Irish accounts say that he was treacherously slain by Hugh and Donal O'Rorke, members of his own family. His head was cut off and sent to the King in England, and his body was hung, feet upward, on the north side of Dublin. This was the first of those horrible exhibitions which defaced the walls and castle-gates of Dublin from century to century. With the country in revolt, and confronted with the prospect of his troops throwing down their arms and returning to Wales, Strongbow bethought him of Raymond le Gros. The troops roundly declared they would fight under no other leader. Raymond's cheerful easy temperament made him the favourite of his men. His care for his army was such that he would pass whole nights without sleep, taking the rounds himself to see that all was well in the camp, and though his stoutness brought him the nickname of "le Gros" his activity prevented this from being an encumbrance. In war he was prudent as well as fearless, and he thought more of the welfare of his men than of being their commander. They liked a general who allowed them to carry off booty and to raid at will. Hervey de Montmaurice, who had been placed in command of the forces on Raymond's withdrawal to Wales, was a very different man. He was no soldier, and his only thought in joining the expedition to Ireland had been to repair his broken fortunes. He was the rival and bitter enemy of Raymond, a cruel and ruthless man, who, when Raymond had pleaded for mercy, insisted (in the early days of the invasion) on throwing the unfortunate citizens of Waterford over the cliff.

Strongbow now sent for Raymond, promising that he would at last give him his sister if he would come over at once to his aid.

The most notable of Raymond's exploits was the capture of Limerick in October 1175. The events that led up to this expedition had occurred during the absence of Raymond in Wales; and to understand it we must revert to the condition of things in Munster. The family of the O'Briens, which had attained its greatest power during the century and a quarter between the reigns of King Brian and Murtogh Mór (d. 1119), was now represented by Donal O'Brien, who had made submission to Henry on his landing, owing perhaps to his alliance with Dermot MacMorrogh. Donal had married Dermot's daughter, resigning at the same time the city of Limerick into his hands. But no sooner was Henry back in England than the South rose in revolt, Dermot MacCarthy recapturing Cork, from which the English garrison had been withdrawn, and Donal O'Brien repossessing himself of Limerick. Hervey de Montmaurice saw in these moves an occasion to recover his waning popularity. He induced Strongbow to join him in an expedition against Munster, and called the Danes of Dublin to their aid. Rory O'Conor, hearing of the coming struggle, advanced into Ormond to the assistance of his former foe, O'Brien, who flung himself with his whole strength between the army of Strongbow and the advancing Danes from Dublin. He was completely successful in his manoeuvre. The English forces suffered their first considerable defeat at the pass of Thurles (Co. Tipperary) (1174), and left four of the leaders and a large number of men dead on the field.[27] Strongbow shut himself up in the fort of Waterford, while several of the Leinster princes, who had given in their submissions, headed by Donal Kavanagh, a natural son of Dermot MacMorrogh, declared against the English.

[27] The different authorities give accounts of this battle varying in some details.

In the North Rory was putting forth all his efforts to rouse the princes of Ulster to make common cause with the South. Raymond arrived in Ireland to find the Earl shut up in Waterford and the citizens threatening to massacre every Englishman they could lay hands on. His old troops, too, had broken out and had restored their spirits by a raid into Offaly, from which they returned with new mounts and an immense booty of food and plunder, fighting their way by sea through an attack by the ships of Cork, and sailing into Waterford Harbour with the captive vessels in tow. In the city Strongbow still held out in Reginald's Tower with the remnant of his garrison. Having relieved the Earl, and fought his way through with him to Wexford, Raymond demanded the fulfilment of the promises made to him, and messengers were dispatched in great haste to Dublin to bring Basilia, Strongbow's sister, to whom Raymond was married straightway with great festivities. In the midst of the wedding feast news was brought that Rory of Connacht had raided Meath right up to the walls of Dublin. "Forgetting wine and love," Raymond sprang to arms, but, before he could reach Meath, Rory, who had previously had experience of Raymond's furious onslaughts, prudently retired to his own country. For a time all was quiet. Raymond occupied himself in rebuilding the Meath castles which Rory had razed to the ground, while Strongbow and Hugh de Lacy set about the work of parcelling out the provinces of Leinster and Meath among their followers on a fixed feudal tenure which ignored completely the rights of the original inhabitants. Each of the new owners endeavoured to sustain himself in his possessions by building castles and forts in which he could lie entrenched against attack. At first the forts were mere erections of wood or earth, with wooden stockades, but gradually these gave way to massive and imposing buildings of stone, the remains of which are still to be seen wherever the Normans settled. Earl Richard's own castle at Kildare, Hugh Tyrrell's great fortress at Trim, Maurice FitzGerald's stronghold at Naas, of which the outlines still remain, are only examples of the solid fastnesses in which the barons entrenched themselves all over the East of Ireland. Some of the grants then made became permanent; such was that of Howth to St Laurent, which has been held by his heirs the St Lawrences as Barons or Earls of Howth in direct descent to the present day.

Donal O'Brien had celebrated his great victory at Thurles by an orgy of frightful atrocities on members of his own family, with the object of removing out of his way all possible competitors to the throne of Munster. He blinded two of his nearest relations, one of whom died soon after, and put two neighbouring princes to death. So great were his crimes that Rory O'Conor descended on Thomond and drove out O'Brien, who, in revenge, laid siege to the city of Limerick, where the garrison was ill-provided with food. Hearing of its condition, Raymond flew to the relief of the city. It was a hazardous expedition, for the town was now surrounded by a wall and dike, as well as by the strong waters of the Shannon. But Raymond had with him the intrepid Meiler FitzHenry, whom no force could daunt, and Donal MacGillapatrick, King of Ossory, whose services Raymond accepted with some mistrust, but who pledged his faith to commit no deceit or treachery against him and to conduct him safely to Limerick. When they arrived before the town they found the river so swollen by the winter rains that the ford was impassable. Two young soldiers plunged on horseback into the rushing stream, but one was carried away by the torrent, and no one seemed disposed to attempt to join the survivor on the opposite bank. Nevertheless, Meiler, spurring his horse, dashed furiously into the river. He managed to brave the flood, and crossed safely to the far shore, though attacked on all sides by the stones and darts of the Irish, which he warded off as well as he could with his helmet and shield. Raymond, seeing the danger to his friend, in great agitation called on his troops to follow him as he plunged into the river. They crossed with few losses, and drove back the enemy within the walls. They then followed them up and entered behind them, taking the town by assault, enriching themselves with a great spoil. Having placed the command of the town in the hands of his cousin, Miles de Cogan, Raymond returned into Leinster.

During his absence Raymond's crafty enemy Hervey de Montmaurice had been using his opportunity to undermine his influence with the King. He misrepresented his actions and assured Henry that Raymond was aiming not only at the dominion of Limerick, but at the sovereignty of Ireland. Raymond found himself faced with a recall to England; but, while he was preparing to obey, hurried messengers from Limerick arrived with the intelligence that the town was once more blockaded by a vast army under Donal O'Brien and that all the stores were exhausted; they implored that immediate help might be sent. Again the troops declared that except under Raymond's command they would not move, and in this strait, after consulting with the commissioners sent by the King to recall him, Raymond consented to lead the relief party, which consisted of some eighty knights and five hundred trained troops, with Irish contingents from Ossory and Wexford. On their way they learned that O'Brien had raised the siege and was awaiting them behind a strongly fortified and entrenched rampart at the pass of Cashel. On this spot the Prince of Ossory, whose kinsman O'Brien had murdered, made an ominous speech to the small body of Norman troops whom he was accompanying: "Brave soldiers," he proclaimed, "and conquerors of this island,...look well to yourselves, for if we find your ranks give way, which God forbid, it may chance that, in conjunction with the enemy, our Irish battleaxes may be turned against you. It is our custom to side with the winning party and to fall on those who run away. Trust to us, therefore, but only while you are conquerors." Spurred to action, as was intended by this threat, Meiler, who led the van, rushed like a whirlwind upon the enemy, cutting them down right and left, and forcing his way through with great slaughter. They entered Limerick, restored order, and held a lengthy conference with O'Brien and Rory O'Conor outside the city near Killaloe, in which these princes renewed their fealty to the English King and gave hostages for their obedience. Raymond also received a fresh submission from MacCarthy of Desmond in return for his help in replacing him on his throne, from which his own son had ejected him. Raymond accepted for his service to this prince a valuable grant of land in Kerry, which has ever since remained in the hands of a branch of the FitzGerald family, who hold the title of Knights of Kerry.

While Raymond was so occupied a secret letter from his wife, Basilia, was put into his hand. It ran thus: "Be it known to your sincere love that the great jaw-tooth which of late gave me so much trouble has just dropped out. Wherefore, if thou hast any regard for thyself or me, delay not thy return." He recognized in the cryptic message an intimation that her brother, Earl Richard, who had never approved of her marriage to Raymond le Gros, was dead. He had been very sick when Raymond left Dublin. Raymond hastened his return, and all arrangements for the burial of the Earl in the new Cathedral of the Holy Trinity were made before the news became generally known, and Richard de Clare was laid to rest under a stately tomb by Archbishop Laurence O'Toole in June 1176. So long as Strongbow lived and was present on his lands quiet seems to have prevailed. He was rather a statesman than a soldier of fortune, and his marriage with an Irish wife shows that he had definitely thrown in his lot with Ireland. His natural successor was Raymond le Gros, but the King's jealousy of the brilliant services he had performed, and the favour with which he was regarded, again stood in the way of his advancement. His recall was not waived, and he was allowed to leave Ireland, after the resignation of his offices. A noble, closely attached to the King's interests and allied to him by blood, William FitzAudelin, was sent over in his place, thus once more proving Henry's purpose to strengthen the authority of the Crown at the expense of that of his barons.

Meanwhile in Limerick things had not gone well. On his departure Raymond had committed the government of the town into the hands of O'Brien, as a baron of the King who had just renewed his oath of fealty and given his solemn promise to keep the peace. But hardly had Raymond evacuated the town than O'Brien cut down the bridge over the Shannon behind the departing troops, and, looking back, Raymond saw the city flaming in every quarter, the fierce descendant of Brian Boromhe having declared that Limerick should no longer be "a nest for foreigners." When the news of the taking of Limerick was reported to King Henry he shrewdly said: "The attack on Limerick was a bold adventure; greater still its relief; but only in its evacuation was there wisdom."

The man whom Henry sent over to replace Raymond was of very different character. FitzAudelin [28] is said by Gerald of Wales to have been a smooth and courtier-like man, but crafty as a snake in the grass. Whom he honoured one day he calumniated the next; a man who never, in the course of his tours of inspection, neglected his own interests, or failed to collect all the gold he could lay hands upon. Gerald displays a natural anger against a man who came over with the fixed intention of ruining the family of the Geraldines, but his prejudices are shown to have been well merited by all FitzAudelin's acts. One of the first incidents recorded of him on his arrival at Wexford, where Raymond le Gros awaited his coming in order to hand over the Sword of State, shows him in his true character. Seeing Raymond and Meiler on horseback surrounded by their followers all in polished armour and with the same Geraldine device upon their shields, he whispered to his friends, "I will bring all this bravery to a speedy end; those shields shall soon be scattered." Raymond, however, with apparent cordiality, offered him his congratulations, embracing him in a friendly manner and placing his official positions in his hands, retaining only his own personal baronies and those of Fotherd and Odrone in Carlow, which came to him with his wife. This is the last we hear of the most brilliant of the adventurers. With FitzAudelin came a group of twenty knights, and John de Courcy, Robert FitzStephen, and Miles de Cogan were ordered to attend him, each with a train of ten knights. About the same time Hugh de Lacy, who had long been sharing the King's wars in France, seems to have returned to Ireland, and his grant of Meath was confirmed to him with additions in Offaly, Kildare, and Wicklow. Hugh de Lacy was a great castle-builder, and his memory is chiefly preserved on account of the numerous moats, or forts, built by him to secure Meath and Leinster to the Norman lords.

[28] Wilham FitzAudelin and William de Burgh, who founded the family of the de Burghs, or Burgos, are often confused. They do not seem to have been Jdentical, though of the same family, FitzAudelin's ancestor, Arlotta, mother of the Conqueror, having married a de Burgh. Later the de Burghs became known as Burkes.

Castles were erected by him at Clonard, Kells, Kildare, and probably Drogheda; while Castleknock near Dublin, Granard on the borders of Breifne (Co. Longford) and other moats were the work of his feudatories. Among the later grantees he was the wisest ruler, a man of firm and steadfast character, very attentive both to his private affairs and to the administration of his province. He was not attractive in appearance, being short and ill-proportioned, with a swarthy complexion and black, sunken eyes; nor was he a successful commander. In private life he is said to have been avaricious and of lax morals. But, unlike the other Norman lords, he recalled the peasants who had been violently driven out, reinstated them on their lands, and ruled them with a firm and gentle hand. The unoccupied districts became cultivated and stocked with herds of cattle.

Quiet and order reigned in his territories, and he won the hearts of the Irish people and drew around him their native leaders, as none other of the newcomers had done. Like Strongbow, he showed his intention of throwing in his lot with his adopted country by marrying in 1180 an Irish wife, Rose, daughter of King Rory O'Conor of Connacht. He had previously been married to another Rose "of Monmouth" {Roysya de Monemue), by whom he had two sons, Walter and Hugh, who succeeded him in the Lordship of Meath. As the marriage of Strongbow to Eva had aroused the anger and suspicions of Henry, so that of de Lacy to Rose O'Conor, which had been carried through without asking his licence, moved him to jealousy.[29] Again a whisper went about that Hugh intended to make himself King of Ireland, and the strong fortresses that he was building all over his territories gave strength to the rumour. He had been appointed Constable or Governor, of Dublin in 1178, but in the midst of his work of settlement he was twice recalled, being finally superseded in 1184, when the King sent his son, Prince John, to Ireland But he remained in the country, continuing the erection of castles at every point of vantage, until an abrupt end was put to his career. He was out inspecting a new castle that he was building at Durrow, near the borders of Westmeath, beside or on the site of one of St Columcille's most famous monasteries when a youth whom he was superintending suddenly, as he stooped to show him how to work, struck off his head with one blow of his axe, having been instructed to perform the act by his foster-father, the chief of the O'Caharnys of Teffia. The desecration of so sacred a spot may have also inflamed the mind of the young peasant. Thus fell one of the best of the invaders, and we learn that Henry, on hearing the news, "rejoiced thereat." [30] The result of Hugh's efforts was that by 1186 "Meath from the Shannon to the sea was full of castles of foreigners." and Grace's Annals add that "the subjugation of Ireland went no further."

[29] The marriage is said to have been "according to that country's custom" (secundum morem patriae illius). Rose's eldest son, William Gorm, married a daughter of Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, and was killed in 1233 fighting with Cathal O'Reilly. The Lynches of Galway and Pierce Oge Lacy, the famous rebel of Elizabeth's day, were descended from him. Her other sons seem to have adopted the name of le Blund. Rose was still alive in 1224.
[30] Chronicle of William of Newburgh, ed. Thomas Hearne, 1, 285; Annals of Loch Ce, and Grace, Annales Hiberniae, 1186.

Among other sweeping grants made by Henry quite irrespective of the claims of the ruling princes were those of "the kingdom of Cork from Cape St Brandon [in Kerry] to the river Blackwater [in Waterford]," for the service of sixty knights, to Robert FitzStephen and Miles de Cogan, except the city of Cork, which the King retained in his own hands; and the equally extensive grant of the kingdom of Limerick, again excepting the city, to Herbert FitzHerbert and others. These grants did not take immediate effect, as the grantees declared that the country had not been conquered and was not subject to the King. They slowly set about taking possession of portions of these territories, but the fickleness of the King, who from time to time apportioned the same lands to different barons whom for the moment he wished to honour, made the settlement of the South impossible. The city of Limerick, especially, was kept in perpetual turmoil by the family of de Braose, to whom it was afterward (1203) granted for a large annual payment, which was seldom forthcoming; the squalid story of his wrangles with the authorities ended in miserable tragedy.[31] Miles de Cogan and Ralph FitzStephen retained some properties in Cork and Limerick, and endeavoured to extend them by speculative grants to their followers; but they fell victims to a treacherous assault upon their party by MacTire, chief of Imokilly, at a parley held near Lismore in 1182. The Barrys, de Prendergasts, and de Carews took land about this time, and the Geraldines, of whom Maurice FitzGerald was the head, were destined to become the great and unhappy line of the Earls of Desmond. Many of the massive castles which were to be scenes of sieges during the wars of Elizabeth's reign date from the end of the twelfth and the thirteenth century, such as Askeaton, Shanid, and Croom, Adare and Grene (or Pallas Green). Eventually all belonged to the Desmond family.

[31] Sweetman, op. cit., 1, Nos. 146, 235, 271, etc.

In the North also matters were stirring. John de Courcy had returned to Ireland among the advisers of FitzAudelin. This man, whose great stature, strong and muscular limbs, and love of fighting, marked him out as a born warrior, became from his exploits the centre of the most extravagant legends, so that it is now difficult to disentangle truth from fiction. Men told how, in later days, after he had been captured by Hugh de Lacy the Younger in 1202, King John sent for him from the Tower of London, where he had been long immured, and brought him over to France to fight on his behalf against a chosen champion of the King of France, whom no one dared approach. But the champion, on seeing the immense frame and grim aspect of the man opposed to him, was seized with terror and took to flight. De Courcy, in order to let off his ire, is said to have set up a helmet and coat of mail on a wooden block, and to have struck his sword clean through it, the weapon sinking so deep into the wood that no one could withdraw it. When asked by the princes why he had looked so terrible before he struck the blow, he replied "By St Patrick of Down in Ireland, if I had missed my purpose in striking this stroke, I would have slain both of you kings and as many as I could more, for the old sores I have felt at your hands." [32] Such a man was the conqueror of Ulster. The "stalwart doings" or gestes of this mighty warrior are related at length in the Book of Howth, and the narrative of the affection between him and the lord of Howth, Sir Amory St Laurent, and of their deeds together reads like one of the romances of the Round Table.[33] He was so eager for a fight that when he was in command he was apt to forget his duties as a leader, and to charge forward impetuously at the head of his troops; but in private life he was sober and modest, "giving God the glory of his victories."

[32] Book of Howth, in Carew, Miscellany, p. 114.
[33] Ibid., pp. 80-94.

It was natural that two men so unlike as FitzAudelin and de Courcy should not agree well together. The guile and smooth speech of the Governor, at once a bully and a coward, revolted the blunt soldier, and he determined to carve out an independent career for himself. Recalling Henry's former grant to him of Ulster "if he could take it," he gathered around him a little band of twenty-two men-at-arms and three hundred common soldiers, who were complaining in the garrison of Dublin of want of pay and provisions, and boldly set out on his raid upon Ulster. The attempt to force his way into a country which had hitherto resisted all efforts of the English to set foot in it, and which had maintained an independent position even in the native wars, seemed like an act of knight-errantry, but in spite of its hardihood it was destined to succeed. Men recalled the old saying: "A white knight sitting on a white horse and having birds on his shield shall be the first to enter Ulster by force of arms." John fulfilled the prophecy in every detail. Fair, and riding a white steed, he bore on his shield the device of three griphs or geires gules, crowned or. The resemblance was possibly not wholly accidental; de Courcy may have heard the tradition.[34] On the morning of his fourth day's march he entered the city of Down without opposition, the King, Roderick MacDonlevy, who was taken completely by surprise, having made a hasty flight before him.

[34] De Courcy is said to have kept a book of the prophecies of St Columcille constantly by him.

Down was an important ecclesiastical centre, the burial-place, as was commonly supposed, not only of St Patrick, but of St Brigit and St Columcille. It was the capital of Eastern Ulster, and quite independent of the princedoms of Tyrone and Tyrconnel. Its cathedral stood on a height, and below lay the marshlands of the river Quoile, west of Strangford Lough. At the moment of de Courcy's raid the Papal legate, Vivianus, had arrived in the city from Scotland and the Isle of Man. He attempted mediation between the combatants, but, all efforts failing, he advised the Irish to fight for their native land and heartened them with his blessing and prayers. Thus encouraged, the King of East Ulster sent to all parts to assemble forces. Within eight days ten thousand warlike men gathered round him, the men of the North being, as Gerald says, more truculent than those of the South. Distrusting the weak fort which was all the defence the city offered, de Courcy descended to the swampy marshes near the seashore. The battle must have been fought almost on the same spot as that on which King Magnus Barelegs fell seventy-four years before. A terrific struggle ensued. John was seen on every part of the field with flourished sword, "with one stroke lopping off heads, with another arms." As with the Norse in the earlier battle of Down, the vast multitudes of the Irish troops found it difficult to manoeuvre in the narrow dykes between the bogs, and great numbers fell as they tried to make their escape along the shore; they sank in the quicksands as their pursuers pressed them forward through water dyed with blood. Report said that this also had been foretold. A superstitious dread accompanied every action of de Courcy's little force, no doubt tending to ensure its victory. The battle was fought in 1177, and the Normans were completely victorious. In another battle contested shortly afterward on the same spot, in which the O'Neills joined the Irish forces, accompanied by the Primate of Armagh and many clergy with their sacred relics, the same result followed, even the precious Book of Armagh falling into de Courcy's hands. The book was restored, but the relics were captured and many of the clergy slain. De Courcy showed his interest in the Irish traditions of Down, which became his capital, by inviting Jocelyn, a monk of Furness Abbey in Lancashire, to write a life of St Patrick. This work is still extant. Gradually, in spite of some checks, de Courcy pushed forward his conquests, till nearly all Eastern Ulster was in his hands. His territory included Down and Antrim, which he ruled like an independent prince, free from the interference of king or viceroy. He strengthened his position by his marriage with Affreca, daughter of Godred, King of Man; and when in 1204 he was driven out by Hugh de Lacy the Younger the King of Man came to his assistance. He coined his own money, extended his moat-castles over the country, and made munificent benefactions to the churches and abbeys which he founded For twenty years Uladh seems to have been at peace under his strong rule.

But though de Courcy succeeded in establishing himself in Eastern Ulster he was by no means uniformly fortunate in the field. His worst defeats were in his wars in Connacht, and to understand them we must take up the history of that province from the date of King Rory's submission to Henry at the Council of Windsor in 1175. Having sent his son to England as hostage for his fidelity and wedded his daughter Rose to Hugh de Lacy, Rory might well have expected quiet in his old age. But revolts in his own family put an end to all hope of this. Already, in 1177, his son Murtogh had led an army into Connacht with the help of Miles de Cogan and the English, but they had been driven out with the loss of their men. Now his eldest son, Conor Moinmoy, headed a rebellion against him and succeeded in driving him into Munster. This may have been the determining cause of Rory's retirement from the throne into the monastery of Cong, where, except for a short interval when he attempted to regain his kingdom, he remained till his death in 1198. His retirement was the signal for a general war among his sons and grandsons on the one side and his brother, Cathal Crovdearg "of the Red Hand" on the other. Each party was supported by one of the rival Norman barons, who hoped to reap advantages for himself. Cathal of the Red Hand was aided by John de Courcy, and the opposite party, of whom another Cathal, grandson of Rory, was the head, by William de Burgh of Limerick with the O'Briens of Munster. The war between these cousins went on for years, William de Burgh changing sides with surprising facility. Twice Cathal of the Red Hand was banished from the province, but on the death of Cathal Carragh in 1201 he assumed the kingship. At this juncture we find William de Burgh fighting on his side. The story of Cathal Crovdearg is so characteristic of the times that it will be well to tell it more at length.[35]

[35] A full account of the Norman Settlements will be found in Mr. Goddard H. Orpen's Ireland under the Normans, 1169-1233 (1911-20).



Cathal Crovdearg was younger brother of Rory, and son of Turlogh Mór O'Conor, the powerful prince whose successful wars against Ulster and Munster had prepared the way for the supremacy of his son. Turlogh built the first three stone castles of Irish Ireland and the first stone bridges over the Shannon and the Suck. He will ever be remembered as the founder of the cathedral of Tuam with its splendid chancel-arch and the unique cross, thirty feet high, which stands beside it. At Clonmacnois, where he is buried, the great belfry was built under his auspices. But more interesting still is the cross of Cong—a magnificent specimen of Irish filigree metal work, inlaid with precious stones. In its centre a polished crystal contained a relic of the wood of the true Cross sent to the King from Rome in 1125, and round it runs the inscription, "A prayer for Turlogh O'Conor, King of Ireland, for whom this shrine was made." He was justly proud of the exquisite workmanship and purpose of this cross, ordering it to be carried in procession throughout Ireland and honoured with the greatest devotion. His reign and that of his sons formed the climax of Connacht's pre-eminence He erected a mint at Clonmacnois for the coinage of silver money, and the arts of peace as well as of war flourished under his rule. The artists who designed and the men who ordered such delicate works of art as the cross of Cong, the Ardagh chalice, or the shrine of St Manchan, all produced by this school, must have been possessed of taste and culture. There had been, from early times in Ireland, families or castes of metal-workers, devoted to their craft, and these may still have existed; but it may have been a daughter of Rory O'Conor who designed the lovely adornments of the chalice of Ardagh, "the silver chalice with a burnishing of gold upon it," which we still admire to-day. She died in 1247 at Clonmacnois. In 1129 a great misfortune occurred. A Dane entered the church of Clonmacnois and stole from the high altar the precious vessels with which it was adorned. These included three gifts bestowed upon the church by King Turlogh: a silver cup with a gold cross over it, a drinking-horn with gold, and a silver chalice, besides a model of Solomon's Temple among other valuables. The thief was taken and executed a year later, and the treasures were restored. [1]

[1] Annals of the Four Masters, 1129.

The story of Cathal of the Red Hand is a romantic one. Tradition says that he was the illegitimate son of Turlogh, whose wife pursued him with such hatred that his mother was obliged to flee with him into Leinster. She also, with a magical charm, turned his hand wine-red. When he grew up he took service with a farmer, always keeping his right hand covered. He was one day reaping rye in a field when a herald passed by, proclaiming that the King of Connacht was dead, and that the people would elect no other successor save Cathal, if he could be found. He would be known, it was said, by his right hand, which was red like wine. For some minutes Cathal Crovdearg stood on the ridge in silent thought. Then, pulling off his glove, he exhibited his hand to the herald, who, recognizing him by his likeness to his father, fell at his feet. Flinging away his sickle on the ridge, the youth exclaimed, "Farewell, sickle; now for the sword." "Cathal's farewell to the rye" is a proverb meaning a farewell never to return.[2]

[2] Annals of the Four Masters, 1224, and note. The story is not alluded to by the O'Conor Don in his history of his family, or by Dr O'Conor. But it follows an old tradition.

According to more historical sources Cathal was the son of Turlogh's second wife, Dervorgil, daughter of O'Lochlan of Ulster, later monarch of Ireland, and thus stepbrother to Rory, Turlogh's successor. Cathal's life was spent in struggles with the members of his own family to maintain himself on the throne. Rory, on his retirement to the monastery of Cong in 1183, had resigned the sovereignty to his son Conor Moinmoy, thus carrying out the English principle of primogeniture. But on his "return from his pilgrimage" in 1185 his son refused to resign the throne, and a general war broke out between the different members of the family, no less than five of whom aspired to the kingship. These were, besides Rory himself, his two sons Conor Moinmoy and Conor O'Dermot; Cathal Carragh, son of Conor Moinmoy; and Cathal Crovdearg, Rory's brother. The inherent weakness of the Irish rule of succession, by which a group of relatives could all claim the kingship, could not be better illustrated. The murder of Conor Moinmoy by his own people in 1189 and the death of Rory in 1198 removed two of the competitors and left the two Cathals face to face to fight out their contest for the throne. A fierce and prolonged struggle ensued, in which the local chiefs, especially Crovdearg's mortal foes the O'Flahertys of West Connacht, took part. It seemed as though the contest would terminate in favour of Cathal Carragh, who was supported by two of the O'Briens and the fierce and ruthless Norman baron William de Burgh, whose combined armies pillaged the province, stripping the priests in the churches, carrying off the women, and plundering the country without pity.[3] Crovdearg, on his side, appealed for help to the O'Neills of Ulster and to John de Courcy. The O'Neills refused to be drawn into the warfare, and Hugh de Lacy the Younger took their place, only to share in a severe defeat at Kilmacduagh, and to escape ignominiously with his allies across Lough Ree back into his own district of Meath. This was in 1202. Finding Cathal and de Courcy both in his power, de Lacy, who was aiming at the downfall of de Courcy, took advantage of his opportunity, arrested both the fugitives, and sent John de Courcy to Dublin, where he was forced to give pledges for obedience to the Government, of which he had hitherto been practically independent.

[3] Annals of Loch Cé, 1200, 1202.

On his release Cathal Crovdearg seems to have thrown himself into the hands of his old enemies, William de Burgh and the O'Briens, who marched with him into Connacht, devastating as they went. Cathal Carragh himself was accidentally killed while watching a fight between his own army and that of his former supporter, de Burgh. But a fearful vengeance fell on de Burgh and his people for their destruction of the province. A rumour was circulated that he had been killed, and one night every man in the province who had any of de Burgh's soldiery quartered in his household rose and murdered his guests, nine hundred in all, so that he returned with a remnant only into Munster. To chastise de Burgh, Meiler FitzHenry, who had become Justiciar of Ireland in 1200, came into Munster with Walter de Lacy; they marched to Limerick and banished de Burgh, handing over the custody of Limerick to William de Braose. William de Burgh was called over to England to answer for complaints made against him by FitzHenry, but he eventually returned to Munster with his castles of Askeaton and Kilfeakle restored to him, though the King retained Connacht in his own hands. William's stormy career came to an end in 1205 or 1206. He had established himself in Munster and is said to have married a daughter of Donal O'Brien to strengthen his connexion there; and he had vigorously exerted himself to make good a vague grant in Connacht made to him by Prince John, first by his war-alliance with Cathal Carragh and, when he died and the cause of Cathal Crovdearg was taken up by the English Government, by going over to the winning side. His actual possessions seem to have been limited to the castle of Meelick, which he had built in Co. Galway, using for the core of his structure the largest church in the place. He made an attempt also to fortify the monastery of Boyle (Ath-da-Larag) and to use it for a barracks, but was interrupted in the course of this work. In later days it frequently became a centre of war and one of the stormiest districts in the whole province. No sense of having desecrated sacred sites seems to have troubled de Burgh in carrying out these schemes. William was the founder of the family of the de Burghs or Burkes, future Earls of Ulster, and of the Burkes of Munster and Connacht, the latter province being regranted to his son Richard in 1222-23.

We must now return to the later history of Cathal Crovdearg and his immediate successors. It was probably at the synod held at Athlone in 1202 under the presidency of the Cardinal John, and soon after the death of his rival, Cathal Carragh, that the claims of Cathal to Connacht were formally ratified. Either then or earlier he had received the regular inauguration of his people, which was still carried out with all the old solemn ceremonial up to the reign of his grandson, Felim, whose chief chronicler, O'Mulconry, has left an interesting account of the ritual at which, in 1315, he acted as the principal official. Twelve bishops and twelve of the greater chieftains must always be present at the ceremony, with representatives of the minor septs. It took place at the huge cairn called Carnfree (Carn Fraoich) on the plains of Rathcrogan, in Co. Roscommon.[4] Only a prince chosen by the suffrages of his people was eligible for this popular election. The Irish steadfastly held to the old habit of selection between candidates who, being born within the limits prescribed by Irish law, were all equally eligible for election to the sovereignty. They knew nothing up to Rory's time of the English system of primogeniture.

[4] Transactions of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society (1852-53), ii, 341-347; Hardiman's edition of O'Flaherty's Iar Connacht (1846), pp. 139-140.

In the long disputes with the turbulent Hugh de Lacy the Younger, Cathal ranged himself on the side of the English King against their common enemy, as he held de Lacy to be. But Prince John's grant to Hugh de Lacy of six cantreds of Connacht on the borders nearest Meath was destined to prove a thorn in the side of Cathal. With his elder brother Walter, Hugh had inherited the rich grant of Meath made to their father, but, not satisfied with this, he aspired also to the rule of Eastern Ulster as well as to the lands in Connacht. In Ulster he spared no effort to dispossess John de Courcy by war and treachery.[5] That brave knight had fallen out of favour, it is said because he took no care to conceal his horror of King John's dastardly murder of his young nephew, Arthur, in Brittany. The King, therefore, was ready to further de Lacy's schemes to bring him to ruin. The brothers de Lacy pursued him into Ulster and two years later, in 1203, they defeated him at the battle of Down, taking him prisoner either in that or the following year. It is said that Hugh's soldiers were so afraid of the great warrior that they dared not attack him in his armour; therefore they fell on him on the Good Friday following the battle, when, unarmed and barefooted, he was making his devotions at the church of St Patrick in Down. With the help of some of his own men, who had been bribed by de Lacy, he was captured after a fight in which he defended himself with a cross-pole until it broke in his hand having killed thirteen of those who attacked him. But when the traitors appeared before de Lacy to claim their reward he had them hanged and their goods plundered. Hugh, however, had achieved his will. On May 2, 1205, he went over to England and in the same month he received a grant of all the lands held by de Courcy in Ulster, with the title of Earl of Ulster, the first Anglo-Norman dignity of which there is a record extant. The later career of de Courcy is something of a mystery.

[5] Hoveden, Annals ed. William Stubbs (1871), iv, 176.

The common story of his imprisonment in the Tower of London, and of his release in order to fight the French champion, may or may not be true. The Annals of Loch Ce (1204) speak of his having been released after being 'crossed' for the Crusades, but it is unlikely that he ever went to Palestine. The Chronicle of Man says that he sought help from his wife's relations in the Isle of Man, and that he returned with a large army and a hundred ships, which sailed up Strangford Lough, but they were surprised by Walter de Lacy and put entirely to rout. John de Courcy must have lived for some years longer, for there are licences extant permitting him to come to his friends in England in 1207. When King John came to Ireland in 1210 to drive out de Lacy, whose tyrannies had made his rule insufferable, de Courcy appears to have accompanied him and to have had the satisfaction of seeing his old enemy fleeing before him to Carrickfergus.[6] Thence de Lacy went to France, where he and his brother took refuge in a monastery at St Taurins in Normandy, working as lay brethren until their identity was eventually discovered by the Abbot. They were partially restored to favour through his intercession,[7] only to work still more havoc in Ireland in later life. On Hugh de Lacy's death in 1243 the lands of Ulster definitely reverted to the Crown, and were only regranted in 1264, twenty-one years later, to Walter de Burgh, having in the meantime been given as part of his appanage to Prince Edward, afterward Edward I, on his marriage with Eleanor of Castile.

[6] Sweetman, i, Nos. 358 (1207), 409 (1210); and cf. Nos. 482 (1213), 833 (1218).
[7] Grace, Annales Hiberniae, 1210.

It is evident that Cathal Crovdearg had sufficient grounds for believing that the turbulent de Lacy had by the year 1223 become as much the King's enemy as his own. Cathal's letters are of extreme interest as indicating the terms on which he stood as the ally of Henry III in Ireland. He complains that "Hugh de Lacy, enemy of the King, of the King's father, and of Cathal, whom King John by Cathal's advice expelled from Ireland, has without consulting the King, come to that country to disturb it. Against Hugh's coming, Cathal remains, as the Archbishop of Dublin [i.e., Henri, the then Justiciar] knows, firm in his fidelity to the King. But the closer Cathal adheres to the King's service the more he is harassed by those who pretend fealty to the King, but, as the Justiciar knows, shamefully fail against the enemy, so that, between Hugh de Lacy on the one hand and those who feign to be faithful on the other, Cathal is placed in extreme difficulty. Wherefore, unless it is better that the peace of Ireland should be subverted by this disturber and by default of some of the King's subjects, Cathal prays the King to send a force thither to restrain Hugh's insolence." [8] It seems likely from the tone of this letter that it was written just after the retirement of the allied troops from Ulster, and that Cathal had cause to suspect the sincerity of some of the combatants His second letter was probably written in 1224. It is addressed to his "very dear Lord, Henry King of England, Lord of Ireland, etc., to whom Cathal O'Conor, King of Connacht, sends greeting." O'Conor believes that Henry has heard, through the faithful counsellors of himself and his father, King John, that he had never failed in his fidelity; nor will he ever swerve therefrom. He possesses a charter of the land of Connacht from King John to himself and to his heirs and to his son and heir, Aedh; and for the latter he now solicits a similar charter from Henry. This would render his son and people more zealous for the King's interest, and he urges his request, that the lands of Ubriun, Conmacni, and Calad, in Connacht, held by his enemy, William de Lacy, brother of King Henry's enemy, should be given to his own son, who is ready to do homage for them; O'Conor prays an answer by the bearers of the present letter, in whom confidence may be placed.[9]

[8] Sweetman, 1, Nos. 1174, 1184; original in W. W. Shirley, Royal Letters (1862), 1. 183.

Cathal Crovdearg, after the death of his competitors, seems to have been in the favoured position of an elected King of Connacht who was also approved and supported by the English Government. On several occasions he addressed himself directly to the throne instead of to the deputy. In a mandate from Henry III appointing Archbishop Henri de Londres Justiciar in 1221, in the place of Geoffrey de Marisco, who was accused of using the revenues of the country for his own advantage, "Kathel of Connacht" is addressed first of the Irish kings; following him come "King of Kenelon [Aedh O'Neill, King of the Cinel Owen], Dunekan and Muriadac O'Bren [O'Brien], Dermot Macarthi [MacCarthy], Loueth MacDonahod [MacDonoghue], and the Norman barons." [10] Protections for Cathal "and for his chattels, lands, and possessions," were issued in 1219 and 1224, and a letter written by the Justiciar to the King speaks of Cathal and his son as "the King's faithful subjects, who have loyally assisted the Archbishop and obeyed the King's mandates." [11] There is no doubt, from the frequent friendly correspondence between Cathal and his immediate successors and the English kings, that they endeavoured faithfully to carry out the terms of compact made between Henry II and Cathal's brother Rory. Cathal made a personal submission to John at Ardbracken in Meath on that king's second visit to Ireland in 1210, and accompanied him on his tour as far as Carrickfergus, though he refused, on the advice of his wife, to entrust his son Aedh into the King's hands.

[9] This letter is given in Appendix II, and in Gilbert, Facsimiles, ii, No. LXXI.
[10] Sweetman, i, No. 1001.
[11] Ibid., 1, Nos. 530, 928, 1164, 1183; W W. Shirley, op. cit., p. 178.

The exact position of the King of England toward Cathal is not very clear. In 1204 we find the then Justiciar, Meiler FitzHenry, reporting that Cathal had quit-claimed to the King two-thirds of his province, retaining the other third by right of inheritance at a yearly rent of a hundred marks; for the two-thirds he was to pay three hundred marks, the King of England, however, claiming as his own portion "the best towns and harbours; those fittest for the King's interest and for fortifying castles." Cathal was to give hostages for his faithful service, and for the forwarding of the King's interests to the best of his judgment; he was to strengthen castles, found towns, and assess rents in those parts. To these immense claims Cathal seems to have agreed, raising his tribute first to four hundred marks for the whole province, and in 1215, when the charter was actually received by him, to five thousand marks, to be paid in two portions annually. This great advance in the payments given must have been the result of the consultations between the two kings during John's second visit to Ireland.[12] Cathal never seems to have grudged tribute; and when in 1224 his son Aedh appealed to the English, who were holding a court at Athlone, for aid against Turlogh O'Conor, his cousin, who had been elected by the popular vote and installed as King at Carnfree instead of himself, they willingly assisted him; for "every one of them was a friend of his, for his father's sake and his own; for he and his father before him were very liberal of stipends." [13] These large claims made and admitted over Connacht, whether enforced or not, practically transformed the kings of that province into feudal barons. They now held their lands as grants of the English monarchs and not by the old prescription and right. The King's gift, in 1214, of "scarlet robes, to be given to the kings of Ireland and other faithful subjects of the King" emphasized this new position; the recipients were regarded as the King's lieges.

[12] Sweetman, i, Nos. 222, 279, 654, 656. An equal tribute was demanded of William de Braose for the custody of the city of Limerick.
[13] Annals of Loch Cé, 1225.

This bestowal of robes of office had special reference to Cathal, for it followed immediately on the protection accorded to him and his men in that year, which led up to the final confirmation of his grant. This change of position must be clearly realized, for all that followed depends upon it. By the English sovereign the Irish princes, up till now independent rulers, came to be regarded as feudatories, ruling still as kings within their own domains, but holding their lands at the will of the English monarch, paying tribute to him, and being removable at his pleasure if they proved recalcitrant or failed to pay their dues. This claim was one that could easily be used for purposes of aggression when the occasion arose. In the case of the O'Conors the memory that they had once been independent kings seems to have quickly faded from the minds of the English monarchs, for we find Edward I, in an order to Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, in 1305, speaking of King Felim of Connacht, son of Cathal Crovdearg, as "a certain Irishman named Felim O'Conor, who called himself King of Connacht." In the meantime things might have gone on quietly, Cathal and his successors paying tribute and receiving protection and support in return, but for the old vague grants made to the de Burghs before John became king. William de Burgh had never been able to enforce what he conceived to be his rights in spite of the support he had given to the two Cathals in turn, but the claim was to be revived by his son, Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, in the reign of Cathal's son Hugh (Aedh). During Cathal's lifetime the King's claims proved abortive; Cathal continued to be styled "King of Connacht" and to exercise full authority. His appeal to the English King in the last year of his life for protection on behalf of his son, whom, adopting the English custom, he indicated as his successor, shows that the relationship between the two powers was friendly, and that Cathal had no intention of rupturing the new connexion. But, feeling death approaching and weighed down by the cares of a stormy life, he decided in 1224 to retire to the abbey of Grey Friars at Knockmoy, which he had himself founded in 1189. He and his favourite poet, Morrogh O'Daly, called Muredach Albanach, or "Murray the Scot," from his connexion with Scotland, entered the monastery on the same day, and there has been preserved a curious poem supposed to have been composed by them while their hair was being tonsured. This poet was the turbulent bard who was driven out of Ulster for killing a steward of the O'Donnells who was attempting to extract a rent from him. He was forced to take refuge in Scotland, where he wrote some beautiful religious poems, which seem singularly out of keeping with his irascible temper. He must have travelled, for a poem written from shipboard in the Levant to Cathal exclaims that it would be "the joys of heaven to find himself off the Scottish coast or breathe the breath, of Ireland."

This O'Daly, called "bard of Erin and Alba," was the first of the race of the Scottish MacVurrichs, bards of the MacDonalds of Clanranald.[14] Cathal must have been a favourite with the poets, for many poems are addressed to him. The Irish Annals, also, break out into lamentations of unusual sincerity on the death of Cathal of the Red Hand. Among his other virtues, one that seems to have struck the writers of his day as particularly surprising was that he was content with one married wife and that after her death he remained single.[15] It may well have been an example of extraordinary virtue in his family. Turlogh had three wives and at least twenty legitimate and illegitimate children, and it is said that the Pope offered to allow King Rory O'Conor six wives if he would be satisfied with that number. Rory refused the offer, and the annalists ascribe to this the extinction of the monarchy of Ireland in his line, as a punishment for his sins.[16] No doubt Cathal's death in the Grey Habit, his institution of tithes, and the splendid abbeys built by him in his native province partly serve to account for the warmth of the monastic chroniclers' praises. Even so, the panegyric pronounced upon him by Torna O'Mulconry, his own and his son's official bard, is so startling, as a symbol of the standards of virtue in the thirteenth century, that we quote a few words from it: "Cathal Crovdearg, son of Turlogh Mór O'Conor, King of Connacht, died. He was a man calculated to strike fear and dread more than any other Irishman of his day; he was a man who burned the greatest number of homesteads, and took the greatest number of preys from both the English and Irish who opposed him; he was the most valorous and undaunted man in opposing his enemies that ever lived. It was he who blinded, killed, and subdued the greatest number of rebels and enemies...He was the most gentle and peaceable of all the kings that ever reigned in Ireland." [17]

[14] For his poems see Book of the Dean of Lismore; S. H. O'Grady, Catalogue of Manuscripts in the British Museum, pp. 333-338; Hull, Poem-book of the Gael, pp. 156, 157, 159.
[15] His wife was More, daughter of Donal O'Brien; she died in 1218
[16] Annals of Loch Cé, 1233.
[17] Transactions of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society (1852-53), ii, 337-339.

Cathal was succeeded, in turn, by his two sons Aedh (1224-28) and Felim (1228-65), but their reigns were a long contest for the throne with their cousins, the sons of Rory, of the elder line. Cathal had endeavoured to provide against this by getting Aedh recognized as his successor before his death, and it augured well for the introduction of the hereditary form of succession that it was remarked that "no crime was committed on account of his accession, save one act of plunder and one woman violated." [18] But though the English upheld the claims of Aedh, the eldest son, the people supported the sons of Rory and inaugurated one of them, Turlogh, on the cairn of Carnfree, with the help of Hugh O'Neill. Three armies entered the province, from the north, east, and south, for the O'Briens, aided by the English of Munster, flung themselves into the conflict. The country was devastated, and the inhabitants died of sickness, cold, and famine. These wars led the English troops into parts of Connacht into which they had never before penetrated; and Aedh's appeals for help "were cheerfully responded to, for these expeditions were profitable to the Foreigners, who obtained spoils without encountering danger or conflict." [19] The O'Flahertys were persistent and bitter enemies of Aedh, but with the help of his English allies he succeeded in subduing them, even driving them for a time out of parts of West Connacht. He patched up a transient peace with Donogh Cairbrech O'Brien, who a few months before had made a treaty "of drowning of candles" [20] with Aedh's enemies. In Mayo he compelled the O'Haras to submit. Aedh was now at peace, and the English Justiciar, escorted by him, had retired for the second time over the Shannon and into Athlone. But behind Aedh's back Richard de Burgh was intriguing to get Connacht into his hands. Already in 1219 he had made large offers to Henry III for the realization of what, on the ground of King John's loose promise to his father, he professed to claim as his right.[21]

[18] Annals of Loch Cé, 1224.
[19] Ibid., 1225.
[20] Annals of Loch Cé, 1225. That is, with excommunication of the party who broke the peace, the extinction of candles being a part of the ceremony of excommunication. The expression is frequently used.
[21] Sweetman, i, No. 900.

During Cathal's life the matter was waived, but on his death Richard again began to urge his demands with offers of increased tribute to the Crown. By a sudden and disgraceful change of government policy Aedh was summoned to Dublin to surrender the land of Connacht, "forfeited by his father and himself," for it was to be handed over to de Burgh at a fixed rent. Aedh did not come. He was dealing with Geoffrey de Marisco, one of the most crafty Justiciars who ever ruled in Ireland, a man whose crooked ways got him twice into disgrace and ended in his flight to France, where he died friendless and in poverty. De Marisco was bent on capturing Aedh by fair means or foul. He attempted to detain him, and would have succeeded but for the timely warning of Aedh's faithful friend, the noble and incorruptible Earl William Marshal the Younger, second Earl of Pembroke, whose family, in an epoch of subtle craft and scheming, stands out as a line of great soldier-statesmen, stern, dignified, and faithful. As his father had befriended William de Braose when he fell into disgrace, so the son befriended Aedh; his steady opposition to the scheme of confiscation led to the enmity of the King toward his house, and to persecution from the Justiciar.[22] But in the following year, 1228, de Marisco again invited Aedh to his house, where, by accident or design, he was killed by the stroke of an axe from the hand of a carpenter, jealous of the handsome face of Aedh. The carpenter's wife, according to the custom of the times, had bathed the guest "with sweet balls and other things" and washed his head. The carpenter was immediately hanged by the Justiciar; but Connacht again became the scene of sanguinary quarrels for the kingship.[23]

[22] Annals of Loch Cé, 1227.
[23] The O'Conor Don, in his O'Conors of Connaught, has followed earlier writers in confusing the friend of Aedh with Marisco, or Marsh, his worst enemy; but see Transactions of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, ii, 339. It was usual for guests to be bathed by women attendants.

It was in this year that Richard de Burgh, or, as he now came to be called, from the name of his father, MacWilliam Burke, replaced de Marisco as Justiciar, and was thus in a position from which he could carry out his projects. A fresh war broke out in Connacht led by the sons of Rory, whose followers, the MacDermotts of the Rock,[24] declared and pledged their word "that they would not own any king who would make them submit to the Foreigners," [25] and MacWilliam led an army into that province to expel Aedh, son of Rory, and place Felim, the late King's brother, on the throne. In this case the English seem to have ignored altogether their own principle of primogeniture. With a mixed army of English and Irish, who from this time onward are constantly found fighting on both sides, MacWilliam overran the province as far west as Mayo and Galway, and succeeded in placing Felim on the throne, banishing his cousin and rival to the O'Neill country. This happened in 1230. A steady policy on the part of Richard de Burgh might have settled the distracted province and consolidated the power of Felim, who appears to have been a man of greater force of character than his elder brother, the late King. But to settle the country was not MacWilliam's aim. The very next year we find him unseating Felim and imprisoning him at Meelick Castle and setting up his recently expelled rival in his place. But the flood of de Burgh's prosperity received a check. His near kinsman, Hubert de Burgh, who had been for fifteen years (1217-32) Justiciar of England, standing between the young King Henry III and the bad counsels of his French favourites, had fallen; and a band of hungry and mean-spirited Poitevins was filling England with anarchy and the Court with corruption. The change was reflected in Ireland in the disfavour into which Richard de Burgh suddenly fell. He was ordered to release Felim and deliver up the King's castles; and Felim, whose right to the sovereignty was strengthened by the defeat and death of his rival, Aedh, in 1233, began to carry out the order by himself, demolishing the castles that had been recently built, and setting up what promised to be a strong administration. But again de Burgh, who was partially restored to favour, gathered a great army, and assisted by Hugh de Lacy and Maurice FitzGerald (who is called "MacMaurice" or "MacMorrish" in the Annals, and who now became Justiciar), for the third time invaded Connacht and Thomond in his campaign of 1235. Felim made peace, and the five cantreds held by the English King were returned to him for a fixed tribute, which amounted to a practical partition of the province between him and de Burgh.

[24] I.e., the Rock of Loch Ce, famous for the Annals of that name; it was one of the principal residences of the MacDermott, who was chieftain of Moylurg.
[25] The technical term for such submission in Irish is "went into his house."

In 1240 Felim followed the example of his predecessors and appealed directly to the English King against the depredations of the barons and of their Irish allies. He was invited to visit London and lay his case in person before Henry; he was received with great honour by the King and "came home safely, joyfully, contentedly." The reception given to Felim in London undoubtedly changed his position at home for the better and put him out of reach of the designs of his enemies, and in 1245 we find him accompanying the Justiciar with a great Irish army to aid the King in his wars against Llewelyn in Wales. So effectually did he represent his case that the King sent his command to FitzGerald that he should "pluck up by the root that fruitless sycamore, de Burgh...nor suffer it to bud forth any longer." But the Justiciar himself soon fell into disgrace. His reply to the King's request for troops for the Welsh expedition had not been so prompt as might have been wished. The Norman-Irish barons had put in a plea for exemption from the duty of attending the King beyond the realm, and the King had to promise that the present occasion should not be taken as a precedent. But when at last FitzGerald and Felim presented themselves side by side in battle array with a numerous army, Henry thought it prudent to "wink awhile in policie at the tarriance and slow coming of Maurice FitzGerald," though he manifested his displeasure soon afterward by dismissing him from his post as Lord Justice. The provisions required for this miserable expedition, in which the troops suffered much from inclement weather and lack of food, were largely supplied from Ireland.

For the next twenty years affairs in Connacht went on much in the same manner. The rivals to the throne never relaxed their efforts, nor did de Burgh, whose lands were restored in 1247,[26] cease to push forward on every opportunity. More than once a delusive peace was patched up,[27] and from time to time Felim brought his case directly to the notice of the English King by ambassadors, "always obtaining from him everything he asked."[28] His son and successor took a prominent part in the wars of the province and kept at bay the rival princes. He seems to have been much with the English troops, for he is always styled Aedh-na-nGall, or "Hugh of the Foreigners," from his friendly relations with them. But the province was torn with dissensions, and the constant passage of great armies from end to end, preying and burning, brought it into a condition of wretchedness such as it had never experienced before.

[26] Sweetman, i, No. 2908.
[27] Annals of Loch Cé, 1255, 1256, 1257, etc.
[28] Ibid., 1255.

It was while things were in this condition that a determined effort was put forth to bring matters to a climax. An old Irish proverb says, "From the North comes help," and on more than one critical occasion it has been to Ulster that the warring factions have looked for a deliverer. The resolution of the Ulster kings to hold themselves aloof from the provincial wars of their neighbours had rarely been broken since the North had ceased to give its princes to the throne of Tara.

But at this moment a prince of more than usual force named Bryan O'Neill ruled in Tyrowen and Tyrconnel, whose septs he appears to have united under his sway. Probably he would still have held himself apart behind the protecting mountains that formed the frontiers of his territory but that the Justiciar, MacMaurice FitzGerald, harried him into action. Again and again the latter invaded Cinel Conaill on various excuses, and O'Neill felt that the castle of Caol-uisce, or "Narrow-Water," which had been built in 1212 by John de Gray, the then Justiciar of Ireland, in the gangway between Tyrconnel and Fermanagh to guard the main western pass of entry into his province, was a perpetual threat to his independence.[29] Since then it had been strengthened or re-erected by MacMaurice (1252), and he had forced Felim to build another castle not far off, at Sligo, out of stone and lime taken from a hospice that had been presented not long before by him to Bishop Claras MacMailin in honour of the Holy Trinity.[30] Thus threatened, Bryan O'Neill put forth all his strength to resist the invaders of his territory. On more than one occasion the English armies were forced to turn back, having obtained no pledges or hostages from O'Neill. In 1253 he made war on them on his own account; he demolished castles, burned 'street-towns'[31] and desolated the levels of Co. Down. In 1257 the castle of Caol-uisce was razed to the ground and its garrison slain, and the English of Sligo routed. The exploits of Bryan made all eyes turn to him as a possible saviour of the country, and a great meeting summoned to Caol-uisce in 1258 included not only Bryan O'Neill and Hugh, or Aedh, Felim's son, but also a representative of the O'Briens of the South. The Ulster and Connacht-men elected O'Neill sovereign of the Gael of Erin, and placed their hostages in his hands, Hugh at the same time receiving hostages from the O'Reilleys and other subject clans.

[29] The editors of the Annals of Loch Cé strangely confuse this place with Narrow-water, near Newry, Co. Down. See under 1252, note 4.
[30] Ibid., 1242, 1245, 1250.
[31] I.e., villages of one long street, of the kind still common in Ireland. At this period they are frequently mentioned in the Annals.

In 1260 the combination was complete, and Hugh hosted with the men of Connacht into the North, joining Bryan and his people in Tyrowen, and together they marched to Downpatrick. But their hopes were shattered by a terrible defeat. Bryan himself fell, and with him a long list of chieftains, both of Ulster and Connacht, fifteen being of the people of the O'Kanes (Muinter Cathain). The battle of Down put a definite end to the possibility of a combination strong enough to check the advance of the foreigner, and, until the confederation under another O'Neill, the great Tyrone, more than three centuries later, no similar united effort was organized by the Irish. Each provincial prince fought his own wars and made his own alliances, but there was no attempt to place themselves under a central ruler as King of Ireland. The special position of "Bryan of the battle of Down" was recognized by the English. His seal was afterward found near Beverley, in Yorkshire, with the inscription round a mounted warrior brandishing a long sword, Sigillum Brien, Regis de Kinel Eoghan. According to a poem written by his bard MacNamee, his head was carried to London and buried "under a white flagstone" in some church there, while his body was laid in Armagh.

MacWilliam Burke followed up the victory by fresh hostings into Connacht, and MacMaurice into Munster. They seem to have made an annual peace with their foes, Hugh O'Conor on one occasion even "sleeping cheerfully and contentedly in the same bed with MacWilliam Burke," but these were only momentary halts in the path of attempted conquest. MacWilliam's attention was distracted from Connacht for a time by his wars with the FitzGeralds of Munster, and meanwhile the strength of Felim and his son increased; in a conference at Athlone in 1264 they came so strongly attended that they secured their own terms, the English feeling it prudent to conclude a treaty with them. Felim died in the following year, having held his own with remarkable courage against the invaders. His tomb, bearing a dignified recumbent figure in white stone representing the King, still remains in the abbey of the Friars Preachers in Roscommon. About 1261, soon after the battle of Down, Felim had written to Henry III "returning infinite thanks to his Majesty for the various honours conferred on him, but chiefly for the King's orders to the Justiciar to cause restitution to be made to him for the losses which Gaultier [Walter] de Burgh had caused" of a portion of the lands in the cantreds of the King and elsewhere in the province, amounting in all to nine thousand marks. The Justiciar having died before the King's letter reached him, Felim states that Walter still continues to burn churches and slay nuns and ecclesiastics. The letter concludes: "For no promise made to him by the Irish had Felim receded, nor would he recede, from the King's service. He places himself, his people, and all he has under the protection of the King, and of the Lord Edward; and confides to the Lord Edward from then until the arrival of the latter in Ireland all his property and all his rights, if any he has, in Connacht." [32] There is something pathetic in the phrase "if any [property and rights] he has in Connacht," but between the various claimants among whom from time to time Felim heard of his lands being distributed, he may well have wondered where his own rights came in. The allusion to Lord Edward, the King's eldest son, afterward Edward I, refers to the proposal long entertained by Henry to make Prince Edward resident Lord of Ireland, and to transfer to him the practical government of the country. This proposal may have arisen out of the suggestion made on the King's accession by the then Justiciar, Geoffrey de Marisco, that the late Queen Isabella, widow of John, or her second son Richard should reside in Ireland, an admirable piece of advice which would have tended to check the insolent truculence of the barons and to give a much-needed central authority which the distant English kings could not wield.

[32] The original of this letter is in the Public Record Office, London; and see Gilbert, Facsimiles, ii, No. LXXIII.

Henry's later project to send over his eldest son, would have given the future king an intimate acquaintance with the affairs of Ireland, and it would undoubtedly have tended to consolidate that loyal sentiment of which the native kings were giving ample proof as opportunity arose. Unfortunately the plan broke down. In July 1255 the immediate departure of the Prince is spoken of; in August he is commanded to cross over from Gascony and proceed to Ireland for the winter as speedily as he can. But it does not appear that the Prince ever actually went over, and on his departure for the Holy Land vicegerents were appointed to act for him in relation to Ireland. Thus a plan fraught with favourable possibilities was allowed to drop, and the very rare visits of the English kings ill compensated for the actual residence of a prince of the royal blood in this part of the King's dominions.[33]

[33] It is seldom realized how rare and brief these visits were: Henry II, 1171; John, 1210; Richard II, 1394 and 1399; James II, 1689; William III, 1690; George IV, 1821; Victoria, 1849, 1853, 1861, 1900; Edward VII, 1903, 1904, 1907. These dates do not include visits before coronation.

Hugh, or Aedh, O'Conor succeeded his father, and during the years 1270-72 he made a most determined and successful stand against the English, defeating them in the field, demolishing their castles, and driving his victorious arms as far east as Meath. In 1271 his bitterest foe, Walter de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, suddenly died in Galway; and in 1274 the nine years of Hugh's vigorous reign were closed by his death, after he had cleared his province from the invaders. But his loss meant the revival of the old dissensions for the kingship, and in the same year three of his grandsons were successively kings of Connacht, each being slain by his rival cousins within a few weeks of his succession. Between 1274, when Hugh died, and 1315, when Edward Bruce landed in Ireland, there were thirteen kings of Connacht, of whom nine were slain, usually by their own brothers or cousins, and two were deposed. When Edward Bruce landed the throne was occupied by a foster-son of the powerful chief of the MacDermotts, who gathered round him a strong following, and called upon William Liath de Burgh to support him. The MacDermotts were violently opposed to any English connexion, and the young prince called on his adherents to swear "that for the future we will not stain our swords with the blood of Irishmen, or flourish them with parricidal hands, but will draw them against the Saxon assassins, the enemies of our country and of the human race." Matters were in this condition when the news of the landing of Brace on the coasts of Ulster in 1315 gave events a new direction.

We must now turn our attention to contemporary affairs in the South of Ireland. The country of Thomond during the latter years of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth centuries was disturbed to an unusual extent by the wars between the O'Briens and de Clares, commonly known as the Wars of Thomond. It would seem that from the time of Donal, the prince who submitted to Henry II, the family had abandoned to a certain extent their claims to the sovereignty, though they continued to be inaugurated at Magh Adhair for some time longer. Donogh Cairbrech, Donal's son and successor (1194-1242) was the first O'Brien to adopt the name as that of his family "after having dropped the royal style and title that were ever customary to his ancestors." [34] Similar changes were going on all over Ireland, for many of the family names date from this period. In 1210, when King John landed, Donogh swore fealty, and the castle of Carrigogonnell was delivered over to him. He abandoned the ancient palace of Killaloe, the seat of the sovereignty since the time of Kennedy, father of Brian Boromhe, and built a new castle at Clonroad (Cluain-ramh-fhoda), near Ennis, which henceforth became the chief dwelling of the family. But it was one thing to swear allegiance to a distant sovereign and quite another to have the territories that had belonged to the sept of the Dalcais for many centuries trampled down and annexed by the subjects of that prince. The yearly encroachments of the "foreign adventurers, who, through excess of rapacity that grew and settled in them, were committing oppression and injustice, violence and constant pillage, on the old natives and stripping them of their estates and blood everywhere they could," aroused the Irish to the necessity of combining to elect a supreme king of Ireland, who should hold them together in a united effort to drive back the foreigner.

[34] The Triumphs of Turlogh (1194-1355), from which the following details are largely taken, is a lengthy tract written by John MacRory MacGrath, historian of the Dalcais, about 1459. Though it is compiled in the inflated style of the bardic chroniclers, it gives details not to be found elsewhere. But the dates need correction. The story of the meeting of Teige and Bryan at Caol-uisce, for example, is antedated by six years.

To the conference of Caol-uisce Conor O'Brien, the reigning prince, had sent his son Teige to represent him. But it would seem that both Teige and Bryan O'Neill expected to be the chosen candidate for the sovereignty, and when Teige sent a present of a hundred steeds to O'Neill, as from the lord to his vassal, O'Neill returned them with the addition of two hundred more, each decked out with a golden bridle. Furious at the return of his gift, Teige ordered an armed trooper to mount on every steed, and in this warlike guise the whole body swung back and drew up before O'Neill "in order to secure his submission by fair means or by force." But O'Neill, "seeing O'Brien's pride and haughty mind," drew away in anger, and the conference broke up, both the chief representatives returning home in wrath. Thus a much-needed combination between the North and the South ended in the old way, tribal pride weighing more with the leaders than even the desire to rid the country of the enemy. O'Neill, forsaken by his chief supporter, marched to the battle of Down and fell there with the men of Ulster and Connacht around him, while Teige returned to his own province to fight single-handed against an enemy "whom he hated and abhorred more than any animal or creature under heaven; nor would he suffer one of the English progeny to inhabit so much as a nutshell of a pauper's hut throughout the country under his sway." So says the panegyrist of his house, Rory McGrath, writing a couple of hundred years after him. He inflicted a severe defeat on the English at Limerick, but he died before he was of age. Conor O'Brien, after his son's death, "was filled with despondency and a loathing and contempt for the world." He retired into private life, and his subjects revolted from his rule and refused to pay their royal dues. But in 1267, summoning his resolution, he gathered together his forces for a raid northward against Conor O'Lochlan, leaving the country behind him "in red flashes of blazing fire and wreathed in crimson-tinted smoke," only to fall in a wood in Clare named Siudan, from which he is called Conor na Siudaine.

On Conor's death the whole province was rent between opposing claimants for the title of King of Thomond. His son Brian Roe O'Brien was unanimously elected at Magh Adhair, but the MacNamaras and O'Deas disputed his claim, and he was forced to fly across the Shannon, while the opposing party put up Turlogh, his nephew, son of Teige, in his stead. It was at this moment of family feud that Brian Roe took the resolution to follow Dermot MacMorrogh's example and to appeal to the English for help. He sent his son Donogh to Thomas, son of the Earl of Clare, in Cork offering to him and his heirs in return for his aid, all the land between Limerick and Athsollas. The offer must have been as agreeable as it was unexpected. Shortly before, de Clare had received permission from Henry III to make what acquisitions he could among the Irish, but he could scarcely have reckoned on the good fortune which, without effort on his own part, threw so fine a demesne into his grasp by gift. He readily consented, and in 1277 the de Clares and O'Briens, joined by the Geraldines and Butlers, with large bodies both of Irish and English, met at Limerick and marched from thence to Clonroad, hoping to find Turlogh there. But he was gone south to receive the fealty of the MacMahons, and was collecting an army which was to include the O'Kellys, O'Maddens, and O'Madigans from Connacht, and the MacNamaras, O'Deas, O'Quins, and MacMahons, supported by the de Burghs, who were never loath to have a fight with their hereditary foes the Geraldines. Thus the whole South was quickly astir with English and Irish fighting equally on both sides, as they were to fight for many centuries afterward. De Clare had found time, during the short pause, to erect at Bunratty a castle of lime and stone and to banish the old inhabitants and settle his expectant soldiers, both English and Irish, on his new lands; but the return of the Cullenans (Clann Culien), the former inhabitants, made their lives a burden. The great armies met at Moygressan, where Turlogh inflicted on Brian party a complete defeat, the remnant flying in rout to Bunratty. Many of the leaders were killed, among them the brother of de Clare's wife, Patrick FitzMaurice. In her anger at his loss she persuaded her husband to a frightful revenge upon their hapless ally. Brian was seized and "bound to stern steeds" to be torn to pieces, according to one account: but the Triumphs of Turlogh say that he was hanged.[35] In any case it was an act of inexcusable treachery, for the two allies had sworn a solemn oath together, and had formed 'gossipred' or sponsorship for their children, exchanging mutual vows "by the relics, bells, and croziers of Munster." According to the old Irish custom, they had even mingled their blood in the same vessel in token of unity.[36] The anger of the Dalcais was so great that de Clare had to build a double ditch round his castle for defence; subsequently the de Clares and Geraldines were driven into the Slievebloom Mountains, where they were forced by famine to capitulate and acknowledge the O'Briens as sovereigns of Thomond.

[35] So also the Dublin copy of the Annals of Innisfallen. The same account is given of the death of Tiernan O'Rorke in the Book of Fenagh, where he is said to have been drawn by wild horses, but there is no support for this. It was, however, a common form of punishment for great crimes at this period.
[36] Annals of Loch Cé, 1277.

This wasting and cruel war lasted for over fifty years with varying fortunes. De Clare dreaded the success of Turlogh, who was a strong prince and uniformly successful in the field, and he took the course of deliberately stirring up hostilities between the rival houses. The uproar was, even for Ireland, so unusual that it penetrated to Westminster, and the King sent for the Lord Justice to answer in person for the tumult that was going on in the land. Turlogh proved a formidable foe. In 1285 he defeated de Clare and laid waste English Thomond to the walls of Bunratty. In 1287 he repeated his success, and Thomas de Clare, FitzMaurice, and others were slain. He built in Ennis the first castle erected by a native prince of Thomond all of stone. In 1304 he received hostages from all the chiefs of North Munster, demolished the English castles as far as Youghal, and forced Richard de Clare to acknowledge him. His reign was one of uninterrupted prosperity. But the wars continued after his death in 1306, and were still in progress when Edward Bruce landed in 1315. The race of Brian Roe O'Brien was nearly extirpated at the battle of Corcomroe, leaving the line of Turlogh in the ascendant; and the de Clares were expelled from Thomond, leaving no trace of their occupation behind. After the fatal battle of Dysart O'Dea in 1318, in which de Clare was slain, his wife and followers abandoned the country and went back to England, never to return. The O'Briens had prevailed.

By the end of the thirteenth century the larger part of Ireland, except O'Neill's and O'Donnell's vast territories in Western Ulster, Oriell (Co. Louth), and the O'Rorkes' country of Breifne (Cos. Leitrim and Cavan), were claimed by various Norman barons in right of grants from English sovereigns, often overlapping each other, equally a matter of contention between opposing feudatories as between them and the Irish kings whom they were endeavouring to displace. The great Liberties of Meath, Carlow, Kilkenny, and Wexford were practically independent principalities, in which quiet was enforced by the garrisons occupying the motes or castles scattered thickly about the country. The family of the Butlers, later to become Earls, and finally Dukes, of Ormonde, who came over for the first time with King John in 1210, settled down on estates in Upper Tipperary; and the larger part of the estates of Strongbow had passed into the hands of the family of Mareschal, or Marshal, who became, by the marriage of William Marshal with the daughter and heiress of Strongbow, Earls of Pembroke and Striguil, and possessors of her great position and estates. Of all the Norman lords who founded families in Ireland, Earl Marshal bears the most unblemished character. He worthily carried on the tradition left by Strongbow in Leinster by endeavouring to build up a peaceable and settled principality in which the Irish inhabitants and English settlers could live in amity side by side. His was a romantic career. He had grown up during the wars of Stephen, when England was reduced to a condition of anarchy and misrule perhaps never equalled in her history.

As a boy he had been handed over to Stephen as a hostage, (1152), and he only escaped a horrible death by being shot out of a huge catapult used for storming castles by his childish prattle about the weapon, which he thought was only a pretty toy, thus attracting the attention and liking of Stephen, His youth was spent in the wars of Poitou and in the Crusades, where his exploits brought him into prominence and aroused the jealousy of his rivals. His whole early life was beset by the endeavours of enemies to undermine his influence with Henry II, whose part he took against his rebellious sons, John and Richard, but his incorruptible loyalty and his nobility of character carried him to the highest offices of the realm. He took his family name from the high position held by himself and by his father before him as Lords Marshal of England. He came to Ireland for the first time in 1207, but he was constantly recalled to England either on official business or by the intrigues of his enemies in Ireland, who envied him his great estates. Meiler FitzHenry, the younger de Lacy, and afterward Geoffrey de Marisco were the determined adversaries of his house, and plunged him and his sons and successors, William Marshal the Younger and Richard Marshal, into perpetual wars; but the earls showed their steadfastness and independence of mind by sheltering de Braose of Limerick from the wrath of his sovereign and Kings Aedh and Felim of Connacht from the designs of their enemies. The elder Marshal, of whom it was said that "He who made him was a great architect," spent the latter years of his long life, passed under four English monarchs, in his favourite town of Kilkenny,[37] beautifying it by building the splendid castle and abbeys by which it is adorned and founding the Cathedral of St Canice, from which the city takes its name. It quickly became a town of repute, second only to Dublin in historical interest, and several of the earliest Irish Parliaments assembled there. He and his sons developed Ossory, encouraged trade, established markets, and watched with interested eyes the progress of the new towns and villages springing up around the Norman keeps and castles all over Southern Leinster. New Ross they specially fostered as a possible rival to Waterford.

[37] Kilkenny Castle was purchased by James, third Earl of Ormonde, in 1392 from Sir Hugh le Despencer, Earl of Gloucester, to whom it had passed on the failure of male heirs to William Marshal the Younger, and it has ever since been the chief seat of the Ormonde family. See deed of transfer in Gilbert, Facsimiles, iii, No. XX.

When William Marshal the elder died in 1219 [38] he left five sons and five daughters; the sons were successively Earls of Pembroke and Marshals of England, and the two eldest succeeded him in his Irish estates, but they all died without issue. Giraldus remarks on the paucity of male descendants among the Geraldines; and in the second generation the lack of legitimate sons to the Norman lords continued. Neither Richard de Burgh nor the de Lacys left adult male heirs, and the great inheritance of the Earls Marshal was parcelled out among the five daughters of the first of their line. By the marriages of these ladies into the families of the Bigods, Earls of Norfolk, the de Clares, Earls of Gloucester, the de Warennes, Earls of Surrey, and others of the highest families of England, King Dermot's daughter Eva (Aoife) became the ancestress of many English lines of distinction closely connected in some cases with the throne. Richard Marshal, the third earl, with the usual fearless rectitude of his house endeavoured to resist the evil influence which "the mean brood of Poitevin favourites" was exercising over the mind of young Henry III, and suffered outlawry for his fidelity; in Ireland he was beset by intrigues and finally fell a victim to a combination formed against him; abandoned by his own people, he fought single-handed against his enemies and was mortally wounded in the battle of the Curragh of Kildare in 1234. The annalist adds, "This deed was one of the greatest deeds committed in that time."

[38] The father and son were buried in the Temple Church, in London. The office of Earl Marshal passed to the Bigods, Earls of Norfolk, and through them to the Mowbrays and Howards, the present Earls Marshal.

There are various indications that at this time many of the Irish leaders desired to throw themselves on the side of law and order and to support any honourable officer who set himself to bring about peaceable relations between the contending parties in the country. An instance of this is found in the action of certain Irish chiefs in Ulster, who had been assisting Sir William FitzWarenne to restore peace between the English and Irish in that district and who wrote to the King that they had endeavoured with all their might to support the seneschal by pursuing and routing the King's Irish enemies, but had only been oppressed by some of the Council of Ireland as their reward. They pray that these evildoers may not escape punishment, otherwise they fear that this war will serve as an example for others to follow.[39] They are referring especially to the discord stirred up in the district by the evil deeds of Sir Henry de Mandeville, who had been appointed bailiff in Twescard, in the north of the present Co. Antrim, at a moment when, through the exertions of de Warenne, the whole land of Ulster had been brought into a condition of peace, and hostages had been rendered for the continuance of these good relations. But with the entry of this fire-eating knight all was changed. Though himself an Anglo-Norman, he set himself to stir up the Irish to commit crimes on all the surrounding Norman settlers and their dependents, in order to secure their properties for himself; he had defrauded the revenue and "by rapine and unjust extortion to his own use had brought the land into a state of ruin." The whole community "as well of English as of Irish" threatened to rise if the bailiwick were granted to Sir Henry, "saving their fealty to Lord Edward." No country could settle down with violent men like de Mandeville setting his neighbours by the ears, and instigating one party to murder the other, and there were unfortunately always some officials in the Government in Dublin to support these evildoers. A three-cornered contest between the de Burghs, FitzWarennes, and de Mandevilles, which was carried on from father to son, culminated in 1333 in the awful tragedy of the murder of the youthful Brown Earl of Ulster, William de Burgh, by Richard de Mandeville, when they were quietly riding home together from morning prayer in apparent friendship.

[39] Sweetman, ii, Nos. 929, 952, 953.

In Ulster, Munster, and Connacht alike jealousies and treacheries between the Anglo-Norman families were ever ready to break out, as one member more ambitious or warlike than the others got the upper hand; each was ready to combine with the Irish princes against his own compatriots or to use Irish quarrels to further his own ends. From time to time the distant kings intervened, pointing out how "Ireland is depauperated by discord and wars," and expressing their disturbance and anxiety of mind thereat; "desiring much that these controversies and wars should be appeased and that peace and tranquility should prevail." [40] But these desires had little effect on men intent upon their family disputes and ambitions in Ireland. In the year 1311 the compiler of the Annals of Clonmacnois, copying from an earlier writer "whom he would take to be an authentic author who would tell nothing but the truth," says that in his time "there reigned more dissensions, strifes, warres and debates, between the Englishmen themselves than between the Irishmen, as by perusing the warres betweene the Lacies of Meath, John Courcy, Earl of Ulster, William Marshal and the English of Meath and Mounster, mac Gerrald [FitzGerald], the Burkes, Butlers and Cogan may appear." In addition, the constant changes of policy in England produced a perpetual ferment. They were always destined to be a source of weakness and unrest in Ireland, and especially so during the frequent revolutions and changes of dynasty which disturbed England throughout the period of the Plantagenet and Yorkist wars. Though not directly concerned in the dynastic conflicts raging round the English throne, the Anglo-Irish barons were inevitably dragged into them, and rival parties were formed which took different sides in these distant struggles.

[40] Sweetman, ii, No. 1155.

From the time of John's visits in 1185 and 1210, first as prince and later as king, the barons in Ireland began to experience sudden changes of royal favour. From his day the old settlers began to fall into disfavour and were forced to make way for the "new English," as the later comers were loosely called. John had brought with him to Ireland a swarm of dissolute favourites, "talkers, boasters, enormous swearers," Angevin and Poitevin by birth, men who were "bold in the town but cowards in the field" and "who in Ireland would be far from the west and nigh to the east and the sea, as though they had a mind to flee rather than to fight." They clung round the Court in order to receive favours, though they gave none. The Irish christened the new lords, French and English alike, the Dubh-Gaill, or "Black Foreigners," when comparing them with the great barons of an earlier day, as in times gone by they had so named the Danes in comparing them with the more friendly Norsemen who had preceded them.[41] These men of the old nobility were thrust aside and only young favourites were called to the Council. Thus, while busily engaged in building up their Irish estates, the Anglo-Irish lords were forced all the time to keep one eye fixed on affairs in England and on the policies of English kings. At any moment they might find themselves fallen into disfavour, either through a change in State policy or through the whispering of some malicious enemy near the throne who was anxious to undermine their influence. They became, in consequence, more and more independent of outside interference, and each baron ruled within his own domain like a free prince in his palatinate.

[41] Annals of Ulster, 1310, and Annals of the Four Masters, at same date.



The wars with Scotland, which occupied so much of the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, and into which Ireland was now to be drawn, had arisen largely out of the new relations which existed between England and Scotland after the marriage of Henry I with Matilda, daughter of King Malcolm, a princess of the Scottish line. The Court of Malcolm became filled with families from the South, of which two, the Norman Bruces and Balliols, were destined to play a leading part in Scottish history. The enforced consent of William the Lion, extracted from him during his captivity in England, to hold his crown in fief from the English kings, with the right of homage from the Scottish lords, though for nearly a hundred years held in abeyance, provided a convenient pretext for interference when the occasion should arise; and the passing of the succession from the direct line of William the Lion to that of the daughters of his brother David brought into the field a number of claimants, who were quite ready to appeal to Edward I to support their rival pretensions. Of these John Balliol was descended from David's eldest daughter and Robert Bruce from the second daughter. Their appeal to the English King gave the latter the opportunity of asserting a right to overlordship not expected by the Scottish claimants and vigorously resisted by the general body of the Scottish lords. Balliol gave way; his claim to the sovereignty as a representative of the elder line was allowed, but he received it as the suzerain of the English King. The wars that followed were a protest against the carrying out of the pact in its various implications; and the terrible massacre at Berwick (1296), which compares in horror with Cromwell's later sack of Drogheda, the battle of Falkirk in 1298, and the surrender of Stirling in 1305, completed the conquest of Scotland.

Wallace, the hero of these earlier struggles, had refused mercy, and his head was placed on London Bridge; Balliol was confined in an English prison. For a short time after the Convention of Perth quiet reigned in the North, but it was soon to be broken by a revolt of the whole country under Robert Bruce, who again came forward on the death of Balliol to lay claim to the Scottish crown. For four years his enterprise was a desperate adventure, until the weakness of the second Edward and his absorption in the internal troubles of his kingdom gave Bruce his chance. One after another the towns fell into his hands, and in 1313 he was strong enough to invest Stirling. It was under those exalted walls that the battle of Bannockburn was fought on June 24, 1314, when the footmen of Bruce totally overthrew the thirty thousand horsemen sent to oppose them, and "the feld so cleyn was maid of Inglis men, that nane abad."[1] The King of England himself barely escaped from the field. The news of the English defeat at Bannockburn stirred the Irish as no event for many years had done. Their attention had been frequently turned to the Scottish wars by the drawing off of troops from Ireland to aid the English kings, whose appeals for help in their Scottish expeditions had been made not only to their Norman barons, but also to the Irish princes. The Red Earl of Ulster was the natural leader in these expeditions. His vast estates and claims in Ulster and Connacht gave him almost the position of an independent prince, the maker and unmaker of Irish kings and the most powerful man in Ireland. He took a foremost place in the Parliaments of the country and signed his name in important documents before that of the Justiciar. In 1302 he took what appeared at the time a strange step in marrying his daughter Elizabeth to Robert Bruce, then practically an outlaw; for his struggle for the independence of his country had only just begun. Yet we find de Burgh in the following year (1303) again carrying over a great Irish army to fight against his son-in-law. This marriage had the natural result of casting suspicion upon the fidelity of the Red Earl, especially during the wars of Edward Bruce in Ireland. He seems, indeed, throughout their course to have played a double and uncertain game.

[1] This and the following Scottish quotations are taken from Barbour's Bruce, a poem which deals, among the other exploits of the Bruce family, with the expedition of Edward Bruce to Ireland.

The arrival of Edward Bruce in the North of Ireland in 1315 was not an unexpected event. His brother Robert had since 1312 been coasting round North Ulster and had been repulsed by the inhabitants; he had then sailed out for the Isle of Man, where he destroyed MacDowell's castle and hanged its owner. His marriage with the daughter of the Red Earl had brought the two countries into close connexion; and the news of his wonderful success at Bannockburn had been received with enthusiasm among the Irish. A definite resolution was taken by the native princes of Ulster to invite over a member of the house of the successful leader and to make him king of the whole country. They regarded the Braces as in some sort belonging to their own nation, by virtue of their descent from Dermot MacMorrogh in the female line, while de Burgh's daughter, Bruce's wife, was of the race of Rory O'Conor It is quite probable that those who planned the invitation to Bruce's brother, Sir Edward, believed that an outside claimant to the throne might unite the Irish princes as no one of themselves could hope to do; and they might well consider that a king living and ruling in Ireland itself would be more effectual in keeping quiet in the country than a monarch across seas could ever be. An old account says that the envoys sent were Hugh O'Neill, Bishop of Derry, Brian, son of Donal O'Neill, Manus O'Hanlon, Lord of Orior, and the chief 'ollave' or law-adviser of the O'Neills. Bishop Hugh was the speaker.[2]

[2] Louth Archaeological Journal, 1, 77 seq. This tract is called "The Battle of the Fochart of S. Bridget," ed. H. Morris.

Among other steps they appealed for help and countenance to Pope John XXII, in a Remonstrance which has ever since been regarded as the extreme statement of the views and sufferings of the Irish people at the time in which it was written. The Remonstrance begins thus: "It is extremely painful to us that the vigorous detractions of slanderous Englishmen and their iniquitous suggestions against the defenders of our rights should exasperate your Holiness against the Irish nation. But alas! you know us only by the misrepresentations of our enemies, and you are exposed to the danger of adopting the infamous falsehoods which they propagate, without hearing anything of the detestable cruelties they have committed against our ancestors and still continue to commit, even to this day, against ourselves." They then recite a number of bad cases, such as the murder of O'Brien by de Clare, in which the Norman barons had behaved with cruelty to the Irish lords. They speak of the gift of Ireland to Henry II by the Pope's predecessor, Adrian, and complain that the terms of the grant had been violated, and the bounds of the Church narrowed. "Through the oppressions of the English," they exclaim, "we have been driven to the woods and the rocks, and fifty thousand of both races have perished by the sword alone in virtue of Adrian's Bull." They complain of the uneven laws directed against the Irish, and declare that "the middle nation" in Ireland differs so widely in their principles of morality from those of England and all other nations that they may be called a nation of the most extreme degree of perfidy. The Remonstrance is addressed to Pope John by "his attached children, Donaldus Oneyl, Rex Ultoniae, true heir by hereditary right of all Ireland" (a title which would certainly not have been admitted by the princes of Munster) "as well as the kings, nobles, and Irish people in general of the same realm." The appeal prays the support of the Pope for Bruce, whom the Irish people have chosen as their deliverer, and in whose favour O'Neill is ready to resign his rights to the throne. It speaks as though this decision had only recently been come to, but, as Pope John was not elected till August 1316, the appeal must have been written after that date, certainly after Edward Bruce had been crowned king in May 1316, and probably when the sudden turn in his fortunes had made his permanent success doubtful.[3]

[3] Miss Olive Armstrong, in her Edward Bruce's Invasion of Ireland (1923), summarizes the arguments for a late date in her note on p. 113.

The appeal had little effect; the Pope merely passed it on to King Edward II, with a recommendation that he should inquire into the complaints contained in it, and if they were true should endeavour to put them right. He was, at that very moment, contemplating the excommunication of Robert Bruce for rebellion against England, and the time was not favourable for an appeal on behalf of a member of his house.

The Irish invitation to Bruce came most auspiciously to the young Scottish lord, for Edward, like his brother, was ambitious, and he desired to share with his brother the throne of Scotland. He was now Earl of Carrick, a brave man and proving himself a successful general, and he had no liking to take a second place in the kingdom. The idea of making himself king of Ireland and ousting the English was a tempting one, and on May 26, 1315, he crossed over with a fleet of three hundred ships and six thousand men-at-arms, having with him Sir Philip de Mowbrey, the Earl of Moray, Sir Alan and John Stewart, Sir John Campbell, and Sir Robert Boyd; with these he landed on the coast of Antrim.[4] But his reception was hardly such as he had been led to expect. Of the Irish, only the O'Neills and their 'urraghs,' or dependent chieftains, such as O'Kane, O'Hanlon, and O'Hagan, rose; many held back because they were dissatisfied with O'Neill's alliance, "for they held their own power, dignity, and course of policy in too high estimation." [5] The old Scottish and English settlers in Co. Antrim, such as the Bysets, Logans, and Savages, far from welcoming a Scottish ruler, united with the Mandevilles to resist him and fight for their own, and an alliance was made between them and the Red Earl of Ulster, Richard de Burgh, to oppose him. But in a great battle on the Bann this formidable army was put to flight, and "the Flower of Ulster was tane and slain," the Red Earl himself flying from the field. After this propitious victory Sir Edward Bruce cut his way through to Dundalk, forcing the Pass of Moira, called by Barbour the Pass of Endnellan, which was held by two Irish chiefs against him. The English combination which resisted Bruce's entry into Dundalk included the Justiciar, Edmond le Boteler, or Butler; Maurice FitzThomas, who was later created first Earl of Desmond; and John FitzThomas FitzGerald, afterward first Earl of Kildare. They were usually commanded by Richard de Clare, who held a position of great authority in the army during the wars of Bruce.[6] He is called by Barbour "lieutenant of all Ireland," an error to which his prominence as commander in the field may well have given rise. He was later pardoned a debt and given special privileges " for his great labour and cost in repelling...the Scottish enemies." [7] The combination was joined by the Red Earl with an army that had ravaged its way through Connacht with savage cruelties, the Earl having sworn to the Justiciar that he would deliver to him Bruce alive or dead.

[4] Barbour calls the place "Wokingis Fyrth," which was probably Larne , Pembridge calls it "Clondonne" and Grace's Annals "Glondonne" or Glendun; these are all in Co. Antrim. The course of events and the names of the associates of Bruce also differ in the different authorities.
[5] Louth Archaeological Journal, loc. cit.
[6] Bain, Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, iii, No. 469.
[7] Ibid., iii, No. 488.

Persuaded by O'Neill, Bruce thought it prudent to retire on Eastern Ulster, where he was followed by the English armies. His retreat was beset with difficulties. He was led astray by an Irish chief, named O'Dempsey, who had sworn fealty to him, but who guided his men into a morass from which the weary army had much ado to get away. At the passage of the Bann Bruce found no boats sufficient for his wants until a pirate vessel or "scummer of the sea" came up and ferried them over. Nevertheless, he inflicted another total defeat on the English at Connor, Co. Antrim, killing many of the leaders and capturing William de Burgh, 'the Grey'; the defeated English fled for refuge into Carrickfergus Castle, where they valiantly maintained themselves against the Scots during a long siege, while the Red Earl led the shattered remnants of his army back to Connacht.

The terror of Bruce's successes spread through Ireland, all the land being said to "shake with fear." He again marched south, routing an army of fifteen thousand men under Roger Mortimer at Kells, and sending him and the de Lacys flying to Dublin. He kept Christmas triumphantly in Meath, and caused himself to be crowned King of Ireland, Fleming and de Lacy offering their submission and promising their support. At the opening of the New Year he defeated the Lord Justice at Ardscull, near Athy. Wherever the Scottish army went it ravaged the country, destroying the remnants of an already bad harvest and leaving famine and suffering in its train. Acts like the burning of Ardee Church full of refugees—men, women and children—on its first march south added to the dread of veterans who in nine months had dispersed and defeated three armies. The Lords of Leinster and Meath met in solemn consultation and bound themselves with an oath to unite in defence of the country against the Scots. Famine, partly caused by his own devastations, forced Bruce to retire into Ulster while he sent to Scotland for reinforcements. There, as King of Ireland, he took hostages, collected the revenues, and forced the lords to deliver to him the regalities belonging to the King of England. This would have been the moment for concerted action on the part of his Irish adherents had they really desired to drive the English from their country. But the most powerful of them made no move, save to appeal to these very English for help. Bruce intrigued first with King Felim, who had followed the army of de Burgh out of Connacht and then with his rival Rory, as he thought each in turn was getting the upper hand. To Felim he offered undivided sway in Connacht if he would forsake the Earl; to Rory a free hand to expel the English, but not to "commit spoliation on Felim or enter his lands." Such a stipulation had little effect on Rory, and soon Felim was forced to fight his way step by step home across the Shannon, for news came from Connacht that Rory was using his opportunity during Felim's absence to advance his own cause; he had good hopes of being elected king of the province, since all the chiefs except MacDermott, Felim's foster-father, had by this time submitted to him. The affairs of Connacht were in a desperate state, there being three native princes alive who each claimed to have been duly elected king; and the country was "entirely convulsed" their internal quarrels, even at the moment when a foreigner was rapidly advancing into the heart of the land.

Felim fell at the early age of twenty-three years, with his standard-bearers around him, bearing the leopard flag, the arms of the O'Conors. Twenty-eight of the O'Kelly family lay dead in that rout, with a host of other chiefs and tanists. On the return of the Red Earl, who was practically in flight before Bruce, the dispossessed chieftains "flocked to his house" to acknowledge his authority and claim his help. But de Burgh was in no position to render aid at this moment. His castles had been burnt down in the wretched struggles for power that had afflicted the province; he had been turned out of Ulster by the victorious arms of Bruce; he was in ill-odour with the authorities because he had tartly told the Justiciar at Dundalk that he did not need his assistance to drive Bruce out of the country, but could deal with him alone; and he was shrewdly suspected of a leaning to the Scottish cause. For a year he wandered about, unable to intervene, while his brother, the Grey William de Burgh, was a prisoner in Scotland, whither he had been conveyed by the Earl of Moray.

It was now noised abroad that Edward Bruce was again moving southward with twenty thousand men and that his brother, the King of Scotland, was come over to join him. From time to time the people of Dublin had heard of the stern justice that Bruce had been meting out in his Parliaments in the North. He had put the Logans to death and hanged many others; while rumour said that the English shut up in Carrickfergus were "living upon hides for want of victuals and had eaten up eight Scots whom they had taken"! Before long Edward Bruce was at Castleknock, close to Dublin, and had formed a junction with his brother at Leixlip. Moreover, the O'Mores, the O'Tooles, and the O'Byrnes were reported to be 'out,' and David O'Toole was discovered hiding with eighty of his men in the woods of Cullinswood, almost beneath the walls. On that "Black Sunday" grave citizens thought they saw the dead rising from their tombs and fighting with each other, shouting their old battle-cry of "Fennok aboo!" Stricken with fear, they hastened to burn down Thomas Street, St John's Church, and other buildings to make the town more easy to defend, but the flames extended farther than was intended, and most of the suburbs were destroyed. The city authorities showed unwonted activity. The de Lacys, who appear sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other, were called upon to clear themselves of collusion with the Scots, and the Red Earl was apprehended by the Mayor as a measure of security, even the intervention of the King not proving sufficient to set him free. Sir Thomas de Mandeville had thrown himself across the path of the Scots near Carrickfergus, with men from Drogheda, having previously replenished the beleaguered city with men and provisions during a time of truce agreed upon for the celebration of Easter; de Mandeville deliberately broke the truce for this purpose. But, "as falsat [falsehood] evir mair sall haif [have] unfayr and ewill ending," the attack ended in the defeat of the Government troops, "auld Schyr Thomas" falling on the field of battle. On emerging into the plain from the Moira Pass, where Sir Richard de Clare was awaiting them, hoping to cut in twain the two divisions led respectively by Robert and Edward Bruce, the six thousand hardy and seasoned veterans led by King Robert fell upon de Clare's troops and cut them to pieces.

But from this moment the luck of Edward Bruce seemed to desert him. Together the two brothers marched to Naas and thence to Tristledermot, the de Lacys being again in their party. Here, however, they were defeated by Edmond Butler, and the resolution made by the invaders "to hold their ways through all Ireland, from one end to the other," was brought to an end within sight of Limerick, where they turned and began a disastrous retreat to the north, on receiving the news that Roger Mortimer had landed at Youghal on April 7, 1317, to take over the administration. The Pope, who a short time before had intervened to endeavour to call a two years' truce between Robert Bruce and the King of England, which had been refused by Robert, now excommunicated the two Scottish brothers and the clergy who supported them. On the other hand, a general pardon was sent over from England to all who would come in; but the de Lacys, who refused it, Were driven into Connacht and their lands taken from them.

Dearth and famine prevailed over the whole country, and when by forced marches the Braces arrived in Ulster, having slipped past the English army by another route, they found the province so impoverished and poverty-stricken that the people were digging up dead bodies and using them for food. The two Bruces were not on the best terms, Edward being determined to take the credit of any victory to himself, and it was this jealousy that brought about the final scene in the drama of King Edward's attempt on Ireland. Learning that Sir John Bermingham was marching north against him with fifteen hundred troops, Edward, whose army, except for the Irish contingents, was much reduced, declared that he would fight before his brother could come up, even if, as he said, the English army were "tryplit or quadruplit" in number. His best advisers besought him to await the arrival of other troops, but his "outrageous succudry [pride] and will" prevailed; the Irish leaders, however, refused to take any part in the battle. The battle was fought between Faughard and Dundalk, on October 13 or 14, 1318, after a long lull in hostilities. The Scots were unwisely drawn up in three divisions, too far apart to support each other, and were completely routed, most of their leaders being mortally wounded or falling in the fight.[8] Edward Bruce was slain by John Maupas, whose body was found stretched across the dead body of Bruce. A story in Barbour says that Edward refused on that day to wear his surcoat bearing his coat-of-arms, and that his faithful body-servant, Gib Harper, "that men held als withouten peir," donned it and was killed in mistake for the King. It seems, however, unlikely that anyone else could be mistaken for Bruce, who certainly fell in the battle, though the change of armour may have caused a momentary doubt. Sir John Bermingham brought Bruce's head to the English King and received the earldom of Louth and the barony of Ardee as his reward; and, though the country people still point out the grave of Bruce in the burial-ground of Faughard, it is probably true that his hands and heart were carried to Dublin and his limbs were sent to different places The remnant of the troops fought their way out to Carrickfergus, but with difficulty, "for they were mony tymes that day assalit by the Irischry," who turned against them on their defeat; finally they made their way back to Scotland.

[8] The numbers that fought are very variously estimated, from 5800 to 8274 Scots being stated to have fallen. Bruce seems to have had only a small Scottish army, with a very large following of Irish, who would not fight.

A universal cry of relief went up both from the English and the Irish on the defeat of Bruce. The man to whom the Irish had looked to drive the English out of their land, the man whom they had formally invited over as their king, and for whom they had besought the Pope's assistance, had become in their experience a more formidable danger than the English whom they wished him to displace. The Annals of Clonmacnois, representing Connacht opinion, exclaim: "Edward Bruce, destroyer of all Ireland in general, both English and Irish, was killed by the English in main battle by their valour, at Dundalk, October 14, 1318, together with MacRory, King of the Isles, and MacDonnell, prince of the Irish of Scotland, with many other Scottish men. Edward, fearing his brother Robert would get the credit of the victory over the English...was himself slain, as is declared, to the great joy and comfort of the whole kingdom; for there was not done in Ireland a better deed that redounded better or more for the good of the kingdom since the creation of the world and since the banishment of the Fomorians out of the land than the killing of Edward Bruce; for there reigned scarcity of victuals, breach of promises, ill performance of covenants, and the loss of men and women throughout the whole realm for the space of three and a half years that he bore sway, insomuch that men did commonly eat one another for want of sustenance during his time." [9] A still more remarkable expression of opinion on the career of Bruce in Ireland was given by a Connacht bard, chief poet to the family of Eoghan (or Owen) O'Madden, who died in 1347. His relations with the foreigners of whom he speaks in the passage about to be quoted had been chiefly confined to the near neighbourhood of the de Burghs, who had established themselves in his district of Hy-Many and possessed themselves of great slices of his territory.

[9] We may hope that this final disaster is, like the eating of the eight Scots at Carrickfergus, added for rhetorical effect.

Though he had fought the invaders in his youth, Eoghan appears to have accepted a compromise with the Red Earl, to whose fortunes he and his people attached themselves with the utmost fidelity. He united his forces to de Burgh's on the side of Felim against that prince's rivals for the throne of Connacht, and carried his arms successfully as far as Meath and Ulster. He refused a lordship equal to the extent of his own territory rather than prove unfaithful to the Earl, and won from his bard the praise of having "taught truth to the chieftains and kept his people from treachery and fratricide, checking their evil customs and dissentions and instilling charity and humanity throughout his goodly territories." He did not, like other chiefs, find it necessary to take hostages for fidelity, nor did he have recourse to fetters; and to all he was ready to extend gifts of food, horses, or kine. He improved his lands and enlarged them, built a castle of stone, and repaired churches. It is the bard of this enlightened ruler who speaks thus of the Brace adventure: "In his [Eoghan's] time Scottish foreigners less noble than our own foreigners [i.e., the Norman barons] arrived; for the old chieftains of Erin prospered under those princely English lords who were our chief rulers, and who gave up their foreignness for a pure mind, their surliness for good manners, and their stubbornness for sweet mildness, and who had given up their perverseness for hospitality. Wherefore it was unjust to our nobility to side with foreigners who were less noble than these, like the O'Neills, who first dealt treacherously with their own lords, so that at this juncture, Ireland became one trembling wave of commotion, except the territory of Eoghan [O'Madden] alone, seeing that he would not violate his truth, fearing to act treacherously towards his lord [the Red Earl] without strong cause...Therefore the chieftains of Ireland in general perished through their excessive pride, except Eoghan only, whom God protected in consequence of his good deeds."[10]

[10] Tribes and Customs of the Hy-Many, ed. J. O'Donovan (Irish Archaeological Society, 1843), pp. 136-139.

Such a statement as this shows a new aspect of the relations between the English barons and the Irish chieftains among whom they settled; it is one that makes us reflect that the whole truth about those relations has not generally been understood. There were evidently instances where the position of the Anglo-Irish lord and that of his Irish neighbours was of a friendly nature, recognized as beneficial to both. De Burgh acceded to the wish of Eoghan that no English steward should have authority over his Gaels, but that his own (Irish) stewards should act for both the English and Irish resident in his territory, either in towns or castles; and the same conditions were adhered to by his son William de Burgh. Richard, great fighter as he was, seems to have won his way with the Irish, to whom a forcible character appealed, and even his misfortunes did not lower their esteem for him. When he died in 1326 he is spoken of as "the choice Englishman of all Ireland."[11]

[11] Annals of Clonmacnois, 1326.

In spite of the original invitation to Bruce there was no general rising to support him, even at the moment of his sweeping successes. On the contrary, even those bodies of Irish who were nominally under his banner forsook him on critical occasions, and in more than one instance it was through the misleading of his Irish allies that his troops got into difficulties. The Irish showed no disposition to seize the opportunity of a distracted and weakened authority to combine in an effort to rid themselves of the English; the favourable opportunity to drive the foreigner out of Ireland passed harmlessly away.

The end of the wars of Bruce found the English diminished in numbers, their positions isolated and scattered, and in many instances surprised and cut off. In Ulster, Connacht, and Munster the native Irish were to a great extent regaining their former possessions, and they had followed the example of the Normans in building castles all over the country, into the bawns of which the cattle could be driven on the warning of a raid. The de Clares were gone from Munster,[12] and the Power of the de Burghs in Ulster and Connacht had been seriously weakened. On the death of the Red Earl his grandson, styled the Iarla Donn, or "Brown Earl," born in 1312, succeeded him. He married Maud Plantagenet, granddaughter of Henry III, and daughter of Henry, Earl of Lancaster, thus allying himself to the royal family of England. But the treacherous murder of this young earl in 1333, by his neighbour, Richard de Mandeville, extinguished the senior male line of the de Burghs; and the chiefs of the junior branches of the family in Connacht, fearing the transfer of his possessions into strange hands by the marriage of his only daughter and heiress, Elizabeth, seized upon his estates in that province. The Earl's widow fled into England with her infant daughter, then only a year old. In later life the child was to return as the wife of Prince Lionel, Duke of Clarence, third son of Edward III, who became Viceroy of Ireland in 1361, and whose daughter's descendants, the Mortimers, laid claim on her account to the earldom of Ulster and the lordship of Connacht in addition to their great patrimonial estates in England and Scotland. In the reign of Edward IV these titles became the appanage of the Crown.

[12] Their downfall occurred before the death of Edward Bruce. See Chapter 6.

In Connacht the two most powerful of the great family of de Burgh's or Burkes, as we may henceforth call them, were Sir William (or Ulick) Burke, ancestor of the Earls of Clanricarde, and Sir Edmond Albanach, the "Scottish" Burke, ancestor of the Earls of Mayo. They banded themselves together and declared themselves independent, adopting the Irish title of MacWilliam Uachtar, or the "Upper" Mac William, i.e., the Clanricardes of Galway, and MacWilliam Iochtar, or the "Lower" MacWilliam, Lords of Mayo, under which names they terrorized the entire province. They flung off English dress and habits with the English or French tongues to which they were accustomed, and adopted the ways of life of the Irish around them, their territories descending by the native rule of tanistry, which led to perpetual broils between the aspirants. So well did they accomplish their purpose that Sir Henry Docwra in Elizabethan days thought the Lords of Mayo were of Irish descent, and the compiler of the Book of Howth seems to have regarded the Clanricarde family as of the old Gaelic race. In Sidney's day it had become worthy of note that MacWilliam spoke "very good English."

The English Government was too feeble to enforce English law in Connacht, and the decline of its influence in the province was rapid. From this time onward we hear little of the doings of the native princes, but much of the wild deeds of the Norman Burkes, grown Irish. Joined with the O'Rorkes and O'Conors, they formed a league of "the proudest, wildest, and fiercest clans" in Ireland, and they and the O'Flahertys were considered "the greatest nation and possessors of the strongest country of any people in Ireland," "noble of mind and of good courage."[13] Sir John Davies in the reign of James I says that "there were more able men of the name of Burke than of any name whatsoever in Europe,"—high praise from an English judge. The Clanricarde branch of the family had the wildest reputation. Their nicknames of "Burke of the Heads," "The Devil's Hook," etc., show what manner of men they were. Many of the Burkes, from the close of the thirteenth century onward, added an Irish 'Mac' to their Norman names [14] and became MacPhilbin, MacMeyler, or MacHubert; others became Jennings or Gibbons, with many other variations which effectually concealed their name of origin. The Berminghams became the Clann Fheorais, or MacPheorais (Piers), a name probably adopted from the time of Piers Bermingham (d. 1308), who is called in Grace's Annals "the noble tamer of the North." Their Leinster lands round Carberry were called Claniores (Clann Fheorais); in Connacht their possessions lay round Dunmore and Athenry. In like manner the de Nangles became MacCostellos; the Stauntons, MacEvillys; the FitzSimons of Westmeath, MacRudderys. The Jordans, Prendergasts, FitzStephens, and others, all descended from old Norman families, threw off the English Government; it was powerless to protect them, and its energies for the next three centuries had to be concentrated on holding its own within the limits of the Pale. This district, which included only the present counties of Louth, Dublin, and Kildare, with part of Meath, was so called from a wall or ditch which was erected to enclose it as a protection from the Irish, who came up to its very borders. Outside, the old families speedily became indistinguishable in manners and language from the native septs among whom they dwelt. They were looked upon as rebels, and large portions of their lands were confiscated as such in the seventeenth century. While Sir Henry Sidney was Viceroy, he used to try to recall them to the memory of their origin by reverting to their original family names; MacCostello (Lord Nangle) he styled de Angulo; MacSurtan (Lord Desert) he addressed as Jordan de Exetore; but in his time they had become "very wild Irish," and he had no easy task to reclaim them.[15]

[13] Lord Deputy to Walsingham, 1589.
[14] The 'Ua' or 'O' was never adopted by the Normans; it remained as the patronymic of the pure Gaelic families.
[15] Book of Howth, in Carew, Miscellany, p. 23.

It is strange to find such families as the d'Exeters of Gallen, who became known as the MacJordans from Jordan d'Exeter, and who had entered the province as English sheriffs of Connacht, thus grown into "very wild Irish" in 1571. In days to come the Stauntons had to set forth to the Privy Council their English descent and protest that they had revolted from their old loyalty because some of her Majesty's officers had cast longing eyes on their pleasant lands and their lives had been endangered in consequence. It was this universal sense of danger that caused Barrys of Cork to become Mac-Adams; de la Freignes of Kilkenny to become MacRickies; Bysets, MacEoin or M'Keon; FitzUrsules, MacMahons; and so on. Early in the seventeenth century it was still recognized that some who called themselves MacNamaras had once been Mortimers, as some MacSwines had been Savages, some O'Dowds had been Dowdalls, some O'Byrnes Barnewells. The Desmond FitzGeralds had long been commonly known as MacMorishes i.e., sons of Maurice FitzGerald. To say which of these families now bearing Irish names are of Irish and which of English or Norman origin would be quite impossible.

Some of these old Norman lords even took service under Irish chiefs and princes. An instance of this was the case of Gilbert de Nangle, or de Angelo, to whom Hugh de Lacy gave Morgallion in Meath; he took service under Cathal Crovdearg in 1195 against his own people and was rewarded by a grant of land near Loughrea. The Irish called him Gillipert MacGoisdealbh (Costello), i.e., son of Jocelyn. The original dependence of the Irish kings upon the help of the Norman barons was slowly, all over the country, changing into the dependence of their descendants upon the Irish chiefs. They threw themselves eagerly into the quarrels of the Irish septs and at times took their part against the Government. The battle of Knockdoe (Cnoc Tuadh), the "Hill of the Battleaxes," was fought in 1504 between Gerald, the Great Earl of Kildare, then Deputy, and MacWilliam Burke, who is said to have had on his side "the greatest power of Irishmen that had been seen together since the conquest," the O'Briens, MacNamaras, and O'Carrolls. It was caused by the bad treatment received by a daughter of the Deputy at the hands of Mac-William, her Connacht husband, and resulted in the complete defeat of MacWilliam's forces, great as they were.[16] The English become Irish are said by Campian to be "quite altered into the worst rank of Irish rogues; such a force hath education to make or to mar." To the Irish chiefs found fighting on the English side, the title of Gall, or 'Foreigner' was often given.

[16] See the Book of Howth, op. cit., pp. 181-186, for a detailed and lively account of this battle.

The family of Dermot, elected King of Connacht in 1315, for instance, were so named.[17] The old Welsh and British settlers, such as the Brannachs, Barretts, Joyces, Lawlesses, Merricks, etc., who had come into the country in early times, were at least as turbulent in their lives as the ' original Irish ' among whom they dwelt. The savage incident of the blinding of the Lynnotts by the Barretts of Tirawley is unequalled for its cruelty in the annals of the country; the Barretts, in vengeance for the murder of a brutal rent-collector employed by themselves, drove their tenants of the Lynnott family Minded across the stepping-stones of Cloghan na nDall, and, if any passed without stumbling, blinded him a second time.[18] But everywhere the Irish families were re-establishing themselves and winning back their old lands from the Normans. The O'Kellys reasserted their authority over Hy-Many, and the O'Dowds of Hy-Fiachrach settled down again on their hereditary lands, and the old free life was reorganized among them. In 1351 William MacDonogh O'Kelly invited to his house at Christmas "all the Irish poets, brehons, bards, harpers, gamesters, jesters, and others of their kind in Ireland," where every one of them was well entertained and used, and departed thanking him for his bounty.[19]

[17] Annals of Loch Cé, 1315, 1328.
[18] Dugald MacFirbis, Tribes and Customs of Hy-Fiachrach, ed. J. O'Donovan (1844), pp. 335-339.
[19] Annals of Clonmacnois, 1351.

As far as was possible, the town of Galway held itself aloof from the stirs of the province. From the fifteenth century it prided itself, and justly, on the solid, handsome buildings of hewn stone, erected by Galway citizens or Spanish merchants, which still show above their portals the arms of their founders, and on its splendid bay which became, through the energy of the citizens, the chief commercial port of the West, surpassing even the older merchant city of Limerick in the extent of its French and Spanish commerce. Vaults capable of storing 1000-1400 tuns of foreign wines were built at Athboy in Meath in early Tudor times, to contain the imports of wines from Galway, which were transmitted to Drogheda and Dublin for sale. The Blakes, d'Arcys, ffrenchs. Martins, Lynchs, Kirwins, and other families of Norman, Irish, and Welsh descent, who had settled in the town between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, later were to become known to the scoffing Cromwellian army as "the Tribes of Galway" on account of their attachment to each other and to their city. Already in 1375 the town was of sufficient commercial importance to have the king's staple established for the sale of wool, sheepskins, and leather, a privilege hitherto conceded only to Cork and Drogheda. In spite of enemy ships constantly hovering round the Aran Islands at the entrance to the bay, and in spite of the turmoils of the O'Conors outside their gates, foreign and home trade steadily increased. Though themselves of mixed descent, they looked down with urban superiority and the pride of unstained loyalty to English rule on the "mountainous and wild people" of the countryside, by whom they "were sometimes robbed and killed." [20] They passed severe laws against trade with the Irish, or letting to them any land or tenement within the walls. "No 'O' or 'Mac' should strut or swagger through their streets." In ancient days the furious descents of the inhabitants of the mountainous districts of Joyce's country and West Connacht had inspired the petition inscribed above the west portal of the town, "From the ferocious O'Flahertys, good Lord deliver us."

[20] See letter to Pope Innocent VIII, in Dutton, Statistical Survey of County Galway (1824), Appendix, p. 6.

But even the O'Flahertys settled down in time, and became so observant of the law that in the seventeenth century during thirty years of peace "there was not one person executed out of their whole territories for any transgression."[21] Intermarriages and the necessities of life were stronger than trade laws, and the Mayors of Galway granted the country people certain protections, which were, however, liable to be removed on account of "wilful disobedience, lying and deceit, or of the impossibility of recovering debts or robberies." But the townspeople found the wheat, barley, oats, and rye, as well as the cheese, beef, butter, tallow, and hides, none the worse because they were brought to market from the Aran Isles or from West Connacht. The ground manured with seaweed was so prolific that they sowed in March with as little seed as possible, being sure that not a grain would fail to fructify. Like all the chief merchant towns of Ireland, Galway held closely to the English interest. Its fine church of St Nicholas was, in 1484, erected into a collegiate body with warden and vicars, and was taken over from the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Tuam in order that it might follow the English rite and custom in matters of religion. There was an ordinance enacting that all should wear cloaks and gowns and doublets and hose after the English fashion, even if made of the country's cloth. Society in Galway prided itself on keeping in touch with the latest output in English literature. Sir John Harington, on visiting the city early in Elizabeth's reign, found that his recently published translation of Ariosto had been "entertained into Galway" before he came. With the pardonable conceit of the literary man at finding his work appreciated and known in so remote a city as Galway, he exclaims delightedly: "When I got thither, a young lady, a fair lady, a great lady, read herself asleep, nay, dead, with a tale of it."

[21] Roderick O'Flaherty, Iar-Connacht, ed. J. Hardiman (1846), pp. 16-17.

There were fleets of galleys belonging to the O'Malleys and the O'Flahertys on the Galway coasts, and on the southern coasts the O'Driscolls of Baltimore and the le Poers, or Powers, of Waterford had each their fleet, carrying on constant hostilities with each other and with the citizens of Cork and Waterford. There were numerous sea-fights, which must have kept the coasts lively, between the "merchants, strangers and Englishmen," who were plying their trade along the shores, and the galleys of these lords; mayors and sheriffs seem to have taken part in them. In one of these small naval battles in 1368 the le Poers and O'Driscolls made a united attack on the citizens of Waterford, in which the Mayor and sheriffs and justices of the peace were slain, together with thirty-six citizens and sixty merchants, strangers and Englishmen. Sometimes there were reprisals. In 1413 Mayor Simon Wicken and the bailiffs of Waterford with a band of men in armour arrived at supper-time on Christmas Eve at O'Driscoll's great house in Baltimore. A message was sent in that the Mayor of Waterford had arrived with a ship of wine, always good news in an Irish port. The Mayor and his company were readily admitted. Bidding O'Driscoll and his guests not to fear, for "he meant not to draw no man's blood of them, but to dance and drink and so depart," the Mayor sat down among them to sup, after which all joined in the dance. "After singing a carol," at a sign from the Mayor, each of his men held his partner fast, and O'Driscoll and his family found themselves being borne away to the ship, the Mayor explaining that they should finish their carol at Waterford and make merry with them that Christmas.[22]

[22] Carew, Miscellany, pp. 470-471; and cf. p. 474, apparently taken from the Waterford Book.

The condition of the 'march' or borderlands scattered throughout the island between the native and the English districts was much more pitiable. Though nominally under the authority of English proprietors, they were usually barren and waste lands, chiefly inhabited by Irish, and they were the natural paths by which the incursions of disaffected Irish were made into the districts of English occupation. By day and night they were the channel for surprises and raids. Laws were constantly being passed ordering the protection of the marches by owners of property, and forbidding intercourse with such natives on the borderlands as were in arms against the Crown. Special efforts were made to prevent private wars, so that "there be one peace and war throughout the entire land," in which all were to be called on to assist. But in spite of this the petty raiding and feuds never ceased, and all attempts to improve the march-lands ended in failure. In the circumstances it is not surprising that a large proportion of the proprietors of these borderlands became absentees; no fines or threats of punishment sufficed to keep them from flying to England to escape their costly and unpleasant duties at home. The heavy fines collected from absentees were spent in keeping up horses and soldiery to guard the marches; border castles were ordered to be built, 'paces' or wide avenues cut through the forests, and the highroads kept passable.[23] It was impossible, nevertheless, to secure quiet in these districts; bands of lightfooted Irish marauders swooped down on the villages and towns, or waylaid passing travellers, while the heavy-armed soldiery were unable to follow them into the wild and tangled country into which they disappeared again with marvellous swiftness. The evil system of 'black rents' (dubh cios) had to be resorted to in order to buy off these border-septs, especially the O'Mores of Leix, the O'Byrnes of Ranelagh, and the O'Tooles of Wicklow, who were in the habit of making sudden and terrifying descents on the inhabitants of Dublin from the west and south.

[23] For statutes regarding the march-lands and absentees see the Acts of 25 Edw. I (1297), 3 Edw. II (1310), 1 Hen. IV (1399), in Berry, Statutes and Ordinances, i, 199, 273, 500.

These black rents were gradually extended throughout the country. In 1360 Mahon Moinmoy exacted them from the English of North Munster, and in 1380 Brian O'Brien in alliance with Richard de Burgh forced the payment of "great gifts and tribute" from Munster. Two years earlier the warlike Murchad O'Brien of Ara began to spoil the demoralized English of the Pale, and a special Parliament was called at Tristledermot to deal with him. "With a great force of Irishmen he threatened to destroy parts of Leinster," and a hundred marks were paid to him to induce him to withdraw. It was a ruinous policy, which increased the evil it was designed to prevent. In the reign of Edward IV large sums of money had to be paid annually to O'Connor of Offaly, O'Carroll of Tipperary, O'Brien in Limerick, and MacCarthy in Cork. All these rents were raised out of the incomes of the English settlers. Wexford had to contribute eighty marks yearly to pay off MacMorrogh Kavanagh, while the English of Ulster paid black rents to O'Neill. According to a tract called An Abbreviate of the getting of Ireland and of the decaye of the same the black rents amounted annually to £740 of the contemporary currency. To maintain themselves against such odds became to the English a matter of constant anxiety; they had to keep armed retainers about their houses; and in 1475 even a bishop of Meath when summoned to repair to England pleaded that he was so occupied with hostings that he dare not leave his camp even to meet Parliament.

The English resident in Ireland had no easy time of it. There were exactions from Viceroys and English kings, black rents to Irish chiefs, and heavy costs for maintaining troops, with the continual harassing strife alike with their own countrymen and with the "Irish enemy." Absenteeism grew, and could not be checked; even the appropriation by the Council of two-thirds of the rents of absentees did not suffice to bring back those who had left their estates in the hands of stewards while they lived in England. In 1361 Edward III summoned before him in London sixty-three landowners, lay and clerical, earls, countesses, knights, and abbots, who were absentees from their establishments in Ireland, and ordered them at once to proceed to their Irish estates; but all threats and commands proved useless. In 1371 a case was brought into court, and it was decided that a baron refusing to go into Ireland could not be forced to do so, because, under the provisions of Magna Charta, no free man could be obliged to abandon the realm of England unless by Act of Parliament.[24] Ecclesiastics and landowners alike represented themselves in appeals to the English kings as "continuing in a land of war, environed by Irish enemies and English rebels, and in point to be destroyed." [25]

[24] Gilbert, Viceroys of Ireland, p. 233.
[25] Ibid., pp. 216, 229, 244, etc.

It was often as much a desire of self-preservation as a matter of choice to fall back upon the native method of life, adopt Irish dress, customs, and language, and become one with the people among whom they lived. All of them were dependent on Irish labourers to till their fields and serve their families, and all of them were followed to war by troops of Irish kerne. They envied the provisions of the Brehon law, which punished homicide only with a fine, whereas under English law the culprit (always excepting when the victim was an Irishman) was liable to capital punishment. They had necessarily to learn the language of the country if they would hold any communication at all with their neighbours and dependents, and the native garb, a tunic with a wide, hooded cloak over it, they found to be well suited to the life and climate. Above all, they were glad to be free of the exactions of successive Governments, and they rejoiced in the Irish custom of 'coyne and livery' or free entertainment for man and beast at the expense of their dependents, a habit of which they took full advantage. Gradually most of those who lived outside the Pale dropped into all the native ways, even to the adoption of the 'culan' (cuilfhionn), or long lock at the back of the head, or the 'gibbe' in front over the forehead, while the use of the moustache, "a beard on the upper lip alone," and the Irish manner of riding without a saddle became habitual.



One outcome of the invasion of Bruce was the creation of the great earldoms of Kildare, Ormonde, and Desmond. On May 16, 1316, John FitzThomas, Baron of Offaly, was created Earl of Kildare for his steady loyalty during Bruce's advance into Leinster. In 1328 James Butler became Earl of Ormonde, with a grant of the liberties of Tipperary, and in 1329 Edward III conferred on Maurice FitzThomas the title of Earl of Desmond, with the County Palatine of Kerry added to his already great possessions. Thus came into existence within the same century the three most powerful earldoms of Ireland. Several of the descendants of these Earls became Viceroys during the ensuing centuries. It was hoped that the erection of these three peerages, held directly under the King, would have kept the Anglo-Norman gentry of the South of Ireland quiet and loyal to English rule. But a variety of causes tended to prevent this wished-for result. In the first place there was the tendency already showing itself to relapse into the habits and ways of the people by whom they were surrounded. This was especially the case with the Desmond family, whose palatinate was far from the Pale and who gradually became Irish in all but origin. Against such tendencies the Irish Parliaments in vain directed laws forbidding imitation of, or union with, the native race. Intermarriages were always going on, even in the families reckoned the most English in the land; in the fifteenth century Sir James Butler, who became Deputy under Edward IV, was married to an Irish wife, Sabh (or Sabina) Kavanagh, daughter of Donal MacMorrogh of Leinster, and her third son, Sir Piers Butler, became Earl of Ormonde in 1515. Her husband styled himself Chief Captain of his nation, after the Irish form, and had great influence among the people of his district. An Act of the Irish Parliament had to be obtained to entitle Sabh, as a native Irishwoman, to rights under English law. The father of this Sir James Butler, Edmond MacRichard, had assumed the Irish title as an Irish chief, and evidently spoke and read Gaelic, for two books in that language were compiled for him by one of the O'Clerys about 1453, called The Gaelic Book of MacRichard Butler [1] and the Book of Carrick. They were given as part of his ransom when he was defeated in battle by Thomas, Earl of Desmond, in 1462, such manuscripts having a high value in mediaeval Ireland. If such an intermixture of races was going on even among the Butlers, it is less surprising to find the frequency with which marriages with the daughters of Irish houses occurred among the Burkes.

[1] Now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. It contains parts of the Psalter of Cashel, The Book of Cong, The Yellow Book of Ferns, etc.

It was one such marriage, that of Richard MacWilliam Burke, Lord of Clanricarde (d. 1383), to the Lady More O'Madden, which brought the estate of Portumna into the Clanricarde family. Such households would naturally be conducted in the Irish way, and the children would learn from their earliest days to speak the language of their adopted country. These powerful lords grew restive under the interference of successive Deputies, who never ceased to thwart them in order to check their increasing influence, and who constantly transmitted to England official reports which were calculated to bring their acts into suspicion. These causes, and universal fighting and broils in the country among the English of Norman descent, made frequent Parliaments necessary during the half-century succeeding the invasion of Edward Bruce. The last public appearance of the Red Earl of Ulster was at a Parliament at Kilkenny in 1326, when he entertained the barons in splendid style, retiring after the ceremony to die in the abbey of Athassel; his heir, William Donn, or 'the Brown Earl,' being then a boy of fourteen. By 1327 the quarrels between the barons had become so violent that the de Burghs, the le Poers of Waterford, the de Berminghams, Butlers, and Geraldines, were commanded, on pain of forfeiture, to desist from mustering soldiery and making war on one another. In the South these broils were so constant that the inhabitants of Cork, Kinsale, and Youghal addressed a petition to the Viceroy and Council begging them to send down "two justices and some good English captains and men," without which they say, "we are all cast away, and then farewell Munster for ever." The citizens dared not walk outside the walls for recreation without a body of armed attendants, and as a result of this seclusion they were forced to intermarry, so that "well-nigh the whole city is allied together." [2] The restlessness of men's minds was aggravated by rumours of heresies and trials for witchcraft, but still more by repeated outbreaks of the plague. These outbreaks in Ireland were the final wave of the Black Death, which had swept away more than half the population of England in 1348.

[2] Campian's History, in Ware's Ancient Irish Histories (1809), Bk. II. pp. 141-142. Campian wrote in 1571.

The succession of viceroys reflects the attempts of English monarchs to govern Ireland by a series of experiments. In early times the office of Justiciar (Capitalis Justiciarius) was placed in the hands of the most powerful of the Norman nobles; but their jealousies led to the substitution for them of a series of ecclesiastical rulers, men of European experience, but with little knowledge of the country they were called upon to administer. After them a return was made to the rule of nobles on the spot. The most beneficial tenure of office in the early period was that of Sir John Wogan, who arrived in Dublin in 1295 and brought about a short truce in the Burke and Geraldine wars. In 1307 he suppressed the Knights Templars, whose pretensions had become intolerable, and whose priors, ruling from Kilmainham, defied Deputies in a way difficult to be borne. During his tenure of office he held three Parliaments at Kilkenny, that of 1310 being memorable as the first to which elected representatives of the cities and boroughs were summoned, as well as the spiritual and lay peers, and knights who represented the counties and Liberties. But it was not until 1541 that members of Irish blood were called on to attend. The early Parliaments were exclusively of Anglo-Normans, occupied with the interests and quarrels of their own class. They were, as a rule, anti-Irish in spirit. The condition of things existing in the fourteenth century had never been contemplated in the early days of English rule. All the records go to show that it was the original intention of the sovereigns of England to make no distinction between the people of the two nationalities, but to treat them in every respect alike. Various early Church grants were signed together by Norman and Irish lords, and Irish bishops signed the ordinances of synods or joined the barons in such matters as the decree of 1205 about the body of Hugh de Lacy.[3] The King's mandate appointing Henri de Londres as Justiciar in 1221 was sent to the Irish princes as well as to the Norman knights.[4] In the following year, 1222, when a question as to a writ of bounds came up which was contrary to the law of England, it was laid down that "the laws of Ireland and England are, and ought to be, the same," though in a later comment on the same subject it was arranged that in the lands inhabited by Irishmen Irish custom was to be adhered to, and in the English parts that used in England was to be enforced.[5]

[3] Register of the Abbey of St Thomas, Dublin, ed. J. Gilbert, pp. 315-316, 348-349.
[4] Sweetman, i, No. 1001.
[5] Ibid., 1, Nos. 1033, 1081.

It was one consequence of the submission of the Irish princes that they became henceforth eligible for the protection of English law. Their oath of fealty placed them in this new position. When O'Neill of Ulster, O'Conor of Connacht, O'Brien of Thomond, MacMorrogh of Leinster, and Malaughlan of Meath made their submissions they were recognized as equally capable of enjoying English law with the Norman nobles. Theoretically, English law was thus granted to the whole country, for their rule extended over the larger part of the five provinces. They were known as the "Five Bloods who enjoyed English law," and this placed them in a position of superiority to those who were not so favoured. This is often referred to in legal pleas, as when, in the reign of Edward II, O'Kelly is described as an Irishman "not of the blood or progeny of those who enjoy the laws of England." [6] There seems no doubt that it was intended that English law should become the general usage of the septs of the submitters, and thus gradually be introduced throughout the whole country; but in fact no such drastic change as the substitution of a foreign system of law was possible in a country which had lived for centuries under its own native regulations formed upon a manner of life wholly different from that which had given rise to English law. It could not be universally enforced until the plantations had brought an English population to replace the native inhabitants, people who carried with them the laws, customs, and language of their own country. Up to the reign of James I the Senchus Mór or Brehon law, which the English called "the law of the hills," still held its own over the native parts of the country, and the Brehon, as expounder of that law, retained his authority among the people. But the chiefs who were brought into contact with the English officials, and the merchants, traders, and others who had constant dealings with English people in the Pale felt the practical inconveniences arising from a double system of administering justice, and they made repeated attempts to obtain the protection of English law.

[6] "Praedictus Gulielmus O'Kelly est Hibernicus et non de sanguine aut progenie eorum qui gaudeant lege Anglicana, quoad brevia portanda. Qui sunt O'Neale de Ultonia, O'Connochur de Connacia, O'Brien de Thotmonia, O'Malachlin de Midia, et MacMorrogh de Lagenia." (Archives of Bermingham Tower, 3 Edw. II).

In 1277 Robert d'Ufford transmitted the intelligence that "the Irish had offered 7000 marks for a grant from the King of the common laws of the English," and three years later, in 1280, the request was renewed.[7] The King commanded that a conference should be called immediately to discuss the question; but we hear nothing of it further; probably, like other well-intentioned proposals between the kings and their Irish subjects, the plan was defeated by the men on the spot, whose whole aim it was to widen the differences between the two peoples and to hold down the Irish as an inferior race. About this date the O'Byrnes, the MacCarthys,[8] and even the O'Flahertys of West Connacht appealed for the gift of English law, the latter saying that though they were "meere Irish" they had always been loyal. Many instances of denization to private persons are recorded;[9] it was especially necessary to merchants trading with the towns, in order to put them on an equal footing before the law with the English. Henry III declared that "all Irishmen who chose were to be admitted into the peace of the King and Prince Edward"; [10] but Sir John Davies makes it clear that "the pride, covetousness, and ill counsel of the English planted in the country" interfered to prevent these good designs.[11]

[7] Sweetman, ii, Nos. 1400, 1408, 1681.
[8] Sweetman, ii, No. 2362.
[9] Ibid., ii, No. 1602 ; and see Davies, Discovery of the true causes why Ireland was never entirely subdued (Morley, 1890), pp. 262 seq.
[10] Ibid., 11, Nos. 919, 2298.
[11] Davies, op. cit., p. 281; Grace, Annales Hiberniae, pp. 84-85, note.

During this period of general unrest Parliaments were summoned at frequent intervals; in 1329 one met in Dublin to make peace between the Earl of Ulster and Maurice FitzThomas, Earl of Desmond, and others were called in 1330 and 1331 at Kilkenny when similar disputes had broken out. Violent measures were adopted, which up to this time had been unknown, by weak and vindictive Justiciars, such as Sir Antony Lucy and Sir Ralph d'Ufford (1344), to regain their waning authority, but they only resulted in still further stirring up opposition and increasing disaffection. The Earl of Desmond, though he had received the King's pardon, was captured at Limerick by Lucy and shut up in prison. Sir William Bermingham and his son Walter were taken at Clonmel, and, notwithstanding the King's charter, imprisoned in Dublin Castle. In 1332 Sir William, who is called "a bold and noble gentleman, of rare excellence in war," was hanged in Dublin, to the open grief of many. His son was set at liberty. Campian says quaintly, "William Bermingham, a warrior incomparable, was found halting...and so hanged was he a knight among thousands odd and singular [i.e., remarkable above his fellows for his qualities]." D'Ufford came over in July 1344, after a time of "universal war through the whole of Ireland," and during his period of maladministration the wars between the Desmonds and the Burkes were at their height.

Sir Maurice (or Morish) FitzThomas FitzGerald, first Earl of Desmond, whose great possessions were second only to those of the de Burghs, was the son of that Thomas a nAppagh, or 'of the Ape' whose marvellous escape from the burning house when he was an infant in the cradle, by the aid of a pet monkey, had left him the sole survivor of his family. His father and kin had been wiped out at the battle of Callan (1261) near Tralee by the MacCarthy Mores, of whose lands they had possessed themselves. Thomas lived to grow to man's estate and to avenge the destruction of his family. He was Justiciar in 1295, when Sir John Wogan came over to take office, and he died in 1298. His son Morish FitzThomas extended his influence by a marriage in 1312 with Katherine, daughter of Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, and his fiery temper is shown by his attack on Arnold le Poer for calling him in public a 'rimer.' Morish rose high in favour with Edward III, to whom he had rendered signal services in his Scottish wars, and was by him created first Earl of Desmond in 1329, with a grant of the Liberty or Palatinate of Kerry, to be held of the English Crown, and a grant of the advowson of Dungarvan. He scoured the Irish Sea with a fleet confided to him by the King, and kept the coasts free of pirates. He held the native chiefs in subjection, forcing on them obedience to the English sovereign. The O'Nolans and O'Mores felt his hand in turn. He had ten thousand men of the O'Briens at his back, and the MacCarthys were never free from fear. He turned his hand against his own wife's family, the de Burghs of Ulster, and involved the country in war. Viceroys like Lucy and d'Ufford were not the persons to deal with a proud noble like Desmond, whose power and pretensions were growing to an inconvenient height; both the combatants were shortly afterward captured at Limerick and shut up in prison. Desmond escaped, but was recaptured and sent to Dublin, where he lay in confinement for eighteen months.

Subsequently he was liberated, the highest nobles in the kingdom standing as sureties for his fidelity. But when he was summoned to attend a Parliament in Dublin in 1345, Desmond again, as in 1331 and 1341, "came not"; and d'Ufford, "with the King's banner displayed," marched into Munster, against the consent of the great lords, commanding Desmond on pain of forfeiture of his lands to repair to him. Morish had replied by summoning an independent Parliament at Kilkenny (November, 1341), where, after swearing fidelity to the Crown, a formal complaint was drawn up, to be transmitted to the King, against the policy and greed of "the needy men sent from England without knowledge of Ireland." They proposed three questions for the King's consideration: (1) how a realm at war could be governed by one unskilful in all warlike services; (2) how an officer under the King who entered very poor should in one year have grown to more excessive wealth than men of great patrimony in many years; (3) how it happened, seeing they were all called lords of their own, that the Lord of them all (the King) was not a penny the richer for them? These queries were aimed directly at the Deputies, who were robbing Desmond's castles, revoking patents for grants of land, imprisoning people without cause and extorting from them sums of money, little of which went into the public treasury. The twenty-six noble sureties of Desmond were especially suffering from their depredations, the Earls of Ormonde and Ulster alone being too high placed for him to dare to touch them. A dangerous precedent was set up when, under the influence of men like the Justiciar, Edward III showed his intention of superseding these powerful and independent descendants of the old Norman conquerors by new men, "English born in England," who knew nothing of the country, but flocked over in order to enrich themselves at the expense of the great lords whose influence it was the main object of the officials in power to subdue. After the receipt of the formal complaints made by Desmond's Parliament, d'Ufford was called to England to answer for his misdeeds and for the incessant frays allowed under his government between the Anglo-Norman nobles.

He is said to have replied that "he thought it expedient to wink at one knave cutting off another; it would save the King's coffers and purchase peace in the land," whereat, it is added, "the King smiled." [12] In 1346 the Justiciar died, "to the greatest public joy of all men," and in the same year a truce was granted to the Earl of Desmond. He sailed from Youghal to England with his wife and two sons to state his own case against d'Ufford, and to surrender to the King. Here he remained for three years in nominal confinement within the bounds of London, being allowed twenty shillings a day by the King for his expenses from the time he set foot in England. He became very friendly with Edward III, and was sent home in 1349. In 1355 he was taken under the King's special protection and his sureties were restored to him. In the same year he became Viceroy, but he died in 1356, "not without great lamentation of them that did love quietness and peace." His character is curiously summed up in the words of an Anglo-Irish chronicler: "He was a good man and a just who hanged even his own relations for theft and well castigated the Irish." [13]

[12] This phrase is constantly, but erroneously, taken to apply to the native Irish.
[13] Grace, Annales Hiberniae, 1355 ; Book of Howth, in Carew, Miscellany, p. 166.

Maurice FitzGerald, fourth Earl of Kildare (1318-90), had suffered hardly less from the malpractices of d'Ufford than Desmond had done. He was equally averse to the new policy of superseding the English born in Ireland by English born in England. He had been enticed to Dublin by d'Ufford and arrested while sitting in Council at the Exchequer. But he was released in the following year, and in 1347 was with Edward III at the siege of Calais, where he was knighted by the King. He became Justiciar in 1356, and held the office from time to time till his death. But the evil policy against which he and Desmond protested continued and gave all the old nobility a sense of insecurity which did not tend to peace.

In 1340-41 the King, weary of the tidings of incessant wars in Ireland, petulantly revoked "all grants made either by his father or himself to any person whomsoever in whatsoever way, whether Liberties or possessions or other goods," by which measure almost the whole country was moved to insurrection.[14]

[14] Grace, Annales Hiberniae, 1340-41.

It was unfortunate that his proposal to visit his Irish dominions, made in 1332, was never carried out. His personal dealings with the Earls of Kildare and Desmond, when they sought his intervention, show that he desired to act justly toward them and to undo as far as was possible the evils caused by his representatives on the spot, but he was ill served by the men in power. In June 1364 he ordained that any Englishmen, whether born in England or in Ireland, who should raise any dissension, reproach, or debate between themselves, should be liable to a fine and two years' imprisonment.[15] But such regulations were of little avail to stop feuds among lords surrounded by fighting kerne and jealous of each other's greatness. He therefore, in 1361, took the step of sending his son Lionel, Duke of Clarence, brother to the Black Prince, to represent him in Ireland, ordering all nobles in England who held lands in that country to attend him. The appointment looked like an attempt to revive the policy of Edward I, and to regard Ireland as the appanage of an elder son of the English king, who was to be resident in Ireland. The Viceroyalty of Lionel was ushered in by the creation of many new knights, whose families, such as the Prestons, Talbots, Cusacks, de la Hydes, and de la Freigne (de Fraxinis), became established in the country. Lionel's wife, Elizabeth, the daughter of the murdered Earl of Ulster, accompanied him. Their only daughter married Edmund de Mortimer, Earl of March, whose son Roger, made Viceroy by Richard II in 1397, was the direct heir to the throne; he laid claim to the great possessions of the de Lacys in Meath, the de Burghs in Connacht and Ulster, and the Marshals in Leinster. It was in the desperate hope that it might still be possible to recall the semi-independent Anglo-Norman lords to their allegiance that in 1366 Lionel called together the Parliament which passed the famous Statute of Kilkenny. This Parliament was attended by a number of bishops, and on its conclusion the Bishops of Dublin, Cashel, Tuam, Lismore, Waterford, Killaloe, Ossory, Leighlin, and Cloyne fulminated an excommunication against all who should transgress the law. The lords and commons sat together at the making of the Statute of Kilkenny, and the Statute itself is in French, which was still the language of the law and of society both in England and in Ireland.[16]

[15] Rymer, Foedera (1708), vi, 442.
[16] For the Statute of Kilkenny see Berry, Statutes and Ordinances, i, 430-469.

It is important to remember that the Statute of Kilkenny was not aimed directly at the Irish nation, but at the Anglo-Norman lords; it was inspired by the conviction that these old English were rapidly passing away from their allegiance to the Government, and that their broad lands were dropping back into independent states; and it was an attempt to stop this process before it was too late. The Statute was drawn up by the Irish Parliament, and represents the policy of the Anglicizing party in Ireland itself; and, as such, it is intensely anti-Gaelic in spirit. The earlier policy of endeavouring to draw the two races together was to be abandoned, and a new policy adopted of keeping them apart; it being believed that only in this way could the great principalities be preserved in any semblance of fealty to the Crown. Bitter feeling between the two races was in the ascendant. Lionel had himself witnessed an example of this soon after his landing. He had, on his arrival, engaged in war with the O'Byrnes of Wicklow, and, as a matter of precaution, he had ordered that none of Irish birth should come near his army. He was surprised to learn soon afterward that at least a hundred of his own men were missing; and he discovered that these men were Irishmen in his own army. His English soldiers had taken advantage of his order to massacre their Irish comrades.[17] This unexpected incident so impressed his mind that he afterward "advised himself and united the people, showing a like fatherly care to all." Nevertheless, he presided at the Parliament of Kilkenny.

[17] Grace, Annales Hiberniae 1361.

Though the statutes of this Parliament are in many ways a repetition of earlier legislation, especially of the laws passed at Wogan's Parliament, its provisions are much more detailed and explicit than any former Act had been. In its preamble it states that "whereas for a long time after the conquest of Ireland the English in Ireland used the English language, mode of riding, and apparel, and were governed and ruled with their dependants by English law... thus living in subjection, now many English of this land forsaking the English language, fashion, mode of riding, laws and usages, live and govern themselves according to the manners, fashion, and language of the Irish enemies; and also have made divers marriages and alliances between themselves and the Irish enemies aforesaid, whereby the said land and the liege people thereof, the English language, the allegiance due to our Lord the King, and the English laws there are put in subjection and decayed, and the Irish enemies exalted and raised up, contrary to right. The King has summoned this Parliament in answer to the grievous complaints of the commons of Ireland...for the better observance of the laws, and punishment of evildoers."

The Act deals principally with persons of English origin who are in good position, and it discourages by severe threats of punishment any imitation of or intimate connexion with the native Irish. Marriage or concubinage with them are forbidden and also the close ties of 'gossipred,' and fosterage (Art. II). The English language is to be spoken in English parts and English fashions kept up, and the Irish living among the English are also to use the English tongue. It would seem that things had gone so far that even many of the clergy living among the English could not speak the English tongue, and it is ordered that they shall be given a respite in order to learn it (Art. III). They must also ride with saddles in the English fashion and not bareback. Among English people disputes are to be settled by English and not by Brehon law, and there is to be no difference made between the English born in England, or "new English," and those born in the country, or "old English." It would seem that the feeling between them ran so high that the one called the other "English hobbe" and "Irish dog." It is curious to think of a de Burgh or Geraldine being styled "Irish dog" by some degenerate sycophant from the other side, and little wonder that they retorted by flinging "English hobbe" in the faces of their opponents. All are henceforth to be known alike "as lieges of our lord the King" (Art. IV). There are several clauses dealing with peace and war, the practice of arms, and to prevent the selling of arms to the Irish. No war is to be undertaken by private persons, but only by the Council on the advice of Parliament (Arts. II, IV, X). The practice of keeping kerne at the expense of the retainers is to be stopped, and such kerne, if kept at all, must be at the lord's expense (Art. XVII). Inducements are held out to 'idlemen' [18] to settle down on waste lands (Art. XVIII). An Englishman who breaks a peace or truce made by the authorities between him and the Irish is to be imprisoned and forced to make restitution (Art. XXVII).

[18] 'Idlemen' were gentlemen or persons of good birth, not common vagrants. The word comes from aedel, 'noble.' But they speedily degenerated into outlaws. A viceregal dispatch says: "These English rebels style themselves men of noble blood and idlemen, whereas, in truth, they are strong marauders" (Gilbert, Viceroys of Ireland, p. 288).

Many of these laws were, in the circumstances of the time, just and necessary, and they protected the Irishman at peace, as they protected the Englishman, from the exactions and tyranny of their overlords. Had it succeeded, the Statute of Kilkenny might have been commended as founded in reason and necessity. But it was impossible that it should succeed. The barons to whom it chiefly applied could easily place themselves beyond the reach of the law, and in spite of punishments and excommunications no regulations such as these, which entered into every part of the family and social life, could be enforced. Though successive Parliaments confirmed the Statute of Kilkenny with some modifications, it was practically dead, so far as its objects were concerned, almost before it could be put into operation. With the death of Lionel "the laws died with him also," though Davies says, rather erroneously, that they "restored the English government in the degenerate colonies for divers years." In a country where several of the founders or leaders of the greatest Norman families had taken Irish wives whose descendants were among the chief nobility of England, such rules proved particularly difficult to enforce. These marriages went on, in spite of all laws, and at the close of the fifteenth century three heads of the junior branch of the Ormonde family married the daughters of Irish chiefs, and three daughters of Gerald, Earl of Kildare. Deputy of Ireland, followed this example. The same thing was going on in private families all over the country.

Fosterage with Irish families was adopted almost as frequently by the settlers as by the old inhabitants, and they were unwilling to give it up. Frequent petitions were made and licences granted for dispensing with this statute in particular cases. By it the Norman lord was united with his Irish tenants in the closest bond of affection and interest. In later days it was to the devotion of his foster-parents that many a hunted scion of the old Norman stock owed his safety when in hiding from the English officers of the law. But from the point of view of the maintenance of English authority it is easy to see that these customs were regarded as objectionable, making the law of the land very difficult to enforce. Nevertheless, these regulations, though impossible to carry out, formed a ready excuse in after days for the suppression of the old Anglo-Irish nobility. The apology for the execution of the eighth Earl of Desmond was that he had broken his allegiance by an "Irish alliance and fosterage"; in 1466 an Act attainted the Earls of Kildare and Desmond and Edward Plunket "for alliances, fosterage, and alterage with the King's Irish enemies." The restrictions about modes of dress, fashions of cutting the hair and beard, riding, and using native sports like hurling and 'coiting' might be merely irritating, though they irritated at every moment of life and at every point; but questions of marriage, fosterage, and 'gossipred' entered into the intimacies of family life. In spite of laws to the contrary, the day was to come when one of the greatest of Irish Deputies, Sir Henry Sidney, was to act as ' gossip ' or sponsor to a child of Shane O'Neill.

To the native Irish dwelling among the English these laws proved short and sharp if they went into open rebellion, and very irritating if they remained at peace. Such Irishmen, whether tenants, servants, or merchants, were forbidden to use their own language, even among themselves, under pain of imprisonment and forfeiture of lands, until the offender found sufficient sureties that he would adopt and use the English tongue (Art. III). Such a law must have borne heavily on the Irish of the towns and prevented many willing Irish workers from settling where work was to be had. All Irish minstrels, tympanours, pipers, story-tellers, rimers, and harpers were forbidden to come among the English under threat of fine or imprisonment and the forfeiture of their instruments (Art. XV). This provision was intended as a protection against spies "finding out the secrets, customs, and policies of the English, whereby great evils have often happened." But the Irish piper and minstrel was a welcome guest at the houses of English and Irish alike, and an Anglo-Irishman could enjoy a story of Cuchulain or Finn MacCool quite as much as any O'Sullevan or O'Kelly. Even the most English circles applied at times for permission to keep rimers and minstrels in the family, for the amusement of long evenings and the pleasure of guests. That it was in their power, in the course of their wanderings from house to house, to pick up a good deal of information that was useful to the chiefs regarding the plans and dispositions of the English need not be doubted. The bards gathered news, advised, warned, and encouraged; they stirred up the lagging chief to fresh efforts and applauded his successes. For substantial rewards they sang the praises of their chiefs, welcomed their rise to power, and bewailed their deaths.[19] All this they appeared to be as willing to do for an ' old ' English loyalist who was willing to pay the price as for any Irish 'rebel.' Tadhg MacDaire MacBrodin in later days (he died in 1652) could write a panegyric to an Elizabethan Earl of Thomond, or pen the praises of the Barrys, Bourkes, and Clanricardes, who were fighting against Tyrone, with apparently the same freedom from compunction and in just the same flowery language as though he was lauding his Irish chief.

[19] In the sixteenth century blind Tadhg O'Higgin received as a reward for a single poem in praise of the house of MacSweeney "a dappled horse, one of the very best in Ireland, a wolf-dog that might be matched against any, a book that was a well brimful of the very stream of knowledge, and a harp of special fame" from the bard of MacWilliam Burke, who was present on the occasion. The rentals of a chief bard sometimes amounted to £4000-£5000 a year, exclusive of rewards.

To the English the bards were a well-recognized source of danger, and as such were the object of stringent laws intended to suppress their activities. When caught they were liable to be hung out of hand or driven out of their broad lands, as when, in 1415, Lord Justice Talbot "harried a large contingent of Ireland's poets, as O'Daly of Meath, Hugh oge MacGrath, Duffy and Maurice O'Daly." But these acts of severity were occasional; there was no general massacre of the bards as in Wales; and in Spenser's day they were still playing and singing the beautiful native airs in English houses as freely as in the Irish houses of the chiefs, and everywhere winning praise for their skill and intelligence. Schools of bards and scribes continued to flourish all over the country, and in the Gaelic revival, which no laws could do more than check, they became like the old professional companies of early days. In 1451 Margaret O'Conor Faly, who took the bards under her special care, is recorded to have made a feast at Killeigh, in Leix, at which 2700 poets, musicians, and antiquarians were royally entertained.

The exemptions from the legal restrictions imposed by laws like those promulgated at Kilkenny were frequent, so impossible was it to carry them out. Applications from the towns for permission to trade with the Irish were especially common and seem seldom to have been refused. Applications to "parley with" the Irish of the borderlands were also frequent, such parleyings being generally carried on with bodies of troops held in readiness in case of treachery on either side. The laws were not all framed to hamper the Irishman; if he would but live at peace they helped and protected him. But to live at peace too often meant to sink into the position of a serf to his lord, and to become English in language and custom; the "Five Bloods" gradually lost their old position of superiority as the possessors of English liberty and law.

One of the most severe of the laws enacted against the Irish was that excluding them from holding any religious office in "any cathedral or collegiate church or benefice amongst the English." It was the declared intention to fill the churches of the Pale exclusively with English clergy and the monasteries with English monks. This caused great and natural discontent among the Irish, who "looked on their exclusion from the legal profession as an offence against man, but that of keeping them out of Church dignities as offending against God." Up to a recent date the tendency had been all the other way. Mellifont, the first Cistercian house and the chief of Irish abbeys, admitted no monks who would not swear that they were not of English descent; and so late as 1324 Edward II complained to the Pope that the Irish refused to admit English into their monasteries.[20] The chapter of 1323 expresses its detestation of such damnable divisions, introduced by the enemy of the human race. Retaliatory laws to exclude Irishmen seem to have been passed soon afterward. In 1337 Edward III mentions that his father, Edward II, had ordained that no Irishman should be admitted to any Irish monastery, but had afterward revoked the command. He now ordains that all loyal Irishmen shall be admitted in the same way as Englishmen. But as the bitter feeling between the two nations increased, it penetrated into the monasteries of the new orders, even those of the Cistercians and the Franciscans. These had built their first friary in Dublin in Francis Street before 1232 and became missionaries to the poor. During the campaign of Bruce many Franciscans took part with the invader openly or secretly, while others acted in close concert with the English Government. The difference became so marked that it led to a division in the society, the Southern houses, including Cork, Limerick, and Timoleague, being handed over to the English friars, while an attempt was made to concentrate the Irish friars in a group including Athlone, Galway, and Armagh. By 1327 Athlone had become a purely Irish house, while Cashel, curiously enough, was English.[21] The rapid spread of the Franciscan Society in Ireland, from its foundation in 1231-32, shows the need that existed for some organization that should come into intimate touch with the poor and the ignorant.

[20] R. Cox, Hibernia Anglicana, p. 100 ; Rymer, Foedera (1707), iv, 55.
[21] E. B. Fitzmaurice, Material for the History of the Franciscan Province of Ireland, 1230-1450 (1920), Introduction, pp. xxiv-xxv.

After the Statute of Kilkenny had been passed ecclesiastical prohibitions against Irishmen were rigorously enforced and confirmed in all particulars, a writ in this sense being promulgated in the Kilkenny Parliament of 1380, and sent to eighteen monasteries.[22] The law affected the 'old English' as well as the pure Irish. In 1332 Edward III enjoined that "all holding benefices or married or estated in Ireland, but without possessions in England, be removed" and those having estates in England be substituted. This reads like a penal law of later days. Even the Popes, who in former times had set their faces against rules of mutual exclusion, now approved them, as part of their policy of supporting the English authority in Ireland.[23] More astonishing is it to find the Irish Archbishop of Cashel, Maurice MacCarwell, approving such measures and denouncing a sentence of anathema against any who infringed the statutes of the Parliament of 1310, which enacted, among other things, that "no meere Irishman [i.e., of pure Gaelic birth] shall be received into a religious order among the English in the land of peace in any parts of Ireland," the "land of peace" meaning those districts living under English law.[24] In the native districts, such as Kilmore, Clogher, Clonmacnois, Derry and Raphoe, Tuam, Killaloe, Elphin and Ross, few English names occur in the lists of bishops up to the fifteenth or, in some cases, the sixteenth century; in others they are mixed or wholly English.[25]

[22] 4 Ric. II (1380), in Berry, Statutes and Ordinances, i, 481.
[23] See the Papal rebukes made in 1220 and 1224 in this sense, in Theiner, Vetera Monumenta, No. 36, p. 16, and No. 55, pp. 142-144.
[24] Ware, Bishops (ed. Harris), p. 476.
[25] See the lists given in Ware, Bishops (ed. Harris).

In all cases alike the disposal of ecclesiastical dignities was claimed by the Crown. In spite of legal statutes, licences had frequently to be granted to Irish clerks owing to the lack of sufficient clergy within the Pale, it being impossible to induce priests to come over from England in the required numbers. Many of the bishops elected never went over to their dioceses at all, or speedily returned to England when they had visited them. The Church fell into a miserable condition for want of clergy; even in Dublin, at St Patrick's Cathedral, vespers had to be given up for lack of officiating priests. In 1565 the Privy Council complained that "as for religion, there is but small appearance of it; the churches uncovered and the clergy scattered, and scarce the being of a God known." Laws and regulations founded on false economic and social theories such as were those formulated in the Statute of Kilkenny, which held apart peoples naturally formed to intermingle with one another, are bound to fail; a hundred years later the districts within which these laws could be enforced had shrunk to portions of the counties of Dublin, Meath, Louth (Uriel), and Kildare;[26] and in Poynings' Law (1494) which confirms many of the provisions of the Statute of Kilkenny, the attempt to enforce the speaking of English among Irish people or the riding with saddles is expressly abandoned, earlier laws having failed to enforce these customs.[27]

[26] Parl. of Trim, 5 Edw. IV, 1465, ch. iii, in Berry, Statutes and Ordinances (1914), iii, 345.
[27] Poynings' Parl., Drogheda, 10 Hen. VII, 1495, ch. viii, in Irish Statutes (1885), vol. i.

But in various ways restrictions continued to be placed on the efforts of Irish gentlemen to rise in their several callings and to fill the professions of teaching, the Church, or the law which were open to them. Much has been made of the restrictions applying to students resorting to Oxford for education. Irishmen had entered Oxford in considerable numbers from early times, and many of them had risen high in their several colleges, a native of Dundalk having become Chancellor of the University early in the fourteenth century. But laws which may have been necessary and salutary were passed from time to time, chiefly by the Irish Parliament, to prevent begging students or men "adhering to the enemies" from passing oversea "under colour of going to the schools of Oxford, Cambridge, or elsewhere." Poynings' Act against Vagabonds [28] includes these men "who go about begging, not being authorized under the seal of the University" along with proctors and pardoners who also go about without authority living on the alms of the city. It is evident that men went to England with purposes of their own under pretence that they were going as students to Oxford, and it became necessary that they should get a letter of recommendation from the Deputy or some one in authority under the Great Seal, as a passport for their good behaviour. "Clerks, beggers, chamber-deacons and unattached students" were no more welcome in Oxford than elsewhere. Nor yet were the " felonies and manslaughters" which were a main cause of the restrictions against Irishmen entering a university "which is the fountain and mother of our Christian faith." These have been committed "to the great fear of all manner of people." But from all these regulations "graduates of schools and professed religious persons" and also "graduates or apprentices in law" are expressly exempted. They applied only to improper or turbulent persons, not to serious scholars. Of these there was a constant supply, especially during the sixteenth century, and that no hindrance was placed in their advance to higher posts is shown by the records of Fellows of All Souls and Merton and Oriel of Irish birth, and of learned men who became schoolmasters in their own country on their return, such as Richard Stanihurst and Peter White, the former an historian, the latter a passionate student and teacher of Greek learning at his school in Waterford.[29] The difficulties they had to encounter were chiefly from unfriendly neighbours and officials in their own country.

[28] Ibid., ch. xv.
[29] Lists of Irish students in Oxford and Cambridge are given by Hooker in Holinshed, Chronicles (1586), "Description of Ireland," ch. vii, pp. 39-44, and by Mrs. A. S. Green in her Making of Ireland and its Undoing (1908).

It was the fear that Ireland might slip entirely from the grasp of the English Crown and revert to native conditions under lords of Norman descent but with Irish sympathies that brought over Richard II in 1394. Roger Mortimer, fourth Earl of March (1374-98), a member of this princely family which gave four Viceroys to Ireland in the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, accompanied the King as Lord-Lieutenant. He was the direct heir to the throne. His father Edmund Mortimer had held the same position in 1379, as his vast estates, acquired in Meath and Ulster, partly through the forfeitures of the de Lacys and partly through his marriage with Philippa, had necessitated his presence in that country. Both kept up an almost regal splendour, though in later life, during his second term of office, Roger assumed Irish dress and horse trappings. These accoutrements were to prove the direct cause of his death, for he fell in a rash attack on some of the Leinster clans at Kells in 1398, his dress having prevented him from being recognized. His son, the younger Edmund, was also destined to die in Ireland, being cut off by plague in the midst of negotiations with the Irish chiefs in 1425.

The title of Justiciar, or Chief Justice, at this time begins to be dropped (except for temporary appointments in the interim between two Viceroys) and the more important title of Viceroy or Lord-Lieutenant was adopted. When, as frequently happened, the chief official was absent from his post, a Deputy filled the office, but these titles are loosely used; and the Deputy was frequently a more important personage than the nominal Viceroy, as being actually in residence in Ireland. Richard came over on October 2, 1394, to study affairs on the spot. The result of his inquiries is contained in a letter written by him from Dublin to his uncle the Duke of York, stating that he proposes to hold a Parliament in that city. He writes that "in his land of Ireland there are three sorts of people, wild [i.e., unsubdued] Irish, his enemies; Irish rebels; and loyal English. The King and Council consider that the Irish have become rebels in consequence of the grievous wrongs inflicted on them, for which no remedies were afforded, but that if wisely treated and given hope of grace they would not join with the King's enemies." He has in the meantime taken them into his protection until Easter week in order that they may have time to come in and state their case.[30] By Irish rebels he evidently means the 'old English,' who had become "more Irish than the Irish," such as the Poers (or Powers), Geraldines, Berminghams, Barretts, and Dillons, who are stated a few years later to be in rebellion [31] and who during Richard's visit showed none of the alacrity of the native chiefs to come in and acknowledge fealty to the King. The wiser treatment of which Richard spoke was seldom applied, and the opinion of an old writer that the Irishmen were "enclined to Englisshe rule and order, where Englisshmen would rebelle and digresse from obedience of lawes" [32] was true, for most of the rebellions against the Crown up to Elizabeth's day were organized by the descendants of the old English settlers, and not by the native Irish. In the reign of Henry VIII we have this striking testimony as to the combined result of English policy and Irish social life on the English themselves. The Lord Deputy, writing in 1536 to the King, says: "Your Highness must understand that the English blood of the English conquest is in a manner worn out in this land...some by attainders, others by persecution and murdering of [by] Irishmen and some by departure from hence into your realm of England. And contrarywise, the Irish blood ever more and more increaseth." [33]

[30] See Appendix III for this letter, and Gilbert, Facsimiles, III, No. XXII. The original is in French, still the language of the Court.
[31] See Appendix IV for this information sent to Henry IV in 1399 in a note by Alex. Balscot, Guardian of Ireland and the Council.
[32] Cotton MS., Dom., xviii. British Museum.
[33] Calendar of State Papers, Hen. VIII, ii, Pt. Ill, p. 338.

So far as Richard II was concerned, these Anglo-Norman "Irish rebels" kept prudently in the background during his stay in Ireland, though William de Burgh and Walter Bermingham resorted to the King's ship in May 1395 and were knighted by the King. But of much more importance were the submissions of the Irish kings, again, as in the time of Henry II, led by the representatives of the four provinces, now once more almost independent, O'Neill of Ulster, O'Conor Donn of Connacht, Art MacMorrogh Kavanagh of Leinster, and O'Brien of Thomond, who are said to have submitted "by love and fayreness, and not by batayle nor constraynte." The most remarkable of these submissions was that of young O'Neill, who, acting for his aged father, made his homage to the King at Drogheda on March 16, 1395. He had already written to Richard on his arrival in Ireland, offering him welcome, and assuring him that nothing he had done was to be interpreted as renouncing Richard's lordship, "for I have always recognized the same and do so now." The kings were received on honourable terms and once more restored to full legal rights and confirmed in their lands as holding of the Crown. They represented in their persons the great body of their underlords all over the country, and O'Brien even went so far as to declare that he had acquired no lands by conquest, but only by grant of the King's predecessors to his ancestors.[34] The terms seemed satisfactory to both parties. The Irish kings henceforth had an indisputable right in English law to the lands now confirmed to them, and the English King could boast the allegiance of native Ireland.

[34] These indentures have recently been printed in E. Curtis' History of Medieval Ireland, pp. 308-311, from the instruments in the Public Record Office, London. They are of exceptional interest.

The story of King Richard's doings in Ireland is told in the graphic pages of Froissart and also in a French metrical history of Richard II. In Richard's train there came a French knight named Henry Castide, who had spent many years in Ireland and knew the Irish tongue well. In after days he related his experiences to Froissart, who included the account in his chronicles. He describes the wild life lived by the Irish in the forests and the narrow passes where it was impossible to follow them. So light were they of foot that no horseman, were he ever so well mounted, could overtake them. Castide remarks that they sometimes leapt from the ground behind a rider, grasping him so tightly that it was impossible to shake off the assailant. He himself had had a curious experience of this kind, for, his horse taking fright in the middle of a skirmish, a runner leapt on its back and pressed it forward at full speed into the woods, until they arrived at a village in a retired spot, surrounded by palisades. Here the Frenchman lived, separated from his friends, for seven years. He became much attached to his handsome host, Bryan Costeret, and married his daughter, by whom he had two children, and one of these returned with him to Bristol when at length he gained his liberty by exchange of prisoners. He tells us that the Irish language was always spoken in his family and that he introduced it among his grandchildren as much as he could. The language proved of special use to him, for he was chosen on that account by King Richard to instil English ways and manners into the four Irish princes who had given in their submissions and whom he desired to create knights. Castide did his best to transform them into Englishmen in the short month allotted to him, but in spite of all his efforts "to soften their language and nature" he laments that very little progress had been made. They still insisted on dining with their retainers and minstrels around them, without any distinction of rank, "for they had everything in common except their bed."

Nevertheless, they went through the solemn ceremony of knighthood, watching all night in the cathedral and being robed in magnificent silken cloaks lined with fur, in which they afterward dined with the King. Castide, relating the story to Sir John Froissart, says they were much gazed upon, "for it was certainly a great novelty to see four Irish kings." There is a touch of sarcasm in Froissart's inquiry as to how it came about. "You have said it was accomplished by a treaty and the grace of God; the grace of God is good, and of infinite value to those who can obtain it; but we see few lords nowadays augment their territories otherwise than by force." Neither a treaty nor the grace of God will suffice where the treaty is not founded on justice, and in one instance Richard had departed from the usual upright way in which he had dealt with the Irish kings. This was in his dealings with Art MacMorrogh Kavanagh who had recently submitted. He had been elected king of Kavanagh's country, a district of thirty miles between Carlow and the sea, in 1357, when he was still a youth. Since the reign of Edward III the Kavanaghs had received from Government eighty marks a year in return for their protection to English settlers in these districts, and to keep the sept quiet. But this subvention was frequently unpaid, and disputes arose as to the non-fulfilment of the agreement. In addition to this, Kavanagh had married a daughter of the fourth Earl of Kildare, whereupon her vast estates were seized by the Crown, since she had, under the Statute of Kilkenny, forfeited them by marrying a 'meere' Irishman.

Naturally exasperated, Kavanagh wasted Leinster and took up an attitude of defiance. When Richard came over with his army of four thousand men-at-arms and thirty thousand archers it was chiefly with a view to chastising Art and recovering his lands for the Crown. When the King had cut his way through Leinster to Dublin, and Kavanagh, following the example of O'Neill, came in to submit, the terms made with him were of a kind quite different from those entered into with the other kings. He was required "by the first Sunday of Lent to quit the whole land of Leinster with all the armed men of his following." They were given leave to conquer any other lands now occupied by the King's enemies His rent and the heritage of his wife were secured to him. This last provision, which had been the chief cause of quarrel, is the one generous point in the indenture. But the order to remove from his ancient inheritance could not be carried out. Hardly had Richard left the country when Art was 'out' again, renouncing his allegiance and inflicting a severe defeat on the English forces at Kells in Co. Kilkenny in which Richard's young cousin, Roger Mortimer, whom he had left as Viceroy was slain. Furious at the news, Richard resolved on a second expedition to Ireland, to subdue his rebellious vassal. Again he gathered a formidable army, and men were pressed for Ireland wherever they could be found. After ten days spent at Milford Haven the King crossed to Waterford.

His chronicler says that the King's courage was extraordinary, and indeed that unhappy prince never wanted in personal fearlessness; but those that saw him leave London judged truly when they said: "Well, Richard of Bordeaux has taken the road to Bristol for Ireland. It will be his destruction; he will never return thence to joy." Richard's expedition was from the first ill-fated. His supplies did not arrive, and MacMorrogh cut off those in the country. "Some even of the knights did not eat a morsel for five days together." When at last three ships came into harbour from Dublin the knights plunged into the sea to seize the food from the boats. "Many a cuff passed between them, and over a thousand were drunk that day." MacMorrogh's uncle came in to surrender with a withy round his neck and his followers barefoot and stripped behind him. But when the King pardoned him and sent word to Art that he would admit him also to mercy, and give him castles and lands in abundance if he would do the same, MacMorrogh replied that he "would do no such thing for all the treasure of the sea." Finally, however, Art sent a begging friar to ask for a parley, as the King was slowly making his way north to Dublin. A place of parley being arranged, the King's uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, was sent with two hundred lancers and a body of archers to meet him. An onlooker describes the meeting. "Between two woods," he says, "at some distance from the sea, I beheld Macmore [MacMorrogh] and a body of the Irish more than I can number, descend the mountain. He rode a horse without housing or saddle, which was so fine and good, that it had cost him, they said, four hundred cows. In coming down it galloped so hard that I never in my life saw hare, deer, or sheep, I declare of a certainty, run with such speed. In his right hand he bore a great long dart, which he cast with much skill. He was a fine large man, wondrously active. To look at he seemed very stern and savage and an able man." The two leaders could not come to an agreement; "they took short leave and hastily parted." Art would give no terms other than that he should never be molested or interfered with. The King grew pale with wrath and swore that he would never depart from Ireland till he had Art in his power, alive or dead. He offered a hundred marks of gold to anyone who would bring him in. But Richard never got hold of MacMorrogh. When wind and storm permitted news to come over from England they brought tidings of a general revolt, which was to end only in the deposition and death of the King and the coronation of Henry IV.

Among those who accompanied Richard II on his expedition to Ireland was the young Duke of Lancaster, afterward to become king as Henry V; he had been knighted by Richard amid the blazing woods of Leinster. He was covered with shame and distress when the account of his father's rebellion was brought to him, but though he was held in light confinement in Trim Castle as a hostage for his father, the good relations between him and Richard do not seem to have been disturbed. His first act on his accession was to pay funeral honours to the remains of the murdered king.

MacMorrogh continued fighting to the close of his life. He never submitted, and though living close to the Pale he succeeded in maintaining his independence. He died in New Ross during the Christmas season of 1417, after a reign of forty-two years. Tradition says that he and his chief brehon, who died on the same day, had been poisoned by a woman.



The history of the fifteenth century was in England largely occupied by the savage dynastic struggles known as the Wars of the Roses. In Ireland it was a century in which similar struggles were carried on by the three great families of the Ormondes, Kildares, and Desmonds, whose efforts for power kept Ireland in a like state of turmoil. The Wars of the Roses had a direct effect upon Ireland, for the Ormondes as Lancastrians and the Desmonds as Yorkists took an active part in the contests, fighting on opposite sides. Large bodies of Irish kerne were drawn off to serve in the English and Continental wars, the kerne of the MacCarthys, O'Kellys, MacManuses, MacGeoghegans, O'Keeffes, and other purely Irish families being sent in as large numbers as those of the families of English extraction. The pretenders to the throne on the Yorkist side, Jack Cade and 'Perkin' or Peter Warbeck, created a much greater enthusiasm in support of their claims in Ireland than they did in England. Cade (1450) believed himself to be a Mortimer, a family whose representatives were well known in Ireland on account of the successive Viceroys of that name; Lambert Simnel, in 1487, gave himself out to be the Duke of Warwick; and Perkin Warbeck, in 1497, was believed to be the younger of the two princes murdered in the Tower. All of them put forward claims to recognition sufficient to bring them the support of influential persons at home and abroad; and all of them, especially the last, found vigorous partisans in Ireland. Warbeck besieged Waterford with Maurice of Desmond and an army of 24,000 men; but the ships sent to their assistance having been captured, he fled to Cork and thence to Leper's Island, near Kinsale, where he took ship in a Spanish bark and escaped to Cornwall. Here he was apprehended, taken before King Henry VII at Exeter, and afterward executed.[1] Simnel was still more popular; he was carried through Dublin in triumphal procession on the shoulders of leading nobles and crowned in Dublin Castle by the Earl of Kildare, who was then Governor, all the Lords and Commons supporting him.[2] He seems to have been a handsome boy who bore himself well. It was the loss of so many scions of royal blood in the unnatural family wars of the Roses that made it possible for pretenders to impersonate these missing princes. Men were imprisoned or disappeared, and none but those most responsible knew what had become of them. The heads of the greatest in the land fell freely on both sides. When Richard III suddenly felt himself possessed of "inward compassion" for the cruel and unjust execution of Thomas, Earl of Desmond, he could truthfully point "to his brother, his nigh kinsmen and great friends" who had similarly suffered.

[1] Carew, Miscellany, p. 472.
[2] Ibid., pp. 188-190, 472-473.

One cause which strengthened the Yorkist claims in Ireland was the sending over of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, the head of the White Rose party, as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in 1449. By his mother, Anne Mortimer, he was the direct representative of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, and he had reasonable and strong hopes of succeeding to the throne. His beautiful wife, the 'Rose of Raby,' was mother of two kings, Edward IV and Richard III. He came over with much pomp and splendour, as Lord-Lieutenant for Henry VI, and, unlike some others of the royal line, who about this period were successively appointed to the post of Viceroy, he remained some time in Ireland, and ruled well and justly. He was a successful Viceroy, for he not only attracted to himself and his line most of the English in Ireland and stayed the tendency toward disaffection, but his beneficent measures brought in the Irish lords in great numbers. It was said that the influence of the Duke of York was so great that "ere twelve month come to end the wildest Irishman in Ireland will be sworn English." The list of Irish lords who came in and brought their kerne with them included O'Byrne, O'More, O'Farrell, O'Nolan, O'Dempsey, MacMorrogh, MacGeogheghan, O'Hanlon, and O'Neill. Besides these, Magennis, lord of Iveagh, brought with him 600 horse and foot, MacMahon 800 men "well harnessed," the O'Reilleys 700, "with many other that be the King's liege men." The head of the O'Byrnes, after a sharp reminder of the King's power, was "sworn the King's true subject, his wife and his children to learn English and wear English array, and the King's laws to be suffered throughout his land." The Norman lords followed suit. De Cogans, Roches, Barretts, Desmond the White Knight, and the nobles of Eastern Ulster and Leinster, described as "kings, dukes, earls, and barons," bound themselves by indentures and hostages as sworn liegemen of the King. It was time that something should be done, for a memorial addressed to Richard Plantagenet by the liegemen of Co. Kildare in 1454 complained that "this land of Ireland was never at the point finally to be destroyed since the conquest as it is now," no loyalists even in Leinster or Meath daring to appear in the King's courts, or to ride to market towns for dread to be slain, or having their goods spoiled, through the misrule and violence of "divers gentlemen of the counties," of whom the Lords of Kildare were the worst offenders, "more destruction being committed by them than was done by Irish enemies and English rebels long time before."

The hopes of the Duke of York were cut short at the disastrous battle of Wakefield in 1460. He led a great army of Irish kerne over to England to support his claims to the throne and joined them with the English troops. They met with a decisive defeat; Richard Plantagenet fell, fighting bravely, but in the following year his son, Edward IV, ascended the throne as the representative of the house of York. Thus ended the career of one who as Viceroy of Ireland had, during his ten years' government, "exceedingly tied to him the hearts of the noblemen and gentlemen of that land."[3] One of the most independent of the native princes, MacGeoghegan of the Hy-Fiachrach, hitherto always ready to combine with the English rebels, was treated by him with such honour that he went home boasting that "he had given peace to the King's Lieutenant."

[3] Gilbert, Viceroys, p. 368.

It was in the last year of Richard Plantagenet's life that the Irish Parliament, sitting under his presidency, made an effort to enlarge its independent powers. In the later years of the reign of Edward III the members had claimed the privilege of refusing to send representatives to England on the demand of the sovereign, and had protested "the rights, privileges, and usages which the Lords and Commons from the time of the conquest of the land of Ireland had possessed and enjoyed." [4] Now, in 1460, stimulated by the Duke's presence, and strengthened by the memory of their late services to the Crown, they made a further step in asserting their liberties. The Commons affirmed that Ireland, being corporate in itself, was "bound only by such laws as the Parliament or Great Councils of Ireland itself held, accepted, and proclaimed." It was the first clear enunciation of the principle of Irish Parliamentary independence, stated in unmistakable language. This principle, which was thrown to the winds during the Tudor period, when it was the aim of the sovereigns to make Ireland directly dependent on the will of the Crown, was one for the recovery of which Ireland was to fight for centuries; it was the principle which in after days was to be reaffirmed by Molyneux, Grattan, and Parnell. It was violently resisted thirty-four years later in Poynings' Law (1494), which rendered the Parliaments of Ireland completely dependent on those of England. The immediate cause of the passing of this law lay in the disputes of the leading Anglo-Irish families which had lowered the Irish Parliament into a mere tool in the hands of whichever party was in power, and had utterly destroyed any representative character which it had possessed. Butlers, Kildares, and Desmonds had used it in turn to advance the interests each of his own house. It only remained for a Tudor autocrat, watching his opportunity, to put an end to these unseemly quarrels by robbing it of its former independence of action.

[4] Gilbert, Facsimiles, iii, No. XIX.

Poynings' Law had also another purpose; it was intended to prevent any further efforts of the Irish nobility to influence the course of events in England. During the long dynastic wars Desmond and Kildare had carried on a struggle on behalf of the house of York which had helped to decide the succession in a direction contrary to that which finally prevailed, and the Lancastrian Henry VII was determined that this should never occur again. He designed to render the Anglo-Irish gentry powerless outside their own country and seriously to diminish their influence within it. In the Parliament called by the Lord Deputy Poynings at Drogheda in December 1494 there was passed the Act which bore his name and which for three centuries was to deprive the Parliament of Ireland of even the shadow of independence. Judges and other officials were to hold office during pleasure and not by patent as heretofore; the chief castles were to be placed in English hands; to carry weapons or wage private wars, or to excite the Irish to take up arms, was made illegal and high treason, and the chief measures of the Statute of Kilkenny were re-enacted. The principal clause provided that no Parliament should be summoned in Ireland except under the Great Seal of England, or without due notice to the English Privy Council; and that no Acts of the Irish Parliament should be valid unless previously submitted to the same body. A still more controversial measure followed, which declared that all laws "late made in England" should apply to Ireland, even if they had never been approved by the Irish Parliament or made known to them, and subsequently even this stretch of the prerogative was exceeded by the decision that this should apply to all laws whatsoever passed in England up to that date. This article reads as follows: "Be it ordained and established by authority of this present Parliament...that all statutes late made within the said realm of England concerning and belonging to the common and public weal of the same be henceforth deemed good and effectual in the law, and over that be accepted, used, and executed within this land of Ireland in all points at all times requisite according to the tenour and effect of the same; and over that by authority aforesaid, that they and every of them be authorized, proved, and confirmed in this land of Ireland. And if any statute or statutes have been made within this said land hereafter to the contrary, they and every of them by authority aforesaid be revoked, void, and of none effect in the law." [5]

[5] Irish Statutes, 1 Hen. VII.

Thus by Poynings' Law not only was the Irish Parliament rendered helpless to pass regulations for its own country and made completely subordinate to that of England, but Ireland was also saddled with a whole body of laws in the making of which she had no part and which were designed for England only. A slight modification was made in Mary's reign, and during the rebellion of 1641 Charles I promised its repeal, but this was never carried out. On the contrary, the principle was extended by a statute passed in 1719, enabling the English Parliament to legislate for Ireland without reference to the Irish Parliament, and it required the lengthened struggle at the close of the eighteenth century to bring about the repeal of these laws. Yet, though Poynings carried out the purpose with which he was sent to Ireland, it was not easy by Act of Parliament to deprive the Anglo-Irish nobility of all semblance of independence. The Pale was reduced to the weakest point, and the country was unable to pay its way. In spite of the intention of filling all posts with Englishmen sent over with that object, the gentry of the country had again to be called upon, the new English not being willing to face the prevailing conditions. Kildare was once more installed as Deputy, and the Geraldine supremacy lasted till 1534, when the outbreak of the rebellion of "Silken Thomas" brought it to an end.

It is necessary at this stage to sketch the past history of the two branches of the great house of the Geraldines, the Desmonds and Kildares, whose ancestors had been the first to respond to the appeal of Dermot MacMorrogh for help, and who had carved out for themselves large tracts of Leinster and Munster as their reward. The FitzGeralds, or Geraldines, traced their descent traditionally to the powerful family of the Gherardini of Florence, who up to a late date acknowledged the connexion by keeping up a friendly correspondence with the two Irish houses.[6] We have seen the rapid rise to power of the family after their arrival in Ireland and the vast estates controlled by them. They had become thoroughly Irish, speaking the native language in their home life and encouraging native brehons, bards, and historians in their families. Their war-cries of "Crom-aboo" and "Shanad-aboo" were heard in many a fray and were answered by the "Lamh-laidir-aboo" of the O'Briens over the border.[7]

[6] There are letters extant written by Gerald, Earl of Kildare, in May, 1507 to the Gherardini family at Florence, and a letter to the Earl of Desmond (Earls of Kildare, p. 65).
[7] Croom and Shanad were castles of the Geraldines; the cry meant "Up with Croom" and "Up with Shanad." The O'Brien cry was "Up with the strong hand."

It required an Act of Parliament in 1495 to suppress these dangerously exciting battle-cries. The FitzGeralds, unlike the Ormondes, with whom their houses carried on an hereditary feud from century to century, were always inclined to alliance with the native chiefs. It will be well to speak of the Desmonds and the Kildares in turn, and to trace their history up to the outbreak of the Geraldine rebellions.

The Desmonds were unfortunate in their family succession. On more than one occasion the deaths of the direct heirs by accident, or the disputes between different members of the family, led to such confusion that the succession is reckoned differently by various genealogists. Gerald, or Garrett, the third (or fourth) Earl (d. 1398) received the estates from his elder brother Maurice, who died young, on condition of marrying Eleanor, daughter of James Butler, the second Earl of Ormonde (d. 1382), who, in the reigns of Edward III and Richard II, had received many gifts of lands and who was then, in 1359, Viceroy of Ireland. The object of this marriage was to bring to an end the wars between the two houses, which had been carried on from year to year and were destructive to the country. But no plans, however well laid by English kings, availed to stay this family feud, which was to be further increased in the reign of Henry V by the close friendship between James the "White" Earl of Ormonde and Thomas of Lancaster. This made adherence to the Lancastrian cause traditional in the house of Ormonde, while the Desmonds were strongly Yorkist. Though the Desmonds remained loyalist up to the time of the Reformation (which threw them definitely on the side of the anti-English Catholic confederation, and produced the rebellion of Elizabeth's reign) they were increasingly Irish in their habits and sympathies. Gerald even gave his son James to be fostered by the O'Briens.

Gerald is styled "the Rhymer" or "Poet," and some very charming poems in Anglo-Norman French, founded on French models, delicate and ingenious lyrics like the Court poetry of the Elizabethan period in England, remain to prove the European strain of culture that mingled with the Irish tradition in his mind, and the union of which produced an aristocratic love-poetry of the type of that of Wyatt and Surrey. Some poems written by members of his house are to be found in a manuscript in the British Museum,[8] and have for heading the title Proverbia Comitis Desmonie. His Gaelic poems and those of his family, some of which may be earlier than this date, remain in the Scottish Book of the Dean of Lismore. This Gerald is a romantic figure, "a nobleman of wonderful bounty, mirth, and cheerfulness of conversation, charitable in his deeds, easy of access, a witty and ingenious composer of Irish poetry, and a learned and profound chronicler," say the historians of his country. In 1367 he succeeded Lionel, Duke of Clarence, as Justiciar, acting at other times as his Deputy to uphold the King's policy in Munster. But to his own people he was famous chiefly for his erudition; they looked on him as a mathematician and the possessor of magic arts. Such a man could not die, and tradition says that in 1398, after being thirty years earl, he disappeared under the waters of Loch Gur, where he sleeps, save once in every seven years, when he awakens and passes over the waters of the lake, riding upon its ripples.

[8] Harleian MS. 913, fol. 156, called "the Book of Ross and Waterford" See T. F. O'Rahilly and R. Flower, Dánta Grádha (1926), xiii.

Again, on his departure, the succession was disputed, two of his sons and his brother having died young, leaving no children. Finally his third son, James, O'Brien's foster-son, succeeded in displacing his nephew Thomas, who had more direct claims to the earldom. Of this Thomas it is said that in him "the pernicious disease that infested his posterity first took rooting," for he went twice into rebellion, forfeiting his estates, and "after many turnings and windings up and down the realm" he died in 1446 in banishment in France.[9] James was father of the eighth or "Great" earl, Thomas FitzGerald, by his wife Mary, daughter of Ulick Burke, who succeeded to the family estates in 1462, and in the following year was appointed Deputy to the Duke of Clarence, the Lord-Lieutenant. Being a strong Yorkist, Thomas attached himself warmly to the fortunes of Edward IV, fighting on his side in nine battles against the Lancastrians and rising high in the King's favour and personal friendship. As a hostage for the loyalty of his house he had been educated at Court, and he was thoroughly at home in England. He was a man of great activity and occupied himself in building border-castles to defend the Pale and in garrisoning the passes of Offaly; he was "a lord wise, learned in Latin, in English, and in the old Gaelic writings," combining in his person the best knowledge of both countries. He relaxed the orders against trafficking with the Irish, in spite of prohibitions passed in the Irish Parliament; and he set himself to do justice and show humanity to all. For some years he ruled nobly and discreetly and then retired to his estates in Munster. But "the old malice that had been between the bloods of the Desmonds and Butlers," as Lord Grey said at a later date, broke out afresh in 1463, and the Earl entered and devastated the Butlers' lands. Complaints were transmitted to London by those who were jealous of his power and influence, accusing him of taking "coyne and livery" contrary to the law, of relaxing the orders against "trafficking with the Irish enemy," and of entering into treasonable correspondence with the Irish. But he laid his case in person before the King in 1464, and Edward, with whom "he was in singular favour" and "who took pleasure and delight in his talk," [10] refused to listen to the accusations of his enemies. On the Irish Parliament certifying that "he had always governed by English law and had brought Ireland to a reasonable state of peace, having, moreover, rendered great services at intolerable charges and risks," he was restored to office by the King, and six manors in Meath were granted to him. In his own district he devoted himself to improvements.

[9] Unpublished Geraldine Documents, ed. S. Hayman and J. Graves (1870).
[10] J. Clyn, Annalium Hiberniae Chronicon, ed. R. Butler (1849), at date.

At Youghal, where he lived, he founded a college with a Warden, eight Fellows, and eight choristers, who lived together in a collegiate manner, having a common table and all other necessaries allowed them.[11] In his time representatives went from Cork to the Irish Parliament. This great man was cut off in a sudden and mysterious manner. Sir John Tiptoft (or Tibotot), Lord Worcester, who was his determined enemy, was sent over as Viceroy in 1467, apparently at the wish of Edward's Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, who had long been jealous of Desmond's influence with the King and was watching her chance to bring down the Earl's pride. Desmond had been opposed to the King's marriage with Elizabeth, whom he considered as a woman unsuited to Edward's rank and position, and he is said to have counselled the King to divorce her. Some whisperings of this had reached the Queen's ears, and hardly was Tiptoft well in office than she sent over an order, as though in the King's name and sealed with his privy seal, ordering him to take and execute Desmond.[12] On receiving her injunction he hastily called a Parliament at Drogheda, to which Desmond and Kildare were both summoned; they were arraigned, and Desmond was speedily executed, "to the great astonishment of the whole nobility of Ireland." With him was executed Edward Plunket. This event, which happened on February 14, 1468, when Thomas was only forty-two years of age, sent a thrill of horror through the land. English and Irish alike condemned a crime committed "without cause, without guilt, without right at law, but only through jealousy and envy." The vague charges brought against the victims might equally have been brought against any great lord who lived in amity with his Irish neighbours, and other nobles must have felt their heads in danger. "The King was wondrously offended," and the Queen, the author of the whole mischief, had to fly to sanctuary. Even Richard, the King's brother, afterward King Richard III, himself soon to become an expert in swift and needless executions, described Desmond as "atrociously slain and murdered by colour of law against all reason and sound conscience." Long afterward, when Sir Henry Sidney came over as Deputy, he had Desmond's body removed to a tomb in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

[11] S. Hayman, New Handbook of Youghal (1858).
[12] This is the story given in the Book of Howth in Carew, Miscellany, pp. 186-188; and see Annals of the Four Masters, 1468.

The death of Desmond loosened the bonds which had up to this time held the Anglo-Norman lords of the South attached to the Crown. It showed how difficult it was for even the most esteemed among them to keep in favour with the Government of his country if he were known to act justly and mercifully toward his Irish tenants. Such acts of humanity could easily be represented as "aiding the King's enemies" by anyone maliciously inclined toward the offender. The representatives of these great houses were in a difficult position; they felt themselves and were, indeed, looked upon as neither Irish nor English. They were "Irish to the English and English to the Irish." Close as they were to their adopted country in their sympathies, they had not yet forgotten their English origin and allegiance. The immediate result of Desmond's judicial murder was an outbreak by his sons; the first of those devastating rebellions which in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were to reduce the fertile province of Munster to a desert. They wasted the country up to the gates of Dublin. Tiptoft was recalled for maladministration, and not even the Queen's letter, which he produced, could purchase his life; he had to "make satisfaction for the angry ghost of Desmond." By his execution "God was held to have avenged this treachery," and the King made the largest offers of pardon and restitution to the young men who had taken up arms to avenge the death of their father. His letters were so conciliatory that on reading them the Desmonds decided to lay down their arms, receiving in return extended privileges and large additions to their lands in Kerry, with the town and castle of Dungarvan. Four of them in turn succeeded to the earldom, and they were said to be "wyse and politicke men" who advanced the position of their house at the expense of their Irish neighbours and to the envy of their friends.

Meanwhile, the House of Kildare was also playing a leading part in the history of the country. John FitzThomas FitzGerald, sixth Baron of Offaly, created Earl of Kildare by a patent of Edward II dated May 16, 1316, was in the fourth generation from Maurice FitzGerald (d. 1176), the invader of Ireland and founder of the family fortunes. His greatgrandfather Gerald, son of the invader, had erected Maynooth Castle and fixed his seat firmly in Kildare; and Maurice, son of Gerald, held the high post of Justiciar in 1229 and 1232. The family had proved themselves good servants of the Crown, both in the wars with Bruce in Ireland and with the Scots in Scotland, and had steadily advanced in the royal favour. Thomas Fitzjohn FitzGerald, who died in 1328, had held the post of sheriff for County Kildare, and was twice Justiciar, presiding in that capacity at the Dublin Parliament of 1324 at which the nobles pledged themselves to support the Crown. His son Richard died, a boy of twelve, in 1331, and the earldom devolved on the youngest brother Maurice (1318-90), who became the fourth Earl. Much of his life was occupied in supporting the opposition led by the Earl of Desmond to the new policy of d'Ufford and Sir John Morice, which aimed at the superseding of the English born in Ireland, such as the Geraldines themselves were, by English born in and brought over from England. Like Desmond he was pursued with malignancy by the anglicizing Deputy. He was enticed to Dublin and arrested at the Council table; but, as we have said, he was released next year, and he accompanied Edward III to the siege of Calais in 1347, being knighted by him for his services. He was sent back to Ireland as Justiciar in 1356. In spite of being closely watched by English Viceroys jealous of their superior influence, the Kildares maintained their position as the leading magnates of Ireland and were steadily supported by successive sovereigns.

From 1455 to 1459 Thomas FitzGerald, the seventh Earl (d. 1477), acted as Deputy for Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and welcomed him to Ireland on his flight from the Lancastrians. He it was who built the dyke round the now narrowed English Pale, from which it took its name. For its defence he founded the "Brotherhood of St George," a body of archers and spearmen, and excluded from the garrisons all disloyal Irish. He lived in perilous times; the Lancastrians in vain sought to intrigue with the Irish against him; but he could not escape the bitter animosity of the Deputy Tiptoft, and became involved in the attainder of Desmond at Drogheda. But his attainder was reversed by the King and repealed at the Parliament of 1468, and Thomas was reappointed Deputy and remained in office till 1475.

On his death in 1477 he was succeeded by the eighth Earl, Garrett or Gerald, known as the "Great Earl of Kildare." The latter was appointed Deputy in the following year, but the disputes between his family and the Butlers rose to such a height that Edward IV resolved to set aside both rivals to the position of honour, and sent over Lord Grey of Codnor as Deputy in Kildare's place. Kildare refused to acknowledge his authority, alleging that the letters dismissing him were only sealed with the King's private signet and were not official. He called a Council at Naas, which passed an Act authorizing him to adjourn or prorogue Parliament at his pleasure, and the curious spectacle was witnessed of two rival Deputies refusing to acknowledge each other and presiding over rival Parliaments. Annoyed at these feuds, the King summoned before him both the Earl and Grey; but Grey, tired of the contest, retired from office, and Kildare, in the manner of his forefathers, returned with a new commission. He ruled with vigour and justice "his name alone aweing his enemies more than an army." He is described as tall of stature and of a goodly presence; and, unlike the "secret and drifty" Ormonde, he was "open and plain, hardly able to rule himself when he was moved; in anger not so sharp as short, being easily aroused and sooner appeased." [13] He carried his arms into the country of the O'Mores, with whom his family were constantly at war, and he took part in the Ulster wars on the side of his son-in-law, Conn O'Neill. He married his daughters into the houses of Irish chiefs and Norman representatives alike, Lady Eleanor marrying the MacCarthy Reagh; Lady Alice, Conn O'Neill; Lady Eustacia, the Lord of Clanricarde; and Lady Margaret, in the vain hope of healing the breach between the two families, wedded Sir Piers (or Pierce) Butler, who later became the eighth Earl of Ormonde and first Earl of Ossory. This lady, who was known as Mairgread Gerroid, or sometimes playfully as Magheen, or "Little Margaret," on account of her lofty stature and character, has left long traditions behind her. Like her father, the "Great Countess of Ormonde" was a woman of remarkable ability, "able for wisdom to rule a realm, had not her stomach overruled herself." She set herself to reclaim her husband's country "from the sluttish and unclean Irish custom to the English habits, bedding, housekeeping, and civility"; but her marriage failed of its prime object, for the feuds between her father's and her husband's family soon broke out more furiously than ever.

[13] Edmund Campian's History, in Ware's Ancient Irish Histories (1809) p. 158.

The house of Ormonde was now at the height of its power; it was the only Anglo-Irish family that rivalled the Geraldines and from which, besides their own, successive Deputies were chosen. Sir Piers was twice Deputy, once in 1521 and later in 1529, before the arrival of Sir William Skeffington. It had been the intention of Henry VIII to marry him to Anne Boleyn, with whose family he was already connected, for a daughter of the seventh Earl had married Sir William Boleyn, and thus their son Thomas became grandfather to Queen Elizabeth. The zealous Lancastrian sympathies of the Butlers dated from the days of the fifth Earl, James Butler (1420-61), who was knighted by Henry VI and created an English peer in 1449. He had commanded at the decisive battle of Wakefield in December 1460, and he it was who slew Richard, Duke of York, on that bloody field. But at the battle of Towton he was taken prisoner and beheaded, his estates being forfeited for a time; though, with the exception of the Essex properties, they were afterward restored to his brother and successor, Sir John. Thomas, the seventh Earl, was reputed to be the richest subject of the Crown; on his death he left £40,000 in money, and besides his Irish estates he possessed seventy-two manors in England. He was the only Irish peer whom Henry VII or Henry VIII had called to the House of Lords. His family had a high tradition for good looks and nobility of bearing.

Edward IV used to say of his elder brother, Sir John Butler, the sixth Earl, that "he was the goodliest knight he ever beheld and the finest gentleman in Christendom; and that if good breeding, nurture, and liberal qualities were lost to the world, they might all be found in the Earl of Ormonde." He was a man of European culture, with a thorough understanding of many languages, and had served as ambassador at nearly every European Court. He resigned his earldom to his brother Thomas, and went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, dying on the way in 1478. Such was, in brief, the history of the family into which Margaret FitzGerald married. Her husband, Sir Piers, was the third son of Sir James Butler, his two elder brothers being illegitimate, and his mother was Sabh Kavanagh, of whom we have already spoken. He was a man of ungovernable temper, spending his life in suppressing Irish rebellions and warring with Desmond and Kildare in turn. The Talbots got him removed in 1524, but the King, Henry VIII, appointed him Lord Treasurer in Ireland. "No man," it was said, "dare complain of Kildare except Ormonde." In 1527 he surrendered the earldom to Sir Thomas Boleyn, the grandson of the seventh Earl, and was created instead Earl of Ossory, but the older title was restored to him. With the help of his energetic wife he brought over weavers and artificers from Flanders and established industries for the production of tapestries, carpets, diapers, etc.[14] His eldest son was created Viscount Thurles in 1535 and later became ninth Earl of Ormonde. But he was the victim of unjust suspicions of hostility to the Government and was destined to fall in a mysterious way by poison at Ely House, Holborn, in 1546. His son Thomas, who succeeded to the earldom, was the famous "Black Earl," who played a leading part in Elizabeth's reign.

[14] The effigies of Sir Piers Butler and his wife, Margaret, are still to be seen in the Cathedral of St Canice at Kilkenny.

Through the whole of the later life of the eighth Earl of Kildare and the earldom of the ninth Earl the old jealousies between the great families disturbed the country, each house resenting any advance in power bestowed on the other. But during the life of the Great Earl of Kildare, all the efforts of the Ormondes did not succeed in overthrowing his authority. His readiness to confess his faults, backed by his immense influence in his own country, always extricated him from difficulties. He emerged not only unscathed, but with added marks of royal favour. He was Deputy, with breaks, under Edward IV, Richard III, Henry VII (who playfully nicknamed him his "rebel"), and Henry VIII, though the frequent changes in the succession to the English throne made the task of remaining loyal a difficult one. Through the unceasing machinations of his old foe, the Bishop of Meath, he was captured in Dublin and committed to the Tower, where he remained two years; his wife, who was devoted to her husband, died of grief. Brought at length before the Council, at which the Bishop of Meath was his chief accuser, Kildare's ready wit had the effect of embarrassing his enemies and amusing the King. Accused of having set fire to the cathedral of Cashel, he exclaimed, "By my troth, I would never have done it but that I thought the Bishop was in it." He added that the Bishop, being a learned man, might easily outdo him in argument, on which the King humorously replied that Kildare was at liberty to choose a counsellor, but that "it behoved him to get counsel that was very good, for he doubted that his cause was very bad." "I will choose the best in England," quoth the Earl, "the King himself; and by St Bride I will choose no other." "A wiser man might have chosen worse," replied the King. The Bishop, feeling that he was getting the worst of the argument, exclaimed angrily, "All Ireland cannot rule this man." "Then shall he rule all Ireland," replied the King. He was restored to all his estates and honours and sent back as Deputy, but his eldest son, Gerald Oge, was held in pledge for his father's fidelity.[15] The chief event in Kildare's later life was the battle of Knocdoe, "the Hill of the Battle-axes" (1504), about five miles from Galway, an Anglo-Norman contest in which nevertheless "all the Irish in Ireland" are said to have been involved. It was a battle unequalled for its losses, the O'Kellys, his allies, especially suffering severely. The Irish and the Burkes were so discouraged that they surrendered Galway without resistance, and Henry bestowed the Garter on Kildare as a reward for his victory. On returning to the Pale, he distributed thirty tuns of wine among his soldiers. The old Earl died in 1513 from the effects of a shot from one of the O'Mores of Leix, and he was buried in state in the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, in a tomb which now no longer exists.

[15] Book of Howth, in Carew, Miscellany, pp. 179-180; Campian's History, in Ware's Ancient Irish Histories (1809), pp. 164-171.

His son Gerald, or Garrett Oge FitzGerald, succeeded him as ninth Earl, one of the handsomest men of his day and a fighter like his father. The Annals of the Four Masters speak of him as the most illustrious of the English and Irish of Ireland in his time, his fame and exalted character being heard of in distant countries by foreign nations, as well as being spread through Ireland. Like most of the young Anglo-Irish nobles of his period he had been educated in England, while he was detained as hostage for his father's fidelity. He was a man of learning and interested in books, for he encouraged the writing of chronicles and kept one Philip Flattisbury for this purpose at a town near Naas. He collected a considerable library of Latin, French, English, and Irish books, of which a list still remains.[16] A volume called The Earl of Kildare's Rental also exists showing the methodical care with which his estates were managed. He followed his father's example in attacking and subduing the Irish chiefs on the borders of the Pale; he relieved his own country of cess and improved his lands. He was appointed Lord Deputy on the death of his father, and in 1519 he accompanied King Henry VIII, then in the prime of his youth and splendour, to the Field of the Cloth of Gold, where Kildare was distinguished by his brilliant appearance and bearing. But his successes awakened the jealousy of his enemies, and secret reports of maladministration were sent over to London and were eagerly seized upon by Wolsey, who desired his downfall. He was summoned to England, where he married as his second wife a near kinswoman of the King, the Lady Elizabeth Grey, daughter of the Marquis of Dorset. The influence which he gained by this marriage placed him close to the Court, and in October 1520 the King wrote to the Earl of Surrey, who had replaced Kildare in Ireland, that they had "noon evident testimonies" to convict the Earl, who was accordingly acquitted and returned to Dublin in 1523.

[16] See Appendix V

Surrey was a Viceroy who directed the whole of his powers to the establishment of quiet, and generally with success; the Irish kept their indentures under his rule, and the poor and simple people thought he was the King's son," all English and Irishmen alike "on their knees praying devoutly that his generation should continue." He is said to have been so just a judge that no man departed from him without the law and right he ought to have, and he used to say that he would eat grasses and drink water rather than feast at a banquet with a heavy heart and the curse of the poor.[17] He paid full and ready money for all he took, so that the markets followed wherever he went. But with regard to Kildare his pacific efforts failed. The whole island had, in Surrey's words, been agitated at the prospect of the return of Garrett Oge; but his foes would not leave him in peace. His brother-in-law Piers, now Earl of Ormonde, had joined with the Earl's other enemies and abetted Wolsey's designs to get rid of Kildare's dominant influence in Irish affairs, his wife throwing herself vigorously into the quarrel of her husband against her brother. Surrey's attempts to patch up the quarrel had been unavailing, and Kildare's wife wrote to the King that she lived in continual fear, for she had known the Earl, who was as good and kind to her "as eny man may be to hys wif," twice in one morning warned ere he rose out of bed. Each Earl transmitted to London accusations against the other, the chief point against Kildare being that he had allowed his kinsman Desmond to escape when ordered to arrest him on the charge of high treason. The State Papers report that "he went his waye as wise as he came," and it is quite likely that he shut his eyes to Desmond's escape. In 1526 he was ordered to go to England and was committed to the Tower.

[17] Book of Howth, in Carew, Miscellany, p. 191.

When brought before the Council, Wolsey began to pile accusations against him in a violent manner, but Kildare, checking him, demanded to have leave to answer each point in turn. He made a dignified and spirited speech, not without sharp shafts at the insolence and greed of the Cardinal. "I would you and I had changed kingdoms, my Lord, but for one month; I would trust to gather up more crumbs in that space than twice the revenues of my poor earldom." The Cardinal, "perceiving that Kildare was no babe, rose in a fume from the Council table," and recommitted Kildare to the Tower, going so far as to send an order on his own authority for his execution; but the King, "controlling the sauciness of the priest," sent his ring in token of countermanding the order. Even the Cardinal, in his saner moments, was of opinion that it would be inexpedient to remove him from his office as Deputy, there being no one in the kingdom able to replace him; but it was not till August 1530 that he returned to Ireland in the company of Sir William Skeffington, whom he soon succeeded as Deputy. Unfortunately he used his power with great lack of discretion. He despised Skeffington, and never failed to take an opportunity to humiliate him; he displaced Archbishop Alen, Wolsey's friend, who was his opponent; he ravaged the territories of the Butlers and allowed O'Neill to invade Uriel (Louth). Reports of these high-handed proceedings were not long in reaching London. His enemies complained that the Council "were partly corrupted with affection towards him and partly in dread of him," so that no man will do anything that shall be "displeasant" to him. In 1533 he was again summoned by King's letters to England. "He received the summons with reverence and made no answer, but prepared himself for his journey to London." [18] He called a Council at Drogheda, where he appointed as Deputy during his absence his son Thomas, a lad of twenty-one, afterward to be known as "Silken Thomas." He solemnly charged him to act only by the advice of the Council, and to behave himself so wisely in his green years that he might enjoy the pleasure of summer and glean the fruits of harvest. Hardly had the brave old Earl been again committed to the Tower when news reached him that his son had broken out into rebellion and that the Archbishop of Dublin had fallen a victim. A copy of the Papal excommunication pronounced against his son for this murder, which was shown to him by the Lieutenant of the Tower, seems to have been the final stroke of misfortune. He was suffering from a wound received in his last fray with O'Carroll, and from privations endured in prison, and on December 12, 1534, the old man died and was buried in St Peter's Church within the Tower walls.

[18] "Examination of Robert Reyley, on the Rebellion of Silken Thomas, August 5 1536," Carew, Calendar, 1, No. 84, p. 98.

His son Thomas, who now comes to the front, was his only son by his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Zouche. By his second marriage to Lady Elizabeth Grey, whose brother, Lord Leonard Grey, was shortly afterward to be sent over as Marshal, he had two children who became famous, one for his adventures, the other for her beauty. These were Garrett (or Gerald), eleventh Earl of Kildare, who was saved by the devotion of his people from the ruin which overtook his family after the rebellion of his half-brother, "Silken Thomas," and Lady Elizabeth, the "Fair Geraldine" whose charms were sung by the poet Henry, Earl of Surrey, and of whom Sir Walter Scott has left an unfading picture in his Lay of the Last Minstrel. The beautiful girl, who was only seven years old when her father died, lived after his death with her mother at her uncle's house, Beaumanoir, in Leicestershire. When Surrey first saw her at Hunsdon she was twelve years old, and was being educated with the future Queen Mary. She left Hunsdon to become one of the ladies-in-waiting to Queen Katherine Howard, and in 1543, at the age of fifteen, she was married to Sir Anthony Browne, a man much older than herself. Before her second marriage to Lord Admiral Clinton, Surrey had been sent to the block. It is unlikely that there was anything more than admiration between the poet and the girl. Her portrait remains at Carton, the seat of the Dukes of Leinster, with the one we here reproduce of her father, Garrett Oge. On both sides of her family the Fair Geraldine saw one after another of her relations hurried to the scaffold. At Beaumanoir the gentle and learned Lady Jane Grey, who was closely related by marriage to her family, was growing up, only to be pushed by her ambitious kinsfolk into the disastrous project which was to involve herself and her whole family in ruin. On her father's side the Lady Elizabeth was to witness the equal ruin of the great house of Kildare to which she belonged, by the execution of her uncles and her half-brother in one terrible act of vengeance provoked by that half-brother's ill-advised and hasty rebellion. Her only real brother, Gerald, was for years a fugitive at home and abroad. Lady Elizabeth lived much at Court, where she acted as maid-of-honour to Princess Mary. She survived to see the restoration of the family estates and honours when Mary became Queen of England.

There seems no doubt that the young Vice-Deputy, Thomas, Lord Offaly (1513-37), into whose hands his father had committed "a naked sword" at the early age of twenty one, was hurried into rebellion by reports sedulously spread abroad or conveyed to him in secret letters that his father had been, or was about to be, "cut shorter" in the Tower. The house of Kildare had many enemies only too ready to take advantage of the inexperience and rash spirit of the youthful Deputy. A slip of paper, which reached his hands by strange means, announced to him the Earl's supposed death. Unheeding the counsels of the Chancellor and of some of his nearest relations, he flung down the Sword of State in the Council chamber, exclaiming, "I am none of Henry his Deputy, I am his foe." This was on June 11, 1534, five months after his father's departure for England. Thomas rode through the city in state, attended by 120 horsemen, whose silken hangings attached to their helmets brought him the sobriquet of "Silken Thomas," besides 340 galloglas and 500 kerne.

At St Mary's Abbey he publicly renounced his allegiance and formally declared war on the Government, placing himself at Oxmantown at the head of the army. The Mayor of Dublin was ordered by the Council to arrest him, but the plague in the city had been so fatal that he had not men to send. Many who disapproved of the rising took refuge in Dublin Castle or escaped to England. Archbishop Alen, who had been a chief agent in the removal of his father, and who was trying to escape from Clontarf, was driven back, and in the attempt to seize him he was either designedly or accidentally killed. The insurrection, though a serious one and prolonged for three years, was destined to failure from the first. The high traditions of his family, the sympathy felt for his anxieties, and his personal beauty attracted to Thomas the affections of the populace, but the great lords stood aloof. The Butlers refused to join him and wasted Kildare, though Thomas offered, if successful, to halve the kingdom with the son of the Earl of Ossory. His assault on Dublin Castle was repulsed, and he narrowly escaped capture in the Abbey of Grey Friars in Francis Street. The promised help from Scotland and Spain showed no sign of coming, and an excommunication from the Pope for the murder of Archbishop Alen by his followers weakened his cause in the eyes of his countrymen. There were tidings of the return of Sir William Skeffington (called "The Gunner," from having been Master of the Ordnance under Henry VIII) with an English army. Though this was held up by storms under Lambey Island, Sir William Brereton succeeded in landing with a portion of the troops, while Skeffington, whose age and weakness were not suited to prompt action, failed in an attempt to go round by Waterford. Offaly had then an army of 7000 men, and after intercepting Brereton he fell back on Maynooth, on which Skeffington did not march until March in the following year, 1535.

Thomas is described as "a man of great natural beauty, of stature tall and personable, in countenance amiable, a fair face and somewhat ruddy." He possessed the rich utterance of his countrymen, and is said to have been "of nature flexible and kind, very soon carried where he fancied; in matters of importance an headlong hotspur, yet nathless taken for a young man not devoid of wit, were it not, as it fell out in the end, that a fool had the keeping thereof." He was a youth who in quiet times would have been beloved, but scarce fitted to lead a forlorn hope. The chief event of the year was the fall of Maynooth Castle, which Lord Offaly, who was now tenth Earl of Kildare, had strongly fortified. It might have proved impregnable even to Skeffington's heavy artillery, had it not been betrayed by its governor, Christopher Parese, the foster-brother of the Earl, whom he had left in command while he went into Offaly to raise additional forces. This unusual act of treachery on the part of a foster-brother—considered the most sacred of Irish relationships—was fitly rewarded by Parese's execution by the Government, his "voluntary service" being even to the captors "so thankless and unsavoury that it stinketh." But his head did not fall alone; twenty-five of the defenders were beheaded and one was hanged "for the dread and example of others," an act cynically spoken of in the State Papers as "The Pardon of Maynooth." The great spoil taken shows that Maynooth was one of the richest earls' houses under the crown of England. Beds, hangings of silk, plate, garments, and furniture were in abundance. The stout towers still remaining prove the great original strength of the castle.

After the fall of Maynooth hope was at an end, and the army of kerne "melted away from the Earl like a snowdrift." He made an attempt to sail into Spain, but O'Brien dissuaded him, and he could do no more than keep up a desultory warfare with the help of O'Brien and O'Conor Faly, who held to him when O'More and MacMorrogh submitted and the head of the Keatings called off his clansmen. The rebellion would probably have been suppressed more quickly but for the slow feebleness of Skeffington, who died in 1535. But the arrival of Lord Leonard Grey as Marshal of the army hastened events. He landed in July 1535, and found Earl Thomas, who was his step-nephew, entrenched in a strong house of earth, so ditched and watered that it seemed well nigh impregnable, hidden in a wood. This he burned and destroyed, and very soon afterward Lord Thomas sent in his submission and surrendered to Grey and Lord Butler. It is probable that he hoped for favourable terms from his kinsman, for the Council reported that he would yield himself to none other but only to him. "To allure him to yield" Grey seems to have held out hopes of pardon which were by no means approved in England. Probably Lord Grey found his service against his step-nephew distasteful; it is certain that he took no pains to hunt down his true nephew, Gerald, Lord Thomas' half-brother, for one of the accusations later brought against him, and for which he suffered death, was that he had allowed the boy to escape. But his action toward Lord Thomas can find no justification. When, after the youth was sent to London and imprisoned in the Tower, Grey's promise to him of personal safety was brought forward, Grey's mouth was stopped by the bribe of a "great rent" and other even less seemly gifts. His treacherous arrest at a banquet of Kildare's five uncles, his own kinsmen, two of whom had been opposed from the first to the rising and were in no way implicated, is one of the worst instances of that detestable Machiavellian policy which ruled in the Courts of Europe generally and in that of England during the seventeenth century. This made friendship, honour, and honesty alike subservient to political ends. On February 3, 1537, Kildare's five uncles suffered the traitor's death at Tyburn, thus at one blow wiping out of existence all the male representatives of one of the great families of the country, save for the child Gerald, who was later to restore the title and position of his house. The seizure of the Geraldines struck terror into the Pale, and a letter written to Cromwell, Henry's adviser, by an alderman in Dublin informed him that the gentlemen of Co. Kildare were "the most sorryest affright men in the world." Lord Thomas survived his uncles for five months. On the walls of the State prison in the Tower may still be read the words "THOMAS FITZ G." It would seem that the inscription was cut short by his summons to death.

His half-brother, a child of ten years of age at the time of the arrest of Lord Thomas, was lying ill of smallpox in Donore. His nurse wrapped him up, and he was conveyed by the devotion of a priest named Thomas Leverous, who remained faithful to him throughout his wanderings, to the care of his half-sister, Lady Mary, who had married Brian O'Conor Faly, chief of Offaly. The most strenuous efforts were made to save this boy, who was adored as the remaining hope of his family and adherents. He was handed on secretly from one place to another, and his aunt, Lady Eleanor, widow of the MacCarthy Reagh, even consented to a second marriage with Manus O'Donnell of Tyrconnel, a man whom she seems to have detested, in order, as she thought, to provide her nephew with a safe asylum. But some years later, in 1540, suspecting that her husband intended to surrender Gerald to the English Government, she sent him over with his tutor, Leverous, disguised in a saffron-coloured shirt "like one of the natives," to St Malo. He was everywhere received with the greatest respect and was protected in turn by the King of France, the Emperor Charles V, and his kinsman, Cardinal Pole. He passed some years in Italy and entered the service of Cosimo de Medici in Florence. His travels in foreign Courts and the care bestowed upon his education made him an accomplished gentleman. It is probable that his oft-expressed desire to become reconciled to the English King was sincere, but he remained abroad until after the death of Henry VIII. He was received into favour by Edward VI, and by him and Queen Mary he was restored to his honours and estates. His faithful tutor, Leverous, was raised to the episcopal bench as Bishop of Kildare and made Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.



The net result of the Irish policy of the long Kildare viceroyalty and that of the eighth Earl of Ormonde had been the return to Irish habits and ways of the larger part of Ireland outside the Pale. The official reports of the early sixteenth century are full of this topic. In 1515 we learn that the King's laws were only obeyed in Louth, Meath, Dublin, Kildare, and Wexford, and only in half of these counties. In the other halves and in Connacht and Ulster there was neither justice nor sheriff, and "all the Englyshe folke of the said countyes ben of Iryshe habyt, of Iryshe language and of Iryshe condytions except the cyties and wallyd townes...and though many of them obey the King's Deputy when it pleaseth them, yet there is none of them all that obeyeth the King's laws."

Ten English counties paid annual tribute to Irish chiefs, ranging from £20 to £300. "Sir Piers Butler, knight, and all the Captains of the Butlers of the Co. Kilkenny followeth the Irish order and every one of them maketh war and peace for himself without any licence from the King." [1] A similar independent report addressed to Wolsey in 1526 bears the same testimony. It states that "the great rulers have each his Irish Judge who decrees according to Irish law. Scarcely a word of English is heard in the County of Kildare...Irish habits are also worn for the most part, tonsures above the ears, with overlips [moustaches] and garments so that they cannot be distinguished from Irishmen, except that the latter have better manners and are more obedient to order. The Earl of Kildare [Gerald FitzGerald, ninth Earl], being Deputy has power to reform all these enormities, so it must be supposed that he hath reasons for tolerating them...Except in Dublin, Drogheda, and a few lords' houses all the Pale has of late become Irish...Thus is the King's jurisdiction diminished. When the Sword of State was given to Kildare all the wolves became lambs." [2] Thus when Henry VIII ascended the throne in 1509 only the Pale and the cities and garrison towns outside it adhered to their allegiance; the rest was purely Irish. The condition of the Irish districts showed a great increase in their forces and organization; cashels, or piles, had considerably increased in number, especially in Munster, "and where at the conquest there had not been five outside the cities, there now be five hundred."

[1] There is a summary of this paper in Calendar of State Papers, Hen. VIII (1515), ii, No. 1366, p. 371; Miss C. Maxwell gives part of the document in her Irish History from Contemporary Sources (1923), p. 79 seq.
[2] Lansdowne MS. 159, fol. 3.

The forces under Irish authority amounted to a formidable army, each head of a sept being able to put a good number of horse and foot into the field—trained men, obliged to respond to an immediate summons when required. In a paper entitled A Description of the Power of Irishmen, written early in the sixteenth century, the Irish forces of Leinster are numbered at 522 horse, 5 battalions of galloglas (galloglaigh] and 1432 kerne, and those of the other provinces were in like proportion. MacCarthy Mór, commanded 40 horse, 2 battalions of galloglas, and 2000 kerne; the Earl of Desmond 400 horse, 3 battalions of galloglas, and 3000 kerne, besides a battalion of crossbowmen and gunners, the smaller chieftains supplying each their quota of men. In the year 1517, "when the reformacion of the countrye was taken in hand," it was reported that the Irish forces in Thomond were 750 horse, 2324 kerne, and 6 "batayles" of galloglas, the latter including 60 to 80 footmen harnessed with spears; each of these had a man to bear his harness, some of whom themselves carried spears or bows. Every kerne had a bow, a 'skieve' or quiver, three spears, a sword, and a skene, each two of them having a lad to carry their weapons. The horsemen had two horses apiece, some three, the second bearing the 'knave' or his attendant.

The galloglas was a heavy-armed footman, wearing a shirt of mail and a helmet, and carrying a halbert or battleaxe six feet in length, with a blade like a long and broad knife. The kerne (ceatharnach] was lightly armed with target, bow, and arrows, or else three darts which he cast with wonderful facility. The tract continues: "They be for the most part good and hardie men of war, and can live hardly and fit for great misery. They will adventure themselves greatly on their enemies, seeing time to do it. Good watchers by night; as good soldiers by night as others by day. The captain or Lord Keeper [hath] none of his lands in his own hand, but giveth it to his followers, by whom he is maintained with all things necessary, or what pleaseth him to take; for all that they have is at his commandment." [3] A few years later, in 1529, James, Earl of Desmond, was writing to the Emperor Charles V stating that he had increased his force to 16,500 foot and 1500 horse, and that his friends and allies are "Princeps Oberayn [O'Brien], who could place in the field 600 horse and 1000 foot; Theobald de Burgh, with 100 horse and 600 foot; O'Donyll of Ulidia, with 800 horse and 4000 foot; and seven others, his allies, with 300 horse and 18,000 foot, all ready to fight against the Deputy Sir Piers Butler and the English King's cities of Limerick, Waterford, and Dublin. But he is much in need of artillery." [4]

[3] Cotton MSS., Dom., xviii, fol. 101-102 ; title, "In Thomond, anno 8 Hen. VIII." There is a later and incorrect copy of this return in Trinity College, Dublin, MS. G. 2. 16.
[4] Add. MSS. 28, 578, fol. 194 ; and 28, 579, fol. 329. These are copies of manuscripts in Brussels.

James was secretly corresponding with the Emperor Charles V, who was believed to be contemplating an invasion of Ireland, and had already in 1527 made a tentative invasion of England, by throwing twenty thousand Irish on the coast of Pembrokeshire, in Wales. He acknowledged Charles V as Emperor, and addressed him as "most invincible and most sacred Caesar ever august." It was James of Desmond who "first put the abominable use of coygn and livery on the King's subjects in his country," an example quickly followed by the other magnates. Thomas had gone further and made it obligatory in the Pale during his term of office as Deputy, with all the other impositions used by the native captains over their people and in defiance of the King's laws; and this was alleged to have been one chief reason of his being put to death. A Deputy who openly defied the laws was in an anomalous position which could hardly be condoned by the authorities. But the country parts of Ireland undoubtedly advanced in wealth and prosperity during the period in which this policy of encouraging native customs was in force. Markets were held all over the country, churches and castles were rebuilt, and the ports, such as Limerick, were doing a thriving foreign trade. During the fifteenth century numerous complaints are recorded from the Pale that fairs and markets were being held by "divers Irish enemies, whereby they get great profit."

Henry's first intention seems to have been to continue the policy of his predecessor and govern through the great Anglo-Irish lords, but so early as 1520, fifteen years before the fall of the house of Kildare, he had proposed to Surrey, then appointed Lord Deputy, a new view as to the government of Ireland. He held that "circumspect and politic ways should be used" to bring the independent Irish captains into obedience, "which thing must as yet be practised by sober ways, politic drifts, and amiable persuasions, founded in law and reason, rather than by rigorous dealing." Henry had come to the conclusion that "to spend so much money for the reduction of that land, to bring the Irish in appearance only of obeisance...were a thing of little policy, less advantage, and least effect." He despaired of conquering the land, but he believed that if the Irish lords, instead of being "impressed by fearful words" into the belief that it was the intention, as had been already mooted, to expel them from their lands, felt that they were to be conserved in their own and brought to aid and advise the King, as faithful subjects, to recover his inheritance, each would be able not only to live quietly on his own but would see his lands inhabited, tilled, and laboured for his own most advantage.[5] He even proposed to mitigate the rigour of the laws, and find out from them under what manner and by what laws they will be ordered and governed; only, that it is of necessity "that every reasonable creature be governed by a law." Here was a reasonable and statesmanlike policy which was destined to lead to good results. The personal popularity of Lord Leonard Grey prepared the way for the inauguration of this new policy and for the submission of the great lords under the Viceroyalty of his successor, Sir Anthony St Leger. Though to Grey was confided the unpleasant task of declaring at the Parliament of 1536-37 the abolition of the Papal authority and the establishment of that of Henry VIII as head of the Church,[6] and following on this the abolition of the houses of religion, his personal fearlessness and confidence in the Irish made him well liked. Even after his seizure of the Geraldines his popularity did not die out. When in 1540 he passed through the wildest parts of Munster with a small bodyguard, "trusting only to the Irish," O'Conor had the way over Togher Croghan mended into the heart of his country, and O'Molloy victualled him and conducted him safely on his way.

[5] Letter to the Earl of Surrey, September 1520 (S.P., Hen. VIII, ii, 51-54).
[6] 26 Hen. VIII, in Irish Statutes (1786), i, 90.

Even Donogh O'Brien "played an honest and true part" toward one who so implicitly trusted himself among them. Asked to provide an escort through his country, O'Brien sent one galloglas with a silver spear or axe, and the hilt hanging full of silk, to be his guide. When Ulick Burke remonstrated with Grey on the hazard he had run he pointed to the lad, saying, "Lo, seest thou not yonder standing before me O'Brien's axe for my conduct?"[7] Yet the country was at this time already seething with unrest, and the object of Grey's second visit was to try to win over the "pretended Earl of Desmond," as Sir James Fitzjohn FitzGerald is called in the State Papers, whom he met "with no English with him, where they drank wine together and chatted a long part of the night." Two years later, in 1542, Desmond made his formal submission to Henry, and he brought with him O'Brien, with whom he was then in league. Henry's policy of conciliation had been especially marked toward the Desmond family. When the true heir to the earldom, James FitzMaurice, wished to lay claim to his possessions Henry had sent him home from England, where he was staying at the King's Court, "sufficiently furnished with all things fitting for such an enterprise." The Desmonds had been much in England, and were in friendly relations with the King, being supported by him against the MacCarthys and O'Briens. After parting with the King, James FitzMaurice landed in Cork, in 1540, but he fell into a trap set for him by his rival and kinsman, Sir Maurice of Desmond, when passing through Lord Roche's country, and was slain. This fierce and treacherous old man, known as Maurice na dtoitane, "of the burnings," on account of his depredations, who lived to be an octogenarian and was still at that age furiously fighting foes and friends alike, fell at last a prisoner to his own father-in-law, and was hacked to death by his followers.

[7] "Information against Lord Leonard Grey, Carew," Calendar. i, No. 149, pp. 167-168.

Grey's two visits to Desmond's country are among the first of those state progresses afterward indulged in by Lord Justice Cusack, Sir Henry Sidney, and others, the reports of which give us so vivid and personal an acquaintance with the country and with the principal actors in the drama of the Elizabethan times. In his first tour in 1536 Grey was much impressed by the fertility and beauty of the country through which he was travelling. One of his train breaks out: "If there be any paradise in this world, the counties from Dublin to Thomond may be accounted for one of them, both for beauty and goodness. The town and castle of Kilkenny is well walled and well replenished of people and wealthy. The city of Limerick is a wondrous proper city and a strong and standeth environed with the river Shannon; it may be called Little London for the situation, but the castle hath need of reparation." Desmond's island-stronghold on Loch Gur they found "desolate and unwarded" by Sir James, and it was easily captured, the roofs and windows being repaired and a garrison placed in it.[8] At that date (1536) they failed to get O'Brien "to condescend to any conformity," though he came in later, but Desmond "showed himself very reasonable" submitting his claims to the Deputy and Council, and giving his two sons as hostages. The orders from London were that he was to be "handled in gentle sort," but in his own country there was much doubt of his loyalty. [9]

[8] Carew, Cal. i, No. 86, pp. 105, 103.
[9] Carew, Cal. i, No. 88, p. 108.

The child Garrett (or Gerald) of Kildare was known to be then hidden away in Munster, and Silken Thomas, his kinsman, had only recently been lodged in the Tower. When it was certainly known that Garrett was safe in France Desmond declared his readiness to come in, and on January 16, 1541, he swore fealty in the usual form, recognizing his Majesty the King of England as his sovereign, and "utterly forsaking the Bishop of Rome and his usurped primacy." [10] He formally renounced the privilege of his predecessors exempting them from appearing in Parliaments and Grand Councils, or from entering walled towns in the King's obedience, and declared himself ready to sit in the Dublin Parliament. Though he refused to treat with Ormonde, he made his submission on bended knees to St Leger at Youghal, and the Viceroy reports that he found him "a very wise and discreet gentleman." Attended by a splendid retinue, he proceeded to England, where in 1542 he made his act of submission to Henry in person,[11] being received with the greatest distinction and sent back with new honours. He left his son "to be brought up and instructed after the English sort" with the young Prince Edward, and the lad became his prince's attached friend and companion. On the death of Ormonde, Edward, now become king, created the Earl Lord Treasurer of Ireland and President of Munster, and he continued in office until his death in 1558. He was buried at Tralee Abbey of the White Friars. During the same year in which Desmond had made his submission the head of Lord Grey had fallen on Tower Hill on an indictment of ninety counts, among which the escape of young Garrett and his leniency to the Desmonds formed a part.

[10] Ibid., No. 153, p. 174.
[11] Sir Anthony St Leger to Henry VIII, February 21, 1541, S. P., Hen. VIII, iii, 285 seq.

It was the formation, by the efforts of Conn O'Neill, prince of Tyrone, of the Geraldine League in 1537, after the execution of the six Geraldines, that brought the North once more into intimate touch with the South. Conn's mother was Alice, daughter of Gerald FitzGerald, the Great Earl of Kildare, and it was in Donegal, as being the safest spot and least accessible to English troops, that the young Garrett of Kildare now lay in hiding. When his aunt, the Lady Eleanor, married Manus O'Donnell, in order to find with him an asylum for her nephew, Conn drew together a league which included, besides the Northern lords, the O'Briens, Desmonds, and MacCarthys of the South; and, until the activities of the English Government to capture Garrett made it advisable to convey the boy abroad, they formed a guard of young chiefs for his protection. This Manus O'Donnell was a remarkable personality; he was a good soldier and a man of culture. To him we owe the most complete existing biography of his great ancestor, St Columcille, which, though founded on the Latin Life by Adamnan, adds to it the traditions about the saint current in his own district. He wrote it as a youth, and, though he tells us that he had help in translating the Latin Life and explaining the old Gaelic words, he "dictated the whole out of his own mouth with great labour" in the intervals of a life spent in warfare, chiefly among members of his own family.[12] More remarkable still are the exquisite lyrics with which he, in common with several of the FitzGeralds, Pierce Ferriter, one of the MacCarthys, and other chiefs—refined and cultivated gentlemen of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—adorned the literature of their native land. They were evidently not out of touch, even in wild Donegal, with the contemporary European tradition.

[12] Betha Coluimchille, ed. A. O'Kelleher and G. Schoepperle (1918).

Some of the poems of Manus seem to have been written to Eleanor, whom he calls the "Earl's daughter," and there are two plaintive little poems—"The sorrow of parting" and "To-night my cup of sorrow is full"—which may well have been the expression of his grief when, after Garrett's flight abroad, she decided on leaving him to return to her native province.[13] She never seems to have cared for Manus. Only force of affection for her nephew drove her, after long hesitations, to marry him, and she left him with disdainful words as soon as her purpose was fulfilled. Probably she never trusted him. Twice he had made submission to an English Viceroy, and he had promised Lord Leonard Grey to do as good service as ever his father did to the uttermost of his power. When Lord Deputy St Leger met Manus in 1540 he was surprised to find before him an elegant gentleman, magnificently dressed in crimson velvet, who had for his chaplain "a right sober young man, well learned, and brought up in France." He states that he found Manus "a sober man and one that in his words much desireth civil order." Eleanor plainly thought that her husband's friendship with St Leger, who by Henry's command offered to create him Earl of Tyrconnel, might even induce him to give up young Garrett. Manus had come into power in early life, for he had been responsible for the government of his territories during the absence of his father, Dark Hugh O'Donnell, who had made a pilgrimage to Rome and whose ill-health on his return obliged him to pass on the reins to his son. But his rule was embittered by the jealousy of his brothers—one of whom he hanged and two others he carried in chains to Dublin—and by the turbulence of his son Calvagh. St Leger in vain tried to settle their differences. Being finally taken prisoner by Calvagh, Manus was kept "under easy restraint" until near the time of his death at Lifford in 1564. He was buried with great respect in the peaceful Franciscan monastery on the shores of Donegal Bay.

[13] Dánta Grádha, ed. T. F. O'Rahilly and R. Flower (1926).

It was an unusual thing for an alliance to be formed between the O'Donnells and O'Neills, such as that which momentarily held together Conn Bacach, or "the Lame", O'Neill and Manus O'Donnell, on behalf of Garrett FitzGerald. How far either of these chiefs were playing fair toward Garrett on the one hand or toward the English Government on the other it would be difficult to say. Manus's protection, as a sworn liegeman of the Crown, was clearly not to be implicitly relied upon. Conn O'Neill had gone even farther; as representative of the Northern princes he had acknowledged the sovereignty of the English King over all Ireland and made submission to him. After the fall of Maynooth and the break up of the rebellion of Silken Thomas in 1535 he had twice made a formal submission to Lord Leonard Grey, but this may have been only to secure his own safety. Grey was uncertain of him. He found him "very tractable in words, but obstinate in refusing to put in pledges for his good behaviour." He was, in fact, then secretly forming his league for the protection of young Kildare. But in 1541, when Garrett was safely in France, he sent in his son as hostage and offered unqualified submission. He even crossed over to London to make his formal act of allegiance to Henry VIII in person. In October 1542 he was received with great ceremony by the King in the Queen's closet at Greenwich, which was "richly hanged with cloth of Arras and well strewn with rushes" for the occasion. In return for his surrender of his hereditary title of O'Neill he was created Earl of Tyrone, with remainder to his illegitimate son Matthew, who was made Baron of Dungannon. Conn would have preferred the title of Earl of Ulster, but that was held from old times to be an adjunct to the Crown, and Henry would not consent to part with it. For the solemnity, Conn was led in by the Earls of Hereford and Oxford, while Viscount Lisle bore the sword before him. He wore the robes of state proper for his new title, and the King placed round his neck a collar of gold worth threescore pounds and presented him with a hundred marks in money. His style was henceforth Du très haut et puissant Signeur Con, Conte de Tyrone, en la Royaulme d'Irlande.[14]

[14] The negotiations with Conn O'Neill and his articles of submission will be found in Carew, Cal., i, No. 167, p. 188, and No. 174, p. 199 ; Morrin, Calendar of Patent Rolls, i, 85 ; Cal. S. P. , Hen. VIII, xvii, Nos. 884 and 885 p. 511 ; MS. Titus B, xi, 385 (British Museum).

O'Donnell and Magennis were knighted on the same occasion, and when Conn had returned thanks in a speech translated by his chaplain a state dinner followed. Conn remained long in London. Like Calvagh O'Donnell he seemed to prefer the "civility" of the capital to the troubles of his own province. But when he did return to his native land it was to hold the ancient tribal possessions of his ancestors with the name, state, and title as the "mere gift" of the King. Conn's complications were not over. The tyranny of officials on the spot went far to bring to naught any policy of conciliation. A series of letters show that he was imprisoned on his way back through Dublin; and he complains not only of this unexpected and unjust imprisonment, which is, he says, injuring his own province, but of the harsh treatment he had received from Lord Chancellor Cusack.[15]

[15] One of these shrewd and sensible letters of Conn O'Neill will be found in Appendix VI. For his imprisonment see Carew, Cal. i, No. 248, p. 367.

The submission of the head of the oldest family of Irish princes made a great sensation in Ireland. Since the days of Richard II, nearly a hundred and fifty years before, such a thing had not been heard of, and the clans of the North had drifted back into their old position of haughty independence, holding themselves aloof not only from English entanglements, but also, so far as was possible, from the wars and quarrels of their own country. Having got rid of the de Courcys and de Burghs out of the North, their efforts were directed to holding back the Scots from their coasts, and the only feuds in which they took part were those of their own and the Connacht borderland. The old pride of superiority over the South, as a race which had, in ancient days, placed forty-seven kings upon the throne of Tara, while the South, during all its long history, had only once been in undisputed occupation of the coveted honour of the High Kingship, was as strong as ever. "Forty-seven kings to one" is the theme of the Ulster poems in the Contention of the Bards,[16] sustained in a lively poetic controversy during the seventeenth century. The fact gave the North a pre-eminence that Ulster was not likely to forget. Thus the act of submission of Conn O'Neill was a matter of high importance. It was speedily followed by that of O'Brien, who was created Earl of Thomond, representing Munster, and MacWilliam Burke from Connacht, now created Earl of Clanricarde. Thus once again the three independent provinces acknowledged fealty to the Crown. If we ask what was the inducement which made these leading families submit we find it in the promise of support offered by the Crown to the selected ruler as against all applicants to the chiefdom, with the right of descent in a single line, thus giving an hereditary interest in the tribal lands. The acceptance of the English system of descent from father to son entirely altered the old method of succession by concentrating in the hands of a single branch of the princely houses the rights belonging in former days also to the collateral branches of the family, and requiring the confirmation of the suffrages of the whole clan. Many of the chiefs, either through avarice or through weariness of the system of election by tanistry, which introduced an element of uncertainty into every succession and tore the fair provinces to pieces from century to century in endless internecine strife, hailed the hope of a quiet possession passing on from father to son in regular descent and assuring in their own branch the hereditary ownership of the tribal lands. It tended to make each of these chiefs supreme in his own clan against all comers.

[16] Edited by L. McKenna for the Irish Texts Society (1918).

The immediate result of the new system seemed to be all that could be desired. Sir Thomas Cusack reports in May 1553 that "the policy that was devised for the sending of the Earls of Desmond, Thomond, Clanricarde, and Tyrone, and the Baron of Upper Ossory, O'Carroll, Magennis, and others into England was a great help in bringing those countries to good order, for none of them who went into England committed harm upon the King's Majesty's subjects. The winning of the Earl of Desmond was the winning of the rest of Munster at small charges. The making of O'Brien an earl made all that country obedient. The making of MacWilliam Earl of Clanricarde made all the country during his time quiet and obedient, as it is now. The making of MacGillapatrick Baron of Upper Ossory made his country obedient." [17] All looked well for the success of the new experiment. The country was as near 'settlement' as ever it had been in the course of its history. It was therefore a particular misfortune that Conn, for what reason we know not, chose as his heir not his eldest son Shane, who ought to have succeeded him under the English rule of descent which he had just accepted, but a boy irregularly born into his family, if indeed he belonged to his family at all, which seems doubtful. This boy's mother was a woman of Dundalk, the wife of a blacksmith named Kelly. At the age of fourteen she presented this lad to Conn as his son, and Conn was so delighted with the boy that he not only adopted him into his family, but made him his heir.[18] The English authorities accepted Ferdoragh (called in English "Matthew") on Conn's recommendation, giving him the title of Baron of Dungannon, with succession to the Earldom of Tyrone, but Shane on coming to manhood refused to acknowledge him, and naturally asserted his own superior claims. Thus the family strife which it was the aim of the new settlement to heal was destined soon to break out afresh and to make the succeeding years the most turbulent that Ulster had known in the course of its long history. Nevertheless, St Leger might well think that Ireland was at last at peace. The submissions of the great lords were followed by those of the minor chiefs, each contented to be confirmed in the territory he ruled by Henry's policy of surrender and regrant, which made him independent of the suffrages of his people, and enabled him to feel behind him the support of English authority.

[17] Carew, Cal., i, No. 200, pp. 245-246.
[18] Shane said that Conn, his father, "being a gentleman, made it a rule never to refuse paternity to any child brought to him as his own"—a remark which illuminates the habits of the chiefs with regard to their clans-people.

It was at a Parliament in which, for the first time in history, native princes sat side by side with Anglo-Norman lords that Henry VIII was proclaimed King, instead of Lord, of Ireland. This Parliament met on June 13, 1541, in the presence of the Earls of Ormonde and Desmond (here seated for once together), of Donogh O'Brien, the O'Reilley, and a great company of nobles and ecclesiastics, both Irish and Anglo-Irish; and it was proclaimed, amid universal rejoicings, that "forasmuch as your Majesty had always been the only defender and protector, under God, of this realm, it was most meet that your Majesty and your heirs should from henceforth be named and called King of the same." The proclamation was repeated in the Lower House, "where it was likewise passed with no less joy and willing consent," and it was publicly announced after solemn Mass in St Patrick's Church in the presence of two thousand persons "with great joy and gladness to all men." The contents of the Act were translated into Irish by the Earl of Ormonde, "greatly to the contentation" of the said lords.[19] Such are the official reports of this important event. St Leger, reporting the proceedings to the King on June 26, declares that he felt "no less comfort than to be risen again from death to life." When St Leger left Ireland for the first time in the spring of 1546 it was amid the weeping and lamentation of the people, and the Earls of Desmond, Thomond, and Tyrone promised to see the country defended to the uttermost of their powers until the Deputy's return. None could be found of better conformity than those Irish lords, and the "honest obedience" of the land warmed the heart of men like Sir Thomas Cusack. "Thanks be to God," he exclaims, "those who would not be brought under subjection with 10,000 men, cometh to Dublin with a letter, which is no small comfort to every faithful heart to see."

[19] 23 Hen. VIII, inIrish Statutes, vol. 1, 176 ; and see Cal. S. P., Hen. VIII, xvi, No. 926, p. 446.

It was twelve years later, in May 1553, that Cusack, who had become Lord Chancellor in 1551, made the tour round the South of Ireland to which we have already referred. It is interesting to note the actual results of Henry's pacific policy after the lapse of these twelve years and before the South was again devastated by the Desmond wars. He reports that Munster, under the rule of such lords and captains as be there and of the Earl of Desmond, is in good quiet so that the Justices of the Peace ride their circuit in the counties of Limerick, Cork, and Kerry, being the farthest shires west in Munster, and the sheriffs are obeyed. "The lords and captains of those countries, as the Earl of Desmond, the Viscount Barry, the Lord Roche, the Lord FitzMorris and divers others [all lords of old English blood], which within few years would not hear speak to obey the law, beeth now in commission with the Justices of the Peace to hear and determine causes...The Irish captains in those quarters do not stir, but live in such quiet that the English captains at Cork with forty horsemen cause the offenders to stand to right. MacCarthy Mór, who is the most powerful Irishman in Ireland, is now very conformable to good order." Leinster also he reported to be "in meetly good stay," the Kavanaghs being weakened and even the O'Byrnes and "such other of Irish sort dwelling in the rest of Leinster being of honest conformity." Thomond was quiet since O'Brien had been created earl, and the wild country that lay between Limerick and Tipperary, where a few years before the MacWilliams, O'Mulryans, and other Irishmen of good power were all wild, was now so conformable and well-ordered "that men may pass through the countries at pleasure, quietly, without danger of robbing or other displeasure." The same cheerful report of peace and progress comes even from Clanricarde's country, long wasted by the family quarrels of the Burkes. Where, at the time of Cusack's first visit, there were not forty ploughs in all the country "but all waste through war," two hundred ploughs were now at work, and the number was increasing daily. The country was universally inhabited, and people were able to leave their ploughs, irons, and cattle in the fields without fear of their being stolen.[20] Such a report is a remarkable testimony to the beneficial effects of the stability brought about by the new system.

[20] Carew, Cal., i, No. 200, pp. 235 seq.

It is the fashion among certain writers to scoff at the idea of any quiet or "good conformity" brought about by English rule, but there is no doubt that many of the large owners of property were heartily weary of the incessant wars which turned their fertile lands into a waste and depleted them of inhabitants, and that they were anxious to bring them under the more regular working of English law. The Irish in early times never disliked English law, though they strenuously resisted its abuse as a means of repression. This report was written just before the accession of Queen Mary, twelve years after the declaration of the King's supremacy. Again, it is often said that the troubles in the Tudor period were caused by the dissatisfaction of the small holders because their rights as tenants were overlooked in the new arrangement under which the chief held directly of the Crown. Theoretically, indeed, these rights were ignored; they were not, in fact, affected by the new relations between the lord and the Government; for while the lord's position entered on a new phase, that of the tenant toward his lord remained exactly as heretofore. He received his portion of land and paid his dues in cattle and kind after the submission of the chiefs exactly as he had done before.[21] Up to the time of the plantations his position with regard to his chief was unaltered in any way. The lot of the tenant in the native parts of the country does not appear to have been at all a happy one. According to Fynes Moryson he paid no regular rents, but the lord exacted from him all that he needed for his spendings and maintenance, "the countrypeople living under the lord's absolute power as slaves" and having no settled property, for their portions were partitioned among them only for one, two, or three years, so that they had no encouragement to build or improve their holdings.[22] Certain changes he was conscious of under the new system, of which the most important one to him was that he had no longer any choice in the election of his chief, which was now settled over his head between the Government and the ruling house; and, secondly, that the sheriff made his appearance in the country—a token that chief and tenant alike were henceforth to be ruled by English law. Both these changes, when realized, led to disturbance. The chosen chief might welcome them as signs that his authority would be upheld against all pretenders, but to the clansman they were the symbols of a lost status which he never afterward was able to regain. Thus, in theory, the individual rights of every clansman passed into the hands of his lord, who now held them under the Crown; but the actual conditions as between the lord and his tenant remained unchanged until the uprooting of all the old native ways came about with the confiscations and replantations after the Desmond and Tyrone wars.

[21] See "Tyrone's Rental" December 18, 1610, described by Sir Tobias Caulfeild, in Cal. S.P.I., James I, No. 931, p. 532 seq.
[22] Fynes Moryson, The Commonwealth of Ireland, in C. L. Falkiner's Illustrations of Irish History, pp. 242, 246.

The system of pacification was at this time fairly attempted, and the plans for the settlement of the luxuriant but wasted provinces of Munster and Ulster with English, which had been recommended by successive travellers and considered by successive Viceroys as a possible alternative to the old native rule, were for the moment set aside, to be revived again and carried out with rigour when the experiment of ruling through and with the concurrence and help of the native chiefs and Anglo-Irish lords had proved a failure. The causes of this failure are not far to seek. Garrett of Kildare was still abroad, a centre round whom the affections of the people twined. The jealousies of the great lords were irrepressible and ready at any moment to break out afresh. But, beyond these local causes of unrest, the determination of the sovereigns to force the recognition of their new claim to be the Head of the Church, which to a Catholic people was sacrilege, and the effort to oblige them to attend Protestant services and accept the revised Book of Common Prayer, aroused widespread discontent, especially when it was accompanied by the destruction of the monasteries and the breaking up of images and relics. The new causes of disturbance were religious, not political or social. Catholic leagues began to be formed throughout the country, and as the efforts to enforce the tenets of the Reformation grew more vigorous, carrying with them the persecution of priests and friars, the smouldering discontent was ready to burst into a flame. The closer connexion with Spain and France, both from an educational and political point of view, brought in agents who encouraged and guided the movement, and fanned the growing antagonism to English dictation into a passion. Yet both the O'Neill rebellion in the North and that of the Geraldines in the South arose out of personal and private quarrels, as we shall see, and might in other circumstances have been easily dealt with. The union of the North and South made them formidable, and the proclamation of a religious war turned them into a crusade. The work of reconciliation was suddenly to be cast to the winds on both sides. Persecution, rebellion, and plantation were to follow each other in rapid succession, and the whole conditions in Ireland were to be radically changed.



Of all the causes of unrest by far the most important was the rise of the movement known as the Reformation, and the gradual spread of its doctrines through North-western Europe. Henry VIII himself was no reformer. When Luther hurled defiance at the authority of the Roman see and disputed the truth of its doctrines, the young Tudor prince entered the lists against him with a tract on the Assertion of the Seven Sacraments, for which the Pope, Leo X, rewarded him with the title of 'Defender of the Faith.' But with the growth of his ambition came the design of making himself supreme not only in the State, but in the Church, the chief check hitherto existing upon the absolutism of the Crown. The gifted young monarch, who in his early life corresponded with Erasmus and debated with More, was in his later years to inaugurate the Tudor despotism which laid its heavy burden upon Church and State alike. The Act of Supremacy vested all ecclesiastical authority in the Crown, and the clergy learned, by one injunction after another, that they were only allowed to retain their offices on condition of becoming the mouthpieces of the King, who dictated alike the form of their faith and the manner in which it was to be preached. Pushed on from one act of absolutism to another by the ruthless ambition of his minister, Thomas Cromwell, arbitrary acts of taxation, of legislation, and of imprisonment followed each other with startling rapidity. "He is a prince," said the dying Wolsey, as he lay under arrest at the Abbey of Leicester, "of most royal courage; sooner than miss any part of his will, he will endanger one half of his kingdom." The passionless and calculating rigour which startles and appals us in reading the State Papers of the Tudor period had its effect in England in revolts all over the country, suppressed with ruthless severity, and in the fall of the noblest heads in England. Leaders of great houses like the aged Countess of Salisbury, and men of the highest virtue and learning like More, fell swiftly one after another upon the block.

It was in such an age and with such a spirit that the question of religious change was approached in Ireland. That country had been little touched by the expansion of intellectual enquiry which was elsewhere stirring in Europe, and which we vaguely designate as the Renaissance. Both on the intellectual and on the religious side the Irish people were quite unprepared for any change in their religious beliefs, with which they were fully satisfied and which were commended to them by many faithful and devoted lives among the native priests and more especially among the friars. There was, in Ireland, little or no complaint of those monastic irregularities which formed a ready excuse for their despoiling in England when their accumulated wealth was wanted for State purposes or for the reward of needy courtiers and impecunious kings. What was best in the 'New Religion' never had any chance of appeal in Ireland, and the greedy time-servers on whom alone Henry could rely to carry out his designs were not the type of men to recommend to a people any changes in the form or spirit of their religion. The crowd of priests, rectors, and vicars whom Sir Thomas More saw crowding into the courtyard at Lambeth, hurrying to take the Oath of Supremacy for the refusal of which he himself sat awaiting the summons of death, were not likely to attract to their 'faith' any of the unconvinced. The men sent over to Ireland to preach the new tenets and enforce the King's claims were of the type of these subservient clerics. The chief agent of Henry's will was a man named George Browne, Provincial of the Augustinian order in England, who had thrown himself zealously into the plans of the King's minister Cromwell for the "advance of the King's affairs," and who in March 1535 was consecrated Archbishop of Dublin to succeed Dr Alen, who had been so brutally murdered by the followers of Silken Thomas during his rebellion in the preceding year. Browne was an ignorant and overbearing friar, whom even the King rebuked for his arrogance and inefficiency, and whom Lord Deputy Grey called "a polshorn friar." Indecent in life and blustering in manner, Browne neither won the adhesion of the English of the Pale nor that of the clergy and laity in the provinces. His first duty was to proclaim the Act of Supremacy and force it through the Irish Parliament. Then followed the removal of all religious images out of the cathedrals and churches of his diocese. The suppression of the monasteries came next.[1] From this time the Priory of the Blessed Trinity was changed into a deanery and chapters, and it henceforth bore the name of Christ Church Cathedral.

[1] See the protest made by St Leger, May 21, 1539, in S.P., Hen. VIII, iii, 130-131. This letter and "The Form of the Beads" may be conveniently read in Miss C. Maxwell's Irish History from Contemporary Sources, pp. 127, 123.

To Browne's initiative can be traced the first proposals for converting St Patrick's Cathedral into a university for the education of clergy, a plan which figures largely in the correspondence of the time. Among the most revered relics lost in the general destruction was the famous 'Staff of Jesus,' believed by old tradition to have been given to St Patrick by Jesus Christ. It had been removed from Armagh to Dublin in 1180. The destruction of the sacred places and images, which was carried out with a total disregard of the feelings of the populace, awakened an hostility more vigorous than was the later protest when in 1551 the English liturgy was ordered to be read in the churches. Browne was strenuously opposed by Cromer, Archbishop of Armagh, and by his successor Dowdall, although the latter had been appointed by Henry and might have been expected to support his policy. A commission from the Pope prohibiting the acknowledgment of the King's Supremacy arrived in 1538 to support the efforts of the resisting party. Browne's report to Cromwell, on whose commission he acted, could hardly have been pleasing to that minister. "The countryfolk here much hate your lordship," he writes frankly, "and despitefully call you, in their Irish tongue, the blacksmith's son." His forewarning that the new measures were beginning to have the effect of making both the Irish and English races lay aside their old quarrels, "and will, if anything will, cause a foreigner to invade this nation," was destined to be speedily fulfilled.

Even at that moment Conn O'Neill, as Browne had the wit to see, was trying to form with Desmond a Catholic League of the North and South. The violence and rapacity of the Reforming prelates and clergy did more to weld together such leagues than any sense of national or internal union could do; the defence of the old faith provided a link that it was felt drew together all classes of the people, in every part of the country, English and Irish alike. It began for the first time what we may recognize as a widespread movement directed against English policy, which in the later years of the Tudor tyranny was to become consolidated into a national resistance to English rule. Up to the time of the Reformation any resistance to the claims of England over Ireland had been local, the result of temporary irritation, but no general desire seems to have been felt to rid the country of a supremacy which was taken, after a term of three and a half centuries, almost for granted. In the still independent districts only was the English suzerainty contested or ignored. There was a general submission to the English Crown, and such outbreaks as there were resulted from special acts of injustice or cruelty, such as the beheading of Desmond or the sacrifice of the five uncles of Silken Thomas on the suppression of his rebellion. But the efforts of Browne and his party did what no political difficulties had ever done. Such a command as that contained in Browne's official exhortation, called "The Form of the Beads," bidding them "obediently to recognize the King's Highness to be supreme head in earth of the Church of England and Ireland...and to show and teach how the Bishop of Rome hath heretofore usurped not only upon God, but also upon our princes," exhorting all to deface him from their primers and other books,[2] was a trumpet-blast which united the nation against the King and gave to the hitherto disunited bodies a common ground of action. Browne reported that neither by gentle exhortation, evangelical instruction, or sharp correction had he once succeeded, even in the Pale, in getting any to preach the word of God or the just title of the prince.[3] Even in St Patrick's the parish priest had hardly begun the Beads when the choir began to sing and put a stop to them. To St Leger Browne's energies were hateful. "Go to, go to," he exclaimed, as he saw his work of appeasement being undone by these zealots, "your matters of religion will mar all." [4]

[2] S.P., Hen. VIII, ii, 564 seq.
[3] S.P. Hen. VIII, ii, p. 539; Carew, Cal., i, No. 114, p. 135, and No. 120, p. 139.
[4] See also the sharp rebuke addressed to Browne by the King, S.P., Hen. VIII, ii, 465.

It was during the introduction of the English Book of Common Prayer in Edward VI's reign, which it was sought to make compulsory in Ireland, that opposition first became general. St Leger, to whom it fell to call a convention in 1551 for the purpose of introducing the new Liturgy, was no persecutor, and his affection for the old religion was made the chief ground of complaint against him on his downfall.[5] But in virtue of his office he was obliged to summon an Assembly to enforce the use of the Liturgy in its revised and English form. A stormy scene ensued. George Dowdall, Archbishop of Armagh, exclaimed, "Then shall every illiterate fellow read Mass." [6] "Your Grace is mistaken," replied Sir Anthony mildly, "for we have too many illiterate priests amongst us already, who can neither pronounce the Latin, nor know what it means, no more than the common people that hear them; but when the people hear the Liturgy in English, they and the priest will understand what they pray for." It seems clear that the intention was to apply the use of the Prayer Book only in English-speaking districts, but the crude and ridiculous attempt was afterward made to force it also on native congregations. Dowdall was deprived of his position for his resistance, and Browne was rewarded for his pliancy by being intruded into the Primacy in his place. A few years later we find him bitterly repenting his choice, and praying to be sent to a less conspicuous diocese in place of the poor and difficult post he had been so anxious to obtain in the wild country of Shane O'Neill. Dowdall was eventually obliged to fly to the Continent, but he was recalled under Mary, and though he had originally been appointed by the Crown his recall was approved by the Pope, and he was reinstated in March 1553.

[5] Evelyn P. Shirley, Original Letters and Papers illustrating the History of the Church of Ireland in the Reign of Edward VI, etc. (1851), No. XXIII.
[6] Harleian Miscellany, v, 601.

It is little wonder that the new doctrine made small progress in Ireland. It was neither recommended by the preaching nor by the lives of its first promoters. The monasteries fell into ruins, and the churches languished for lack of clergy. The clergy who remained, "though," in Browne's words, "they could and would preach after the old sort and fashion till right Christians were weary of them, would not once open their lips to proclaim the King's supremacy" or to use the new service book. The Observants were "worse than all the others; for I can make them neither swear nor preach among us." The choirs began to sing their loudest when the new forms of prayer were read. In 1562, Lord Deputy Sussex reported that the people were without discipline, utterly void of religion, and that they came to divine service as to a May game. A futile effort was made to attract them to church by ordering the new Liturgy to be read in Latin, but when this was discovered it only led to fresh disorders. Even Elizabeth was on one occasion heard to say that she feared the same reproach might fall on her which had been made to Tiberius: "It is you, you, that are to blame for these evils; you have committed your flocks, not to shepherds, but to wolves."

All the threats of the Government had little effect outside the English Pale. A commission held in 1549 asked the question, "How many friar houses and others remain using the old Papist sort [form of Mass]?" The answer was: "All Munster in effect, Thomond, Connacht, and Ulster." And in 1565 Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Armagh, reported that still "the nobility and chief gentry frequent the Mass." Besides the immediate result which the forcing of the new doctrines upon the country had in strengthening and combining the Catholics of the North and South, it had the further effect of attracting the attention of Catholic powers abroad and of bringing France and Spain into closer touch with Ireland during their wars with England, to the great disadvantage and peril of that country. Ireland, during the next hundred years, was to act as one chief pivot of the Continental wars, and was to prove a centre of intrigue and a point of constant danger to England. Moreover, the Papal authority which had, from the time of Henry II onward, been steadily on the side of the English Crown now naturally was thrown upon a contrary policy; the Irish Catholics were called upon to support a league which was outwardly, at least, designed for the preservation of the Catholic religion. Hitherto the Popes had always been ready to excommunicate either Scottish or Irish princes and people who were not "buxom nor obedient to their Lord King of England," and it was not till the Catholic League was fully formed in Elizabeth's reign that the Pope blessed it with his approval, and the Bull of excommunication against the Queen was promulgated by Pope Pius V, and supported by his successor, Pope Gregory XIII.

At the accession of Queen Mary the question arose whether she, as a sincere Catholic, would abjure the title of Head of the Church adopted by her father and give up the Oath of Supremacy which distressed the minds of so many of her Catholic subjects; but neither she nor her husband, Philip of Spain, showed any disposition to limit the prerogatives of the Crown, though in a general way they "set forth the honour and dignity of the Pope's Holiness and See Apostolic of Rome," and recommended the suppression of all heretics and "damnable sects." On Mary's accession, Pope Paul IV, despairing of recovering a title which had been now claimed by two kings of England, and which the present occupier of the throne showed no sign of abandoning, decided to bless a condition of things he could not alter, by ignoring the action of Henry VIII, and "erecting the island into a kingdom, so that the world might believe that the Queen used the title as given by the Pope, not as decreed by her father." He thus once more re-established his own claim to a superior authority by giving away, as Adrian had done before him, the actual power to the kings of England, to be held once more as the gift of the Holy See.[7]

[7] Carew, Cal., i, No. 205, p. 251.

That the condition of the Church in Ireland had been in a satisfactory state before the Reformation is much to be doubted. A State Paper of May 31, 1534, gives a lamentable account of the ruin which had fallen upon the monasteries and churches and the secular purposes to which they were put. We know from other sources that some of the cathedrals in the Irish districts were used entirely for such purposes as fortresses, storehouses, and barracks. Tuam was for three hundred years used as a fortress by the neighbouring gentry, "without the holy sacrifice or divine office," according to the report of the Papal emissary, Father David Wolf, until the appointment of Christopher Bodkin, the Government Archbishop, who had "with a great risk of his own life" cleared out the horses and beasts that inhabited the cathedral and had restored the divine worship in decency and quiet. Wolf says of Bodkin that "his morality is unimpeached, and he is well liked by everyone," and he strongly recommends that his appointment should be accepted and confirmed by the Pope, as he was better fitted for the post than the "true and legitimate archbishop," Art O'Fredir. Achonry Cathedral had been used as a fortress up to 1561, according to the interesting letter of the same apostolic delegate, written in that year to the Cardinal to whom he is reporting.[8] "It does not retain one vestige of the semblance of religion."

[8] The letter is quoted in full in Cardinal P. F. Moran's History of the Catholic Archbishops of Dublin, pp. 85-87.

Armagh Cathedral had long been used as a military centre both by Shane's party and by the English, who made it into a barracks and used it for their military headquarters during their wars in Tyrone. The complaints as to the sort of men who occupied posts in the native churches before the changes can also not be without some ground of truth. The State Paper to which we have already referred complains of "the unlearned persons, murderers, thieves, and [persons] of other detestable dispositions (such as light men of war)" who had been intruded into the churches, having expelled the rightful incumbents, and who spent and wasted the lands given for the service of God.[9] Creagh's account of the State of the Church in Ulster confirms this. Sidney declares that the Church is "foul, deformed, and cruelly crushed;" out of two hundred and twenty-four churches in the diocese of Meath, a hundred and five were leased out to farmers, and no parson or vicar was resident on any of them; very simple or sorry curates, mostly Irish-speakers and quite unlearned, were appointed to serve them, without houses to dwell in and living on the gain of Masses and other "bare altarages." This was in the best-peopled diocese in the country.[10] The obligation to take the Oath of Supremacy, and the new doctrines, began to empty the churches in the towns also. Even Justices of the Peace and bailiffs refused the Oath of Supremacy in Cork, and where the bishop of that diocese had been accustomed to preach to a thousand or more he had now not five. The correspondents of the time impute this increasing stubbornness to the activities of foreign agents, whom the English classed under the comprehensive name of Jesuits. There is no doubt that large numbers of priests, schoolmasters, and friars were coming into the country purposely to support the Catholic League as well as to carry on their ordinary functions. Some were Italians and Spaniards; others were Irishmen who had been educated abroad and had imbibed the views of the countries in which they had spent their youth. This continued throughout Elizabeth's reign. "They land here secretly in every port and creek of the realm (a dozen of them together sometimes, as we are credibly informed) and afterwards disperse themselves into several quarters, in such sort that every town and country is full of them...The people in many places resort to Mass now in greater multitudes, both in town and country, than for many years past."[11] Though the ports were watched and the houses searched, these teachers, half missioners and half political agents, continued to arrive; and their teaching was followed by a revival of Church life, "solid and brilliant," as the letters of Father Fitzsimon declare, as well as by the awakening of a violently anti-English spirit among the people.

[9] Carew, Cal., i, No. 42, p. 55.
[10] Sidney, Letters, ed. Collins, i, 112-113 (April 28, 1576).
[11] Cal, S.P.I., Eliz., cxci, pp. 14-16 (July 6, 1596); Cal. S.P.I., James I, No. 419, pp. 309-310 (October 27, 1607).

Of actual bodily suffering on account of religion there was at this time considerably less in Ireland than in England and abroad. There were no burnings at the stake, and none of those holocausts such as were being suffered for the sake of religion in France, Spain and the Low Countries. Compared with these the sufferings of the Irish were light. Yet there were a considerable number of severe punishments inflicted, and fines and often long imprisonments were the reward of those who refused to take the Oath of Supremacy—a refusal which could easily be construed as an act of disloyalty and was punishable as treason. Nor could the order for the suppression of the monasteries be carried through without great hardships, though in Henry's reign pensions were promised to the ejected abbots and priors. The order made in 1538 could not be carried into immediate execution; and in the remote parts of the country the monasteries continued to carry on their work practically untouched. Sir John Davies, in the reign of James I, remarks that the abbeys and convents in Tyrone, Tyrconnel, and Fermanagh had never been reduced. But before the close of 1539 twenty-four of the chief monasteries had been effectually suppressed in the districts over which the English held sway. A number of priors and abbots and many monks were imprisoned or put to death for resisting the dismantling of their monasteries, or for refusing to accept the King's supremacy. The main period of persecution began after the restoration of the Act of Uniformity in 1560, when a number of bishops, priests, and friars suffered long periods of imprisonment, and in some cases torture or death. One of the most pathetic cases was that of Dr. Dermod O'Hurley, Professor of Philosophy at Louvain and of Canon Law at Rheims, who left his congenial and learned posts to become Archbishop of Cashel at a time when "the Irish mission" was one of almost certain imprisonment or death. For a time he carried on his work in the face of constant danger, but, being tracked down at last, he suffered in prison extreme torture, which he bore with admirable patience and serenity, till in 1584 he was put to death by being strangled with a withe.[12] Fourteen bishops and a number of other clergy are remembered by name as having suffered imprisonment, death, or exile between the years 1577 and 1597, during which period the persecution was at its height. To hunt priests was a meritorious act, and was rewarded by the Government, often on the testimony of such infamous informers as Miler Magrath, one of the few Irish ecclesiastics who acknowledged the supremacy of Elizabeth and whose grasping disposition was rewarded with many honours. He employed himself in hunting down men more honest than himself, and shamelessly invented accusations against them. "Very few of them," he writes to Cecil in 1593, "escape the whip of my censuring discoveries." His career runs through the State Papers of his day like the track of some vile reptile, and it is only a slight satisfaction to know that the same violent death that he had been instrumental in inflicting on others eventually overtook himself.

[12] David Rothe, Analecta, ed. P. T. Moran, Introd., pp. xiii-xlvi. Cornelius O'Devany, Bishop of Down and Connor, was executed in February 1612, in the reign of James I, Ibid., pp. xciii seq.

The laws were spasmodically enforced, but in the larger number of cases, though a Catholic priest might be forced to quit the country if found celebrating Mass or teaching Catholic children, and though the fines for non-attendance at the Protestant churches were frequently levied, severe corporal punishments were rare. Such documents as the Italian Report of 1613,[13] the declarations of O'Sullevan Beare regarding Elizabeth's reign,[14] and the similar statements of Pope Innocent X in 1645 [15] are sufficient evidence of this. In 1613 there were still 800 seculars, 130 Franciscans, 20 Jesuits, and some members of the other orders at work in Ireland; and though the terror of imprisonment hung over them if they were found taking part in political affairs, they seem generally to have been left in peace. But the disabilities that beset a Catholic in every walk in life were as degrading and harassing as the later penal enactments. A Catholic might not study under one of his religion at home, and if he were caught going overseas for his education he was liable to imprisonment and heavy fines. No Irish Catholic could plead in court, nor was he eligible for any civil employment, nor might a merchant share in the privileges of his town without taking the Oath of Supremacy, going to church, and promising to bring up his children as Protestants; hence all official employments passed into the hands of English Protestants.[16]

[13] Archivium Hibernicum (1914), iii, 300.
[14] P. O'Sullevan Beare, Historia Catholicae Iberniae Compendium, vol. iii, Bk. I, ch. i, iii.
[15] Instructions of Innocent X to Rinuccini, Embassy in Ireland, xxix-xxx.
[16] Memorial presented to the King of Spain on behalf of the Irish Catholics, 1619. See Archivium Hibernicum

In 1556 the long Deputyship of St Leger, broken into four parts by three short recalls, came to an end. He had been in power, with intervals, since 1540. He was succeeded by Sussex, Lord FitzWalter, under whom, from 1556 onward, Sir Henry Sidney acted as Lord Justice and Vice-Treasurer, acquiring an intimate knowledge of the country's conditions and needs during his seven years of active association with him before he was appointed to follow him as Lord Deputy in 1565. In 1558 Mary died, and with the accession of Elizabeth to the throne the most stirring period of Irish history begins. At the date of the new Queen's accession there were signs of difficulties ahead in the North. Shane O'Neill was smarting under a sense of injury in having been set aside by his father in favour of an older man whom he persistently declared to be only "the son of a blacksmith," and who was supported in his position, at Conn's request, by the English Government.[17] Conn, his reputed father, died in 1559, and Shane, who was now coming to manhood, determined to assert his claims.

[17] Carew, Cal., i, No. 228, pp. 305-307.



The Tudors did not spare their most distinguished servants when an appointment had to be made in Ireland. In 1556, during the absence of Sussex, Sir Henry Sidney, who had served under Sussex as Vice-Treasurer and had accompanied him on his expeditions to the North, was appointed Lord Justice. In 1565 he succeeded as Lord Deputy, and from that time, with short intervals, Sidney passed the greater part of his life in Ireland. "Three times hath her Majesty sent me her Deputy into Ireland," he writes to Walsingham in March, 1583, "and in every of the three times I sustained a great and violent rebellion, every one of which I subdued and with honourable peace left the country in quiet. I returned from each of those three deputations £3,000 worse than I went." [1]

[1] Sidney's "Summary Relation of his Services in Ireland," Carew, Cal., ii, No. 501, pp. 334 seq.

Sidney was a man of great position, inheriting large grants of land in Kent and Sussex, with the beautiful manor of Penshurst, where his gifted son, Sir Philip Sidney, was born. He was an accomplished man and a vigorous and successful ruler. Stern as was his rule, the Irish believed him to be just and honest.[2] The Annals of the Four Masters call him "a knight by title, nobleness, deed, and valour," and to the populace he was known as "Big Sir Harry." He rebuilt Dublin Castle, then in a ruinous condition, and he arranged for the preservation of the State Papers, which had not hitherto been kept, a great service to future generations. As a young man his activity was so great that when pursuing Shane O'Neill "his vauntcurrers felt Shane's couch warm" where he lay the night before; and on one occasion, when word was brought to Shane that the Deputy was near at hand, he exclaimed, "That is not possible; for the day before yesterday I know he dined and sat under his cloth of state in the hall of Kilmainham." "By the hand of O'Neill," quoth the messenger, "he is in thy country, for I saw the red bractok with the knotty club [Sidney's crest] and that is carried before none but himself; meaning [Sidney adds] my pensell with the ragged staff." [3] When Sidney first came over as Deputy Shane was at the height of his power, and he marched north immediately against "this monstrous monarcall tyrant" to whose son he, when Lord Justice, had stood godfather. The campaign was a severe and trying one. "How pleasant it is in this time of year with hunger and sore travail to harbour long and cold nights in cabins made of boughs and covered with grass, I leave to your indifferent judgment," writes the owner of Penshurst at the close of a letter to London.

[2] His most questionable act was his acquiescence in the murder of Shane O'Neill.
[3] Carew, Cal., ii. No. 501, p. 336.

Sidney had great influence over the Munster lords, who accompanied and entertained him as he passed through the province, and his popularity extended through all parts of the country. It is perhaps no wonder that at a time when Lord Grey de Wilton, Ormonde, or Pelham were carrying an unsheathed sword through Munster, especially during Lord Grey's term of office from 1580-82, Sir Henry Sidney was the man "generally desired," and that he "was cried for by the children in the streets." "If Sir Henry can but sit in his chair," wrote Malbie to Walsingham in 1582, when Grey's recall in disgrace began to be mooted, "he will do more good than others with all their limbs;" [4] and Sidney had to go back to another term of office, in spite of growing infirmities and increasing age, when he had hoped to spend the rest of his life at home. "And so, being wearied with often sending for, I resolved to go thither again; the place, I protest before God, which I cursed, hated, and detested." Yet he "hoped to be able to do somewhat that had not been done before and to hit where others had missed." The chief personal difficulty of Sidney's life in Ireland arose from the jealousy of Ormonde, who was constantly in London and whose splendid presence and abilities made him a prime favourite with the Queen. To her, every act of Sidney was reported. This hampered him seriously in dealing with the quarrels of the Butlers, Ormonde's brothers, and surrounded him with an atmosphere of suspicion and espionage most galling to a man of honest intentions. His dealings with the Desmonds were fair and patient and might have been successful in staving off the Munster rebellion had his plans not been overturned by others. Of this we have to speak later. During his long terms of office he learned to know Ireland as few Viceroys ever knew it, and he endeavoured to encourage industry and found schools supported by the State.

[4] Sidney was suffering from lameness and lumbago.

The main lines of his policy, or what he called "his fixed principle," were "the dissipation of the great lords and their countries, and the reducing of the lands of the Anglo-Norman lords into many hands," for he saw in the immense power held by the few owners of the great estates a constant source of danger to the State. He believed in plantation schemes, and thought that Essex's 'plot' for the reformation of the North was the best and surest foundation on which to build.[5] He highly disapproved the "cowardly policy," recommended by some of the Queen's advisers, "of keeping the Irish by all possible means at war between themselves for fear lest, through their quiet, might follow I know not what;" if this system were to be persisted in, he begs the Queen to choose some other minister. "Ireland," in Sidney's view, "could only be reformed by justice and by making it possible to practise the arts of peace." [6] Soon after his appointment as Deputy, Sidney continued that good practice of making occasional circuits of the provinces begun by Cusack. His lengthy reports, full of character and detail, remain.

[5] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 36, p. 43.
[6] Sidney to the Queen, April 20, 1567, in A. Collins, Letters and Memorials of State (1746), i, 29.

The first of these journeys was made in April 1567, through the Pale and Munster, the second in 1575-76, when he visited in turn all the provinces of Ireland. Starting northward, he found Eastern Ulster desolate and waste, and the towns impoverished, except Drogheda, which Essex had made his headquarters, spending very bountifully while he was there, and increasing the wealth of the city. O'Reilley's country was an exception to the general disorder, "very well ruled by him; the justest Irishman and the best-ruled Irish country, by an Irishman, that is in all Ireland"; farther south, Upper Ossory was equally well governed and defended by the young Baron, who was so firm in his decision to adopt the recognized English rule of succession that "it made no matter, even if the country were never shired." [7] Kilkenny, on the contrary, was in very bad case, "the sink and receptacle of innumerable cattle and goods stolen out of many other countries," the fruits of the interminable wars of the Butlers. Nevertheless, Sidney was honourably feasted and entertained by the Earl of Ormonde, who accompanied him to Waterford, where the Deputy was received "with all shows and tokens of gladness and pomp, as well upon the water as on the land." [8] A similar reception awaited them in Cork, where they remained six weeks, Youghal being in too reduced a condition to entertain high personages like the Deputy. The journey from this point onward was like a royal progress. They moved about attended by the Earls of Desmond, Thomond, and Clancar, the Earl of Desmond having 'come in' only a few days before; the Bishops of Cashel and Cork, the Viscounts Barry and Roche, the Barons Courcy, Lixnaw, Dunboyne, Power, Barry Oge, and even Louth, who "only to do Sidney honour," came down from the north of the Pale to Cork.[9] Divers of the Irish, "not yet nobilitated," were of the party, such as the Lords of Carbery and Muskerry, Sir Donogh MacCarthy, and Sir Cormac MacTeigue MacCarthy—men Sidney wished to see made barons, at least, "though in respect of their territories Muskerry and MacCarthy were fitted to be made Viscounts."

[7] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 33, pp. 31-33.
[8] Ibid., ii, No. 33, p. 34.
[9] Ibid., ii, No. 36, pp. 38-39. See also Collins, Letters and Memorials of State, i, 18-31, for the report of the journey in 1567; and i, 75-80, 81-85, 89-97, 102-110, for the journey in 1575.

Besides these, there were Sir Owen O'Sullevan, and the son and heir to O'Sullevan Mór, "the father not being able to come by reason of his great years and impotency," Sir William O'Carroll and MacDonoghue, "never a one of them but for his lands might pass in rank of a baron, either in Ireland or England." Of the Irish, too, were the sons of MacAwley and O'Callaghan, "the old man not being able to come by reason of extreme age and infirmity," and O'Mahon and O'Driscoll "each of them having land to live like a knight, here or there." Of the descendants of the old English were Sir James FitzGerald, Sir Theodore Butler, "who lawfully and justly enjoyed the lands of his uncle and cousin the Barons of Cahir," Sir Thomas, Sir John, and Sir James of Desmond, brothers to the Earl, and, besides all these, many of the "ruined reliques of the ancient English inhabitants, as the Arundels, Rocheforts, Barretts, Flemings, Lombards, Terries (Tirrells), whose ancestors did live like gentlemen, knights some of them, and now all in misery, either banished from their own, or oppressed upon their own." Lastly, there was a group of captains of galloglas, the MacSwynes, "a brood not a little perilous to this province," who "made the greatest lords of the province both fear them and be glad of their friendship." All of these, according to the Viceroy, "seemed to loathe their vile and barbarous manner of life and were all ready to offer fealty and service for ever to her Majesty and to perform it at Westminster." Truly Sidney might feel that the ends of English rule in Ireland had been attained, as this princely company of 'meere' Irish, old English, and 'newly nobilitated' lords, each of them with his wife during all the Christmas season "the better to furnish out the beauty and filling of the city," gathered round him, "all of them keeping very honourable, at least very plentiful houses; many widow ladies were there also, who erst had been wives to earls and others of good note and accompt." [10]

[10] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 36, pp. 40-48.

This splendid progress was followed by practical results.

A great number of the Irish and old English lords submitted, even, as Sidney travelled westward, in the districts bordering on the Shannon. Burkes, Lacies, Purcells, the Red Roche, O'Mulrian, and several of the O'Briens and MacNamaras repaired to the Deputy at Limerick, all lamenting the waste and ruin of their countries, and praying for English laws to be planted among them and English sheriffs to execute those laws. The lesser lords called for the imposition of a settled subsidy instead of the local cess exacted from them by force; on this point Sidney found them "very tractable, though the matter in handling was somewhat tough." Except in the Palatinates of Kerry and Tipperary, the Queen's writ ran everywhere in the South and assizes were held. Owing to Perrot's administration Munster showed "great towardness of reformation" since the Deputy's last visit in 1567.

In Connacht affairs were not so satisfactory, though the Deputy entered the province with an imposing train of lords owning their lands in the west who here replaced those of Munster and the Pale.[11] The Earl of Thomond, heading a large company of O'Briens, accompanied him, "all gentlemen of one surname, and yet no one of them friends to another, and sometime have been named kings of Limerick"; as also the Earl of Clanricarde, the Archbishop of Tuam and Bishop of Clonfert, the Baron of Athenry, a now needy representative of the great family of the Berminghams, "the ancientest in this land"; with O'Flaherty, O'Kelly, O'Madden, O'Naughton, at the head of their respective lords and captains, besides Burkes under their adopted names of MacDavy, MacRedmond, MacHubbert, and many more. The old Galway Prendergasts, MacCostelloes, Lynches, and Barretts were all well represented, and all alike besought that they might hold their lands of the Crown directly instead of being at the mercy of their provincial lords, who so tyrannized over them that many who had once been lords and barons in Parliament had not now three hackneys to carry them home. The whole province was suffering from the misdeeds of Ulick and John Burke, the two "hopeless sons" of the Earl of Clanricarde, whom no promises or oaths would restrain from their execrable evil deeds. Galway had been so decayed through the "horrible spoils" committed by these young men, that the inhabitants had almost forgotten that they were a corporate town. The place was fortified like a city at war, its walls nightly watched, and its gates daily guarded by armed men. Athenry, "a town full as big as Calais, with a fair high wall," had been totally burned by them, college, parish church, and all; "yet the mother of one of them was buried in the church." [12] In this former great and ancient town, which had three hundred good householders, Sidney found now "only four and they poor, and, as I write," he says, "ready to leave the place. The cry and lamentation of the poor people was great and pitiful and nothing but thus, `Succour, succour, succour.'

[11] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 38, pp. 48-51.
[12] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 38, pp. 49-50.

The Earl of Clanricarde could not deny but that he held a heavy hand over them." Sidney set about to raise a tax on the country for the rebuilding of the town, and the two youths publicly submitted in St Nicholas' Church of Galway, where Sidney caused a countryman of their own named Lynch, "sometime a friar at Greenwich, but a reformed man, a good divine and preacher in three tongues, Irish, English, and Latin" to preach a sermon to them on the wickedness of their actions.[13] But their reformation was short. After a brief confinement in Dublin they were set free, provided that they would never again pass the Shannon into Connacht. But hardly were they at liberty than they recrossed the river, flinging off their English habit and apparel and putting on their wonted Irish weed with the remark, "Lie there for one year at least." They rejoined their "loose rascall and kerne," tore down the new buildings in Athenry, and again set the province in an uproar. Their father, Richard or Redmond, known as the 'Sasanach Earl' on account of his English leanings, who was accompanying the Deputy, "very humbly on his knees had besought protection for himself and his two sons," but on their fresh outbreak his castles were delivered into Sidney's hands and he himself sent into England, the Deputy congratulating himself that he had in his power the father, an earl, and his followers, instead of "two beggerly bastard boys." The old Earl "took his leave of this world" in 1582, and the sons continued their struggles for the title of Earl, in spite of a division of their immense properties between them and their frequent promises of a better life.[14]

[13] Ibid., ii, No. 501, pp. 352-353.
[14] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 498, pp. 330, 331.

The Mayo branch of the great family of the Burkes Sidney on his journey to Galway found more amenable. Though at first MacWilliam Burke sent word that he would not come, he relented when he found that seven chief men of his galloglas, the Scottish Clandonnells, had submitted themselves, and he came "very willingly." The Deputy "found MacWilliam very sensible, though wanting the English tongue yet understanding the Latin. He desired to suppress Irish extortion and to expulse the Scots," and he agreed to hold his lands directly of the Queen. Sidney conferred on him the honour of knighthood, "whereof he seemed very joyous," and gave him "some other little trifles, as tokens between him and me." [15] Sidney found him a great man, owning territory three times as large as Clanricarde, his lands lying along the coast, wherein were many goodly havens. So long as he lived he remained loyal and seems to have endeavoured to keep the country quiet, but the untamable wildness of his family, followed by the ruthless regime of Bingham in Connacht ten years later, made peace impossible. Of the Gaelic Connacht chiefs, O'Conor excused himself by letters, but for O'Conor Sligo, O'Rorke, and O'Donnell, Sidney looked in vain. But a year later they had all submitted, with copious promises of being "good subjects" and paying rents. As a rule the rents were, as O'Conor said of his own tributes from O'Conor Sligo, "never taken without violence" and indefinitely delayed.

[15] Ibid., ii, No. 38, p. 49.

Among the local chieftains who came in and submitted to Sidney during his visit to Galway was Owen O'Mayle, or O'Malley, Lord of Borishoole, Co. Mayo, the father of the celebrated Grania O'Malley, who became famous in song as Grania Mhaol (pronounced Wael). The exploits of this Connacht chieftainess, who defied Elizabeth and her Government from her sea-fortress, so impressed her time and nation that her name became a synonym for Ireland itself, and there are popular national songs addressed to the country under this title. She was wife to the "Iron" Richard Burke, who was brought in by her to make his submission. Sidney's account of the scene reflects the general curiosity aroused by the personality of this remarkable woman. His report goes: "There came to me a most famous feminine sea-captain, called Grany O'Mallye, and offered her service unto me wheresoever I would command her with three galleys and two hundred fighting men, either in Ireland or Scotland; she brought with her her husband, for she was by sea as by land more than Mrs Mate with him...This was a notorious woman in all the coast of Ireland. This woman did Sir Philip Sidney see and speak withall; he can more at large inform you of her." [16] This interview between Sidney's famous son, the most accomplished poet-soldier of his day, with the powerful and independent chieftainess of the Connacht seaboard must have been of singular interest. We could wish that the record of it had remained. Grania ruled her husband and her district with equal vigour, commanding her fleet and army from her almost impregnable castle at Carrick-a-Uile, near Newport in Co. Mayo. Her ships scoured the wild seas of the West and made sudden descents on English armies and fleets, committing depredations far and near. Sir Richard Bingham considered her as "the nurse of all the rebellions in the province for forty years." Grania had many narrow escapes. In 1577-78 she was a prisoner in Desmond's hands, until Sir William Drury had her brought to Dublin and set her free. Her first husband was an O'Flaherty, cousin of Sir Morrogh O'Flaherty of the Axes (na dtuagh), recognized by Queen Elizabeth as the head of his clan; but on his death she was united to Richard Burke. She was seized by Sir Richard Bingham in 1586 for plundering Aran Island. He bound her and threatened to hang her, but let her off on receiving a pledge from her wild son-in-law, popularly known as "the Devil's Hook" or "the Fiend of the Sickle" (Deamhan an chórrain). On his rising in rebellion she fled into Ulster to O'Neill and O'Donnell, till Sir John Perrot sent her the Queen's pardon, on which she returned to Connacht; but her fleet was dispersed, and she fell into great poverty and had to appeal to Burghley for the restoration of one-fifth of her husband's lands. Tradition says that she was buried on Clare Island.

[16] Carew, Cal., ii. No. 109, p. 141 ; No. 501, p. 353.

The disturbed condition of the district had been aggravated by the harsh and irritating dealings of Sir Edward Fitton, who was appointed first Governor of Connacht in 1569, soon after Sidney's visit to the province. He was a man better fitted for his later post of Treasurer than as a general called upon to cope with a country in rebellion. He was replaced in January 1576-77 by Colonel Nicholas Malbie, who was given the charge of the castles of Roscommon and Athlone and all Clanricarde's houses, and who later, in March 1579, was appointed President. Under his administration the province quieted down. He brought with him a band of soldiers which included two hundred of the Scottish Clandonnells of Leinster, who formed the Queen's body of galloglas, and some kerne in her Majesty's service. At the same moment two thousand Scots were on their way over to fight with the Earl's sons and were "doing as much harm and mischief as they could." The Scottish tartan must frequently have been seen on both sides in these Irish wars. Otherwise the wars in Connacht were carried on almost entirely by Irish troops on both sides. There was never any difficulty in raising bodies of kerne for the Queen's armies, and, except for the great expeditions such as that of Essex against O'Neill, when English troops were sent over, nearly all the field campaigns were carried on with kerne raised in the locality. The English soldiers were almost exclusively used for garrisons in the towns and castles. For Bingham's ruthless campaign in Connacht kerne came swarming in from Munster to enrol under the English flag, so that he had no need of any outside help in subduing the unruly Burkes and Joys; he boasted that his wars had not cost a penny to the Queen. He reports that he had to turn away "many companies of kerne who came to me out of Munster and other places to serve here; they came up so fast that I think I must be forced to turn upon them and drive them out of the province."

The old provincial jealousies were not yet extinct, and any occasion served to revive them. It was in 1584, when the stirrings of the Burkes of Mayo and the descents of the Scots from the out-islands had between them left Connacht in a ferment, that Perrot sent Sir Richard Bingham to 'quiet' the country, giving him the title of President of Connacht. His intention was to make the people English as quickly as possible, for which purpose he introduced a 'plot' to make them directly dependent on the State His next step was to deprive them of the right of using the old 'Macs' and 'O's' before their names, applying the prohibition particularly to MacWilliam Burke, who was as proud of his title as any MacLean or MacLeod in the Scottish highlands. It is plain that these old Norman de Burgos were now looked upon and probably looked upon themselves as "original Irish" and they flew to arms to assert their right. They refused to appear at sessions and shut themselves up in their castle in Lough Mask, where Bingham besieged them by boat. "He so hunted them from bush to bush and hill to hill that in a short time no news was to be heard where any of them were." Young Richard Burke, called by the English "the Pall of Ireland," the most dangerous and active of the family, he executed under martial law, and he razed their castles to the ground. Again and again cautions came from the Lord Deputy that he was to stay his hand and not drive the province into war. No caution or command could check the movements of this capable but callous officer, who harried his foes from place to place, giving them no time for food or rest, till at last they all came in, being "so pined away for want of food and so ghasted with fear that they looked rather like ghosts than men."

William Burke, called "the Blind Abbot," submitted himself very humbly, offering one of his sons in pledge, and so did Richard Burke, "the Devil's Hook." [17] But they soon broke out again on the same point of honour. "They said they would have a MacWilliam or they would go to Spain for one; and that they would admit no sheriff nor answer at any assize." [18] But when it came to the election of a new MacWilliam self-government did not appear so easy. Of the eight competitors for the title, O'Donnell, who was called in to decide, put four in irons and required hostages for the rest. He caused to be elected a favourite of his own, Theobald of the Ships (Tibbot na long), a strong man and "hated by the English." They filled the province with reports of Spanish landings, English defeats, the Queen dying, and the Scots in arms. When Bingham was first recalled in 1587 the general dread of the landing of the Spaniards was at its height. The year of his return (1588) was the date of the Armada, and he ordered that all Spaniards landing on the coast should be hanged in Galway, an order which he boasted got rid of a thousand men. But when the Spaniards actually landed at Kinsale, Theobald of the Ships was found supporting Mountjoy against them, and he received knighthood for his services. In the reign of James I, he took over his lands on English tenure, and Charles I created him Viscount Bourke of Mayo in 1626-27.

[17] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 621, pp. 430-432.
[18] Carew, Cal. ii, No. 621, p. 431 ; O'Flaherty, Iar-Connacht, pp. 268-273, 387.

Bingham's great feat was his destruction of the Scottish army which had come over to fight for O'Donnell. They had with them Sir Arthur O'Neill and Hugh Maguire, and Bingham heard that they were marching through O'Rorke's country into Tirawley. Bingham, who had now been joined by a considerable body of English troops, "dealt with his guide to bring him the nearest way he could to them." The guide, one MacCostello, found out a priest who had that day escaped from imprisonment among the Scots and who undertook to lead the army if he might have with him a couple of horsemen of the O'Hara's, otherwise he durst not. An hour or two after midnight Sir Richard arose, and in the moonlight marched directly toward the enemy, led by the priest and keeping to the lower flanks of the mountain, all moving in great silence, till they came within sight of the Scots. These were taken completely by surprise, and he set on them and slew them, save eighty who swam across the Moyne into Tirawley and escaped.

All Bingham's undoubted military skill and all his cruelties could not quiet the distracted province. He was disliked not only by the Irish, but by many of his own countrymen. Lord Deputy Perrot says of him that "he is arrogant and hated and shall have £500 given him by the country where he governeth towards his passage into England, so that they may be rid of him...Let him go, in the name of God, to Flanders." [19] The Queen, wearying of the reports of his severities and of the disorders which he seemed unable to quell, recalled him in 1596. The usual fate of the men who undertook office and lost their credit in Ireland befell him, and he was committed to the Fleet Prison on his arrival in London; but the news of the difficulties and defeats suffered by the Queen's generals in Ulster coming in at the same time, Elizabeth thought that Bingham's action might have been justifiable and released him. On O'Neill's outbreak in 1598 he was sent back as Marshal of Ireland. There exists a curious document, dating from the third year (1586) of Bingham's sojourn in Connacht, in which the Burkes give their own account of the causes of their rising. They make no complaint of cruelty, but they say that Bingham had been restraining the lords and great men from the extortions and 'cuttings' on their tenants to which they had been accustomed, and though this was for the benefit of the tenants the gentry disliked it, saying that "this new governor would shortly make their churls their masters," while they would "become beggars for want of their cuttings and spendings." They were angered, too, by a proposal that they should join the English armies in Flanders, which "seemed so strange that we knew not in the world what to do." It was not the execution of the bad Burkes, they protested, which had caused their rebellion, "for we did know that they were very bad members of the commonwealth and great practisers of this rebellion and all other mischiefs, maintainers of thieves and evil-disposed persons, and have most justly deserved death." The real cause of the rebellion, they admit, was the taking away of the MacWilliamship and the division of lands and inheritances; "this and none other, whatever hath been pretended or reported to the contrary." [20]

[19] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 627, p. 442.
[20] S.P., Eliz., cxxvi, p. 201 (November 16, 1586). Bingham died in Dublin on January 19, 1598-99. See also "Docwra's Relation of his Acts in Connacht," Miscellany of the Celtic Society (1849).



The new claimant to the title of O'Neill, Shane "The Proud" (an diomas) proved to be one of the most formidable antagonists of the English authority in Ireland with whom Elizabeth's agents had to deal. The sense of wrong with which Shane naturally regarded his position no doubt increased in him that arrogance of temper which not only comes out in his own speeches, but is commented on by every English Deputy with whom Shane had to do, "I believe Lucifer was never puffed up with pride and ambition more than that O'Neill is," wrote Sidney to Leicester in one of his most exasperated moods. Shane had some cause for his pride, for in the height of his power he could put into the field a thousand horse and four thousand foot, and he moved about accompanied by a bodyguard of six hundred armed men. A prince constantly in communication not only with Scotland, but with Charles IX and the Cardinal of Lorraine, who armed all his peasants, and who, as the Viceroy admitted, "is able, if he will, to burn and spoil to Dublin gates and go away unfought," was a menace such as the Crown had seldom encountered, and it was safest to deal with him cautiously.

The Baron of Dungannon had early been put out of his way by assassination, as it was believed, at the direct instigation of his rival Shane. On Elizabeth's accession to the throne she decided to recognize Shane's claims to the earldom of Tyrone, and in return she called upon Shane to submit to Sussex, then her Deputy in Ireland. The chief, however, flatly refused to meet Sussex without hostages for his safety. He had just been elected O'Neill by the suffrages of his sept, and he was engaged in large designs, which gradually took shape in his mind as a Catholic confederation of which he should be the head, to oppose alike the attempts to establish the new faith and the supremacy of the English kings over the Church and country. He was inviting the Scots to his aid, although his private opinion of them was that "than the Scots he can see no greater rebels nor traitors"; he was defeating successive incursions from the Pale into Ulster, and was carrying on endless wars with his turbulent neighbour, Calvagh O'Donnell. He refused to surrender his 'urraghs' or rights over his subject chieftains. The authorities "found nothing but pride and stubborness in Shane" when they went to 'parle' with him; they reported that he was "all bent to do what he could to destroy the poor country";[1] and "after some arrogant words spoken" they had to depart without him.

[1] Carew, Cal., i, No. 200, p. 244.

Shane's disinclination to come within the power of the English Deputies was not without cause. At a later date he set out at length for the benefit of the Queen a long list of accusations of atrocious attempts that had been made upon his own life and that of other chiefs by poison and assassination, even when they had come in on pledges of safety.[2] This list reads like an Italian State Paper under the Medicis, and though, later, Elizabeth expressed her horrified displeasure at the attempt of one Smith, in 1563, brother to a Dublin apothecary, to poison Shane in his wine and committed the would-be murderer to prison,[3] there is no doubt that Sussex, and later even Sidney, were persistent in their attempts to put Shane quietly out of the way. It is little wonder that when Sidney proposed that Shane should meet him at Drogheda the latter arranged a date on which he knew Sidney could not attend. He wrote that although "he knew Sidney's sweetness and readiness for all good things," his "timorous and mistrustful people" would not allow him to run the risk of leaving his own territories. Shane's quick wit and Irish humour, which never failed him in any emergency, made a way out of the difficulty. He invited Sidney instead to visit him. He had a new-born son about to be christened; he would like Sidney to stand as sponsor. A tie so close and spiritual would be a bond of common faithfulness on the strength of which he was ready to do all that the queen desired of him. Sidney agreed, and was magnificently entertained, Shane's liberality in household expenditure being famous. Until the christening was over, no question of business was discussed. Then, in a lengthy conference, Shane laid his claims to the headship of his sept before the future Deputy, then Lord Justice. He had an unanswerable position, and he placed it with such skill and clearness before Sidney that he seems to have acquiesced in the justice of his cause. Shane, in spite of the degradation of his later life, was a man of great natural ability. He wrote excellent letters both in Irish and Latin, seasoned with a sharp caustic flavour, which showed him well able to maintain his cause even against the Machiavellian statecraft of his day. It is clear that Sidney was impressed by the man with whom he was dealing, and he concluded the conference by an assurance that the Queen would without doubt act justly by Shane, advising him to live at peace until her pleasure should be known. Shane seems to have taken this advice, and until Sussex replaced Sidney in the negotiations the bond of amity remained unbroken.

[2] Ibid., i, No. 248, pp. 368-369.
[3] Ibid., i, No. 241, pp. 360-361.

Shane's chief ambition was the retention of the title of O'Neill, a dignity that stretched back to Niall of the Nine Hostages in the fifth century. In comparison with it, the title of the Tudors to the throne might well seem to its holder a mushroom growth, and the title of Earl of Tyrone, which Elizabeth was willing to grant, had a new and unaccustomed sound. His contempt for the English dignity was shown by his gift of the robes and gold collar bestowed on his father by Henry VIII to the Duke of Argyll, when he sought for his help against Calvagh O'Donnell. When the time came the Queen had to receive Shane in state in his saffron shirt. But neither Shane nor Ferdoragh (Matthew) could adopt the title of O'Neill without the suffrages of the whole clan, and it was not till 1559, after his father's death, that Shane was elected O'Neill with all the ancient ceremonies, in open defiance of English law. Between Shane and Sussex friction was constant, each one endeavouring to gain an advantage over the other. But in 1561 an invitation came from the Queen to Shane to visit her in London, and Shane agreed to go, having first stipulated for a large sum of money to pay all the expenses of the journey for himself and his retinue—a request only reluctantly admitted, for there was little certainty that the money would be applied to the purpose for which it was provided. It might quite conceivably, in Shane's hands, be used against the Government that provided it.[4]

[4] See Shane's letter to Sussex, Viceroy of Ireland, dated 1561, Appendix VII.

Shane arrived in the capital on January 4, 1562. He and his galloglas strode through the astonished crowds in London, clad in native attire, a loose, wide-sleeved saffron tunic with shaggy mantle flung across the shoulders. Their heads were bare, their hair was curled down on their shoulders and clipped short just above the eyes in front. In spite of Sussex's suggestion that he should have a cool reception, as best fitted for a rebellious chief, Elizabeth, who, notwithstanding her imperious temper and the subtlety of her statecraft, was a woman, received him with such warmth that a joke went round among the courtiers that this was "O'Neill the Great, cousin to St Patrick, friend to the Queen of England, and enemy of all the world beside." [5]

[5] Campian, History, ed. Ware, p. 189.

The form of Shane's submission in a manuscript now in the British Museum runs as follows: "O my most gracious sovereign lady and queen, like as I, Shane O'Neill, your Majesty's subject of your realm of Ireland, have of long time desired to come into the presence of your Majesty to acknowledge my humble and bounden submission, so am I now here upon my knees (by your gracious permission) and do most humbly acknowledge your Majesty to be my sovereign lady and Queen of England, France, and Ireland. And do confess that, for lack of civil education, I have offended your Majesty and your laws for the which I have required and obtained your Majesty's pardon...And I faithfully promise, here before Almighty God and your Majesty, as a subject of your land of Ireland as any of my predecessors have or ought to do. And because my speech [in] Irish is not well understood, I have caused this my submission to be written in English and Irish, and thereto have set my hand and seal...Mise O'Neill. [I am O'Neill]." [6] There were present on this occasion attending the Queen, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earls of Arundel, Huntingdon, Bedford, Warwick, and others of the English nobility, and with them the ambassadors of the King of Sweden and the Duke of Savoy. The Queen capitulated completely to the seductions of Shane. She confirmed her former promise as to his retention of the coveted title of O'Neill "until he should be decorated by another honourable name"; and handed over to him the service and homage of his 'urraghs' or tributary lords, who had been relieved of their obedience to his father Conn by Henry VIII.[7] The rents paid by these tributary chiefs, the Magennesses, O'Hanlons, Maguires, and others had often to be exacted by force, and were the cause of bloody battles between the 'urraghs' and their provincial head. They sometimes claimed even from the O'Donnells. "Send me my rent," said an O'Neill, "or if you don't...!" "I owe you no rent," was an O'Donnell's retort, "and if I did...!" Shane was retained long in London, for though Elizabeth's word had been given for his safe return, nothing had been said about the length of his stay. Neither side trusted the other. Shane was forced to sign conditions against which he protested in vain; and on his way home attempts were made to waylay and assassinate him. His own view of the real trend of events is contained in a letter written to arouse Desmond's brother John FitzGerald, against the English. "Certify yourself that Englishmen have no other eye but only to subdue both English and Irish of Ireland, and I and you especially. And certify yourself also that those their Deputies, one after another, hath broken peace and did not abide by the same. And assure yourself, also, that they had been with you ere this time but for me only." [8]

[6] MS. Titus, B. xii, p. 22, verso; and Pembridge, Annals.
[7] Carew, Cal., i, No. 239, p. 352.
[8] Ulster Journal of Archaeology (1855), iii, 45.

In spite of the treaty of peace signed at Benburb in November of the next year, 1563, it seems only too probable that Shane's suspicions were justified. Two years after his visit to London we find the Queen writing to Sidney: "As touching your suspicion of Shane O'Neill, be not dismayed nor let any man be daunted. But tell them that if he arise, it will be for their advantage; for there will be estates for those who want." This sinister suggestion is perhaps the first open avowal of the policy of plantation which was forming itself in the official mind, and the results of which were to transform the whole conditions of the country. Shane, on his side, played a double game. He intrigued with the Queen of Scots and with the Cardinal of Lorraine, promising to become the subject of France if he could get assistance in expelling the English. On the other hand, when he refused to set free the Lord of the Isles, James MacDonnell, he declared that "the service that he went about was nothing but his Prince's" and that "it lay not in himself to do anything but according to the Queen's direction"; and MacDonnell died soon after from the miseries to which he was subjected. Shane soon "breaks his bryckle peace"; he invaded the Pale, burned Armagh, then occupied by English troops, and tried to incite Desmond to rise. His attempt to make a reconciliation with the Scots was intercepted and stopped by Sidney, who marched with a large army into Tyrone and Tyrconnel, and captured Donegal, Bally-shannon, Belleek, and Sligo. Shane had been proclaimed a traitor in August 1566; and the union of the O'Donnells with the English brought about a defeat which nearly annihilated his forces near Letterkenny. It was in these circumstances that he accepted the treacherous invitation to meet the Scots at Cushendall which resulted in his miserable death. The invitation was ostensibly to lead to a permanent alliance between him and Alexander Oge, fourth brother of Sorley Boy MacDonnell, but its acceptance was, in the words of the Annals of the Four Masters, "an omen of the destruction of life and cause of death." His treatment of their chiefs had earned their undying enmity, and once they had him in their power they showed him no mercy.[9]

[9] For an account of Shane's death see infra, p. 344-45.

During the long wars of Shane with the English Government it is said that three thousand five hundred of the Queen's forces were slain and that the cost to her Majesty was £147,000. More than once the English troops seem to have been daunted in their attacks on him. "He is the only strong man in Ireland" was Sidney's comment on returning from his visit to the north in 1565. At the height of his power, he would boast that he never made peace with the Queen but by her own seeking. "I confess that she is my sovereign; but my ancestors were kings of Ulster, and Ulster is mine, and shall be mine. O'Donnell shall never come into his country, nor Bagenal into Newry, nor Kildare into Dundrum or Lecale. They are now mine. With the sword I won them; with this sword I will keep them"—an excuse equally valid for possessions unjustly or justly won.[10] The pride that was at the bottom of Shane's character came out with equal vigour in the estimates he formed of his fellow-chiefs. When he heard that MacCarthy had been created Earl of Clancar, "A precious earl!" quoth he, "I keep a lackey as noble as he." In spite of the exhortations constantly given him by his English friends "to change his clothes and go like a gentleman," Shane seems to have retained the manners of his ancestors, after a brief exercise of "civility, justice, and Christian charity" which followed on his visit to London. But his province was not uncultivated, in spite of the curse laid by Conn his father on any who among his posterity should "learn to speak English, sow wheat, or build castles," and the English troops cut down his corn fields as they wasted Ulster in their pursuit of him. Between Shane's own wars and the efforts of the English to subdue him western Ulster lay waste, Shane's own share in the destruction of his province being not a small one. "The Calvagh O'Donnell is witness that five hundred competent persons, besides above four thousand poor have perished through Shane O'Neill's spoils," reads one report. There was much of the Oriental despot about Shane. Of his cruelties to Calvagh we shall have to speak later.

[10] The same reply was made by MacCarthy Reagh to Captain Stephen ap Harry; see Carew, Cal., i, No. 61, p 77.

When he was besieging Dunseverick he kept Sorley Boy, who was in his power, for three days without food in order to induce the Scottish garrison to yield. Yet more brutal was his treatment of the women who fell into his hands. When he could not wreak his vengeance on Calvagh he captured his wife, Catherine MacLean, who had formerly been wife of Archibald Campbell, fourth Earl of Argyll, What this "very sober, wise, and no less subtle woman," a refined and cultured lady, "not unlearned in the Latin tongue, speaking good French and it is said some Italian," must have suffered in Shane's castle it is not difficult to imagine. Her captor "kept her chained all day to a little boy" and only released her for his amusement in his drunken bouts. She was at first his mistress, but in 1565 he seems to have married her. She was the mother of Hugh Gavelock (gaimhleach), "of the fetters," who was killed by order of Tyrone as a rival in 1590, and of Art, who with his stepbrother Henry and Hugh Roe O'Donnell made the memorable escape from Dublin Castle across the Wicklow Mountains in 1591. Shane's private life was dissolute and brutal even for his day. Sidney reports, "Shane hath already in Dundrum two hundred tun of wine, as I am credibly informed, and much more he looketh for," and we find comments on "the superfluity of wine which Shane daily useth and his pernicious counsellors." Nevertheless he was a foe of whom the English had cause to speak with respect. Sir George Carew, who was not given to speaking well of his Irish opponents, calls him "a prudent, wise captain, and a good giver of an onset or charge upon his enemies...from the age of fourteen always in the wars. Some however said he was the last that would give the charge upon his foes and the first that would flee." In Carew's opinion "he could well procure his men to do well, for he had many good men according to the wars of his country." Carew also says of him that he was "a courteous, loving, and good companion to those he loved, being strangers to his country." He had already planned and partly carried out a plantation of his own people in the Ards, pushing out the Earl of Kildare, who had proposed to do likewise, and he had strongly fortified Ardglass, a trading town whose commerce he was enlarging and the old Norman towers of which still remain to show that the now sleepy fishing village had once been a centre of importance. So quiet and attractive were some districts of Ulster in Shane's time that not only Scots, but farmers from the Pale, came to settle down in his country. The free life under Shane was ess burdensome than the constant turmoils of the Pale and the heavy charges and rates incurred there. Sidney's early opinion was: "His country was never so rich and so inhabited; he armeth and weaponeth all the peasants of his country, the first that ever did so of an Irishman; he hath agents continually in the Court of Scotland and with divers potentates of the Irish Scots."

A very remarkable episode in Shane's career is that of his relations with Richard Creagh, appointed Papal Archbishop of Armagh under Shane's rule. Shane expected the support of Creagh in stirring up disaffection in his province. Instead, the Archbishop steadily preached loyalty to the Crown even from the pulpit of Armagh Cathedral. On one occasion Shane attended at the head of six hundred of his fighting men to hear a sermon that he had beforehand instructed his archbishop to preach to encourage his retainers to attack their English enemies. Instead, the sermon was addressed to encouraging loyalty in the troops. Shane, furiously angry, swore "with most loud angry talk" (the report is by the Archbishop himself) "to destroy the Cathedral, which thing he performed a few days later, causing all the roofs to be burned and some of the walls broken." "He swore that there was no one he did hate more than the Queen of England and his own archbishop" and never again would he hear him preach. But the sermon bore fruit in bringing over O'Donnell to the Queen's side, he "leaving Shane and giving high thanks to the preacher."

Though Shane tried to buy the Archbishop with gifts and, when these failed, endeavoured to undo him as a heretic, no fear would make Creagh shrink from doing "his duty owed to God and sworn to his prince," and he excommunicated Shane in the open field. The loyalty of Creagh is the more remarkable when we know the life of peril that he led; it did not save him from the fate which lay before many of the devoted men who braved the terrors of the time to return to Ireland and preach to the Catholic people. We learn the outline of Creagh's life from his own replies to interrogatories made at various times during his imprisonments. They are stamped with the mark of a simple sincerity. He was a native of Limerick and had been educated at Louvain, where he took the degree of Bachelor of Divinity, and then he seems to have returned to his native town as a teacher of children, until, at the command of a Papal nuncio who had been sent to examine into the state of the episcopal sees in Ireland, he felt obliged to go to Rome with a recommendation that he should be consecrated to the Archbishopric of Cashel or of Armagh. The humility of his mind and the fear of what he would have to face made Creagh most unwilling to undertake either post. He earnestly besought that he might be permitted to enter a religious order, and it was only at the express command of the Pope that he consented to receive consecration and to proceed to Armagh to take up his duties as archbishop. He was uncertain whether Shane would regard him as friend or foe, for Shane had wished to appoint another man. Creagh tried to induce Shane to erect schools "wherein the young might be brought up in good manners and the beginnings of learning; thinking earnestly that they should long ago forsake their barbarous wildness, cruelty, and ferocity, if their youth were brought up conveniently in knowledge of their duty toward God and their princes." Creagh gives a terrible account of the moral condition of Shane's country, in which no punishment was done for the most heinous crimes and ill-living.[11]

[11] For the letters and examinations of Richard Creagh see Shirley, Original Letters, LXIII, LXIV, LXV, CVI, CXX, CXXI; Moran, Spic. Oss., i, 45 seq., and the State Papers of the time. Stuart's History of Armagh gives an account of his dealings with Shane.

The Primacy itself carried with it so small an income that the Government's bishop, Loftus, some years later, prayed to be transferred to the Bishopric of Meath, because he could not live on the £20 a year which was all that it brought in Creagh's career was a troubled one. He was distrusted and disliked by Shane, because of his loyalty to the Crown, yet in the eyes of the Government he was only "a feigned bishop," as having been appointed by the Pope, and therefore, to the official mind, a man whom it was good service to apprehend. The Crown did not recognize bishops sent by the Popes and owning their authority; while the Crown appointments were not held valid in Rome. From the early days of the Reformation two distinct hierarchies existed side by side in Ireland, though in the dangerous years of Elizabeth's reign many of the bishops sent over by the Pope never reached their dioceses, which they could only visit at the peril of their lives or liberty. Bishop Creagh was imprisoned at different times in Dublin and twice in the Tower, his escapes having been, even in his own eyes, little short of miracles. There is a letter of Creagh's extant in which he complains that he was in such poverty in the Tower that he could neither by night nor day change his shirt, not having one penny of his own or from any other to pay for the washing of the "broken shirt that is on my back, besides the misery of cold without gown or convenient hose." He died in the Tower in 1585.

On the death of Shane, in 1567, one of his old rivals, Sir Turlogh Lynogh [12] O'Neill, stepped again to the front to dispute the claims of Hugh O'Neill. Turlogh belonged to another branch of the great O'Neill clan, and was cousin to Shane. During Shane's lifetime he had lost no opportunity of trying to supplant him, and he had waylaid and murdered Brian, Hugh's brother, whom he looked upon as a possible competitor. The clan stood behind Turlogh, whom they had elected tanist, and he went on steadily strengthening his position by fortifying his two castles on the Bann, though he resided for the most part at Dunnalong, on the Tyrone side of Lough Foyle. He warned the Government that in Hugh they had "reared up a whelp they would not easily pull down." The long life of Turlogh and his constant intrigues make his name prominent in the State Papers of his period. He was regularly inaugurated chief of his clan at Tullahogue, with all the accustomed ceremonies, but he offered to prove his loyalty by sending away his Scottish mercenaries, a promise the sincerity of which was somewhat weakened by his marriage with Lady Cantyre, the widow of James MacDonnell of the Isles. He had proposed to her in 1567, sending his message by two of his bards, who were instructed to say that he would be happy to marry "either herself or her daughter." The following year she made up her mind to accept him, and in July 1569 she came over to the Isle of Rathlin, which in olden days had belonged to the Kingdom of the Isles, where Turlogh met her, and they passed a fortnight in festivities.

[12] So styled from the name of the family by whom he was fostered.

In spite of Turlogh's promises to the English Government, she came accompanied by a fleet of galleys and an army of Scots; so much so, that Turlogh is said to have eaten himself up by supporting such a host of Scottish allies. In 1572 he had a thousand Scots at Lough Foyle. and the numbers increased rapidly. Lady Cantyre did her best to keep her husband quiet; she had known many troubles in her own family, and wished for peace. She told her husband, when he was contemplating joining the Desmond insurgents, declaring that "he would be O'Neill, whoever thought evil of the same," that her Scottish relatives, the Earl of Argyll and others, possessed greater lands and titles than his, yet were content to submit their causes to the laws and themselves to the King's pleasure. For a time her persuasions were not without effect. Turlogh is reported "very tractable"; he was created Earl of Clanconnell in May 1578 for life, and the Queen's general pardon in 1581, from which Desmond alone was excepted, had Turlogh specially in view. The offer of this pardon, which was the Queen's own act and made upon her own initiative, came like a thunderbolt to Lord Grey de Wilton, the then Deputy, who was just returning from his ruthless campaign against. Desmond and preparing to attack the insurgents of Leinster and the North. He made vigorous protests. The proclamation of a general pardon would, he assured the Queen, be a great dishonour. "If her Majesty will not go through, better deliver Ireland over to the Irish and call all Englishmen away. The Irish are not to be reclaimed by courtesy, but with severe justice and rigour." Such were the impassioned messages sent hurriedly across the Channel by the men on the spot, using arguments hardly outworn up to recent date. Nevertheless, the pardon came, and Grey was forced to leave his army behind and carry the offer of pardon to Turlogh, who, though he had gone into camp with over four thousand men, ready to stir if the Scots should decide to march on England, submitted at once; "he put off his hat and joyed that he had peace." On hearing of his submission many others followed his example and came in.

The new settlements of the Scots in the North, which occupied so much of the attention of Shane and Turlogh O'Neill, as well as that of the English Government, must now be dealt with, Elizabeth's declared resolve that no Scot should set foot in Ulster, had it been possible to give effect to it, might have eased one perennial Irish problem. But however a Tudor sovereign might desire to give no fresh footing to her bitterest foes, who were then intriguing with France for the restoration of Mary of Scots, the natural movement of peoples whose territories lay within sight of each other across a narrow channel, and who had been closely associated from the early sixth century could not be stopped. The arrival of the family of the Bysets, or Bissetts, expelled from Scotland for supposed complicity in the murder of the Earl of Atholl in the thirteenth century, seems to have been the first of the later immigrations. They settled in Rathlin Island, off the Antrim coast, and in the Glynnes or Glens of Antrim. By the marriage of Margery Byset to John More MacDonnell of the Isles toward the close of the fourteenth century the Byset estates passed into his family. It was on the rocky island of Rathlin that Robert Bruce lay in hiding in his outlaw days, and there it is that he is said to have learned his lesson of perseverance from a spider. But it was through the disastrous wars between the O'Neills and O'Donnells in the early sixteenth century that the Scots began to come over in such numbers as to present for the first time an 'Ulster problem.' Both sides sought to strengthen their armies by the importation of those redoubtable 'Redshanks' (so called because they wore leggings of red-deer skins) who were always ready to sell their services to the highest bidder, or to form an alliance with the Scottish MacConnells or MacDonnells. "Three hundred Scots are harder to vanquish than six hundred Irishmen," wrote Sidney to the Queen in 1568, and it gave no pleasure in London to learn that eight Irishmen had been soliciting the aid of the Scottish king for O'Neill or that O'Donnell had his agents out in the Isles to induce the Redshanks to assist him for pay. "The Scots in the North build, manure the ground, and settle, as though they would never be removed," complains a State Paper in 1571; and later it was one of the chief objects in view in the plantation of Ulster to banish these unwelcome Scots.

The Scottish chief who plays the largest part in the history of the sixteenth century was Sorley Boy (Somhairle buidhe) MacDonnell,[13] youngest son of Alastair, Lord of Isla and Cantyre and of the Glynnes of Antrim, who usually lived at Ballycastle, where he was visited by Shane. Sorley was Lord of the Route and of Dunluce Castle, whose perilous approach still gives a striking example of the old warlike conditions in the North of Ireland. He had been imprisoned for a year in Dublin and had spent the years 1565-67 in durance under Shane. He fought in turn against the O'Neills and O'Kanes (O'Cahans), and disputed successfully the lordship of the Route [14] with the MacQuillans. Later he disputed every foot of his territory with Elizabeth's best generals. From the coasts of Antrim he carried the banner of the Clandonnell over Clannaboy, and "the slogan of his warlike Scots was heard alike on the hills of Derry and in the straths of Tyrone." The keynote of his policy was that "playnly Englische men had no right to Yrland [Ireland]." He "playnly" thought that Scotsmen had every right to it; but the English opinion was different. "It is to be hoped that the most part will take their journey towards heaven," wrote Burghley to the Lord Deputy in 1591. But by that date they were so firmly rooted in Antrim that there was little hope that Burghley's friendly wish would be fulfilled. In 1554 Calvagh O'Donnell had returned with a large army of Redshanks, who took part in his wars against his own father as well as against Shane O'Neill. He was taken prisoner by Shane, and his long and cruel imprisonment put an end to all plans for the time. He was hurried about in the recesses of Tyrone to avoid capture by Sussex, and barbarously tortured in the attempt to force him to give up his jewels. He was at last so far crushed by suffering that he secured his release by the surrender of Lifford and his claims on Inishowen in Donegal, with the payment of a good ransom; yet he and his people still had to be starved into surrender. He crossed over to London to lay his case before the Queen, and was listened to sympathetically, the Queen commiserating the state of destitution into which he had been brought. In 1566 he marched with Sidney into Tyrone and Tyrconnel, the towns as they fell being handed back to Calvagh. Of this journey Sidney wrote, "Your Majesty hath recovered a country of 70 miles in length and 48 in breadth, and the service of 1000 men, now restored to O'Donnell." But Calvagh shortly afterward fell from his horse in a fit, with his dying words adjuring his clansmen to be loyal to the Queen.

[13] From the Norse sumer and lidi, summer-soldier or viking, an old name in the MacDonnell family. Buidhe means fair or yellow-haired.
[14] The Route is in the north-east of Co. Antrim.

The Scottish MacDonnells had in vain endeavoured to preserve a neutral attitude during the wars between the O'Neills and O'Donnells. Shane, early in 1562, in his newly found friendship with Elizabeth after his submission, proposed to the Queen to inflict a signal punishment upon the Scots, who were fast gaining a firm footing in his borders, and whom he wished to sweep out of his path. The offer met with unqualified approval, and he set to work with vigour, passing over the country with fire and sword. A report was sent to London from the authorities that Shane's dealings had been "most commendable." The fresh contingents sent over by James MacDonnell, Lord of Isla, elder brother to Sorley Boy, were not sufficient to stop his progress, and when the chief himself came over in the following spring it was to find his castle in flames and Sorley Boy in full retreat. The Scots, indeed, were almost annihilated and their officers captured or killed in a bloody battle at Ballycastle in May 1565. Shane was able to report in courtier language: "By divine aid I gave them battle, in which many of Sorley's men were slain, the remnant fled; we took large spoils on that day, and at night we occupied the camp from which Sorley had been expelled...God, best and greatest, of His mere grace, and for the welfare of her Majesty the Queen, gave us the victory against them...Glory be to God, such was the result of my services undertaken for her Majesty in the Northern parts." And he adds, "Not here alone, but everywhere throughout Ireland where my aid may be required, I am ready and prepared to make sacrifices for her Grace...I am O'Neill."[15] The old chief, James MacDonnell, was left to die in Shane's prison, a leader of whom the Annals of the Four Masters say "that his own people would not have deemed it too much to give his weight in gold" if Shane would have accepted a ransom. Sorley was also imprisoned, like Calvagh in former days. Consternation was felt in England at the rapid increase of Shane's power; but the two years' struggle had so exhausted him that he could fight no longer, and he was hardly dissuaded by his followers from making a fresh and abject submission to Sidney with a halter round his neck. His miserable end was brought about by the Scots in revenge for his ill-usage of their leaders. It seems to have been planned by the English, probably in conjunction with Sorley Boy and the Countess of Argyll, Calvagh's former wife, so vilely abused by Shane. She and Sorley both had sufficient reason to hate the tyrant who had had them in his power, and they must often have conversed together during Sorley's imprisonment in Shane's house. Both of them were present at the banquet at which Shane was assassinated. He had been invited to attend a family assembly at Cushendun on June 2, 1567, ending with a banquet to celebrate a new reunion between the O'Neills and the MacDonnells. For two days all went well, but a dispute arising as to the claims to precedence between the two families, Shane being heated with wine, his pride and temper carried him away into insulting speeches, which the Scots so much resented that they fell upon him with their dirks and literally hacked him to pieces. His body, "wrapped in a kerne's old shirt," was thrown into a pit.[16]

[15] Letter to Lord Justice Arnold, in George Hill, Macdonnells of Antrim, pp. 133-135.
[16] Letter to Lord Justice Arnold, in George Hill, Macdonnells of Antrim, pp. 140-143, and Notes.

Captain Piers, Governor of Carrickfergus, "by whose device the tragedy was practised," having succeeded in getting hold of the head, sent it "pickled in a pimpkin" to Sidney and obtained the reward for the capture. It was seen on a pole over Dublin Castle by Campian in 1571. Sixteen years later the Scots were still looking for the reward for the killing of Shane which had been given to Captain Piers. Sidney, on the contrary, ordered them to depart the country. It seems clear that Sidney, who was usually averse to treacherous deeds, was a party to the assassination of Shane. He thanked heaven for having made him the instrument of the "killing of that pernicious Rebell." The body was privately buried in the Franciscan monastery of Glenarm. An old tradition says that some years later a friar from Armagh stood at the gate of Glenarm, to beg the body of Shane that it might be buried beside his ancestors in Armagh. "Have you," inquired the Abbot, sternly, "brought with you the body of James MacDonnell, Lord of Antrim and Cantyre? For know you that so long as ye trample on the grave of James of Antrim and Cantyre, we will trample on the dust of your great O'Neill." [17] The Scottish position in the North was much strengthened by a series of marriages between Scottish ladies of high rank and Irish chieftains. About the same time as the marriage of Lady Cantyre to Turlogh O'Neill, her daughter, the Ineen Dubh MacDonnell, daughter of the fourth Earl of Argyll, was wedded to Hugh O'Donnell of Donegal. She became the mother of Hugh Roe O'Donnell, or 'Red Hugh,' who was thus of mixed Irish and Scottish descent. These marriages brought about an interval of quiet, and all the efforts made by Elizabeth to get the Scots out of Antrim proved unavailing. Sorley Boy had landed again in 1567 with fresh followers, swearing that he would never depart out of Ireland with his goodwill. On the English refusal to confirm him in his new conquests he took possession of all the English garrison forts along the coast, except Dunluce, and repeopled them with his own tribesmen. The Queen began to realize that the Scots were come to stay. It was the tidings of their rapid increase that gave Sir John Perrot an excuse for his crusade in the North in the year in which he was appointed Deputy, 1584. His original intention had been "to look through his fingers at Ulster, as a fit receptacle for all the savage beasts of the land," but the arrival of large bodies of Scots changed his views. He marched north with an immense army, taking with him an imposing array of the protected Lords from the South, the principal leaders of the O'Connors and O'Mores, with the Earls of Ormonde and Thomond and Clanricarde, Sir John Norris and Hugh O'Neill. They divided into two sections, marching along both banks of the river Bann to Dunluce; but they saw nothing of Sorley, who prudently kept out of their path. Rumours went about that there was no Scottish invasion, and sharp letters from his parsimonious sovereign reminded the Deputy "that she would rather spend a pound forced by necessity than a penny for prevention," an unsound policy for a ruler always in straits for money.

[17] Ibid., p. 145, Note 84.

The story of young Hugh Roe O'Donnell's capture belongs to the time of Perrot's administration. The lad, who was only fourteen years of age, was already looked upon as the hope of his country. Prophecies were going about in Donegal that when two Hughs, father and son, should succeed each other as O'Donnell, the second would become monarch of Ireland. The old Hugh, though weak and feeble, had been determined in one thing—he would neither give hostages nor pay tribute to the English Crown, and the English dared not enforce their authority, knowing that the country was ripe for rebellion and that any rash move would bring out the sept and its Scottish supporters. Perrot, usually an honourable man, though a severe officer, on this occasion stooped to a trick in order to get into his hands the lad whom his father refused to give him by way of hostage. He induced a Dublin merchant by bribes, promises, and threats to load a ship with wines and beer, especially with the sack "which the Irishmen love best," and sail round to Donegal to try to find an opportunity to entrap the young O'Donnell. Fifty soldiers provided by the Viceroy sailed with the ship, armed with weapons of war. They arrived on the shores of Lough Swilly and dropped anchor under the village of Rathmullen, in the MacSweeney's country. It was not long before their purpose had been accomplished. The young lords from the castle came down to traffic with the merchant ship, and the wines were good. It chanced that Hugh Roe arrived late, with a troop of youthful companions, and more wine was sent for to the ship. It was refused on the ground that it was running short; but it was suggested that if the gentlemen would come down to the ship they could get sufficient for their entertainment out of what remained. While they were feasting the anchor was weighed, and the ship began to put off into deep water. The youths, when they found this out, discovered also that they were enclosed under hatches and unable either to fight or escape. As soon as the country people got wind of what was happening they put off in boats to try to stop the ship and offer other hostages. The MacSweeneys were allowed to depart on giving their sons in their place, but Hugh Roe was carried off to Dublin, examined and committed to the warder of Dublin Castle, where he joined the sad group of chiefs' sons, young fellows from the open hillsides and plains of the country, condemned, for no crime of their own, to spend their days "in the grate," begging their bread from the passers-by, as hostages for the good behaviour of their families. Anything more corrupting to youth or more embittering against the Government than this system it would be difficult to imagine. Hugh, the most important of the hostages, was kept in chains for three years and three months, and it is not surprising that these high-spirited lads spent their time in their "close prison" railing upon the unjust sentences and harsh treatment meted out to themselves and their people, and vowing revenge if their chance should come.[18]

[18] In September 1588 there were thirty of these lads held as hostages in Dublin Castle, "some of them boys of ten, twelve, or sixteen years, or thereabouts," Cal. S.P.I., Eliz. cxliii, No. 45, pp. 154-155; ibid., cxxxvi, No. 18, pp. 11-12.

Dublin Castle had been enlarged and decorated during the Lieutenancy of Sir Henry Sidney. It was solidly built and surrounded by a trench of water over which a drawbridge gave entry to the castle yard; yet on two occasions Hugh, with the help of friends outside, managed to escape. On his first flight he succeeded in getting out of the city and across the Three Rock Mountain in the night, hoping that Phelim O'Toole, whom he regarded as a friend and who had offered to help him, would give him shelter; but the treacherous chief handed him over to the Government, and he was more closely incarcerated than before. Again, on Christmas night 1591, when their fetters were removed for supper, and probably some extra liberty was allowed on account of the festival, Hugh, with two companions, Henry and Art, sons of Shane O'Neill, who had been confined since boyhood, effected their escape by sliding down a drain, and again took their way across the Dublin mountains southward. It was a bitterly cold night and the rain was pouring down. The mountain was slippery with melting snow, and their clothes were thin and scanty. Henry was separated from the others in the darkness, and Art, who had grown stiff and corpulent from long confinement, began to fail, and finally could go no farther. He had to sit down under a cliff in the bitter cold, which was so severe that the great toes on Hugh's feet were frozen. They were depending on the help of Fiach macHugh of Glenmalure, "the great firebrand of the mountains between Wexford and Dublin," as Perrot's biographer calls him. He had promised to send horses, but had contented himself with sending a guide. Now that they could walk no farther, they sent this man on to tell Fiach of their distress; but so closely were all his movements watched that it was not until the third night that four of his men reached the cave with food and drink. It was too late to save Art, who died before their eyes; but Hugh, who was younger, and who had eaten grass to still the pangs of hunger, was still alive. When he had been forced to take some drink he was lifted from the ground and carried to Glenmalure, from whence, when he was able to mount a horse, he was escorted home to Ulster, almost miraculously escaping capture by the way, for every movement was watched. He found that Henry O'Neill had arrived in Ulster before him. Hugh O'Neill's system of keeping a number of the border English in his pay pledged to aid and support him proved, on this occasion, of real service, for they were conveniently blind to the fact that an O'Donnell was passing through their districts. Indeed, many believed that the incoming Lord Deputy, Fitzwilliam, himself had a hand in his prisoner's escape; the avaricious Fitzwilliam was not a man to refuse a bribe and Hugh O'Neill is said to have paid him £1000 for this service. Perrot declared that he could have had £2000 for the same purpose.

Hugh Roe O'Donnell's country had not been faring well in his absence; in spite of his father's protests, sheriffs of the very worst type had been appointed in the North, one Captain Willis being the most objectionable. Captain Lee, an Englishman who knew the conditions well, says that Willis had with him "three hundred of the very rascals and scum of that kingdom, who did rob and spoil the people, ravished their wives and daughters, and made havoc of all; whom no well-advised captain could admit into his company." It was to the acts of these men that Lee ascribes a great part of the unquietness of O'Donnell's province.[19] "Old age lay heavy" on the old O'Donnell, and he was already falling into senile decay. But a new era began with the return of his son. The father resigned his position, which fell into Hugh Roe's hands, and no sooner was the latter inaugurated chief on the rock of Kilmacrenan than a vigorous policy was adopted designed to restore to Tyrconnel its former freedom from outside interference. He swept the sheriffs out of his country, cleared the monastery of Donegal of the soldiers quartered within its precincts, and attacked old Turlogh O'Neill, who was opposing Hugh O'Neill on the English side, in his castle at Strabane. He deposed him and shut him up in a small island in a lake, where he remained till his death two years afterward. All this time Hugh Roe was suffering severely from the effects of his terrible journey across the Dublin mountains on the winter's night of his escape. For a year he had to lie on his bed in his castles of Donegal and Bally-shannon, directing operations in which he could take no active part. The physicians at length removed his toes, and he began slowly to recover. It was while he was in this condition that Hugh O'Neill proposed to him that they should repair together to the Viceroy and give in their submissions. To this surprising suggestion O'Donnell responded unwillingly, and only after much persuasion was he induced again to put himself within the power of the men from whom he had so recently escaped. With great difficulty he was got upon a horse, and with O'Neill he journeyed to Dundalk, where "the next day in church before a great assembly he delivered his humble submission, making a great show of sorrow for his misdemeanours committed...and very willingly yielded himself to be sworn to perform the several parts of his submission." They parted from Fitzwilliam with mutual goodwill and blessings, and, after some days spent in friendly feasting at O'Neill's house at Dungannon, O'Donnell returned to his own castle in Donegal, standing on the shores of the Bay. Sir Henry Sidney, who visited it in 1566, says of it: "It is one of the greatest that I ever saw in Ireland in any Irishman's hands, and would appear in good keeping one of the fairest, so nigh a portable water as a boat of ten tons may come within twenty yards of it." It had been built by Hugh's ancestor, another Hugh Roe, grandson of Turlogh of the Wine, between 1505 and 1511, and added to in 1564.

[19] "Brief Declaration of the Government of Ireland," in Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica (1772), i, 106. See also Carew, Cal., in, No. 218, p. 152; Cox, Hibernia Anglicana, i, 399.

Some years later, O'Donnell felt himself called upon to destroy his own fair castle to prevent it from falling into the hands of his brother-in-law, Niall Garbh, and his English allies. Near it, on the smooth sward that borders the lovely bay of Donegal, stood the buildings of the Franciscan monastery, the head of its order in Ireland, built in 1474 by Nuala, daughter of O'Conor Faly, and enriched by the munificence of succeeding O'Donnells. Hard by the windows of the refectory was the wharf, where for centuries foreign ships had taken in their cargoes of hides, fish, wool, lining cloth, and falding, and where came the galleons of Spain, laden with wine and arms in exchange for the merchandise which the Lords of Tyrconnel sent annually to the marts of Brabant, then the great emporiums for the North of Europe.[20] Up to 1601 the community still consisted of forty friars; they had dispersed into the mountains, carrying with them their altar-plate and valuables, when the English troops and sheriffs swooped down upon Donegal in the dead of night and occupied the monastery as a garrison; but they speedily returned when O'Donnell once more came among them. The effect of Hugh Roe's submission was to bring him a period of peace, "for he had no fear, having entered into peace and friendship with the Lord Justice," and the members of his sept who had hitherto been opposed to his election now came in and willingly made their submissions to him. Even Niall Garbh, "the Rough," whose name fitly describes the fierce vindictive character given to him by all parties, now came in, though only out of fear of Hugh's power.

[20] Meehan, Rise and Fall of the Franciscan Monasteries in Ireland. His description of Donegal is taken from the contemporary record of Father Mooney, one of the dispersed monks, who employed his leisure at the convent of St Antony, at Louvain, in writing an account of the Franciscan monasteries of his own country. It is therefore a first-hand authority.

But O'Donnell, with or without his will, soon found himself involved in the disturbances going on around him. Maguire was fighting Bingham in Connacht and Bagenal in Ulster, the latter being assisted by O'Neill, who, until events proved too strong for him, remained true to his oath of allegiance. When Maguire was besieged in his castle of Enniskillen in 1594 O'Donnell felt bound to go to his assistance, and on the castle falling by treachery into the hands of the English he sat down before it and proceeded to starve the garrison into surrender. After Maguire's rout of the relieving party at the Ford of the Biscuits, Enniskillen and soon afterward Belleek fell into O'Donnell's hands. O'Donnell was now openly in arms against the English, and beginning to intrigue with Spain, not altogether with the goodwill of O'Neill, who was of the two by far the more long-sighted and experienced soldier. He thought that Hugh was inclined to be hasty, and feared that his own larger and more ambitious designs might be wrecked by a rash move of his ally. But O'Donnell's unrivalled knowledge of the country, his swiftness of movement and combination, and the devotion with which he was followed made his constant raids a terror to his enemies.

While O'Neill in the east of Ulster was building up the formidable army which was to defeat the English at Clontibret and the Yellow Ford, O'Donnell was indulging with equal success in a series of wide-sweeping raids into Connacht, baffling Bingham and the watching English troops posted on his path by taking circuitous routes well known to him but impossible for the transport of Bingham's artillery and heavy-armed troops. It was the kind of warfare that the Irish loved and which the English could not imitate and did not know how to circumvent. At one moment he would be sweeping Mayo and Sligo, dividing his men into marauding parties who cleared the country far and wide of cattle, herds of sheep, and booty of all sorts, returning to their homes "with vast treasures and great joy"; at another time they would chase the horses of the English cavalry into their camp when they were being led out for exercise. On one occasion their expedition carried them south as far as Thomond into the country of the O'Briens, the Earl of Thomond having proved faithful to his oath of allegiance all through the Munster wars. Wherever O'Donnell raided the country was "completely gleaned by him," and he did not hesitate "to put a heavy cloud of fire on the land all round" any district selected for a raid. It was the old accustomed way of fighting adopted by Irish and English troops alike. The enormous herds of live-stock driven off and of treasure accumulated in these descents is equally surprising whether we consider the condition of the inhabitants of the country districts or the possibility of their survival at a time when such raids occurred regularly during every fighting season.



The idea of planting parts of Ireland with English settlers had long been mooted in London, and the chief visible result of Queen Mary's short reign was the attempted plantation of Leix and Offaly, which were shired under the names of King's and Queen's Counties, and granted during the Vice-royalty of Lord Sussex to sundry tenants, most of whom were "mere English," but who were soon so ruined by the old inhabitants that many of them had relet their grants to the original Irish owners. This was the first attempt at one of those plantations which were to be tried in various parts of Ireland with varying success during the next reign. It was among the articles of instruction given to Sir Henry Sidney when he first came over as Deputy in 1565 that he was to consider how these counties were to be settled with good subjects and the O'Connors and O'Mores expelled. Full powers were put into his hands to let lands and to make grants of any land void by "death, escheat, or forfeiture." [1]

[1] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 20, p. 18 (August 2, 1575).

It was hoped that the leader of the O'Mores, Rory Oge, might be induced to "renounce his aspiring imagination of title to the country" which he and his forefathers had possessed, and be content with such portion of freehold as the Deputy thought meet for him. But neither Rory Oge nor his clan were so easily disposed of. Placed on the borders of the Pale, they carried on a fierce and prolonged struggle against English rule. They fought through eighteen insurrections in sixty years, and up to the time of Essex their attempted suppression had cost the State over £200,000, large garrisons having to be maintained in the newly planted towns of Maryborough and Philipstown. The most ruthless means were taken for the extirpation of the chief inhabitants. Perrot writes in April 1587, "I caused to be hanged Conell MacLysaghe O'More, Lysaghe MacWilliam O'More, three notable men of the Kellys, and I have Conell MacKedagh O'More's head upon the top of the Castle so that there remaineth not one principal of the O'Mores, but Shane MacRosse...and Walter Roghe, whose heads I am promised very shortly. I have also taken the young fry of all the O'Mores, saving one whom I am promised to have. So I do not know one dangerous man of the sept left." [2] Rory Oge and his elder brother Callogh had been educated in England. At Ormonde's request in 1571, and in spite of orders that no O'More should hold land in Leix, Callogh was given a grant in his father's country.[3]

[2] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 627, pp. 442-443 (April 18, 1587); Ulster Journal of Archaeology (1856), iii, 341-342.
[3] He may have been the John Callow entered at Gray's Inn in 1557.

But Rory refused to settle down; he headed a wild band who ran through the towns "like hags and furies of hell with flakes of fire fastened on poles," [4] attacked the Pale, and burned the town of Naas with five hundred people in it, himself sitting on the cross in the market-place, making "great joy and triumphe that he had doone so divelish an act." This is not surprising when we reflect that such men as Alexander Crosby and his son Francis were chief governors of Leix. Francis it was who perpetrated the savage massacre of the chief men of the district at Mullaghmast, and who hung women and children on the spreading tree before his hall-door at Stradbally.[5] Grim legends of death-coaches still cling around this house.

[4] Cal. S.P.I., Eliz. (1808), vi, 395.
[5] Annals of the Four Masters, 1577 (Vol. V, p. 1695); O'Sullevan Beare, Hist. Cath. Iber. Comp., vol. ii, Bk. IV, ch. vi.

When Rory was at last captured by Sir Barnaby FitzPatrick in 1578 his son, Owny, took his place, showing himself as fearless and indefatigable a fighter as his father had been. At one time Sir Henry Harington, a nephew of Sidney, was a prisoner among them; his opinion was that the Irish at home were so kind and hospitable to all newcomers that he would willingly have hazarded to live among them for life. But the terms asked for his ransom were so high that Sidney said he would not have given them "to enlarge Philip my son." [6]

[6] P. O'Sullevan Beare, op. cit., vol. ii, Bk. IV, ch. v; Carew, Cal., ii, No. 501, p. 355 (March 1, 1583).

In 1600 they made an even more important capture. When the Earl of Ormonde was travelling with Carew to suppress the Munster rebellion, and was in command of the forces, he was surrounded while at a conference with Owny, and only got his release by the intervention of Tyrone and on payment of a ransom of £3000. Leix was by no means a waste under the O'Mores and O'Connors. An English army, making its way to revictual the garrison of Philipstown, was amazed to find the rebel's country "exceedingly rich in all the means of life; the ground well tilled, the fields fenced, the towns inhabited, and the highways in good repair"; the reason of this good condition they ascribed to the fact "that the Queen's forces during these wars never till then came amongst them." Lord Mountjoy's campaign in 1600 speedily changed all this. His army brought with them sickles, scythes, and harrows, and as they advanced they mowed down the corn and burned the country, leaving a waste behind them.[7] The common soldiers found the duty so painful that only the example of their officers induced them to obey the command.

[7] Fynes Moryson, Itinerary (1617), ii, 76-77; Annals of the Four Masters, 1600 (vol. vi, pp. 2179, 2187).

By Owny's death in a skirmish near Timahoe in 1600, resistance came to an end. But the O'Mores clung to their own districts, and when an attempt was made in the reign of James I to transplant them to Kerry and Clare they kept drifting back, saying that they preferred to die in their own country rather than to live anywhere else. Much later another of their race was to become one of the chief instigators of the rebellion of 1641, and the right hand of Owen Roe. This Rory was an accomplished man, and his activities and adventures gained for him the title of "the Irish Robin Hood." Numerous ballads in the native tongue celebrate his exploits.[8]

[8] Hinkson, Ireland in the Seventeenth Century, ii, 190; Nelson, Collections, ii, 519.

The plantation of King's and Queen's Counties languished for many years. It only revived during the Stuart period when a number of French Huguenot refugees established themselves in and about Portarlington, where they planted fruit and vegetable gardens, and opened spinning and weaving industries, gradually making of this district one of the most prosperous and well-managed parts of the country.[9] The early attempts to make similar plantations in Ulster had been uniformly unsuccessful. In October 1572 a grant had been made to a Mr Chatterton, of the Fews, Orier, and part of Armagh, but he was killed by the Irish, and the more ambitious project of Sir Thomas Smith and his illegitimate son to colonize the Ardes in Co. Down, after the confiscations consequent on the rebellion and death of Shane O'Neill, was not more prosperous. Smith was Professor of Civil Law and Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, and Secretary of State under Elizabeth; he had been ambassador to France in 1562 and 1572. The idea of a colony had long occupied his mind, and a grant in the very heart of Shane's country and close to his old home beside Newry, which in Shane's day closed the passage to all strangers going north from Dundalk, seemed an excellent opportunity to carry out his views. But he found it impossible to subdue the inhabitants, and the death of his son in an encounter with the Irish in October 1573, brought the settlement to an end. The district later became the property of Sir Henry Bagenal, Marshal of Ireland and father-in-law to Tyrone.

[9] See an interesting series of articles on the French settlements in Ireland in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology (Old Series), vols. i, ii, iii.

The plantation of Walter Devereux, first Earl of Essex, and father of the Viceroy, was of a more extensive character. Though long considered, it was undertaken in a manner that gave it little chance of success, and those who urged it on seem to have looked on it rather as a means of ruining Essex in purse and reputation than as a serious political enterprise. He was bound to raise and support out of his own purse an equal number of horse and foot to those supplied by the Queen, and all fortifications were to be paid for between them. Not having ready money for such an outlay, Essex was induced to borrow £10,000 from the Queen herself, at ten per cent. interest, with forfeiture of his estates in default of punctual payment on stated dates, a bargain by which the thrifty sovereign became possessed of large portions of the Essex estates in England, and her servant became hopelessly involved in debt and embarrassments. Neither did the irregular position in which Essex was placed in Ireland tend to the advancement of his enterprise. Lord Deputy FitzWilliam was extremely jealous of him, and hampered him in every way in his power; in Essex's capacity as part-paymaster he was blamed for every complaint made by the soldiery, while his authority to deal either with them or with the Irish was persistently undermined. His position was an impossible one, and largely accounts for the want of success he met with.

The instructions he received from the Queen before his departure in July 1573, as well as his own intentions, were, if plantations are allowable at all, not unreasonable. On his taking leave, Elizabeth besought him to have consideration of the Irish there, since she believed they had become her disobedient subjects rather because they had not been defended from the Scots than from any other reason, and she held that they would yield themselves good subjects on the coming of Essex, and therefore she desired that they should be well used. She also laid it specially upon him that he should not too hastily seek to change the beliefs of people who had been trained up in another religion. Essex expressed his general agreement with these views, though "for the present he could not say what was best to be done," but he promised "not to imbrue his hands with more blood than the necessity of the cause required." [10] We can hardly feel that he kept his word.

[10] Essex to Burghley, July 20, 1573, Lives of the Devereux, Earls of Essex, 1, 31-32.

Essex opened well. He declared that he had come over to check the tyranny of the Scots; he restrained the extortions of his soldiers and he gave the Scottish harvest to the Irish, guarding them while they reaped their corn. Sir Bryan MacPhelim, who had been ousted from his lands by the Smith settlers, came in and offered his help against the Scots; but only a few days later, news was brought that he had changed his mind and gone out to Turlogh Lynogh, who had newly confederated with the Scots and driven away all his cattle into the opposite camp. This act of infidelity completely changed Essex's opinion of the Irish and his methods of dealing with them; he no longer put faith in their submissions, or promises, "these Northern people being so false of their word." Nor did the new adventurers prove satisfactory. "Not having forgotten the delicacies of England," they soon made for home, and prejudiced intending settlers by news of the hardships of the enterprise. The soldiers revolted when provisions did not come over, and the Deputy "sat in his chair and smiled," encouraging all parties to believe that Essex's adventure was purely a private affair for which the Queen and he took no responsibility. He sent Essex into Munster, when he was badly needed in the North to keep in check Turlogh and the Scots, and he lost no opportunity of undermining his influence with the Queen. In October 1574 Essex made an expedition into Tyrone and as far north as Lough Foyle, accompanied by Magennis and MacMahon, but Turlogh refused to come, and was supported by Conn O'Donnell, who "was as fast to him as his hand to his body."

The O'Donnell and O'Doherty, on the other hand, were quite ready to help against Turlogh, "saying very frankly that it was their duty so to do, and he that would not spend his life and all his goods to conserve her Highness's dignity, could neither be accounted a good subject nor was worthy to have life." Essex took the usual plan of wasting the country by sending out his horsemen to fire the corn, which, he says, he found in great plenty and in large ricks. He estimates that by the time the expedition was over his men had burned five thousand pounds worth of grain. He seized Dunnalong on Lough Foyle from Turlogh and Lifford from Conn, whom he took prisoner, and he cut passes through the woods, wide enough for ten horsemen to ride abreast. He left the country of Clannaboy "all desolate and without people," Turlogh complaining that his rebellious behaviour was solely due to the arbitrary conduct of Essex. Essex at length began to see clearly that his plantation would never be allowed to succeed, and he resigned the government of Ulster, asking only of the Queen that he might have her good licence to live in a corner of the Province, which he would hire for money. The costs of his fruitless Irish adventure had left him in debt for £25,473, besides £10,000 owing to the Queen. He died in Dublin on September 22, 1576. Essex is an example of a type of character which became common during the Tudor period, when men otherwise of taste and culture, and possessed of a certain probity and distinction of mind, yet in their dealings with ' native ' races lost all sense of honour or feelings of natural compassion. In his relations with some of the Irish and Scots alike Essex acted with callous and hideous cruelty. His treatment of the families of Sir Bryan MacPhelim and Sorley Boy have left a deep stain on his memory. We have seen that Sir Bryan had deceived Essex in so treacherous a manner that he had prejudiced Essex against the whole Irish people, but even this is not a sufficient excuse for the revenge taken by the planter. He invited Sir Bryan to a friendly banquet, during which he seized him and his wife and put them to death. His dealings with the Scots were still more ruthless, and the massacre of his wife and family with their dependents on Rathlin Island must have left a deep impression on the mind of Sorley Boy MacDonnell. On a smaller scale it compares with the massacre of Glencoe.

In the summer of 1575 Sorley Boy had information that Essex was marching northward, and he endeavoured to protect his own young family, with the wives of his leading officers, the women, children, and non-combatants, by sending them over to Rathlin Island. They carried with them what they could of their family plate and valuables. Essex ordered Sir John Norris, then in command of three frigates at Carrickfergus, to sail round and raid Rathlin. "And having given this direction," he reports in a letter to the Queen, "I withdrew myself toward the Pale, to make the Scots less suspicious of any such matter pretended." A small garrison of about fifty men had the charge of the fortress known as Bruce's Castle, and into it were crowded a large number of the refugees of the better class. On July 22, Norris landed on the island with a considerable force by means of a flotilla of boats. The commander of the garrison was killed on the first encounter, and the constable, after what was evidently a sharp fight, surrendered, "the lives of all within (save those of the constable, his wife, and child) to stand upon the courtesy of the soldiers." Essex reports: "The soldiers being moved and much stirred with the loss of their fellows that were slain and desirous of revenge, made request, or rather pressed, to have the killing of them, which they did all, saving the persons to whom life was promisedThere were slain that came out of the castle of all sorts 200; and presently there is brought me news out of Tyrone that they be occupied still in killing, and have slain that they have found hidden in caves and in cliffs of the sea, to the number of 300 or 400 more. They had within the island 300 kine, 3000 sheep, and 100 stud mares, and of beer-corn upon the ground there is sufficient to find 200 men for a whole year." Sorley watched the awful scene from a headland on the shore, powerless to save the hapless women and children he had thought to place out of reach of his merciless foes. "He stood upon the mainland of the Glynnes and witnessed the taking of the island, and was like to run mad for sorrow, tearing and tormenting himself and saying that he had lost all that ever he had." So runs the grim postscript in Essex's letter to Walsingham, as in the quiet camp at the Newry out of sight and sound of these horrors, he penned the report of the tragedy on the six hundred victims on Rathlin, caused by his own express command.[11]

[11] Lives of the Devereux, i, 115, 116; Hill, Macdonnells of Antrim, pp. 184-185; Carew, Cal., ii, No. 19 (July 31, 1575), pp. 16-17.

Elizabeth received the news in the midst of "the princely pleasures of Kenilworth," where she was enjoying the magnificent hospitality of the Earl of Leicester. Her woman's heart seems to have felt no throb of pity for the women and children slaughtered on Rathlin. In one of the most cryptic of her princely letters she speaks of the comfort she takes in a subject "so serviceable" as Essex "in a calling whereof we may, in time to come, take so great profit," and of her "thankful acceptation of the same." She shortly afterward promoted Norris, whom she calls "the executioner of your well-devised enterprise," to be Governor of Munster.[12] Though the Queen on many occasions showed clemency and patience toward her Irish subjects, for the Scots, her natural enemies, she knew no compassion. Cecil had often to reflect that "her Majesty is more than a man and (in troth) sometimes less than a woman." Yet at that moment the Queen had cause to feel that her project of sweeping the Scots out of the North of Ireland had come near to being fulfilled.

[12] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 23, p. 21; Lives of the Devereux, i, 119.



The troubles in Munster, which were later to develop into the long Geraldine rebellion, began in the old quarrels and jealousies that no time could heal between the Desmonds and the house of Ormonde. Three members of the Geraldine family, in particular, took an active part in these wars, the Earl of Desmond and his brother Sir John, and their cousin, Sir James FitzMaurice FitzGerald, who was later to become known as "the Arch-traitor." The then Earl, the fifteenth of his line, was Gerald or Garrett, son of the James Fitzjohn FitzGerald who in St Leger's time had done homage to Henry VIII. He was a warlike youth, who had passed his early years in fighting the MacCarthys, and was on one occasion imprisoned by them for six years in his own castle of Askeaton. He had also supported O'Brien, Lord of Inchiquin, against the Earls of Thomond and Clanricarde, inflicting on them a disastrous defeat. He succeeded to his title in 1558, on his father's death, by the English law of primogeniture, and went to England "with a willing mind and intention," attended by a hundred gentlemen, to make his submission to Elizabeth in person. She received him very graciously and confirmed to him all his lands, seignorities, and privileges by letters patent, so that he returned in quiet possession of his estates. But "the worm of ambition and the damnable spark of envy" [1] caused the old wars between him and the Butlers to break out afresh, although Joan, Ormonde's mother, was now Desmond's wife. Thomas Butler, the tenth Earl of Ormonde, known as "the Black Earl" (Tighearna Dubh), was the most powerful representative of the great family of the Ormondes, whose strong Lancastrian leanings had made them special favourites at the Tudor Court, and who in their sympathies had remained more English than the Geraldines. Nevertheless, some members of the family had followed the example of the Kildares, who, though they adopted English ways when they visited the Pale, were in their own country clad in Irish fashion, spoke Irish, and ruled their dependents by native law and custom. The Black Earl of Ormonde had been brought up in England. He had adopted the Protestant religion and had been knighted on the accession of Edward VI. His father it was who, having been suspected of hostility to the Government, had been called to London and poisoned with seventeen of his followers at Ely House at a banquet to which he had been invited by his own retainers.

[1] Thomas Russell, "Relation of the FitzGeralds" (1638), in Unpublished Geraldine Documents, ed. S. Hayman and J. Graves, p. 21.

Edward VI, who ascended the throne in the following year, did what he could to expiate the foul deed and sent the young Ormonde back to his country with honour, where he was received with general rejoicings. He entered into friendly relations with Sussex, the Lord Deputy, and became Lord Treasurer of Ireland. During the wars in the North he had assisted Sussex against Shane O'Neill, but his position became difficult when Desmond came forward as champion of the Irish and Catholic cause, the position being complicated by their close family relationship. So long as the Countess of Desmond lived her efforts to patch up the quarrel between her son and her husband were unremitting and were partially successful. The rash courage of Desmond was no match for the subtle ability of the Black Earl, nor were his large bodies of loose kerne, 5000 strong, or his 750 horse which employed themselves in raiding Ormonde's lands competent to resist the great ordnance which Ormonde was able to put into the field. At Bohermore, between the counties of Limerick and Tipperary, the two armies stood for fourteen days facing each other, but the entreaties of the Countess prevailed to keep them asunder. On her death in the two Earls, "much like thunder," [2] burst out afresh, and at Affane on the Blackwater the Black Earl, in company with the Decies, came upon Desmond when he was ill supported, shot him in the thigh and took him prisoner, slaughtering all his followers. At this moment, when he was being carried, wounded and beaten, off the field, the spirit of his race flared up. "Where is now the great Earl of Desmond?" cried one tauntingly, as he passed. "Where, but on the necks of the Butlers," was the reply. The Queen summoned both Earls to London to answer for their turbulence. She kept Ormonde at Court for five years and paid the handsome Earl much attention; but he complained that Desmond's brother, Sir John, was meanwhile wasting his lands and fighting the English.

[2] Russell, op. cit., p. 22.

From the first appointment of Sir Henry Sidney to office in Ireland he had been called upon by Ormonde to support him in his quarrels with Desmond. It was a task which Sidney disliked, as much because of Ormonde's underhand efforts to bring him into disgrace at Court and his personal disloyalty to his rule as because he believed the case against Desmond to have been "forejudged to Desmond's disadvantage." Nevertheless, in examining the matter closely he adjudged that Desmond owed reparation to Ormonde for the destruction of his lands, on hearing which the Earl made "sundry and several speeches of very hard digestion, falling into some disallowable heats and passions," not, perhaps, surprising in a man who had been mulcted of £20,000. Sidney did not like Desmond, he found him "a man void of judgment to govern or will to be ruled," and his country, from Youghal to the borders of Limerick, "like as I never was in a more pleasant country in my life, so never saw I a more waste and desolate land...There I heard such lamentable cries and doleful complaints made by that small remnant of poor people that yet was left, who hardly escaping from the fury of the sword and fire of their outrageous neighbours, or the famine,...make demonstration of the miserable estate of that country." He speaks of "the horrible and lamentable spectacles he has beheld, the burning of villages, the ruin of churches, the wasting of such as have been good towns and castles; yea, the view of the bones and skulls of the dead subjects who, partly by murder, partly by famine, have died in the fields, as in troth, hardly any Christian with dry eyes could behold." [3] All reports of the time confirm Sidney's observations. The rebels forced the peaceable inhabitants either to join them or to starve by famine. They also "sent naked to the city the men, not sparing (a shameful thing to be reported) to use the honest housewives of the country in like manner, and torment them with more cruel pains than either Phalaris or any of the old tyrants could invent." In this destructive warfare James FitzMaurice lent a hand. Among his feats was the taking of Kilmallock by a night surprise attack. The town was so wealthy that they were engaged for the space of three days and nights in carrying away its riches on their horses to the woods of Atherlow, and dispersing them among their friends and companions. They tore down and demolished the houses and set fire to the town "so that Kilmallock became the receptacle and abode of wolves in addition to all the other misfortunes up to that time." [4] These descriptions, which are hardly exceeded in horror by the account given by Spenser of the condition of Munster after the long Desmond rebellion, show the result of the fifteen years' misrule which had passed since Cusack had visited the province in 1553.

[3] Sidney's report to the Queen, April 20, 1567, in Collins's Letters and Memorials of State, i, 24 , Cal. S.P.I., Eliz., vol. xx No., 66 at same date.
[4] Annals of the Four Masters, 1571 (vol. v, pp. 1633-1655).

Sidney kept Desmond in his company as a prisoner, and placed the charge of his dominions in the hands of his brother, Sir John of Desmond, in whom he had much greater confidence. Sir John seems to have governed well and kept the country quiet. But this plan was suddenly brought to an end by the enemies of both. In 1567, while Sidney was in England, leaving Sir William FitzWilliam as Deputy, the two Desmond brothers were sent for as though for a conference in Dublin; they were captured and sent over to the Tower of London without Sidney's knowledge. "And truly," he wrote in after days, "this hard dealing was the origin of James FitzMore's [FitzMaurice's] rebellion and consequently of all the evil and mischief of Munster, which since hath cost the Crown of England and that country £100,000." This imprisonment was largely owing to Ormonde's representations, for he was high in the Queen's favour. In spite of the Queen's assurance to Desmond's Countess that the slight restraint to the Earl "would do him no harm," the two brothers remained in London for seven long years, part of the time occupying one small room and suffering often from cold and hardships. The accusations against the Earl were that he was still oppressing his tenants with "coyne and livery", that he was encouraging and siding with the Queen's enemies, and that he had committed against Lord Roche, the Lord Barry, and other chief nobles of the South such extreme disorders that Sussex was ashamed to go into them more closely, he having wasted the country "with as much cruelty as any foreign enemy, French or other, could use." Against Sir John there was no definite accusation. In their own country, meanwhile, their absence was taken advantage of by an elder brother, Thomas Roe FitzGerald, who had been set aside as illegitimate, to endeavour to establish his claim to the earldom, Ormonde helping him to carry on a civil war and devastate the country.

This attempt to unseat the imprisoned earl brought more actively into the field James FitzMaurice FitzGerald, the Earl's cousin, who stoutly supported the Earl's rights, and for the whole seven years fought on his behalf partly against the usurper, but more often against the Government, with forces strengthened by an intermixture of Scottish mercenaries. This James was a restless but brave and gallant man, quick-spirited and witty, of an adventurous and politic mind. He became the chief centre of Irish hopes and English fears in his day. His powers of organization were pitted not only against the astute policy of Ormonde and the ruthless severity of Fitton, but against the stern and untiring vigilance of Perrot. The latter was appointed President of Munster in 1568, but did not actually take up office till 1571. It had been one of Sidney's methods of governing the country to appoint Presidents in Connacht and Munster, these provinces being too distant from Dublin to be kept under the immediate eye of the Lord Deputy, and in constant need of a governor on the spot. The idea was a sound one, but the choice of governors was not always equally wise, and they were sufficiently removed from the central authority to be able to act almost independently. They governed in concert with the military authorities on the spot. Soon after Perrot's appointment Ormonde, who had returned to Ireland in 1569, was made General for Munster, Lord Deputy FitzWilliam having declared in a letter to Burghley that the South was always the "ticklish" part of Ireland and that Ormonde alone could manage it. Ormonde was given a free hand in his enemy's country, even at a moment when his own brothers were in open rebellion. He was authorized to "banish and vanquish those cankered Desmonds," and Pelham, the Lord Justice, who had been sent down to Munster only to find "the burden of this service too hard" for him, approved the appointment, Ormonde being thought "a hard match for Desmond" even in his private dealings, and without the aid of the Queen's forces.[5] Complaints were later laid against Ormonde that he had not prosecuted the war against Desmond as vigorously as was expected of him,[6] but his own reports of his second campaign in 1580 was that he had executed and put to the sword forty-six captains and leaders under Desmond, with eight hundred notorious traitors and malefactors and above four thousand of their men, a record of services rendered that might have satisfied even a Tudor Government.[7] The result of it all is summed up in the Queen's complaint of Ormonde. She "found it strange" that after two years Ormonde, who had promised with only three hundred soldiers to reduce Desmond, yet having more than fifteen hundred had done nothing. "There were now a thousand more traitors than at his coming."[8]

[5] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 227, pp. 189-190 (December 26 1579).
[6] "Observations of the Earl of Ormonde's Government, as Lord General of Munster," Carew, Cal., ii, No. 494, pp. 325-327 (March 1582).
[7] Ibid., ii, No. 593, p. 415.
[8] Cal. S.P.I., Eliz., lxxx, Nos. 82, 87, pp. 289, 290 (1581).

Sir John Perrot, the blustering, choleric, energetic man who arrived in Ireland in 1571, was commonly reported to be a son of Henry VIII, whom he resembled both in appearance and character. "God's death," he exclaimed, when, on his return from Ireland he was tried on a charge of high treason at Westminster," will the Queen suffer her brother to be offered up a sacrifice to the envy of his frisking adversary?" A German lord who was present at his Parliament in Dublin declared that "he did never see any man comparable to Sir John Perrot for his porte and majesty of personage," while among his English associates he left a memory of hard usage and haughty demeanour such as none of his predecessors had done. He would have no chief come to his Parliament but in English attire, and provided cloaks of velvet and satin for those that had them not. It vexed him that they thought their native garb fitter for comfort and quite as rich. The Irish liked the bluff, hard-swearing, active Deputy, who never objected to lodge in a half-burned house when campaigning, and when the enemy took refuge beyond the bogs would "rip off his boots and plunge into the bog, driving them before him and his light horse with staves instead of pikes." He took his revenge on James FitzMaurice for burning the town of Kilmallock and hanging the chief townsmen at the market-cross, by putting the heads of fifty of James's followers in their place. He never forgave FitzMaurice for breaking his engagement, offered by the rebel himself and accepted by Perrot, to end the war by a hand to hand fight with sword and target, both clad in Irish trews. On the day appointed Perrot was at the place of meeting, resplendent in new trousers of scarlet and attended by the lords of the province to see the fight; but FitzMaurice did not come. The President was furious and swore "that he would hunt the fox out of his hole without delay." When FitzMaurice came in at Kilmallock and asked for pardon Perrot made him lie prostrate on the ground and placed the point of his sword next his heart. When, in January 1584, Perrot returned to Ireland as Lord Deputy, and found his old enemy planning to rise again and Turlogh inciting him to come out, he was told that FitzMaurice said "that since the Deputy had arrived he could do nothing." He put down the incipient rebellion without any delay, and he wrote to the Earl of Warwick after FitzMaurice's submission saying that the province was so quiet that "the idle sort fall as fast unto the plough as they were wont to run into mischief." Though Perrot's word was generally respected he did not scruple to take extreme means to attain his ends. He excused his capture of O'Donnell by saying that it saved blood-money; and he tried to suspend Poynings' Act when it suited his policy. It was to his suggestion that the Queen gave ear when, in 1573, she debased the Irish coinage and nearly ruined the country. He made many enemies, who slipped over to London to undermine his influence and finally succeeded in turning the Queen against him, and he only escaped execution by dying in the Tower before the sentence on him was carried out.

Toward the close of 1572 it had been decided to send Desmond with his brother home to his own country in the hope that his return would quiet the distracted land. He had long been only a nominal prisoner, having been released from the Tower in midwinter 1570, on account of the state of Sir John's health, and they had since been living with 'old' Sir Wareham St Leger at his house at Southwark and "ranging abroad in London" among their friends, restrained only from wandering outside the radius of twenty miles from the metropolis. Sir Wareham, who had always been friendly to Desmond, had been President of Munster before the appointment of Perrot, and was to return there in 1579 as Provost Marshal, a new post created during the rebellion. He was the pronounced foe of Ormonde, whom he accused on one occasion of treason, and there is no doubt that the Earl, placed between his rebellious brothers the Butlers on the one hand, and Desmond on the other, frequently played a doubtful part. His dealings in the field were clear enough but his private policy was less certain. In January 1573 Desmond and Sir John were received by her Majesty, and she made an earnest appeal to them to be loyal and to establish their possessions in peace. Desmond was fully restored and an Act of Oblivion passed, the two brothers being accompanied to Dublin by Fitton, who was sent to restore order in Connacht. Fitton detained Desmond in Dublin for a further period of five months, and though he was only under an "easy restraint" the time was wearisome to a man who had already suffered long confinement, who was now pardoned and restored, and whose enemies were all the time, as he complains, "taking up his rents and revenues of which he had great need." An appeal to the Earl of Leicester in May failed to bring him his release, and at length, at daybreak one morning, he succeeded in making his escape from Dublin, and mounting a fleet horse he arrived safely, five days later, in the wild fastnesses of Kerry. Once among his own people, he flung off English dress and instantly set about arranging a new combination with Turlogh O'Neill, the sons of Clanricarde, and "all the gentlemen of Thomond."

His cousin, James FitzMaurice, who had so faithfully upheld his claims during his long imprisonment, now naturally looked for some reward of his fidelity. He asked that some lands should be assigned to him from the wide Desmond territories on which he might settle down. But the Countess, Dame Eleanor Butler,[9] desired to preserve the earldom intact for her only son, and vehemently opposed any division of the property. Disgusted by his cousin's ingratitude, James flung himself into rebellion, "studying nothing day nor night, but how to procure to stir both heaven, earth and hell to do the Earl mischief." He entered into alliance with Edmond FitzGibbon, "the White Knight," the Seneschal of Imokilly, and others, and gradually their ideas enlarged and gave birth to wider schemes. The rumours of plans for planting Munster with English, the severe rule of Perrot, the religious disquiet, combined with the danger in which England stood from the machinations of France, Spain, and Rome, and the general unrest, suggested to their minds an armed resistance to England under the title and appeal of the Catholic League, and with the aid of foreign powers. James was advised to apply to France and Spain and lay before them his case. He was to complain how hardly the English used the Irish, "taking away from some their lands, from others their lives, and from all their religion." This service James FitzMaurice undertook. He fled to France and laid his case before the French king, Henry II, who was willing enough to assist him but was dissuaded by his counsellors. Failing here, he went on to Spain, but Philip had then newly made peace with the English Queen and sent on James to Rome, where he found Pope Gregory XIII quite ready to lend his aid against the heretic queen. He had even cherished ideas of conquering Ireland for his nephew the Marquis Diergnoles, surnamed Bon Compagnion. He introduced FitzMaurice to the English adventurer, Stukeley, whom the Pope created Marquis of Leinster, giving him eight hundred soldiers who were to serve under him in Ireland; other troops subsequently added were, O'Sullevan Beare says, mostly Italian desperadoes whom the Pope wished to get rid of out of Italy; all these were to be paid out of the Papal exchequer.

[9] Desmond's first wife, Joan, had died in 1565. It was singular that he should again marry into the family of the Butlers.

It would seem that James was acting independently of Desmond. There had been "hot wars" between them, and they seem never to have been on good terms; on James's return Desmond refused to join him and declared his intention of marching against him. In February 1576, when Sidney was touring the South, Desmond "very honourably attended on" him, offering fealty and service to the Queen. FitzMaurice was then at St Malo, "keeping great port, himself and his family well apparelled and full of money; having oft intelligence from Rome and out of Spain; not much relief from the French king, that I [Sidney] can perceive, yet oft visited by men of good countenance." Sidney believed that if James landed while he was in the North, he might take and do what he would with Kinsale, Cork, Youghal, Kilmallock, and even Limerick, so great was his credit among the people. He urgently pleaded for the coming of Sir William Drury, as being the only man able to deal with the situation.[10] James, meanwhile, was getting more promises than performances from abroad, and, impatient to return to Ireland, he left Stukeley to bring over the troops and himself travelled back by way of France, where the new king, Henry III, received him graciously, promising everything he asked; thence he went to Spain and Portugal, finally landing on the coast of Kerry with three ships, some money, and a few soldiers, and bearing the consecrated banner blessed by the Pope. With him came the afterward well-known Dr Saunders as his confessor.

[10] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 36, p. 42.

The news of FitzMaurice's intended invasion accompanied by French troops kept Ireland in a ferment during the years 1577-78; munitions and money were hastily sent over, and men were ordered to Ireland from Wales and the southern counties, while the coasts were patrolled by three ships set apart for that duty.[11] The Earl was becoming impotent; so weak of body as "neither can he get up on horseback...but that he is holpen and lift up, neither when he is on horseback can he of himself alight down without help." Sidney thought there was less danger to be apprehended from him than from any other member of his kindred.[12] The conspiracy was spreading into Connacht, however, and Malbie was kept busy trying to check it and to prevent a union with Munster, but Sir John of Desmond was contemplating an alliance with Mary Burke, Clanricarde's daughter, as a means to further the project of union between the provinces, "though he have another wife living, and she another husband." [13]

[11] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 59, pp. 84-85.
[12] Ibid., ii, No. 83, p. 127.
[13] Ibid., ii, No. 70, p. 110.

A chief organizer was the Dr Saunders whom FitzMaurice had brought over, and who was more sought for and more dreaded by the government than any of the heads of the rising. Large rewards were offered for his capture, but he seemed to carry his life securely in his hands. It was largely through his wider views of the European situation that what was at first a family feud developed into a formidable combination against England of which Spain and Rome were to reap the advantage. He succeeded in drawing the brothers Earl Gerald and Sir John of Desmond into the plot, and he was "made more accompt of " than twenty men; "yea! John of Desmond made more accompt of him than of his own life." He was the accredited envoy of the Pope, who gave him money for the enterprise. He was less successful in Lisbon, however, the King having requested him to depart on learning that he was fitting out ships for Ireland; while in Spain they doubted that any Geraldine was left alive in Ireland. When James FitzMaurice asked Saunders as to the progress he was making in fitting out ships in Portugal, and heard that the King refused to allow him any ships or soldiers, he is said to have answered, "I care for no soldiers at all; you and I are enough; therefore let us go, for I know the minds of the noblemen in Ireland." [14] James's proclamation ran as follows: "This war is undertaken for the defence of the Catholic religion against the heretics. Pope Gregory XIII hath chosen us for general captain in this same war,...which thing he did so much rather because his predecessor Pope Pius V had before deprived Elizabeth, the patroness of the aforesaid heresies, of all royal power and dominion, as is plainly declared by his declaratory sentence, the authentic copy whereof we also have to show. Therefore now we fight not against the lawful sceptre and honourable throne of England, but against a tyrant which refuseth to hear Christ speaking by His vicar." [15]

[14] "Examination of James O'Hale, Friar," Carew, Cal., ii, No. 474 (xii), p. 308, and cf. No. 307, p. 217.
[15] Ibid., i, No. 268, p. 400.

It is remarkable that, in announcing his war as a war of religion, the most formidable of all the Desmond leaders should emphasize the fact that he regarded the sceptre of England as a lawful one, against whose claims he would not contend, though he lifted up the banner of religion against the present Queen Elizabeth, who was held to be illegitimate on account of Henry VIII's marriage to Anna Boleyn during the lifetime of his previous Queen. James considered her as a usurper or "pretensed queen" as well as a heretic. It was only under such a banner that all the nation could rally. It had shocked the conscience of a Catholic people that a woman and a Protestant should hold herself as head of the Church. This view is quaintly expressed by Viscount Baltinglas in a letter to the Earl of Ormonde in 1580, when efforts were being made to bring him into the rebellion. He says: "The highest power on earth commands us to take the sword...Questionless it is great want of knowledge and more of grace, to think and believe, that a woman, uncapax [incapable] of all holy orders, should be the supreme governor of Christ's Church; a thing that Christ did not grant unto his own Mother. If the Queen's pleasure is, as you allege, to minister justice, it were time to begin; for in this twenty years past of her reign we have seen more damnable doctrine maintained, more oppressing of poor subjects, under pretence of justice, within this land, than ever we heard or read...done by Christian princes." [16]

[16] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 443, p. 289.

The news of the landing of James FitzMaurice and Saunders at Dingle on July 1, 1579, spread rapidly through Ireland. They had brought only three vessels and a few men, but were backed by unlimited promises from the King of Spain, who was said to be sending thirty thousand men, well appointed, with plentiful supplies of money and munitions, on whose landing it was confidently expected that the country would rise. Desmond and the Earl of Clancar swore a solemn oath to unite their forces, the oath being administered by Dr Saunders in the most solemn manner.[17] The Pope's banner was displayed, and the people were taught by Saunders that a new Government would settle them in their religion. Combinations were in progress in the North between Turlogh O'Neill and O'Donnell, the Baron of Dungannon and even Sorley Boy being drawn into the conspiracy, and there were rumours of great numbers of Scots assembling in Ulster under the direction of O'Neill.[18] The country was in a state of eager expectation and unrest. In Pelham's sarcastic words; "Since the advertisements of the foreign invasion every man here looketh about him, for howsoever the world may delight in change upon promise of golden mountains, I suppose it is now considered that what foreign prince soever come, he will not allow to any freeholder more acres than he hath already, nor more free manner of life than they have under our sovereign. And further, I am told that some of the traitors themselves begin to consider that the invader will put no great trust in those that do betray their natural prince and country ." [19]

[17] Ibid., ii, No. 304, p. 215.
[18] Ibid., ii, No. 172, p. 172.
[19] Pelham to the Earl of Leicester, Ibid., ii, No 316, p. 221.

The landing was ill-fated from the first. FitzMaurice was joined by Sir John of Desmond, a man little inclined to rebellion, but soured by his long and unjustifiable imprisonment in London. He was disappointed too because the birth of his brother's son had destroyed all his hopes of succession to the family estates.[20] The rebellion opened with an act of treachery on the part of Sir John. He was marching into Kerry with the aged Sir Henry Davells, High Sheriff of Cork, who was his foster-brother and had been his close friend. Davells had on more than one occasion used his money and influence on behalf of Sir John when he was in difficulties. But Sir John now turned upon him in the middle of the night in Tralee Castle, where they had lain down together to rest. There he slew him in his shirt, three of his companions being slain with him. FitzMaurice professed the greatest horror of the deed; "to murder a man naked in bed when he might have had advantage of him on the highways" was wholly against his code of honour, and he refused to have any further dealings with Sir John during his lifetime, though the murderer defended his action by saying that the clergy had told him that it was meritorious to kill a heretic. Neither was the wild licence permitted by Sir John to his soldiery pleasing to his cousin. No news came of Stukeley or his reinforcements, and it was only later that it was learned that on his arrival with his troops in Portugal, the king of that country, who had always been opposed to the Irish enterprise, had bought over him and his men and had induced them to join a force he was raising to fight the Moors in Barbary. Shortly afterward the tidings leaked through that all of them had been cut to pieces by the Moors. Thus the hopes of foreign aid came for the moment to naught.

[20] This poor child, later to be known as "the Tower Earl," was born in the house of Sir Wareham St Leger, in London, of Desmond's second wife.

FitzMaurice himself fell in the same year (1579). His near kinsman, Theobald Burke, on whose assistance he had counted, took the field against him, and at Bohereen, five miles from Limerick, FitzMaurice found him stationed to impede his passage. He had left the main body of his troops behind him, not anticipating danger, but both parties fought furiously until a lad discharged his fowling-piece full at FitzMaurice, who was distinguished by a yellow doublet, and mortally wounded him. For a time he managed to conceal his injury and fell only after having slain both the Burkes and driven off their men. Then, exhorting the bystanders never to make peace with the English, the chief instigator and leader of the insurrection passed away. The widow of Theobald Burke, his kinsman, received head-money for his death, and his cousin, Maurice Fitzjohn, cut off his head. The body, wrapped in a caddowe, was buried by a huntsman under an old oak, but it was found, brought to Kilmallock, and hanged on a gibbet, where it was used as a target by soldiers "who in his lifetime durst not look him in the face." [21] The conduct of the war fell into the hands of Sir John, of whom the authorities said that he "slept not," the Earl declaring to the Lord Deputy that he was in no way implicated in the rebellion. Desmond seems to have suffered from the extremest pangs of indecision, natural enough in a weak man who had already felt the pains of long imprisonment and knew the certain end of a man accounted to be a traitor. The writer of the story of the Geraldines thought him "not well established in his wits." At one time we find him praying the Queen "for one drop of grace to assuage the flame of my tormented mind," while at another he throws himself wholly into the rebellion and "plainly puts on a rebel's mind." Elizabeth received his letters with promises of forgiveness and terms for his acceptance which the authorities in Dublin thought too liberal to be shown to him, and Pelham, then newly gone into Munster, in vain tried to induce him again to put himself into the power of the authorities.

[21] Russell, "Relation of the FitzGeralds," op. cit., p. 31.

The double game of dissimulation could not be kept up for ever. On November 2, 1579, Desmond was proclaimed a traitor.[22] That he had ever since his escape from Dublin been entering into combinations against the Government [23] and that he was now deeply involved in the new enterprise cannot be denied; but the terms of submission proposed to him by Pelham and Ormonde were such as he could hardly be expected in any circumstances to accept. They included the delivery of Dr Saunders and the strangers who had come over with him; the possession of his chief castles of Askeaton and Carrigofoill, and the prosecution of the rebellious members of his own family.[24] The curt and irritating letters of Pelham to the Earl also show a settled intention of allowing him no chance of escape.[25] Pelham's actions were swift and his method of policy clear. He sums it up in his report to the Queen on August 12, 1580: "I give the rebels no breath to relieve themselves, but by one of your garrisons or other they be continually hunted. I keep them from their harvest, and have taken great preys of cattle from them, by which it seemeth the poor people...are so distressed, as they,...offer themselves with their wives and children rather to be slain by the army than to suffer the famine that now in extremity beginneth to pinch them." [26] In the admiring records of his contemporaries Pelham was "a painful gentleman." It was in his period of service that the detestable system of warfare which would accept no submission except the suppliant came "with bloody hands," i.e., hands that were stained with the blood of some near relation who sided with the rebels, took firm root in English policy in Ireland. To do "some acceptable service" was Pelham's constant admonition to the chiefs of the insurrection when they wanted to come in; and it was by this means that the heads of the rebellion were cut off one after another.[27] The policy was carried on by Sir George Carew and his associates. Even Sidney, in the case of Shane O'Neill, had been known to adopt it. It was successful in quelling the rebellion, but at the cost of spreading throughout the country a universal mistrust even of a man's nearest friends and allies, who might, in an underhand fashion, be selling him to the Government.[28]

[22] The proclamation is given in Carew, Cal., ii, No. 146, pp. 162-163.
[23] Ibid., ii, No. 96, p. 135.
[24] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 140, p. 160.
[25] Ibid., ii, Nos. 142, 145, pp. 161, 162. The Lord Justice went down to Munster on the death of Sir William Drury (ibid., ii, No. 130, p. 157).
[26] Ibid., ii, No. 452, p. 293.
[27] Ibid., ii, No. 453, p. 293; No. 441, p. 287; No. 449, pp. 291-292; etc.
[28] Even so early as January 1568 the then Countess of Desmond writes that the country "is in such disorder that few men can trust a father, son, or brother" (Cal. S.P.I., Eliz., vol. xxiii, No. 16.11).

In 1579 Pelham has to confess that neither his predecessor nor he, even with the aid of the Earls of Kildare and Ormonde, "could get any espial for reward against the rebels," an avowal most honourable to the whole country, for the temptations both in money and personal safety were purposely made high. By the end of the war, however, the country was swarming with spies of all sorts—English, Irish, and foreign, working for the Government on the one hand and for the Irish confederates on the other. No man dared to trust the servant in his house, the tutor of his children, or the sworn confederate of his counsels. It produced also a contempt mingled with dread of the double-dealing of the English Government which has never been entirely dissipated. This is expressed in many of the finest poems of the period, which from this time onward become channels of protest against the dissimulation and terrors practised by the ruling powers.[29] All countries of Western Europe were at this period working by the same system of political corruption; the question appeared to their Governments, not one of morality, but one of high politics. And it has to be remembered that at the moment when the rebellion in Kerry and Cork was in progress, England was in a state of peril in which she has seldom stood before or since, and that the rebellion of the Desmonds was closely linked up with the expected descent of Spain upon her shores. Ireland was the weak spot, the place selected by the Spanish admirals for the landing of the men of the great Armada which was being prepared in Spanish harbours, and of which the handful of troops entrusted to FitzMaurice had been designed as the forerunners. It is little wonder that from the English point of view it did not appear a time for quiet talks with men in league with the enemy, when the expectation of foreign forces was making the whole country "stand upon their tiptoes." [30]

[29] Cf. Tadhg Dall O'Higgin's address to Brian O'Rorke in O'Grady's Catalogue of Manuscripts in the British Museum, p. 418, and Hull, Poem-book of the Gael, pp. 169-171; E. Knott, Poems of Tadhg Dall, ii, 72-79.
[30] Malbie to Leicester, Carew, Cal., ii, No. 460, p. 298.

There was no doubt that by the middle of 1580 the rebel organization was breaking up. Desmond's first act after his proclamation as a traitor had been to sack and burn the town of Youghal, which was betrayed into his hands by the Mayor and townsmen. The Earl of Clancar, at first his adversary but now his confederate, committed a similar outrage at Kinsale.[31] Ormonde, who followed Desmond to Youghal and was refused admission for his English garrison, took his revenge by hanging the recalcitrant Mayor before his own door, after which he entered the town and fortified it. Youghal had been one of the favourite seats of the Desmond family, and we may well believe the report of Pelham a few weeks later that Desmond was either dead or benumbed of his limbs by an extreme palsy.[32] Pelham got no commendation from the Queen for the severity of his actions. She was deeply displeased that Desmond had been proclaimed; and Pelham, "being utterly unable to bear her Majesty's indignation," besought to be relieved of his charge.[33] His wish was acceded to in the following year, 1580, when Lord Grey de Wilton was sent over to replace him. Meanwhile, Sir John and his brother played a slowly losing game. Pelham was as indefatigable as he was merciless. He and Captain Zouche ploughed through the bogs of Slieve Lougher in wet and stormy weather by a march of twenty-one miles to intercept Desmond, and it was only by chance that they were seen in time for the Earl with his Countess and Saunders to escape.[34] The terrible execution done at Carrigofoill Castle on March 25 struck terror into the countryside. The house was "circuited by the sea" and was held by sixteen Spaniards and fifty others, commanded by one Captain Julian, who said he kept it for the King of Spain. They fortified it by every device that occurred to them, but Captain Mackworth entered the outer walls after a fierce fight and drove the Spaniards up to a turret on the barbican wall; some of them sprang down from this height into the water to endeavour to escape by swimming, but were shot as they passed by. Others took refuge in the vaults. The Spaniards in the turret were seized as they came down and executed.[35]

[31] Ibid., ii, No. 184, p. 176.
[32] Ibid., ii, No. 214, p. 186.
[33] Ibid., ii, No. 224, p. 188; No. 226, p. 189.
[34] Pelham's report, in Carew, Cal., ii, No. 410, p. 267.
[35] Pelham's report, in Carew, Cal., ii, No. 349, pp. 237-238.

On the report of the fate of Carrigofoill, Askeaton Castle surrendered at once ard Ballylogh, Desmond's other castle, was vacated by its garrison, who tried to fire it as they left. The loss of the Earl's chief seats drove him back into the woods and secret recesses of Atherlow or the fastnesses of Kerry. From time to time he wrote long letters to the Lord Justice, who "pleasantly jested at these things" while his victim fled before him. He had many narrow escapes. On one occasion he was so nearly captured that his pursuers "found the aqua-vitae, wine, and meat provided for their dinner" and thankfully possessed themselves of the provision. Of the two, the English troops seem to have been often the worse off for food; supplies did not arrive and money was short, they were constantly ill and were always ready to mutiny in consequence. When Grey came down he reported that there was nothing wrong with the captains except that there were more sick than whole, Pelham himself was "touched with the disease of this country" and complained that the toil of the war was unfit for one of his years. The young military captains of companies that were now sent over were generally able officers, trained in that great school of warfare, "the wars of Flanders." Names like Mackworth, Zouche, Raleigh, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, are familiar in other connexions than the Munster wars. From a distance it seemed a lighter task to repress a rebellion in Munster or Connacht than to stand up against the trained armies of Spain or France in the Low Countries, under commanders of world-wide fame. But one after another learned by experience that "it was easier to talk at home in London of Irish wars" than to be in them, and one officer after another, distinguished in service abroad, lost his reputation in Ireland and appealed pathetically to be relieved of the thankless and interminable guerilla warfare that they met with in that country.

At length, toward the close of 1580, the confidence which had "so bewitched" the Irish of the coming of foreign aid met its reward. It was reported, and with truth, that a mixed force of from six to eight hundred Spaniards, Italians, and Basques had landed at Smerwick in Kerry, where the Earl still lay concealed when Sir John and Saunders, weary of Pelham's close pursuit and not too well agreeing with Desmond, went off to join the rising of Baltinglas in Leinster. An interesting letter from Captain Richard Bingham to Leicester written on October 18, 1580, from Smerwick Harbour, gives an account of the course of events. He had been sent round by sea and entered the harbour of Ventry shortly after the Spaniards, to find them fortifying themselves in that old fort of Smerwick which Pelham had carefully examined a few months before and had pronounced to be "a vain toy and of little importance;" they were now restoring it into a fort of passable strength. Since their time it has been known as the Fort d'Ore, or Golden Fort, from the exaggerated tales of the fabulous wealth brought over by the foreigners. Bingham learned from some French fishermen who had been captured by the Spaniards, but who had stolen away in the hope of escaping, of the disasters that had befallen the foreign fleet on the English coast. One of their largest vessels and one smaller ship had been lost sight of in the storm they had met on their way over, and only two ships and a galley remained. Of these the larger, a baskeyne of 400 tons, carried on board the Pope's nuncio and their colonel, both Italians; an Irish bishop; two preachers, Jesuits and friars, all Italians; with 400 men, some munitions, and 12,000 ducats in money. The expedition would appear to have been rather an Italian religious crusade than a Spanish army for the relief of Desmond.

The report of the mariners was that the vessels had on board "a thousand poor simple Bysswynes, very ragged, and a great part of them boys." Not an Armada, certainly, or likely to stand a siege by the trained troops of Mackworth and Grey. More than two hundred of the eight hundred men they brought with them had to be shipped back to Spain in the great baskeyne,[36]"sick and malcontent with the country and their evil and hard entertainment." Of the others "very many do die daily"; these Southerners being quite unable to endure the damp and storms of the Dingle in this winter season. No doubt it was some of these "wild Basques and straggling Italians" whom the State Papers report Ormonde to be busy chasing shortly afterward in the mountains about Tralee. Most of them seem to have been Italian brigands to whom Pope Gregory XIII had promised pardon for their misdeeds if they would join the Irish expedition. Bingham thought that only five hundred at most had survived of the original body. Already, by October 18, Ormonde had arrived before the fort of Smerwick with "divers English Captains" of whom Raleigh, Zouche, and Mackworth, were the chief, and had begun to skirmish about the fortress. There was little fighting. The Italian commander, San Joseph, was a coward, or else he probably could see at once that his ragged Basques, "most of them boys," could make no sort of stand against the disciplined troops outside. The black and white ensigns which they had hung out beside the Pope's banner had to be hauled down. Instead, the white flag was hoisted alone, and a parley called for.[37] Their camp-master and one Plunkett, an Englishman born near Drogheda, who seems to have acted as interpreter and guide, met Captains Mackworth and Zouche, who demanded their commander and, according to the official report, would agree to nothing but unconditional surrender.[38] "After they had remained some while in consultation, the Colonel and Captains came forth, trailing their ensigns rolled up and yielded to my Lord's demands and left pledges to yield up the fort the next morning." The Earl and Sir John, who had promised to relieve the fort with four thousand men, never showed themselves. The report continues: "The morrow after, being the ninth of this month [November], the forts were yielded, all the Irishmen and women hanged, and upward of four hundred Italians, Spaniards, Byskins [Basques] and others put to the sword. The Colonel, Captain, Secretary.

[36] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 482, pp. 314-316.
[37] W. Camden, Ann. Rerum Angl. et Hib. (ed. Hearne, 1717), ii, 342-343.
[38] Grey to Walsingham, S.P.I., Eliz., vol. lxxviii, No. 27 (November 11, 1580).

Camp-Master, and others of the best sort [were] saved to the number of twenty persons. Dr Saund[ers], Englishman Plunkett, a friar and others [were] kept in store to be executed after examination had of them..." At the end of this letter is added: "This day was executed an Englishman who served Dr Saunders, one Plunkett, of whom before is written, and an Irish priest; their arms and legs were broken and hanged upon a gallows upon the wall of the fort." Grey's own report to the Queen adds some details: "I sent straight some gentlemen in to see their weapons and armures laid down and to guard the munition and victual there left for spoil. Then put I in certain bands, who straight fell to execution. There were 600 slain...whereof 400 were as gallant and goodly personages as I ever beheld. So hath it pleased the Lord of hosts to deliver the enemy into your Highness' hands." [39] We learn from another report that Captains Raleigh and Mackworth,[40] who held the ward for that day, were those who led the slaughter in the castle, "many or most part of them being put to the sword." The tradition of the country, well known to Russell and believed by him,[41] though he was a royalist, was that Grey put the garrison to the sword in cold blood after having, on promise of their life, made them stack their arms and surrender the place, "for which breach of promise and bloody act her Majesty gave him small thanks." Tradition is often right, especially in Ireland, and "the faith of Grey" became a synonym for an atrocious perjury. In regard to the Queen's displeasure, however, her own letters show no sign of such grace in her. The only regret she expresses is that the principal head of the expedition had not been reserved for her own judgment, "either justice or mercy as to us should have been found best." It seemed to her reasonable that the principals should receive punishment before the accessories, which "would have served for a terror to such as may hereafter be driven to so wicked an enterprise." [42] They would apparently have received justice without mercy at her hands. It must be said for Elizabeth that when she was dealing with a rising of her own subjects only, such as Shane or Hugh O'Neill or Desmond, she was always disposed to employ means of pacification. The Queen's instructions to Grey on his departure show her anxiety for the good treatment of her Irish subjects. The soldiers are to be restrained and severely punished if they misconduct themselves; she confesses that "in truth, we being interested alike in our subjects of both regions, do carry a like affection to them," and that it is through "ill-disposed persons" that a contrary impression has been given. She excepts none but those who have been in open rebellion.[43] But an insurrection made in concert with her deadliest enemies, either in Scotland, France, or Spain, met with no mercy, as it seemed to her to have no justification; the dangers involved were too great, and no means were too severe to check or punish the fomenters or actors in such an enterprise. Any other sovereign in Europe would have thought the same. She appointed Zouche Governor of Munster, and Grey was promised that he should have no cause to "forthink [regret] his serviceable act."

[39] S.P.I., Eliz., vol. lxxviii, No. 29 (November 12, 1580); see also Hooker, in supplement to Holinshed's Chronicles, at date 1580. Grey's report does not agree with that made to Captain Bingham, in which it is stated that the best of the troops were reserved.
[40] Captain Mackworth was later murdered by the O'Connors. See Carew, Cal., ii, No. 495, p. 328 (March 1582).
[41] Russell, "Relation of the FitzGeralds," op. cit. (1638).
[42] The Queen to Lord Deputy Grey, December 12, 1580; Pope-Hennesey, Raleigh in Ireland, Appendix ii, pp. 212-214.
[43] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 422, p. 277 (July 15, 1580).

Zouche's first concern in taking over office was to lay hold of Sir John of Desmond, with whom were the MacSweeneys, and Dermot O'Sullevan, Lord of Dunboy, father of Philip O'Sullevan Beare the historian. Sir John was a far abler commander than his brother, and at the battle of Gort-na-Tibrid (now Springfield), in Co. Limerick, his vigorous onslaught had broken the English line and driven the troops to retreat with the loss of three hundred men. At this battle Dr Saunders, the unwavering supporter of the Geraldines, stood praying on the hill above the battlefield during the whole course of the conflict. In spite of official reports of his death at Smerwick, he is said to have died of hunger under a tree in Kerry shortly after this battle. He was a distinguished man, who lectured at Oxford and afterward at Louvain and wrote several controversial works.

Several times Sir John snatched victory from the troops sent to find him, and it was only by an ambush set for him by Zouche that he fell at last. Zouche was informed that Sir John had arranged to meet the son of Viscount Barry at Castle O'Lehan (now Castle Lyons) for discussion of their plans. Setting an ambush on the path, he awaited the coming of Desmond's small party, and surrounded them, but before they could capture Sir John he was shot full in the throat by one Thomas Fleming, who had formerly been his servant. His body was brought to Cork and hanged in chains over the city gate, where it remained as a spectacle to all beholders for three or four years, until a great storm of wind blew it off. The head was then sent to Dublin and spiked on the castle wall. Zouche sent to the Queen Desmond's "fair turquoise ring, set in gold," and it was suggested that her Majesty might do well to bestow on him the traitor's lands. The proclamation had promised £500 for the taking of Sir John; "but where," ask the official dispatches, "is the money?" [44]

[44] S.P.I., Eliz., lxxxviii, Nos. 14, 15 (January 12, 13, 1582).

The suppression of the rebellion was now practically accomplished. For two years more the feeble old Earl held out with his cousin Maurice FitzGerald, a gallant leader who subsequently rose high in the Spanish navy, until the Queen, wearied by the awful accounts that were continually reaching her of the condition of the country, offered a general pardon and Act of Oblivion to all who would come in, hoping thereby to detach the minor lords from Desmond's party and force him to surrender. A considerable number submitted, among them David Barry, son to Lord Barrymore, Patrick Condor, and the Seneschal of Imokilly.[45] Barry was most graciously received and was restored to all his honours and dignities on his father's death. The Earl, who was still in hiding in the woods of Aghadoe, but harassed by the untiring watchfulness of Zouche's troops, at last "growing feeble, and extremely falling sick," was betrayed by his own foster-brother, one Owen Moriarty, in whom the Earl reposed so much confidence that he was privy to all his secrets. He informed the garrison at Castlemaine that the Earl was to be found in a miserable hovel; here he was surrounded by the soldiers, who took him out and beheaded him on the night of November II, 1583.[46] One Daniel O'Kelly was rewarded for the act, but was later executed for highway robbery. Fifteen years later, Moriarty was hanged on a gibbet at his own door by the Lord of Lixnaw. All the Desmond lands were declared forfeited to the Crown.

[45] The Earl of Ormonde received 2109 gentlemen into protection in 1583 (ibid., cii, No. 123).
[46] Russell, "Relation of the FitzGeralds," op. cit., p. 39.

To the poor, Desmond's rebellion brought unrelieved misery, and when they met the Earl "they cursed him bitterly for the war." When, in 1580, Viscount Baltinglas endeavoured to stir him up to fresh efforts for the Catholic faith "his people came and cried with one voice that they were starved and undone, and therefore would forsake him in it, as not able to endure the war any longer." [47] They flocked over to Wales in such numbers to escape the miseries at home that West Wales was practically recolonized by them, Richard Griffiths, writing to Wolsey, speaks of twenty thousand as settling in Pembroke and Tenby, "most part rascals out of the King's rebellion, the Earl of Desmond, and very few out of the English Pale." They were "so powdered among the inhabitants" that in some villages "all are Irish except the parson." [48] Desmond's subordinate Lords, MacCarthy Reagh, Sir Dermot MacCarthy, and "other very great possessioners" in Cork complained that they were so exacted upon by the Earl that they were become in effect his thralls and slaves. Munster was becoming a veritable waste. The accounts given by Spenser show the horrors of the time, the inhabitants dying by the roadsides of hunger or endeavouring to subsist on herbs and cresses. It was left to the new planters to restore some show of prosperity and cultivation to the devastated regions.[49]

[47] Carew, Cal., ii, No. 457, p. 296.
[48] Ellis, Original Letters (1824), i, 191-194; Harl. MSS., No. 6250, fol. 20-24 (1603).
[49] Spenser, View of the State of Ireland (ed. Morley, 1890), pp. 143, 163.



It is curious to reflect that the two men who are accounted the greatest representatives of the race of the O'Neills—Hugh, Earl of Tyrone, and Owen Roe O'Neill—may neither of them have been members of the O'Neill family, but were possibly the offspring of some otherwise unknown clansman of another name and ancestry. As we have seen, Hugh's father, Ferdoragh, called by the English "Matthew," and created by them at Conn's request Baron of Dungannon, was not acknowledged as an O'Neill by his own people or by Shane.

The popular suffrage would never allow that he was even Conn's illegitimate son, and the sept steadily supported Shane against him till Shane cleared his own path to the chieftainship by putting him out of the way early in his career. Hugh was this Matthew's second son, his elder brother having been put to death by Turlogh Lynogh O'Neill as a possible rival. Hugh was thus either Conn's bastard grandson, which by Irish usage might have been no impediment to his taking a position in the family or clan; or he was, with still greater probability, no relation at all.[1] Similarly, Owen Roe O'Neill was a son of Art, a natural son of Matthew, and thus again of doubtful paternity. But, whether legitimate descendants of the race of The O'Neill or not, these two bearers of the title worthily sustained the honour of the name and added lustre to it. Hugh, like his father, had been accepted by the English, and was supported by them against Turlogh, as they had supported Matthew against Shane. "He is the hope of all," wrote an Anglican bishop at a later date.

[1] His genealogy is given in Fynes Moryson, A History of Ireland from 1599 to 1603 (1735), i, 12-16.

Born about 1545, he was brought up with other royal wards at the English Court, among the young nobles and officers who were later, like himself, to play their part on the Irish stage. Like them, he served in the English army, and commanded a troop of horse in the Munster wars against Desmond. Gainsford says that in his youth Hugh "trooped in the streets of London with sufficient equipage and orderly respect." [2] In his home life in later days he encouraged the cultivated atmosphere of a refined gentleman, and he brought up his boys in the manner of young courtiers. There is a description of a visit of state paid to the Earl in 1599 by Sir William Warren, accompanied by Sir John Harington, the loquacious and witty translator of Ariosto, a vain, good-natured, and inquiring man, who has left us several interesting items of information about the experiences of himself and his cousins in Ireland. While Warren was engaged with Tyrone in discussing the purpose of his visit, Sir John took the opportunity of amusing himself with the Earl's two boys and a young scholar who was studying with them under their tutor, the Franciscan Friar Nangle, and examining them in their learning. He found the two lads "of good towardly spirit," their ages between thirteen and fifteen, dressed in English clothes like a nobleman's sons, with velvet jerkins and gold lace; of a good cheerful aspect, and both of them learning the English tongue.[3] Sir John presented the lads with a copy of his Ariosto, which their instructor took very thankfully, and afterward showed to the Earl, who must needs hear some part of it read, and seemed to like it so well that he solemnly swore that his boys should read all the book over to him. When the business of the meeting—the signing of a cessation of hostilities, "which he would never have agreed to, but in confidence of my Lord's [Essex's] honourable dealing with him"—was over, the ambassadors dined with Tyrone. "At his meat he was very merry, drank to my Lord's [Essex's] health, and bade me tell him he loved him, and acknowledged that this cessation had been very honourably kept." He praised the valour of Sir John's cousin, Sir Henry, and discoursed like a courteous and cultivated man of the world. Sir John also describes an al fresco feast "spread on a table of fern under the stately canopy of heaven." O'Neill's guard, for the most part, were beardless boys without shirts: who, in the frost, waded as familiarly through rivers as water-spaniels. Sir John adds: "With what charm such a master makes them love him I know not, but if he bid come, they come; if go, they do go; if he say do this, they do it." This charming picture of O'Neill's home life at Dungannon, near the waters of Lough Neagh, gives us, as it gave Harington, a new view of the Ulster "arch-rebel," and one that it is useful to bear in mind when we read of his wars and misfortunes. O'Neill, like Florence MacCarthy in Munster, was never a willing rebel; he knew the power of England, and he liked many of the men among whom he had grown up, and was liked by them in return. His protest "that he was not ambitious, but sought only safety for his life and freedom of his conscience, without which he would not live though the Queen should give him Ireland," may have been perfectly true at this time; but his ambition grew with altered circumstances, and in later days he definitely aimed at being ruler of a united Catholic Ireland.

[2] Thomas Gainsford, The True, Exemplary, and Remarkable History of Hugh, Earl of Tyrone (1619).
[3] Sir John Hanngton, Nugae Antiquae (1792), 11, 3-4, 6.

Hugh was the most English of all the O'Neills, and his desire to marry an English wife, however it may have been dictated as an act of policy, shows his intention to keep in touch with English life. His courtship of Mabel, sister to the Marshal Sir Henry Bagenal, was a romantic one, and only a man of determination would have ventured to carry it through. Mabel met O'Neill at Newry, soon after the death of his first wife, the sister of Red Hugh O'Donnell. He grew to have for her "a wonderful affection," and by every kind of entreaty sought leave to make her his wife. The Marshal saw many difficulties, and sent her away to the house of her sister, Lady Barnewall, near Dublin, in order to get her out of the way. But Tyrone, through trusted friends, was allowed to see her, and they plighted their troth with due solemnity, being married shortly afterward "very honourably according to her Majesty's laws" at a friend's house by the Bishop of Meath. Hugh carried his young bride of twenty off with him to his own country, "using her very kindly and faithfully, and promising to have an honourable regard of her to the contentment of her friends and allies hereafter." [4] But Bagenal, when he heard of the marriage, was overcome with "unspeakable grief." He considered that a stain had been cast on his family by his sister's marriage with a "rebellious race, which he and his father had spilled their blood in repressing," and he feared that his own loyalty and consequently his position were endangered by such an alliance. He never forgave it, and henceforth pursued Tyrone with unrelenting hatred, never losing an opportunity to do him ill. He refused also to give him the dower due to him as his sister's husband: a matter which was the cause of much dissension between them. It cannot be said that the marriage was a happy one. Fidelity was a thing unknown in Ulster, and when Mabel found that her husband "did affect other gentlewomen" she grew to dislike him and went to her brother to complain of his treatment of her. She died a year or two later; mercifully she did not live to see her brother slain by her husband's hand.

[4] C. P. Meehan, Fate and Fortunes of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel (1868), pp. 414-420, where the correspondence on this subject is collected ; and cf. Trevelyan Papers, ii, 101.

Much of Hugh's life after his return from England was taken up by disputes with Turlogh O'Neill for precedence. Turlogh had, as we have seen, been accepted by the sept as 'O'Neill,' and regularly inaugurated, and the Queen's offers to Hugh of the titles of Baron of Dungannon or Earl of Tyrone by no means compensated him for his inferior position in the view of the native population. There could only be one 'O'Neill.' It is true that neither Hugh nor Turlogh could lay any strong claim to the headship of the clan, which by English usage belonged to Shane, as eldest true son of Conn, and to his sons, Hugh Gavelock and his two younger brothers, held as hostages for the loyalty of their family in Dublin Castle. Hugh Gavelock "of the Fetters," who was born while his mother was being carried about by Shane in chains, hated Hugh his cousin, whom he looked upon as a usurper. In 1588 he denounced him to the Council, but before the day arrived the Earl had caused him to be seized and strangled. His enemies later said that the deed was done by his own hand, but Tyrone denied this, though it is certain that there was much difficulty in finding anyone who would lay his hand on the sacred person of an O'Neill. With the death of Shane's eldest son and the imprisonment of the younger boys Hugh's path seemed clearer, but "old Turlogh," as Hugh O'Neill's rival came to be called, showed no inclination to die, and continued to play an uncertain game sometimes for, and sometimes against, the Government. He lived till 1595, and during his lifetime it was impossible for Hugh to attain the coveted leadership of his sept, by the free suffrages of his people, though the recognition was of great importance to his projects. At last the clan began to see in Hugh a stronger leader and to transfer their allegiance to him, and he was elected tanist or next in succession in the same year in which Turlogh died.

The actions of Hugh O'Neill were being watched with curious interest by the Government. In person he is described as having a strong frame, though not tall, "able to endure labours, watching, and hard fare; he was industrious, active, valiant, affable, and apt to manage great affairs; of a high, dissembling, subtle, and profound wit. Many deemed him born either for the great good or ill of his country." This was the testimony of Mountjoy's secretary, who met O'Neill when he accompanied the Deputy on his expedition to the North. His subtlety was partly learned in the English Court, where intrigue was rife; it carried him through many pitfalls which would have wrecked a weaker or simpler man, and his power of "dissembling" often threw the authorities off the scent. The Government played off Turlogh and Hugh against each other, and at the battle of Carricklea royalist troops were found fighting on both sides. But on the whole the English supported Hugh, who now and for some time later was the open partisan of the Government. In the Irish Parliament of 1585 he presented his claims to the place and title of Earl of Tyrone, and they were not only admitted., but a recommendation was made to Elizabeth that he should receive back the broad lands forfeited to the Queen after the rebellion of Shane O'Neill.

With Perrot's letters of commendation he passed over to England, and in 1587 he obtained the Queen's letters patent for the Earldom of Tyrone, without even the reservation of "the great rent for the Crown," for which Perrot had stipulated. He agreed, however, to offer no opposition to the erection of forts on the Blackwater for English garrisons, though this was in the heart of his country, and close to his own castle of Dungannon. For the next seven years the Earl was, at first perhaps sincerely, and later nominally, on the side of the Government and in friendly relations with the Queen. But events were happening in the country that could not but profoundly affect his mind. In Ulster he saw the beginnings of plantations in the eastern province carried out in a high-handed manner and gradually, as they progressed, threatening to narrow his own dominions. In the South the second Munster rising was seething, ready to burst out on the first hope of outside succour, and tidings of great Spanish armadas once more filled the country. The need of a leader whom the people would accept as their head and as representative of the Catholic cause and who had the influence necessary to unite the interests of the North and South grew urgent, and Tyrone felt that he alone could be such a leader. But the steps that led up to this fateful decision were gradual, and must now be studied.

The year 1588 witnessed the wreck of the Armada on the Irish shores. The storm that brought destruction on the mighty galleons of Spain cast them far and wide around the Irish coast, on the rocks and islands of Mayo, Sligo, and Donegal. According to the Government returns twenty-three Spanish ships were wrecked off Ulster and Connacht and upward of seven thousand men perished there. The new Lord Deputy, FitzWilliam, a covetous man, made a hasty move across Ireland to Connacht to try to secure for himself the treasure said to have been cast ashore from the wrecked vessels. On the way he is said to have captured nearly a thousand Spaniards, but he captured little else, for most of the spoils had fallen into the hands of the natives. All he could do was to wreak his disappointment on the Irish chiefs who had shown humanity to the miserable Spaniards who had been thrown up on the coast in such dire distress, and to order the execution of all Spaniards taken alive, an order which was accomplished without any discrimination of the quality or rank of the prisoners. Bingham, reporting the losses in his province of Connacht, says that twelve ships were cast on his shores alone, besides others on the Out Isles, "the men of which ships did perish all in the sea, save the number of 1100 or upward, which we put to the sword; amongst which there were divers gentlemen of quality and service." It was, perhaps, hardly to be expected that any mercy should be shown to the men the expectation of whose descent on the coasts had been the terror of England for the last five years, and whose destruction was the removal of a national nightmare; but the seizure of Sir John O'Doherty and Sir Owen MacTooley, two lords well affected to the English, on the suspicion that they had taken treasure from the Spaniards, has no excuse. Old Sir Owen was released when Sir William Russell succeeded FitzWilliam as Deputy, but he died shortly after; O'Doherty, a peaceable and cultivated gentleman, was held for two years in confinement, and only received his release on payment of a fine. Treatment of this sort did not tend to strengthen the loyalty of the Northern lords at a moment when such loyalty was most to be desired.

An interesting account remains of the experiences of a Spanish captain, Don Francisco de Cuellar, on the north-west coast of Connacht, one of the most lonely and wildest parts of the country. His ship of twenty-four guns, the Don Pedro, was completely wrecked on a rock ever since known as the Spaniards Rock (Carraig-na-Spanaigh), on the north of Co. Sligo. The Deputy, riding along the strand on his way from Sligo to Ballyshannon, saw strewn upon the shore "as great a store of timber of wrecked ships, as would have built four of the greatest ships he ever saw...and such masts, for bigness and length, as in his knowledge, he never saw any two that could make the like," and the people of the country told him of twelve or thirteen thousand dead bodies that had been cast up from the wrecked galleons on that coast alone.[5] Captain de Cuellar, who escaped from the wreck on a piece of boarding and was flung with a few followers, "wounded, half naked, and starving," on the beach, made his way with difficulty to the castle of Rossclogher, a strong fortress built on a foundation of heavy stones laid in the bed of Lough Melvin and belonging to the chief of Dartry, MacClancy, a "savage gentleman, a very brave soldier, and a great enemy of the Queen of England." His ' town ' was formed of a cluster of primitive huts, which lay on the edge of the lake opposite his castle and surrounded by mountains; here his followers, large-limbed, handsome, active men, clad in rough frieze jackets and tight trousers under the broad shawl or mantle, and eating oat-bread and buttermilk, lived under the eye of their chief, ready at any moment to obey the call to arms, especially against the English garrison planted just outside their territory. The Spaniards finally made their way "by mountainous and desolate places" round the wild northern coast to Dunluce, everywhere hearing tidings of the losses of their country's ships. At Dunluce two great vessels had perished, one being the Rata, which carried the young nobles of the highest rank who had volunteered to serve in the Armada. The terrible hurricanes raging round the coast drove back on the rocks all who attempted to make a fresh start, and of the whole of the army only a body of six hundred men, wandering about on the North Donegal coast, who surrendered to Captains Richard and Henry Hovenden, when exhausted by want and lack of food, seem to have been saved. Captain de Cuellar and his small band were sent by Sir James MacDonnell of Dunluce to solicit the help of James VI in Scotland.[6]

[5] Cannon-balls and bones of the Spaniards are still from time to time turned up in the locality.
[6] A translation of Captain F. de Cuellar's letter to Philip II, recounting his Irish adventures, will be found in Armada Tracts, No. I, ed. Henry D. Sedgwick (1895).

This wreck of the Spanish vessels on the northern coast was one of the immediate causes of the rebellion of O'Neill. He was brought into direct contact for the first time with representatives of that power on which the Irish were beginning to depend to deliver them from the English yoke, a nation at open war with England. His natural sympathy for the unfortunate young nobles thus cast ashore was strengthened by the fact that they were his co-religionists, in arms against the "heretic queen." His enemies in his own family seized on his intercourse with the Spanish strangers to undermine his position with the Government, Hugh Gavelock being especially industrious in spreading about rumours of his disaffection. It was for this reason that O'Neill put him out of the way by strangling him. But for many years O'Neill was to play a waiting game, not daring, and probably not desiring, to come to an open breach with the Government. He fought beside FitzWilliam against O'Rorke and Maguire, and he made frequent submissions, "craving the Queen's mercy on the knees of his heart." He had allowed his country to be shired, but it was only with the greatest reluctance that he admitted sheriffs into Tyrone to execute English law. He had seen too much of their overbearing conduct in his near neighbourhood to desire their interference in his own country. It was largely on account of the exactions and cruelties of the sheriffs that Maguire had been driven to rise. He so much disliked their presence in Fermanagh that he had given three hundred cows to free himself from their presence. Nevertheless, Captain Willis was made Sheriff of Fermanagh, and he moved about the country attended by a hundred men and a host of mixed followers who robbed and spoiled the land.[7] Maguire drove them all into a church and would have put them to the sword but for Tyrone's interference. He made a composition for their lives and sent them out of the country. Whereupon the Lord Deputy sent an army into Fermanagh, proclaimed Maguire a traitor, and captured his castle of Enniskillen. This massive castle still stands, as it stood in Hugh Maguire's day, on an island at the junction of the Upper and Lower Loughs Erne, and it was fortified by a double ditch.

[7] Fynes Moryson, History of Ireland, i, 28 ; Lee, "Brief Declaration of the Government of Ireland," in Desiderata Curiosa Hibernia, i, 106 (1772). There is an unpublished tract by the same author entitled "The Discoverye and Recoverye of Ireland," written in 1599-1600, in the British Museum (Add. MS. 33743).

A contemporary poet describes in lively language a day spent within its walls; he speaks of the crowded courtyard of gentlemen, the minstrels and poets in the great hall, the artisans and craftsmen rimming beakers, forging weapons, dyeing rugs, riveting spear-heads; the women in their apartments embroidering rare tissues. Fighting men are everywhere, wounded men are tended by the leech, hostages come in, and prisoners are released; the sounds of the chase and the barking of hounds is heard without. They lie down to sleep knowing that long before dawn they will be up and away to raid a neighbouring town, to drive away its cattle, "to leave many a wife husband-less," and burning wastes behind their path.[8] Together Bagenal and Tyrone besieged this stronghold, Tyrone, who commanded the royalist cavalry, receiving a severe wound in the thigh while forcing the ford and pursuing the flying followers of Maguire up the bank. In the end the castle was captured only by the treachery of one of the defenders, who was bought over to throw open the gates and admit the English troops. The English entered, put all the defenders to the sword, and flung into the river the old people and children who had fled there for refuge. Bagenal and Bingham then retreated, the latter having brought up his Connacht troops during the course of the siege; but they left a garrison in Enniskillen to defend the castle against the army of O'Donnell, which was gathering for its attack. Tyrone, angry at the report to the Government sent by his old foe Bagenal, who took to himself the whole credit of the capture of the Castle and completely ignored Tyrone's large share in it, departed, wounded as he was, to his house at Dungannon, to brood over yet another cause of discontent.

[8] Poem by Blind Tadhg O'Higgin, who sang the praises of the Maguires and O'Rorkes at the end of the sixteenth century. He was murdered by the O'Hara family about 1617. See O'Grady, Catalogue of Manuscripts in the British Museum, pp. 430-432, and E. Knott, ii, 49-53.

O'Donnell, meanwhile, had brought up his army, and as soon as he heard that Tyrone was safely out of the way he laid siege to Enniskillen and reduced it to a state of famine. The English, hearing of the distress of the garrison, hastily got together a contingent of 2500 English and Irish fighting men, and sent up large supplies of meat, cheese, and biscuits.

O'Donnell appealed to Tyrone for help, thus placing him in a difficult position, for he was already suspected by the English; yet if he refused O'Donnell's request he would be accounted an enemy to the Catholic cause. He knew that O'Donnell was in correspondence with Spain, but that there was little immediate hope of fresh assistance from that quarter; and he thought O'Donnell's hosting to Enniskillen hasty and unwise. It was perhaps by his intervention that his brother, Cormac, came up to O'Donnell with a body of well-armed troops just as the English forces arrived, and as evening fell they poured into them a close and heavy fire of leaden bullets which continued all through the night. The next morning, as the English troops were endeavouring to get their provisions for the castle across the ford of Farney, they were resisted in a series of well-planned and brilliantly executed attacks, and completely routed; the troops, with their commanders, fled terror-stricken before the Irish, leaving behind their horses, arms, and baggage. Numbers sank in the river, and others stuck fast in the marshy ground on its banks. So great was the quantity of biscuits scattered in the ford that it became known as the Ford of the Biscuits (Beal atha na m-brisghi). The castle surrendered, and Maguire was restored. Then O'Donnell marched into Connacht, and slew every English settler he could find between the ages of fifteen and sixty who could not speak Irish, in revenge for the barbarities shown to the old people at Enniskillen. He left not an Englishman behind him outside the towns, for those that escaped his sword fled the country, railing with bitter curses against those who had brought them over into Ireland.[9]

[9] O'Sullevan Beare, Hist. Cath. Iber, Comp., vol. iii, Bk. II, chs. vii, viii, xi.

An incident which made a deep impression on Tyrone's mind, and which was undoubtedly one of the contributory causes of his rebellion, was the seizure of a brother of MacMahon, chief of Monaghan, who had surrendered his lands to the Queen and received them back by letters patent entitling him to hold under English law. He died without direct heirs, and his brother came up to Dublin to advocate his claims to the inheritance. He found that a bribe of six hundred cows was required of him before he could even get admittance to the authorities, and he was soon after clapped into prison. When he was released the Lord Deputy FitzWilliam promised to go himself and reinstate him in his property in Monaghan. They travelled north together, but hardly had they arrived when the unfortunate claimant was put into bolts, indicted, tried, and executed at his own house within two days, the jury being composed partly of soldiers and partly of his Irish tenants, who were kept close and starved until they brought in a verdict of guilty. The country he claimed was divided between the Marshal, Sir Henry Bagenal, and Captain Henslow, who was made seneschal of the country and got Mac-Mahon's house and home-lands; "and the Irish spared not to say that these men were all the contrivers of his death, and that every one paid something for his share." The Irish were no doubt right; and it was such high-handed acts of treachery as these that lay at the root of the rebellions of Tyrone's day and more remotely, but not less certainly, of the great outbreak of 1641.[10]

[10] The full account of this nefarious transaction will be found in Fynes Moryson's History of Ireland, i, 24-26. FitzWilliam denied that a bribe was accepted, but in such a matter FitzWilliam's word can hardly be trusted.

There was slowly forming in Tyrone's mind the project which was to occupy the whole of his future life—that of uniting the country in a Catholic League for the defence of their religion and lands, of which league he was to be the head and leader. He may already have consciously seen himself as the future king of a united Catholic Ireland, yet for the moment his "profound dissembling heart" managed to elude the suspicions that were rising in the minds of the officials both in Dublin and London. In London his address and courtierlike bearing so won their way that he always returned with fresh assurances of the royal favour; in Dublin he attended the Protestant service at St Patrick's with the Deputy, though the nobles of the Pale, when they had accompanied the Deputy to the church doors as they were in duty bound to do, were in the habit of "departing as if they were wild cats." [11] But actions of Tyrone that did not bear out these good signs of submission were constantly heard of. It was known that he was drilling soldiers on a plan of his own and that his whole population was rapidly being transformed into a disciplined army. By an arrangement with the State he had obtained the services of six experienced captains, ostensibly to train the six hundred men he was permitted to support to keep old Turlogh O'Neill in order. By constantly changing the men in these companies and putting in raw recruits as fast as the men were trained, he rapidly succeeded in making the whole male population into drilled men-at-arms. Another of Tyrone's activities that aroused suspicion was the erection of his new house at Dungannon.

[11] Lee, "Brief Declaration," op. cit., i, III. This memorial was drawn up for Elizabeth during FitzWilliam's Viceroyalty.

The Government, fully approving of such an advance in "civility," gave him permission to transport to Dungannon a great quantity of lead ostensibly to roof in the battlements; but ere long the rumour reached their ears that this lead was being used for making bullets. Bagenal seized the opportunity of representing the matter in the worst light to the Government, but Tyrone's explanations seemed so satisfactory that his offer to go into England to clear himself was not taken advantage of, and a sharp rebuke was administered from London to the Deputy and the Marshal for having used the Earl "against law and equity." It was during this period of uncertainty, when Tyrone seemed to the officials at one time the most loyal of subjects and at another the author of all the disturbances in the North "however he dissembled to the contrary," that Sir William FitzWilliam was recalled, and Sir William Russell took his place. Things had been moving rapidly, and by 1593 Hugh had made himself master of all Tyrone. He had drilled and armed large bodies of troops, and he was in communication both with the rebels in the South and with enemy powers abroad. With the close of the year 1594 friendly relations between Tyrone and the Government were broken off, and though attempts at agreement were renewed the tidings of the Earl's dealings with Spain, and the reports of his alliances and warlike preparations, were too well substantiated to be ignored. Shortly afterward he was proclaimed traitor in his own country. Coupled with him in this inclusive accusation were the names of O'Donnell, O'Rorke, Maguire, MacMahon, Sir Arthur and Henry Oge O'Neill, with several other of Tyrone's near relations. The accusations of treason were untried and unproven, and in many particulars the wrong done had been entirely on the Government side. But rumours of sympathetic risings in Leinster by the O'Byrnes and O'Kavanaghs and by the O'Connors of Offaly began to be heard of.

To be ready for all occasions three thousand troops were sent over, many of them seasoned men who had served under General Norris in the desolating wars in Brittany, and garrisons were planned for Ballyshannon and Lough Erne, to hold the interior of the country. Norris himself, an able commander who had made his name famous in the wars in France and the Low Countries, was sent at the Deputy's urgent request to lead his old troops and was given the title of Lord General, a title which excited some jealousy in the Lord Deputy as giving Norris a higher position than himself in the organization of the war. But Norris was most unwilling to come to grips with Tyrone, alleging that he had been too sharply dealt with; and it was clear that Tyrone himself was going into rebellion with the greatest reluctance. It was the intentional intercepting of letters which he had written to the Lord Deputy and Sir John Norris offering submission and appealing for milder treatment, "so that he might not be forced to a headlong breach of his loyalty," that finally decided him to take up arms. This fatal act was the work of his old foe, Bagenal, who was bent upon his utter destruction and held back the letters which might have brought about a fresh reconciliation with the Government.

The winter campaign of 1595 proved the efficiency of the training given to Tyrone's troops. The army at his command, though small in numbers and armed with inferior ordnance, inflicted on the seasoned soldiers of Norris and Mountjoy a series of severe defeats. Troops which had met and defeated the best armies of France and Spain on the plains of Flanders under the most renowned commanders of the day found themselves beaten in Ulster by troops that they had been taught to despise. Essex "unwillingly confesses" that the rebels have better bodies and more perfect use of their arms than the men sent over by her Majesty and regrets that their reduction is so costly in time, industry, and money. The conditions under which the English troops fought were different from those to which they had been accustomed in Flanders. Instead of trench warfare, mining and countermining "like moles," and long sieges, they now fought their way through a difficult country of wood and bog, every inch of which was known to their enemies, who blocked the gaps and passes, and barricaded the ways with solid barriers of timber, rushing down upon them from the heights and woods while they were entangled in the plains below. For whole days the Irish forces would skirmish on the borders of the dense forests, not marching or fighting in order, as Essex complains, but "only by the benefit of their footmanship coming on and going off at their pleasure."

With an army increased to four thousand men Norris marched north to relieve Monaghan, which the MacMahons were endeavouring to recover from the English garrison which held it. He first came in sight of O'Neill's army at Clontibret, holding the ford which Norris must pass in order to reach Monaghan. A sharp skirmish followed, in which the Queen's musketeers were twice worsted by the Irish, and Norris, who was leading them, had his horse shot under him. In Norris's army was a Meathman of great size and strength, who begged for a small body of cavalry that he might attack O'Neill hand to hand. They gripped each other with such force that both were dragged out of the saddle, but O'Neill slew Sedgreve as they fell, captured the royalist colours, and forced the troops to retreat. Monaghan had to surrender, and the fort of Port-more on the Blackwater was captured. Thus inauspiciously opened for Norris his first campaign in the North; he himself and his brother were both severely wounded in these wars.

The spring of 1596 saw a fresh attempt to patch up a peace. Once more Tyrone submitted at Dundalk, "craving the Queen's mercy on the knees of his heart," and he was followed by all the leaders in the North. He promised to renounce the title of O'Neill, to dismiss his forces, and to give aid to the English garrison on the Blackwater. In addition all his dealings with Spain were to be made known to the Government. But his prayer for full liberty of religion became more insistent, and he required the withdrawal of the English garrisons and sheriffs, which would have set his country free from English interference; these petitions were persistently evaded. Much desultory fighting went on during the following year, especially around Armagh and Portmore, the two positions that lay on the main path of entry into the province. Norris did not meet Tyrone again in the field. He carried his still strong and well-equipped army into Connacht to fight O'Donnell and his confederates, but with no more success than he had met with in his Ulster campaign. Though Norris was reckoned first in military skill as well as in valour of all the English commanders of his day, he was singularly unsuccessful in Ireland, and he is said to have railed terribly against the fate "which condemned him to lose in Ireland, the smallest speck of the wide world, that fame which his great valour and military skill had earned for him in France and Belgium." He did full justice both to the excellence of the leadership and to the valour and steadiness of the rank and file of the Irish armies he met in battle. Norris died in Ireland, a man admired and beloved even by his Irish enemies, who have ever shown a sincere appreciation of an honourable adversary.

In 1597 Lord Brough was sent over as Viceroy, and on his arrival he won over some of the Leinstermen and others by his courtesy and graciousness. He advanced against O'Neill, and occupied Armagh and Portmore, from which O'Neill had withdrawn his troops, but when he tried to advance farther north he found his way blocked by two camps, one of them held by MacMahon and Cormac, O'Neill's brother, the other by O'Neill himself and James MacDonnell of the Glens with his Scottish forces. They had intercepted him a short distance south of Benburb. Throwing a garrison of three hundred men into Portmore under Captain Williams, a capable officer, the Viceroy under the continual fire of the enemy attempted to construct a new fort called after the late general Fort Norris, but O'Donnell having effected a junction with O'Neill the Irish made a combined attack on the Queen's troops and defeated them. Rumour said that the Viceroy was mortally wounded, and it is certain that he had to withdraw from the conflict, dying a few days later. The command fell on the Earl of Kildare, who, flushed with his position of authority, endeavoured to push forward, only to meet his death, while his army, having lost several of their officers and a large body of their men, had to retreat completely routed. For about four months the royal army had faced the Irish of the North, but the only result of the campaign, which had been elaborately planned from Dublin, was that Portmore and Armagh were fortified anew. Furious fighting went on around these important forts, which had to be revictualled from the Pale. On one occasion Bagenal surprised Tyrone's camp at night, and nearly succeeded in capturing him; on another O'Donnell and O'Neill made a persistent attack on Portmore, endeavouring to starve out the garrison, but Captain Williams was a dauntless antagonist, and they were obliged to give up the attempt.

By August 1598 the sufferings of Captain Williams and his garrison in Portmore had become so acute that Marshal Bagenal determined on a strong demonstration to relieve the fort. The garrison would have been driven to surrender at an earlier moment had not a successful raid enabled them to capture some horses belonging to O'Neill on which they were subsisting with the help of every blade of grass which they could find in the enclosure. Bagenal, of whom O'Sullevan Beare speaks highly as "equally pre-eminent in council and in courage, cautious in prosperity, courageous in adversity," drew together an army of 4500 foot, under forty captains and officers of inferior rank, and 500 horse.[12] As usual there was a slight majority of Irish mercenaries, excellent marksmen and sharpshooters, and among the officers were some of illustrious Irish family. But all were veteran troops, either survivors of the picked forces of Norris who had endured with him the long wars in Flanders, or men who had fought in Ireland under experienced commanders and had become inured to the military tactics practised in Irish warfare. All were equipped with the best arms and armour known in their day. "Foot and horse were sheathed in mail; the musketeers were equipped with heavy and light guns, swords, daggers, and helmets. The whole army gleamed with crested plumes and silken sashes. Brass cannon mounted on wheels were drawn by horse, and they carried a large supply of gunpowder and ball of lead and iron. An immense train of pack-horses and oxen followed, both to feed the army and revictual Portmore."

[12] These are O'Sullevan Beare's figures ; the numbers differ somewhat in the different accounts, but all give the Irish an advantage. Hist. Cath. Iber. Comp., vol. iii, Bk. IV, ch. v.

On the other side the combined armies of O'Neill and O'Donnell, with their Connacht mercenaries under MacWilliam Burke, numbered about the same body of foot, though they had a slight advantage in the number of their horse. They were very inferior in equipment, all being light-armed except a few musketeers, who had heavy guns. On hearing of the advance of the Marshal, O'Neill moved his camp farther south, within two miles of Armagh, leaving a few men to prevent a sally from Portmore. He was in doubt whether to stand the chances of a battle or to retire into those wilder parts of his province where the English armies had always found it difficult and disastrous to pursue him; but a fortunate reminder by one of the family of the O'Clerys, the official chroniclers of Ulster, that St Ultan had foretold a Catholic victory on this spot, encouraged him to put the valour of his troops to the test, and in a spirited harangue he called on them to "defend Christianity, fatherland, children, and wives." "Victory," he declared, "lay not in senseless armour, but in living and courageous souls." O'Neill left nothing to chance. He posted his men advantageously on a part of the plain bounded on both sides by a marsh, between which he had dug a trench a quarter of a mile long to impede the progress of the enemy. Beyond lay an open stretch of plain that had to be crossed, led up to on the English side by a narrow roadway lying between low trees and shrubs. Into this shrubby ground O'Neill had sent a body of five hundred skirmishers, mere lads, but expert sharpshooters, who harassed the advancing troops and cut off many of them before they could extricate themselves from the lane and reach the open country beyond.

The English army was divided into six regiments, which were to unite into three bodies as need required, Colonel Percy and the Marshal, as commander-in-chief, leading the first division, Colonel Cosby and Sir Thomas Wingfield commanding the main body, with a third division under Colonels Cunie and Billing. They marched with a space between each of some hundreds of paces. Sir Calisthenes Brooke led the cavalry. After passing through the wooded country, the first bodies emerged on the open plain, and immediately turned and charged the skirmishers with cavalry. But O'Neill had dug numerous pits and trenches about the plain, covered with hay and brambles. Into these the heavily armed cavalry stumbled, breaking the legs of the horses and riders, and causing confusion in the rear. Nevertheless, they charged forward across the open, sorely distressed all the while by O'Neill's light cavalry, who wheeled round again and again, though each time they were steadily pushed back. The English mail-clad troops fought at close quarters with lances nearly nine feet long resting on the right thigh. The Irish light-armed men had still longer lances, which they grasped in the middle and held above the right shoulder, striking hard and with sure aim. They also hurled darts tipped with iron. One who was engaged in the fight thus describes the next incident in the battle from the English side: "After a mile's marching thus, we approached the enemy's trench, being a ditch cast in front of our passage, a mile long, some five feet deep, and four feet over, with a thorny hedge on the top. In the middle of the bog, some forty score paces over, our regiment passed the trench. The battle stood for the bringing up of the saker [a small piece of artillery] which stuck fast in a ford, and also for our rear, which, being hard set to, retired foully to Armagh." The vanguard, meanwhile, having succeeded in passing the ford and ditch through which oozed the dark water flowing from the bog, which gave this battle the name of 'the battle of the Yellow Ford,' were so distressed by the enemy that they were on the point of giving way.

Bagenal pushed up his troops to support them, and, having got them over the trench, he raised the visor of his helmet the better to survey the battlefield. Before he had time to close it again, a bullet had found him out; he was struck in the forehead, and fell lifeless to the ground. His own division fell into confusion, but the rear division, coming up ignorant of what had occurred, stoutly pressed on, only to find themselves surrounded by the main host of the enemy, who, at Tyrone's command, charged them so hotly that, their captains being nearly all slain, they had no choice but to turn and try to extricate themselves as best they could. But the dyke and ditch were even greater obstacles in their flight than they had been in the advance; and falling over one another the men filled the dyke and were trodden down where they fell. Young O'Reilley, called the Fair, who led a body of young Irishmen on the English side, tried to rally the flying troops. "He was to be seen everywhere amongst the combatants helping those most sorely pressed and in greatest danger." He was slain, fighting most valiantly. The flying troops were cut down as they fled back to Armagh to take refuge in the cathedral and churches, which were held by royalist garrisons, leaving behind them guns, arms, colours, and their entire commissariat. Armagh and Portmore surrendered to O'Neill.

This disaster to the English was largely owing to a fatal error in tactics on the part of Marshal Bagenal in allowing so large a space between the divisions that those in the rear did not know what was going on in front and were unable to be brought up at the critical moment. The divisions of foot were not only separated by distance, but hidden by the cavalry which occupied the gaps between them. The sticking of the artillery in the bog further embarrassed them, and gave the enemy an opportunity of which they took full advantage while they were held up without cover trying to pull out the guns. Undoubtedly O'Neill's dispositions were much superior, and he took full advantage of every point in the ground at his disposal. All the English authorities of the period agree that at the battle of the Blackwater, as they generally name it, the English met the most severe defeat that their arms had ever received in Ireland. O'Neill was left with a reputation which none of his countrymen could hope to rival, and while the remnants of the English drew off, by his permission, to Newry and Dundalk, all Ulster rose in arms, all Connacht revolted, and the insurgents of Leinster swarmed into the English Pale. Ormonde, when called upon to account for the defeat, gives the military reasons, but adds, in case these were not enough, "Sure the devil bewitched them." The Queen wrote angrily that in spite of great armies and excessive charges she "received naught else but news of fresh losses and calamities." She was angry that Ormonde, who was General of the army, had not been present in person, and still more angry with the Lords Justices that they had, after the retreat, "framed such a letter to the traitor as never were read the like either in form or in substance for baseness." Her maids of honour had to bear the brunt of the Queen's displeasure; "she doth not bear with such composed spirit as she was wont;...since the Irish affairs she often chides for small neglects, in such wise as to make these fair maids often cry and bewail in piteous sort." [13] But no anger could conceal the fact that this year was so disastrous to the English and successful in action to the Irish "as they shaked the English Government in this kingdom, till it tottered and wanted little of fatal ruin."

[13] Sir John Harington, Nugae Antiquae (1792), ii, 235.



It was at this moment of depression that the Queen, after long hesitation, decided to send over to Ireland the most brilliant and unstable of her courtiers, Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex, son to the planter of Eastern Ulster. Though Essex was the darling of the English people and had long been the most distinguished man at Court and the Queen's favourite, he had not proved himself an officer worthy of confidence. His expeditions to Calais and Cadiz had ended in failure, and he had retired from Court in partial disgrace. When the proposal that he should go to Ireland was made he does not seem to have welcomed it with any warmth. He knew the army was disorganized, and he had probably no wish to risk another failure; it is quite likely that the talk of the courtiers was true and that Essex "went not forth to serve the Queen, but to humour his own revenge." Essex had enemies as well as friends; the Court was full of intrigues for place and favour, and he along with the rest intrigued for his own hand. He did his best to prevent the appointment of his rivals in the Queen's favour, and when he received definite news of his preferment he dashed off a letter to John Harington, who was to accompany him: "I have beaten Knollys and Mountjoy in the Council, and by G-d, I will beat Tyrone in the field; for nothing worthy of her Majesty's honour hath yet been achieved." [1] A scoffing courtier said that the Earl and Mr Secretary (Cecil) have so good leisure "that they ply the tables in the Presence Chamber, and play as much game as if Ireland were to be recovered at Irish bowls."

[1] Harington, Nugae Antiquae, ii, 30 ; Chamberlayn, Letters, December 20, 1598.

The preparations for Essex's departure were made on a scale of great magnificence. He was given powers never before entrusted to a Viceroy, with an establishment of 16,000 foot and 1300 horse. Troops were sent over before him, landed direct from the Low Countries. It was altogether the greatest army ever sent into Ireland; and he brought with him the flower of the English gentry in various positions of command. His instructions were explicit. He was to march direct to the North and bend all his strength against Tyrone, who was only to be admitted to mercy on making a simple submission without conditions. The planting of garrisons at Lough Foyle and Ballyshannon was to be his immediate object. He departed from London amid the plaudits of the populace, but men thought it ominous that before he got past Islington the sky became suddenly overcast, and a thunder storm broke. After a tempestuous voyage he landed in Dublin on April 15, 1599. On his arrival he was besieged with tidings of risings all over the country. Phelim MacFeagh with his sept of the O'Byrnes was up in Wicklow; in Kildare, James FitzPierce; in Carlow, the Kavanaghs. The O'Mores had resumed power in Meath and Kilkenny; Sir William Nugent and Viscount Baltinglas were assisting the insurgents. In the North only the garrison towns on the borders and Carrickfergus held for the English; the Irish and Scots alike were in arms, nearly 9000 men; Munster was in the throes of a fresh rebellion, and Connacht, after Bingham's period of chastisement, was seething with discontent. Altogether it was estimated that the total number of the 'rebel' forces in the country amounted to 20,600 men, of whom about 2400 were cavalry. Essex reports "that he durst boldly say that the plaister would do no more than cover the wound."

Induced by advisers on the spot he proceeded to disobey all his instructions. Undoubtedly the orders that he had received on accepting the post were dictated by a right view of the situation. O'Neill was the centre of the whole organization; to him Munster and Leinster looked for direction and leadership. The only sure strategy was to proceed against Ulster without delay while the army was fresh; for a defeat of the Northern forces would have disorganized the whole confederacy. Instead of this, the new Viceroy made a disastrous and ineffective raid into Munster and Leinster. His main object was the reduction of the castles, especially the strong castle of Cahir in Tipperary, held for Desmond by Thomas Butler. He also wished to effect a junction with Sir Thomas Norris, brother of the late general, Sir John Norris, who was President of Munster and was vainly endeavouring to stem the rising tide of rebellion which had been stirred up by the efforts of Owny O'More, who had been preaching with great success a war upon the English, and especially upon the newly established settlers in the south of Ireland. Sharp fighting was going on all over the country, and Norris himself had been severely wounded in the head. Essex set out from Dublin at the head of 7000 foot and goo horse. He was obliged to pass through Owny O'More's country, and he found that able and rebellious chief posted with 500 men on the sides of a narrow pass near Maryborough to prevent his passage. Allowing part of the army of Essex to pass in safety, Owny's men fell like an avalanche upon his rear, and cut them to pieces. The scattered plumes from the helmets of Essex's gallant followers so strewed the ground after they had pushed their way through that the place became known as "the Pass of the Plumes." Owny retired with the spoils to his fastness, and Essex, fuming with rage, wrote to the Council that on his return he intended to take revenge on the rogues who had the killing "of our base, cowardly, and ill-guided clowns." But as he progressed into Munster Essex began to find that fighting a country in arms was not a royal progress; though he does not doubt that the kingdom will be reduced, he has to admit that it will ask, besides cost, a great deal of care, industry, and time.[2]

[2] Lives of the Devereux, Earls of Essex, ii, 34-41.

The methods of Irish warfare embarrassed the new recruits; the Irish hung round the troops and never gave them an hour's rest. Essex's trust lay in sudden charges of his cavalry, which the Irish were unable to resist, but it tried him to send his picked men and young gallants into this kind of warfare. The only result of this expedition was the capture of Cahir Castle after a siege of ten days, and the strengthening of the garrison at Askeaton. By the end of July Essex had returned to Dublin, "his soldiers being weary, sick and incredibly diminished in number." In a letter to Southampton he complains that "without an enemy the disease of the country consumes our armies," and he is obliged, before entering on the main object of his coming to Ireland, the war against Tyrone, to appeal for a fresh body of troops to be sent over.

The Queen's wrath at Essex's ill-success, which was sedulously used by the Earl's enemies in London to prejudice his position at Court, was not likely to have been mollified by the news of two other disasters in Ireland which reached her almost at the same time. One was Sir Henry Harington's defeat by the clans of Wicklow on May 29. He had with him 500 foot and 60 horse, but was routed and cut to pieces through the cowardice of his troops, general panic having overtaken the whole body. Essex, on his return, decided to make an example of the survivors so that others might know "that the justice of a Marshal's court is no less terrible than the fury of all the rebels." The whole regiment was condemned to die, and one in ten was actually executed. The second disaster was the destruction of Sir Conyers Clifford's fine army on the Curlew Mountains in Connacht. O'Conor Sligo, who stood by the Government, and seems also to have been a personal friend to Essex, had for a considerable time been besieged by O'Donnell in the strong castle of Colooney, an apparently impregnable stronghold surrounded by a river and a wood, near Ballysadare in Sligo. It was the only fort in that country now holding for the English interest. Essex, hearing that O'Conor Sligo was closely hemmed in, and unable to get supplies, sent for Sir Conyers Clifford, who had replaced Bingham as Governor of Connacht, and consulted with him what could be done to relieve the fort. It was decided to send round Theobald Burke "of the ships" by sea from Galway to Sligo provided with supplies of food, and implements to erect a strong border fortress on the Ulster side, while Clifford himself was instructed to proceed from Athlone across the Curlew Mountains with all the troops he could collect, supported by some fresh men sent back with him by Essex.

There was no difficulty in raising a large force. Part of the family of the Clanricardes, Theobald Dillon, the O'Conor Don, some of the O'Flahertys, and MacSweeney "of the Territories," with their bands, Irish and English, flocked to the Governor's standard. They mustered twenty-eight standards, and marched away from Roscommon to Boyle, where they encamped in good order, certain that they were more than a match for any forces that O'Donnell could bring against them. The troop of horse named after the Earl of Southampton,[3] Shakespeare's friend and patron, accompanied them. O'Donnell, on hearing of the advance, left part of his troops under MacSweeney Fanad to invest Sligo, and ordered O'Boyle to continue the siege of Colooney Castle with two hundred men. He himself with O'Rorke and O'Doherty went forward and posted the troops at the head of the two passes across the mountains, one of which Clifford was bound to take. He barricaded the path with wood, and, as it was the vigil of the Feast of the Assumption, his soldiers confessed, and heard Mass early in the morning. They were about to sit down to breakfast when word was brought in that the standards of Clifford's army were visible toward the south, and that they were manoeuvring to find a way across the pass. This was unexpected, for the night had been so wet and foul that it was not thought that Clifford would venture to cross the boggy mountain; nevertheless, he had succeeded in reaching the open top of the pass and, dragging up his guns, had brought them into action, when, on a sudden, about eleven o'clock, the sun came out in splendour. A sharp encounter followed. The Irish were on the point of breaking when the whole situation was changed by the appearance of O'Rorke, who, with his men, had been lying in his camp among the woods and bogs on the east of the mountain waiting for O'Donnell's signal to take part in the battle. Clifford's men, wearied by their long march and toil in dragging up the guns, turned and broke. Clifford fell, mortally wounded, and his captain, Henry Ratcliffe, perished with him. The Irish pursued the flying soldiers as far as Boyle, slaying all they met; and only the men of the countryside, who knew the paths, made their way back to their homes.[4] Sir Conyers was as much bewailed by the Irish of Connacht as by his own compatriots; after their treatment by Bingham it was a new experience to be under a governor "who never told them a lie and was a bestower of treasures and wealth among them." O'Conor Sligo was incredulous when tidings reached him of his death, and there was nothing left for him but to make a full submission to O'Donnell. The latter restored him to all his lands, and thus prudently made him his friend for life.

[3] Southampton had come over to Ireland in 1599 with Essex, who had given him a command, but in July the Queen ordered his immediate recall, apparently for no other reason than to annoy Essex. Sir Griffith Markham Southampton's horse at the Curlews. He returned to Ireland in July 1600.
[4] Fynes Moryson, History of Ireland, i, 87-88 ; O'Sullevan Beare, Hist. Cath. Iber. Comp., vol. iii, Bk. V, ch. x ; O'Clery, Life of Red Hugh O'Donnell, ed. D. Murphy (1893), pp. 201-223 ; Harington, Nugae Antiquae, ii, 8-12.

It was a depressed Council that met round the table of Dublin Castle when the news of the defeat of the Curlews was reported. The army was reduced by the loss of a large part of its old companies and several of its most experienced captains, while the remaining regiments were secretly running away into England, revolting to the rebels, or feigning themselves sick. They would do anything rather than face the dreaded Tyrone in his own fastnesses. Essex himself speaks of the difficulty of a war "where the rebel hath been ever victorious," and his most competent generals advised that it was a course full of danger to begin a campaign in the North near the close of the summer season. Moreover, Essex was well aware that during his absence his position in the Queen's favour was being steadily undermined; and his fears were not allayed by a letter received from the Queen on the eve of his departure for the North. Elizabeth was a past master in the art of wounding with the pen, and she did not spare her Lieutenant. "How often," she wrote, "had Essex not told her that those who preceded him in Ireland had no judgment to end the war?" Yet he had failed as no other had failed, either to keep his promises or to obey her distinct commands. "You had your asking, you had choice of times, you had power and authority more ample than ever any had, or ever shall have; it may well be judged with how little contentment we seek this and other errors, but how should that be hid which is so palpable?"

In face of this letter, there was plainly only one course to take; and on August 28 the Lord-Lieutenant left Dublin for the North, his army being replenished by the two thousand fresh troops just arrived from England. He heard that Tyrone was already on the move "and hath sent for all that he can make in the world, bragging that he will do wonders." About September 4 they came within sight of Tyrone's army on the distant hills; and on the next day Tyrone's trusted counsellor, O'Hagan, came into the camp to demand a parley. Essex refused, saying that if Tyrone would speak with him he would find him at the head of his troops. The next day Essex marshalled his army on the top of a hill opposite Tyrone's forces, and some slight skirmishing occurred, but Tyrone again sent a message saying that he would not fight, but desired an interview with the Viceroy. Next morning the army dislodged and marched towards Drumconragh, but before they had gone a mile O'Hagan again met them, and in the presence of the Earl of Southampton, Sir Wareham St Leger, and others declared that Tyrone sought her Majesty's mercy, and he proposed a meeting at the ford of Ballaclinth, on the river Lurgan, which lay right in the way that his lordship was taking. Essex sent on two gentlemen to see the ford,[5] but they found the water so far out that they told Tyrone, who was there before them, that it was no fit place for the interview. He exclaimed, "Then I shall despair ever to speak with him"; but, knowing the fords, he found a spot higher up, where, plunging into the water, he stood with the stream up to his horse's belly, that he might be heard by the Lord-Lieutenant, who stopped his horse on the farther bank, where he stood alone, his troop having withdrawn to the hill behind the ford. For half an hour they talked, Tyrone "saluting his lordship with a great deal of reverence" and holding his hat in his hand. Later a second and more formal meeting was held, also at the ford, between six of Tyrone's chief supporters and six from the English side, and an informal truce of six weeks was arranged, to be continued for successive periods of six weeks till May Day, and only to be broken by fourteen days' warning on either side. Among those present at this parley was Sir Henry Wotton, the poet, who was afterward ambassador to the republic of Venice and Provost of Eton. He was acting as Essex's secretary, and must have been an interested spectator of the picturesque scene. Essex having given his word and Tyrone his oath, the Irish chief retired into his own country, while Essex "went to take physic at Drogheda," before he had to meet his sovereign's wrath at what she looked upon as a humiliating end to the greatest expedition ever sent into Ireland. When Essex a few months later stood his trial for his life his accusers made it one strong point for his condemnation that he had conversed for some space of time alone with the arch-enemy, the "traitor Tyrone."

[5] This meeting at the ford is an interesting survival of the old combats or debates at fords which formed the borders of territories.

When Essex fell the Queen said that she would have none other than Mountjoy to finish the Irish wars, for she believed that he alone "would cut the thread of that fatal rebellion and bring her in peace to her grave." Years previously, when Charles Blount was still a young student in the Inner Temple, the tall figure and sweet face of the lad had caught the Queen's eye as he stood, according to the manners of the time, watching the Court at dinner. "Fail not to come to Court, and I will bethink myself how to do you good," was the encouraging message she sent to him. But Blount was too shy to be a successful courtier. He would slip away to the wars in Flanders or the fighting in Brittany with Sir John Norris to escape from the weary intrigues of the Court or the jealousy of Essex, who was set on the ruin of both men. Refined by nature, loving a good pipe and a good table, beautiful houses and gardens, study and country life, Blount looked upon wars as things to be "hotly embraced" in the hope of more quickly returning to a quieter life. Essex thought him "too bookish" to succeed in Ireland, and, indeed, he carried the little peculiarities of a bookish man into his Irish campaigns, going out on his long marches with two, "yea, sometimes three pairs of silk stockings, three waistcoats, and a ruff, besides a russet scarf about his neck, thrice folded under it," into which was tucked away "the single lock of hair under his left ear" which bespoke the dandy. In his severest campaigns he would insist on a long sleep in the afternoon, and Tyrone used to say of him that "all occasions of doing service would be passed ere he could be ready to have his breakfast." Nevertheless, Mountjoy showed himself a man of great ability and the most formidable opponent that the Ulster prince had yet encountered. Unlike former generals, who fought only during the summer months, he was out all the winter long, allowing the enemy neither time to sow his seed nor to reap his harvest, and "breaking their hearts" by keeping them on the run when the woods would yield no shelter to their lightly clad bodies. Though he pursued the detestable policy, of which Carew was the supreme example, of admitting none to mercy but such as had "drawn blood upon" or betrayed their fellows, he gained the trust of the Irish by keeping his promise inviolably to those who submitted; his public word, once given, could always be relied upon. When Mountjoy landed in Ireland on February 26, 1600, he found himself surrounded by difficulties. The Munster rebellion was at its height, and Carew, who had crossed over with him, was dispatched to quell the disturbance in that province. Leix was 'out' under the irrepressible Owny O'More, and the power of Tyrone extended southward to the borders of the Pale. The encouraging advice that Mountjoy received on landing was "to credit no intelligence, which was commonly false, and to expect, besides the known enemy and a confused war, to find a broken state, a dangerous council, and false-hearted subjects."[6] He soon learned that the Queen had few subjects of any sort who had not some kind of intelligence with Tyrone, even Ormonde being distrusted. The old army was so depleted that out of one company only three men could be found, and the Government was calling for reductions in expenses at the same moment that the English of the Pale were refusing supplies.

[6] Fynes Moryson, History of Ireland, 1, 126.

Never had British power and British prestige sunk so low in Ireland. By a series of brilliant victories O'Neill had made himself master in the North and virtual King of Ireland. Both at home and abroad he was looked upon as the head of a Catholic League recognized by the Pope, who sent him in 1599 a crown of peacock's feathers and the title of "the Magnanimous Prince O'Neill." [7] The promises of Spanish help once more grew loud, and the dreams of Elizabeth and Cecil were disturbed by the important problem as to where the Spaniards were likely to land. Tyrone's armies were acknowledged to be better trained and more efficient than any that could be sent over. Mountjoy expected to find hosts of "naked people" in Tyrone's armies; but in fact he discovered that they were, in general, "better armed than we, knew better the use of their weapons than our men, and even exceeded us in discipline." "I received the charge on February 28," he writes hotly to the Council in London, "at which time I found the rebels in number and arms grown to the very height of pride and confidence by a continual line of their successes and our misfortunesthe army much discouraged in themselves and (believe rne, my Lords, for you will hardly believe) much contemned by the rebels." The moment was a critical one. In January 1600 a month before Mountjoy's arrival, Tyrone had carried out, almost without the cognizance of the Government, his rapid march into Munster to effect a junction with Desmond and incidentally "to set as great combustion as he could" in that province. His avowed object was to visit the Church of the Holy Cross in Tipperary, but the force of nearly three thousand foot and horse with which he arrived in Munster hardly supported the idea of a purely religious pilgrimage. He had come, in fact, to discuss with Desmond and the Southern insurgents a plan of united action for a general attempt to throw off the British yoke. He was joined at Cashel by James FitzThomas FitzGerald, the sougaun ('Straw-rope') Earl of Desmond, whose claims he had decided to support. He agreed to the election of Fineen (Florence) MacCarthy as the MacCarthy Mór, and the recognition by these two of O'Neill's paramount position had the result of gathering to him every man of note in the new national party which was now formed under his leadership For a few months, from March to December 1600, the dream of a united Ireland seemed to be realized, with O'Neill at its head.

[7] A crown of peacock's feathers had been granted by a former Pope to Prince John when he went over to Ireland in 1185. Moryson says "phoenix feathers," whatever these may have been.

Once before, at the date of the battle of Down, had such a combination been brought about, also by the genius of an O'Neill, but, on that occasion, the hopes raised were destined to be shattered by the results of one fatal battle. Hugh O'Neill's struggle was a longer one. His objects accomplished and the South brought into close correspondence with the North, he retraced his steps to Ulster by one of those rapid marches which only Irish troops could accomplish. He completely baffled the watchfulness of the English, and reached his own country in eight days, having conducted a considerable part of his army all through Ireland from Munster to Tyrone. One incident during this short stay in Munster made a deep impression alike on the English and the Irish. Young Hugh Maguire, Lord of Fermanagh, had accompanied Tyrone to the South with his band of followers. He was a great favourite with his people, and during his absence his family bard O'Hosey, at Enniskillen, was composing in his honour an exceptionally beautiful lay, lamenting that in the icy cold of winter the young chief should be exposed to the impetuous fury of the heavens in some wet and grass-clad ditch in a stranger's land. The poet comforts himself by reflecting that Maguire surely will, according to his custom, warm his fingers by setting the whole country ablaze before his return home.[8] But Maguire was destined to no more such feats of war. While in the South, he was riding out one morning close to the gates of Cork to exercise himself and his troop when, either by accident or design, Sir Wareham St Leger and Sir Henry Power, also with a guard of horse, passed across their path. They were acting as commissioners for the province until Carew's arrival. St Leger and Maguire stopped short and fell into dispute. Sir Wareham raised his pistol and took aim at Maguire, while the latter, in order to ward off the shot, struck out at St Leger with his staff. Both fell, Maguire being killed on the spot and the commissioner dying shortly afterward from the wound in his head.

[8] O'Grady, Catalogue of Manuscripts in the British Museum, p. 451. O'Hosey's, or O'Hussey's, poem is familiar in Mangan's free rendering, beginning, "Where is my chief, my master, this black night, movrone?" O'Hosey was the last bard of the Maguires.

News of O'Neill's movements having been brought to the new Viceroy, he determined, without a moment's delay, to cut off his adversary's retreat. He sent hasty messages to the Earls of Thomond and Clanricarde and to the Mayors of Galway and Limerick to hinder his passage. There were only two ways by which the army of Tyrone could return, either eastward by the borders of the Pale or west over the Shannon, and the Earl of Ormonde advised Mountjoy that the latter route would certainly be chosen. But it soon transpired that Tyrone had broken up his forces, leaving a thousand men to assist Desmond and eight hundred with Richard Butler, under Captain Tyrrell, whom he appointed to command in Leinster. With his remaining forces Tyrone had, by what Mountjoy, when he heard of it, thought "an unreasonable day's march," slipped back into Ulster, only a few of his men being picked off by the Viceroy's half-prepared scouts. The intelligence of this extraordinary forced march only reached Mountjoy when he had arrived to begin his campaign in Ulster, and the annoyance was increased by the news which he received at the same time of Sir Wareham St Leger's death. Nor was he likely to have been cheered by the tidings of Ormonde's capture by the the O'Mores and of Carew's narrow escape on their journey into Munster. On May 5 the Lord Deputy with a large army started for the North. At Drogheda, or "Tredagh" as the English called it, he was joined by the troops returning from victualling Philipstown, and on Whitsunday morning he passed Moira and occupied Newry. He had with him some of the most experienced officers of his day: among others Sir Richard Wingfield, Sir Oliver Lambert, Sir Richard Moryson, Captains Williams and Blany, etc. Mountjoy's instructions were much the same as those given to Essex, but disobeyed by him; forts were to be built on Lough Foyle and at Ballyshannon to control Tyrone and O'Donnell from behind, and considerable garrisons were to be permanently placed in them. It was held that these could be victualled and reinforced by sea, and that they could keep in touch with Carrickfergus, the only fort in Ulster farther north than Drogheda, Newry, and Trim, held by the English. The considerable number of gentlemen's houses existing in the counties of Meath and Westmeath capable of entertaining large parties of officers such as Mountjoy brought with him made progress easy. In the midst of the terrors of the time it is curious to read such an account as that of Captain Josiah Bodley, brother of the founder of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, who arrived on Christmas Day 1602, after a cold ride over the mountains, at Sir Richard Moryson's house at Lecale. There, having consumed "plenty of tobacco in nice pipes, and Spanish wine flavoured with burnt sugar, nutmeg, and ginger," they sat over a large fire and "conversed profoundly about things political, economical, philosophical, and much else" after the manner of the much travelled and widely read courtier-soldiers of the day.[9]

[9] C. L. Falkiner, Illustrations of Irish History, pp. 336-337.

On a later journey from Trim to Athlone Mountjoy slept every night at some large house, probably many of them fortified, for the insurgents occupied most of the open country. He mentions the Baron of Tremblestown's house near the town of Mullingar, Sir Francis Shane's house at Ballymore, Sir Tibbot Dillon's and the Lord of Delvin's houses, and Bryan MacGeoghegan's castle at Danoar, all about ten or twelve miles apart from each other. We also hear of a ruined house of Sir Edward Herbert in a pleasant valley of Westmeath, of Sir Edward FitzGerald's house in a pleasant and fruitful district in Meath, of Sir James Dillon's "very pleasant house" at Moymeere, besides Ardbraccan, the dwelling of the Bishops of Meath. The most gracious and charming of all the gentlemen's mansions must have been Sir Garrett Moore's spacious dwelling at Drogheda, formed out of the ruins of the Cistercian abbey of Mellifont on the Boyne. He was a man of taste and culture, and his gardens were famous for their beauty. Sir Garrett, though an English planter, was a friend to Tyrone, and his hospitable house was always open when there was a chance of reconciliation between the 'rebel,' who had at times to remind his English foes that he was also a nobleman, and the Government.

Mountjoy's march to the Blackwater was designed to attract the attention of Tyrone and draw him southward while the main project he had in view was being carried out. This was the expedition fitted out under Sir Henry Docwra, who was meanwhile sent round by sea with 4000 foot and 200 horse to land at Lough Foyle and begin the erection of the fort of Culmore. Sir Henry, who had seen service in Connacht and was familiar with Irish conditions, succeeded in landing his men not far from Derry, then in an abandoned condition, containing the ruins of the old abbey and bishop's house, and of two churches and a castle.[10] They decided to make this the site of their settlement "as being somewhat high and therefore dry," and they built two forts, one near the castle and one beside the cathedral, for which they used the old stones along with those they dug out of a new quarry close at hand. They cut down trees in O'Kane's country, "but not a stick of it but was first well fought for," and they managed to establish themselves sufficiently to resist the attacks that were constantly made upon their fort. As soon as he heard of their success Mountjoy prepared to return to Dublin, but not until he had re-established a fort on the Blackwater, close to Tyrone's late home, which he had burned down with his own hands when he first got news of the English advance into his country. This fort Mountjoy looked upon as opening a permanent way into the interior of Ulster. He had had a sharp brush with Tyrone near Four Mile Water, and constant skirmishing went on, but he carried his point, and kept Tyrone engaged till the purpose for which he had come north was accomplished. He named his Blackwater fort after Sir John Norris, who had first projected such a fort at this spot. During the following year Chichester, the governor of Carrickfergus, erected two other forts, Mountjoy Fort and Charlemont on the Blackwater, a few miles farther north. By that time it was believed that the neck of the rebellion was as good as thoroughly broken.

[10] Docwra, " Narration," in the Miscellany of the Celtic Society, 1849, pp. 235-286, gives an account of his experiences.

Before his return to Dublin Mountjoy made a demonstration as far north as Carrickfergus. On his return journey he found the Irish forces posted strongly on the narrow passage at the foot of the Mourne Mountains which lies along Carlingford Lough. The thick woods which clothe the slopes of the hills down to the water were filled with Tyrone's men, fighting with all the advantage of the ground, and to get the guns through was a matter of great difficulty. Fynes Moryson, walking in his brother's garden six miles distant, "sensibly heard by reverberation of the wall the sound of the volleys of shot." The man next to Tyrone was killed, and, on the English side, many of the officers were sorely hurt. The Lord Deputy's secretary was killed, which brought Moryson, whose memoirs are our chief guide to these events, into Mountjoy's service. Captain Trevor, endeavouring to bring up the guns, fell, and the spot has ever since borne his name, as Rosstrevor.[11]

[11] Fynes Moryson, History of Ireland, i, 190-194. 'Ross' (ros) means a wood.

The building of the fort at Ballyshannon on Donegal Bay did not progress so well. It was in the heart of O'Donnell's country, and Sir Henry Docwra, a capable officer and honest man, well thought of by both sides, had his hands already full in retaining his hold on his two forts near Derry, with the O'Kanes (O'Cahain) on one side and the MacSweeneys on the other. He was sorely wounded by the slash of a forked javelin or staff in the head, and Chamberlayn, his second in command, had been killed in a skirmish. Food came irregularly, and his small companies were melting away.

It was the policy of the English, in such circumstances, to try to win over some member of the leading families by promise of reward. They offered Sir Arthur O'Neill, Turlogh's son, the title of Earl of Tyrone instead of Hugh "if the other that maintained the rebellion could be dispossessed of the country"; to Hugh Garbh or "the Rough" O'Donnell they offered the title of Earl of Tyrconnel instead of Hugh Roe, his cousin Both came in, and brought acceptable accessions of strength, as well as provisions, to Docwra. Hugh Garbh, though he possessed the full confidence of Hugh Roe, had long coveted his place and power, and the seizure of his castle of Lifford by his cousin decided him to go over to the English. He was not a very stable acquisition and gave both sides plenty of trouble. Docwra found him "like a quince requiring great cost ere it be good to eat; proud, valiant, tyrannous, un-measurably covetous, without any knowledge of God or almost any civility." [12] Unmeasurably covetous he undoubtedly was, claiming not only Tyrconnel, but Tyrone, Fermanagh, and all parts of Connacht over which the O'Donnells had ever had authority. "And he would have the people swear allegiance to him and not to the Queen." The English used him and then threw him aside, and even his own people did not regret his fate. O'Donnell found him a thorn in his side, "prying about to see whether they might get a chance of a prey for the English."

[12] O'Clery, Life of Red Hugh O'Donnell, p. clvi.

A great blow was given to O'Donnell's hopes when, instead of the Spanish armada he expected, a single vessel with quite inadequate supplies arrived in Donegal Bay, under the command of a Franciscan who came as joint envoy of Pope Clement VIII and of Philip III of Spain, but who brought little except the usual ample promises of support. His correspondence shows that the Viceroy was making great efforts for peace, "to all which they reply most honourably that they will hold out so long as they have one soldier or there remains one cow to eat," [13] It was on one of Niall Garbh's raids that Donegal monastery was destroyed by an explosion of gunpowder on August 10, 1601; hundreds of the besieged were blown to pieces, and others, including Niall's brother, were crushed under the falling masonry.[14] Later the few remaining friars crept back and rebuilt their cells; and it was within these ruinous walls that between January 1632 and August 1636 Friar Michael O'Clery and his fellow-workers compiled the Annals of Donegal, better known as the Annals of the Four Masters, bringing them down to their own date. The news that the Spaniards had landed in Kinsale caused O'Donnell to break up his camp and march south. On the day that this news reached Docwra, the English commander set out for Donegal and captured Ballyshannon. Thus the main purpose of his journey to Ulster was at last accomplished.

[13] Ibid., p. cxvii
[14] Ibid., pp. 289-291.



While Mountjoy was dealing with the Tyrone rebellion in the North, Sir George Carew was making his preparations to take up the Presidency of Munster in the place of Sir Thomas Norris, and to carry out the war against Fineen, or Florence, MacCarthy and the new claimant to the title of Earl of Desmond, James FitzThomas FitzGerald. This man, though he was known in his day as the sougaun (or 'Straw-rope') Earl, had as fair a claim to the title as many other Irish chiefs had to theirs. His father, Sir Thomas Roe FitzGerald, was eldest son of the fourteenth Earl, but had been disinherited by his father as being base-born. Nevertheless, he had been knighted by Sir Henry Sidney and had married a daughter of Lord Roche. Carew arrived in Munster shortly after the hurried descent of Hugh O'Neill from Ulster to form his combination with Fineen MacCarthy and Desmond. Hugh O'Neill had returned as the acknowledged head of the Catholic League, and the leader in the coming rebellion which was to combine North and South and to have the support of Spain, whose fleet was again daily expected on Irish shores. To the former cause of rebellion—the religious discontent—was now added the arrival in the province of a number of early 'planters,' who were establishing themselves securely on Desmond's properties even as far west as Kerry and were pushing out the old owners. Large schemes for the extension of these plantations were under discussion, and the old possessors saw themselves in danger of being gradually ousted from their lands.

The eight years that had intervened since the suppression of the first Munster rebellion had witnessed many changes in the occupation of the province. Long before the great confiscations which followed on the conclusion of the Desmond wars, isolated planters had been coming over. When Carew set out on his campaign he had in view as well the protection of the English settlers scattered up and down the country as the suppression of the rebellion. Men on the look-out for fortunes ready-made had been prospecting over the whole country before the end of the Desmond rebellion. They cared little whether the existing proprietors were of Irish or English race. Sir Peter Carew the Elder went back as far as the first Norman invaders to set up a claim, founded upon the marriage of a daughter of Robert FitzStephen to a Thomas Carew. His claim was so doubtful that, in spite of the industrious investigations of Hooker,[1] uncle of the author of the Ecclesiastical Polity, whom he engaged to make a pedigree, he was advised by the Deputy not to pursue it. Having made up his mind, however, "that there was not in Europe a more pleasant, fruitfuller or sweeter land than Idrone," he relentlessly pursued his claim and finally forced the then owner, Sir Christopher Chyvers, to acknowledge it. By Christmas 1568 he was extending a sumptuous hospitality from the old Carew Castle on the banks of the Barrow with Chyvers and the Kavanaghs alike holding of him their old properties. An old woman in the streets of Dublin pointed him out as "the man risen from the dead, to stir those out of their nests who thought to lie at peace." Carew's pretensions were one direct cause of the Butler wars of 1579-80, part of the property of Sir Edmond Butler, younger brother of the Earl of Ormonde, coming within his claims. Though the Butlers had possessed themselves originally of lands belonging to the Kavanaghs they "could not brook Sir Peter nor digest his manners, nor allow of his offers," which they looked upon as part of a widespread scheme to get rid of the present proprietors in favour of upstarts who had no real right to the lands they acquired. Sir Edmond flung off English apparel and "became not only like a meere Irishman but an Irish kerne," ranging and spoiling whole districts of the most English province in Ireland with fire and sword. The Butlers' wars and the Baltinglas rebellion added much to the difficulty of dealing with the Desmond rising, a considerable body of troops under Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Nicholas Malbie being drawn off to deal with it.

[1] For the career of Sir Peter Carew see Hooker, or Vowell, in Carew Cal., i, Introduction. This life has been repubhshed by J. Maclean (1857).

Lord Butler complained that he was attacked on one side by "the traitors James Fitzmaurice and MacCarthy Mór," and on the other by the Queen's troops and Carew, though he protested that he never was or should be false to the Queen or her Crown, and only sought to preserve his own. "This is the order nowadays," wrote Ormonde to Sir William Cecil; "I hope the Queen's Majesty, of her gracious goodness, will think of this manner of dealing with her subjects." Carew did not live to pursue his doubtful claims on Munster; he died suddenly in 1575, just as he was preparing to occupy the two fine houses he had built for himself in Cork and Kinsale, and left it to his kinsman, Sir George Carew, to revive the claim.

The real plantation began with the vast confiscations which followed on the Act of Attainder at the close of the Desmond rebellion in 1586, when over 574,000 acres of land in Munster were forfeited and vested in the Crown. Each "undertaker," as the purchasers of these properties were called, who took up 12,000 acres was required to place eighty-six English families on his estate. Great inducements were held out to suitable planters to take up land. Letters were written to every county in England to encourage younger brothers to become undertakers. Estates were to be held in fee at twopence per acre in the counties of Cork and Waterford, and to be rent free till March 1590, and then to pay but half-rent for the following three years. Their produce was to be transported duty free to any country in friendship with England, and they might import necessaries free of customs. The plan proposed was that each village or district in England should send a certain number of families complete with all the trades and kinds of husbandry that would be required in the new country; for it was intended that no Irish should be permitted to reside on these lands. But this idea was soon given up. Not only was it difficult to get the right sort of handy and industrious workmen among the hosts of idle men who flocked over, but the planters found it more profitable to retain the Irish on their estates. These were ready to give them the same services in labour that they had hitherto rendered to their chiefs, besides the fourth sheaf of all their corn, and sixteenpence yearly for a beast's grass, so that many "cared not although they never placed any Englishmen on their estates." The foolish and cruel law which would have displaced the natural inhabitants from their holdings fell into desuetude, as did many laws with a similar intent, through their own inherent folly. We find the people living on in their old homes, kindly to the English who had come among them, and perhaps glad of a change of proprietors which, under English law, made them the possessors of their own holdings.

A planter in Co. Cork named Robert Payne has written an interesting account of the experiences he met with on his estate.[2] He was one of those more benevolent settlers that we find here and there who, though they took advantage of the opportunity offered to acquire tracts of land in the fertile forfeited estates, had no ill-feeling toward the people among whom they came, and lived with them on terms of amity and mutual advantage. He took up land for himself and twenty-five partners, each of whom had 400 acres. He brought over with him one chief farmer and four smaller farmers, thus carrying out the intention of the Government proclamation; fourteen freeholders, forty copyholders, and twenty-six cottagers and labourers also accompanied him. His own family possessed 1600 acres, and he appears to have acted as manager for the estates of absent proprietors. He was an experienced planter, and he gives free advice to hesitating buyers, couched in a sarcastic vein. He bids intending settlers not to be discouraged by tales of the dangers of life in Ireland. Three of the worst dangers at least they will be free from. First, they cannot meet in all the land any worse than themselves; secondly, they need not fear robbery, for they have not anything to lose; lastly, they are not likely to run into debt, for that there is none will trust them. "The greatest matter which troubleth them is that they cannot get anything there but by honest labour, which they are altogether ignorant of." He has a high opinion of the Irish among whom he lives. He finds them quick-witted and of good constitution, keeping their promises faithfully, and more desirous of peace than Englishmen, "for that in time of war they are more charged." They are obedient to the laws, so that you may travel through all the land without any danger or injury offered by the very worst Irish and be greatly relieved of the best. He finds it difficult to tell what good fruits England hath that Ireland wanteth; while Ireland is situated more conveniently for the putting forth of all commodities than England is. This tract, written in 1589, gives us a new view of the general conditions in the South of Ireland after the close of the Munster wars. Though he tells us that most of the kerne or young fighting-men had been killed in the late wars, the better sort of the people are very civil and honestly given, and most of them greatly inclined to husbandry, though as yet inexpert. Some of them are so rich in cattle, through their great travail, that one man will milk a hundred kine and two or three hundred goats and ewes. This, after the devastations of the fifteen years' war, is surprising, and leads us to hope that parts of the country had suffered much less than others. He speaks of two very rich districts within the county of Limerick which had belonged to the Knight of the Valley, who had been executed for high treason, as "the gardens of the land" for the variety of their plants, grain, and fruits and the great store of venison, fish, and fowl they produce, though these are everywhere in plenty. The idle men going about the country after the wars he finds "not unlike our English beggars, only that they are not obliged to give any account of themselves, which should be remedied." Lastly he gives an account of their schools. He speaks of a grammar school he had visited in Limerick of 150 scholars, most of whom "spoke good and perfect English, for that they have been used to construe the Latin into English." Most of the people about him, he says, spoke good English and brought up their children to learning. Their hospitality was the proverbial Irish welcome, "more plentiful, perhaps, than cleanly or handsome; but though they never did see you before, they will make you the best cheer their country yieldeth for two or three days, and take not anything for it." Payne is of the same opinion as Thomas Stafford, Carew's secretary, that "her Majesty has a great number of loyal and dutiful subjects in this so great and fruitful country"; and that though in the Desmond wars he cannot deny there were many Irish traitors, "yet herein," he writes, "judge charitably, for such was the misery of the time that many were driven to this bad choice, whether they would be spoiled as well by the enemy as the worser sort of soldiers at home, or go out to the rebels and be hanged, which is the fairest end of a traitor. But as touching their government in their corporations where they bear rule, it is done with such wisdom, equity, and justice as demerits worthy commendations." He tells us that if a case is tried between an Irishman and Englishman the jury is formed half of each nation, and that at the assizes he has frequently seen well near twenty cases decided at one sitting, "with such indifference that for the most part both plaintiff and defendant depart contented; yet many that make show of peace and desireth to live by blood do utterly mislike this or any good thing the poor Irishman doth."

[2] A Briefe Description of Ireland (1589) in "Irish Archaeological Tracts," ed. by Aquilla Smith (1841).

Moryson complains [3] that the men of best quality who purchased estates never came over, and that of the two thousand able men who according to agreement ought to have been in the province he could not find two hundred. Most of them resold at enhanced rates in London; of those who did go, few carried out their compact to take over English families or build castles. When the new rebellion broke out most of them fled into the towns, and after the rebellion it was difficult to induce them to return to their estates. Those who remained made demands for horsemen to protect them. One of the largest of the planters, Sir William Herbert, whose Kerry properties amounted to 13,270 acres, and whose relations with his Irish tenants were of a most kindly nature, complains that in the surrounding undertakers he is associated with such lewd, indiscreet, and insufficient men as disgrace an honourable action, and that it is high time these frauds were met withal. Fineen MacCarthy too finds in the "outrageous words and violent deeds" of the settlers and soldiers alike a "ready way to make the Irish weary of their loyalty and of their lives." According to a list drawn up by Sir Edward Fitton and Sir John Popham, Attorney-General, the largest planters in the South were the two Herberts with over 17,000 acres, Denny and Brown with 6000 each in Kerry, at eight-pence an acre; Trenchard, Courtney, and Barkley, etc., 12,000 acres each, at fourpence an acre. Sir Edward Fitton, Lord Treasurer, one of the most avaricious men of his day, got 16,000 acres in Cork and Waterford. The generals and officials, such as Sir Wareham St Leger, Sir Thomas Norris, Sir Richard Grenfell, Sir Walter Raleigh, each received a large share. The latter got the enormous grant of 42,000 acres [4] in Cork and Waterford, most of which were later, by the influence of Carew and Cecil, sold to Boyle, "they being altogether waste and desolate, untenanted and of no value to him." Boyle does not say what he paid Raleigh for his property, but estates in Cork were selling for a penny an acre, in Tipperary and Waterford for 1 1/4d., and in Limerick for 2 1/2d., an acre.

[3] History of Ireland, i, 62.
[4] The grant was made in 1586. It is otherwise said to have been of 574,268 acres. As no one was allowed legally to possess more than 12,000 acres two other names were associated with Raleigh's in the list.

Besides his immense grants of lands Raleigh received the patronage of the Wardenship of the College of Our Lady at Youghal, with the exclusive rights to the valuable salmon fishery in the tidal waters of the Blackwater. The rich soil that stretched along both banks of the river was waste and neglected, and Raleigh was not the man to improve it. His restless nature and vain disposition looked for more rapid means of raising his fortunes than the laborious cultivation of the lands that had fallen, by Court favour, into his hands. Brilliant, stirring, and extravagant, even judged by the standards of Elizabeth's day, the man who sunned himself in Court smiles, and clad himself in cloaks and shoes heavy with pearls or diamonds, must have found the quiet of the beautiful little town of Youghal, with its memories of collegiate and monastic retirement, irksome to his nature. Raleigh's residence at Youghal was not his first visit to Ireland. He had come over in his youth as a needy Munster captain in that small band of horse which was commanded by his half-brother and fellow-adventurer Sir Humphrey Gilbert. That band, fresh from the ruthless wars of Languedoc, where Raleigh had seen the unfortunate peasants smoked out of the caverns in the mountains where they had taken refuge, only to fall upon the swords of the soldiery, brought to Ireland the same brutal instincts of warfare. Let loose upon Munster these young Captains did mischief altogether out of proportion to their numbers. Raleigh's first act had been in connexion with the execution at Cork in August 1580 of James FitzGerald, younger brother to the Earl of Desmond, and his next was the slaughter of the Spaniards and Irish at Smerwick, when he and Mack-worth were sent in "to do execution" on the inmates.

Raleigh held firmly the common belief of the day that all means were justifiable in dealing with rebels and that pity to the Spaniards who aided them was treachery to the State. But his harsh methods often defeated their ends; his capture of Barry's Court turned the wavering Lord Barry into an open enemy, and even for that age Sir Humphrey Gilbert's methods "had a little too much warmth and presumption," so that he had been replaced in the Presidency of Munster by Sir John Perrot. Their company was paid off and disbanded in December 1581, and Raleigh returned home. When he went back again in 1590-91 he was no longer captain of a troop of horse, but a Court favourite with large English properties, estates forfeited after the Babington conspiracies. He was Lord Warden of the Stannaries, and Captain of the Queen's Band; to these emoluments he added his great acquisitions in Cork. It was now that he found his friend Edmund Spenser at Kilcolman Castle, "under the foote of Mole, that mountaine hore," sitting, "alwaies idle," beside the restless waters of his loved Mulla stream, looking out on the distant Cork and Kerry ranges, and writing his immortal poem, while events like the Armada passed him by unheeded. Spenser came over to Ireland in 1580 as private secretary to Lord Grey de Wilton, and from that time forward most of his life was passed in that country. He held several appointments, being in 1581 made Clerk of Degrees and Recognizances in the Irish Court of Chancery, and, seven years later, Clerk to the Council of Munster. He had a great admiration for Lord Grey, whom all, he says, knew to be "most gentle, affable, loving and temperate, but that the necessity of that present state of things enforced him to violence, and almost changed his natural disposition," and he warmly resented the charge that Grey broke his word at Smerwick. But he fully approved of Grey's short and sharp methods of conquest and resettlement, and blamed the changes of policy and the weakness and corruption of governors "who thought more of their own ease and advancement than of the good of the State and country."[5] In the fifth book of The Faerie Queene Lord Grey de Wilton appears as Artegall, "the Champion of true Justice," whose "wreakfull hand" none could abide. He is attended by Talus,

made of yron mould,
Immovable, resistlesse, without end;
Who in his hand an yron flail did hould,
With which he thresht out falshood, and did truth unfould.

[5] Spenser, View of the State of Ireland (ed. Morley, 1890), p. 146.

The Faerie Queene was written at Kilcolman, a castle belonging to the Desmond family, which seems to have passed into his hands, with a grant of 3028 acres in Co. Cork, sometime after 1586. Kilcolman, now a ruin, was placed in a plain which commanded a wide view, shut in by the Ballyhowra Mountains to the north and by the Kerry Hills to the west. Here,

Under the foote of Mole, that mountaine hore,
Keeping my sheepe amongst the cooly shade
Of the greene alders by the Mullaes shore,[6]

[6] Colin Clout's Come Home Againe.

he wandered and sang in a solitude which at times was cheered by the visits of the "Shepherd of the Ocean," Sir Walter Raleigh. To an Irish reader Spenser's poems take a largely added interest from the fact that the incidents and the scenes he depicts reflect the conditions and scenery of Munster at a critical moment of its history. The startling pictures of wild life encountered by his knights are probably not greatly exaggerated reflections of actual stories brought to his ears. They approached all too nearly to the facts of life around him. On the outbreak of the second Desmond rebellion in the autumn of 1598 the insurgents wreaked their vengeance on him for his occupation of Kilcolman Castle by plundering and burning it to the ground. It is said by Ben Jonson that one of his babes perished in the flames. In poverty and deep distress Spenser returned to London, where he died shortly afterward.[7]

[7] Spenser's wife, Elizabeth, is said by a writer in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society (Second Series, i, 131-133) to have been a daughter of Sir Richard Boyle.

A figure very familiar in the neighbourhood of Youghal in the time of Spenser and Raleigh was that of the aged Dowager Countess of Desmond, about whom strange traditions floated. Widow of a man who, in 1529, had become Earl of Desmond at the age of seventy-five, and having survived him for seventy years, it is not strange that the 'Old Countess' became one of the wonders of her age. Rumour said that she was born in 1464, that she had been maid of honour at the Court of Edward IV (d. 1483), and that she had danced with Richard III when Duke of Gloucester, of whom she retained memories much more favourable than those which have come down to us. Her husband, Sir Thomas the Bald of Desmond, must have been sixty years of age when she married him. He was the third son of the eighth Earl, beheaded at Drogheda in 1468, and in spite of the efforts at reparation made by Edward IV, he and his brothers were in a constant state of suppressed rebellion; "with banners displayed they sought revenge." The Earl, who seems to have been an eccentric, had divorced his first wife, Sheela MacCarthy of Muskerry, to marry Katherine, who was eldest daughter of Sir John FitzGerald, Lord of Decies, and his cousin; he had on his hands the blood both of his late father-in-law and his first wife's brother. The castle of Inchiquin, where he and Katherine lived, must have seen wild deeds. He was so distrustful of strangers that, instead of bed and board, he provided a halter for them outside his walls "as though all visitors were spies and wizards." He took full advantage of the system of coign and livery instituted by his ancestor, the first Earl of Desmond, for he lived half the year upon his tenants; and he refused to pay one groat of yearly revenue to the Crown, in spite of his immense possessions in Waterford, Limerick, Cork, and Kerry, or to obey any of the King's laws. Henry VIII ordered the Earl of Ossory in 1534 to curb this fierce and grasping man, but he died in the same year at the age of eighty, leaving a grandson by the son of his first wife, who was brought up at the English Court and educated in the royal household. Disloyal Geraldines dubbed him "the Court Page" Earl, and he was subsequently murdered by Sir Maurice Dubh, or Duff, "the Black Geraldine," "a man without faith or truth, cruel, severe, merciless," whose murder of the "Court Page" Earl was the first step "to the overthrow of this honourable house of Desmond, God in revenge thereof not leaving one of the race of Sir John or Sir Maurice alive upon the face of the earth." Sir Maurice's son was the James FitzMaurice who aided Earl Garrett's rising.

After the death of her turbulent spouse the Countess lived on at Inchiquin Castle near Youghal, which had long been looked upon as a dower house for widows of the Earls of Desmond. She made over the property to Garrett, Earl of Desmond, then out in rebellion, but after his attainder it was granted to Raleigh, who recognized her prior claim in two leases drawn up by him. He knew personally the aged lady, who lived not many miles from his house at Youghal. When Boyle obtained Raleigh's lands the old Countess of Desmond, whose jointure came to an end at the age of the 'trust term' of ninety-nine years, leaving her reduced to penury, was obliged to revisit the Court to lay her case before Queen Elizabeth and prove her identity. She was accompanied by her daughter. Landing at Bristol, tradition says that the old lady "came on foot to London, as she was wont to walk weekly at home to Youghal on market-days. But her daughter being decrepit, was brought in a little cart, their poverty not allowing better means." Her appearance at Court created a sensation, and is mentioned in many of the memoirs of the day. Bacon says that tradition gave her sevenscore years, and Raleigh in his History of the World says, that she was alive in 1589 and "many years afterwards, as all the noblemen and gentlemen in Munster can testify." [8] She lived on till 1604, thus outliving at least three—tradition would make it six—of the Queen's ancestors and Elizabeth herself. She witnessed the great power and the downfall of the house of Desmond, caused partly through the misdoings of Englishmen, but largely also by the disregard of all laws, human and divine, by her husband and his kindred. She is said to have died from a fall while picking cherries from a tree in Raleigh's garden.

[8] The above details are taken from the Kerry Magazine, August and September, 1855; the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Second Series, ii, 145 seq. (1896) , the Dictionary of National Biography, and references there given. We give a remarkable portrait of the Countess from Knole. The portrait formerly at Muckross has recently been presented to the National Portrait Gallery, London.,/p>

Raleigh himself, in later life, after making experiments in plantations in other lands than Ireland, was condemned to spend twelve mournful years in the Tower of London, during some part of which another apartment in the same gloomy pile was occupied by the last of the Desmonds, the spoiler and spoiled being thus brought to one fate together. Like Florence MacCarthy, Raleigh endeavoured to while away the tedium of imprisonment by planning a history, and he carried out the compilation of his History of the World Florence's tract is a mere fragment, addressed to the Earl of Thomond, and mainly intended to prove that the Irish came from Greece.[9] At Youghal Raleigh made attempts to grow the potato and tobacco. His long imprisonment ended in his death on the scaffold—a fate that seemed to fall, like the judgment of God, on all those who held in their hands the weal and woe of Ireland, and who betrayed their trust. Among the 'adventurers' who built up the largest fortunes out of the escheated lands were Sir Valentine Brown, who bought up large slices of the MacCarthy estates from the spendthrift Earl of Clancar, and Sir Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork, a man who arrived in Dublin in 1588 with £27 in his pocket, and who died leaving his family possessed of immense wealth, his daughters intermarried with the highest nobility, and three of his sons ennobled. The rapid acquisition of wealth by the clever and unscrupulous Boyle was so surprising that the Queen believed that he was in receipt of foreign supplies; but the easier method of ' finding lands by concealments ' provided all the means that Boyle required. He was imprisoned in 1594, and in the Munster rebellion he lost all his possessions, but such was his plausibility that he won over the Queen and was sent back as Clerk of the Council of Munster under Sir George Carew, and from this time his talents and energy ensured his rapid rise. To him it fell to convey to London the news of the victory of Kinsale, and it is characteristic of his enterprise that, leaving Shannon Castle about two o'clock on Monday morning, he delivered his packet to Sir Robert Cecil at supper on the following day, and before seven the next morning was explaining the details of the siege to the Queen in her bedchamber. His marriage with Sir Geoffrey Fenton's daughter was another step in his advance, and on the same day he was knighted by the then Deputy. Cecil writes to Carew: [10] "Boyle is accused by Crosby for I know not what; of cosining and concealing; one barrell little better hearing than th' other. Let me know therefore, whether you would have him favoured or no; truly the fellow seems witty." And Ormonde in December 1601 complains to Cecil: "One Crosby and Boyle have been the only means of overthrowing many of her Majesty's good subjects by finding false titles to their lands, and turning them out...By that means they got much lands for themselves, which manner of dealing brought much discontentment and sedition amongst the subjects." [11] From a material point of view, Boyle, soon to be created Earl of Cork, set about the improvement of his estates with vigour and success, building castles, bridges, schools, almshouses, and towns, and making such great improvements that Cromwell, when he visited the South, wished there had been an Earl of Cork in every province. He had, in fact, transformed great portions of the South from a desert into flourishing modern cities.

[9] There is a copy in the British Museum. (Add. MS. 4793, ff. 21, 22).
[10] Letters of Sir Robert Cecil to Carew, ed. J. Maclean (Camden Society, 1864), p. 146 and note.
[11] Ormonde contended that Crosby was of the family of the MacCossanes, hereditary bards to the O'Mores, but he himself denied this. His mother, however, was one of the O'Mores. He was in possession of property in the O'Mores' country.



At the time of the Munster rebellion three courses were open to an Irishman of position. He might renounce his comrades and fellow-countrymen, declare openly for the Queen, and aid the English army to repress rebellion in his part of the country. Such a course seemed to open a path of safety and self-preservation, and it was definitely adopted by several of the Munster gentlemen, such as Sir Cormac MacCarthy, Lord of Muskerry, and Sir Donogh MacCarthy Reagh, Lord of Carbery, whom Sir Henry Sidney called "especial and rare men," though a closer study of their character and motives will hardly endorse his verdict. Or he might become an open rebel and throw off his allegiance. Or, again, he might adopt the position of a neutral, and try to pursue his way undisturbed amid the warring forces around him—a difficult course in a country where intermarriage had linked the families closely together, and where the non-combatant was looked on with equal suspicion by both parties.

The history of Fineen, or Florence, MacCarthy [1] illustrates the career of a young chief who deliberately chose and faithfully endeavoured to carry through the rôle of a neutral. While abstaining from any betrayal of the cause of his countrymen, or from active participation with the Queen's forces, he yet professed, apparently with sincerity, loyalty and devotion to the Queen. His father, Sir Donogh, had proved his fidelity to the Crown during the course of a long life, and his services had been gratefully acknowledged by the authorities. Fineen, in the troubles of his later life, could always appeal to the allegiance of his father as a pledge of his own sincerity when his more dubious ways brought upon him the suspicion of the Government. Fineen had been brought up among English associations. At the age of twelve his father had sent him to serve in the English army, where he made many friends among the young officers, who continued to believe in his fidelity long after the authorities had begun to doubt it. His boyhood had been happily spent in open-air pursuits, breasting the waves that beat up to the walls of Kilbrittain Castle, or hawking in the mountains and woods of Carbery. His people were wealthy and lived luxuriously. One branch of the MacCarthys, represented by the Earl of Clancarty, was said to be worth £150,000 to £200,000 in King James II's reign. Long before any Geraldine had begun to carve out estates for his family the Clan Carty held all the province in subjection, "the continual memory whereof they yet use to nourish among them," as Sir Thomas Norris remarked in 1588. They felt all the old jealousy of their sup-planters, the FitzGeralds, so that it is not altogether surprising that two of the principal lords are found fighting against Desmond, the Ingens rebellibus exemplar, out of whose forfeited estates they looked to recover their lost status, and who was, moreover, only a usurper in his own family. The massive castles of Blarney and Kilbrittain, the headquarters, of the two chiefs, were only two out of the twenty-six strongholds built by this family in Co. Cork.

[1] Much information about Fineen (Florence) is collected in Daniel MacCarthy's Life and Letters of Florence MacCarthy Reagh (1867).

When in 1575 Sidney made his progress through the South he had been "very honourably attended by them and their ladies," and found them both good subjects, especially Sir Cormac, "who truly was a special man." Fineen, brought up amid these courtly surroundings and taught to look upon the Queen as his lawful sovereign, had more chances than most Irish youths to grow up "in civility," and though, when Viceroys were not by, he and his relations relapsed into the habits of the country, taking meat and drink by force from the freeholders of Carbery, besides special tributes in money exacted from his poor tenants, Fineen did not intend to sacrifice the special advantages gained from his position and training. He determined from his early youth to steer his way in the perplexities of the time between the rival claims of the English Government and the Irish gentry, to try to preserve his name and inheritance by an open profession of loyalty to the Crown, while keeping his hands unstained from participation in acts of hostility against his neighbours. In ordinary times Fineen might have succeeded in his aim. He might have kept close within the fastnesses of Carbery, and there lived the life of a powerful lord whose princely revenue would have enabled him to keep up large bodies of kerne and galloglas, always ready at his call. The MacCarthy family could put into the field 4400 foot and over 600 horse. But when Sir Donogh died in the third year of the Desmond rebellion, and his brother succeeded him by the law of tanistry, all Munster was aflame, and every man of position was called upon to take part for or against the insurgents. Fineen, as a minor, fell under the guardianship of Sir William Drury, President of Munster; but, unlike most wards, he was allowed to remain in his own country to assist in the pursuit of the unfortunate Desmond, instead of being sent to Dublin or London to be educated under the eye of the Government. From the outset of the rebellion he had served with the royal forces. At its close, at the age of twenty, he repaired to Court, was presented by Burghley to the Queen, and received, besides a gift of a thousand marks, an annuity of two hundred marks.

Taller by a head and shoulders than most men, winning in address, and the heir to great estates, Fineen made friends everywhere, from Cecil to old Lord de Courcy of Kinsale, who added to the young heir's personal possessions a gift of land including the Old Head of Kinsale, which Fineen had long coveted. The reckless follies of the head of his house, the Earl of Clancar, had given the young man the opportunity of enlarging his position by the purchase by mortgage of several of the principal fortresses in the Earl's country, especially of Castle Lough, one of the three great mansions "the owner of which might always look to be MacCarthy More." Before he was come to man's estate, Fineen was already taking steps to attain that coveted position, the end and aim of all his ambitions. The time came when his spendthrift and worthless uncle had little left to sell except his daughter Ellen, now, through the death in France of her dissolute and mean-spirited brother, become by English law heir to her father's estates. In 1587 it was rumoured that the scapegrace Earl intended "to prefer his daughter in marriage." All sorts of claimants appeared. Sir Wareham St Leger suggested to Sir Thomas Norris that it would be a good match for him. But Sir Valentine Brown, who had been buying up his lands, had the old man, as well as his castle of Molahiff, in his grip. He also had a son; and it was noised abroad that, for money, the Earl was ready to sell his only daughter to this son of an adventurer.

While all this was public talk Munster was startled by the quite unexpected announcement that Fineen MacCarthy had outwitted them all, and had, with the connivance of Ellen's mother, the Countess of Clancar, secretly married his cousin in "an old broken church." St Leger verily believed that, if it were duly examined, he was married with a Mass, being "very fervant in the old religion." All Munster was in a ferment at the news; even the native chiefs saw the danger of this alliance between the heirs of the MacCarthy Reagh and the MacCarthy More. It led to combinations between Sir Owen O'Sullevan and Donal na Pipy, the wild baseborn son of old Clancar and "the only man in these two countries that leadeth a loose disloyal life." Even greater was the excitement in government circles. Fineen's recent acquisition of the Old Head of Kinsale, his fluent command of the Spanish tongue, and his mother's relationship to James FitzMaurice, "the Arch-traitor," were called to mind, and it is no wonder that they thought it "greatly to be regarded to what end the same may grow." By way of precaution Norris apprehended all the chief actors in the drama, even the Countess, who was "the wife, sister, and daughter of an Earl, ever of very modest and good demeanour, though matched with one most disorderly and dissolute," awaiting the Queen's pleasure for further instructions.

The only undisturbed member of the group was Fineen, the author of all the turmoil. His wonderful address and power of making out a case for himself so impressed Norris that we find him writing to Burghley that, having become better acquainted with Fineen, he found that the lad had erred "in simplicity, not knowing her Highness's pleasure." His "good demeanour and carriage of himself " had completely won over Norris. Nevertheless, the lovers were divided, Ellen being retained in Cork "at large" and Fineen being sent for to London and imprisoned in the Tower, "the cause best known to your honours," as a bill sent by the Constable for his maintenance to the Treasury after eight months' internment puts it. A few weeks later Lady Ellen stole out of Cork in disguise, and for two years her whereabouts were unknown. When, at the end of two years all but twenty days, Fineen was set free on Ormonde's surety, and allowed to go about in London, his wife joined him, until their first son was born, when its mother took the babe back to Ireland, where he was carried about like a young prince, with a small body of horsemen in attendance.

It did not console Fineen to hear that Donal na Pipy, who became known as the "Munster Robin Hood," was preying his country, as well as making himself the terror of all planters, spoiling and killing them wherever he could, and taking meat and drink where he could get it. He threatened "all men who wore hose after the English fashion." Nor was it easy to sit still in London and know that his properties were passing into other hands, and that he was contracting heavy debts. Burghley would have let him go home, but the undertakers who were making a harvest in his absence were up in arms, and petitions poured in to pray for his retention in London. But in 1593 a change came about in Fineen's condition. The Queen had always believed in him, and now he was much with her, trying to induce her to agree that he was the only man who could deal with Donal. In later days Fineen "could call to mind none but benefits received from the Queen." There were even doubts in high quarters as to the legality of his seizure "against the Queen's word and bond." Cecil feared that the clapping up of the man without trial might prove scandalous. Fineen, in a letter written thirty years later said that his confinement had been contrary to the pleasure of the Queen, "who knew me well and whom I served long." He landed in Ireland early in November, carrying orders from Elizabeth to Viscount Barry, ordering him to pay over to Fineen a fine due to herself, and putting him into possession of one-third of his lands. She was steady in her support of his rights against officials and undertakers alike. "The poor English gentlemen," Brown, Sir Edward Denny, and Herbert, were more than annoyed that difficulties were put in the way of their pouncing down upon the estates of the man of whom, once he was safe in the Tower, they hoped to hear no more.

Old Clancar had ended his discreditable career, and Herbert thought it a good opportunity to add another 6000 acres to those he had already possessed himself of. It was no pleasure to have Fineen back, determined to fight tooth and nail for every inch of his lands. A great part of his life from this time forward was absorbed in litigation, while at the same time he was persistent in his attempts to be recognized as the MacCarthy More. All around him were persons eagerly awaiting his fall, that they might make their own profit out of his disgrace, and only his extreme wariness and knowledge of the men with whom he had to deal kept him for so long a time out of their clutches. He had with him the support of all who, like himself, were fighting the undertakers; but he kept clear of rebellion and was officially recognized in Munster as engaged in recovering the country of Desmond for the Queen and dispersing the mercenaries of O'Neill who were assisting Desmond in that province, while keeping his own sept out of action and chasing the "Munster Robin Hood," his own chief enemy, out of his ill-gotten gains.

But the action of the undertakers was gradually driving the chiefs who had stood by the Queen during the earlier Desmond rebellions to the side of the Queen's enemies. The rapacity of these men seemed limitless. Fineen refused to meet the Commissioners again, withdrew from Cork, and shut himself up in Kerry, gathering round him all Donal's adversaries and hiring what Barry called "cabbage soldiers" from Connacht. His action gave rise to fresh suspicions, especially when it was noised about that he had had a secret meeting with the sougaun Earl, and that they had passed a night together in the forest, sleeping in one bed, a sure token of amity. The actual object of the meeting was to get the Earl to swoop down on Barry, who had made his harvest out of Fineen's lands; but there is little doubt that he had begun to play a double game, and Fineen's enemies made the most in Dublin and London of this friendly meeting with the rebel Desmond, and did not spare to assert that they were acting in concert. When summoned to meet Carew, Fineen was prolific in excuses. He had begun to feel that it was unsafe to venture into the presence of Carew without an absolute and unconditional pardon for all possible offences and a safe conduct to go and return. What to make of him the President knew not. He confesses himself "fairly perplexed." He remembers him "a wise and civil gentleman generally beloved, and particularly esteemed by divers of extraordinary place and credit." If Fineen prove false "then he will conclude that there is no faith in Israel." The Queen, Fineen heard, still laughed at the folly of any who cast suspicion on him, and would rather have a piece of service from him than from others whom she valued not; but in Munster the youth hung over Carew's head "like a dark cloud." When other means failed Carew had a short way with rebels. He hired a ruffian to poison Fineen and when that was unsuccessful, he determined to get him into his power by any means, even by perjuring himself and falsifying the solemn oath of pardon and protection which he had recently made to him.[2]

[2] Magrath, the apostate Bishop of Cashel, appears to have been concerned in the plot to poison Fineen. Carew states darkly that he "is busily working ; within a few days the stratagem will either take effect or fail." Cecil professes horror at the idea, but he did not hesitate shortly afterward to approve the poisoning of Tyrone in the wine of the Sacrament—"through some poisoned hosts," as the official report runs—by a man who passed as a Franciscan belonging to the same infamous bishop's diocese. See Cecil to Carew, Letters, p. 49 (October 15, 1600) and p. 51 (November 8, 1600). Cecil is suspiciously anxious to have Anmies, his agent, hanged before he can accuse his masters of complicity.

In the autumn of 1600 the last Munster rebellion was drawing to a close. James FitzThomas was reported to be "no better than a wood-kerne," with only about four to five hundred followers left, lurking in the dense woods of Tipperary, and constantly on the move to avoid the agents of the government who were on the watch for him. A new effort was made by the authorities in London to bring the tragedy to a close. There was in the Tower of London a child, the son of the old Earl and Countess of Desmond, who had been held as a hostage since his infancy. By English law he, and not James FitzThomas, the sougaun Earl, was the rightful heir to the title, and it was now proposed, apparently on the advice of Cecil and Raleigh, to divide the Desmond interest in Ireland by sending over this lad, James, known by the mournful title of "the Tower Earl." The Queen was uncertain as to the wisdom of this policy, and especially of the advisability of creating him earl before he went over to Ireland, which was pressed upon her by Cecil. Again and again she took the pen in her hand to sign the patent of his nobility, and threw it down again. Suppose that, instead of dividing the province, the two Desmonds were to unite? Finally the patent was sent over, but not mentioned to James; it might be used or not as circumstances dictated.[3] Meanwhile, the youth in the Tower, about whom all the Court and all Munster were filled with rumours, was partially released from his long confinement and allowed to walk about London during the day, returning to lie in the Tower every night; further than that the Queen would not move. Cecil finds the young gentleman's disposition "tied to honest grounds, but spendful above measure," so that it will be necessary to have a wary eye over him. He suggests that it would facilitate the setting of Munster by the ears if some portions of Fineen's lands were assigned to this new Earl instead of those belonging of right to his own family; but Cecil does not expect that the "tender and sickly" lad, who had been reared without light or liberty, will ever like an Irish life; already, before he leaves London, he is begging to be permitted soon to return to the only life he has known within the gloomy Tower walls. It is darkly hinted to Carew that no blame will attach to him "for any caution (how curious soever) in the managing this young puer male cinctus," who is proud, and whose mouth may water to get back the undertaker's lands.[4] When, on October 14, 1600, the young Desmond landed it was already felt that the need of his coming over was past.

[3] Cecil to Carew, Letters, pp. 11, 15, 18, 25, etc.
[4] Cecil to Carew, Letters, p. 45. The correspondence between Cecil and Carew about this poor lad should be read by any who wish to understand the tortuous windings of the minds of those who guided the destinies of England in Elizabethan days.

Captain Richard Greame had fallen upon the sougaun Earl as he was marching into the forests of Atherlow, had slain his son and sixty of his men, captured his cattle, munitions, and all his baggage, and driven him and his army before them into Leix, killing them as they ran. It was a complete overthrow of the Earl and of the hopes of the Munster people, which were centred in him. He was forced to take refuge in an obscure cave "many fathoms underground," in the mountain of Slewgrott. There, hidden under bushes, he was run to earth on May 29, 1601, by his mortal enemy, the White Knight, Edmond FitzGibbon, brother-in-law to the Earl, of whom Carew had once written that "a more faithless man never lived upon earth."[5] He was now so fearful of losing the £400 reward offered for the Earl's apprehension that "he could not sleep at night for dread that some other would anticipate him." There is an Irish saying that expresses the feelings of the South on hearing of the arrest of the sougaun Earl: "There is no anger but abates, except the anger of Christ with ClanGibbon." [6] Fineen MacCarthy's opinion of the White Knight is expressed in a characteristic manner in a letter written to him in Irish which fell into the President's hands. As translated to Carew it opened as follows: "Damnation, I cannot but commend me heartily to you, as bad as thou art...I would be very glad to speak to you for your good," etc. The sougaun Earl, whatever the justice of his claims to the title, was, according to Carew, "a man the most generally beloved by all sorts that in my life I have known," and the most potent of all the Geraldines; he considered that it would be dangerous to keep him prisoner in Ireland, and preparations were made to send him to London.

[5] Sir Thomas Stafford, Pacata Hibernia (ed. S. J. O'Grady, 1896), i. 199.
[6] Carew calls the search for him "the hunting, rousing and fall of a great stag." It is only fair to the White Knight to add that he was sharply threatened both by the President and Sir G. Thornton if he let FitzThomas escape him, as he was believed to have done before. He well knew what his fate would be if this happened, and he decided to save himself, like others, by doing "acceptable service."

In the meanwhile, another event of great importance had occurred. Early in March Fineen, whose dealings with the Spaniards [7] were bringing him continually into suspicion, and whose own letters prove that he was deep in Tyrone's confidence and aiding him in every way in his power, had yet consented to come to Carew and bring in his son as a pledge. He took the precaution to obtain from Carew a renewal of his pardon and protection, though his last protection was not expired. But the temptation of having in his hands at once the two greatest sources of danger in Munster, the two around whom not only the hopes of the South were centred, but those of the Spaniards whose landing was again daily expected, proved too much for Carew. By an act of treachery he detained Fineen prisoner, awaiting an opportunity to send both his captives into England. Once, during the first rebellion of the Earl of Desmond, Burghley had proposed to Ormonde "to put protected persons into sure hold." Enemy to the Desmonds as he was, Ormonde had replied: "My Lord, I will never use treachery to any, for it will both touch her Highness' honour and mine own credit...Saving my duty to her Majesty, I would I were to have revenge by my sword of any man that thus persuadeth the Queen to write to me." Cecil and Carew had no such scruples, even as to keeping faith with a man to whom the Queen's word had been "solemnly and advisedly given."

[7] Cecil himself was accused by Essex at his trial of having dealings with Spain. He was certainly in receipt of a pension from the King of Spain, at least from the accession of James I to his death, and may have had it earlier. See Gardiner, History, i, 215.

The sougaun Earl was sentenced to death, but prudence prevailed, though "the fingers of the Lords were tingling to hang him"; he dragged out a long existence in the Tower, forgotten by his friends, while the great Desmond estates went to enrich needy courtiers and adventurers. Fineen lived on till after 1637, and must have been little short of eighty when he died. He was tossed backward and forward between the Tower, the Marshalsea, and the Fleet, with intervals of freedom during which he was allowed at large in London, mixing again with men of rank about the Court. To the end he retained his. power of making those who came into contact with him believe in his sincerity. His family sorrows were great. His wife, Lady Ellen, forsook him and worked against him even before his committal, and he ascribed his taking by Carew to her evil machinations. She seems to have been as shallow and selfish as her father, and her husband refused to have her with him in the Tower, where he believed she acted as a spy upon his actions. His eldest son, brought up in the debasing surroundings of a prison, was a degenerate, but his other children remained with him. His confinement, usually a light one, seems to have become stricter as time went on, and at the age of seventy he writes that he is kept in a little close room, without sight of the air, and contrary to the Queen's pleasure, whereby his life is much endangered. He had the added sorrow of knowing that Donal, the scapegrace, had taken the title of MacCarthy More, and in course of time he learned that Donal had been restored by the Government to his father's lands. Great numbers of Fineen's letters remain, mostly concerned with his efforts to regain his properties and the constant litigation in which these efforts involved him. Helpless in the Tower, he fought the Government and the adventurers alike in a costly but fruitless struggle to assert his rights. He was never tried, though he never relaxed his efforts to be brought to trial. The adventurers who were enjoying his lands were strong enough to prevent this and thus to stave off the inquiry into the justice of their claims that would needs have ensued. In happier times Fineen might have shone as the centre of a brilliant circle; it was only his great position that consigned him to a living tomb. He lived on into the reign of Charles I and witnessed the flight of the Earls, the plantation of Ulster, the execution of Raleigh, and the tyranny of Strafford.

The young "Tower Earl" soon rejoined his compatriots in the Tower. His stay in Ireland had been brief and unsuccessful. When he arrived in Cork no preparation seems to have been made for his reception; he was forced to bid himself to the Mayor's house "else had he gone supperless to bed." "If this lawyer mayor" (one Meagh or Meade), he remarks, "have no better insight into Littleton than in other observances of this place, he may be well called Lacklaw, for it was with much ado that we got anything for money; most of my people lay without lodging, and Captain Price had the hogs for his neighbours." It was intended that Castlemaine should be the young Earl's place of residence, with a pension of £500 a year from the frugal Queen, Castlemaine being then closely besieged by Sir Charles Wilmott. It did surrender on the summons of the Earl, and this was the only service done by sending the lad to Ireland. His progress into Limerick ended in a fiasco. In Kilmallock, where he arrived on a Saturday evening, a mighty concourse of people turned out to see him, "all the streets, doors, and windows, yea, the very gutters and tops of houses being filled with them"; they welcomed him with signs of joy, every one throwing upon him wheat and salt as a prediction of future peace and plenty. It was with difficulty that they made their way to Sir George Thornton's house. But, the next day being Sunday, the lad, who, like all wards and hostages, had been brought up in the reformed doctrines, attended the Protestant service, the crowds all the way endeavouring to turn him from his purpose. On his return the temper of the people had entirely changed. He was railed at and spat upon; the strangers in the town melted away, and no more notice was taken of him than of any private gentleman. His visit to Ireland proving to be a failure, he was soon afterward sent back to London. The undertakers dreaded his presence in Ireland, fearing it portended the restoration to him of some of his father's lands, of which they were in possession, and Cecil also was uneasy, for rumours reached him that the lad was proposing to marry the widow of Sir Thomas Norris, late President of Munster, who had been killed by the rebels in 1599. "I do profess unto you that I do never shut mine eyes but with fear at my waking to hear some ill news of him," Cecil writes to Carew on December 15, 1606.[8] Altogether it was decided that he was safer in the Tower, since the main object of his release was at an end, none of the chiefs in arms in the South, except Thomas Oge FitzGerald of Kerry, having submitted on his account, and the rebellion being practically over. The Queen was offering pardons to all who would come in, save the chief organizers, James FitzThomas and his brother John, with conditions to the other leaders, so that in less than two months over four thousand persons by name had been recommended by Carew to the Lord Deputy for pardons.

[8] Letters, p. 60.

The young Earl himself, whose mind had evidently been weakened by his long residence in the Tower, "not well agreeing with the manners and customs of Ireland," seems to have shown no reluctance to return, and henceforth, for the short three months during which he lingered after the sougaun Earl joined him in that gloomy abode, we have few records of him except the bills of his apothecary, of which several remain to prove the feeble state of his health. In Ireland the people had looked on the pale, weakly lad as a 'changeling,' and the effect of the Irish experiment is summed up by the Earl himself in a letter written to Cecil from that country: "I find my honourable good Lord kind to me; but I am contemptible unto the country." So ended in degeneracy and alienation from his country the last scion of the Anglo-Norman house of Desmond.



Sir George Carew (b. 1564), later Earl of Totnes, who had been selected to 'pacify' Munster, was one of the most capable officers ever sent into Ireland. We may dislike his methods and condemn his principles, but of his competency there is no doubt. A Devonshire man, like so many of the leading figures of the Elizabethan period, he had come over to Ireland fresh from Oxford, to take service under his cousin, Sir Peter Carew the Elder. A younger Sir Peter, Sir George Carew's brother, had been killed in the unfortunate advance of Lord Grey's forces into Glenmalure, and George never forgave this loss. The first act that brought him into public notice was a sudden attack made by him on a passer-by in the streets of Dublin whom he believed to have been concerned in the death of this young man, for which act he was sent to England in disgrace. He made a voyage abroad with Sir Humphrey Gilbert, rose to be captain in the navy, and became later Master of the Ordnance in Ireland, Privy Councillor, and Treasurer at War. By the time he was appointed President of Munster in 1600 he had passed many years in Ireland and knew the country well.[1]

[1] For Carew's literary services to future historians of Ireland see Appendix VIII.

Vigorous, able, and ruthless, he carried through his task with determination. The accounts of his attacks on the Munster castles prove his energy and skill. When a cannon was clogged, or could not be got into position, it was Carew who took it successfully in hand; when the Irish believed Dunboy to be unassailable his quick eye noted in passing a green spot on the mainland where some troops could land and a cove on a small island which would take two falcons of brass, "as if it had been fashioned for the purpose." His reputation for an uncanny knowledge was so great that the Irish believed that he had a familiar spirit, "for they say he knows all things and that nothing can be hidden from him." [2] Men were so attached to him that Brian MacMahon was content to betray Tyrone's plans before the critical battle of Kinsale, because his son had, many years before, acted as Carew's page in England; and a Spanish captain so admired him that he wondered that Cecil could allow Carew to spend his time among a barbarous nation "for which, he verily believed, Christ had never died." [3]

[2] Pac. Hib., 11, 131.
[3] Ibid., ii, 132.

Carew's ambitions grew as time went on. He remembered that Robert FitzStephen, whom he claimed as an ancestor, had had half of the county of Cork given to him by Henry II, the castle of Carew, close to Bantry, bearing witness to his claim. The O'Dalys of Moynterbary were still his family bards; and the time came when the President put in immense claims to the O'Sullevan and MacCarthy estates. Carew had imbibed to the full the doctrines of his time. He held no faith with rebels, and worked by underground means when fair means failed. He deliberately adopted and carried out the policy of "setting one rogue to ruin another," and would admit no man to pardon until he had "done service" on some member of his own family. In the seizure of Fineen MacCarthy when under the Queen's safeguard he stooped to the basest act of perfidy. But he accomplished the work on which he was sent, and it is only fair to remember that in carrying it through he had the support of a large body of the local lords, Catholic and Protestant, Anglo-Irish and native Irish alike.

Throughout the whole of the Desmond wars the Irish gentlemen were divided into two great and powerful factions—one siding with the English, the other with the Irish party. Mixed motives, in some cases fear, in others interest or avarice, or personal hatreds, or desire for reward, influenced many powerful Irish Catholic lords to fight on the side of the Queen's armies. In Munster not only several of the lords of Anglo-Norman descent (such as Ormonde, Barrymore, Viscount Buttevant, Dunboyne, and Castleconnell) stood, at least outwardly, on the Queen's side, but several of pure Irish blood. The Baron of Upper Ossory, the Earl of Thomond, chief of the O'Briens, MacCarthy Reagh, Lord of Carbery, Sir Cormac MacCarthy, Lord of Muskerry, and Morrogh O'Brien, Lord of Inchiquin, were open supporters of the Crown. In the North there was a 'Queen's' Maguire and an independent Maguire; a 'Queen's' O'Rorke opposed Brien and his son; Hugh O'Neill was confronted by Turlogh O'Neill and the sons of Shane; and O'Donnell had to fight Neill Garbh O'Donnell, who was lying in wait for his territories. In the South Owen O'Sullevan was out against his cousin O'Sullevan Beare, and Fineen MacCarthy spent a large part of his career struggling with his cousins for the title of Earl of Clancar.

The theory of a solid Irish party fighting against a solid English party was never true at any time in Ireland. It was least of all true during the Ulster and Munster rebellions, even in what was professedly a war of religion. The contrary view ignores one of the main elements in the problem of Elizabethan Ireland. Had such a state of things existed, the wars would have been quickly decided one way or the other; but the fact that Catholic Ireland was at war not only with England, but with a large section of Catholic Ireland, many of whose leaders had their own interests to serve, made it a long and painful and difficult contest. The country was honeycombed with men halfhearted in the Irish cause or false to it, and from this condition of things English Governments reaped the full benefit. They avowedly and industriously fomented these family dissensions and jealousies, scattering promises lavishly to the ambitious and offering rewards to those who would turn the arms of their followers against those members of their house who were in rebellion, or who would by force or guile bring in their heads. Never were the vices and weaknesses of human nature more skilfully and persistently played upon, or with greater effect. Desmond and Tyrone, in all their efforts, were hampered by the knowledge that they were surrounded by spies and by allies who would not hesitate to betray them if it were to their own advantage.

During the progress of the war there were many changes of side. All did not confederate at the same time; and men who lost their estates deserted the English, while others, who had come out with Desmond, fell oft as the hope of success grew weaker and the expectation of French or Spanish assistance grew faint. The Pope offered indulgences equal to those bestowed for the crusade in defence of the Holy Sepulchre to those who joined the armies of O'Neill, but even this did not suffice to weld the Catholics into a solid body fighting for the faith.[4] During the fifteen years' war between 1588 and 1603 the towns of Ireland stood solid for the Crown. Though a large part of the inhabitants continued Catholic in religion, they were largely of English descent, and retained their old traditional loyalty unimpaired. From the shelter of their walls they looked in disapproval at the disturbed state of the outlying districts, and to them, quite as much as to the English, the armies of Desmond or the O'Byrnes were hosts of rebels. All they desired was to be left in quiet to carry on their now flourishing trade with France and Spain, or to attend to their municipal duties.

[4] O'Sullevan Beare, Hist. Cath. Iber. Comp., vol. iii, Bk. I, ch. iv-vi.

Numbers of Spaniards had settled in the towns of Cork, Waterford, and Limerick, while Galway had all the appearance of a Spanish town, with its solid lofty houses of hewn stone, bearing over the doors the arms of the wealthy merchants who inhabited them. Numbers of young Irishmen in the South were so 'Spaniolized' that they spoke Spanish as easily as their mother-tongue. Though the chances of the civil wars threw fresh trade into their hands, and they could not be prevented from supplying the rebel forces with the munitions of war, got through in spite of all the watchfulness of the English garrisons, their sympathies were limited to their business relations, and they on every occasion were ready to pour forth professions of loyalty to the Crown. In the towns the priests, too, for the most part preached and instructed the children in principles of loyalty, even during the wars of Munster. Many of them, both priests and friars, "gave an opinion that it was not only lawful to assist the Queen, but even to resist the Irish party and to draw the sword upon it." This is the report of O'Sullevan Beare, who was intimately acquainted with the South of Ireland, and in constant communication with it, even after he went to Spain.[5] These priests were indeed placed in a position of great difficulty; they were faced with the Papal excommunication if they did not support a war which had a distinctly religious character, and which had received the approval and blessing of the new Pope. They became sharply divided into two parties, most of the old Irish throwing themselves heartily on the side of the Catholic war, while the priests of the 'new Irish,' many of them men of great influence, remained staunch to their allegiance.

[5] O'Sullevan Beare, op. cit., vol. iii, Bk. I, ch. iii.

A question that aroused much attention was the position of the Irish Catholic soldiers fighting in the Queen's armies against the adherents of a cause which had the express sanction and blessing of the head of their Church.[6] The matter was considered so difficult that a special ecclesiastical council was held at Salamanca in May 1602 to consider it, but their decision was hardly clear enough to enable the individual soldier to decide on his course of action in the special circumstances of this war. They recognize the right of the Queen to command the obedience of the Irish soldiers in fighting the Queen's rebels, but the troops are exhorted not to use their obedience against the spread of the Catholic faith, a distinction that, however real in theory, was a perplexing one for the Irish soldier to translate into practice.[7] In the same year a party of thirteen Jesuit missioners coming to labour in Ireland assured her Majesty of their allegiance and their intention to defend their prince and country, "in spite of any excommunication, Papal or otherwise, denounced against her Majesty, upon any conspiracies, invasions, or foreign attempts."[8] This is a remarkable expression of opinion to be made in the year following upon the descent of the Spaniards on the coast of Cork. O'Sullevan Beare, the Catholic historian of Elizabeth's reign, gives it as his opinion that one reason that the Catholic priests "were far from exhorting their people to war" was that "at this time there was no persecution of priests." [9]

[6] The question was discussed by several leading Catholic writers of the day ; cf. Cardinal Allen, Defence of Sir William Stanley's Surrender of Daventer, for an opinion contrary to that of the Council of Salamanca.
[7] Pac. Hib., ii, 142-146, and for the original, see Ibernia Ignatiana, ed. E. Hogan (1880), pp. 106-107.
[8] Curry, Civil Wars (1810), Appendix XV, p. 649.
[9] O'Sullevan Beare, op. cit., vol. iii, Bk. I, ch. iii.

This agrees with the petition offered by the Catholic party in 1613 on the occasion of the second Parliament of James I, stating that in Queen Elizabeth's reign ecclesiastical disabilities had been very sparingly and mildly pressed. Even the Catholic colleges abroad were not all anti-English. We find a complaint made by O'Donnell and Father Conry to Philip III of Spain in 1602, when the rebellion was at its height, that in the Irish College of Salamanca, supported by the King and bishops of Spain, the Irish pupils were being reared "on such bad milk as obedience to the Queen and an affectionate love for her interests and for persons outside the pale of the Church" by the President, Thomas White, S. J., who even refused to receive pupils from Ulster and Connacht, because they were in arms against the throne. The memorialists pray that the Irish President may be removed, and that a Spanish rector may be appointed "who will punctually obey the orders he shall receive," because White's students, on their return to Ireland, teach that it is permissible to obey the Queen and to take arms against the King of Spain.[10] So difficult was it even in the very centre of Catholic Spain, and in purely Irish quarters, to secure a satisfactory disloyalty to the Crown. Even after the promulgation of the Bull of Pope Pius V absolving Elizabeth's subjects from their allegiance large numbers of her Catholic people felt that they could justly fight on her side, or if they joined the insurgents could fight for their faith and properties without incurring the stigma of disaffection to their sovereign. O'Sullevan Beare says that their opinion was not officially condemned by their own side till long afterward, in the year 1603, "when the war had been nearly finished." [11]

[10] The memorial is printed in C. P. Meehan, Fate and Fortunes of Tyrone and Tyrconnel (1868), Appendix, p. 491.
[11] O'Sullevan Beare, op. cit., vol. iii, Bk. I, ch. iii.

On September 20, 1601, Sir Charles Wilmott received in Cork the long-expected news that a fleet of forty-five Spanish ships had been sighted from the Old Head of Kinsale, bearing toward Cork Harbour. Shortly afterward this was followed by a further message that the wind had fallen, and the ships had tacked about and entered Kinsale Harbour. The small force of English retired on Cork, and the Spaniards proceeded to disembark and take possession of the town. Men remembered, when they heard the news, how anxious Fineen MacCarthy had been during the two past years to get possession of the Old Head of Kinsale, which abutted into the sea south of that harbour. Kinsale Town, containing not more than two hundred houses, lay beside the river, environed by hills and quite without defence. Don Juan del Aguila, the commander of the fleet, sent out urgent messages to O'Neill and O'Donnell, who were in Ulster seventy-five leagues distant; for nine days he got no reply. Instead of a general rising, such as the Spaniards had been led to expect, the country remained quiet, only a few followers of Fineen MacCarthy repairing to the foreigners. On the other hand, a large body of Irish under Sir Cormac MacCarthy, Lord of Muskerry, joined Carew's forces and were ordered by him to parade under the Spanish defences. Food was beginning to run short, the English troops having destroyed the country, and the country-people were wary of selling to the Spaniards, in spite of the good money offered for their goods, seeing they were so few in number. The wisdom of Tyrone's advice, that the Spanish troops should land at Carlingford, was amply proved; as it was, a march through the whole length of Ireland was required before the Irish and they could effect a junction.

Instead of the overwhelming force that Tyrone had warned the King of Spain would be necessary to effect anything in the South of Ireland, Don Juan's army consisted of 3400 men, many of whom began to fall sick as soon as they landed. But the most depressing tidings that reached Don Juan were that James FitzThomas, Earl of Desmond, and Fineen MacCarthy, the two chief supporters on whom he relied for the success of his expedition, were both of them prisoners in the hands of the English, having been taken over on the first sure tidings of the coming of the Spanish fleet and placed in the Tower. This loss of his expected allies deranged all the plans of the Spanish command. Instead of a strong combination waiting ready for their support, the forces of the South were dispersed and leaderless, and those of the North far away. They were left to meet the English alone, in terribly foul weather, and with their munitions soaked in getting them out of the vessels, and a great part of them rendered useless. On the English side Carew's longsightedness had got everything ready. In a hasty meeting with Mountjoy at Kilkenny it was decided that the Lord Deputy should accompany the army into Munster, Carew assuring him that if he came with only his page with him it would have a better effect in gathering together the troops than any service he could do in Dublin. With his usual vigour Carew set out, marched straight to Rincorran Castle, near Kinsale, which was occupied by the Spaniards, and captured it after some weeks' fighting. On November 2 the ordnance was withdrawn to the camp, and on the fifth certain news arrived that O'Donnell was approaching with a great part of the Northern army and that Tyrone would follow a few days later. He had sent into Scotland for fresh forces.

The President believed that he had O'Donnell in his grasp. He heard that he had arrived safe at Holy Cross in Co. Tipperary, and he immediately organized a large expedition, under his personal command, assisted by Sir Charles Wilmott and Sir Christopher St Lawrence, to intercept him. By a forced march he brought his army to within four miles of O'Donnell's camp, right across his way. O'Donnell was perplexed and knew not what move to make. Beside him lay the mountain of Slieve Felim, now impassable by reason of the heavy rains, no carriage or horse being able to cross the boggy ground. But on that night, while the English army was resting in camp, "there happened a great frost the like of which hath been seldom seen in Ireland," which so hardened the ground that during the night O'Donnell with all his forces, having first lighted camp-fires to deceive the enemy, slipped silently away and across the mountain. When morning came Carew found the camp deserted. Hastily he pursued them to the abbey of Owney, eight miles east of Limerick, expecting to find the army encamped there to rest; but O'Donnell was already gone on twelve miles farther to Croom, a march of thirty-two Irish miles without any rest, "the greatest march with carriage that hath been heard of," admitted the baffled but admiring Carew. For two days more the two armies kept near each other, and then Carew thought it prudent to return to Kinsale lest the enemy, who was taking a circuitous path, should nevertheless arrive there before him. As they came toward the camp they met the Earl of Clanricarde bringing in his regiment to the assistance of the English, while the Earl of Thomond was endeavouring to bring up supplies and men by sea, but in the furious storms these had been driven westward to Castlehaven. Shortly after he succeeded in making Kinsale Harbour Don Juan also received the supplies of ammunition and food for which he had been waiting; they arrived in seven transports, which had been long detained in the harbour of Corunna by the wild weather. They found the English on the point of landing, but a hurried message to O'Sullevan, chief of Beare, for the first time brought this hitherto neutral chief to their assistance with five hundred foot and a small body of picked horsemen; and the English, shut in between the town and the transports, were heavily bombarded and suffered severely in losses both of men and ships.

The English main army also was not well placed. Their great camp lay north of Kinsale Town, which they were investing, and they captured and held Castle ny Parke, a strong fort on an island in the harbour; but as the forces of O'Donnell began to arrive they found themselves hemmed in between his army and the town, unable to get out to forage for food, or to obtain the supplies which the country-people were trying to get through to them. They only ventured out at night and later not at all, so that they began to suffer badly from want of provisions. Pestilence broke out, and O'Sullevan Beare, whose father was acting with the Spaniards, heard that, out of fifteen thousand men with the English at the beginning of the siege, eight thousand perished of want, cold, and hunger, or by the sword.

Carew was seriously contemplating raising the siege and retreating to Cork.[12] There were other causes of anxiety. O'Donnell and O'Neill, who was now approaching, were both accompanied by a large number of the Northern chiefs and their followers, and Carew had reason to know that a considerable proportion of the pardoned and protected Munster lords, lately come in, were intending to join their forces and make one last cast for the deliverance of their country from the English. Nor was he sure of his Irish troops; it was unlikely that they would stand steady if all their own chiefs were fighting on the other side. Even a man like Sir Fineen O'Driscoll, "who never in his whole life had been tainted with the least spot of disloyalty," was 'out' on this occasion and gave up his castle of Baltimore to the Spaniards, who thus now commanded the three harbours of Kinsale, Baltimore, and Bearehaven, Donal O'Sullevan Beare having surrendered his castle of Dunboy into their hands. At the moment when O'Neill's great army was reported in sight there seemed to be nothing to prevent the complete annihilation of the whole of the English forces. Don Juan declared in a letter to O'Neill that there were not sufficient of them left to man a third part of their trenches; and when O'Neill sat down between them and Cork their only possible way of retreat seemed closed.

[12] O'Sullevan Beare may be thought a partisan writer, but he was in a position to know. He is usually fair, and on this occasion, considering the result of the battle of Kinsale, it would have been more likely that he would tend to exaggerate the numbers of the English troops.

But the great blow that was to have been decisive for Ireland was never struck. A division of opinion arose among the leaders. O'Neill, seeing the English so weakened, advised that no attack should be made, but that they should be hemmed in until want of food brought about their surrender. Don Juan, on the other hand, was urging him in letter after letter to strike at once and hard, promising that he would sally out of Kinsale and form a junction with him. Most of these communications were delivered to Carew and not to O'Neill; still, he was well aware what the Spaniards wished, and to meet their views he arranged a rendezvous for a certain day. Carew, possessed of full information of all that was going on, arrived at the place before him and set his troops to work on a sham fight with much beating of drums and firing of musketry. By nightfall O'Neill and O'Sullevan, thinking that the Spaniards were already engaged, had hurried to the spot, but Don Juan, better informed, kept safe within Kinsale. A series of curious errors occurred. O'Donnell, who was to follow, lost his way in the darkness and wandered far from the scene of action. Don Juan lay quiet, and O'Neill, examining the English trenches from a hillock in the early morning, saw that they were strongly fortified and filled with a fine body of soldiers, sleeping under arms with their horses bridled beside them. In these circumstances he thought a retreat was the path of prudence, and he was retiring to his camp when O'Donnell's cavalry, led by himself, came up with him Meanwhile, the Lord Deputy and President, expecting the decisive battle to take place that day (December 24, 1601), were consulting in the early morning about the disposition of their forces and had sent out orders that they were to post themselves strongly between the town and the enemy camp. The Spaniards were so confident of victory that they were disputing among themselves whose prisoner the Lord Deputy should be, and whose the President. While this was going on news was brought in that O'Neill was retiring, and some of the Viceroy's cavalry, following him, were impatient to charge. O'Donnell's army lay beyond a ford, and, Mountjoy having given permission to his Marshal to use his own discretion, the English horse charged across the ford. They were driven back by O'Donnell's cavalry, but turned and charged again, this time throwing O'Donnell's horse into confusion.

Meanwhile, the main bodies of the two armies became engaged, and for a short time O'Sullevan, Tyrrell, and the Spaniards stood firm on the crest of a little hill, with a bog on their right. But a general panic had seized the troops of O'Neill and O'Donnell; they scattered right and left, and no persuasions would recall them, though even some of the Irish gentlemen in the English army, ashamed of their countrymen's conduct, tried to hearten them, promising that they would not attack them. For an hour and a half the Queen's soldiers followed the flying army, cutting them down till they were tired with killing. On the battlefield the Earl of Clanricarde was dubbed a knight for valour, he having been shot through his garments, for "no man did bloody his sword more than his lordship did that day." The Spaniards, hearing the volleys of shot discharged for joy, thought it was the Irish troops approaching, and made a sally out of the town; but seeing the Spanish colours being carried by an Englishman they made a speedy retreat. The great religious and national crusade had come to an end. O'Neill's disheartened clansmen refused to fight any longer; O'Rorke slipped away home to fight his own brother, who had proclaimed himself chief in his absence, and the Scots departed to their homes. O'Donnell, Redmond Burke, and Hugh Mostian, with their followers, took ship in the Spanish transports in the bay and sailed away to Spain. They were followed by a large number of chiefs' sons and men who had taken part in the fighting. Moryson says that the peace enabled them to fly their devastated land and seek refuge in England and France, where multitudes of them lived for some years after the peace was made.[13]

[13] History of Ireland, 11, 284.

Tyrone had a disastrous journey back to the north, being himself wounded and carried on a litter, his army broken up and many men perishing in the swollen streams or at the hands of the country people. Don Juan del Aguila, seeing his allies "broken with a handful of men, blown asunder into divers parts of the world," surrendered Kinsale, with the other castles possessed by the Spaniards, into the hands of the Viceroy, and over three thousand men—Spaniards and Irish, soldiers, priests, and religious orders—re-embarked for Spain. Fierce anger seized upon the Irish when they heard that Don Juan had agreed with the Viceroy to hand over to him the castles of Baltimore and Dunboy. All the wrath that they had hitherto felt against the English was now turned against their late allies. At Castlehaven the O'Driscolls managed by a ruse to get back their ancestral home, and when Captain Harvey entered the harbour he found the Spaniards assaulting it, in an endeavour to recover it from its owners. At Baltimore, where the Spaniards were still in possession, the castles of Donneshed and Donelong, on either side of the harbour, were "with Spanish gravity" rendered to her Majesty's use, and the garrisons set sail for Spain.

Dunboy was a harder problem. Its remote situation, great strength, and the wild seas which swept the entrance to Bantry Bay, on the north side of which it lay on a point of the mainland close to Beare Island, made it a difficult place to capture, and on Harvey's first attempt to make the entrance of the bay he was driven back by storms with a loss of fifty of his men and nearly all his crew. Meanwhile, Donal O'Sullevan, chief of Beare, the owner of the castle, determined to make an attempt to get it back into his own hands. He knew that having been in arms against the Queen he had little hope of pardon. He had heard that Hugh Roe had been well received in Spain, and that King Philip had promised further substantial succours in men and money. One ship had already been seen hovering outside Kinsale, but on hearing that Don Juan had surrendered, it had sailed hurriedly away again, taking back the bad news of the defeat of Kinsale to Spain, and effectually putting an end to the preparations which the Spanish King was pushing forward. At dead of night O'Sullevan surprised the castle and effected an entrance through a breach in the wall, so that when the Spanish captain awoke in the morning he found himself prisoner and the fort in the possession of its original owners. O'Sullevan disarmed them all and sent the larger number of the Spaniards to Baltimore to be embarked for Spain, holding the captain and a few of the best men as prisoners, with all the stores and guns. This was in February 1602, and in April the President, turning a deaf ear to all who tried to persuade him of the uselessness of such an enterprise, determined on a land attempt to reduce the castle. "Neither bogs nor rocks," he said, "should forbid the passage of his cannon," when he was warned that there were places in the mountains at the head of Bantry Bay impassable for horse and carriages, and passes where men could only walk in single file. He was himself ill, both he and the Viceroy having been seized with sudden illness on the day after they had separated, Mountjoy to go to Dublin and Carew to Cork.

The Viceroy had to be carried on a horse-litter, and Carew was at the point of death. It looked suspiciously like a renewal of the attempt made before the battle of Kinsale to poison the President. But neither illness nor difficulties would turn him from his purpose. On April 23 he drew out of Cork, having been able to get together only fifteen hundred men out of the three thousand on the lists, sickness during the long winter's siege of Kinsale having taken its usual heavy toll. They marched along the sea-coast as far as Baltimore, and then struck northward, effecting a junction with Captain Flower's garrison at Carew Castle, the home of the President's ancestors, near Bantry Abbey. Here, while the President awaited the arrival of his provisions by sea, Sir Charles Wilmott was scouring North Kerry, capturing the castles, receiving submission from a number of the chiefs, and clearing all the district, so that the President should have no enemy at his back when marching on Bantry. On the same day that the transport vessels sailed into Bantry Bay he joined his forces to those of Carew, and it was decided that the way round the head of the Bay having proved impassable, as had been predicted, the attempt should be made by sea, and the Earl of Thomond was sent across to tow up the vessel under Beare Island (called the Great Island) opposite Dunboy, from which it was intended to make the attack.

Meanwhile, O'Sullevan had been fully employed in strengthening the defences of the castle, and building a new bastion on the side of attack; he also fortified the small island of the Durses near the mouth of the harbour, to which, in case of the castle falling, he proposed to retire. The bastion, however, turned out to be a disadvantage to the besieged, for, being battered by the enemy's cannon, the rubbish fell between it and the main wall, and the English were able to get access across it into the upper part of the fortifications. O'Sullevan had placed the defence in the hands of Richard MacGeoghegan, the Constable, and Thomas Taylor, an Englishman, who believed they had made not only the castle itself but also the approaches impregnable. All around, at every possible landing as was thought, the shore had been trenched and gabioned, so that anyone putting his foot on the island would meet a certain death. But Carew was out betimes in the morning, and his experienced eye, as he passed in his pinnace close to the shore, discerned a small island close to the mainland where a strip of ground, hidden from the castle by a cleft rock or gully, afforded space for two small pieces of brass. By a ruse he succeeded in distracting the attention of the defenders until he got his cannon landed and fixed, while his regiments, creeping up on the farther side of the small island, succeeded in landing on the mainland under cover of the guns.

On the same day a Spanish ship entered the bay, with £1200 and large promises, bringing also the energetic Owen MacEggan, Papal Bishop of Rosse, who was a constant intermediary between the Irish and the Spanish Court. The Jesuit, James Archer, another active supporter of the insurgents, was at Dunboy. Now began the famous siege of Dunboy, in which the small garrison of less than a hundred and fifty men challenged the host of the besiegers battering on the walls with their guns from the opposite shore. On one occasion the President, the Earl of Thomond, and Sir Charles Wilmott, riding together on the shore, were nearly carried off by a cannon-shot from the walls. The fall of the new turret, which buried in its ruins many of the besieged, brought down part of the tower, and a message was sent to the President offering to yield the castle. Carew hanged the messenger and ordered an assault. Led by Lieutenant Kirton, the breach was entered and the turret gained; the President's colours flew out from its top, and a captured piece of cannon was turned on the defenders. The Spaniards were forced back into a narrow passage, where they stood pouring stones on their pursuers, who were slowly but surely fighting their way to the top of the vault. At length Captain Slingsby succeeded in reaching the top, and on clearing away the rubbish he found a spike or window commanding the part of the barbican where the inhabitants were still defending themselves. Pushed on both sides and in desperate case, some forty of the defenders made a sally out of the castle on the sea side, where, being met by a waiting party under Captain Blundell, "we had the execution of them all," as Carew reports. Eight desperate men leapt into the sea to save themselves by swimming, but they were cut down by men in boats. One man, who leaped from the top of the vault, proved to be that follower of Owny O'More who in 1600 had dragged Ormonde from his horse and taken him captive.

The English flag now flew from the top of the castle, but the rest of the ward, over seventy men, took refuge in the cellars, where, the sun being set, they remained all night under a strong guard placed at the top of the narrow stone steps which led below. The next morning twenty-three of them gave themselves up. The Constable was mortally wounded, and the command of the dark chamber was given to Taylor, whose father was "the dearest and inwardest man" with Tyrrell, one of the most intractable of the Munster rebels. He took a desperate resolve. In the cellar were nine barrels of gunpowder, and beside an opened case Taylor sat down, with a lighted match in his hand, swearing to set the powder alight and blow up all that was left of the castle and all that were within it, unless the President gave them promise of their lives. This was refused, and a new battery was begun with the intention of burying them in the ruins. Some of the bullets entered the cellar, and his companions besought Taylor to submit; by ten in the morning he was forced by them to give way, and they prepared themselves to come forth. Sir George Thornton and Captains Harvey and Power entered the vault to receive their submission, when MacGeoghegan, who was stretched dying on the floor, seeing Taylor and the rest about to yield, suddenly raised himself from the ground, snatched a lighted candle, and staggering toward the open barrel of powder was on the point of flinging it into the cask when Captain Power caught him in his arms, and he fell to earth under the swords of the soldiers, dead. The rest were taken and executed. Taylor, having been proved to have had a chief hand in the murder of Sir George Bingham at Sligo, was hanged in chains at Cork. The same fate befell a friar named Collins at Youghal. The garrison is said by Carew to have consisted of "the best choice of their forces," and "so obstinate and resolved a defence had not been seen within this kingdom." Dunboy was emptied of its still large stores of provision, and then the old castle was blown up with the nine barrels of powder, as it was found impracticable to defend the ruins in so isolated a situation.[14]

[14] This account is taken from that of the eyewitnesses in Pacata Hibernia (ii, 190-205), but the report given in O'Sullevan's history (vol. iii, Bk, VII, ch. iii) differs very little, save that it adds some painful details of the cruelties practised by the soldiers at Dursey Island. Collins had served in his youth as an officer under Henry IV of France. O'Sullevan says, too, that a treaty had been entered into with the besieged before they capitulated, which was kept with "English faithfulness," the men and women being hanged.

The rebellion was practically over. Even the Wicklow clans had been reduced by a rapid march into the mountains in the depth of winter when the country was covered with snow. Mountjoy's rapidity of movement was so great that Sir Phelim MacFeagh, O'Donnell's friend, found his house surrounded with troops when he was preparing for his Christmas festivities. His wife and son were taken, and he himself with difficulty escaped from a back window. He spent a cold Christmas in the wood, writes Moryson, "while my Lord lived plentifully in his house, consuming such provisions as were prepared for him and his 'bonnaghs' and kerne to keep a merry Christmas."

Submissions began to come in from all parts of the country. In the North the lesser chiefs of the Ferney, the Fews, and the Brenny submitted, while some of the chiefs of O'Doherty's country and of the O'Hanlons gave in their submissions to Sir Henry Docwra on Lough Foyle, and pardons were granted to the chiefs of the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles of Wicklow and to the heads of the septs of the MacMahons and Magenneses. On April 23 the Deputy kept St George's Feast at Dublin with solemn pomp, the captains bringing up his meat and the colonels attending on his person at table. The newly received protected Lords were all present—Turlogh MacHenry, Ever MacCooley, Phelim MacFeagh, chief of the O'Byrnes, and Donal Spaniagh, chief of the Kavanaghs. These were entertained "with plenty of wine and all kindness," the Deputy assuring them that as he had been a scourge to them in rebellion, so he would now be mediator for them to her Majesty in their state of subjects, if they would stand firm and constant to their obedience.[15]

[15] Fynes Moryson, History of Ireland, i, 227-228.

More important still were the Munster submissions. From the end of March to the beginning of May the following lords came in with their followers: MacCarthy Reagh, chief of Carbery, O'Sullevan Beare, and O'Sullevan Bantry, FitzJames FitzGerald, and several minor chiefs. O'Sullevan More came in a few days later with one of the O'Mulrians of Co. Cork. Mountjoy was able to write on May 2 to the English Government that Munster was not only well reduced, but "began to taste the sweetness of peace," [16] that the like might be said of Leinster, except the O'Mores and O'Connors, who were scattered and had sought but could not obtain of him the Queen's mercy; that the northern borders of Ulster were assured; that garrisons were planted in the Brenny, and the Queen's Maguire settled in Fermanagh; that Sir Henry Docwra at Lough Foyle and Sir Arthur Chichester at Carrickfergus had made their neighbours sure to the State and both had done excellent service. He reports further the unusual information that "we have a constant and of late extraordinary conceived confidence in this people." After the fall of Dunboy it was expected that the Munster chiefs would all come in, but they did so very slowly. Hugh Roe in Spain grew sick at heart as he waited in vain for promised succours, and Cecil's view that except at the time of the Armada the object of the King of Spain was rather to "consume the Queen with charges in Ireland and to divert her troops from the Spanish wars in Flanders" was probably true. The smallness of the help sent and the uncertainty with which it came hardly looks like a determined effort to support religion or to aid the Irish, and this view is borne out by the cynical conversation between Pedro Lopez de Soto, who came over with Don Juan, and Captain Harvey. The former refused to believe that Harvey could seriously think that the Spaniards wished to assist the Irish.[17] But the King of Spain offered an asylum to O'Donnell, and he was on his way to visit the King at Valladolid about August 9, 1602, when he was suddenly taken ill and died on September 10, supported by the affection of Father Conry and a friar from his own monastery of Donegal. We now know from the State Papers that he was poisoned, or, in the euphemistic language of the day, "practised against," by one James Blake, with the approval of Carew and Mountjoy.[18] "O'Donnell is certainly dead," wrote Carew; "I know they dare not deliver untruths to me." He left the charge of his sept to his brother Rory.

[16] Ibid., i, 228-229, 250.
[17] Pac. Hib., ii, 130-132.
[18] Carew, Cal., iv, No. 241, p. 239 (May 28, 1602) ; ibid., iv, No. 321, p. 349 (October 9, 1602) ; O'Clery, Life of Red Hugh O'Donnell, cxlix, cl, cliii.

After the treaty between Don Juan and the President, O'Sullevan found himself homeless His almost impregnable castle of Dunboy, placed on a spacious haven, the haunt during the fishing season of fisherfolk of all nations, from whose dues O'Sullevan gained £500 yearly, was handed over by his allies the Spaniards to his enemies. Secure in his isolation, he had taken little part in the wars of the province, but his relations were found fighting on both sides. For a time he held out with the lords of the country who were still in arms and two thousand picked young men who drove the Queen's forces into the towns. Losing heart after the news of O'Donnell's death, and having the choice to submit or to quit the country, O'Sullevan took the desperate resolve to march with the remnants of his people, and in the depth of a stormy winter, from Glengariff to O'Donnell's country in Donegal—a hundred leagues of wild mountain travelling, with the crossing of the Shannon, every ford of which was watched, on the way. The history of their sufferings is vividly told by Don Philip O'Sullevan Beare, who had taken refuge in Spain. The nearest help on which they could rely was O'Rorke of Leitrim, and when they came knocking at his fort, after crossing the Curlew Mountains, only thirty-five of the thousand persons who had set out from Kerry were alive, one of them a woman, another the historian's father, an old man of nearly seventy years of age.[19] This famous retreat of the O'Sullevan from Glengariff has become celebrated in the pipe-march which bears his name.

[19] O'Sullevan Beare, Hist, Cath. Iber. Comp., vol. iii, Bk. VII, ch. viii-xii.

The pacification of Munster was over, but Munster was ruined. Edmund Spenser, from his castle at Kilcolman, tells us what, even in the better-inhabited parts of Munster, his own eyes had seen. He says, speaking of the comparative speed with which the country was subdued, that owing to the system of winter campaigns it was impossible for them to continue long in arms. "The trees are bare and naked, which use both to clothe and house the kerne; the ground is cold and wet which useth to be his bedding; the air is sharp and bitter to blow through his naked sides and legs; the kine are barren and without milk which useth to be his food;...besides, being all with calf for the most part, they will, only through much driving and chasing, cast all their calves and lose their milk which should relieve him the next summer." Starvation quickly finished the work that the sword began, and "notwithstanding that Munster was a most rich and plentiful country, full of corn and cattle, that you would have thought they would have been able to stand long, yet ere one year and a half they were brought to such wretchedness as any stony heart would have rued the same. Out of every corner of the woods and glens they came creeping forth upon their hands, for their legs would not bear them; they looked like anatomies of death; they spake like ghosts crying out of their graves. They did eat dead carrions, happy where they could find them, yea and one another soon after, insomuch as the very carcasses they spared not to scrape out of their graves; and if they found a plot of water-cresses or shamrocks, there they flocked as to a feast...; in a short space there was none almost left, and a most populous and plentiful country suddenly left void of man and beast. Yet, sure, in all that war there perished not many by the sword, but by the extremity of famine which they themselves had wrought." [20]

[20] Spenser, View of the State of Ireland (Morley's ed., 1890), pp. 140, 143.



After a desperate and successful struggle with the 'English Maguire,' who held the islands of Lough Erne and all the fords, O'Sullevan arrived in Glenconkeine. only to find that O'Neill was on his way to Dublin, about to make his submission and accept terms of peace. Hugh had decided that the moment had arrived when he could hold out no longer. The fatal news of the death of O'Donnell had broken his hopes, and, ever since, his most trusted officers had been falling away from him, seeing no hope left of success. The sons of Shane O'Neill, whom the English had induced him to release from imprisonment on his last submission, were now guiding the Deputy's army into Ulster. The fort of Portmore was being rebuilt and had been renamed Charlemont. It was situated close to Tyrone's old home of Dungannon and commanded the entrance into the North. But, most decisive reason of all, Ulster was swept by famine, and to sustain human life in the country had become an impossibility.

The terrible policy of the year before had had its full result, and Ulster, whose fields had formerly been thick with corn, was reduced to a desert. Mountjoy and his party as they moved along saw everywhere the results of their own deliberate action. "We have seen no one man in all Tyrone of late," he writes, "but dead carcases merely hunger-starved, of which we found divers as we passed. Between Tullaghoge and Toome [a distance of seventeen miles] I believe there lay unburied a thousand dead, and since our first drawing this year to Blackwater there were about three thousand starved in Tyrone...To-morrow, by the grace of God, I am going into the field, as near as I can to utterly waste the County Tyrone." The wolves, coming down to the plains from the woods and mountains, attacked and tore to pieces men weak from want. A terrible plague ran through the country. Tyrone felt that it was time to make an end, and when Sir Garrett Moore, the one man he trusted, came to him with Mountjoy's message he at once signified his intention to go with him and prepared for the journey. On March 29 he surrendered himself to the two commissioners at Tougher, five miles from Dungannon, and on the following evening he made his formal submission to the Deputy at Mellifont, agreeing without demur to all the conditions imposed.

Two days before the arrival of Tyrone a messenger to the Deputy had arrived at Mellifont from London bringing important news. Queen Elizabeth, the woman whom some of those who had seen service in Ireland "feared more than the rebel Tyrone," had passed away. Her last days had been haunted by the thought of her great adversary, whom "the cost of £100,000 and the best army in Europe had not been able to subdue." Shortly before her death, when she was feeling "creeping time at her gate," Sir John Harington was called to her presence; he found her in most pitiable state, but her first question was to ask whether he had seen Tyrone. Now she was gone without knowing of the submission he had made to her shade, for it was deliberately decided by Mountjoy that O'Neill should not be told till his submission was complete. To James, if he succeeded, no submission would need to have been made, for James had a grateful recollection of help received from O'Neill during his Scottish wars. It was only when he was about to repeat his oath in Dublin that Tyrone was informed that it was to be taken to the new monarch. All men observed his face when the disclosure was made to him. His astonishment was plain, but he burst into passionate weeping. A few days later he was on his way to England, accompanied or followed by Rory O'Donnell, O'Sullevan, Niall Garbh, and other Irish chiefs anxious to pay their respects to the new king. Only O'Rorke and Maguire declined any accommodation, and departed to their own country.

O'Sullevan could obtain no pardon, and fled to Spain with others of his family, being warmly received and decorated by the Catholic King; Rory was restored to his country with the title of Earl of Tyrconnel; but Niall Garbh, Rory's old rival and enemy, who had been so long supported by Elizabeth's Government, found himself looked upon by James I as a usurper, and reduced to his old position with the title of Baron. He had long filled a place to which he had no claim. O'Sullevan finds him "rough [garbh] by name and rough by nature," and his loud complaints moved none to sympathy. In days to come, his wife's mother, Ineen Dubh, mother to Hugh Roe and Rory, accused Sir Niall of taking part in O'Doherty's revolt, and in 1608 he, his son, and his two brothers were committed to the Tower. His two brothers were released; but Sir Niall and his son ended their lives in confinement, the former after an imprisonment of eighteen years.

King James received Hugh with respect and friendliness, and made him welcome at the Court. This sudden change in O'Neill's fortunes brought consternation in more quarters than one. "I have lived," cries Sir John Harington, "to see that damnable rebel Tyrone brought to England, courteously favoured, honoured, and well liked...How did I labour after that knave's destruction ! I was called from my home by her Majesty's command, adventured perils by sea and land, endured toil, was near starving, ate horseflesh in Munster, and all to quell that man, who now smileth in peace at those that did hazard their lives to destroy him...Now doth Tyrone dare us old commanders with his presence and protection." [1]

[1] Nugae Antiquae, 11, 149, 151.

In Ireland the embarrassment was hardly less. Docwra, still holding his post at Lough Foyle, was particularly disturbed by the news. He had recently persuaded O'Kane (O'Cahan), one of O'Neill's under-chiefs and his son-in-law to come in, on the agreement that he should hold directly of the Crown, and no more pay rents or hold his lands under his lord O'Neill. He should, in fact, be an independent chief. Docwra, a blunt soldier who had endeavoured to deal honestly with the chiefs, with whom he was on good terms, was in the act of effecting these arrangements when sharp reminders came down from Dublin that "my Lord of Tyrone is taken in to be restored to all his honours and dignities" and that O'Kane's country is his and must be obedient to his command. When Docwra expostulates that "this is strange and beyond all expectation," and declares "I know not how I shall look this man in the face when I shall know myself guilty directly to have falsified my word to him," he is told that O'Kane is "but a base and drunken fellow...and able to do neither good nor harm," while the public good demanded that my Lord of Tyrone "should be contented, upon which depends the peace and security of the whole kingdom." Truly times were changed when Mountjoy could write thus of his old foe.[2] Docwra, in spite of his own vigorous dislike of the whole matter, had to pass on the unwelcome orders to O'Kane, who was highly offended, burst into a passion, and shaking hands with Hugh, Tyrone's son, who was present, bade the devil take all Englishmen and as many as put their trust in them. He asked, "Would the English claim him hereafter "if he followed Tyrone's counsel, though it were against the king? The relations between him and Tyrone were no better, and at the council table in Dublin Tyrone seized the papers he had given to O'Kane granting him his land at a fixed rent out of his hand again, and tore them in pieces before his eyes. A similar treatment