THE AGE OF CHRIST, 1601. The Age of Christ, one thousand six hundred one.
The sons of John of the Shamrocks, the son of Rickard Saxonagh, of whom we have already treated, happened to be encamped during the first days of the month of January in O'Meagher's country, in Ikerrin. Spies and scouts came upon them in that place from the Butlers, after it had been reported by some of their gentlemen that an advantage and opportunity could be had by attacking them in the place where they then were. For this purpose Sir Walter, the son of John, son of James Butler, and Mac Pierce, i.e. James, the son of Edmond, son of James, with some of the gentlemen of the two countries, i.e. of the county of Tipperary and of the county of Kilkenny, came to a conference and meeting on a certain night, at an appointed place. The result of their conference, and the resolution to which they agreed, was, to attack the Connaught camp at day-break next morning.
An unusual accident and a sad fatality occurred to the camp of the Bourkes, namely, an advantage was taken of their want of watching, so that their enemies came into the midst of them. They left them lying mangled and slaughtered, pierced and blood-stained corpses, throughout their tents and booths.
p.2229On this occasion was slain O'Shaughnessy, i.e. John, the son of Gilla-Duv, son of Dermot, son of William, who had been banished from his patrimony, as indeed had been all those plunderers who were along with the sons of John Burke. John Oge, the son of John Burke, was taken prisoner, and conveyed to Kilkenny, to be confined. Redmond Burke, and William, together with a party of their people, escaped from this affray; and they went from thence into Ely, but they did not remain long in that territory, when they proceeded into Ulster, leaving the castles which until then they had possessed in East Munster under slender guard. On their arrival among the Irish of the North, namely, O'Neill and O'Donnell, Redmond proceeded to hire soldiers, to march into Clanrickard; and, as soon as he had mustered a sufficient number of these, he led them, during the first days of spring, across the Erne, and passed along the borders of Breifny O'Rourke, through the counties of Sligo and Roscommon, and across the River Suck, into Clann-Conway. He made a prisoner of the lord of this territory, namely, Mac David (Fiach, son of Hubert Boy, son of William, son of Thomas); and he afterwards proceeded to Tuath-an-Chalaidh, in the upper part of Hy-Many, in the county of Galway. When the Earl of Clanrickard, i.e. Ulick Burke, heard of this thing, he went to the eastern extremity of his country, to await and watch Redmond; but, notwithstanding all his vigilance, Redmond, on the thirteenth night of the month of March, without being heard or noticed by the Earl or his sentinels, passed by them into Clanrickard, until he arrived in the district of Kinel-Feichin, in the south of the barony of Leitrim, in the county of Galway. Towards the end of that night, and by the dawning of day, Redmond sent forth his maraurding parties through every town of that district, from Magh-glass to Crannog-Meg-Cnaimhin, and from Coill-bhreac to the mountain; and before the noon of that day Redmond
p.2231had in his power the greater part of the property, and all the moveable effects, of that territory. He afterwards went to take up his abode in the woods situated in the upper part of that district, and continued for four or five days moving about in this manner, plundering his neighbours, and strengthening the ramparts around himself, until the Earl of Clanrickard, accompanied by all the troops he had been able to muster in the district, arrived, and pitched his camp at the monastery of Kinel-Fheichin. Thus they remained for four or five days, during which time some persons not illustrious were slain between them, until Teige, the son of Brian-na-Murtha, son of Brian Ballagh, son of Owen O'Rourke, arrived with bold companies of sharp-armed soldiers to assist Redmond. When these two parties combined overtook the Earl, he left the camp in which he was, and proceeded through the passes into Clanrickard. The others pursued him to Loughrea; and, the Earl and his people escaping from them on this occasion,they traversed, plundered, and burned the country from Leitrim to Ard-Maeldubhain and as far as the gate of Feadán, in the west of Kinelea. At this time they lost a Munster lord of a territory, i.e. MacDonough, i.e. Donough, the son of Cormac Oge, son of Cormac. What brought him on this expedition was this, he had been carried off as a hostage by O'Neill in the spring of the preceding year, and had remained in Ulster until having regained his liberty he set out with those sons of John Burke, and so fell in this war of the Clann-William.
When Redmond arrived with his marauders on the confines of Thomond, they pitched a camp on the western side of Loch-Cutra. Here he was joined by a young gentleman of the Dal-Cais, namely, Teige, the son of Turlough, son of Donnell, son of Conor O'Brien, who had been induced to join him through the advice and solicitation of bad and foolish men, and without consulting or taking counsel of his father or the Earl of Clanrickard, to whom he was related
p.2233and friendly. When the sons of John Burke and Teige O'Brien had entered into a confederacy with each other, Teige requested, in three days afterwards, that he should get a company to go on an incursion into some angle of Thomond. He was not refused this request, for some of the gentlemen of the camp went along with him, with their kerns. Among these were William, the son of John Burke, and the son of Mac William Burke, i.e. Walter, the son of William, son of David, son of Edmond, son of Ulick. On leaving the camp, they passed along the borders of Kinelea, and Echtghe, and Kinel-Dunghaile. They sent off marauding parties along both banks of the Fergus, into the lower part of Hy-Fearmaic, and the upper part of Clann-Cuilein. Some of them proceeded to Baile-Ui-Aille, and near Clonroad; and they returned that night with their spoils to Cill-Reachtais, in Upper Clann-Cuilein. On their leaving this town, on the following morning, they were overtaken by the rising-out of the two Clann-Cuileins, with their gentlemen. They were also overtaken by the companies of the Earl of Thomond. These pursuing forces of Thomond proceeded to shoot at the insurgents, and killed many of their men, from thence to Miliuc-Ui-Ghrada, in the east of Cenel-Donghaile. The pursuers then returned, and the others carried off the prey to their camp, after having lost some of their gentlemen and common people. Among these was that son of Mac William whom we have already mentioned, namely, Walter, the son of William Burke. Teige, the son of Turlough O' Brien, was wounded the same day by the shot of a ball; so that on his arrival at the camp he was obliged, in despite of his unbending mind and his impetuous spirit, to betake himself to the bed of sickness, and go under the hands of physicians.
A great number of the Queen's people came from various places to assist the Earl of Clanrickard. Of these were eight or nine standards of soldiers, sent from the President of the two provinces of Munster. Thither came the Earl's own son, who had been for some time before along with the Lord Justice, with a band of foreign soldiers; thither also came the Deputy of the Governor of the province of Connaught, and there came also an auxiliary force from Galway.
p.2235When the sons of John Burke heard of this muster, they removed back eastwards, along the mountain, into the fastnesses of the district of Kinel-Fheichin, and remained in the ready huts in which they had been before. They had not been long here when the sons of the Earl, namely, the Baron of Dunkellin and Sir Thomas Burke, with every one of his sons that was capable af bearing arms, arrived in the district in pursuit of them, at the head of very numerous forces, and pitched a splendid and well-furnished camp in the very middle of the district. The Earl of Clanrickard himself was not in this camp, for he had been attacked by a fit of sickness, and a severe, sharp disease, the week before, so that he was not able to undertake an expedition at this time.
When the Deputy of the Governor of Connaught and the Baron of Dunkellin received intelligence that Teige O'Brien was lying severely wounded in that camp of Redmond Burke, they sent him a protection in behalf of the Queen, upon which he repaired to them. The Baron sent an escort with him to Leitrim, one of the Earl's castles. But he did not live long there, for he died shortly afterwards; and he was buried successively at Loughrea and Athenry in one week. Alas to the country that lost this young scion! He was expert at every warlike weapon and military engine used by the Irish on the field of battle. He was full of energy and animation, and distinguished for agility, expertness, miIdness, comeliness, renown, and hospitality.
As for the camps in the district of Kinel-Fheichin, they were front to front, guarding against each other daily, from the festival of St. Patrick to the end of the month of April, when the provisions and stores of flesh meat of the sons of John Burke began to grow scant and to fail; and they, therefore, proceeded to quit the territory; and after their departure they carried off a prey from O'Madden, i.e. Donnell, the son of John, son of Breasal, and then proceeded across the Suck. The sons of the Earl, in the mean time, continued to pursue them; and many persons were slain between them on this occasion. The sons of John Burke then went to Tirconnell, to O'Donnell; and the sons of the Earl returned to their own country and their houses. Upon their return to their patrimony, they found their father, i.e. Ulick, the son of Rickard, son of Ulick-na-gCeann, in his last moments, after making his wild, and bidding farewell to
p.2237his earthly friends, and settling his worldly affairs. The Earl died, in the month of May, in the town of Loughrea; and he was interred at Athenry with great solemnity. The person who died here was the subject of one of the mournful news of the time among the Irish. He was a sedate and justly-judging lord; of a mild, august, chief-becoming countenance; affable in conversation, gentle towards the people of his territory, fierce to his neighbours, and impartial in all his decisions; a man who had never been known to act a feeble or imbecile part on the field of danger, from the day he had first taken up arms to the day of his death. His son, Rickard, was appointed in his place. To commemorate the year of the Earl's death, the following was composed:
- 1] Sixteen hundred years and one besides,
2] From the time that Christ came into a body,
3] The advocate of our causes at every term,
4] To the death of the Earl Ulick.
O'Doherty (John Oge, the son of John, son of Felim, son of Conor Carragh) died on the 27th of January. He was Lord of the triocha-ched of Inishowen; and there was not among all the Irish of his time a lord of a triocha-ched of better hand or hospitality, or of firmer counsel, than he. O'Donnell nominated Felim Oge, i.e. the brother of the deceased John, the O'Doherty; but the Clann-Ailin and the Clann-Devitt took Cahir, the son of John Oge, to the English, to Derry; and the General, Sir Henry Docwra, styled him O'Doherty, to spite O'Donnell.
Redmond O'Gallagher, Bishop of Derry, was killed by the English in Oireacht-Ui-Chathain, on the 15th of March.
James, the son of Sorley Boy, son of Alexander, son of John Cahanagh,
p.2241the most distinguished of the Clann-Donnell, either in peace or war, died on Easter Monday.
Mac-I-Brien Ara, namely, Turlough, the son of Murtough,son of Donnell,son of Teige,died in the month of February.There was no other lord of a territory in Ireland so old as he on the night he died. He was an active, warlike man, who had led his followers in safety from every terrritory into which he had gone,and seldom had any troop who had entered his territory returned from him scathless; a man who had defended the rugged and hilly district which he had possessed until his death. He was interred in his own fortified residence of Baile-an-chaislen.
O'Reilly, i.e. Edmond, the son of Maelmora, son of John, son of Cathal, died
p.2243in the month of April. He was an aged, grey-headed, long-memoried man, and who had been quick and vivacious in his mind and intellect in his youth. He
p.2245was buried in the monastery of St. Francis at Cavan; and his brother's son, namely, Owen, the son of Hugh Conallagh, was elected in his place.
After the sons of John Burke had gone to O'Donnell, as we have already stated, they contiued, whithersoever they went, in company with O'Donnell, to harass and plunder the Queen's people; for which reason the Lord Justice of
p.2249Ireland ordered the Earl of Ormond to put to death their brother, John Oge Burke, whom we have mentioned as having been taken prisoner in the first week of this year, in O'Meagher's country of Ikerrin, by some of the gentlemen of the Butlers. This was accordingly done in the month of June.
Conor, the son of Murtough Garv, son of Brien, son of Teige O'Brian, died about May-day, at Craig-Chorcrain, and was buried in the monastery of Ennis.
Mary, daughter of Con O'Donnell, and wife of O'Boyle (Teige Oge, son of Teige, son of Turlough), died on the 6th of November, and was buried at Donegal.
O'Conor Sligo (Donough, the son of Cathal Oge) was taken prisoner by O'Donnell (Hugh Roe, the son of Hugh, son of Manus). The cause of this capture was this: O'Donnell had received intelligence that O'Conor was spying upon and betraying him to the Lord Justice and the English of Dublin; for the Lord Justice had promised some time before that he would obtain his own territory again for O'Conor from the Queen, and that the young Earl of Desmond (whose mother was the wife of O'Conor), namely, James, the son of Garrett, who was in custody in London, would be let home to his patrimony. When this fact was clear and certain to O'Donnell, he took O'Conor prisoner; and Ballymote, which he had previously given to O'Conor, and Cul-Maoile Collooney, were obliged to be again surrendered up to O'Donnell; and O'Conor was then sent into imprisonment in an island on Loch-Eascaigh in Tirconnell.
The young Earl of Clanrickard, whom we have mentioned as having been appointed in the place of his father, was ordered by the Lord Justice of Ireland, i.e. Lord Mountjoy, to march with all his host and forces to the monastery of Boyle, and from thence, if he could, to Sligo. At the command of the Lord Justice, countless numbers of the English, who were in garrison for the Queen in the towns of Munster, namely, in Limerick, Kilmallock, Askeaton, &c., came to join the Earl; and numbers of the soldiers of Galway and Athlone came to join the same hosting. When all these had collected together to the Earl,
p.2251they determined to march to the monastery of Boyle and to Sligo; and after having crossed the Suck they agreed to march directly eastwards along the straight roads of Machaire-Chonnacht until they arrived at Elphin of Moylurg, Hy-Briuin-na-Sinna, Clann-Chathail, and Magh-Aoi-an-Fhinnbheannaigh.
As soon as O'Donnell heard of the arrival of this numerous army at the place which we have before mentioned, he assembled his forces, and did not halt until he crossed the Curlieus, and the River Boyle, into Moylurg; and pitched his camp directly opposite them his enemies. They remained thus for some time face to face, spying and watching each other. Many were the conflicts, manslaughters, and affrays which took place between them while they remained thus in readiness for each other, until at length the English army became wearied, and returned in sorrow to their houses.
After this, news reached O'Donnell, that Niall Garv, the son of Con, son of Calvagh, with his O'Donnell's English and Irish, had come from the east of Tirconnell, across Bearnas, and encamped at Donegal, in the east of Tirhugh. When O'Donnell received the news that the English had arrived at that place he felt grieved for the misfortune of the monastery, and that the English should occupy and inhabit it instead of the Sons of Life and the Culdees, whose rightful property it was till then; and he could not forbear from going to try if he could relieve them. What he did was this: he left the farmers and betaghs of Tirconnell, with their herds and flocks throughout Lower Connaught, with some of his soldiers to protect them against invaders from the harbours, kerns, and foreign tribes, and he himself proceeded with the greater part of his army, across the rivers Sligo, Duff, Drowes, and Erne, northwards, and pitched his camp in strong position exactly at Carraig, which is upwards of two thousand paces from Donegal, where Niall Garv O'Donnell and his English were stationed. As for O'Donnell he ordered great numbers of his forces alternately to blockade the monastery by day and night, so as to prevent the English from coming outside its walls to destroy anything in the country. Neither of the armies did by any means pass their time happily or pleasantly, for killing and destroying, conflict and shooting, were carried on by each party against the other. The English were reduced to great straits and
p.2253distress by the long siege in which they were kept by O'Donnell's people; and some of them used to desert to O'Donnell's camp in twos and threes, in consequence of the distress and straits in which they were from the want of a proper ration of food. Thus they passed the time until the end of September, when God willed to take revenge and satisfaction of the English for the profanation and abuse which they had offered to the churches and apartments of the psalm-singing ecclesiastics, namely, of the monastery of Donegal, and the monastery of Machaire-beg, in which the English whom we have mentioned were quartered and encamped, and others of them who were in the castle of Donegal. The vengeance which God wreaked upon them was this, however it came to pass, viz., fire fell among the powder which they had in the monastery of Donegal for carrying on the war; so that the boarded apartments, and all the stone and wooden buildings of the entire monastery, were burned. As soon as the spies and sentinels, whom O'Donnell had posted to spy and watch the English, perceived the brown-red mass of flames, and the dense cloud of vapour and smoke that rose up over the monastery, they began to discharge their leaden bullets and their fiery flashes, in order that O'Donnell might hear them, and immediately come to them, to attack the English, for they thought it would occasion too long a delay to send him messengers. This signal was not slowly responded
p.2255to by O'Donnell and his army, for they vehemently and rapidly advanced with their utmost speed, in troops and squadrons, to where their people were at the monastery. Bloody and furious was the attack which they made upon the English and their own friends and kinsmen who were there. It was difficult and almost impossible for O'Donnell's people to withstand the fire of the soldiers who were in the monastery and the castle of Donegal, and in a ship which was in the harbour opposite them; yet, however, O'Donnell's people had the better of it, although many of them were cut off. Among the gentlemen who fell here on the side of O'Donnell was Teige, the son of Cathal Oge Mac Dermot, a distinguished captain of the Sil-Mulrony. On the other side fell Con Oge, the son of Con, the brother of Niall Garv O'Donnell, with three hundred others, in that slaughter.
As soon as Niall Garv O'Donnell perceived the great jeopardy in which his people and the English were, he passed unnoticed westwards, along the margin of the harbour, to Machaire-beg, where a great number of the English were stationed; and he took them with him to the relief of the other party of English, who were reduced to distress by O'Donnell and his people; and the crew of the ship proceeded to fight, and kept up a fire in defence of them, until they had passed inside the central walls of the monastery.
When O'Donnell observed the great strength of the place in which they were, and the great force that had come to the relief of the English, he ordered his soldiers to withdraw from the conflict and to return back; for he did not deem it meet that they should be cut off in an unequal contest. This was done at his bidding; and he removed his camp nearer to the monastery, and sent some of his people to Machaire-beg, where the English whom Niall Garv had brought with him to assist his people were stationed. The burning of the monastery, and this occurrence, happened precisely on Michaelmas-day.
O'Donnell remained thus blockading the English, and reducing them to great straits and exigencies, from the end of September to the end of October, without any deed of note being achieved between them during that time, until news at length reached them that a Spanish fleet had arrived in the south of Ireland, to assist the Irish who were at war.
A hosting was made by the Lord Justice of Ireland, Lord Mountjoy, in the month of June, to proceed into Ulster. Nothing is related of his progress until he arrived at Bealach-an-Mhaighre. This place was defended and watched by O'Neill's guards. Many men and troops of the English and Irish had been often lamentably slain and slaughtered about that pass between O'Neill and the English. But the Lord Justice got an opportunity and advantage of him O'Neill at this time, a thing which seldom had happened previously; so that the borders and very centre of the pass were in his power on this occasion. He then pitched his camp on the spot which he thought proper on that road, and erected a castle of lime and stone upon a certain part of that road. Having finished this castle in the course of a month, he left two hundred soldiers to guard it, and proceeded forward, with the remainder of his forces to Sliabh Fuaid, to Armagh, and across the Abhainn-mor, he went to Portmore, a fortress which had been built four years before by the Lord Justice Borogh, who, shortly after its erection, while attempting to lay up provisions in it, came to a premature death by O'Neill. Moreover, O'Neill had taken the same fort from the Queen's people (about a year after the death of the Lord Justice); having in taking it from them made a slaughter of their men and heroes; and the fort had remained in O'Neill's possession thenceforward until this time that this new Justice came to it. When he came near this fort, O'Neill's people left it wide open to their foes and enemies, a thing that was unusual with them till then.
On the first days after the Lord Justice had encamped in this fortress, he set out to view, reconnoitre, and explore the country around. On arriving at the borders of Benburb, he was encountered near one of the passes of the country by some of O'Neill's kerns, in a heroic and hostile manner, with fierce and grim visages, and a frightful fierce battle was fought between them, in which many were slain on both sides, at that place; but, however, there were more of the Lord Justice's slain than of O'Neill's soldiers.
The Lord Justice returned back to the camp, in despite of all the overwhelming
p.2259opposition which he met; but, during the period of about a month and a half that he remained in that fortress, not one of his forces advanced the distance of one mile beyond that place into Tyrone; so that he returned to Fingal and to Dublin in the month of August, having left garrisons at Portmore, Armagh, Machaire-na-Cranncha Magheracranagh, Bealach-an-Mhaighre, Carrickfergus, Newry, Carlingford, Dundalk, Drogheda, &c. It was an exaltation of the name and renown of the Lord Justice to have gone that length and distance into Tyrone on this occasion, such as his predecessors had not been able to do for the three or four years before.
The Earl of Essex, a brave, energetic, warlike, and victorious man, in the service of the Sovereign of England; a man who had been appointed chief leader of plundering and invasion by the men of England in other countries, and who had been in the name and place of the Sovereign in Ireland for half a year, as we have said before, began, in the first month of this year, to offer insult and indignity to the Sovereign, and to exert himself to transfer the crown. As soon as this treachery was perceived by the men of London, they quickly and actively rose up against the Earl, and chased and pursued him from one place to another, through the streets of the town, and also outside the town, so that he was compelled to go into Essex-house to defend himself. He had not been long there when he was summoned and compelled to deliver and surrender himself up an unarmed prisoner to the Queen's people. He was afterwards sent to be confined, as a traitor, to the Tower; and all those who had any share, counsel, participation, or alliance, in this act of treachery, were quartered, and their members placed on the gates and portals of the town. The Earl
p.2261was beheaded on the 18th of February. Captain Lee, a gentleman who had incited the Earl, and who was aiding and advising in him this traitorous act, was likewise executed in a similar manner for the aforesaid crime.
James, the son of Thomas Roe, son of James, son of John, son of the Earl (who had been styled Earl of Desmond by the Irish, as we have said before), having become weak and powerless in the cliath of war in which he was engaged against the English, he sent his brother, John, the son of Thomas Roe, and Mac Maurice of Kerry (Thomas, the son of Patrickin, son of Thomas, son of Edmond, son of Thomas), and Pierce De Lacy, to Ulster, to request aid and assistance from the Irish of the North, and remained himself with a small party; concealing and hiding himself among his true friends in sequestered huts and caverns underground. He remained thus for some time, until, upon a certain occasion, the White Knight (Edmond, the son of John) was informed that James was in a certain cave on the borders of his (the Knight's) country and he resolved to lay violent hands on his relative by kindred and pedigree and his lord in treason for some years before, for the small portion of land
p.2263which he then had; for he possessed not of Munster at that time but that cave in which he then was! For this cave he seized upon James, and made him a prisoner, and afterwards took him to Cork to the President, without asking pardon or protection for him. When James was delivered up into the hands of the President, he was carefully kept in confinement until the month of July. It was in the same month that Fineen, son of Donough Mac Carthy (who was at this time called Mac Carthy More), went before the President at Cork; but as soon as he had arrived in the town he was made a prisoner for the Queen; but Fineen began to declare aloud, and without reserve, that he had been taken against the word and protection. This was of no avail to him; for he and James, the son of Thomas, were sent to England in the month of August, precisely; and on their appearance before the English council, it was ordered that they be shewn the Tower as their house of eating and sleeping from that forward to the time of their deaths, or end of their lives, according to the will of God and of their Sovereign. The office of Governor in the county of Clare was held by the Earl of Thomond (Donough, the son of Conor O'Brien) from the day on which the Governor of the Province of Connanght, Sir Conyers Clifford, was slain by O'Donnell on Coirrshliabh. About the festival of St. Bridget of this year, he held a session for fifteen days, in the monastery of Ennis, and he hanged sixteen men at that session. The same Earl went to England in the month of March, accompanied by his brother Donnell; and Donnell returned home about the following Lammas, and the Earl still remained there after him.
The young Earl of Desmond, namely, James, the son of Garret, son of James, son of John, whom we have made mention of as having come from England as an Earl in the auturun of the past year, went over to England in the
p.2265spring of this year, and remained there until the first month of winter, when he died. Had it not been that his father fell in his war against the Queen, and that his people and faithful followers were cut off by the English, the two provinces of Munster would have been one scene of sorrow, lamentation, grief, and affliction after i.e. for the loss of this youth. He was the only living heir of the genuine stock; the last in a direct line of the remnant of that illustrious Grecian tribe, the Geraldines; and his death was the more to be lamented, because there was no heir of either son or brother of his own, or of his family, to be appointed in his place, except a few, and those few opposed to the law of the Sovereign.
Captain Tyrrell (Richard, the son of Thomas, son of Richard) had remained with O'Neill during the preceding part of this year. This captain came about the Lammas of this year, with some retained kerns which he obtained from O'Neill, into Leinster. It would be impossible to reckon, describe, or enumerate the preys he made, the deaths he caused, the castles he took, the men he made prisoners, or the plunders and spoils he obtained throughout the county of Carlow, in the county of Kildare, and in the county of Offaly and Tipperary, from Lammas to the first month of the following winter.
The Lower Burkes, namely, Mac William Burke (Theobald, the son of Walter Kittagh), who was confederated with O'Donnell, and who had been
p.2267styled Lord by him some time before, and Theobald-na-Long, the son of Richard-an-Iarainn, who had always acted on behalf of the Queen, remained peaceable and amicable towards each other from the time that O'Donnell established friendship and amity between them, to the first month of the spring of this year, when commotion of war and revival of animosity arose between them; and Theobald-na-Long was the cause of the resuscitation of the enmity, and the rekindling of the strife, and the revival of the hatred, that now arose between them. The descendants of Ulick Burke combined against Mac William (Theobald, the son of Walter), and expelled and banished him from his patrimony; so that he was compelled to go to O'Donnell. Another Mac William was appointed after him for the government of the territory by the descendants of Ulick and by Theobald-na-Long, namely, Richard, the son of Rickard, usually called the son of Deamhan-an-Chorrain.
When Mac William (Theobald, the son of Walter) came to O'Donnell, he complained to him of his sufferings and difficulties, and told him how he had been banished from his country. This circumstance was grievous to Donnell; but, however, he was not able to relieve him immediately; for he was engaged, with his troops and forces, watching and restraining the movements of the English, who had arrived in his territory; so that he was not able to move into any external territory to relieve friend or ally, by reason of the overwhelming force that oppressed him in his own territory. Mac William remained with him from the first month of spring to the Michaelmas following, at which time O'Donnell sent with him, to visit his patrimony in MacWilliam's country, as many men as he could spare. On his arrival with his muster in the very middle of the territory, he was met on the road through which he was marching by the other Mac William, who had been set up against him as his rival and opponent, by the descendants of Ulick Burke, and by Theobald, the son of Rickard-an-Iarainn; and a fierce battle was fought between them, in which they were mutually mindful of their ancient grudges and recent enmities, until at length Richard, son of Rickard Burke, was defeated, and he himself killed in the conflict, and thus came the end of this chieftainship.
A Spanish fleet arrived in the south of Ireland. Don Juan de Aguila was
p.2269the name of the chief who was general over them. The place at which they put in was the harbour of Kinsale, at the mouth of the green river of Bandon, on the confines of Courcy's country on the one side, and Kinalea, the country of Barry Oge, on the other. On their arrival at Kinsale they took to themselves the fortifications, shelter, defence, and maintenance of the town from the inhabitants who occupied them till then. They quartered their gentlemen,
p.2271captains, and auxiliaries, throughout the habitations of wood and stone which were in the town. They conveyed from their ships into the town their stores of viands and drink, their ordnance, powder, lead, and all the other necessaries which they had; and then they sent their ships back again to their own country. They planted their great guns, and their other projectile and defensive engines, at every point on which they thought the enemy would approach them. They also appointed guards and sentinels, who should be relieved at regular hours, as had been their constant custom before their arrival at that place for they were very sure that the Lord Justice would come attack them with the Queen's army, as soon as the news of their arrival should reach him.
There was another castle, on the east side of the harbour of Kinsale, called Rinn-Corrain, situate in Kinelea, the territory of Barry Oge; in this town the Spaniards placed a garrison of some of their distinguished men, to guard it in like manner.
When the Lord Justice of Ireland heard these news, he did not delay until he arrived at Kinsale, with all the forces he was able to muster of those who were obedient to the Queen in Ireland. Thither arrived the President of the two provinces of Munster, with the forces of Munster along with him. The Earl of Clanrickard, and every head of a host and troop that was obedient to the command of the Lord Justice in Connaught, together with their forces, arrived at the same place. Thither in manner aforesaid came the Leinstermen and Meathmen, as they had been commanded by the Lord Justice.
After they had come together at one place, they pitched and arranged a camp before Kinsale, and from this they faced Rinn-Corrain; and they allowed them the garrison there neither quiet, rest, sleep, nor repose, for a long time and they gave each other violent conflicts and manly onsets, until the warders after all the hardships they encountered, were forced to come out unarmed,
p.2273and surrender at the mercy of the Lord Justice, leaving their ordnance and their ammunition behind them. The Lord Justice billeted these throughout the towns of Munster, until he should see what would be the result of his contest with the other party who were at Kinsale. It was on this occasion that Carbry Oge, the son of Carbry Mac Egan, who was ensign to the son of the Earl of Ormond, was slain.
The Lord Justice, and his forces, and the Spaniards at Kinsale, continued to shoot and fire at each other during the first month of winter, until the Queen and Council advised the Earl of Thomond to go with many ships, and vessels, with men, good arms, and stores, to relieve and succour the Sovereign's people in Ireland. On the Earl's arrival with the fleet in the harbour of Kinsale, they landed on that side of the harbour at which the Lord Justice's people were. Four thousand men was the number under the Earl of Thomond's command, of this army. Some say that, were it not for the great spirit and courage taken by the Lord Justice at the arrival of the Earl of Thomond and this force, he would have left the camp void and empty, and afterwards would have distributed the English forces among the great towns of Munster. The Earl of Thomond pitched a camp apart to himself, at that angle of the Lord Justice's camp which was nearest to Kinsale.
At this time the Spaniards made an assault by night upon a quarter of the Lord Justice's camp, and slew many men; and they thrust stones and wedges
p.2275into a great gun of the Queen's ordnance, in order that they might prevent their enemies from firing on them out of it; and they would have slain more, were it not for the Earl of Clanrickard, for it was he and those around him that drove the Spaniards back to Kinsale. There was not one hour's cessation, by day or night, between these two camps, wihout blood heing shed between them, from the first day on which the Lord Justice sat before Kinsale until they ultimately separated, as shall be related in the sequel.
When O'Neill, O'Donnell, and the Irish of Leath-Chuinn in general, heard the news of the arrival of this Spanish fleet, the resolution they came to, with one mind and one intention (although their chieftains and gentlemen did not assemble together to hold their consultation or conclude their counsel), was, that each lord of a territory among them should leave a guard and protection over his territory and fair land, and proceed, without dallying or delaying, to aid and assist the Spaniards, who had come at their call and instance; for it was distress of heart and disturbance of mind to them that they should be in such strait and jeopardy as they were placed in by their enemies, without relieving them, if they could.
O'Donnell was the first who prepared to go on this expedition. Having left guards over his creaghts and all his people in the county of Sligo, he set out from Ballymote in the very beginning of winter. The following were some of the chiefs who were along with him: O'Rourke ( Brian Oge, the son of Brian); the sons of John Burke; Mac Dermot of Moylurg; the sept of O'Conor Roe; O'Kelly; and the chiefs who had been banished from Munster, and were with him during the preceding part of this year, namely, MacMaurice of Kerry (Thomas, the son of Patrickin); the Knight of Glin (Edmond, the son of Thomas);
p.2277Teige Caech, the son of Turlough Mac Mahon; and Dermot Mael, the son of Donough Mac Carthy. These forces marched through the county of Roscommon, through the east of the county of Galway, and through Sil-Anmchadha, and to the Shannon. They were ferried over the Shannon at Ath-Croch; and they proceeded from thence into Delvin-Mac-Coghlan, into Fircall, as far as the upper part of Slieve-Bloom, and into Ikerrin.
O'Donnell remained near twenty days on the hill of Druim-Saileach, in Ikerrin, awaiting O'Neill, who was marching slowly after him; and, while stationed at that place, O'Donnell's people continued plundering, burning, and ravaging the country around them, so that there was no want of anything necessary for an army in his camp, for any period, short or long.
As soon as the Lord Justice of Ireland heard that O'Donnell was marching towards him, he sent the President of the two provinces of Munster, namely, Sir George Carew, with four thousand soldiers, to meet him, in order to prevent him from making the journey on which his mind was bent, by blocking up the common road against him. When O'Donnell discovered that the President had arrived with his great host in the vicinity of Cashel, he proceeded with his
p.2279forces from Ikerrin westwards, through the upper part of Ormond, by the monastery of Owny, through Clanwilliam, on the borders of the Shannon, to the gates of Limerick, and south-westwards, without halting or delaying by day or night, until he crossed the Maigue, into Hy-Connell-Gaura. As soon as the President perceived that O'Donnell had passed him by into the fastnesses of the country, and that his intention was frustrated he returned back with his force to the Lord Justice. On this occasion Mac Maurice was permitted by O'Donnell to go with a part of the army to visit and see Clanmaurice. As they were traversing the country, they got an advantage of some of the castles of the territory, and took them. These were their names: Lixnaw, the Short-castle of Ardfert, and Ballykealy. In these they placed warders of their own. It was on the same occasion that O'Conor Kerry (John, the son of Conor) took his own castle, namely, Carraic-an-phuill, which had been upwards of a year before that time in the possession of the English, and that he himself, with the people of his castle, joined in alliance with O'Donnell.
O'Donnell remained nearly a week in these districts of Hy-Connell-Gaura, plundering, devastating, ravaging, and destroying the territories of every person in his neighbourhood who had any connexion or alliance with the English. After this O'Donnell proceeded over the upper part of Sliabh-Luachra, through Clann-Auliffe, through Muskerry, and to the Bandon in the Carberys. All the Irish of Munster came to him there, except Mac Carthy Reagh (Donnell, the son of Cormac-na-h-Aaoine) and Cormac, the son of Dermot, son of Teige, Lord of Muskerry. All these Irishmen promised to be in alliance and in unison with him from thenceforward.
As for O'Neill, i.e. Hugh, the son of Ferdorcha, son of Con Bacagh, he left Tyrone a week after Allhallowtide, to go to assist the aforesaid Spaniards. After he had crossed the Boyne he proceeded to plunder and burn the territories of Bregia and Meath. He afterwards marched through the west of Meath, and through the east of Munster, westwards across the Suir; but his adventures are not related until he arrived at the River Bandon, where O'Donnell was. John, son of Thomas Roe, son of the Earl of Desmond, was along with O'Neill on this expedition.
When the Irish chiefs and their forces met together at one place, they encamped a short distance to the north of the camp of the Lord Justice at Bel-Guala, in Kinelea. Many a host and troop, and lord of a territory, and chief of a cantred, were along with O'Neill and O'Donnell at this place. Great were the spirit, courage, prowess, and valour, of the people who were there. There was not a spot or quarter in the five provinces of Ireland where these, or some party of them, had not impressed a horror and hatred, awe and dread of themselves among the English and Irish who were in opposition to them, till that time. Frequent and numerous had been their battles, their exploits, their depredations, their conflicts, their deeds, their achievements over enemies in other territories, up to this very hour. They met no mighty man whom they did not subdue, and no force over which they did not prevail, so long as the Lord and fortune favoured, that is, so long as they did the will of their Lord God, and kept his commandments and his will. Efficient for giving the onset, and gaining the battle over their enemies, were the tribes who were in this camp (although some of them did not assist one another), had God permitted them to fight stoutly with one mind and one accord, in defence of their religion and their patrimony, in the strait difficulty in which they had the enemy on this occasion.
The Irish reduced the English to great straits, for they did not permit hay, corn, or water, straw or fuel, to be taken into the Lord Justice's camp. They remained thus for some time watching each other, until Don Juan, the General of the Spaniards, sent a letter privately to the Irish, requesting them to attack a part of the Lord Justice's camp on a certain night, and adding that he himself would attack the other part of it on the same night; for they the Spaniards were reduced to great straits by the English, as the English were distressed by the Irish.
The chiefs of the Kinel-Connell and Kinel-Owen began to deliberate in council on this suggestion; and they were for some time dissentient on adopting this resolution, for it was O'Neill's advice not to attack them immediately by
p.2283any means, but to keep them still in the strait in which they were, until they should perish of famine, and the want of all the necessaries of which they stood in need, as some of their men and horses had already perished. O'Donnell, however, was oppressed at heart and ashamed to hear the complaint and distress of the Spaniards without relieving them from the difficulty in which they were, even if his death or destruction, or the loss of his people, should result from it; so that the resolution they finally agreed to was, to attack the Lord Justice's camp, as they had been ordered.
When the particular night upon which it was agreed they should make this attack arrived, the Irish cheerfully and manfully put on their dresses of battle and conflict, and were prepared for marching. Their chiefs were at variance, each of them contending that he himself should go foremost in the night's attack; so that the manner in which they set out from the borders of their camp was in three strong battalions, three expensive and numerous hosts, shoulder to shoulder, and elbow to elbow. O'Neill, with the Kinel-Owen, and such of the people of Oriel and Iveagh-of-Uladh as adhered to him, were in a strong battalion apart; O'Donnell, with the Kinel-Connell, his sub-chieftains, and the Connaughtmen in general, formed the second battalion; and those gentlemen of Munster, Leinster, and Meath, with their forces, who had risen up in the confederacy of the Irish war, and who had been in banishment in Ulster during the preceding part of this year, were in the third battalion, and marched steadily and slowly, without mixing with any other host.
After they had marched outside their camp in this manner, the forces mistook their road and lost their way, in consequence of the great darkness of the night, so that their guides were not able to make their way to the appointed place, opposite the camp of the Lord Justice, until clear daylight next morning. Some assert that a certain Irishman had sent word and information to the Lord
p.2285Justice, that the Irish and Spaniards were to attack him that night, and that, therefore, the Lord Justice and the Queen's army stationed themselves in the gaps of danger, and certain other passes, to defend the camp against their enemies. When the darkness of the night had disappeared, and the light of the day was clear to all in general, it happened that O'Neill's people, without being aware of it, had advanced near the Lord Justice's people; but, as they were not prepared, they turned aside from them to be drawn up in battle array and order, and to wait for O'Donnell and the other party, who had lost their way, as we have before stated.
As soon as the Lord Justice perceived this thing, he sent forth vehement and vigorous troops to engage them, so that they fell upon O'Neill's people, and proceeded to kill, slaughter, subdue, and thin them, until five or six ensigns were taken from them, and many of their men were slain.
O'Donnell advanced to the side of O'Neill's people after they were discomfitted, and proceeded to call out to those who were flying, to stand their ground,
p.2289and to rouse his own people to battle and so continued, until his voice and speech were strained by the vehemence and loudness of the language in which he addressed all in general, requesting his nobles to stand by him to fight their enemies. He said to them, that this unusual thing which they were about to do, was a shame and a guile, namely: to turn their backs to their enemies, as was not the wont of their race ever till then. But, however, all he did was of no avail to him, for, as the first battalion was defeated, so were the others also in succession. But, although they were routed, the number slain was not very great, on account of the fewness of the pursuers, in comparison with those flying before them.
Manifest was the displeasure of God, and misfortune to the Irish of fine Fodhla, on this occasion; for, previous to this day, a small number of them had more frequently routed many hundreds of the English, than they had fled from them, in the field of battle, in the gap of danger (in every place they had encountered), up to this day. Immense and countless was the loss in that place, although the number slain was trifling; for the prowess and valour, prosperity and affluence, nobleness and chivalry, dignity and renown, hospitality and generosity, bravery and protection, devotion and pure religion, of the Island, were lost in this engagement.
The Irish forces returned that night, with O'Neill and O'Donnell, to Inis-Eoghanain. Alas! the condition in which they were that night was not as they had expected to return from that expedition, for there prevailed much reproach on reproach, moaning and dejection, melancholy and anguish, in every quarter throughout the camp. They slept not soundly, and scarcely did they take any refreshment. When they met together their counsel was hasty, unsteady, and precipitate, so that what they at length resolved upon was, that O'Neill and Rury, the brother of O'Donnell, with sub-chieftains, and the chiefs of Leath-Chuinn in general, should return back to their countries, to defend their territories and lands against foreign tribes; and that O'Donnell (Hugh
p.2291Roe), Redmond, the son of John Burke, and Captain Hugh Mus, the son of Robert, should go to Spain to complain of their distresses and difficulties to the King of Spain.
These chiefs left some of their neighbouring confederates in Munster, to plunder it in their absence, namely: Captain Tyrrell, the other sons of John Burke, and other gentlemen besides them. These high Irishmen, namely, O'Neill and O'Donnell, ordered that the chief command and leadership of these should be given to O'Sullevan Beare, i.e. Donnell, the son of Donnell, son of Dermot; for he was, at this time, the best commander among their allies in Munster, for wisdom and valour.
On the third day of the month of January 1602 this overthrow was given to the Irish.