The following documents were written in the opening quarter of the seventeenth century. The contents and provenance tell us much about political, religious and cultural interaction in early-modern Ireland. The first, Briefe relation of Irland and diversity of Irish in the same, is a contemporary English translation of an intercepted document drafted in Castilian. James Ussher, Protestant archbishop of Armagh, assigned it to Philip O'Sullivan Beare. This point was corroborated by Sir James Ware. Ussher once referred to O'Sullivan Beare as the most egregious liar as any that this day breatheth in Christendom. In his Decas Patritiana, a verse life of St Patrick published at Madrid in 1629, O'Sullivan Beare called his reply to Ussher's censure Archicoringeromastix: A Whip for the Arch-Horned One.
O'Sullivan Beare regularly enumerated items in his written work. In the 1620s, he compiled lists of Irishmen and women living abroad; the Irish saints; Irish ecclesiastics and lawyers; a catalogue of birds animals, plants and minerals; and writers ancient and modern.
James I's ambassadors and agents at the court of Philip III paid close attention to Irish activity. This composition illustrates the tensions which existed between the different Irish factions in Spain and its dominions. The second text, Priests of Ireland and Gentlemen gone abroad, is a composite source. It consists of a set of lists compiled for the English authorities in the 1610s and early 1620s. Both texts are preserved in a manuscript which belonged to Ussher, now kept at Trinity College Library, Dublin. James Ussher was Protestant bishop of Meath before his appointment to Armagh. The dates for the second set of lists suggest that they came to Ussher from his immediate predecessor, Christopher Hampton, who was primate of the state church in Ireland from 1613 to 1625. Ussher also acquired the text of the papal commission by which Paul V appointed David Rothe Catholic vice-primate in 1609.
The Briefe relation, termed the Breviate in the Manuscript Catalogue by Abbott and Gwynn, was originally compiled for the benefit of the Council of State in Madrid. It reflects the consistent content of reports presented at the Spanish court by Gaelic exiles from the early 1600s onwards. This was a time when hopes of a military assault on Ireland were hindered by the Spanish administration's preference for peace with England. As the Breviate explains, Gaelic exiles traced their origins to the Spanish king Milesius. His three sons are said to have conquered Ireland about the time of Alexander the Great.
Born on Dursey Island, Co. Cork, and sent to Spain as a child, Philip O'Sullivan Beare was educated at Santiago de Compostela, trained as a soldier and served in the Spanish fleet. The opening description of Ireland's past and the terms of the Laudabiliter in the Breviate neatly summarize O'Sullivan Beare's Compendium of the Catholic History of Ireland, published at Lisbon in 1621. Both sources attest the strength of affection and love to the Spanish nation felt by Gaelic families, defining the Ancient Irish, Myxt Irish, and English Irish found in Spanish territories.
Two names in the Breviate and their accompanying descriptions show that it was completed between July 1618 and July 1619. On 16 July 1618, following a duel with Philip O'Sullivan Beare, John Bathe of Drumcondra killed Donal O'Sullivan Bearre. His son Dermot, a knight of Santiago, succeeded him as earl of Bearhaven. Donal O'Sullivan Bearre is not included in the Breviate, whereas his surviving son and heir Dermot is described as Earle of Bearhaven, in Madride. Raymond de Burgo died the following summer. Named here
p.iiiamongst the Mixt seculars he was claimant to the earldom of Clanricard and styled himself baron of Leitrim. He arrived in Spain in 1602 with Red Hugh O'Donnell. Both Raymond de Burgo and Philip O'Sullivan Beare were at Lisbon in 1618.
The names of the Auncyent Irish Ecclesiasticall open with Owen M'Mahon, i.e. Dr Eóghan Mac Mathghamhna, aliter Eugene Matthews, Catholic archbishop of Dublin. Related by birth to the Ulster earls, he was educated at Salamanca. After his consecration, Mac Mathghamhna made his way from Leuven to his diocese. This corresponds to the Breviate which states that he was in Ireland. Mac Mathghamhna died in 1623.
The document then declares that Don Florence Conrio, i.e. Flaithrí Ó Maoil Chonaire, was entertayned by his Majestie in the states of Flaunders. He had returned to Leuven in the Spring of 1618, indicating that the Breviate was written after his departure. The name of Donatus Mooney occurs next. He was elected minister provincial of the Irish Franciscans by the chapter held at Waterford in 1615. In the closing months 1617 and the early part of 1618, Mooney wrote a history of the Franciscan province of Ireland. His name is mentioned here in conjunction with that of Francis Colman, who hath bene provinciall of the order of St Frauncis in Ireland. Colman held office for the usual three-year term, from 1609 until 1612.
Rocque de la Cruz OP, i.e. Roche MacGeoghegan, was a native of the diocese of Meath related to the O'Neills. Minister provincial of the Irish Dominicans, MacGeoghegan later became Catholic bishop of Kildare. His confrères Bernard O'Brien and Vincent Hogan, of this order, were the priors of St
p.ivSaviour's at Limerick and Loragh respectively. O'Brien was an uncle of the martyr Terence Albert O'Brien, coadjutor bishop and vicar general of Emly. Hugh Cawill of St Fraunces in Lovayne refers to the noted Scotist theologian, aliter Aodh Mac Aingil, who was guardian of St Anthony's College, Leuven, when the list was compiled. In 1618, he published Scáthán Shacramuinte na hAithridhe. Fr John Baptist Duguin, of the Societie Rector in Lisborne, later served as Jesuit superior of the mission to Connacht.
Of the Auncyent Irish Seculars in his Majesties dominions, John O'Neile, Earle of Tironne had succeeded to the title after his father's death at Rome in 1616. Albert Hugh O'Donnell, named Earl of Tyrconnell, Page to the Infanta in Flaunders, arrived at Leuven with his father Rury in 1607. Don Eugenis O Neile, Serjeant Major, i.e. Eoghan Ruadh O'Neill, accompanied his cousin Henry to Madrid in 1609. Don Artus O Neile, Capten was Eoghan Ruadh's brother. Don Thadie O Sulivan, Capten may refer to the Captain Tadeo Osullevan in Spanish sources for 1618. Samuel M'Donnell is almost certainly Somhairle Mac Domhnaill, the young earl of Tyrone's cousin, who arrived in the Low Countries in 1615. Promoted to the rank of captain, he fought in the battle for Prague and returned to the Army of Flanders after Spain's renewal of war with the United Dutch Provinces in 1621. At Oostende and Leuven, he commissioned Irish scribes to copy Gaelic manuscripts for him. In 1621, Owen O'Hanlon, Eugenio Hanlon, received a commission as captain which fell vacant on the death of Rury O'Doherty. As he shared the same name as his father, he was also known as Owen Ogy.
It is difficult to say who is meant by Robert Davies in the Breviate, particularly when placed among the names of Gaelic exiles. It may refer to Captain Robert Daniell of Waterford
p.vwho, in 1606, was listed as one of Colonel Henry O'Neill's captains. Suffering from gout seven years later Captain Daniell applied to Ambrosio Spínola, commander of the Army of Flanders, for a post at Antwerp Castle. On 2 December 1619, his request to retain his pay at Antwerp was granted by Philip III.
Cormock O Neile, aliter Conacio O'Neill, was nephew of Hugh, earl of Tyrone, who had escaped capture in Ireland and took refuge at St Anthony's College, Leuven, after the execution of his brother in London. At the request of the Archduke Albert, Philip III granted Conacio an allowance for his studies in September 1616. Some confusion arises in the case of Owen Carty. There are several individual references to the name in the first half of the seventeenth century: at Lisbon and Valladolid in the early 1600s; and in the infantry company of Conor O'Driscoll. In each case, these are the names of principal individuals as the Breviate states at this point: cum multis aliis, quos nunc prescribere longum.
Among the Mixt Irish ecclesiasticall, Fr Robert Nugent SJ had been based in the Low Countries, where he helped to place Irish students. Nugent succeeded Christopher Holywood as superior of the Jesuit mission to Ireland and was a skilled harpist. Of the Mixt seculars, Balthazar Bourke, son and heir of the McWilliam Bourke, was made a knight of Santiago in 1607. Baptized Walter, his name was adapted to overcome pronunciation difficulties for the Spanish. William Burke was one of five brothers who left Ireland to enrol in Spanish service in the late 1580s.
Without specific accompanying information, however, caution must be exercised with some of these names. This is especially in the case of families who used the same Christian names from one generation to the next.
p.viA William Burke was with Donal O'Sullivan Beare at Dunboy Castle in 1602. Another, brother of the Baron Leitrim, signed himself Lord of Bealatury in Spanish documents of 1616. Murish Fitzgerald may refer to one Mauricio Geraldino of Spanish records who commanded an infantry company in 1611. Thomas Fitzgerald, a cousin of Maurice Fitzgerald, was noted in records of 1589 to have been shipwrecked off Scotland with the Great Armada before making his way to the Low Countries. Edward Fitzgerald's career in the Spanish Army of Flanders began in the 1590s as captain of an independent Irish infantry company. In 1611, Fitzgerald, by then a major, was transferred to serve the Archduke Albert.
The names of English-Irished, eclesiasticall begin with Peter Lombard, archbishop of Armagh and Primate in Rome. Lombard was born at Waterford and excelled at the University of Leuven. He died at Rome in 1625. He and Thomas Walsh, of the habite of St John of Jerusalem in Ireland, were first cousins of Luke Wadding. Thomas Walsh was also related to the Whites of Clonmel. In a separate source, Philip O'Sullivan Beare states that Walsh preached the faith in Ireland before becoming Catholic archbishop of Cashel and Emly in 1626.
Luke Wadding was theologian to the Spanish embassy which Philip III sent to Rome in 1618. Nevertheless, the description of Wadding as Vice Secretary to the Governor of St. Francis in Rome appears not to match to the 161819 chronology.
p.viiIn 1632, he was appointed vice-procurator general of the order and was named its vice-commissary in Rome twelve years later. Paul Ragget [...] of the order of St. Bernard was abbot of St Mary's Cistercian Abbey, Co. Dublin. In the 1620s, he appealed to the Spanish authorities to send Irish soldiers based in Flanders on a military expedition to Ireland. The Raggett family of Kilkenny were related by marriage to Archbishop David Kearney of Cashel and Paul Raggett was named as a possible candidate to succeed him. William Talbot OP is recorded here as William of the Holy Ghost. An associate of John Bathe, he resided at Antwerp and Madrid.
Richard Convoy refers to Richard Conway of the Society of Jesus who was born at New Ross in the early 1570s. After leaving Ireland, he was educated at Monterrey and the Irish college in Salamanca, where he frequently served as vice-rector before becoming prefect of all the Irish colleges in the Iberian Peninsula. He then served as rector of the Irish college at Santiago until 1618 and died eight years later. Conway influenced Philip O'Sullivan Beare's outlook. Complete extracts of his work are copied into those of O'Sullivan Beare who frequently cited Conway's help. Christopher Holywood of Artane Castle, Co. Dublin, mentioned above, published three works at Antwerp in 1604, the second edition of which appeared in 1619. He lived in Ireland where he governed the Jesuit mission for twenty-three years. Holywood died on 4 September 1626.
Thomas White SJ of Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, is described as Rector of the Irish Seminarie in Salamanca. In 1592, he was granted a bequest by Philip II to establish the college and was subsequently placed in charge of the Irish college at Santiago before his second period as rector at Salamanca began in 1617.
p.viiiTwo years later, he held responsibility for the Irish college at Seville. White was born in the 1550s and died at Santiago de Compostela in May 1622. His illustrious brother, Stephen, is amongst the names recorded in the second text dealt with below.
Of the Englished-Irish Seculars named next, Captain James Gearnon commanded an Irish infantry company at Oostende in 1616 when 112 soldiers under his command collected 850 escudos for the Irish Franciscans at Leuven. Gearnon may have been related to Anthony Gearnon, the Franciscan army chaplain and author of Parrthas an Anma. Born in 1585, Thomas Preston, son of the Viscount Gormanston, was married to a Flemish noblewoman named Margaret de Namur. He received a commission as a captain in the Army of Flanders in 1605 and rose to the rank of maestre de campo. The military career of Walter de la Hoyde lasted forty years, the first four with the Catholic confederates during the Nine Years Wars in Ireland, and the others as the captain of an Irish infantry company in the Spanish Army of Flanders. In 1621, Captain George de la Hoyde received a commission to raise a company of 200 Irish infantry. William Walsh was from Galway. He was awarded a commission in 1605 after recruiting sixty soldiers in Ireland at his own expense. Significantly, the majority of levies among Irish exiles that year were conducted by Old English captains. Walsh was wounded in 1616 while in the service of Colonel John O'Neill.
In 1608, one Nicholas Wise served with Captain Thomas Stanihurst's infantry company. Six years later, Ó Maoil Chonaire proposed that Nicholas Wise be appointed Irish consul in Andalusia.
p.ixHis brother, Andrew Wise, a knight of the order of Malta, supported Donal O'Sullivan Beare's application to enter the military order of Santiago. During the Nine Years War, Ensign Thomas Stanihurst had served as a messenger between Hugh O'Neill and the Archdukes Albert and Isabel. Stanihurst's more famous brother, the historian and scientist Richard, died in 1618. That he is not included in the Breviate, indicates that the list was compiled after his demise. The Stanihursts of Corduff, Co. Dublin, were civic administrators related by marriage to the Usshers.
Two members of the clergy who defy the set definitions are David Kearney, Catholic archbishop of Cashel since 1603, and the Jesuit Fr James Archer. The Breviate explains that Kearney, despite descending by righte lyne from the auncient Irish [...] is of an Englished condicion. Correspondence for the period clearly identifies him as a political ally of Peter Lombard and David Rothe. This the Breviate attributes to Kearney's training as a canon lawyer and the guidance he received from the Society of Jesus. He was retained at court in Madrid on 1,000 ducados per annum from 1619 until his death five years later. During this time, he sat on the Junta of six advisers who debated over negotiations for the Spanish Match. Conversely, James Archer of Kilkenny, though alltogether Englished, allied himself to the King of Spain and Hugh O'Neill during the Nine Years War. Born in 1549, James Archer had served as rector at the Salamanca Irish college. According to Edmund Hogan SJ, Archer was sixty-eight years of age in 1617, the oldest Irish Jesuit at the time. His name is not, however, in the catalogue of Irish Jesuits of 1626, so he must have died between 1617 and 1626.
Amongst Irish military officers, the Old English Captain Walter de la Hoyde had fought on the side of the auncyent Irish in the last warres; while the earl of Thomond, being an auncient Irish did helpe the English. The misspelling of his name as Whyte at the start of the manuscript, combined with James Ussher's ascription of the original source to Philip O'Sullivan Beare in Madrid, shows that this was a translated copy. Furthermore, the name of Fr Richard Bermingham OP of Co. Meath, known in Spain as Fray Ricardo de la Peņa, appeared in the earliest Spanish collation now kept at the Real Academia de Historia.
Although informed by different sources, comparing their contents suggests that the Breviate and Priests of Ireland and Gentlemen gone abroad were submitted together for inclusion in Ussher's manuscript. Towards the end of the Breviate, John Bathe is amongst the names of English-Irished seculars. In Priests of Ireland and Gentlemen gone abroad, John Bathe of Drumcondra Castle, Co. Dublin, is referred to as aforementioned. John Bathe was consulted as an adviser at court and accompanied Henry O'Neill to Madrid in 1609. Before departing for Leuven nine years later, Ó Maoil Chonaire advised Philip III against appointing John Bathe as Irish representative in Madrid, alleging that he was a double agent.
In contrast to the Breviate, which clearly favours Spain and the papacy, the second set of lists was addressed to government officials at Whitehall and Dublin Castle. These lists were compiled from 1613 until 1624. They reveal the reliance of the Catholic clergy upon ties of kinship when community life for the religious was prohibited by law. Late sixteenth-century efforts to suppress the religious orders made it impossible to instruct aspirant Catholic clergy in Ireland, which led to the founding of colleges abroad. With the accession of Charles I, a period of partial toleration began. As was the case in England during the same period, use of the prefix 'Sir' denotes a priest rather than a knight.
David Rothe bishop of Ossory [who] keepeth for the most parte with his brother Edward, was born at Kilkenny and served as vice-primate in Ireland on behalf of Peter Lombard. Rothe was appointed Catholic bishop of Ossory in 1618. His Analecta Sacra, dedicated to the Catholic princes of Europe, was published at Köln. In his letters Rothe used the alias Nicholas Laffan. A synod of the ecclesiastical province of Dublin was convened at Kilkenny in 1614 and was probably held at the house of his brother Edward Rothe. The Davy Roche [...] sente from Rome, since Tyrone's abode there [...] and hath beene in the North since his arrivall, but is nowe for the most parte in Munster refers to David Rothe's term as vice-primate of Armagh. The Roche family were cousins to the Rothes, which may explain the confusion surrounding the spelling of his name here. David Rothe died in 1650.
Bryan O Carne a jesuite, and a preacher was a brother of David, the Catholic archbishop of Cashel, referred to above, who was in Ireland until 1619. Here it is said he keepeth for the most part at the upper court with Lucas Shee esq. Sir Lucas Archer priest refers to the Cistercian vicar general in Ireland who was also abbot of Holy Cross, Co. Tipperary. John Coppinger was a graduate of Leuven. In 1608, he published Mnemosymum or memorial to the afflicted Catholickes in Ireland and Theatre of the Catholick and Protestant Religion twelve years later. In the State Papers, Jean Copengere, a priest from Waterford, is mentioned as one of the first students of the Irish College, Bordeaux. The Henry Fitz Symons recorded in Ussher's manuscript refers to the Jesuit military chaplain who worked with soldiers from Ireland and England based in Flanders from the late 1580s onwards. In 1614 and 1615 he published two works at Douai and on 8 November 1620 he was at the battle for Prague. In the same vein as Rothe's Analecta Sacra and Coppinger's Mnemosymum, Fitzsimon's writings included Irish Catholic martyrologies.
Christopher Cusack, priest was from Meath. In 1594 he founded St. Patrick's seminary at Douai for the diocesan clergy. He died in office as president of the college thirty years later. In Ussher's manuscript, Laurence Sedgrave is recorded for his role as prefect at Douai. Sedgrave was a cousin of Christopher Cusack and his successor at the college. In 16245, his name was mentioned as being eligible for a bishopric in Ireland. A Note of Divers younge Gentlemen, pentioners Soulders, and schollers gone beyond the seas mentions one Steven White. This is most likely the Stephen White who was the third scholar named in the foundation charter of Trinity College Dublin. He attended the Irish college at Salamanca established by his brother, Thomas. He researched and taught at Biburg, Ingolstadt, Kassel, Ratisbon, Schaffhausen and Dillingen where he held the chair of theology. He co-operated with the Irish Franciscans at Leuven in their work on the Lives of Irish Saints, helped Heribert Rosweide SJ and the Bollandists in their research and supplied manuscripts from Swiss and German libraries to the Protestant primate James Ussher. About the year 1613, Stephen White composed his Apologia pro Hibernia, refuting the errors of Cambrensis on the ecclesiastical history of Ireland before the Norman period. White was known amongst his peers as Polyhistor and David Rothe described him as the Wonder of Germany. The list of soldiers from Desmond who made their way to Spain and Flanders dates from 1602.
The names and descriptions reveal inconsistencies in the second set of lists compared with independent sources for years of appointment, service and travel. This implies that the compiler kept adding details over a long period. Two examples suffice, Owen Groome Magrath [and] Morris Ultagh, both from Ulster. They occur consecutively among the divers priestes and fryers recorded around Westmeath. Owen Groome Magrath is described as guardian of the fryers of Multyfernam where he liveth. He served as guardian at the abbey for five years and was suceeded by Maurice Ultagh O'Donleavy. During Magrath's guardianship the abbey was raided in 1613. According to Donatus Mooney's history, Magrath was still living in 1616.
Ussher's list states that Ultagh was beyond the Seas and in Tyrone's companie and came lately from thence and lives neaer for most part at Multyfarnan. Maurice Ultagh O'Donleavy was one of the outstanding Franciscans in Ireland in the first half of the seventeenth century. He returned to Ireland in the early 1610s and became guardian of Multyfarnham in 1615. Christopher Nugent, the principall countenance of the said fryers, provided patronage and protection to the Franciscans. He died in 1626 and was buried at Multyfarnham Abbey. The following decade, Ultagh contributed one of the attestations in favour of the Annals of the Four Masters and died three years later in 1639.
The penultimate name recorded, William Bathe, Jesuite, refers to John Bathe's brother. Trained as a musicologist and linguist, William was educated at Oxford. In 1611 he published his Janua Linguarum, or Gate of Tongues, at Salamanca. This book provided a method for acquiring a working knowledge of Latin in a short time and was translated into nine languages within twenty years. William Bathe died in Madrid at 48 years of age on 17 June 1614.
A volume of Irish Franciscan manuscripts at University College Dublin preserves another seventeenth-century copy of the Breviate and extracts of O'Sullivan Beare's Zoilomastix, showing the popularity of his works among the exiled community. The transcripts from Trinity College Dublin which James Hardiman contributed to The Complete Catholic Directory in 1841 point to the development of nineteenth-century Irish nationalism.