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Annals of the Four Masters (Author: [unknown])

Annal M1592


THE AGE OF CHRIST, 1592. The Age of Christ, one thousand five hundred ninety-two.


O'Conor Roe (Teige Oge, son of Teige Boy, son of Cathal Roe) was hanged at the session of Roscommon, in the month of January, for the crimes of his sons, who were engaged in plunder and insurrection against the crown of England; and he was at this time aged, feeble, and blind, though he suffered death in this manner.


Mac Dermot of Moylurg (Brian, the son of Rory, son of Teige, son of Dermot) died in the month of November; and the death of this man was the more to be lamented, because there was no other like him of the Clann-Mulrony to succeed him in the chieftainship.


Mac Namara Reagh, Lord of the western part of Clann-Cuilein, i.e. Donnell


Reagh, the son of Cumeadha, son of Donough, son of Rory, son of Maccon Ceannmhor, died on the 11th of February. He was a sumptuous, warlike, bountiful, and humane man.


In the same month a gentleman of the Sil-Aedha died, i.e. John-na-nGeimhleach, son of Cumara, son of Mahon, son of Hugh Mac Namara.


More, the daughter of Donough, son of John, son of Mulrony-na-Feasoige, son of Teige O'Carroll, and wife of Mac-I-Brien Ara, died. She had spent a good life, and departed this world without disgrace or reproach.


Catherine, the daughter of Donnell, son of Fineen, son of Dermot-an-Duna Mac Carthy, and wife of Teige, the son of Cormac Oge, son of Cormac, son of Teige Mac Carthy, a sensible, pious, charitable, and truly hospitable woman, died, after having gained the victory over the world, the Devil, and the people.


The son of O'Meagher (John of the Glen, the son of Thomas) died.


All the Burkes, of Mac William's country, with their followers, went on their defence; and when the Governor, Sir Richard Bingham, had received intelligence of this, he proceeded into the county of Mayo, and all the castles of the country, both perfect and broken, were in his power, namely, Dun-na-mona,


Cuil-na-gCaisiol, Gaoisideach, and Cluainin. The Burkes made an attack upon the Governor at Cuil-na-gGaisiol; but they were more harmed on their return than the Governor. After this the Governor dispatched heavy troops of English and Irish soldiers to search for the Burkes, who were in rebellion and engaged in plundering, on the rugged mountain-tops, and in the bushy dense and intricate woods. They the soldiers had not been long in this search, when they returned to the Governor with many preys and spoils, with prisoners, both women and men, and with many cows and horses. After this, all the Burkes, except the son of Deamhan-an-Chorrain, namely, Richard, the son of Rickard, came and submitted to the award of the Governor; upon which the Governor, by authority of the Sovereign, took the castles of the country into his own possession, and left John Bingham and companies of his own soldiers to guard them.


Hugh Roe, the son of Hugh, son of Manus O'Donnell, remained in Dublin, in prison and in chains, after his first escape, to the winter of this year. One evening he and his companions, Henry and Art, the sons of O'Neill (John), before they had been brought into the refection house, took an advantage of the keepers, and knocked off their fetters. They afterwards went to the privy-house, having with them a very long rope, by the loops of which they let themselves down through the privy-house, until they reached the deep trench that


was around the castle. They climbed the outer side, until they were on the margin of the trench. A certain faithful youth, who was in the habit of visiting them, and to whom they had communicated their secret, came to them at this


time, and guided them. They then proceeded through the streets of the city, mixing with the people; and no one took more notice of them than of any one else, for they did not delay at that time to become acquainted with the people of the town; and the gates of the city were wide open. They afterwards proceeded by every intricate and difficult place, until they arrived upon the surface of the Red Mountain over which Hugh had passed in his former escape. The darkness of the night, and the hurry of their flight (from dread of pursuit), separated the eldest of them from the rest, namely, Henry O'Neill. Hugh was the greenest of them with respect to years, but not with respect to prowess. They were grieved at the separation of Henry from them; but, however, they proceeded onwards, their servant guiding them along. That night was snowing, so that it was not easy for them to walk, for they were without sufficient clothes or coverings, having left their outer garments behind them in the privy-house, through which they had escaped. Art was more exhausted by this rapid journey than Hugh, for he had been a long time in captivity, and had become very corpulent from long confinement in the prison. It was not so with Hugh; he had not yet passed the age of boyhood, and had not yet done growing and increasing at this period, and his pace and motion were quick and rapid. When he perceived Art had become feeble, and that his step was becoming inactive and slow, he requested him to place one arm upon his own shoulder, and the other upon that of the servant. In this manner they proceeded on their way until they had crossed the Red Mountain, after which they were weary and fatigued, and unable to help Art on any further; and as they were not able to take him with them, they stopped to rest under the shelter of a high rocky precipice which lay before them. On halting here, they sent the servant to bring the news to Glenmalur, where dwelt Fiagh, the son of Hugh O'Byrne, who was then at war with the English. This is a secure and impregnable


valley; and many prisoners who escaped from Dublin were wont to resort to that valley, for they considered themselves secure there, until they could return to their own country. When the servant came into the presence of Fiagh, he delivered his message, and how he had left the youths who had escaped from the city, and stated that they would not be overtaken alive unless he sent them relief instantly. Fiagh immediately ordered some of his servants of trust (those in whom he had most confidence) to go to them, taking with them a man to carry food, and another to carry ale and beer. This was accordingly done, and they arrived at the place where the men were. Alas! unhappy and miserable was their condition on their arrival. Their bodies were covered over with white-bordered shrouds of hail-stones freezing around them on every side, and their light clothes and fine-threaded shirts too adhered to their skin; and their large shoes and leather thongs to their shins and feet; so that, covered as they were with the snow, it did not appear to the men who had arrived that they were human beings at all, for they found no life in their members, but just as if they were dead. They were raised by them from their bed, and they requested of them to take some of the meat and drink; but this they were not able to avail themselves of, for every drink they took they rejected again on the instant; so that Art at length died, and was buried in that place. As to Hugh, after some time, he retained the beer; and, after drinking it, his energies were restored, except the use of his two feet, for they were dead members, without feeling, swollen and blistered by the frost and snow. The men carried him to the valley which we have mentioned, and he was placed in a sequestered house, in a solitary part of a dense wood, where he remained under cure until a messenger came privately from his brother-in-law, the Earl O'Neill, to inquire after him. When the messenger arrived, he Hugh prepared to depart. It was difficult for him to undertake that journey, for his feet could


not have been healed within the time, so that another person had to raise him on his horse, and to lift him from his horse, whenever he wished to alight. Fiagh dispatched a troop of horse with him, who accompanied him until he crossed the River Liffey, to protect him against the snares which were laid for him; for the English of Dublin had heard that Hugh was at Glenmalure, and had therefore posted guards on the shallow fords of the river, to prevent him and the prisoners who had escaped along with him from passing into Ulster. The youths who were along with Hugh were obliged to cross a difficuIt deep ford on the River Liffey, near the city of Dublin; and they proceeded on their way until they came to the green of the fortress, unperceived by the English. The people by whom he had been abandoned some time before, after his first escape, namely, Felim O'Toole and his brother, were amongst the troop who escorted him to this place; and they made friendship and amity with each other. They bade him farewell, and having given him their blessing, departed from him.

As for Hugh O'Donnell, he had now no one along with him but the one young man who had been sent for him to the famous Glen Glenmalure; he was of the people of Hugh O'Neill, and spoke the language of foreign countries, and had always accompanied the Earl (i.e. Hugh O'Neill) when he went among the English; so that he was acquainted with and confident in every road by which they had to pass. They proceeded forwards on their noble, swift steeds, by the straight-lined roads of Meath, until they arrived before morning on the brink of the Boyne, a short distance to the west of Drogheda; and they were afraid of going to that town, so that what they did was this, to proceed along the brink of the river to a place where a poor little fisherman used to wait with a little boat, for ferrying people across the river. Hugh went into this little boat, and the ferryman conveyed him to the other bank, having received a full remuneration; and his servant returned with the horses through the city town, and brought them to Hugh on the other side of the river. They then mounted their steeds, and proceeded onwards until they were two miles from the river, when they observed a dense bushy grove, surrounded with a rampart, looking like an enclosed garden, at some distance on the way before them. On one side


of this grove stood a fine-mansion-house, belonging to a distinguished English youth, who was a particular friend of Hugh O'Neill. On reaching the enclosure, they unharnessed their steeds, and entered the grove which was inside the rampart, for Hugh's companion was well acquainted with the place. Having left Hugh there in the grove, he went into the fortress, where he was kindly received. He procured a private apartment for Hugh O'Donnell, and conveyed him thither, where he was attended and entertained to his satisfaction. Here they remained until the evening of the following day; their horses were got ready for them in the beginning of the night, and they proceeded across Sliabh Breagh, and through the territory of Machaire-Chonaill; and before morning they had arrived at Tragh-Bhaile-mhic-Buain. As the gates of the town were opened in the morning early, they resolved to pass through it on their horses. This they did, and advanced until they were at the other side; and they were cheerful and rejoiced for having escaped every danger which lay before them thus far. They then proceeded to the Fodh, where dwelt Turlough, the son of Henry, son of Felim Roe O'Neill, to recruit themselves. They were here secure, for Turlough was his friend and companion, and he and the Earl O'Neill had been born of the one mother. They remained here until the next day, and then proceeded across Sliabh Fuaid, and arrived at Armagh, where they remained in disguise for that night. On the following day they proceeded to Dungannon, where the Earl, Hugh O'Neill, was. He was rejoiced at their arrival, and they were conductedrecte,Hugh was conducted into a private apartment, without the knowledge of any, except a few of his faithful people who


attended him; and here Hugh remained for the space of four nights, to shake off the fatigue of his journey and anxiety. He then prepared to depart, and took his leave of the Earl, who sent a troop of horse with him till he arrived at Lough Erne.


The lord of this country, namely, Hugh Maguire, was his friend and kinsman, by the mother's side; for Nuala, daughter of Manus O'Donnell, was Maguire's mother. Maguire was rejoiced at his arrival. A boat was afterwards provided for him Hugh, into which he entered; and they rowed him thence until they arrived at the narrow neck of the lake, where they landed. Here a party of his faithful friends came to meet him, and they conveyed him to the castle of Ballyshannon, where the warders of O'Donnell, his father, were stationed. He remained here until all those in the neighbourhood came to him, to welcome him; and his faithful people were rejoiced at the return of the heir to the chieftainship; and though they owed him real affection on account of his family, they had an additional cause of joy at this period; for, until his return the country had been one scene of devastation between the English and the Irish. There were two famous captains, namely, Captain Willis and Captain Conwell, with two hundred soldiers (who had some time before come thither from the province of Connaught), who were plundering and ravaging the country in general, so that they had reduced in subjection to them the entire of Tirconnell from the mountain westwards, excepting the castle of Ballyshannon, and the castle of Donegal, in which O'Donnell was stationed with a few men. The English, however, were not able to do him any injury; nor was he on the other hand able to prevent them from plundering the country. The place where the English had taken up their abode and quarters was the monastery of Donegal, the friars and ecclesiastics having fled into the wilds and recesses of the territory to avoid them, from fear of being destroyed or persecuted. After having resided in the monastery for some time, with the


small number of forces which we have mentioned, a party of them went to Baile-Ui-Bhaoighill, a castle on the borders of the harbour, about two thousand paces west of Donegal, for they considered themselves secure there, as they had the hostages of the country in their power. These were wont to go forth, in companies of two and three, and carry off the flocks and herds, goods and treasures, of the neighbourhood with them into this castle. They were constantly inviting additional hosts and forces to proceed across Barnesmore, to persecute and plunder the country on the east side of the mountain, as they had already treated the western portion.


As for Hugh O'Donnell, after having summoned the country to him, he did not long wait for them (when he heard of the great oppression in which the Kinel-Connell were, and of the spoiling and profanation of the monastery), but proceeded to Donegal to meet the English face to face. The people of the country, such of them as loved him, did not neglect to come at his summons; they followed him in bands and in companies as expeditiously as they were able; he, thereupon, sent his messengers to the English, to tell them not to remain or abide any longer in the monastery destroying it; and, adding that he would not prevent them to depart in any direction they pleased, provided only they would leave behind all the prisoners and cattle of the territory they had with them. They were so terrified and dismayed that they did as they were ordered; and, being thankful that they escaped with their lives, they went back again into the province of Connaught. The friars then returned to the monastery.


Hugh O'Donnell returned to Ballyshannon, and sent for physicians to cure his feet; but they were not able to effect a cure until they had cut off both his great toes; and he was not perfectly well till the end of a year afterwards. He remained thus confined under cure of his feet from the festival of St. Bridget to April. When the cold of the spring season was over, he thought it too long he had been confined as an invalid; and he sent persons to assemble and muster all those who were obedient to his father to the east side of the celebrated mountain, i.e. Barnesmore, in Tirhugh; and he collected also all those


to the west of the same mountain, namely, O'Boyle, and Mac Sweeny of Tir-Boghaine. There came also to join him, his father, O'Donnell, i.e. Hugh, the son of Manus, son of Hugh Duv, with his wife, the daughter of James Mac Donnell, his Hugh Roe's mother. The place of meeting appointed by these chieftains was Kilmacrenan, where the O'Donnell was usually inaugurated Lord of the Kinel-Connell. He arrived with the same number at that place. To Hugh O'Donnell's levy on this occasion came also Mac Sweeny Fanad (Donnell, the son of Turlough, son of Rory), and Mac Sweeny-na-dTuath (Owen, Oge, the son of Owen Oge, son of Owen). There were many parties of the Kinel-Connell who did not come to this assembly. Of these was Hugh, the son of Hugh Duv, son of Hugh Roe O'Donnell; and the descendants of Calvagh, the son of Manus, son of Hugh Duv; O'Doherty; John Oge, the son of John, son of Felim, son of Conor Carragh, Chieftain of the Tricha-ched of Inishowen; and a party of the Clann-Sweeny, who had gone away from their own territory, and were dwelling at that time on the margin of Lough Foyle, and who had been leaders in battle to Calvagh O'Donnell, and his descendants after him. There was also a great number of the O'Gallaghers who did not come hither, through spite and malice, like the others.


O'Donnell (Hugh, the son of Manus) and these chiefs who came to meet him, then held a consultation; and the resolution which O'Donnell came to (as he felt his own feebleness and great age) was, to resign his lordship to his son, and to style him O'Donnell. This resolution was universally applauded by all, and accordingly adopted, for O'Firghil the Erenagh was sent for; and he inaugurated Hugh Roe chief of the country, by order and with the blessing of his father; and the ceremony of conferring the name was legally performed, and he styled him O'Donnell on the third day of May.

O'Donnell (Hugh Roe) did not permit those few troops he had then with him to disperse, but marched them, both horse and foot, into the neighbouring parts of the territory of the race of Eoghan, the son of Niall. No notice or forewarning of this movement had reached the others, for they did not think that he had perfectly recovered from his confinement; yet they did not intend


to fly before the Kinel-Connell neither, indeed, had it been their wont to do so from a remote period. By this small army of the Kinel-Connell the neighbouring parts of Kinel-Owen were plundered and burned; every one fit to bear arms whom they caught was put to the sword and slaughtered. The army also seized upon many spoils, both herds and flocks, and then returned back to their own territory.


At this time the residence of O'Neill (Turlough Luineach) was at Strabane, where, before the time of this Turlough, the O'Neill had not usually held his residence. Great was his animosity to the Kinel-Connell, and to O'Donnell's brother-in-law, namely, the Earl O'Neill. O'Neill drew a party of the English of Dublin to strengthen him against the Kinel-Connell and the Earl O'Neill, namely, Captain Willis and Captain Fullart; and they had two hundred soldiers along with them. It was anguish of mind to the young O'Donnell that the English of Dublin should have come to the confines of his territory to spy his patrimony, and the province in general; wherefore, in a week's time he made a hosting into Tyrone. The people of the country fled on this second occasion before him, until they reached Cianachta-Glinne-Geimhin. He O'Donnell was informed that O'Neill and the English before mentioned were assembled with all their forces in the neighbourhood; and he ordered his troops to advance to the place where they were. This was accordingly done. He marched resolutely and fiercely against them in mid-day. When they perceived the Kinel-Connell approaching them, they did not wait for them, but fled, to avoid them, to a castle which was situated on the margin of a river called Roa. This was a strong, impregnable castle, and the mansion-seat of O'Kane. O'Donnell proceeded to lay siege to the castle. 0'Kane sent a messenger with a letter to him. What was stated in this letter was, that O'Donnell was his foster-son; that he O'Kane had ratified a friendship with him long since; that by reason of this friendship, it was now lawful for him O'Donnell to leave to him the property


which had come under his asylum and protection; and that he would never again admit such, should he O'Donnell be in pursuit of it. O'Donnell granted him this request, but, returning back, remained three days and nights in the territory whence the spoils to which he had given protection had been removed, plundering and totally devastating it. He then went back to his own country, and never halted until he had reached Donegal, where he remained two months under cure.

By this time he thought it too long that O'Neill and his English were left unattacked; wherefore, having assembled his forces, they proceeded through the gap of Barnesmore, and across the Rivers Finn and Mourne, on his way to Strabane, where O'Neill and his English were stationed; and they never halted until they came before them face to face. But O'Neill and his English did not come outside the donjon of the fortress to engage them; and when they were not responded to in battle, they set fires and flames to the four opposite quarters of the town, and did not depart until they had burned all the houses outside the walls; and when they could not excite the English to come forth to avenge the destruction, they returned home in triumph.


As for the Earl O'Neill, when he perceived the enmity that his own tribe bore to O'Donnell (Hugh Roe), what he did was, to proceed to the Lord Justice, William Fitzwilliam, to obtain a protection for O'Donnell to come before him, and confer with him, at Tragh-Bhaile-mic-Buain Dundalk. This he obtained at once, and went to Donegal to O'Donnell, and took him to Tragh-Bhaile-mhic-Buain, where both appeared before the Lord Justice, who was gracious to them, and he forgave O'Donnell the escape. They confirmed friendship and amity with each other as strongly as possible, and, having bid the Lord Justice farewell, and left him their blessing, they all returned to their respective homes.

When that party of the Kinel-Connell who were in opposition to O'Donnell heard that he had made peace with the Lord Justice, they all came to him in peace and amity. The most distinguished of these who came there were Hugh, the son of Hugh Duv, son of Hugh Roe; Niall Garv, the son of Con,


son of Calvagh, son of Manus, son of Hugh Duv, with his kinsmen; and O'Doherty, namely, John Oge, the son of John, son of Felim, son of Conor Carragh, after having been taken prisoner by him Hugh Roe.