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

Annal M1596


THE AGE OF CHRIST, 1596. The Age of Christ, one thousand five hundred ninety-six.


Mac Carthy More died, namely, Donnell, the son of Donnell, son of Cormac Ladhrach, son of Teige; and although he was usually styled Mac Carthy More, he had been honourably created Earl by order of the Sovereign of England.


There was no male heir who could be installed in his place, or any heir except one daughter Ellen, who was the wife of the son of Mac Carthy Reagh, i.e. Fineen; and all thought that he was the heir of the deceased Mac Carthy, i.e. Donnell.


Mac Sweeny-na-dTuath (Owen Oge, the son of Owen Oge, son of Owen, son of Donnell), an influential and generous man, who had never incurred


reproach or censure from the time that he assumed the chieftainship of his territory to the day of his death; a sumptuous, warlike, humane, and bounteous man; puissant to sustain, and brave to make the attack; with the gift of good sense and counsel in peace and war; died on the 26th of January; and his brother's son, Mulmurry, the son of Murrough Mall, took his place.


O'Reilly, i e. John Roe, the son of Hugh Conallagh, son of Maelmora, son of John, died. And though, by a composition made some time anterior to this period, by the Queen's authority, it was ordained that each of the descendants of Maelmora O'Reilly should exclusively possess the lordship of his own territory, yet O'Neill (Hugh, the son of Ferdorcha) nominated Philip, son of Hugh, the O'Reilly over all Breifny; but he did not live long after being styled Lord, for he was accidentally slain by O'Neill's people (by whom he had been inaugurated); and then Edmond, the son of Maelmora, who was senior to the other two lords, was styled the O'Reilly.


The son of the Earl of Desmond died, namely, Thomas, the son of James, son of John, son of Thomas of Drogheda.


Theobald, the son of Pierce, son of Edmond Butler, Lord of Cathair-Duna-Iascaigh and Trian-Chluana-meala, died. He was a liberal and bounteous man, and had the largest collection of poetical compositions of almost all the old English of Ireland; and his son, Thomas, took his place.


Mageoghegan, i.e. Niall, the son of Rossa, son of Conla, died.


Redmond Fitzgerald, Lord of Tuath-Brothaill, was executed at Cork, for his crimes of insurrection against the English.


When the Lord Justice and the Council of Ireland saw the bravery and power of the Irish against them, and that all those who had previously been obedient to themselves were now joining the aforesaid Irish against them, they came to the resolution of sending ambassadors to O'Neill and O'Donnell, to request peace and tranquillity from them. The persons selected for negociating


between them were Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond, and Mulmurry Magrath, Archbishop of Cashel. The Earl of Ormond repaired to Traigh-Bhaile Dundalk, and there halted; and he sent his messengers to O'Neill, to inform him of the purport of his coming; upon which O'Neill sent the same intelligence to O'Donnell; and O'Donnell came to the place where O'Neill was, with a body of cavalry, and both set out for Faughard-Muirtheimne. Here the Earl and the Archbishop came to meet them. They stated to the chiefs the object of their embassy, namely, to request a peace; and they stated the rewards promised by the Lord Justice, namely, the appropriation to them of the province of Conchobhar, except the tract of country extending from Dundalk to the River Boyne, in which the English had dwelt long before that time. They promised, moreover, that the English should not encroach upon them beyond the boundary, excepting those who were in Carrickfergus, Carlingford, and Newry, who were at all times permitted to deal and traffic; that no stewards or collectors of rents or tributes should be sent among them, but that the rents which had been some time before upon their ancestors should be forwarded by them to Dublin; that beyond this no hostages or pledges would be required; and that the Irish in the province of Connaught, who had risen up in alliance with O'Donnell, should have privileges similar to these. O'Neill, O'Donnell, and all the chiefs of the province who were then along with them, went into council upon those conditions which were brought to them; and, having reflected for a long time upon the many that had been ruined by the English, since their arrival in Ireland, by specious promises, which they had not performed, and the numbers of the Irish high-born princes, gentlemen, and chieftains, who came to premature deaths without any reason at all, except to rob them of their patrimonies, they feared very much that what was then promised would not be fulfilled to them;


so that they finally resolved upon rejecting the peace. They communicated their decision to the Earl, who proceeded to Dublin to the Lord Justice and the Council, and related to them his having been refused the peace, and the answer he had received from the Irish. The Lord Justice and Council sent messengers to England to the Queen, to tell her the news; so that she then sent a great number of men to Ireland, with the necessary arms. Their number was no less than twenty thousand; and they were composed of mercenaries and native soldiers. A great hosting was mustered by the Queen's general of war in Ireland, namely, Sir John Norris, to proceed into the province of Connaught, in order to reduce all those who had risen up in the confederation of the Irish in the war. The Earl of Clanrickard, i.e. Ulick, the son of Rickard Saxonagh, son of Ulick na gCeann, came to join his levy with all his forces. The Earl of Thomond, i.e. Donough, the son of Conor, son of Donough O'Brien, came likewise with his forces; and also many others besides them, not enumerated, came to join him. In short, some say that no army like this had for a long time before been mustered in that part of Ireland possessed by the Sovereign of England, in the numbers of the muster, the exotic and strange character of their equipment and appearance. When all these had come together at Athlone to meet the General, they then proceeded to Roscommon, and afterwards to the vicinity of the monastery of Boyle; but, not finding the Connacians there before them, as they had expected, they returned back, and marched towards the territory of Mac William, to Ceann-lacha, and to Maighin, and pitched a spacious camp on the brink of the River Robe.

When this great army was threatening to come to this place, Mac William Burke (Theobald) sent his messengers to O'Donnell, requesting of him to come to his relief. Not negligently did O'Donnell respond to this request, for he had been prepared to proceed into the province of Meave Connaught before the messengers arrived. He sent letters and writings to the Irish of the province of Olnegmacht Connaught, to request of them to meet him at a certain place on the road, leading to the camp of the General, Sir John Norris; and he himself set out on his journey with his army across the Erne and the Sligo,


keeping the stream of Sliabh-Gamh on the right, through Leyny and the territory of Gaileanga. The Irish of the province came at the summons to meet him; and, first of all, O'Rourke (Brian Oge, the son of Brian, son of Brian, son of Owen); thither came O'Conor Roe, O'Kelly, Mac Dermot of Moylurg; thither came the two Mac Donoughs, the two O'Haras, and O'Dowda. When these Irish came together at one place, they made no delay until they pitched their camp, confronting Sir John Norris, on the opposite side of the same River Robe.

There was a communication between them on both sides, as if through peace and friendship; but this, in truth, was not so, but to spy, circumvent, and decoy each other, if they could. Thus they remained, face to face, until the English had exhausted their provisions; and the resolution they came to was, to leave the camp in which they were, as they could not do any service upon the Irish. They accordingly did so; and the General proceeded to Galway, and from thence to Athlone; having left soldiers in Cong, Galway, Athenry, Mullaghmore-Hy-Many, Kilconnell, Ballinasloe, Roscommon, Tulsk, and the monastery of Boyle.


In the autumn of this year O'Conor Sligo returned to Ireland with a great number of Englishmen.


Sir Richard Bingham and his relatives were deprived of their power in the province of Connaught; and they were brought to Dublin, and sent off from thence to England; and a far better man than he was appointed in his place to the governorship of Connaught, by name Sir Conyers Clifford. He was a distributor of wealth and jewels upon the English and Irish; and there came not of the English into Ireland, in latter times, a better man than he. On his arrival in Dublin, he proceeded to muster men and arms, to proceed into Connaught. He afterwards marched, with the entire of his troops and forces, to Athlone, and distributed his companies in camps and fortresses among the towns of Hy-Many and Clanrickard, namely, Galway, Athenry, Mullaghmore, Cong, and Lehinch. A great number of the chiefs of the province of Connaught repaired to the Governor, and adhered to him, on account of his fame and high renown. Among these were O'Conor Roe, i.e. Hugh, the son of Turlough Roe, and Mac Dermot, i.e. Conor, who formed a league of friendship with him.



O'Conor Sligo, after his return from England, proceeded, on behalf of the English, to reduce Connaught; and he was joined by the Clann-Donough of Cul-muine, and he had also Ballymote in his power. The O'Harts also adhered to him, for they had always been faithful to the man who held his place; and they rejoiced at his arrival, and were filled with pride and arrogance, and began to defy and threaten the Kinel-Connell.

When O'Donnell heard this fact rumoured, and that these people had joined the English against him, he did not wait to muster an army, except his soldiers and mercenaries, and proceeded westward across the River Sligo, and plundered all those who paid obedience to O'Conor, wherever they were, even those in the wilds and fast recesses of the country; so that he did not leave a single head of cattle among them. He plundered but these only; and though he had often spared them on former occasions, on account of their littleness and insignificance, yet their own haughty words and animosity, which they were unable to repress, provoked O'Donnell to plunder them on this occasion.


Conor, the son of Teige, son of Conor O'Brien, of Bel-atha-an-chomhraic, went into insurrection, and began to plunder; for he, together with a party of the Clann-Sheehy, having been expelled from their patrimonies, were along with the Irish of the north. It came into their minds to return to their own territory; and they passed through Clanrickard, by Sliabh-Echtghe and the lower parting of Clann-Cuilein. They were pursued from territory to territory, until Conor was at last taken in the Wood of Coill-mhor, and brought before the President in the first month of autumn; and he was hanged at Cork in the ensuing November Term.


Teige, the son of Turlough, son of Donough, son of Conor O'Brien, after having been a long time engaged in plundering, was taken in the country of the Butlers, and executed by advice of the Earl of Ormond.



Owny, son of Rury Oge, son of Rury Caech, son of Connell O'More, was at this time a gentleman skilled in the arts of war; and Leix was totally ravaged by him, both its crops, corn, and dwellings, so that there was nothing in the territory outside the lock of a gate or a bawn which was not in his power. He slew a gentleman of the English, who was seated at Stradbally-Leix, who possessed a large portion of the territory by authority of the Sovereign, namely, Alexander Cosby, the son of Master Frauus.


The sons of Edmond of Caladh, son of James, son of Pierce Roe, son of James, son of Edmond, son of Richard Butler, also turned out to plunder, in consequence of their animosity towards the Earl of Ormond; and their father, Edmond of Caladh, was taken prisoner for their crimes.


Edmond, the son of Richard, son of Pierce Roe Butler, was also taken prisoner.


At this time Fiagh, the son of Hugh, son of John O'Byrne, from Glenmalure, was plundering Leinster and Meath.