THE AGE OF CHRIST, 1599. The Age of Christ, one thousand five hundred ninety-nine.
The Earl of Kildare, whom we have spoken of in the last year as having gone to England, namely, William, the son of Garrett, son of Garrett, prepared to return to Ireland in the spring of this year. He went into a ship with eighteen of the chiefs of Meath and Fingall; and after they had sailed till out of sight at sea, none of them was alive ever since; and it was from other countries, in two months afterwards, that an account of the certainty of their deaths arrived in England and Ireland. He the Earl left neither son nor brother behind him to succeed to his title; but his kinsman, Garrett, the son of Edward, son of Garrett, son of Thomas, son of John Cam, was appointed by the Queen and Council of England. He had been only a captain over soldiers in the Queen's service, until God permitted this property to devolve to him, without battle or war, peril or danger.
O'Molloy (Connell, the son of Cahir) died in the spring of this year; and his son, Calvagh, took his place, being appointed by the Queen. Some of the gentlemen of his tribe vied and contended with him (according to the custom of the Irish) for that name.
Fergus, the son of Brian, son of Brian, son of Rury, son of Cathal O'Farrell, died in the month of March; and his death was the cause of lamentation in his own territory.
Donnell, the son of Niall Meirgeach, son of Mulmurry, son of Hugh, son of Niall Mac Sweeny, was slain by Mulmurry, the son of Brian Oge, and Hugh Boy, the son of Ferfheadha Mac Sweeny. Both of these i.e. the slayers were hanged and burned by O'Donnell (Hugh Roe), on Mullach-Sithe-Aedha, for this crime, and for violating his law.
James, the son of Turlough, son of Tuathal O'Gallagher, was hanged by O'Donnell on Mullach-na-Sithe, over Assaroe, on the fourth day of March, it having been proved against him that he was spying and betraying O'Donnell, and drawing the English into his country.
George Cusack, the son of Thomas, was slain in the month of July by Turlough, the son of Mahon, son of Turlough, son of Mahon, son of the Bishop O'Brien, on account of his father's territory. For Sir Richard Bingham, after he had put Mahon O'Brien to death, had given up his Mahon's territory to the aforesaid George; and he Turlough persevered in his endeavours to recover his patrimony, until he slew George on this occasion. And he George was buried in the monastery of Ennis.
The son of O'Conor Kerry (Donough Mael, the son of Conor, son of Conor, son of John), was slain in the month of August, by a party of the soldiers of the Earl of Desmond, namely, by the sons of Manus Oge, son of Manus, son of Edmond Mac Sheehy; and that slaying was deemed a great misfortune by the Earl; for O'Conor himself (John) was his ally in war, as was his brother, this Donough who was slain, and all who were in their terrritory.
John, the son of Gilla-Duv, son of James O'Kennedy, from Baile-an-Gharrdha-Chnuic-Sithe Una, in Ormond, was slain by Hugh, the son of Murrough O'Kennedy, from Ballyquirk.
The Prior of Lothra in Ormond (John, the son of John, son of Gillapatrick O'Hogan), was slain by a party of the O'Kennedys in the month of July.
More, the daughter of Donnell, son of Conor, son of Turlough O'Brien, died in the month of January. She was a woman praiseworthy in the ways of woman.
The Earl of Thomond (Donough, the son of Conor O'Brien), returned from England in the month of January, and remained for some time afterwards with the Earl of Ormond, in the country of the Butlers.
One of O'Neill's sons, namely, Con, the son of Hugh, son of Ferdorcha, son of Con Bacagh, went, in the month of January, on a visit among the friends and warlike confederates of his father in Leinster and Munster, to ascertain who they were that were firm in their friendship and promises to O'Neill and the Irish. He remained in those territories during the greater part of the Spring, obtaining provisions for his soldiers, and confirming them in the war
p.2097in which they were engaged. There was a communication and friendly correspondence carried on between this son of O'Neill and the son of the late Earl of Thomond (Teige, the son of Conor O'Brien), on both sides of the Shannon.
Turlough, the son of Donnell, son of Conor O'Brien, hired soldiers and mercenaries in the very beginning of this year, to assist the Queen against her enemies. The young brother of the Earl of Thomond, also Donnell, the son of Conor, son of Donough, had the leading command of the Earl of Thomond's people in assisting the Queen.
After the taking of the English ship, of which we have above treated, by Teige Caech, the son of Turlough Mac Mahon, an appearance of enmity and an indication of contention arose between him and this son of the Earl, i.e. Donnell. Teige repaired to the Earl of Desmond and made his friendship with him, like every other party who had ratified their treaty with him. After Teige had returned across the Shannon, he made a nocturnal assault upon young Donnell at Kilmurry-Ibrickane, on the seventeenth day of the month of February. He wounded and made a prisoner of Donnell, and slew many of his faithful people; and he conveyed him to Dunbeg to be confined, but he was only a week confined there, when he was set at liberty without securities or conditions.
O'Donnell Hugh: i.e. Roe, the son of Hugh, son of Manus, had resided at Ballymote, in the county of Sligo, from the gaining of the battle of Ath-Buidhe, in the beginning of August, to the festival of St. Bridget in this year. He felt it long to have remained during this time without going into some enemy's territory, but he knew not to what particular place he should go; for he had not left a quarter, limit, wilderness, or recess, in the whole province of Connaught the inhabitants of which he had not plundered, or from which he had not taken pledges and hostages, save Thomond alone wherefore, at the time aforesaid, he ordered an army to be mustered in order to proceed into Thomond. First of all assembled the Kinel-Connel, among whom were Hugh Oge, the son of Hugh Duv, son of Hugh Roe, son of Niall Garv O'Donnell; and Niall Garv, the son of Con, son of Calvagh, son of Manus, son of Hugh Duv; O'Doherty (John Oge, the son of Felim, son of Conor Carragh); O'Boyle (Teige Oge, the
p.2099son of Teige, son of Turlough, son of Niall); Mac Sweeny Fanad (Donnell, the son of Turlough, son of Mulmurry); and Mac Sweeny Banagh (Donough, the son of Mulmurry Meirgeach, son of Mulmurry, son of Niall): all these with their forces. Into the same rendezvous came Maguire (Hugh, the son of Cuconnaught, son of Cuconnaught, son of Cuconnaught, son of Brian, son of Philip, son of Thomas); the son of O'Rourke (Thomas, the son of Brian, son of Brian Ballagh, son of Owen); and the Mac William, whom O'Donnell himself had some time before nominated, namely, Theobald, son of Walter Kittagh, son of John, son of Oliver.
When all these chieftains had come with their forces to Ballymote, to O'Donnell, they formed so numerous and vast an army that he sent a force into the territory of Mac William, while he himself should be in Thomond; and the chieftains who were appointed leaders of this force were Mac William and Niall Garv, the son of Con O'Donnell. This force searched and mightily overran the country from the eastern extremity of Costello to Umhall of Clann-Gibbon, and during that excursion took the island of Leath Ardan, and slew eighteen of the chief men of the Clann-Gibbon, besides many other persons. They carried off great preys, plunders, and spoils, on their return from the territory.
As for O'Donnell and his forces, they marched forward to proceed into Thomond, and made no delay until they arrived, without being observed, inside the river in Clanrickard; and in the evening they pitched an extensive camp of armed heroes at Ruaidh-Bheitheach, between Kilcolgan and Ardrahin. Here they remained to consult with each other as to how they should attack the strange territory towards which they had come; and, having eaten some of their provisions, they all went to take a sleep, except the sentinels, before they should undertake their great journey and toil. Thus they remained until midnight, when O'Donnell commanded them to rise up without delay, to march into the neighbouring territory before the day should break upon them. They rose up forthwith, and proceeded straight onwards by each direct road, until,
p.2101by morning twilight, they arrived in the eastern extremity of Coill-O'bhFlannchadha, in the cantred of Kinel-Fearmaic, in Thomond. Here they formed marauding parties, and sent one of them northwards into Burren, under the command of Teige O'Rourke and Mac Sweeny Banagh; and another party southwards into Baile-Ui-Ogain of Coill-mhor, to Tully-O'Dea, and to the gate of Baile-Ui-Ghriobhtha. Maguire, with a strong body of his forces, went forth towards Inchiquin. O'Donnell himself proceeded, with the flower and main body of the army, through the middle of Coill-O'bhFlannchadha, Bealach-an-Fhiodhfail, and, before mid-day, arrived at Cill-Inghine-Bhaoith, in the upper part of Dal-gCais. Those who had gone to the south returned to the north by Druim-Finnghlaisi and Corofin, and joined O'Donnell at Cill-Inghine-Bhaoith. Thither the spoils of all Kinel-Fearmaic, from Diseart to Glencolumbkille, and to Tulach-Chumann, and from Cluain-Sailchearnaigh to Leim-an-eich, were brought to O'Donnell.
The son of O'Rourke and Mac Sweeny were not able to return to him on that night with the spoils of Burren; nor was Maguire able to return from the other direction, for they had pitched their camps wherever the night overtook them.
O'Donnell remained that night encamped at Cill-Inghine-Bhaoith, and left it before noon on the following day; and he then proceeded to Kilfenora, in
p.2103the cantred of Corcomroe. From thence he dispatched marauding parties southwards to Eidneach, to Brentir of the Fearmacaigh, to Cormacaigh, to the gate of Inis-Dimain,to Cill-Easbuig-Lonain,and to Baile-Phaidin, who returned to him to Kilfenora, in an easterly direction, loaded with spoils and booty. O'Donnell remained here until the following day, when his troops came up with him from every quarter in which they had been dispersed. The son of O'Rourke and Mac Sweeny Banagh came up with the spoils of Burren; and Maguire came up from another direction with much booty. When O'Donnell saw the surrounding hills covered and darkened with the herds and numerous cattle of the territories through which his troops had passed, he proceeded on his way homewards, over the chain of rugged-topped mountains of Burren; and, passing by Nuachongbhail, Turlach, the monastery of Corcomroe, and Carcair-na-gCleireach, arrived at Rubha, in the west of Hy-Fiachrach-Aidhne, where he stopped for the night. On the morrow he passed through the upper part of Clanrickard, and by the gate of Athenry. His adventures from this forward are not related, until he arrived at Ballymote, except that he was met by Mac William and Niall Garv O'Donnell at the frontiers of Hy-Many, with many preys, and spoils, and booty, which they had carried off from Mac William's country.
The learned historian and poet, Mac Brody (Maoilin Oge), represented that it was in revenge of the demolition of Grianan Oiligh, formerly, by Murtough
p.2105More, son of Turlough [son of Teige], son of Brian Boroimhe, that God, in consequence of the curse of Columbkille upon the O'Briens, had permitted Thomond to be totally plundered and devastated on this occasion by O'Donnell. This Maoilin Oge came to O'Donnell, to request of him the restoration of his cattle, which a party of the troops had carried off; and they were all given back to him; upon which Maoilin composed the following quatrain:
- It was destined that, in revenge of Oileach,
O Hugh Roe! the Prophet announced,
Thy troops should come to the land of Magh-Adhair;
From the North the aid of all is sought.
In the first week of March the Governor of the province of Connaught, Sir Conyers Clifford, went to Galway with a great army of distinguished gentlemen and soldiers. After having been nearly a week in Galway, he sent seven or eight companies of English and Irish soldiers to the county of Clare, to know who were loyal or disobedient to the Queen there. He appointed Theobald Dillon, Captain Lester, and Richard Scurlock, the sheriff of the county of Clare, as commanders over them, until they should arrive at the place where Turlough
p.2107O'Brien was, to whom authority over them was likewise given. On their arrival in the territory, they remained the first night at Cill-Caeidi, in the east of Hy-Fearmaic.
When the faithful friends of Teige, the son of Conor O'Brien, had heard of their arrival in this country, they lay in ambush, and, as the Queen's people were on the following day marching westwards from Cill-Caeidi, through Bealach-an-Fhiodhfail, Teige's people attacked them, and many persons were slain between them on both sides; but although there were more of the Queen's people slain, the death of no distinguished man of them is recorded. But on the side of the Irish was slain a gentleman of the O'Briens, namely, Dermot Roe, the son of Murrough, son of Conor. Besides what was done there, the pass was ceded to the Queen's people, who at the close of the day halted and rested at Cill-Inghine-Bhaoith Kilnaboy
The resolution which Teige, the son of Conor O'Brien, adopted after this was, to make peace with the Queen, and to dismiss his hirelings, and especially those who had made the aforesaid attack. He sent his messengers to Theobald Dillon, to Cill-Inghine-Bhaoith, and to the Governor, to Galway.
On the following day Theobald Dillon and the Queen's party left Cill-Inghine-Bhaoith, and proceeded to the residence of Turlough, the son of Donnell O'Brien, who was a sheltering fence and alighting hill to any of the Queen's people that wished to go to him. When they and Turlough met together, they laid siege to Cathair-Mionain, in the barony of Corcomroe, a castle which was then a den of robbers and a cover for plunderers, into which the plunder and spoil of the surrounding country were wont to be carried to Turlough, the son of Murrough, son of Conor O'Brien, a gentleman who was in alliance with the Irish at that time. The castle was obliged to be surrendered to the Queen's people.
Turlough and Theobald, with their people, then left Cathair-Mionain, and proceeded to West Corca-Bhaiscinn, to make their peace with Teige Caech Mac Mahon; but, as they could not come on terms of peace with him, they carried off many preys and spoils from the territory. Then, after this, they passed eastwards into East Corca-Bhaiscinn, and afterwards to Ennis, where
p.2109they held a session for fifteen days; and the gentlemen of the county in general attended them. At the end of this period Theobald Dillon and Captain Lester departed from the territory of Thomond, leaving in it four companies of soldiers, a sheriff, and a sub-sheriff, and after having received a promise that the Queen's rent should be paid in it.
About a week after this, the Earl of Thomond came into the country, after having been nearly a quarter of a year in the country of the Butlers. Upon arriving in Thomond, he proceeded, without sleeping two nights in any one town, until he went to take vengeance on Teige Caech Mac Mahon for the dishonour which he had shewn to his brother, and the attack which he had made against him. The greater part of the forces of the country collected to him, and, marching into West Corca-Bhaiscinn, encamped before Carraig-an-Chobhlaigh on the Monday before Easter, in the month of April. The property and cattle of the entire country, extending from Cnoc-Doire to Leim-Chonchulainn, were carried to him to that camp. In four days afterwards the Earl obtained possession of the town; and when the Easter holidays were over, he carried ordnance from Limerick for the purpose of assaulting Dunbeg; and when the ordnance was planted against the castle, the warders did not await the discharge of one shot, when they surrendered the castle to the Earl; and the protection they obtained lasted only while they were led to the gallows-tree, from which they were hanged in couples, face to face. In the same manner the Earl obtained possession of Dun-mor-mhic-an-Fhearmacaigh. After having taken these castles of Corca-Bhaiscinn, the Earl sent the great ordnance back to Limerick, and proceeded himself eastwards across the mountain to the plain of Thomond. He restored to the lawful inheritors every castle that had been
p.2111taken, to the dishonour of the Queen. Of these were Doire-Eoghain, the two castle-towns of Cluain and Lis-Aedha-finn.
The Earl of Essex (Robert) came to Ireland, as had been promised, about May this year, with much wealth, arms, munition, powder, lead, food, and drink; and the beholders said that so great an army had never till that time come to Ireland since the Earl Strongbow and Robert Fitz-Stephen came in former times with Dermot Mac Murrough, King of Leinster. When the Earl had arrived in Dublin he published many proclamations, among which the first was to the effect, that every one of the Irish, who was sorry for having opposed the Queen, should receive forgiveness and pardon in every crime they had till then committed. Among the same proclamations was this, that every one of the Irish who would assert and prove that they had been deprived by the Englishmen of their mansions or patrimonies, by force or violence, should be heard and attended to, and obtain a restoration of such property as he was unlawfully deprived of. Not many of the Irish, however, responded to these proclamations.
Garrisons of soldiers, with all necessaries, were sent by this Earl to Carrickfergus, to Newry, to Dundalk, to Drogheda, to Kilmantan Wicklow, to Naas of Leinster, and to other towns besides. He then selected seven thousand soldiers of the best of his army, and marched them from directly south westwards; for he had been informed that there were not of the plunderers of the Queen in Ireland a tribe that could be more easily invaded than the Geraldines, as they were then circumstanced. The Earl and his troops never halted until they arrived in the middle of the province of Leinster; and surely his approach to the Irish of Leinster was not the visit to friends from afar! These were Donnell Spaineach, the son of Donough, son of Cahir Carragh Kavanagh; Owny, the son of Rury Oge, son of Rury O'More; the
p.2113O'Conors Faly, the Gavall-Ranall and many other gentlemen not enumerated. These people made fierce and desperate assaults, and furious, irresistible onsets on him, in intricate ways and narrow passes, in which both parties came in collision with each other, so that great numbers of the Earl's people were cut off by them. The Earl, however, in despite of all the difficulties which he met, at last arrived in the country of the Butlers. The Earl of Ormond came to receive him with honour and respect; as did also the Lord of Mountgarrett
p.2115(Edmond, the son of Richard, son of Pierce Butler), who had been in alliance with O'Neill some time before. As soon as the Butlers had joined the Earl, they proceeded with all their forces to Trian-Chluana-Meala, and laid siege to Cathair-Duine-Iasgaigh. Thomas, the son of Theobald, son of Pierce Butler, was lord of that town; he was in alliance with O'Neill, and the Earl of Desmond, for a period previous to that time. The siege carried on by the Earl and his forces was of no avail to them until they drew great ordnance from Waterford to it, by which was thrown down the nearest side of the fortress, after which the fortress was forced to surrender to the Earl of Essex and the Queen.
In the days that the Earl of Essex was storming Cathair-Duine-Iasgaigh, the President of the two provinces of Munster, i.e. Sir Thomas Norris, came from Cork to Kilmallock to wait on the Earl before he should go to Limerick. He was nearly a fortnight residing in the town, awaiting the coming of the Earl across the Suir, and was in the practice of scouring the hills of the county of Limerick every other day, to see whether he could kill or capture any of the Queen's enemies. On a certain day that he went to the eastern extremity of the county he happened to fall in with Thomas Burke, the son of Theobald, son of William, son of Edmond of Castleconnell, neither being in search of the other. Thomas alone, of all his people, was on horseback; he had nearly one hundred Irish soldiers along with him. When the President saw him he made a determined and dexterous attack upon him, and about twenty of Thomas's people were cut off on the occasion; and more would have been slain, were it not that the President was so soon mortally wounded; for he received a violent and venomous thrust of a pike where the jaw-bone joins the upper part of the neck. When his people saw him thus wounded, they collected around him and carried him back to Kilmallock, where he remained
p.2117six weeks on his sick bed under the care of physicians, when he died in the month of July precisely.
When the Earl of Essex had taken Cathair-Duine-Iasgaigh, he and the Earl of Ormond, with the chiefs of the army, proceeded with their army to Limerick, and pitched his camp outside Limerick. To this town the Governor of the province of Connaught, i e. Sir Conyers, the Earl of Clanrickard, i.e. Ulick, son of Richard Saxonagh, and the Earl of Thomond (Donough, the son of Conor O'Brien), came to meet him. When these nobles had finished their consultation, the Governor and the Earl of Clanrickard returned back to Connaught; and the Earl of Essex, the Earl of Ormond, and the Earl of Thomond, proceeded into Munster, to see whether they could get an opportunity of invading the Geraldines.
On the first night after they had left Limerick, in the month of June, they encamped upon the banks of the river of Adare; and as they advanced westwards on the next day, Saturday, through the bog of Robhar, the soldiers and warriors of the Earl of Desmond and the Geraldine host shewed them their faces. Fierce and morose was the salute and welcome which they gave to the representative of their Sovereign on his first visit to them and to his army; for they discharged into their eyes the fire and smoke of their black powder, and showers of balls from straightly-aimed guns; and he heard the uproar, clamour, and exulting shouts of their champions and common soldiers, instead of the submission, honour that should have been shewn him, and of the mild and courteous words that should have been spoken to him. Howbeit, the result of this conflict was that great numbers of the Earl of Essex's men were cut off, and that he was not suffered to make any remarkable progress on that day; so that he pitched his camp a short distance to the east of Askeaton. On the next day, Sunday, he and the Earls of Ormond and Thomand resolved to send a body of cavalry to lay up ammunition in
p.2119Askeaton, and not to proceed any further westwards into Munster themselves on this occasion. On their return eastwards the next day, Monday, when they arrived near Baile-an-Eleteraigh, they received a stout and resolute conflict, and a furious and formidable battle, from the Geraldines; and many of the Earl of Essex's people were slain on that day, and, among the rest, a noble knight of great name and honour, i.e. Sir Henry Norris. The Earl of Essex then proceeded to Kilmallock; and, having remained three nights in that town, he directed his course southwards, towards Ceann-Feabhrat, a part of the mountain of Caoin, the son of Dearg-dualach, with the intention of passing into Roche's country; and, instead of proceeding to Cork, as it was thought he would have done, he directed his course across the ford at the monastery of Fermoy, and from thence he marched with his forces to Conachail, Magh-Ile, and Lismore-Mochuda. During all this time the Geraldines continued to follow, pursue, and press upon them, to shoot at, wound, and slaughter them. When the Earl had arrived in the Desies, the Geraldines returned in exultation and high spirits to their territories and houses. On the arrival of the same Earl in Dungarvan, the Earl of Thomond parted from him there, and proceeded along the seaside to Youghall, and from thence to Cork, and afterwards to Limerick. The Earl of Essex proceeded from Dungarvan to Waterford, thence into the country of the Butlers, and into Leinster. They marched not by a prosperous progress by the roads along which they passed from Waterford to Dublin, for the Irish of Leinster were following and pursuing, surrounding and environing them, so that they slew and slaughtered great numbers of them in every road and way by which they passed. The Gaels of Ireland were wont to say that it would have been better for him that he had not gone on this expedition from Dublin to Hy-Connell-Gaura, as he returned back after the first conflict that was maintained against him, without having received submission or respect
p.2121from the Geraldines, and without having achieved in his progress any exploit worth boasting of, excepting only the taking of Cathair-Duine-Iasgaigh.
O'Conor Sligo (Donough, the son of Cathal Oge) was along with the Earl of Essex on this hosting until their return from Munster, as we have related. It was on their return from Connello eastwards, through the county of Limerick, that O'Conor parted from them; and he then went to Connaught, to the Governor, Sir Conyers Clifford. O'Conor had none of all his castles in the county of Sligo in his possession at this time, except only one castle, belonging to the Clann-Donough of Tirerrill, which was situated on the banks of Abhainn-mhor; Culmaoile was its name. O'Conor, after remaining a short time with the Governor, proceeded onwards, both by day and night, until he reached this castle, which he did in the month of July. On O'Conor's arrival at Culmaoile, some of the cattle of O'Donnell's people that were then throughout the country were brought to him to the castle, without being noticed by their owners.
When O'Donnell was informed of this, he was glad that O'Conor had come into the country, and he was pleased at what he had done, that he might try if he could take vengeance on him for his former doings. O'Donnell then ordered his cavalry not to wait for his foot-soldiers, but to proceed to the castle before O'Conor could have time to leave it. This was done at his bidding, for his word durst not be disobeyed. The cavalry proceeded as quickly as they were able, until they arrived at the castle; the army followed them, and formed themselves into extensive circles around the fortress. This castle was an impregnable stronghold, and it was not easy to watch a person determined to leave it, for the place in which it was situated was close to impervious fastnesses. O'Donnell pitched his camp before a wood that lay on the other side of the river, in front of the castle. He appointed parties to reconnoitre and watch by day and night on every side of the fortress; and strong squadrons of his cavalry were mounted on their horses on guard from the dusk of the evening to day-break, in order that O'Conor might not escape from them. The news spread throughout Ireland that O'Conor Sligo was thus blockaded by O'Donnell at Culmaoile, and when the Earl of Essex heard it, he dispatched messengers
p.2123to the Governor of the province of Connaught, commanding him to come to meet him on a certain day in Fircall. The Governor encountered great toils and difficulties in passing through Fircall on his way to meet the Earl; for great numbers of his common soldiers and chieftains were slain, among whom was Richard, the son of William, son of Richard, son of Oliver Burke, a gentleman of the Burkes of Tirawly; and the Governor himself was in danger of being lost. Howbeit, he made his way to the Earl, and they remained for a period of two days and nights together in consultation. At the expiration of this time the Earl sent additional forces and soldiers with the Governor, and he ordered him, when he should reach Athlone, to command Theobald-na-Long, the son of Richard-an-Iarainn, son of Edmond, son of Ulick Burke, Murrough-na-Maer, son of Donnell-an-chogaidh, son of Gilla-Duv O'Flaherty, and the rising out of Galway, to convey in ships northwards around the headlands and harbours to the harbour of Sligo, the store of viands and drink, and the engines for constructing castles, which had arrived from England in Galway; while the Governor himself was to proceed by land, by the most direct roads, until he should arrive at Cul-Maoile, to relieve and release O'Conor Sligo from the constraint and jeopardy in which he was placed by O'Donnell. The Earl, moreover, ordered the Governor not to return back until he should have erected a strong, impregnable castle in Sligo, as a constant defence against the Ulstermen.
The Governor having undertaken to execute all these commands, he took his leave of the Earl, and proceeded to the town of Athlone; and he commanded Theobald-na-Long, Murrough-na-Maer, and the people of Galway, that they should proceed in ships along the coast of Ireland to Erris head, and then directly from the west to Sligo. These did not neglect his orders, for they got ready, without waiting or delaying, and sailed with their fleet, keeping the land on their right, until they put in at the harbour to the west of Sligo. Here they remained, as they had been ordered, until they should receive information concerning the army. The Governor himself repaired, in the mean time, to Roscommon, and assembled all those under his control, of the English and Irish who were obedient to the Queen in its neighbourhood.
p.2125Of these were the sons of the Earl of Clanrickard, namely, Rickard, Baron of Dunkellin, and Thomas; O'Conor Don, i.e. Hugh, the son of Dermot, son of Carbry; Theobald Dillon; and Mac Sweeny-na-dTuath (Mulmurry, the son of Murrough Mall, son of Owen Oge), who was this time plundering, and in revolt from O'Donnell, along with the Governor. They afterwards proceeded from Roscommon to Tulsk, and on leaving that town, which was precisely on the Sunday before Lammas, they had twenty-eight standards of soldiers. The Governor arrived with his army at the abbey of Boyle before the noon of that day; and he remained there to prepare for his final march.
As for O'Donnell, after having to his satisfaction succeeded in closing and strengthening the siege of the fortress in which O'Conor was, so as not to suffer any one to pass into or out of the castle, he left Niall Garv O'Donnell in command of the besiegers, instructing him in every-thing that was proper to be done, and proceeded himself with the main body of his army to Coirrshliabh-na-Seaghsa the Curlieu hills, and there pitched his camp to prevent the army of the strangers from passing that way unnoticed. For, from the first time he heard that the Governor was approaching him by order of the Earl of Essex, he was in wait and in readiness for him for a period of two months (until the 15th of August), at the extremity of Bealach-Buidhe, to the north of Coirrshliabh. At this time his forces were dispersed, and away from him in various places: one division of them besieging the castle upon O'Conor, another watching the motions of Theobald-na-Long and the fleet before mentioned, and others of them placed to guard the passes which are situated from Lough Key at the east of the mountain of Seaghais to Lough Techet to the west of Seaghais. The chief of his army and his advisers remarked to O'Donnell, that they had not battle engines fit to oppose the English and that they should not risk an engagement, because they had not their forces together. But he made little or no account of the words of those gentlemen,
p.2127and said that it was not by numbers of men that a battle is gained, but that whoever trusts in the power of the Lord, and is on the side of justice, is always triumphant, and gains the victory over his enemies.
Thus O'Donnell remained until the 15th day of August, as we have stated, which was the anniversary of the day on which the Virgin Mary yielded her spirit; and he observed the fast, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, as was his wont; and mass was celebrated for him and the army in general; and he received the body of Christ, after making his confession and doing rigid penance for his sins. And he ordered his forces to pray fervently to God, first for the health of their souls, and next to save them from the great peril which hung over them from the English.
While the Governor was at the abbey of Boyle, he was daily in the habit of menacing and threatening, reviling and reproaching, the northerns, and promising that he would pass northwards across the mountain in despite of them; and on this day i.e. the 15th of August he undertook to perform what he had promised.
When O'Donnell received intelligence of this, he ordered his forces to be assembled together, to be reviewed and marshalled; and after they had been reviewed, he then divided them into two parts. In one division he placed his swift and energetic youths, and his nimble and athletic men, and his shooting parties, with their high-sounding, straight-shooting guns, with their strong, smooth-surfaced bows, and with their bloody, venomous javelins, and other missile weapons. Over these soldiers he appointed a fight-directing leader, and a battle-sustaining champion, with command to press, urge, and close them to the battle, and to hew down and wound after them, when they should have their missile weapons ready. In the second division he placed his nobles, chiefs, and veteran soldiers, with strong, keen-edged swords, with polished, thin-edged battle-axes, and with large-headed lances, to maintain the fight and battle. He then converted his cavalry into pedestrians among his infantry, in consequence of the difficulty of the way that lay before them. When O'Donnell had thus arranged his people, he commanded his shooting party to advance before the other division, to meet and engage the foreign army before they
p.2129should pass the difficult part of the mountain, and he told them that he himself and the other division would come in contact with them at a place where he was sure of vanquishing them, for he knew that they could be more easily defeated in the end, should they be first wounded by them his first division.
O'Donnell had kept watchmen every successive day on the summit of the mountain, that the army of the foreigners might not cross it unnoticed. On this day the party of them who were there began to reconnoitre the monastery, and the troops that were in it. While they were thus reconnoitring, they perceived the army taking their weapons, raising their standards, and sounding their trumpet and other martial instruments. They sent the news speedily to O'Donnell. When he heard it, he commanded the troops whom he had appointed to take the van in the pass to march rapidly, to engage the English before they could pass the rugged parts of the flat mountain. They marched as they were commanded, each with the magnanimity and high spirit of a hero; and they quickly reached the summit of the mountain, before the English. O'Donnell set out after them, steadily and with a slow pace, with the steady troops and faithful heroes whom he had selected to accompany him; and they marched until they arrived at the place by which they were certain the English would pass; and there they awaited their coming up.
As for the advanced division, which was commanded to take the van, they proceeded on their way towards the battalions of the foreigners until they met them breast to breast. As they approached each other the Irish discharged at them the enemy terrible showers of beautiful ash-handled javelins, and swarms of sharp arrows, discharged from long and strong elastic bows, and volleys of red flashing flames, and of hot leaden balls, from perfectly straight and straight-shooting guns. These volleys were responded to by the soldiers of England, so that their reports, responses, and thundering noise were heard throughout the woods, the forests, the castles, and the stone buildings of the neighbouring territories. It was a great wonder that the timid and the servants did not run panic-stricken and mad by listening to the blasts of the martial music, the loud report of the mighty firing, and the responses of the echoes. Champions were wounded and heroes were hacked between them on the one side and the other. Their battle leaders and captains commanded O'Donnell's people not to stand fronting the foreigners, but to surround and encircle them round about. Upon which they closed around them on every side, as they were commanded, and they proceeded to fire on them vehemently, rapidly, and unsparingly; so that they drove the wings of their army into their centre by the pressure and vehemence of the conflict. Howbeit, the English at last turned their backs to the mighty men of the north, and the few routed the many! The English were furiously driven back to the fortified place from which they had set out; and such was the precipitateness of their flight, after they had once turned their backs to their enemies, that no one of them looked behind for relative or friend, and that they did not know whether any of those left behind were living or dead. Not one of the fugitives could have escaped, were it not that their pursuers and slayers were so few in number, for they were not able to cut down those in their power, so numerous and vast was the number of them who were flying before them. They did not, however,
p.2133desist from pursuing them until they the English got inside the walls of the monastery from which they had previously set out.
O'Rourke was at this time in a separate camp on the eastern side of Coirrshliabh. He had promised O'Donnell that he would be ready to attack the English like the rest, whenever it would be necessary; and when he heard the sound of the trumpets and tabors, and the loud and earth-shaking reports of the mighty firing, he rose up from his camp with his heroes, who put on their arms; and they made no delay, till they arrived at the place where O'Donnell's people were engaged in the conflict. They proceeded, like the others, to cut down champions with their swords, and fire on them with their guns, arrows, and javelins, until the soldiers left behind many heads and weapons. The governor, Sir Conyers Clifford, was slain, together with a countless number of English and Irish about him. He was left feebly stretched on the mountain, mortally wounded in the commencement of the conflict. It was not known to the soldiers who first wounded him (nothing was known about his death, except only that it was a ball that passed through him), and the soldiers did not recognise him, until O'Rourke at last came up to the place where he was, and recognised that it was the Governor that was there. He ordered him to be beheaded, which being done, his body was left a mutilated trunk. The death of the person here slain was much lamented. It was grievous that he came to this tragic end. The Irish of the province of Meave Connaught were not pleased at his death; for he had been a bestower of jewels and riches upon them; and he had never told them a falsehood. The Governor passed not in one direction from this battle; for his body was conveyed to be interred in the Island of the Blessed Trinity in Lough Key, in the barony of Moylurg, in the county of Roscommon, and his head was carried to Cul-Maoile, in the barony of Tirerrill, in the county of Sligo.
When the routed party had escaped into the monastery, O'Donnell's people returned back with the heads and arms of their enemies, and proceeded to their tents with great exultation and gladness; and they returned thanks to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary for their victory. The unanimous voice of the troops was, that it was not by force of arms they had defeated the English,
p.2135but through the miracles of the Lord, at the intercession of O'Donnell and his army, after having received the pure mystery of the body and blood of Christ in the morning, and after the fast which he had kept in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the day before.
As for the English, after O'Donnell's people had departed, they took to the road expeditiously, such of them as survived, and arrived at their homes in sorrow and disgrace.
O'Donnell's people remained that night in their tents, and interred all those that were slain of their people; and when they heard that the English had returned home, they proceeded to the castle of Cul-Maoile, in which they had left O'Conor blockaded. When O'Conor had heard of the victory of the Curlieus, gained over Sir Conyers Clifford, and of his fall there, he did not believe it until the Governor's head was exhibited to him. When he saw the head he gave up the hope of being released from the prison in which he was, and what he did was to come forth on the mercy of O'Donnell, and to make full submission to him. This was a good resolution for him; for O'Donnell placed him in the full power and chieftainship of his territory, and made him many presents of horses, cattle, and all other necessaries; so that O'Conor then settled in his territory.
When Theobald-na-Long was informed that the English had been defeated and the Governor slain, and that O'Conor had been let out of the castle, as we have related, the resolution he came to was, not to oppose O'Donnell any longer. He afterwards confirmed his friendship with him; and O'Donnell permitted the aforesaid fleet to go sail back again to Galway.
Some gentlemen of the Mac Mahons of Oriel, with one hundred soldiers, were hired by O'Carroll (Calvagh, the son of William Odhar, son of Ferganainm), in the spring of this year; and at the time that their wages should be given them, O'Carroll with his people went to them by night and slew them
p.2139on their beds, and in their lodging houses. He hanged some of them from the nearest trees. The party of one village, however, made their escape in despite of O'Carroll.
After the killing of the President of the two provinces of Munster, and of the Governor of Connaught, as we have related in their proper places, the Earl of Essex and O'Neill (Hugh, the son of Ferdorcha, son of Con Bacagh) came to a conference in the first days of the month of September, and the end of their conference was, that a peace was ratified between them till the end of two months, during which time each of them was to have his own part of the English and Irish. When the Earl of Essex had concluded a peace with O'Neill at this time, he proceeded to Dublin, and he remained not long there when he went to England, after having displayed a regal pomp the most splendid that any Englishman had ever exhibited in Ireland. He left Ireland without peace or tranquillity, without Lord Justice, Governor, or President,
p.2141excepting only that he delivered up the regal sword to the Lord Chancellor and to Sir Robert Gardiner. It was not known to any of the Irish at this time whether the Earl had gone to England to remain there or return back again.
Mac Sweeny Banagh, i.e. Donnell, the son of Niall Meirgeach, was slain by Mulmurry, the son of Brian Oge, and Hugh Boy, the son of Ferfeadha Mac Sweeny; and both these were hanged by O'Donnell, in the presence of all in general, on Mullach-Sithe-Aedha, for violating his law.
O'Kennedy Finn (Owny, the son of Donough Oge, son of Hugh, son of Auliffe), of Baile-Ui-Eachdhach, in Lower Ormond, in the county of Tipperary, died in the month of November, and Gilla-Duv O'Kennedy was then styled the O'Kennedy Finn.
Master O'Nialain (James, the son of Donnell, son of Auliffe, son of Donough O'Niallain), a man who kept an open house of hospitality, died in the month of October at Baile-Ui-Aille, in the barony of Quin, in the county of Clare.
About the 1st of November this year Castlemaine was taken by the Earl of Desmond from the Queen's people, in consequence of the warders wanting the necessary food.
Loch-Gair was also taken by the same Earl from the Queen's people.
O'Conor Sligo (Donough, the son of Cathal Oge) continued in friendship and amity with O'Donnell from the time that the Governor was slain to the end of this year. It was a change for the better, and a shelter for him, to come over to this friendship from the cold, slow, and unprofitable promises made him by the English from year to year. When O'Conor became obedient to O'Donnell, he gave O'Conor a countless deal of cows, horses, and every other description of herds and flocks, as also of corn and of other necessaries, to
p.2143replant and inhabit his territory, after it had been a wilderness, without habitation or abode, for a long time till then.
In the month of December O'Donnell went to make peace between the Mac Williams, i.e. between the Mac William (Theobald, the son of Walter Kittagh) and Theobald-na-Long, son of Richard-an-Iarainn. After having made peace between them, he set out to go into Clanrickard; but, however, he did not proceed beyond Oranmore on that occasion. He remained three nights encamped in the neighbourhood of Machaire-riabhach, and of Galway; and a prey was brought to him from the very gate of the great town; and although a fear and dread of him was spread from thence to Leim-Chonchulainn, he achieved nothing further on this occasion, but returned into Ulster.
In this year the province of Ulster was a still pool, a gentle spring, and a reposing wave, without the fear of battle or incursion, injury or attack, from any other part of Ireland; while every other territory was in awe of them (i.e. of the people of Ulster).