Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Beatha Aodha Ruaidh Uí Dhomhnaill (Author: Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh)

section 5

The Fourth Year, 1595

¶39] He was then at rest, after the departure of his mercenaries, until the month of March. Many of the nobles of the province of Connacht came to O Domhnaill at that time and were in his service, having been banished from their territory by the oppression of the English, and they never ceased beseeching and begging him to go to punish the English for their misdeeds, and to plunder and prey the people who bore with them and the territories subject to them. It happened, moreover, that owing to the resentment and anger against the English it was easy to tempt him to prey and plunder them whenever he could. The precise place fixed on to be plundered first was Rath Cruachan of Crodearg, in Magh Aoi, son of Allgubha, in the middle of the English, where their flocks and herds were. That was not easy for him, for the English had brought the whole province of Connacht under their power, so that they were in possession of the impregnable forts and strongholds of the country and in the gaps of danger, viz., some of them in the castle on the bank of the ancient river which the flood left behind, called the Sligeach, and others of them in Ballymote, a strong fortress in the neighbourhood of the celebrated hill of Kesh of Corann the harper. Some of them at Newport, a strong earthwork which the English had dug between Loch Cé and Loch Arrow. Others of them in the monastery of the monks on the bank of the Seghais, a river which comes from Loch Techet, now called the Boyle. Another body at Tulsk, in the middle of Magh Aoi, north-east of Rathcroghan. The Governor of the province of Connacht, Sir Richard Bingham, was in Roscommon; a valiant knight, and he was commander, under the direction of the Council, over the whole province, as we have said. It was a hard, difficult, bold, brave thing to make an attack on the party of whom we have spoken already,


in order to plunder or prey them, owing to the great dread and abhorrence of their arms and accoutrements, and to the contempt and insult they offered to the Irish for a long time. However, O Domhnaill's decision was to go on a hosting at the request and petition of the nobles and gentlemen who complained of their sufferings to him.

¶40] He assembled and gathered together the Cénel Conaill, and they came to Bellashanny. Then he went, the third day of March, with his host across the old stream of Saimer, having the Loch of Melge, son of Cobthach, on the right, over the border of Bréifne, to Brahliav, and from that to Tír Thuathail. They encamped there till morning. The next day they set off through the wastes and deserts of the country, without being noticed or heard, to the river at Boyle, east of Loch Cé. The army crossed the river in the beginning of the night at the place called Knockvicar bridge. From that silently through Moylurg of the Daghdha and through Magh Aoi Finnbendaig, till they came at the twilight of the morning to Cruachan, the fort of Aoi. However, though houses and dwellings were close in the neighbourhood of the royal fortress, and though the cows and herds of cattle, the swift foreign horses, the oxen and preys of cattle were numerous, and though they might with profit forbid their marauders to scatter or their soldiers to separate from each other in order to collect herds or flocks (for they would find plenty of them, and of every treasure they wished except gold or silver), it was not this they did at all, but far and wide they separated one from the other from the hill of the royal fort, for some of them went into the territory of O Conor Ruadh and O Hanly, and others to the bridge of Ballymoe, and another body beyond Castlerea, westwards. All these active marauding parties, with their spoils and booty, returned with what each one could, moving together and driving before them herds and cattle, after midday on the same day to Elphin, where O Domhnaill was. It was a long time before that since the same quantity or the like was gathered and collected as was brought together of spoils


in one place, the plunder of one day, by any one of the race of Gaeidhel Glas, son of Niúl. O Domhnaill went forward with his army by slow marches over the border of Magh Aoi having on the right the old ford of Slishen and Uí Briúin, until they came to the bank of the Shannon, for it flows straight from the north-east between Uí Briúin and Conmaicne Réin. They encamped there that night.

¶41] As for the Governor Richard Bingham, he had been told that O Domhnaill was on the march before he came into the country, and he was as well prepared as he could be; he thought it well that he had come anyhow, for he supposed O Domhnaill could not escape without great disaster. He assembled all the English stationed all over the country, from whatever places they were in, and he summoned them to meet him at the Seghais called the Boyle, for he thought O Domhnaill would pass there when going to his own country. To that muster came the English who were in the garrisons of Sligo, Ballymote, and Newport, and they were in Boyle. The English who were in Cluain na gCaiseal came to the same gathering. The Governor himself came with the English of Roscommon, and with a great body of Irish with them until they were at Rath Cruachan. They went on the trail of the army and of the prey, and though it was easy to find the track (for not like the track of a fox on the ice were the track and traces of the plundering host before them) they took a different road at the end of the day and beginning of the night, after wandering and straying through a longing desire and haste to overtake on them and pursue them, for the English were fully persuaded that O Domhnaill would march again, when returning back, by the same road by which he had come to the territory. Meantime (as soon as the day shone out with all its light on the morrow) O Domhnaill ordered his attendants and every one of his army who did not know how to use or wield arms against their enemies to march without delay with their booty and spoils towards the Shannon to a certain deep ford on the river, which is called the ford of


Cill Trenain. They obeyed immediately, and they crossed the river without any hurt to the opposite bank in Conmaicne Muighe Réin, which is now called Muintir Eólais.

¶42] As for the Governor Richard Bingham, when he perceived that O Domhnaill with his army had avoided and had shunned the road by which they had come into the country, he sent messengers to the English whom he had summoned to the monastery of Boyle to ask all of them to go in pursuit of the host which had come to plunder the territory, and as they did not join him instantly, he did not wish to go meet the other army unprepared, so that they went from thence across the Shannon north-eastward before the English came up, all but a small number of their soldiers whom they left behind to fight in their defence, and to cover their retreat. A great body of the infantry of the English army and of the shooters came up and a skirmish took place between them, so that many were hurt and wounded on both sides. However, at last the Cenél Conaill went across the river after a victory in the fight. The Governor with his English retreated, and his mind was not at ease, for he was grieved that the country was plundered in spite of him. O Domhnaill and his army went on their way to their homes with vast treasures and great joy. They remained there, taking their ease, to the end of spring.

¶43] When the beginning of the summer weather was approaching a longing and a great desire seized O Domhnaill to go again into the neighbouring districts to attack the people that were in subjection to the English and obedient to them, to bring them back to an alliance and friendship with him, and to protect their patrimony from the English, or to plunder them if they did not return. Wherefore he got together his troops on the 18th of April. His first march was across the old stream of the Saimer, having the Loch of Melge, son of Cobtach, on his right, and they came to Ros Inver that night. They remained there till morning. They came the next day to Cill Fhearga. They made a halt there until their rearguard


came up with them. After that they went through Bréifne to Brahliav. They encamped for a night there, and held a council afterwards. What they agreed on was whatever way they got any chance of attacking the English who were in the monastery of the Seghais, they thought it right to do so. For these were with two hundred soldiers as garrison in the church, and they wasted the neighbouring territories on every side so that they were wildernesses without residence or dwelling. This was the plan adopted by O Domhnaill in the end. He detached a troop of horse from the army of his own people and sent them away by another road across the Boyle to the monastery, and told them to go reconnoitre for the purpose of driving off the cattle belonging to the English, to delude them, and draw them beyond the fences and walls of the monastery as far as the level plain after their cattle, to see whether the force could go between them and the fortified place, for O Domhnaill was told that they had one hundred heifers for food.

¶44] O Domhnaill turned aside with his army by a hidden road to conceal himself by the bank of Loch Arrow to the east, and to Corrsliav of the Seghais. The English who were in garrison in Newport, between Loch Cé and Loch Arrow, heard the talking of the army when passing by. They started shooting their leaden balls and exploding their powder in order to give word and warning to the soldiers in the monastery, so that the force should not deceive them and come on them without notice. When O Domhnaill had passed over the Corrsliav southwards, he rested in a retired wood near the river in ambush for the English until the morning of the next day.

¶45] As for the troop that was sent to reconnoitre about the prey, as we have said, they came in the early dawn to the monastery and drove off their cattle from them immediately. The English saw that a stratagem was attempted against them, and did not leave the fortress but remained therein. When O Domhnaill had given up all hope of their coming out of


the monastery into the level plain in pursuit of their small herd of cattle, the loss of which was an injury to them then, he rose from his ambush and passed on across through Magh Aoi with his soldiers, so that it was completely gleaned by him and what remained after the first time was entirely plundered, and he went straight on till he came to the winding banks of the Shannon eastward.

¶46] He went across the river to Conmaicne Réin, and he encamped in Leitrim of Muinter Eólais, and remained there with his army until they had finished the celebration of Easter, and while his enemies thought he was going to his native country, such a thing was not in his mind, but he summoned to him privately some of the people of the country, and told them to go into the neighbouring district to spy and inform on the people who were in subjection to the English. They went afterwards by the prince's order to watch in Annaly. This is a district in which some of the nobles of Conmaicne of the race of Fergus Mac Rossa dwelt. They were named Síol bhFerghail and they were subject to the English then. They were too much afraid to desert them, for they were very near neighbours. O Domhnaill also sent a messenger to Aodh Maguidhir to invite him to him, and he appointed a meeting with him in the same territory. He came as he was asked.

¶47] The spies returned with an account of the country and of its dangers to O Domhnaill. He set off then with his soldiers on Easter Monday precisely through the passes of which his guides informed him, and he came before morning to Annaly. The two Annalies and the whole country on every side were wasted by them, so that they did not leave a single beast from the mountain of Uilleann of the red blade, son of Finn, called Sliav Cairbre now, to Glaiss Beramon, called the Inny, where Eithne, the daughter of Eochaidh Feidhleach, was drowned. O Domhnaill's people put the land all round under a heavy cloud of fire, so that there was a gloomy, blinding, dark cloud of smoke of a strange kind overhead, enough to make them wound and endanger those who were defending them,


for their acquaintances and fellow-soldiers could not be recognised and distinguished (if they were any distance from them) from their hereditary foes and enemies.

¶48] There was a castle in the territory called Longford O Fearghail, for it was his fortified residence, and that of the person of his nation who was chieftain of the territory. It was a strong impregnable castle, and it had fallen into the hands of the English then. The English gave it afterwards to one of their own people to hold, and the hostages and pledges of the country with it. Christopher Brown was his name. He was a giant of valour, in the matter of contempt and abuse towards the nobles and chiefs of the country on all sides of him. The castle was taken by Aodh O Domhnaill, and Christopher and his brother-in-law were carried away as pledges with both their wives. Hubert, too, son of Fergus, son of Brian, fell by the army; he was one of the nobles of his race. He was slain by Maghuidhir. Conor, son of the Prior O Reilly, was taken by another part of the army. There were slain and destroyed many persons by them on that day whose precise names are not given, together with the sixteen hostages of the high-born nobles of the territory (they were hostages with Christopher Brown under direction of the English in the castle) who were burnt, for they could not be saved owing to the fury of the fire and the burning of the red-hot ashes which were in every part and corner of the town. Four other castles also of those of the territory were burnt besides Longford that day. There were more spoils and plunder and cattle than they were able to take away with them when leaving Annaly.

¶49] They went away after plundering the territory, and they encamped at Tullyhunco that night. They sent out their scouts on the next day to the place where the English were in garrison in the territory, i.e. to the monastery built by the Order of St. Francis, very near Cavan (O Reilly's fortress), and they took away with them every kind of booty which they met with, as they could get no chance of attacking the English owing


to the strong nature of the place where they were. They rested that night at Tullyhaw to the west of Ballyconnell.

¶50] O Domhnaill's people thought nothing of the quantity of treasure which they took, the wealth of cattle and flocks on the roads before them on the border of the two Bréifnes and in Fermanagh, owing to the great quantity they had and to the remoteness and distance of their own territory and the weakness and feebleness of all kinds of cattle then. Aodh O Domhnaill did not pass that week in a pleasant, sleep-producing manner, and his journeys and marches were far from each other, for on Saturday his people took their cattle from the English of the monastery of Boyle and plundered the plain of Connacht. On the following Tuesday his forces wasted the two Annalies, as we have said, and on the Wednesday after his marauding parties spread about Cavan. The Cenél Conaill went away then to their homes, having succeeded in their expedition. The afore-mentioned Christopher Brown was kept in confinement by Aodh O Domhnaill until his ransom of six score pounds was paid by him.

¶51] It was known to the English of Dublin that O Néill had entered into the Irish confederacy at the instigation and request of O Domhnaill. He had not done so openly, however, and he concealed it as best he could. When Sir William Russell, the Lord Deputy, was convinced and the whole Council also, that he could not clear himself of his offences they sent a thousand men with proper equipment to Iubhar Cinn Tragha to keep ward against the Cenél Eóghain, and the Lord Deputy promised to come himself with his army in a short time to ravage the country and to destroy its strongholds and difficult passes. Thereupon O Néill sent his messenger to O Domhnaill to tell him of the assembling of that great army intended for an attempt against Tír Eóghain. O Domhnaill could not bear to listen to the news, wherefore, what he did was to assemble his forces immediately in one place and to go to Tír Eóghain, where O Néill was. They went together to Faughart Muirtheimhne, the place where the famous Cuchullin performed the Champion's Cast. They made tents and sheds


to the cast of Faughart in the month of May precisely. They waited for some time there, on guard against the Deputy, keeping and protecting the province against him. However, the Lord Deputy remained in Dublin then, having learned that they were waiting for him in this way.

¶52] There was a fierce, powerful soldier of the English then in the castle on the bank of the ancient river Sligeach in garrison, and one hundred soldiers with him; George Óg Bingham was his name. He was a leader in fight and a captain of war by appointment of the General who happened to be over the province of Connacht then, i.e. Richard Bingham. As for George of whom we have spoken, the crew of a ship sailed north-eastwards, having the coast of Ireland on their right, till they came to the old harbour of Swilly in the territory of Conall, son of Niall, while O Domhnaill was with his forces in Tír Eóghain. A monastery was there on the edge of the shore built in honour and reverence of holy Mary, Mother of the Lord. They went to the monastery and took away Mass-vestments that were there, and the vessels for the offering of the body of the Saviour, and other treasures besides. They went back till they came to Tory, a place which the famous Colum blessed; this is an island opposite the territory due north and far out from the mainland. They plundered the glebeland of the saint and the whole island, so that they did not leave a four-footed beast on it. O Domhnaill was told of the plundering of the territory by the foreign fleet in his absence. He went to his territory to avenge its devastation. He had not long to wait after that when the news reached him that the Lord Deputy had come with his army to Tír Eóghain. O Domhnaill turned back once more until he came where O Néill was waiting to see what road the Lord Deputy would choose. O Néill was glad of his arrival, and his heart rose on seeing him. They set to watch and observe the Lord Deputy face to face; they did not attack him, neither did he attack them. But, however, they did not allow his forces to scatter to collect herds or flocks, so that in the end the Lord Deputy was obliged to go back to Dublin since he could do nothing against the Irish.


¶53] As for the above mentioned George, after his return to Sligo, the Lord of the Universe did not allow him to be long unpunished for the irreverence which he did to the church of the Blessed Mary and to the church of Colum, as we have said. It happened in this way. There was a nobleman of the province of Connacht in the pay of George, with twelve soldiers of his own people in his company. Ulick Burke was his name. He was the son of Raymond na Scuab, son of Ulick na gCeann, son of Rickard, and though his family were not of the Irish by descent, their manners and customs had changed owing to the length of time they lived in the island, and the special affection which the Irish had for them was not less than theirs for the Irish, for the hatred and cruelty of the English of Dublin towards both of them was the same. Great contumely and insult was offered to Ulick by the English, in whose service he was. He was filled with anger and wrath, and he was continually thinking how to avenge his despisal on the English, and come to terms with O Domhnaill after that, for he was anxious to enter into friendship with him. In this way he was spying and watching George continually until he came on him unawares in his room one day, and he charged him with his injustice and illegalities, but he got no answer whatever; and as he did not, he took a sword and cut his head from the trunk. The place was seized by Ulick then, and he sent his messengers to Bellashanny. O Domhnaill's people sent his messengers to Tír Eóghain, where he then was. They told the news to O Domhnaill. It was related to O Néill afterwards, and both were delighted. O Domhnaill then went home, having taken leave of O Néill, and he stopped only at night until he came to Sligo with his troops. He received a welcome there, and Ulick gave up the castle to him. He rested at that place for a while, and his mind was happy. That was precisely in the month of June.

¶54] It happened just then that a famous warrior of the English came to reconnoitre the place, having three hundred soldiers with him. He was a captain in battle and a leader in fight.


His name was William Moss. He came to Ballysadare before he had news of O Domhnaill, and he could not return in time before O Domhnaill's people came up on the other side of the river, so that they were face to face on either side of the bridge which was over the river, and the space between them was not more than a gunshot. There was no way towards the English except over the bridge, and O Domhnaill's people could not pass through as they wished. However, a famous captain of the English was killed by the shooting which took place between them from one side and from the other. When the darkness of night came, the English fled away as quick as they could from the others, and they were not perceived till morning. The youths followed them at the dawn over the shoulder of the mountain, and they did not overtake them, and they were very sorry that they had escaped from them in this way. They went back again to Sligo.

¶55] O Domhnaill left a party of his soldiers and of his trusty people in the castle of Sligo to hold it, and his mind was at ease in consequence of the place being in his power. After that he went with his army across the Erne northwards till he came to his house at Donegal. He was at rest till the middle of August. He was told that a fleet of ships had come to Loch Foyle at that time. The commander of the fleet was MacLeod of Harris (he took the title from an island in Scotland named Harris) with six hundred soldiers, and the reason why he came was to take service with O Domhnaill. The arms they had were bows of carved wood and sharp-pointed arrows, and long broad swords with two-peaked hafts. O Domhnaill went to where they were, and engaged them for the space of three months, and this was in the middle of the aforesaid month of August precisely. Their billeting was provided in land holdings and farmhouses afterwards until they got rid of their fatigue after the great toil of the sea and their supplies were got ready. When they were prepared after that, O Domhnaill took them with him and his army also to the Erne to go into the province of Connacht. They marched away then across the


Drowes, the Dubh, the Sligo, by Ballysadare and the shoulder of Sliav Gamh to Leyny, and from that to the Costellos. There was a strong castle there called Castlemore Costello. It fell into the hands of the English, just as all the castles of the province had fallen to them. O Domhnaill placed his camp round the castle, and proceeded to attack it and threaten the garrison of the castle. He was, indeed, the better of that because, in the end the warders were obliged to surrender the place to O Domhnaill. Afterwards he gave possession of the town to its lawful owners, and they promised to enter into alliance with him and to be at his call whenever he wished, and also to remain always in the war-confederacy of the Irish.

¶56] O Domhnaill set off after that, and he did not halt until he came to Turlach Mochain. This is a castle in Bermingham's country. He proceeded to besiege that castle. His people set about pulling down the wall, and they did not cease their efforts until they took the castle by force, and they took in hostageship the successor to the chief of the district, Richard, son of Mac Feorais, and some of the leading men of the district with him and seized the best part of the wealth and treasures of the castle. They scattered their marauders over Conmaicne, Muinter Murchadha, over the border of Machaire Riabhach, and about Tuam, until they plundered the territory on every side of them of its herds and flocks. They returned with much booty. The Governor of the province, Sir Richard Bingham, happened to be in the neighbourhood of O Domhnaill's army at that time. He was the greatest monster of all the English that were then in Ireland. He had fifteen hundred men with arms and armour, between infantry and cavalry with him. When he heard that O Domhnaill had gone past him westward into Connacht with his troops and everything he had done on every road he had gone, he was on the watch to oppose him on his return, and he lay in wait in the short cuts of every road he thought O Domhnaill might come towards him.


When O Domhnaill learned that, he avoided the English as well as he could, for he was sure that the deepest concern of the army was for their herds and prey, their goods and cattle; and his expectation and reliance on his troops to sustain the fight and to hold the field of battle was greater before they got possession of their enemies' valuables when they were care-free without anxiety about them at all. Besides there were more of the English than of his men, and even if they were not more numerous, it was difficult at that time to oppose the English on account of the superiority of their arms and the outlandishness of their armour and the strangeness of their weapons, until the Irish soon after attained a knowledge of their arms. As for O Domhnaill, he came with his army and spoils after the noon of the third day to the upper part of Sliav Gamh. However, the English were marching along the road towards him as fast as they could northwards from Ballymote. O Domhnaill detached a squadron of cavalry against them to combat with them and to impede them, so that they might not get a chance of attacking the servants or the unarmed or the defenceless portion of his force. O Domhnaill went without being attacked across the three bridges, the bridge of Collooney, the bridge of Ballysadare, and the bridge of Sligo, until he came with his army and plunder to the neighbourhood of Glen Dallain.

¶57] As for the Governor Sir Richard Bingham, as he did not make contact with O Domhnaill's army, he went in pursuit of it to Sligo. He made his encampment in the monastery, as it was the custom of the English to remain in the holy churches, and he was considering how he might take the castle from O Domhnaill's people. However, O Domhnaill on the morning of the following day sent a small party on fine fleet horses to bring intelligence about the English and to get news of the castle and of the soldiers that he had left in the castle. When they came to the bank of the river they saw the English here and there through the town. There was a vainglorious, obstinate youth with Richard Bingham at that time,


his sister's son, whose name was Captain Martin. He was the commander of a troop with the Governor. He was a leader in battle and conflict with the English of the province of Connacht. He was crying out and blustering against Aodh Maguidhir continually and against every one of the Irish whose name, fame, or repute for skill, especially in the matter of skill in horsemanship, he had heard of. He could not endure seeing his enemies on the other side of the river and not attacking them. He took horse, and his troop too took horse. When O Domhnaill's people saw them coming they went away as fast as they could. These went after them and they did not overtake them. They turned back. O Domhnaill's people told the fact to the army how they had been pursued angrily and haughtily, and that it was owing to the speed of their galloping they escaped. When O Domhnaill heard the story he set to reflect and forecast how he might attack the English and give them a lesson. This is what he resolved on in the end. A hundred horsemen were chosen by him, the best in his army, with three hundred infantry of the same kind, with their implements for shooting, that is, elastic bows and well-filled quivers of arrows, for only a few of them had any other implements of shooting then. They went off until they came to the spot where it was safe for them to place the ambuscade, more than a mile from Sligo. Thereupon O Domhnaill sent on some of his horsemen towards the English to entice them to where he was if they could, and he commanded them not to fight with the English, and told them not to feel ashamed to flee, but to keep drawing them on little by little one after the other till they brought them without their perceiving it to the place where the ambuscade was arranged for them. The soldiers went away as was commanded them, and they did just as O Domhnaill asked them to do. They had no sooner come to the bank of the river when Captain Martin jumped on his horse on seeing them (as quick as a hound would go in pursuit of its appointed game), and a large body of the cavalry of the English mounted


also. They went after that towards the soldiers whom they had seen as fast as they could go together. When O Domhnaill's people saw them coming as they desired, they left the place where they were and set off on their horses, proceeding at first to hold gently the bridlebits in the mouths of the swift-galloping horses and of the fleet restless steeds to hold them back, keeping very near the foreigners, and decoying them to the place where O Domhnaill was. The youths were not long so when it was necessary for them at last to spur and whip their horses at once and together, owing to the great speed the English made galloping in pursuit of them. O Domhnaill's people proceeded to ride quickly and hasten along the road as fast as they could. One of them was left behind unwillingly, for he was not able to keep up with his company owing to the slowness of his horse, so that he was at a disadvantage and in danger from his enemies. Hence it was necessary for him, against his lordship's orders, to fight the English, since he was sure he would be killed on the spot. Felim Riach Mac Devitt was his name. He turned his face to Captain Martin, for he was the nearest to him of the party in hot pursuit, and he was the captain in battle of the English horse, and he was leading the way. The aforesaid Felim had a sharp, piercing spear to shoot when needed. He put his finger in the string and he drew the javelin boldly, and the shot of the dart struck Captain Martin with such force that it passed through the border of the foreign armour at the hollow of the armpit straight and it pierced his heart in his breast as his misdeeds deserved; for he who was wounded there was a merciless rogue, and his hatred of the Irish was very great, and his evil deeds many wherever he had been throughout the whole province from Limerick to the Drowes, on account of his relative. Thereupon the English retreated after the wounding of their defeated hero and leader, and they carried him, weak in the throes of death, till they came to the town. He died afterwards that night. He bore with him, when going to the other world and leaving this at that time


many a groan and curse of the poor and distressed whom he oppressed on account of their own property. When O Domhnaill saw that the English had turned back, he was filled with very great wrath against the soldiers, as he did not get the wish of his mind and the desire of his soul regarding the foreigners as he planned at first. A party of the assailants came into the presence of their prince (though it was very hard for them at all on account of his great anger), and told how it had happened to them, and they all swore on behalf of the soldier who had wounded Captain Martin that there was nothing to save him if he did not make that shot except the power of the Lord. They quieted O Domhnaill's anger, and his mind was appeased thereby, and he was told on the following day that the captain had died, as we have said. His anger was less on that account, though his mind was not at ease immediately because the English had escaped as they had done and his stratagem and ambuscade had gone for naught but the killing of that one man aforesaid.

¶58] As for the Governor, after the death of his relative and nephew he was filled with wrath and anger, and he ordered his army to go to the monastery and smash, break and destroy the rood-screen and the cells of the servants of God, and to bring him enough of the firmly bound, well jointed boards and of the strong, smooth-hewn beams to make machines of them for pulling down walls. They brought him afterwards what he sought. Many carpenters and numerous workmen were brought to him. They made closely jointed, very firm sheds for war of these beams and elm planks, and they were covered with boards nailed straight-edged, fitted firmly for soldiers to fight from. Skins of cows and of oxen were put outside. Straight-moving wheels of strong oak were placed under them to move them close to the fortress. When these cleverly devised strange implements were ready they were filled with soldiers and warriors and brave mercenaries of the English. The foreigners' advance began with darkness at the beginning of night, until they were placed face to face at the angle of the castle. They then


proceeded to pull down the wall. As for the people who were in the castle, it was not a slow or timorous manner that they set to receive the assailants, for there were masons in the castle well prepared, and they set to pull down the wall opposite them to hurl it down on them at first. Their brave men went on the battlements of the castle and they threw down on them from above many of the sharp solid rocks and heavy massive stones rapidly, so that everything which they met with to the ground was shattered and destroyed. Others of them went to the windows and loopholes of the castle and proceeded to shoot their leaden bullets and cast hand-grenades of fire on them, and they crushed the soldiers in the wooden sheds by the dropping of the stones and by every kind of shot also which were discharged against them, so that they did not succeed at all in their attack. The English did not wait to be wounded further, as they could do nothing to the castle; so they threw away their defences and left their houses for fighting and their erections for breaking down walls, and they returned back severely wounded, and they were glad to get away alive. It was a great disappointment and a mighty sorrow to the Governor, Sir Richard Bingham, that he could not vent his cruelty and wrath on the castle and on the party who were in it; and as he could not, he went back on the same road by which he had come, over Corrshliav of the Seghais, and across the plain of Aoi, son of Allghubha, till he came to Roscommon. He stopped there, for it was his fortified dwelling; but his mind was not at ease after the death of his relative and the preying of the territory in spite of him.

¶59] O Domhnaill went away after his victory and proceeded across the Saimer north-eastwards, and he sent away the Scots who were in his service and gave them their pay. O Domhnaill did not delay long till he came back to Sligo, and he pulled down the castle of Sligo, so that he did not leave a stone of it on a stone, for fear the English might take it without his knowledge. Thirteen of the castles of Connacht were also demolished by him, and he took hostages and pledges


from whosoever he feared would oppose him or be at all disobedient. He went back across the Erne northwards, and he stopped to rest until the month of December.

¶60] Meantime there were nobles and chiefs of the province of Connacht in banishment and exiled from their territory by the English, besides those who were in amity and friendship with O Domhnaill. Many of the nobles and of the common people came to O Domhnaill to complain to him of their hardships and great sufferings. With reason, since he was their pillar of support, their bush of shelter, and their shield of protection against every trouble. Moreover, he kept their nobles and chiefs in his company and society. Besides, he gave entertainment throughout his territory in his farm-houses and land-holdings to the wretched poor people, to the inhabitants and to the weak and feeble. At the time that he received them into his territory he ordered his people generally to distribute aid in herds and flocks, young cattle and corn to them, with a view to their dwelling in and inhabiting their lands once more. Then Tibbot Burke, son of Walter Ciotach, son of John, son of Oliver, like the others, came to O Domhnaill to complain of his great hardships, and other nobles besides him. Their complaints and accusations were painful to him, and he promised to set them free from the bondage and slavery in which they were if he could, and to restore them to their patrimony again. Wherefore he ordered his soldiers and mercenaries and the free people of his territory to march with the nobles of whom we have already spoken into the territory to support them against their enemies. They did as he ordered them. They went with the nobles to the province of Meadhbh, and set to prey and plunder the English and every one who was in agreement and friendship with them. They were at this business from September to December.

¶61] As for O Domhnaill, after resting for a long time as we have said, he brought his forces together in the month of December exactly, and went into the province of Meadhbh. The road he went by was across the Sligo and Trá Eóchaille,


and through Hy Fiachrach of the Moy, over the Moy itself to the territory of Amhalgadh, son of Fiachrach, son of Eochaidh Muighmeadhoin. The race who inhabited it then was different from the races whose property it was from remote time. Burke was the name of the family inhabiting it then. Their original stock was French, and they had come from English territory to that place, and it was by the power of the English they had first got possession of the territory; yet they were hated by the English no less than the Irish were. Mac William Burke was the chief title of the lord of the land, but none had been appointed for some time as they were overpowered by the English. There were many chiefs and eligible princes amongst them, but they did not agree about the title, for each one thought that to himself belonged the headship and lordship of the territory. They came, both small and great, at the call of O Domhnaill when he came to the territory, and it was proper for all to come, for the Cenél Conaill had given it over to them long before under tribute, though it was not levied for a time owing to the cruelty and severity of the English and the greatness of their strength and power. The nobles who were in contention with each other for the chieftaincy were William Burke of Shrule, the senior of them all; David of the Heath; Rickard, son of the Devil of the Hook; Oliver, son of John, son of Oliver; Edmund, son of Thomas of the Plain, from Cong; Tibbot of the Ships, son of Rickard of the Iron; John, son of Rickard, son of John of the Termon and Tibbot, s. of Walter Ciotach, s. of John, s. of Oliver.

¶62] There came to that same meeting, like the rest, to O Domhnaill, the chiefs and barons of the country, Mac Costello (Seaán Dubh), MacJordan, i.e. Edmund of the Plain, and Mac Domhnaill the Galloglass, i.e. Marcus, son of the Abbot, and MacMorris, i.e. Edmund, and O Máille, i.e. Eóghan. It was by consultation among these and by election that a chieftain used to be inaugurated over the country, and he was called by the title of Mac William on the rath of Eas Caoide, and it was MacTibbot used to proclaim him. When all these


nobles had assembled, as we have said, to Aodh O Domhnaill in the same place, Seán Óg O Doherty formed (as he was ordered to do), four lines of troops back to back encircling the liss and the warrior-fort. Eighteen hundred of his soldiers and mercenaries around the royal rath were the first company; O Doherty himself and O Boyle, Tadhg Óg, with the infantry of Tír Conaill outside them, in the second circle; the three Mac Suibhnes with their galloglasses outside them; the men of Connacht with their muster outside them all; O Domhnaill himself with his chiefs and nobles in a close circle on the rampart of the rath, and no one of the nobles or gentle men dared approach him in the rath but whomsoever he ordered to be called to him in turn. He proceeded then to consider and forecast with the chiefs who were with him what to do with the nobles in reference to the title for which they were in contention and dispute. He called to him the barons and chiefs of the territory in their order to ask them one by one which of the nobles he should appoint to the chieftaincy of the district. MacDomhnaill, MacMorris, and O Máille said with one voice that it was right that the senior, William Burke, should be styled chief, as their custom was to appoint the elder in preference to the younger. MacCostello and MacJordan, said that it was fitting that Tibbot, son of Walter Ciotach, son of John, son of Oliver, should be styled chief, for he was strong and vigorous by day and by night at home and abroad, whether he had a few or had many with him.

¶63] When O Domhnaill had pondered well, he resolved in the end to confer the chieftainship of the territory on Tibbot, son of Walter Ciotach, and he ordered Mac Tibbot to proclaim him Mac William. This was done as he commanded, for Tibbot was called by the name in presence of the forces publicly, though there were others of his race older in years and greater in repute than he. Yet it was he that had come first to O Domhnaill, in exile and banishment from his territory, and he had promised to restore him to his inheritance if he could. Besides, he was in the flower of his


age and dexterity in arms to meet the suffering and hardships of the war in which he was, and, moreover, this Tibbot was of that family the most hated by the English, and the Irish would have less suspicion of him because he was so. Oliver, son of John, and Edmond, son of Thomas of the Plain, and John, son of Rickard, son of John of the Termon, were seized and put in fetters by Aodh O Domhnaill until they were brought to Tír Conaill. He put hostages and pledges from some of the chiefs, who had sought for the chieftaincy, in the hands of Tibbot after he was inaugurated in it. After celebrating Christmas in the barony of Kilmaine and the Brees of Clanmorris O Domhnaill went next across the Moy of Tír Awley to Uí Fiachrach, and he appointed a chief over that territory. He conferred the title on Tadhg, son of Tadhg Riach, son of Eóghan O Dowda. It was O Domhnaill who gave the title of Ó Ceallaigh to Ferdorcha, son of Ceallach, son of Domhnall, son of Aodh na gCailleach; and of MacDiarmada of Magh Luirg to Conor, son of Tadhg, son of Eóghan; and of MacDonncha of Tirerrill to Maurice the Blind, son of Tadhg; and of MacDonncha of Corran to Rury, son of Aodh; and of O Hara Riach to Felim, son of Cú Caisil. There was nothing ultra vires in that, for the ancestors of these were always under rent and tax to Cenél Conaill, and it was appropriate therefore that it should be O Domhnaill who would set them up in their inheritances and inaugurate them with their titles, as we have mentioned. It was on a different occasion he did that. Besides, he restored O Ruairc and MacDiarmada to their patrimony after they had been banished by the English, and not those alone, but every one of the Irish of the province of Connacht who had separated himself from the English, he did the same for them.