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

Annal M1590


THE AGE OF CHRIST, 1590. The Age of Christ, one thousand five hundred ninety.


The Lower Burkes and the Clann-Donnell Galloglagh mustered and collected all the forces they were able to command in the summer and winter of the preceding year, as we have stated before; so that there was no one worthy of note, from the Curlieu mountains to the most western point of Erris and Umhall, who did not join them in that confederacy.


A hosting was made by the Governor, Sir Richard Bingham, and the Earl of Thomond, Donough, the son of Conor, son of Donough O'Brien; and they marched with all their forces against the Burkes in the first month of this year, i.e. January; and they pitched a camp of many troops of kerns at Cong; and the Burkes were encamped on the west side, opposite to them; and there were daily conferences held between them for a fortnight, but they could not agree on terms of peace during that time. At the expiration of this period, the Governor and the Earl proceeded, with ten or twelve companies, to go through the passes into Tirawley and Erris. The Burkes marched in a parallel line with them, and intended to attack them at Bearna-na-Gaoithe; but, however, they did not do so, but the pass was ceded to the Governor and the Earl. On this occasion the son of Mac William Burke lost his foot from the ankle out. The Governor returned to Cong, and he, the Burkes, and the Clann-Donnell, were reconciled to each other; and they delivered their hostages into the hands of the Governor. The Governor then went to Athlone, and the men of Connaught dispersed for their respective homes.


In the month of March a very great army was mustered by the Governor against O'Rourke. This army was no numerous, that he sent a vast number of his captains and battalions to Sliabh-Cairbre to oppose the inhabitants of


Muintir-Eolais; and another party of the chiefs of his army to the west of the Bridge of Sligo, to invade Breifny; and these troops proceeded to burn and devastate, kill and destroy, all before them in the country, until both met together again. By this excursion O'Rourke was banished from his territory; and he received neither shelter nor protection until he arrived in the Tuatha, to Mac Sweeny-na-dTuath (Owen Oge, the son of Owen, son of Owen Oge, son of Owen, son of Donnell); and with him he remained until the expiration of this year; and such of his people as did not go into exile came in and submitted to the Governor. Donnell, the son of Teige, son of Brian O'Rourke, and Hugh Oge, the son of Hugh Gallda, assisted the English in expelling and banishing O'Rourke. The whole territory, both waste and inhabited, was under the power of the Governor until the ensuing Michaelmas, when Tiernan Bane, the son of Brian, son of Owen O'Rourke, and Brian-na-Samhthach, i.e Brian Oge (the son of that O'Rourke who had been expelled), came into the territory. These and the tribes of Breifny, and of Muintir-Eolais, and of the other O'Rourkes who remained in the country, opposed the Governor, and continued spoiling every thing belonging to the English, to which they came, until the end of this year.


A great fort, the like of which had not been erected for a long time before, was made by the Governor between Lough Key and Lough Arrow.


The son of O'Neill, i.e. Hugh Geimhleach, son of John Donnghaileach, son of Con Bacagh, son of Con, son of Henry, son of Owen, was hanged by the


Earl of Tyrone, Hugh, son of Ferdorcha, son of Con Bacagh. There had not been for a long time among the race of Eoghan, the son of Niall, a man more generally lamented than this Hugh.


The son of O'Donnell, i.e. Donnell, the son of Hugh, son of Manus, son of Hugh Duv, son of Hugh Roe, son of Niall Garv, son of Turlough of the Wine


attempted to depose his father, after he had grown weak and feeble from age, and after his other son had been imprisoned in Dublin; so that Donnell brought under his power and jurisdiction that part of Tirconnell from the mountain westwards, i.e. from Bearnas to the River Drowes; and also the people of Boylagh and Tir-Boghaine. It was a cause of great anguish and sickness of mind to Ineenduv, the daughter of James Mac Donnell, that Donnell should make such an attempt, lest he might attain the chieftainship of Tirconnell in preference to her son, Hugh Roe, who was confined in Dublin, and who she hoped would become chief, whatever time God might permit him to return from his captivity; and she, therefore, assembled all the Kinel-Connell who were obedient to her husband, namely, O'Doherty, with his forces; Mac Sweeny-na-dTuath (Owen Oge), with his forces; and Mac Sweeny Fanad, with his forces; with a great number of Scots along with them. After Donnell O'Donnell had received intelligence that this muster had been made to oppose him, he assembled his forces to meet them. These were they who rose up to assist him on this occasion: Mac Sweeny Banagh (Donough, the son of Mulmurry); a party of the Clann-Sweeny of Munster, under the conduct of the three sons of Owen, the son of Mulmurry, son of Donough, son of Turlough, and their forces; and O'Boyle (Teige Oge, the son of Teige, son of Turlough), with all his forces, assembled. The place where the son of O'Donnell happened to be stationed along with these chieftains was Doire-leathan at the extremity of Tir-Boghaine, to the west of Gleann Choluim Cille. The other party did not halt until they came to them to that place; and a battle ensued between them, which was fiercely fought on both sides. The Scots discharged a shower of arrows from their elastic bows, by which they pierced and wounded great numbers, and, among the rest, the son of O'Donnell himself, who, being unable to display prowess or defend himself, was slain at Doire-leathan, on one side of the harbour of Telinn, on the 14th of September. Seldom before that time had his enemies triumphed over him; and the party by whom he was slain had not been by any means his enemies until they encountered on this occasion; and although this Donnell was not the rightful heir of his father, it would have


been no disgrace to Tirconnell to have elected him as its chief, had he been permitted to attain to that dignity. In this conflict were slain along with Donnell the three sons of Owen, son of Mulmurry, son of Donough above mentioned, together with two hundred others, around Donnell.


Walter Kittagh Burke, the son of John, son of Oliver, died, after having concluded a peace with the English.


Mac Coghlan (John, the son of Art, son of Cormac) died. There was not a man of his property, of the race of Cormac Cas, who had better furnished or more commodious courts, castles, and comfortable seats, than this John. His son, John Oge, was appointed in his place.


Mulrony, the son of Calvagh, son of Donough, son of John O'Carroll, died.


Mac Maurice of Kerry, i.e. Thomas, the son of Edmond, son of Thomas, son of Edmond, died. He was the best purchaser of wine, horses, and literary works, of any of his wealth and patrimony, in the greater part of Leath-Mogha at that time; and Patrickin, his heir, was at this time in captivity in Dublin.


O'Loughlin (Owny, the son of Melaghlin, son of Rury, son of Ana) died; and his son, Rossa, and his grandson, Owny, were contending with each other for his place.


Sorley Boy, the son of Alexander, son of John Cahanagh, died.



Owen Mac-an-Deaganaigh died.


Hugh Roe O'Donnell had now been in captivity in Dublin for the space of three years and three months. It was a cause of great distress of mind to


him to be thus imprisoned; yet it was not for his own sake that he grieved, but for the sake of his country, his land, his friends, and kinsmen, who were in bondage throughout Ireland. He was constantly revolving in his mind the manner in which he might make his escape. This was not an easy matter for him, for he was confined in a closely-secured apartment every night in the castle until sunrise the next day. This castle was surrounded by a wide and very deep ditch, full of water, across which was a wooden bridge, directly opposite the door of the fortress; and within and without the door were stationed a stern party of Englishmen, closely guarding it, so that none might pass in or out without examination. There is, however, no guard whose vigilance may not


some time or other be baffled. At the very end of winter, as Hugh and a party of his companions were together, in the beginning of the night, before they were put into the close cells in which they used to be every night, they took with them a very long rope to a window which was near them, and by means of the rope they let themselves down, and alighted upon the bridge that was outside the door of the fortress. There was a thick iron chain fastened to this door, by which one closed it when required; through this chain they drove a strong handful of a piece of timber, and thus fastened the door on the outside, so that they could not be immediately pursued from the fortress. There was a youth of Hugh's faithful people outside awaiting their escape, and he met them on coming out, with two well-tempered swords concealed under his garments; these he gave into the hand of Hugh, who presented one of them to a certain renowned warrior of Leinster, Art Kavanagh by name, who was a champion in battle, and a commander in conflict.

As for the guards, they did not perceive the escape for some time; but when they took notice of it they advanced immediateIy to the door of the castle, for they thought that they should instantly catch them. Upon coming to the gate, they could not open it; whereupon they called over to them those who happened to be in the houses on the other side of the street, opposite the door of the castle. When these came at the call, and took the piece of timber out of the chain, and threw open the door for the people in the castle, who then set out, with a great number of the citizens, in pursuit of the youths who had


escaped from them ; but this was fruitless, for they the fugitives had passed beyond the walls of the city before they were missed, for the gates of the regal city had been wide open at the time; and they pursued their way across the face of the mountain which lay before them, namely, Sliabh Ruadh, being afraid to venture at all upon the public road, and never halted in their course until after a fatiguing journey and travelling, until they had crossed the Red mountain aforesaid. When, weary and fatigued, they entered a thick wood which lay in their way, where they remained until morning. They then attempted to depart, for they did not deem it safe to remain in the wood, from fear of being pursued; but Hugh was not able to keep pace with his companions, for his white-skinned and thin feet had been pierced by the furze of the mountain, for his shoes had fallen off, their seams having been loosened by the wet, which they did not till then receive. It was great grief to his companions that they could not bring him any further; and so they bade him farewell, and left him their blessing.

He sent his servant to a certain gentleman of the noble tribes of the province of Leinster, who lived in a castle in the neighbourhood, to know whether he could afford them shelter or protection. His name was Felim O'Toole, and he was previously a friend to Hugh, as he thought, for he had gone to visit him


on one occasion in his prison in Dublin, when they formed a mutual friendship with each other. The messenger proceeded to the place where Felirn was, and stated to him the embassy on which he came. Felim was glad at his arrival, and promised that he would do all the good he could for Hugh; but his friends and kindred did not allow him to conceal him, from fear of the English government.


These learned that he was in the wood, as we have said, and they (i.e. the people who had heard that he was in the wood) went in search of him, and dispersed with their troops to track him. When it was clear to Felim that he Hugh would be discovered, he and his kinsmen resolved to seize upon him themselves, and bring him back to the Council in the city. This was accordingly done. When he Hugh arrived in Dublin, the Council were rejoiced at his return to them; for they made nothing or light of all the other prisoners and hostages that had escaped from them. He was again put into the same prison, and iron fetters were put upon him as tightly as possible; and they watched and guarded him as well as they could. His escape, thus attempted, and his recapture, became known throughout the land of Ireland, at which tidings a great gloom came over the Irish people.