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Nine Years' War (Ireland)

Nine Years' War (Ireland)

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Encyclopedia
The Nine Years' War or Tyrone's Rebellion took place in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 from 1594 to 1603. It was fought between the forces of Gaelic
Gaels
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

 Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 chieftains Hugh O'Neill of Tír Eoghain, Hugh Roe O'Donnell
Hugh Roe O'Donnell
Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill, anglicised as either Hugh Roe O'Donnell or Red Hugh O'Donnell , was An Ó Domhnaill and Rí of Tir Chonaill . He led the Irish forces against the English conquest of Ireland from 1593 and helped to lead the Nine Years' War from 1595 to 1603...

 of Tír Chonaill and their allies, against English
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 rule in Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

. The war was fought in all parts of the country, but mainly in the northern province of Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

. It ended in defeat for the Irish chieftains, which led to their exile in the Flight of the Earls
Flight of the Earls
The Flight of the Earls took place on 14 September 1607, when Hugh Ó Neill of Tír Eóghain, Rory Ó Donnell of Tír Chonaill and about ninety followers left Ireland for mainland Europe.-Background to the exile:...

 and to the Plantation of Ulster
Plantation of Ulster
The Plantation of Ulster was the organised colonisation of Ulster—a province of Ireland—by people from Great Britain. Private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while official plantation controlled by King James I of England and VI of Scotland began in 1609...

.

The war against O'Neill and his allies was the largest conflict fought by England in the Elizabethan era
Elizabethan era
The Elizabethan era was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign . Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history...

. At the height of the conflict (1600–1601) more than 18,000 soldiers were fighting in the English army in Ireland. By contrast, the English army assisting the Dutch during the Eighty Years' War was never more than 12,000 strong at any one time.

Causes


The Nine Years' War was caused by the collision between the ambition of the Gaelic Irish chieftain Hugh O'Neill and the advance of the English state in Ireland, from control over the Pale
The Pale
The Pale or the English Pale , was the part of Ireland that was directly under the control of the English government in the late Middle Ages. It had reduced by the late 15th century to an area along the east coast stretching from Dalkey, south of Dublin, to the garrison town of Dundalk...

 to ruling the whole island. In resisting this advance, O'Neill managed to rally other Irish septs who were dissatisfied with English government and some Catholics who opposed the spread of Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 in Ireland.

Rise of Hugh O'Neill



Hugh O'Neill came from the powerful Ó Néill clann of Tyrone
Tyrone
The name Tyrone can refer to:*County Tyrone, a county in Northern Ireland, roughly corresponding to the ancient kingdom of Tír Eogain*An Earl of Tyrone*A small steam train which runs between Bushmills and the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland-Places:...

, who dominated the centre of the northern province of Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

 . Hugh O'Neill was the son of Matthew O'Neill, Baron Dungannon
Baron Dungannon
The title Baron of Dungannon in the Peerage of Ireland was associated with the first creation of the title of Earl of Tyrone.-History:When Conn Bacach O'Neill...

, who was the reputed son of Conn O'Neill the Lame
Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone
Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone King of Tír Eógain, c. 1480–1559.-Biography:A son of Conn Mór, King of Tír Eógain, grandson of Henry Ó Néill, the King of Tír Eógain, was the first of the Ó Néills whom the attempts of the English in the 16th century to subjugate Ireland brought to the front as...

, the first O'Neill to be created Earl of Tyrone
Earl of Tyrone
The Earl of Tyrone is a title created three times in the Peerage of Ireland.It was first created as part of the Tudor attempt to establish a uniform social structure in Ireland by converting the Gaelic kings and chiefs into hereditary nobles of the Kingdom of Ireland...

 by the English Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

. His father was killed and he was banished from Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

 as a child by Seán 'An Díomais' Ó Néill
Shane O'Neill
Seán Ó Néill, anglicised Shane O'Neill , nicknamed 'Seán an díomais', was an Irish king of the O'Neill dynasty of Ulster in the mid 16th century. Shane O'Neill's career was marked by his ambition to be The Ó Néill Mór - Sovereign of the dominant Ó Néill Mór family of Tyrone... and thus head...

. He was brought up by the Hovenden family in the Pale
The Pale
The Pale or the English Pale , was the part of Ireland that was directly under the control of the English government in the late Middle Ages. It had reduced by the late 15th century to an area along the east coast stretching from Dalkey, south of Dublin, to the garrison town of Dundalk...

 and was sponsored by the English authorities as a reliable lord. In 1587, he persuaded Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 to make him Earl of Tyrone (or Tir Eoghain), the English title his grandfather had held. However the real power in Ulster lay not in the legal title of Earl of Tyrone, but in the position of The Ó Néill, or chief of the O'Neill clan, then held by Turlough Luineach Ó Neill. It was this position that commanded the obedience of all the O'Neills and their dependants in central Ulster; in 1595, after much bloodshed, Hugh O'Neill managed to secure it for himself.

From Hugh Roe O'Donnell
Hugh Roe O'Donnell
Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill, anglicised as either Hugh Roe O'Donnell or Red Hugh O'Donnell , was An Ó Domhnaill and Rí of Tir Chonaill . He led the Irish forces against the English conquest of Ireland from 1593 and helped to lead the Nine Years' War from 1595 to 1603...

, his ally, he enlisted Scottish mercenaries (known as Redshanks
Redshank (soldier)
Redshank was a nickname for Scottish mercenaries from the Highlands Western Isles. They were a prominent feature of Irish armies throughout the 16th century. They were called Redshanks because they went dressed in kilts and waded bare-legged through rivers in the coldest weather...

). Within his own territories, O'Neill was entitled to limited military service from his sub lords or uirithe. He also pressed his tenants and dependants into military service and tied the peasantry to the land in order to increase food production (see Kern
Kern (soldier)
A Kern was a Gaelic soldier, specifically a light infantryman in Ireland during the Middle Ages.-Linguistic roots:The word kern is an anglicisation of the Middle Irish word ceithern or ceithrenn meaning a collection of persons, particularly fighting men. An individual member is a ceithernach...

). In addition, he hired large contingents of Irish mercenaries known as buanadha under leaders such as Richard Tyrell. To arm his soldiers, O'Neill bought muskets, ammunition and pike
Pike (weapon)
A pike is a pole weapon, a very long thrusting spear used extensively by infantry both for attacks on enemy foot soldiers and as a counter-measure against cavalry assaults. Unlike many similar weapons, the pike is not intended to be thrown. Pikes were used regularly in European warfare from the...

s from Scotland and England. From 1591, O'Donnell, on O'Neill’s behalf, had been in contact with Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

, appealing for military aid against their common enemy and citing also their shared Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

. With the aid of Spain, O'Neill was able to arm and feed over 8000 men, unprecedented for a Gaelic lord, and so was well prepared to resist any further English attempts to govern Ulster.

Government advances into Ulster


By the early 1590s, the north of Ireland was attracting the attention of Lord Deputy Fitzwilliam, who had been charged with bringing the area under crown control. A provincial presidency was proposed; the candidate for office was Henry Bagenal, an English colonist settled in Newry
Newry
Newry is a city in Northern Ireland. The River Clanrye, which runs through the city, formed the historic border between County Armagh and County Down. It is from Belfast and from Dublin. Newry had a population of 27,433 at the 2001 Census, while Newry and Mourne Council Area had a population...

, who would seek to impose the authority of the crown through sheriffs to be appointed by the Dublin government. O'Neill had eloped with Bagenal’s sister, Mabel, and married her against her brother's wishes; the bitterness of this episode was made more intense after Mabel's early death a few years after the marriage, when she was clearly in despair from her husbands's neglect and the jealousy of his mistresses.

In 1591, Fitzwilliam broke up the MacMahon lordship in Monaghan
Monaghan
Monaghan is the county town of County Monaghan in Ireland. Its population at the 2006 census stood at 7,811 . The town is located on the main road, the N2 road, from Dublin north to both Derry and Letterkenny.-Toponym:...

 when The MacMahon, hereditary leader of the sept, resisted the imposition of an English sheriff
Sheriff
A sheriff is in principle a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country....

; he was hanged and his lordship divided. There was an outcry, with several sources alleging corruption against Fitzwilliam, but the same policy was soon applied in Longford
Longford
Longford is the county town of County Longford in Ireland. It has a population of 7,622 according to the 2006 census. Approximately one third of the county's population resides in the town. Longford town is also the biggest town in the county...

 (territory of the O’Farrells) and Breifne (Cavan
Cavan
Cavan is the county town of County Cavan in the Republic of Ireland. The town lies in the north central part of Ireland, near the border with Northern Ireland...

 — territory of the O’Reillys). Any attempt to further the same in the O'Neill and O'Donnell territories was bound to be resisted by force of arms.

The most significant difficulty for English forces in confronting O'Neill lay in the natural defences that Ulster enjoyed. By land there were only two viable points of entry to the province for troops marching from the south: at Newry
Newry
Newry is a city in Northern Ireland. The River Clanrye, which runs through the city, formed the historic border between County Armagh and County Down. It is from Belfast and from Dublin. Newry had a population of 27,433 at the 2001 Census, while Newry and Mourne Council Area had a population...

 in the east, and Sligo
Sligo
Sligo is the county town of County Sligo in Ireland. The town is a borough and has a charter and a town mayor. It is sometimes referred to as a city, and sometimes as a town, and is the second largest urban area in Connacht...

 in the west — the terrain in between was largely mountains, woodland, bog and marshes. Sligo Castle was held by the O’Connor
O'Connor
O'Connor is a surname of Irish origin, originally meaning Ó Conchobhair .-Law and Politics:*Sandra Day O'Connor O'Connor is a surname of Irish origin, originally meaning Ó Conchobhair ("grandson/descendant of Conchobhar").-Law and Politics:*Sandra Day O'Connor O'Connor is a surname of Irish origin,...

 sept, but suffered constant threat from the O'Donnell
O'Donnell
O'Donnell , which is derived from the forename Domhnaill were an ancient and powerful Irish family, kings, princes, and lords of Tír Chonaill in early times, and the chief allies and sometimes...

s; the route from Newry into the heart of Ulster ran through several easily defended passes and could only be maintained in wartime with a punishing sacrifice by the Crown of men and money.

The English did have a foothold within Ulster, around Carrickfergus
Carrickfergus
Carrickfergus , known locally and colloquially as "Carrick", is a large town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is located on the north shore of Belfast Lough, from Belfast. The town had a population of 27,201 at the 2001 Census and takes its name from Fergus Mór mac Eirc, the 6th century king...

 north of Belfast Lough
Belfast Lough
Belfast Lough is a large, natural intertidal sea lough at the mouth of the River Lagan on the east coast of Northern Ireland. The inner part of the lough comprises a series of mudflats and lagoons. The outer lough is restricted to mainly rocky shores with some small sandy bays...

, where a small colony had been planted in the 1570s; but here too the terrain was unfavourable for the English, since Lough Neagh
Lough Neagh
Lough Neagh, sometimes Loch Neagh, is a large freshwater lake in Northern Ireland. Its name comes .-Geography:With an area of , it is the largest lake in the British Isles and ranks among the forty largest lakes of Europe. Located twenty miles to the west of Belfast, it is approximately twenty...

 and the river Bann
River Bann
The River Bann is the longest river in Northern Ireland, the total length being 80 miles . The river winds its way from the south east corner of Northern Ireland to the north west coast, pausing in the middle to widen into the enormous Lough Neagh...

, the lower stretch of which ran through the dense forest of Glenconkeyn, formed an effective barrier on the eastern edge of the O'Neill territory. A further difficulty lay in the want of a port on the northern sea coast where the English might launch an amphibious attack into O'Neill's rear. The English strategic situation was complicated by interference from Scots clans, which were supplying O'Neill with soldiers and materials and playing upon the English need for local assistance, while keeping an eye to their own territorial influence in the Route (modern County Antrim
County Antrim
County Antrim is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 2,844 km², with a population of approximately 616,000...

).

War breaks out


In 1592 Hugh Roe O'Donnell
Hugh Roe O'Donnell
Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill, anglicised as either Hugh Roe O'Donnell or Red Hugh O'Donnell , was An Ó Domhnaill and Rí of Tir Chonaill . He led the Irish forces against the English conquest of Ireland from 1593 and helped to lead the Nine Years' War from 1595 to 1603...

 had driven an English sheriff, Captain Willis, out of his territory, Tir Chónaill (now part of County Donegal
County Donegal
County Donegal is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county...

). In 1593, Maguire and O'Donnell had combined to resist Willis’ introduction as Sheriff into Maguire’s Fermanagh and begun attacking the English outposts along the southern edge of Ulster. Initially O'Neill assisted the English, hoping to be named as Lord President of Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

 himself. Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

, though, had feared that O'Neill had no intention of being a simple landlord. Rather, his ambition was to usurp her sovereignty and be "a Prince of Ulster". For this reason she refused to grant O'Neill provincial presidency or any other position which would have given him authority to govern Ulster on the crown’s behalf. Once it became clear that Henry Bagenal was marked to assume the presidency of Ulster, O'Neill accepted that an English offensive was inevitable, and so joined his allies in open rebellion in 1595 with an attack on the English fort on the Blackwater river
River Blackwater, Northern Ireland
The River Blackwater is a river in County Armagh and County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, as well as County Monaghan and County Cavan in Republic of Ireland, which has its source to the north of Fivemiletown, County Tyrone...

.

Later in 1595 O'Neill and O'Donnell wrote to King Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 for help, offered to be his vassals and proposed that his cousin Archduke Albert be made Prince of Ireland, but nothing came of this. Philip II replied encouraging them in January 1596. An unsuccessful armada sailed in 1596, followed by an equally unsuccessful English counter-armada; the war became a part of the wider Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604).

Irish victory at Yellow Ford


The English authorities in Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle off Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland, was until 1922 the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland...

 were slow to comprehend the depth of the rebellion. After failed negotiations in 1596, English armies tried to break into Ulster but were repulsed by a trained army including musketeers in prepared positions; after a stinging defeat at the Battle of Clontibret
Battle of Clontibret
The Battle of Clontibret was fought in County Monaghan in March 1595 during the Nine Years War, between the crown forces of England's Queen Elizabeth and the Irish army of Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone...

, successive English offensives were driven back in the following years. At the Battle of the Yellow Ford
Battle of the Yellow Ford
The Battle of the Yellow Ford was fought in western County Armagh, Ulster, in Ireland, near the river Blackwater on 14 August 1598, during the Nine Years War ....

 in 1598 up to 2,000 English troops were killed after being ambushed on the march to Armagh
Armagh
Armagh is a large settlement in Northern Ireland, and the county town of County Armagh. It is a site of historical importance for both Celtic paganism and Christianity and is the seat, for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland, of the Archbishop of Armagh...

. The rest were surrounded in Armagh itself but negotiated safe passage for themselves in return for evacuating the town. O'Neill's personal enemy, Henry Bagenal, had been in command of the army and was killed during the early engagements. It was the heaviest defeat ever suffered by the English army in Ireland up to that point.

The victory prompted uprisings all over the country, with the assistance of mercenaries in O'Neill's pay and contingents from Ulster, and it is at this point that the war developed in its full force. Hugh O'Neill appointed his supporters as chieftains and earls around the country, notably James Fitzthomas Fitzgerald as the Earl of Desmond
Earl of Desmond
The title of Earl of Desmond has been held historically by lords in Ireland, first as a title outside of the peerage system and later as part of the Peerage of Ireland....

 and Florence MacCarthy
Florence MacCarthy
Finnian or Fínghin mac Donnchadh Mac Cárthaigh , known to the English as Florence MacCarthy, was an Irish prince of the late 16th century and the last credible claimant to the MacCarthy Mór title before its suppression by English authority...

 as the MacCarthy Mór. In Munster as many as 9000 men came out in rebellion. The Munster Plantation
Plantations of Ireland
Plantations in 16th and 17th century Ireland were the confiscation of land by the English crown and the colonisation of this land with settlers from England and the Scottish Lowlands....

, the colonisation of the province with English settlers, was utterly destroyed; the colonists, among them Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and one of the greatest poets in the English...

, fled for their lives.

Only a handful of native lords remained consistently loyal to the crown and even these found their kinsmen and followers defecting to the rebels. However all the fortified cities and towns of the country sided with the English colonial government. Hugh O'Neill, unable to take walled towns, made repeated overtures to inhabitants of the Pale
The Pale
The Pale or the English Pale , was the part of Ireland that was directly under the control of the English government in the late Middle Ages. It had reduced by the late 15th century to an area along the east coast stretching from Dalkey, south of Dublin, to the garrison town of Dundalk...

 to join his rebellion, appealing to their Catholicism and to their alienation from the Dublin government and the provincial administrations. For the most part, however, the Old English
Old English (Ireland)
The Old English were the descendants of the settlers who came to Ireland from Wales, Normandy, and England after the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169–71. Many of the Old English became assimilated into Irish society over the centuries...

 remained hostile to their hereditary Gaelic enemies.

Earl of Essex’s command



In 1599, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599...

 arrived in Ireland with over 17,000 English troops. He took the advice of the Irish privy council, to settle the south of the country with garrisons before making an attempt on Ulster, but this dissipated his forces and he ended up suffering numerous setbacks on a desultory progress through south Leinster and Munster. Those expeditions he did organise were disastrous, especially an expedition crossing the Curlew mountains to Sligo
Sligo
Sligo is the county town of County Sligo in Ireland. The town is a borough and has a charter and a town mayor. It is sometimes referred to as a city, and sometimes as a town, and is the second largest urban area in Connacht...

, which was mauled by O'Donnell at the Battle of Curlew Pass
Battle of Curlew Pass
The Battle of Curlew Pass was fought on the 15th of August 1599, during the campaign of the Earl of Essex in the Nine Years' War, between an English force under Sir Conyers Clifford and a rebel Irish force led by Hugh Roe O'Donnell. The English were ambushed and routed while marching through a pass...

. Thousands of his troops, shut up in unsanitary garrisons, died of diseases such as typhoid and dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

.

When he did to turn to Ulster, Essex entered a parley with O'Neill and agreed a truce that was heavily criticised by his enemies in London. Anticipating a recall to England, he set out for London in 1599 without the Queen's permission, where he was executed after attempting a court putsch. He was succeeded in Ireland by Lord Mountjoy, who proved to be a far more able commander. Two veterans of Irish warfare, George Carew
George Carew, 1st Earl of Totnes
George Carew, 1st Earl of Totnes , known as Sir George Carew between 1586 and 1605 and as The Lord Carew between 1605 and 1626, served under Queen Elizabeth I during the Tudor conquest of Ireland and was appointed President of Munster. -Early career:Carew was the son of Dr...

 and Arthur Chichester, were given commands in Munster and Ulster respectively.

In November 1599 O'Neill sent a 22-paragraph document to Queen Elizabeth, listing his terms for a peace agreement. These called for a self-governing Ireland with restitution of confiscated lands and churches, freedom of movement and a strong Roman Catholic identity. In respect of Irish sovereignty he now accepted English overlordship, but requested that the viceroy ".. be at least an earl
Earl
An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke...

, and of the privy council of England
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

". Elizabeth's adviser Sir Robert Cecil
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC was an English administrator and politician.-Life:He was the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Mildred Cooke...

 wrote "Ewtopia
Utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

" on the document.

End of the Rebellion in Munster


George Carew, the English Lord President of Munster, managed more or less to quash the rebellion in Munster by mid 1601, using a mixture of conciliation and force. By the summer of 1601 he had retaken most of the principal castles in Munster and scattered the Irish forces. He did this by by negotiating a pact with Florence MacCarthy
Florence MacCarthy
Finnian or Fínghin mac Donnchadh Mac Cárthaigh , known to the English as Florence MacCarthy, was an Irish prince of the late 16th century and the last credible claimant to the MacCarthy Mór title before its suppression by English authority...

, the principle Gaelic Irish leader in the province, which allowed MacCarthy to be neutral, while Carew concentrated on attacking the force of James Fitzthomas Fitzgerald, who commanded the main rebel force. As a result, while MacCarthy resisted Enlgish raiding parties into his territory, he did not come to Ftizthomas's aid, despite urgings from O'Neill and O'Donnell to do this.

In the summer of 1600, Carew launched an offensive against Fitzthomas's forces. The English routed Fitzthomas’ forces at Aherlow and in November, Carew reported to London that he had, over the summer, killed 1200 'rebels' and taken the surrenders of over 10,000. Carew also weakened Flroence MacCarthy's position by recruiting a rival MacCarthy chieftain, Donal, to the English service.

In June 1601, James Fitzthomas was captured by the English forces. Shortly afterwards, Carew had Florence MacCarthy arrested after summoning him for negotiations. Both Fitzthomas and MacCarthy kept captive in the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

, where both eventually died. Most of the rest of the local lords submitted once the principle native leaders had been arrested O'Neill's mercenaries had been expelled from the province.

Battle of Kinsale and the collapse of the rebellion




Mountjoy managed to penetrate the interior of Ulster by seaborne landings at Derry
Derry
Derry or Londonderry is the second-biggest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-biggest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Doire or Doire Cholmcille meaning "oak-wood of Colmcille"...

 (then belonging to County Coleraine
County Coleraine
County Coleraine, called County of Colerain in the earliest documents was one of the counties of Ireland from 1585 to 1613. It was named after its intended county town, Coleraine...

) under Henry Dowcra and Carrickfergus under Arthur Chichester. Dowcra and Chichester, helped by Niall Garve O'Donnell
Niall Garve O'Donnell
Niall Garbh Ó Domhnaill anglicised as Niall Garve O'Donnell . He is best known for siding with the English against his kinsman Hugh Roe O'Donnell during the Nine Years' War in the 1590s....

, a rival of Hugh Roe, devastated the countryside in an effort to provoke a famine and killed the civilian population at random.

Their military assumption was that without crops and people, the rebels could neither feed themselves nor raise new fighters. This attrition quickly began to bite, and it also meant that the Ulster chiefs were tied down in Ulster to defend their own territories.

Although O'Neill managed to repulse another land offensive by Mountjoy at the Battle of Moyry Pass
Battle of Moyry Pass
The Battle of Moyry Pass was fought during September and October 1600 in counties Armagh and Louth, in the north of Ireland, during the Nine Years' War...

 near Newry
Newry
Newry is a city in Northern Ireland. The River Clanrye, which runs through the city, formed the historic border between County Armagh and County Down. It is from Belfast and from Dublin. Newry had a population of 27,433 at the 2001 Census, while Newry and Mourne Council Area had a population...

 in 1600, his position was becoming desperate.

In 1601, the long promised Spanish expedition finally arrived in the form of 4000 soldiers at Kinsale
Kinsale
Kinsale is a town in County Cork, Ireland. Located some 25 km south of Cork City on the coast near the Old Head of Kinsale, it sits at the mouth of the River Bandon and has a population of 2,257 which increases substantially during the summer months when the tourist season is at its peak and...

, Cork
County Cork
County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. It is named after the city of Cork . Cork County Council is the local authority for the county...

, virtually the southern tip of Ireland. Mountjoy immediately besieged them with 7000 men. O'Neill, O'Donnell and their allies marched their armies south to sandwich Mountjoy, whose men were starving and wracked by disease, between them and the Spaniards. During the march south, O'Neill devastated the lands of those who would not support him.

The English force might have been destroyed by hunger and sickness but the issue was decided in their favour at the Battle of Kinsale. On the 5/6 January 1602, O'Donnell, against the wishes and advice of O'Neill, took the decision to attack the English. Forming up for a surprise attack, the Irish chiefs were themselves surprised by a cavalry charge, resulting in a rout of the Irish forces. The Spanish in Kinsale surrendered after their allies' defeat.

The Irish forces retreated north to Ulster to regroup and consolidate their position. The Ulstermen lost many more men in the retreat through freezing and flooded country than they had at the actual battle of Kinsale. The last rebel stronghold in the south was taken at the Siege of Dunboy
Siege of Dunboy
The Siege of Dunboy took place at Dunboy Castle on 5–18 June 1602, during the Nine Years' War in Ireland. It was one of the last battles of the conflict and was a victory for the English Army.-The Castle:...

 by George Carew.

Hugh Roe O'Donnell left for Spain pleading in vain for another Spanish landing. He died in 1602 probably due to poisoning by an English agent. His brother assumed leadership of the O'Donnell clan. Both he and Hugh O'Neill were reduced to guerrilla tactics, fighting in small bands, as Mountjoy, Dowcra, Chichester and Niall Garbh O'Donnell swept the countryside. The English scorched earth tactics were especially harsh on the civilian population, who died in great numbers both from direct targeting and from famine.

End of the War


Mountjoy smashed the O'Neill’s inauguration stone at Tullaghogue
Tullyhogue Fort
Tullyhogue Fort, also spelt Tullaghoge or Tullahoge , is large mound on the outskirts of Tullyhogue village near Cookstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It has a depressed centre and is surrounded by trees...

, symbolically destroying the O'Neill clan. Famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 soon hit Ulster as a result of the English scorched earth strategy. O'Neill’s uirithe or sub-lords (O’Hagan, O’Quinn, MacCann) began to surrender and Rory O'Donnell
Rory O'Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell
Rudhraighe Ó Domhnaill, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell was the last King of Tír Chonaill . An apparent original of the Letters Patent of the Earldom are in the possession of Graf O'Donell von Tyrconnell in Austria, although that family did not inherit the title, nor the related territorial Lordship of...

, Hugh Roe's brother and successor, surrendered on terms at the end of 1602. However, with a secure base in the large and dense forests of Tir Eoghain, O'Neill held out until 30 March 1603, when he surrendered on good terms to Mountjoy, signing the Treaty of Mellifont
Treaty of Mellifont
The Treaty of Mellifont , also known as the Articles of Mellifont was signed in 1603 ending the Nine Years' War which took place in the Kingdom of Ireland from 1594 to 1603.- The end of the war :...

. Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 had died on the 24th of March.

Aftermath


The leaders of the rebellion received good terms from the new King of England, James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

, in the hope of ensuring a final end of the draining war that had brought England close to bankruptcy. O'Neill, O'Donnell and the other surviving Ulster chiefs were granted full pardons and the return of their estates. The stipulations were that they abandon their Irish titles, their private armies, their control over their dependents and swear loyalty only to the Crown of England. In 1604, Mountjoy declared an amnesty for rebels all over the country. The reason for this apparent mildness was that the English could not afford to continue the war any longer. Elizabethan England did not have a standing army, nor could it force its Parliament to pass enough taxation to pay for long wars. Moreover, it was already involved in a war in the Spanish Netherlands. As it was, the war in Ireland (which cost over £2 million) came very close to bankrupting the English exchequer by its close in 1603.

Irish sources claimed that as many as 60,000 people had died in the Ulster famine of 1602–3 alone. This is likely to be a major over-estimate as in 1600 the total adult population of Ulster has been estimated at only 25,000 to 40,000 people. An Irish death toll of over 100,000 is possible. At least 30,000 English soldiers died in Ireland in the Nine Years War, mainly from disease. So the total death toll for the war was certainly at least 100,000 people,and probably more.

Although O'Neill and his allies received good terms at the end of the war, they were never trusted by the English authorities and the distrust was mutual. O'Neill, O'Donnell and the other Gaelic lords from Ulster left Ireland in 1607 in what is known as the Flight of the Earls
Flight of the Earls
The Flight of the Earls took place on 14 September 1607, when Hugh Ó Neill of Tír Eóghain, Rory Ó Donnell of Tír Chonaill and about ninety followers left Ireland for mainland Europe.-Background to the exile:...

. They intended to organise an expedition from a Catholic power in Europe to re-start the war, preferably Spain, but were unable to find any military backers.

Spain had signed the Treaty of London in August 1604 with the new Stuart dynasty and did not wish to reopen hostilities. Further, Spain's European fleet had just been destroyed by the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 in the Battle of Gibraltar
Battle of Gibraltar
The naval Battle of Gibraltar took place on 25 April 1607 during the Eighty Years' War when a Dutch fleet surprised and engaged a Spanish fleet anchored at the Bay of Gibraltar. During the four hours of action, most of the Spanish fleet was destroyed....

 in April 1607.

In 1608 the absent earls' lands were confiscated for trying to start another war, and were soon colonised in the Plantation of Ulster
Plantation of Ulster
The Plantation of Ulster was the organised colonisation of Ulster—a province of Ireland—by people from Great Britain. Private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while official plantation controlled by King James I of England and VI of Scotland began in 1609...

. The Nine Years War was therefore an important step in the English and Scottish colonisation of Ulster.

See also

  • Grace O'Malley
    Grace O'Malley
    Gráinne Ní Mháille , Gráinne O'Malley or Grace O'Malley, was Queen of Umaill, chieftain of the Ó Máille clan and a pirate in 16th century Ireland...

  • List of Irish uprisings
  • Tudor conquest of Ireland
  • Nine Years' War
  • Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604)

Footnotes

& 2: Cyril Falls, Elizabeth's Irish Wars, pg 49. The O'Neill dynasty claimed descent from the Uí Néill
Uí Néill
The Uí Néill are Irish and Scottish dynasties who claim descent from Niall Noigiallach , an historical King of Tara who died about 405....

 line which derived its origins from the ancient hero, Niall of the Nine Hostages
Niall of the Nine Hostages
Niall Noígíallach , or in English, Niall of the Nine Hostages, son of Eochaid Mugmedón, was an Irish king, the eponymous ancestor of the Uí Néill kindred who dominated Ireland from the 6th century to the 10th century...

, and the sons of Banbha.

Sources

....
  • Richard Bagwell, Ireland under the Tudors 3 vols. :(London, 1885–1890)
  • John O'Donovan (ed.) Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters (1851).
  • Calendar of State Papers: Carew MSS. 6 vols (London, 1867–1873).
  • Calendar of State Papers: Ireland (London)
  • Steven G. Ellis Tudor Ireland (London, 1985) ISBN 0-582-49341-2.
  • Hiram Morgan Tyrone's War (1995).
  • Standish O'Grady (ed.) "Pacata Hibernia" 2 vols. (London, 1896).
  • Cyril Falls
    Cyril Falls
    Cyril Bentham Falls CBE was a military historian noted for his work on the First World War. He was born in Dublin and died in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey....

    Elizabeth's Irish Wars (1950; reprint London, 1996) ISBN 0-09-477220-7.