Hugh O'Neill, Lord of Tyrone

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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O'Neill, Hugh, Lord of Tyrone, late in the 12th, and early in the 13th centuries, was one of the most determined opponents of the Anglo-Normans in the north of Ireland. In 1198 he attacked them at Larne, and for a time broke their power in the district. Next year, after a temporary success, in conjunction with the "men of Moy-Itha and the men of Oriel," he was defeated at Ballysadare, by the chiefs of Connaught, William de Burgh, and the Anglo-Normans of Limerick. In 1200 he was for a time deposed from his chieftaincy, and Conor O'Loughlen elected in his stead. Eight years afterwards a battle was fought in Inishowen between him and the O'Donnells, "in which," say the Four Masters, "countless numbers were slaughtered on both sides." The combatants subsequently entered into an alliance against such of the Irish or Anglo-Normans as should oppose them. Hugh O'Neill was one of the princes who attended King John in 1210; but the English and Irish annalists are not agreed as to whether he gave in his submission. Next year he and O'Donnell made a descent upon the new settlers on the shores of Lough Erne.

In 1212 he burned down the castle of Clones, erected but a few months, and in 1213 destroyed Carrickfergus and "defeated and dreadfully slaughtered the English." In 1215 his wife "Benmee, Queen of Aileach," died. His name does not appear again in the Annals until 1221, when, in conjunction with Hugh de Lacy the younger, he demolished the castle of Coleraine, and spoiled Meath and Leinster, being ineffectually opposed by a hosting of the lords of the Pale. In 1225 he made a like successful expedition against the O'Conors of Connaught. His death in 1230 is thus noticed: "Hugh O'Neill, Lord of Tyrone, . . who had never rendered hostages, pledges, or tribute to English or Irish; who had gained victories over the English, and cut them off with great and frequent slaughter; the plunderer of the English and Irish; a man who had attempted the subjugation of all Ireland — died a natural death, although it was never supposed that he would die in any other way than to fall by the hands of the English."

Sources

134. Four Masters, Annals of Ireland by the: Translated and Edited by John O'Donovan. 7 vols. Dublin, 1856.

335. Viceroys of Ireland, History: John T. Gilbert. Dublin, 1865.

339a. Ware, Sir James, Works. Dublin, 1705.

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