Sir Randal MacDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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MacDonnell, Sir Randal, 1st Earl of Antrim, son of Sorley Boy, succeeded to the family estates and name on the death of his brother James in 1601. He was known as "Arranach," from having been fostered in the island of Aran. In the autumn of 1602 he abandoned the cause of Hugh O'Neill, and passed over to Sir A. Chichester, offering to serve against his former ally with 500 foot and 40 horse, maintained at his own expense. He was subsequently knighted by Mountjoy. In 1603 James I. granted him 333,907 acres between Larne and Coleraine.

About 1604 he married Alice, daughter of O'Neill, then in her twenty-first year. His position after the flight of O'Neill and O'Donnell was perilous in the extreme; but by devoting himself entirely to the consolidation and improvement of his estates, his movements, as O'Neill's son-in-law, ceased to excite the suspicion of the authorities; and when he had occasion to visit London in 1608, he was cordially received at court. He did not participate in the abortive insurrectionary plots in which so many of the northern chieftains, stung to desperation by the spoliation of their lands and the plantation of Ulster, engaged, and lost their lives.

In 1618 he was created Viscount Dunluce, a member of the Privy Council, and Lieutenant of the County of Antrim, and two years afterwards the title of Earl of Antrim was conferred upon him. Besides estates in Ulster, he owned lands on the Scottish coast — the sustainment of his rights to which at times gave him no little trouble. The Earl died at Dunluce, ioth December 1636, and was buried at Bonamargy.

Sources

224. MacDonnells of Antrim, Historical Account: Rev. George Hill. Belfast, 1873.

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