1641 Rebellion in Ireland

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXVIII

The reason of the increased sacrifice they made for their country, was probably the report that the moment was at hand when it might be available. The movement in Ireland was commenced by Roger O'More, a member of the ancient family of that name, who had been so unjustly expelled from their ancestral home in Leix: by Lord Maguire, who had been deprived of nearly all his ancient patrimony at Fermanagh, and his brother Roger; by Sir Phelim O'Neill, of Kinnare, the elder branch of whose family had been expatriated; by Turlough O'Neill, his brother, and by several other gentlemen similarly situated.

O'More was the chief promoter of the projected insurrection. He was eminently suited to become a popular leader, for he was a man of great courage, fascinating address, and imbued with all the high honour of the old Celtic race. In May, 1641, Nial O'Neill arrived in Ireland with a promise of assistance from Cardinal Richelieu; and the confederates arranged that the rising should take place a few days before or after All Hallows, according to circumstances. In the meanwhile the exiled Earl of Tyrone was killed; but his successor, Colonel Owen Roe O'Neill, then serving in Flanders, entered warmly into all their plans.

The King was now obliged to disband his Irish forces, and their commanders were sent orders for that purpose. They had instructions, however, to keep the men at home and together, so that they might easily be collected again if they could be made available, as, strange to say, the so-called "Irish rebels" were the only real hope which Charles had to rely on in his conflict with his disloyal English subjects. An understanding was soon entered into between these officers and the Irish party. They agreed to act in concert; and one of the former, Colonel Plunket, suggested the seizure of Dublin Castle. The 23rd of October was fixed on for the enterprise; but, though attempted, the attempt was frustrated by a betrayal of the plot, in consequence of an indiscretion of one of the leaders.