Hugh Crovderg

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XIX

Soon after these events, Hugh O'Connor was captured by his English allies, and would have been sacrificed to their vengeance on some pretence, had not Earl Marshal rescued him by force of arms. He escorted him out of the court, and brought him safely to Connaught; but his son and daughter remained in the hands of the English. Hugh soon found an opportunity of retaliating. A conference was appointed to take place near Athlone,[8] between him and William de Marisco, son of the Lord Justice. When in sight of the English knights, the Irish prince rushed on William, and seized him, while his followers captured his attendants, one of whom, the Constable of Athlone, was killed in the fray. Hugh then proceeded to plunder and burn the town, and to rescue his son and daughter, and some Connaught chieftains.

At the close of the year 1227, Turlough again took arms. The English had found it their convenience to change sides, and assisted him with all their forces. Probably they feared the brave Hugh, and were jealous of the very power they had helped him to obtain. Hugh Roderic attacked the northern districts, with Richard de Burgo. Turlough Roderic marched to the peninsula of Rindown, with the Viceroy. Hugh Crovderg had a narrow escape near the Curlieu Mountains, where his wife was captured by the English. The following year he appears to have been reconciled to the Lord Deputy, for he was killed in his house by an Englishman, in revenge for a liberty he had taken with a woman.[9]


[8] Athlone.—This was one of the most important of the English towns, and ranked next to Dublin at that period. We give an illustration of the Castle of Athlone at the beginning of Chapter XX. The building is now used for a barrack, which in truth is no great deviation from its original purpose. It stands on the direct road from Dublin to Galway, and protects the passage of the Shannon. There is a curious representation on a monument here of an unfortunate English monk, who apostatized and came to Ireland. He was sent to Athlone to superintend the erection of the bridge by Sir Henry Sidney; but, according to the legend, he was constantly pursued by a demon in the shape of a rat, which never left him for a single moment. On one occasion he attempted to preach, but the eyes of the animal glared on him with such fury that he could not continue. He then took a pistol and attempted to shoot it, but in an instant it had sprung on the weapon, giving him, at the same time, a bite which caused his death. It is to be presumed that this circumstance must have been well known, and generally believed at the time, or it would not have been made a subject for the sculptor.

[9] Woman.—There are several versions of this story. The Four Masters say he was killed "treacherously by the English." The Annals of Clonmacnois say that "he came to an atonement with Geoffrey March, and was restored to his kingdom," and that he was afterwards treacherously killed by an Englishman, "for which cause the Deputy the next day hanged the Englishman that killed him, for that foul fact." The cause of the Englishman's crime was "meer jealousie," because O'Connor had kissed his wife.