Bishop of Ross: Boethius M'Eagan (McEagan)

From The Dublin Penny Journal, Volume 1, Number 39, March 23, 1833

The siege of Clonmel in the year 1650, is one of the most memorable in the annals of Ireland. Hugh O'Neal, a spirited young man, with twelve hundred provincial troops maintained the town, in so gallant a manner, that Cromwell's temper, arts, and military strength, were fairly put to the test. Ormond, it is true, did every thing in his power to succour the besieged, but with little effect: Boetius M'Eagan (Baothghalach M'Aodhagan, as it is written in Irish), the Roman Catholic bishop of Ross, was particularly active in collecting, animating, and leading on the remains of the troops that Cromwell had put to flight in different engagements. This unfortunate prelate, who might well be called the soul of his party, at length fell into the hands of Lord Broghill, one of the ablest of the parliamentarian generals. His Lordship knew the value of his captive, and prudently resolved to turn a man, whom the fortune of war had thrown into his hands, to the greatest advantage. He knew that the influence of his prisoner over the loyalists was unbounded, and that a few words from him would have more effect than all the artillery he had collected. His Lordship therefore offered him his life on condition that he would exercise his authority with the garrison of a fort called Carrickdrogid near the field of battle: he promised to use his influence, and so he did; for being conducted to the fort, he conjured the garrison in the name of Heaven, their religion, love of country, and the spirits of those who had fallen in support of all that was dear to them, to maintain their post, and to bury themselves in its ruins, before they would yield it up to an implacable enemy. As soon as he had done, he turned round, looked on Lord Broghill with a smile of complacency, and desired to be led to the scaffold: he was accordingly executed on the branch of a tree, within view of the fort. Coxe and Leland, in their Histories of Ireland, take notice of this circumstance with the cold indifference of an annalist; nor did they think it worth their labours to record even the name of a man who acted so gallantly from principle, and who undauntedly sealed the cause he espoused with his blood.