Murrough O'Brien, 1st Earl of Thomond

O'Brien, Murrough, 1st Earl of Thomond, was a descendant of preceding. In 1540 he met O'Neill, O'Donnell, and O'Conor at Fore in Westmeath, and concerted joint operations against the Anglo-Irish power; but they were shortly afterwards defeated by Sir William Brereton, Lord-Justice. This defeat and one at Bellahoe the previous year, opened the way for a general pacification through the submission of the Irish chieftains.

A Parliament in 1541 proclaimed Henry VIII. King of all Ireland, and declared it high treason to impeach this title or oppose the royal authority. Murrough O'Brien renounced all idea of opposing Henry, and offered to support the King in his contest with Rome, provided his estates were confirmed to him. The King and Council joyfully accepted his conditions. One hundred pounds was lent to O'Brien to enable him to visit London; and on Sunday, 1st July 1543 he was received by Henry at Greenwich, and created Earl of Thomond, with remainder to his nephew Donough.

Other Irish chieftains were ennobled at the same time, and all were granted residences in Dublin, so that they should be able to attend Parliament. On the death of the Earl in 1551, Thomond and Desmond were again involved in a war regarding the succession; and nominal peace was not restored until 1558, when the Lord-Deputy, Sussex, entered Thomond at the head of a large army, and placed the rightful Earl in power.


263. O'Briens, Historical Memoir of the: John O'Donoghue. Dublin, 1860.