ARMAGH, a city, market and post-town, and a parish

ARMAGH, a city, market and post-town, and a parish, partly in the barony of O'NEILLAND WEST, but chiefly in that of ARMAGH, county of ARMAGH (of which it is the capital), and province of ULSTER, 31 miles (S. W. by W.) from Belfast, and 65 ¾ (N.N.W.) from Dublin; containing 10,518 inhabitants, of which number, 9470 are with-in the limits of the borough. The past importance of this ancient city is noticed by several early historians, who describe it as the chief city in Ireland. St. Fiech, who flourished in the sixth century, calls it the seat of empire; Giraldus Cambrensis, the metropolis; and, even so lately as 1580, Cluverius styles it the head of the kingdom, adding that Dublin was then next in rank to it.

The original name was Druim-sailech, "the hill of sallows," which was afterwards changed to Ard-sailech, "the height of sallows," and, still later, to Ard-macha, either from Eamhuin-macha, the regal residence of the kings of Ulster, which stood in its vicinity, or, as is more probable, from its characteristic situation, Ard-macha, signifying "the high place or field." Armagh is the head of the primacy of all Ireland, and is indebted for its origin, and ecclesiastical preeminence, to St. Patrick, by whom it was built, in 445. He also founded, near his own mansion, the monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul, for Canons Regular of the order of St, Augustine, which was rebuilt by Imar O'Hoedegan, and was the most, distinguished of the religious establishments which existed here, having materially contributed to the early importance of the place. This institution received numerous grants of endowment from the native kings, the last of whom, Roderick O'Connor, made a grant to its professors, in 1169; insomuch that its landed possessions became very extensive, as appears from an inquisition taken on its suppression.

Attached to it was a school or college, which long continued one of the most celebrated seminaries in Europe, and from which many learned men, not only of the Irish nation, but from all parts of Christendom, were despatched to diffuse knowledge throughout Europe. It is said that 7000 students were congregated in it, in the pursuit of learning, at one period; and the annals of Ulster relate that, at a synod held by Gelasius at Claonadh, in 1162, it was decreed that no person should lecture publicly on theology, except such as had studied at Armagh.

The city was destroyed by accidental conflagrations in the year 670, 687, and 770, and also sustained considerable injury in the last-mentioned year by lightning. In subsequent periods it suffered severely and repeatedly from the Danes, a band of whom having landed at Newry, in 830, penetrated into the interior, and having stormed Armagh established their headquarters in it for one month, and on being driven out, plundered and reduced it to ashes. In 836, Tergesius or Thorgis, a Danish chieftain, equally celebrated for his courage and ferocity, after having laid waste Connaught and a great part of Meath and Leinster, turned his arms against Ulster, which he devastated as far as Lough Neagh, and then advancing against Armagh, took it with little difficulty. His first act, after securing possession of the place, was the expulsion of the Bishop Farannan, with all the students of the college, and the whole body of the religious, of whom the bishop and clergy sought refuge in Cashel. The numerous atrocities perpetrated by the invaders at length excited a combined effort against them. Nial the Third collected a large army, and after having defeated the Danes in a pitched battle in Tyrconnel, advanced upon Armagh, where, after a second successful engagement, and while preparing to force his victorious way into the city, the main position of the enemy in these parts, he was drowned in the river Callan, in an attempt to save the life of one of his followers.

Malachy, his successor, obtained possession of the city, in which a public assembly of the princes and chieftains of Ireland was held, in 849, to devise the means of driving their ferocious enemies out of the island. In their first efforts the Danes suffered several defeats; but, having concentrated their forces, and being supported by a reinforcement of their countrymen, they again marched against Armagh, and took and plundered it about the year 852. The subsequent annals of Armagh, to the commencement of the 11th century, are little more than a reiteration of invasions and conquests by the Danes, and of successful but brief insurrections of the natives, in all of which this devoted city became in turn the prize of each contending army, and suffered all the horrors of savage warfare.

In 1004, the celebrated Brian Boru entered Armagh, where he presented at the great altar of the church a collar of gold weighing 20 ounces; and after his death at the battle of Clontarf, in 1014, his remains were deposited here, according to his dying request, with those of his son Murchard, who fell in the same battle. From this period to the English invasion the history of Armagh exhibits a series of calamitous incidents either by hostile inroads or accidental fires. Its annals, however, evince no further relation to the events of that momentous period than the fact of a synod of the Irish clergy having been held in it by Gelasius, in 1170, in which that assembly came to the conclusion that the foreign invasion and internal distractions of the country were a visitation of divine retribution, as a punishment for the inhuman practice of purchasing Englishmen from pirates and selling them as slaves; and it was therefore decreed that every English captive should be liberated.

The city suffered severely from the calamities consequent on the invasion of Edward Bruce, in 1315, during which the entire see was lamentably wasted, and the archbishop was reduced to a state of extreme destitution, by the reiterated incursions of the Scottish army. During the local wars in Ulster, at the close of the 15th and the beginning of the l6th centuries, this city was reduced to a state of great wretchedness; and in the insurrection of Shane O'Nial or O'Neal, Lord Sussex, then lord-lieutenant, marched into Ulster to oppose him; and having attacked him successfully at Dundalk, forced him to retire upon Armagh, which the lord-lieutenant entered in Oct. 1557, and wasted with fire and sword, sparing only the cathedral. In 1566, O'Nial, to revenge himself on Archbishop Loftus, who had transmitted information of his hostile intentions to Government, even before the Irish chieftains and the lord-deputy had preferred their complaint against him, resolved on a special expedition against this city, and on this occasion committed dreadful havoc, not even sparing the cathedral.

In the year 1575, Sydney, the lord-deputy, marched into Ulster against Turlogh O'Nial, and fixed his head-quarters at Armagh, whither that chieftain, after some ineffectual negociations through the agency of his wife, proceeded, and having surrendered himself, was permitted to return home without molestation. In the short but sanguinary war carried on between the English Government and Hugh O'Nial, Earl of Tyrone, towards the close of the reign of Elizabeth, the earl obtained possession of this place by stratagem; but unfavourable events in other parts soon obliged him to evacuate the place. In the course of the same war, Armagh was again invested, in 1598, by this chieftain, who hoped to reduce it a second time by famine, but was baffled by the treachery of his illegitimate son, Con O'Nial, who, having deserted to the English, discovered a private road by which Sir Henry Bagnall, the British commander, was enabled to send in such a supply of men and provisions as completely frustrated the earl's efforts. Soon after, the English were utterly defeated, and their commander killed, in a desperate attempt to force O'Nial's intrenchments, the immediate consequence of which was their evacuation of Armagh, which, however, was retaken in 1601, by Lord Mountjoy, who made it one of his principal positions in his Ulster expedition, and occupied it with a garrison of 900 men.

In the early part of the 17th century, a colony of Scottish Presbyterians settled here, from which it is supposed Scotch-street, near the eastern entrance of the town, took its name. At the commencement of the war in 1641, Armagh fell into the hands of Sir Phelim O'Nial, who, on being soon after forced to evacuate it, set fire to the cathedral, and put to death many of the inhabitants. On the breaking out of the war between James II. and William, Prince of Orange, the Earl of Tyrconnel, then lord-lieutenant under the former sovereign, took the charter from the corporation, and placed a strong body of troops in the town; but they were surprised and disarmed by the people of the surrounding country, who had risen in favour of the new dynasty: the garrison was permitted to retreat without further injury to Louth, and Lord Blayney, having taken possession of the town, immediately proclaimed King William. This nobleman, however, was soon afterwards compelled to evacuate it, and retreat with his forces to Londonderry, at that period the last refuge of the Protestants. James, in his progress through the north to and from the siege of Derry, rested for a few days at Armagh, which he describes as having been pillaged by the enemy, and very inconvenient both for himself and his suite.

In 1690, Duke Schomberg took possession of it, and formed a dep6t of provisions here. No important event occurred after the Revolution until the year 1769, when this city furnished a well-appointed troop of cavalry to oppose Thurot at Carrickfergus. In 1778, on the apprehension of an invasion from France and of civil disturbances, several of the inhabitants again formed themselves into a volunteer company, and offered the command to the Earl of Charlemont, by whom, after some deliberation, it was accepted. In 1781, an artillery company was formed; and in the following year, a troop of volunteer cavalry, of which the Earl of Charlemont was also captain. In 1796, this nobleman, in pursuance of the wishes of Government, formed an infantry company and a cavalry troop of yeomanry in the town, whose numbers were afterwards augmented to 200: they were serviceable in performing garrison duty during the temporary absence of the regular troops in the disturbances of 1798, but in 1812 were disbanded by order of the lord-lieutenant.

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