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Tudor conquest


(7) Enniskillen castle Enniskillen Castle, with the flag of St. George flying from the Watergate - 64k

The twin turrets of the Watergate were built in the early 17th century.

The Castle Keep, just visible to the left of the Watergate, was originally a 15th century Maguire stronghold.

From about 1333 onwards, the Anglo-Irish colony in Ireland began to decline, and eventually became restricted to the area around Dublin, (known as the Pale) and to the regions controlled by the Anglo-Irish barons of Kildare, Desmond and Ormond. Richard II came to Ireland in 1394 and 1399, but factors such as the Hundred Years War with France, the Black Death, the Wars of the Roses, and the general economic decline in Europe, meant that England was unable to maintain an effective army in Ireland for over 150 years.

In Ulster, William de Burgo (the Brown Earl) was murdered in 1333 and the earldom of Ulster shrank until it only consisted of an area around Carrickfergus castle, and part of the coast of Co. Down. In 1476, the Lords of the Isles in Scotland were defeated by James IV and sought refuge in Antrim. These seem to have been quite unsettled times in Ulster, and many Gaelic families (like the Maguires) built tower houses that were designed more for defence than for domestic comfort.
"I do know myself in the North 60 miles together between Down and Coulragh [Coleraine] which within these 200 years was as English as any part of the Pale, and now under Irishmen and Scots"
- Dowdal, Archbishop
of Armagh (mid 16th century)

In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous theses to the church door in Wittenburg, and it is said that all Germany had read them within two weeks of them being printed. Henry VIII wrote a book attacking Luther, and was given the title "Defender of the Faith" by Pope Leo X. However, in 1534, Henry had declared himself head of the Church of England instead of the Pope, and in 1560, the Scottish parliament ended the authority of the Pope in Scotland. In 1541, the Irish parliament declared Henry to be King of Ireland, but several decades were to pass before Ulster finally came under the control of the Tudor monarchy.

Hugh O'Neill was educated for eight years in England, and became Earl of Tyrone in 1585. For some years it seemed that he would remain loyal to the Crown, but in 1595, seven years after the Spanish Armada, O'Neill and Hugh O'Donnell rose in rebellion and appealed for Spanish help. O'Neill won a spectacular victory at Yellow Ford, convincing Elizabeth I that more resources would have to be committed to her army in Ireland.

The tide turned in 1601, when O'Neill and O'Donnell marched to Kinsale to meet a fleet of Spanish vessels. Mountjoy, the English commander, defeated them at Kinsale, and two years later agreed a treaty with O'Neill, allowing him to retain most of his traditional territory. However, in 1607, Hugh O'Neill, Rory O'Donnell and Cuchonnacht Maguire set sail from Lough Swilly for Spain and took about 90 leading people from Ulster with them, prompting despairing words in the Annals of the Four Masters.
"Woe to the heart that meditated, woe to the mind that conceived, woe to the council that decided on, the project of their setting out on this voyage, without knowing whether they should ever return to their native principalities or patrimonies to the end of the world"
- Annals of the Four Masters.

See also:
Tudor England

Project Wittenberg

(6) Normans
Contents - click on a picture
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(8) The 17th century
The 17th century
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