Hugh Roe O'Donnell (1572 - 1602)

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Nicknames: "Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill", "Red Hugh O'Donnell"
Death: Died
Managed by: Anne-Marie Healy-Kalishoek (C)
Last Updated:

About Hugh Roe O'Donnell

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Roe_O%27Donnell

Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill

Anglicised as either Hugh Roe O'Donnell or Red Hugh O'Donnell (1572 – 10 September 1602), was An Ó Domhnaill (The O'Donnell) and Rí (king) of Dun na nGall (anglicised Donegal, now known as County Donegal). He led a rebellion against English government in Ireland from 1593 and helped to lead the Nine Years' War (a revolt against English occupation) from 1595 to 1603. He is sometimes also known as Aodh Ruadh II or Red Hugh II, especially within County Donegal.

His life:

odh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill was born to the King of Tír Chonaill, Aodh mac Maghnusa Ó Domhnaill, and his second wife, the Ineen Dubh, in 1572. At the age of fifteen, in 1587, he was seized by Sir John Perrot, then the English Lord Deputy of Ireland, and imprisoned in Dublin Castle in an attempt to prevent an alliance between the O'Donnell and O'Neill clans. O'Donnell escaped briefly in 1591 but was recaptured within days. Hugh O'Donnell made his successful escape only in January, 1592, assisted by his ally Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, who arranged for his flight from Dublin into the Wicklow Mountains in the depths of winter. O'Donnell successfully reached the stronghold of Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne (another of O'Neill's allies) at Glenmalure, where he found refuge, but he had lost both big toes to frostbite and his companion and fellow escapee Art O'Neill had died of exposure in the mountains. Hugh O'Donnell and his two companions, the brothers Art and Henry O'Neill, were the only prisoners ever to successfully escape captivity in Dublin Castle.

References:

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Roe_O%27Donnell

Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill, anglicised as either Hugh Roe O'Donnell or Red Hugh O'Donnell (1572 – 10 September 1602), was An Ó Domhnaill (The O'Donnell) and Rí (king) of Dun na nGall (anglicised Donegal, now known as County Donegal). He led a rebellion against English government in Ireland from 1593 and helped to lead the Nine Years' War (a revolt against English occupation) from 1595 to 1603. He is sometimes also known as Aodh Ruadh II or Red Hugh II, especially within County Donegal.


Early life, imprisonment, and escape


For the political context of O'Donnell's life see the Tudor conquest of Ireland


Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill was born to the King of Tír Chonaill, Aodh mac Maghnusa Ó Domhnaill, and his second wife, the Ineen Dubh, in 1572. At the age of fifteen, in 1587, he was seized by Sir John Perrot, then the English Lord Deputy of Ireland, and imprisoned in Dublin Castle in an attempt to prevent an alliance between the O'Donnell and O'Neill clans. O'Donnell escaped briefly in 1591 but was recaptured within days.


Hugh O'Donnell made his successful escape only in January, 1592, assisted by his ally Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, who arranged for his flight from Dublin into the Wicklow Mountains in the depths of winter. O'Donnell successfully reached the stronghold of Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne (another of O'Neill's allies) at Glenmalure, where he found refuge, but he had lost both big toes to frostbite and his companion and fellow escapee Art O'Neill had died of exposure in the mountains. Hugh O'Donnell and his two companions, the brothers Art and Henry O'Neill, were the only prisoners ever to successfully escape captivity in Dublin Castle.


The Nine Years War


Upon his return to Ulster, he gained the leadership of the O'Donnell Clan (known as Clann Dalaigh of the tribe Cenél Conaill derived from the Heremonian dynasty of High-Kings of Ireland), O'Donnell becoming "The O'Donnell", Lord of Tyrconnell (modern Donegal) after his father abdicated in his favour later that year. Having driven the crown sheriff out of Tyrconnel, he successfully led two expeditions against Turlough Luineach O'Neill in 1593, in order to force Turlough O'Neill to abdicate his chieftainship in favour of Hugh O'Neill. At this point, O'Neill did not join O'Donnell in open rebellion, but secretly backed him in order to enhance his bargaining power with the English. O'Neill by now was also communicating with Philip II of Spain for military aid.


Declaring open rebellion against the English the following year, O'Donnell's forces captured Connacht from Sligo to Leitrim by 1595. In this year, Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, abandoned negotiation with the English and in 1596 the combined forces of O'Donnell and O'Neill defeated an English army under Sir Henry Bagenal at the Battle of Clontibret.


Their greatest victory came two years later however at Battle of the Yellow Ford on the Blackwater River near the southern border of Tyrone in August 1598. At this battle, the Irish annihilated an English force marching to relieve Armagh and they seemed on the verge of expelling the English from Ireland altogether. O'Neill then went south to secure the allegiance of Irish lords in Munster, without much success, while O'Donnell raided Connacht, driving out the small English settlement there, but was unable to persuade the local lords to join him. Luckily for them both, English military leadership had passed to the inept Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.


However, in the next two years, O'Donnell and O'Neill were hard pressed with the deployment of thousands more English troops in the country. O'Donnell repulsed an English expedition towards western Ulster at the battle of Curlew Pass in 1599, but his and O'Neill's position was increasingly defensive. Even worse for O'Donnell than English offensives was the defection of his kinsman {cousin and Brother-in-law}, Niall Garve O'Donnell to the English side, in return for their backing his own claim the O'Donnell chieftainship. Niall Garve's support allowed the English to land a seaborne force at Derry in the heart of O'Donnell's territory.


They recognised that their only chance of winning the war outright was with the aid of a Spanish invasion. The Spanish finally landed at Kinsale - at virtually the opposite end of Ireland from the Ulster rebels in September 1601. O'Donnell Led his army in a hard march during the winter of 1601, often covering over 40 miles a day, to join O'Neill and the Spanish General Juan del Águila at Kinsale arriving in early December 1601.


En route, true to his family arms and Constantinian motto In Hoc Signo Vinces and in anticipation of the battle to come at Kinsale, he visited and venerated a supposed relic of the True Cross (Holy rood) on the Feast of St. Andrew, on November 30, 1601 at Holy Cross Abbey, and removed a portion of it. From there he sent an expedition to Ardfert in County Kerry, to win a quick victory and successfully recover the territory of his ally, Fitzmaurice, Lord of Kerry, who had lost it and his 9-year old son, to Sir Charles Wilmot. He left some of his O'Donnell kinsmen behind in Ardfert to guard the Barony of Clanmaurice.


During the Battle of Kinsale on 5/6 January 1602 the combined forces of Del Aquila, O'Neill and O'Donnell were defeated by Sir Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy.


Flight to Spain and death


After the Irish defeat at Kinsale, O'Donnell left Ireland and sailed to Corunna in Galicia, Spain, where many other chieftains were already arriving with their families. There he was received with great honours by the Governor of Galicia and the Lord Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, where an Irish College was founded. He was also taken to "visit the Tower of Betanzos, where according to bardic legends the sons of Milesius left to the IsIe of Destiny".


While based in Corunna, he plotted a return to Ireland and travelled to Valladolid to ask further assistance from Philip III of Spain, who promised him he would organise a new invasion of Ireland. As a year passed and O'Donnell did not receive any news from Philip III of Spain, he left again for Valladolid but he died en route and was buried at Simancas Castle in 1602. He was attended on his death-bed by Archbishop of Tuam Fláithrí Ó Maol Chonaire and two friars from Donegal named Father Muiris Ulltach


With his death Spanish plans to send further assistance to the Irish were abandoned.


He was buried in the chapter of the Franciscan monastery in Valladolid. However, the building was demolished in the nineteenth century, and the exact location of the tomb is unknown.


He was succeeded as chief of the Clan O'Donnell by his brother, Rory O'Donnell, created the 1st Earl of Tyrconnell the following year by the English Crown. Rory succeeded Red Hugh as both King of Tír Chonaill and leader of the Red Hugh O'Donnell faction within the divided dynasty. His sister Nuala was married to his kinsman and rival Niall Garve O'Donnell


Legacy


He was highly praised in the Irish language writings of the early seventeenth century for his nobility and religious commitment to the Catholic faith - notably in the Annals of the Four Masters and Beatha Aodh Ruadh O Domhnaill ("The Life of Red Hugh O'Donnell") by Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh. Although his posthumous reputation has been somewhat overshadowed by that of his ally Hugh O'Neill, his leadership and military capabilities were considerable especially considering that he was active at a very young age and only 29 years old at the battle of Kinsale. His personality seems to have been particularly magnetic and contemporary sources are united in their praise of his oratorical ability.


In 1977, the Aodh Ruadh O Domhnaill Guild was formed to seek his recognition as a saint of the Catholic Church.


In 1991, a plaque was erected at Simancas Castle in commemoration of Red Hugh O'Donnell.


In 1992, commemorating the 390 anniversary of the arrival of O'Donnell in Galicia, the Grammy-award winning composer of Riverdance, Bill Whelan, brought together the best musicians of Ireland and Galicia and released the symphony "From Kinsale to Corunna".


In September 2002, Eunan O'Donnell, BL, gave the Simancas Castle Address in honour of Red Hugh, during the O'Donnell Clan Gathering to Spain.


In popular culture

Hugh O'Donnell serves as the main character in the 1966 Walt Disney feature film, The Fighting Prince of Donegal.
He is the subject of James Clarence Mangan's poem, Ceann Salla.
He is also a major character in Brian Friel's 1989 play Making History.
Hugh O'Donnell plays a significant role in Maurice Walsh's book Blackcock's Feather.
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Hugh O'Donnell's Timeline

1572
1572
1602
September 10, 1602
Age 30