Edward de Bruce, Earl of Carrick

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Edward de Bruce, Earl of Carrick, High King of Ireland

Also Known As: "Edubard a Briuis", "Edward the Bruce", "Edward of Bruce", "Eideard Bruis/Iomhair Bruis", "High King of Ireland; Earl of /Carrick/", "King of Ireland"
Birthplace: Argyllshire, Scotland
Death: Died in Ballymascanlan, County Louth, Ireland
Cause of death: Died in the Battle of Faughart
Place of Burial: Ballymascanlan, County of Louth, Ireland
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert de Bruce, 6th Lord of Annandale and Marjorie, Countess of Carrick
Partner of Isabella of Strathbogie and Mistress #2 of Edward Bruce
Father of Alexander Bruce, Earl of Carrick
Brother of Isobel de Bruce, dronning av Norge; Christina Bruce; Robert I the Bruce, King of Scots; Neil Bruce, of Annandale; Matilda (Maud) Bruce and 9 others
Half brother of Isabella Bruce de Stratham and Isabel? du Kilconquhar, married Sir Thomas Randolph

Occupation: King of Ireland, crowned May 2, 1316
Managed by: Hannelore Caulk Scheu
Last Updated:

About Edward de Bruce, Earl of Carrick

King of Ireland and Earl of Carrick.

Edward de Brus (Medieval Gaelic: Edubard a Briuis), modernised Edward the Bruce or Edward of Bruce (Modern Scottish Gaelic: Eideard Bruis/Iomhair Bruis; c. 1280 – October 14, 1318) was a younger brother of King Robert I of Scotland, who supported his brother in the struggle for the crown of Scotland, then pursued his own claim in Ireland. He was proclaimed High King of Ireland, but was eventually defeated and killed in battle. He also held the Scottish title of Earl of Carrick.


 Edward de Bruce, 1st Earl and last of Carrick  was the son of Sir Robert le  Brus, 1st Lord Brus  and Margaret, Countess of Carrick. He married Eleanor  de Ross, daughter of William  de Ross, 5th Earl of Ross, after 1 June 1317, although this marriage may have not taken place. He married Isabella  of Strathbogie, daughter of John of Strathbogie, 9th Earl of Atholl and Margaret  (?). He died on 14 October 1318 at Dundall, Ireland, killed in action, without legitimate issue.
    Edward de Bruce, 1st Earl and last of Carrick was created Lord of Galloway before 16 March 1309.2 He was created 1st Earl of Carrick [Scotland] before 24 October 1313.2 He fought in the Battle of Conyers on 10 September 1315, where he defeated the Earl of Ulster.
He fought in the Battle of Kenlis, County Kildare on 6 December 1315, where he defeated Roger Mortimer (later Earl of March). He fought in the Battle of Ardskull, County Kildare on 20 January 1315/16, where he defeated Edmund Butler, Justiciar.3 He gained the title of King Edward of Ireland.2 He was crowned King of Ireland on 2 May 1316.2 He fought in the Battle of Dundall on 14 October 1318 at Dundall, Ireland. 

He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Edward was a son of Robert de Brus, jure uxoris Earl of Carrick and Marjorie, Countess of Carrick. His date of birth is unknown, but as the second or third of five brothers it was probably not long after his older brother was born in 1274. The Irish medievalist Seán Duffy suggests that he was probably fostered in Ireland as a child. This was a common Scottish and Irish cultural practice, and would tie in with, and perhaps explain, parts of his later life.

Edward fought alongside Robert throughout his struggle for the Scottish throne, including his desperate period on the run and as a guerilla. The three younger Bruce brothers Niall, Thomas, and Alexander were all captured and executed by the English during this period, but Edward survived. He played an important role capturing and slighting English-held castles in south-west Scotland. It was him who made a possibly ill-judged pact with the English governor of Stirling Castle, which led to the English sending a large army to relieve the caste. This led to the Battle of Bannockburn on June 23-June 24, 1314, where he commanded a Scottish schiltrom.

Some time between 1309 and 1313, Edward was created Earl of Carrick, a title previously held by his maternal grandfather Niall of Carrick, his mother and his elder brother.

A probable marriage with Isabel, daughter of John de Strathbogie, 9th Earl of Atholl[1] produced a son, Alexander Bruce, who would later inherit his father's earldom.[citation needed] A record for intended marriage to Isabelle de Ross does exist, dated after the probable death of Isabella de Strathbogie, but there is no evidence that the marriage actually occurred.[citation needed]

There are records[citation needed] to suggest a second son, Thomas, was also a result of their union. This second marriage seems improbable as Edward was campaigning in Ireland at the time, and a marriage in the midst of these events is unlikely.

Edward obtained a dispensation for a marriage to Isabella of Ross, daughter of Uilleam II, Earl of Ross, on June 1, 1317. Their marriage may or may not have taken place before Edward's death; in any case, they had no children.

Battle of Faughart

Then in the late summer of 1318, John de Birmingham with his army began a march against Edward the Bruce. On 14 October 1318, the Scots-Irish army was badly defeated at the Battle of Faughart by de Birmmingham's forces. Edward was killed, his body being quartered and send to various towns in Ireland, and his head being delivered to King Edward II. The Annals of Ulster (erroneously under the year 1315) summed up the hostile feeling held by many among the Anglo-Irish and Irish alike of Bruce:

   "Edward Bruce, the destroyer of Ireland in general, both Foreigners and Gaels, was killed by the Foreigners of Ireland by dint of fighting at Dun-Delgan. And there were killed in his company Mac Ruaidhri, king of Insi-Gall Hebrides [i.e. Alan MacRuari?] and Mac Domnaill, king of Argyle, [i.e. Angus Og of Islay?] together with slaughter of the Men of Scotland around him. And there was not done from the beginning of the world a deed that was better for the Men of Ireland than that deed. For there came death and loss of people during his time in all Ireland in general for the space of three years and a half and people undoubtedly used to eat each other throughout Ireland."

Edward Bruce created havoc in the colonised parts of Ireland, and might be said to have rocked the settlement to its foundations. But notwithstanding this, he failed in the end, and with him the attempt to recreate a kingdom of Ireland and drive out the settlers ceased. From then on the Gaelic revival failed to find a national leader. Its impulse remained local down to the end of the Middle Ages; its success was measured in the innumerable battles fought by local chieftans or confederations of chieftains. So while everywhere the Gaelic recovery of lost territories was remarkable, there was never any serious attempt made to unite Gaelic Ireland or to bring about the downfall of the English government in Ireland and the end of the colony.


Edward Bruce has given rise to the perception that there was a strong fellow feeling amongst mediaeval Scotsmen and Irishmen that they had a common enemy in the shape of England. This is reflected in the 1996 Mel Gibson film Braveheart where Irishmen come to join William Wallace in his fight against Edward I.

He is buried on the Cooley peninsula near Dundalk, Co. Louth.

Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bruce

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Edward de Bruce, Earl of Carrick's Timeline

Argyllshire, Scotland
Age 30
Carrick, Argyll, Scotland
October 14, 1318
Age 38
Ballymascanlan, County Louth, Ireland

Killed in Battle

Age 38
Age 38
Ballymascanlan, County of Louth, Ireland