Tadgh Ó Cianain
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They went in on board ship about
mid-day on Friday. Then they hoisted their sails. They moved close to the
harbour-side. They sent two boats'
crews to get water and to search for firewood. The son of Mac Suibhne of Fánaid, and a party of the
people of the district came upon them in pursuit. They fought with one another.
With difficulty the party from the boats brought water and firewood with them.
About the middle of the same night they hoisted their sails a second
time. They went out a great
distance in the sea. The night was
bright, quiet, and calm, with a breeze from the south-west.
Then they proposed putting into Arranmore island through feed of getting
food and drink. An exceeding great storm and very bad weather arose against
them, together with fog and rain, so that they were driven from proximity to
land. They traversed the sea far and wide. That storm and unsettled weather
lasted till the middle of the following night.
Afterwards, leaving Tír Conaill on the left, they direct their course
past the harbour of Sligo straight ahead until they were opposite
Croaghpatrick in Connacht. Then they feared that the King’s fleet, which was
in the harbour of Galway would meet with them. They proceeded out into the sea to make for Spain straight forward if they
could. After that they were on the
sea for thirteen days with excessive storm and dangerous bad weather.
A cross of gold which O’Neill had, and which contained a portion of the
Cross of the Crucifixion and many other relics, being put by them in the sea
trailing after the ship, gave them great relief. At the end of that time, much
to their surprise, they met in the middle of the sea two small hawks, merlins,
which alighted on the ship. The hawks were caught and were fed afterwards.
On Sunday, the thirtieth September, the wind came right straight against
the ship. The sailors, since they could not go to Spam, undertook to reach the
harbour of La Croisic in Brittany at the end of two days and nights.
The lords who were in the
ship, inconsequence of the smallness of their food-supply, and especially of
their drink, and also because of all the hardship and sickness of the sea they
had received up to that, gave it as their advice that it was right for them to
make straight ahead towards France. Forthwith
they directed their course, to France. They
went on for two days and two nights under full sail.
They reached no land at all in that time. Not even did they know well what particular coast was nearest
About midday on Tuesday they saw three very large ships approaching from
the south as if coming from Spain. Although they feared that squadron, and
though they thought they belonged to the King of England's armament and were in
pursuit of them, they considered that it was better for themselves to make for
them and imperil their success if they were enemies, or, if they were Catholics,
make inquiries and seek direction, than to be in the great danger in which they
in regard to going astray and mistaking the direction and scarcity of drink.
They and the squadron came near one another at the end of day.
A terrible storm arose at that time so that they and the squadron could
not for a time come within speaking distance
of one another. Afterwards,
however, they spoke with the crews of
the ships. They made enquiries of them. They
told them that they were natives of Lochlainn (Denmark) and that they were
returning from Spain to their own country. They said that it was in the Flemish sea in particular they
were. As that sea was near the
coast of England, these princes would scarcely have liked to fall there, by
chance at that moment. Besides,
they had no pilot who knew the way or had experience of that sea. They went after the squadron aforementioned until the
darkness of the night took
it out of
A certain Frenchman who was in the ship said: "Be not troubled nor
concerned, princes," said he; "before sunrise tomorrow I will direct
you to land in Normandy, a famous province belonging to the King of
France." To Corunna, a great city belonging to the King of Spain
they had originally intended to go; in consequence of the amount of weariness
and hardship, they had endured, they were almost as well pleased and as glad to
land in Normandy as to reach that city. They directed their course to that
harbour. About midnight the sea rose in violent, quick, strong-sounding waves
against them. It was the mercy of
the Trinity that saved them and kept the ship and all that was in it from being
drowned. A party of the gentlemen
who were above the hatch were almost in danger of being carried out into the
the sea by the strength of the wind and the number of the waves.
They were obliged take down their sails by reason of the strength and
power of the waves, and to leave the ship to itself to drift over the sea as God
There were two islands belonging to the King of England called Jersey and
Guernsey near them. Were it not for the taking down of the sails they were in
great danger of striking on either of these two islands.
Even if they landed of their own free will, the faces of the inimical
merciless heretics who were before them on the islands would not be as at a
meeting of good friends in a foreign land.
At the dawn of day they saw clearly the islands near them.
The above mentioned Frenchman
recognised them. He said that Englishmen were occupying and inhabiting them.
Then they raised their sails. They
proceeded on their way. After
leaving the view of the islands they saw widely extended the land of France.
When they came near the harbour fear and trembling came upon the
Frenchman. He said it was a long time since he had been there before, and that
he was in ignorance and great doubt, and could not give suitable guidance into
the harbour. Shortly after that they saw a little French boat making for them.
They made enquiries of its crew. They
said they were from Rouen, a famous city belonging to the King of France.
They offered them some gifts for piloting them into the harbour. They
agreed to do so. They were before them and behind them throughout the day.
When the wind subsided in the evening and the ship could not enter the
harbour, the crew of the small ship took leave of them.
They said that they could do them no service, and that they would not ask
reward for a service they
rendered. They themselves direct
their course to Rouen. However,
they sent to them without delay a certain boat in which there was the Rouen
pilot. The pilot came on board to
them in the darkness of the night. They raised their sails. They were proceeding throughout the night.
In the morning on the next day the pilot directed them into the river of
Rouen, south of the new harbour called Harboure de Grace. About midday on
Thursday, St. Francis' Day, the fourth day of October, and their twenty-first at
sea they landed at a little town on the bank of the same river called Quilleboeuf (a small town situated
at the mouth of the Seine). They
had some rest and repose there for the remainder of the day until the following
night. There were
nine persons in the ship. As they left it all the drink they had was five
gallons of beer and less than one barrel of water.
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