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O'Donnell

  O’Donnell, ‘Red’ Hugh (c1571-1602), lord of Tir Chonail, Gaelic Irish leader famed for his exploits in escaping from Dublin Castle and his signal military leadership during much of the Nine Years War, 1594-1603. Kidnapped as a youth under the orders of Lord Deputy Perrot in 1587 as a means of exercising leverage on the great Gaelic families of the north, Red Hugh was to languish in Dublin castle until 1591 when he effected an intrepid escape from Bermingham Tower. Hardly surprisingly harbouring a deep antipathy of the growing power of the English crown in Ireland, Red Hugh was to the forefront in seeking to confront it by force. While his ally, Hugh O’Neill, earl of Tyrone, was less willing to commit himself openly to the rebel cause in the early stages of the war, Red Hugh played a prominent role in the conflict from the start, playing a crucial role in Irish military successes, not least at the battle of the Yellow Ford, 1598. Ultimately defeated at the battle of Kinsale 1601, Red Hugh’s forced march along virtually the entire length of Ireland in an attempt to liase with his Spanish allies earned great contemporary admiration. Following the catastrophic defeat at Kinsale and departure of Spanish forces in its aftermath, Red Hugh travelled to Spain in 1602 in a desperate bid to rally further Spanish assistance. Such was his perceived menace to English interests in Ireland that it was widely rumoured at the time that Red Hugh had been poisoned by a hired assassin. See http://www.odonnellclan.com

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