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O誰eill, Hugh, earl of Tyrone (1550-1616) Famed Irish rebel leader during the Nine Years War, 1594-1603 and principal participant in what has become known as the Flight of the Earls, 1607. Despite his involvement in such turbulent episodes it is noteworthy that Hugh O誰eill痴 advancement in his early career owed much to royal patronage, being elevated in the first instance as baron of Dungannon and later earl of Tyrone. Seeking to both benefit from the support of the English crown and to limit its influence in Ulster, the last bastion of Gaelic Society, Hugh O誰eill痴 career was often characterised by ambivalence. Even his active participation in the early years of the Nine Years War has been the source of much debate. What is beyond doubt, however, is that Hugh O誰eill痴 generalship during that conflict was critically important in dictating the complexion of the war. Securing a series of resounding victories against crown forces, and none more so than at the battle of the Yellow Ford (1598) where he annihilated the royal army, Hugh O誰eill almost succeeded in eradicating English hegemony in Ireland. Indeed, with the arrival of a Spanish army at Kinsale in 1601, this likelihood seemed all the more apparent. A disastrous outcome to battle of Kinsale put paid to his aspirations of an outright victory over the English. Brought to terms with the treaty of Mellifont, 1603, Hugh O誰eill was rendered temporarily vulnerable, a factor later manifested at the time of the Flight of the Earls, 1607, when O誰eill escaped to the continent fearing arrest by the English authorities. Despite living in exile for the rest of his life, O誰eill continued to be a key player in Irish politics. Persistent rumours of his imminent return to Ireland was a key factor in stunting the development of the Ulster plantation in its early stages.  

The earl of Tyrone was buried beside his son and the earl of Tyrconnell in the church of San Pietro, Montario, Rome. See tombstone inscription.  


Remains of O誰eill castle discovered, 2003. See

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