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Tombstones


Church of San Pietro, Montorio, Rome

  ‘Rubbing’ (and translation) of Gravestone of Rory O’Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell in the church of San Pietro, Montorio, Rome (By permission of Kevin Reynolds who produces it in a very attractive copper-mounted manner. See www.nurisport.fsnet.co.uk)

TO THE PRINCE, RORY O’DONNELL, EARL OF TYRCONNELL IN IRELAND: FOR THE SAKE OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH HE OVERCAME MANY DANGERS; IN PEACE AND IN WAR HE WAS A FAITHFUL DEFENDER OF THE APOSTOLIC ROMAN FAITH.  TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE FAITH HE LEFT HIS NATIVE COUNTRY AND VISITED THE SHRINES OF

THE SAINTS IN BELGIUM, IN FRANCE AND IN ITALY, A PLACE WHERE HE WAS WELCOMED BY THE CHRISTIAN PRINCES WITH LOVE AND GREAT HONOUR AND BY THE HOLY FATHER, POPE PAUL V, WITH FATHERLY LOVE, AND WITH THE GOODWILL OF CATHOLICS THAT HE WOULD RETURN SAFELY, HIS RELATIVES WERE HEAVY-HEARTED AND THE PEOPLE OF THIS CITY WERE SADDENED BY HIS UNTIMELY DEATH.  HE DIED ON THE 29TH JULY

THE YEAR OF REDEMPTION, AT 33 YEARS OF AGE, 1608, ON THE SAME ROAD, SHORTLY AFTERWARDS, SO AS THAT HE COULD ENJOY THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY, FOLLOWED BY HIS BROTHER, CAFARR, HIS COMPANION IN DANGER AND EXILE, WITH STRONG FAITH AND BELIEF IN THE HEREAFTER.  DUE TO THE NOBILITY OF HIS SOUL, ADORNED WITH GOOD TRAITS AND VIRTUES, HE LEFT HIS FELLOW EMIGRANTS SAD AND GRIEVING ON THE FOLLOWING 14TH OF SEPTEMBER; IN THE 25TH YEAR OF HIS LIFE.  PRECEDING THESE TWO IN AGE AND IN THE ORDER OF THEIR DEATHS WAS THEIR ELDEST BROTHER, PRINCE HUGH; WHEN HE WAS ON A HOLY CATHOLIC ASSIGNMENT FOR THE SAKE OF HIS COUNTRY AND HIS FAITH, HE WAS WARMLY WELCOMED IN LIFE BY PHILIP III, KING OF SPAIN, AND WHEN HE DIED IN THE FLOWER OF HIS YOUTH PHILIP TOOK IT UPON HIMSELF THAT HE WOULD BE BURIED WITH HONOUR IN VALLADOLID, IN SPAIN ON SEPTEMBER 10TH, IN THE YEAR OF REDEMPTION, 1602

  ‘Rubbing’ (and translation) of Gravestone of Hugh O’Neill, Baron of Dungannon – son of the earl of Tyrone in the church of San Pietro, Montorio, Rome (By permission of Kevin Reynolds who produces it in a very attractive copper-mounted manner. See www.nurisport.fsnet.co.uk)

 

TO HUGH, BARON OF DUNGANNON, THE ELDEST SON OF PRINCE, GREAT HUGH O’NEILL, EARL OF TYRONE, DUE TO HIS GREAT LOYALTY TO GOD AND TO HIS PARENTS HE FOLLOWED HIS FATHER AND RORY, EARL OF TYRCONNELL, HIS UNCLE, WHO LEFT THEIR ESTATES VOLUNTARILY AND WHO WENT INTO EXILE TO THE CITY OF ROME, A SAFE REFUGE FOR CATHOLICS, WHO FOR THE SAKE OF THE CATHOLIC RELIGION WHICH THEY DEFENDED STRONGLY FOR MANY YEARS AGAINST THE HERETICS IN IRELAND;

HIS UNTIMELY DEATH SHATTERED THE HOPES OF MANY THAT BECAUSE OF HIS MANY CORPORAL AND SPIRITUAL ATTRIBUTES, THAT HE WOULD ONE DAY RESTORE THE CATHOLIC FAITH IN ITS FULL

SPLENDOUR IN THAT COUNTRY; HE WAS UNITED IN DEATH WITH HIS ABOVE MENTIONED UNCLE, RORY, WHO WAS TAKEN BY DEATH IN SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES; HE DIED, TO THE SADNESS OF HIS RELATIVES AND MEMBERS OF THE COURT, 23RD SEPTEMBER 1609 AGED 24 YEARS.

Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone is also buried in the church of San Pietro, Montorio, Rome.

 

 
To God the best and the greatest

Hugh Prince O’Neill

Bones

  The gravestone of Rosa O’Doherty, one of the participants in the Flight of the Earls is located in the college chapel of the Irish College in Louvain. See http://www.louvaininstitute.com/history.asp  


New content posted 17th November 2005

Celebrated Newry folksinger, Benny McKay (Crubeen), pays his respect at the
grave of Hugh O'Neill, Baron of Dungannon in the church of San Pietro De
Montorio in Rome. The tombs of the baron of Dungannon and the earl of
Tyrconnell are normally covered by carpet in this church where weddings are
popular. Benny had to come back on a second day before managing to persuade
the church authorities to lift the carpet so that he could see the
tombstones.

Image of the O'Neill family crest on the tombstone of Hugh O'Neill, Baron
of Dungannon.

Also note that Dr Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, UCG, is undertaking fascinating archaeological work at the tombs in Rome. A summary of a lecture given by her to the RSAI records the following:

11 April 2005

Dr Elizabeth Fitzpatrick of the Dept. of Archaeology, NUIG, gave an illustrated talk entitled The tombs of the Exiled Ulster Earls at San Pietro in Montorio, Rome. About sixty members were in attendance, and the talk stimulated several interesting questions, as many of the members had been to Rome and were familiar with the site. Two marble floor tombs dedicated to Gaelic aristocracy, exiled in Rome after the ‘Flight of the Earls’ in 1607, are situated in the nave of San Pietro in Montorio, on Gianicolo. One of the tombs marks the burial of Hugh O’Neill, baron of Dungannon, son of Hugh O’Neill, chief and earl of Tyrone, who died a protracted death from ‘fever’ (probably malaria) in 1609. The other marks the resting place of both Rory
O’Donnell, chief and earl of Tyrconnel, who also died from fever in 1608, and his brother Cathbharr who met the same end in 1609. The tombs were executed in marble with fine coloured inlay borders, memento mori, family crests and shields. The lengthy Latin epitaphs on the slabs are highly polemical, extolling these Gaelic lords as defenders of the Catholic faith and openly associating them and their cause with Phillip III, King of Spain, and Pope Paul V. Beside them is a small marble plaque commemorating the approximate position of the burial of Hugh O’Neill (d. 1616), which was laid there by the late Cardinal Tomas Ó Fiaich in 1989. The floor tomb of
O’Neill, with its simple Latin inscription ‘DOM HUGONIS PRINCIPIS ONELLI OSSA’ (To God the Best and Greatest, the bones of Prince Hugh O’Neill), has been missing since c. 1849, but fortunately the record of the tomb inscription was taken as early as 1664 by Gasparo Alveri.
In c. 1846 James Caulfield, 3rd Earl of Charlemont, collaborated with Rev. Arthur Chichester of Shane’s Castle, Co. Down, to have the tombs restored. However, thereafter San Pietro in Montorio was damaged by the French assault on Garibaldi’s forces during the Risorgimento, which raged on Gianicolo for the whole month of June 1849. During the subsequent re-paving of the church floor a fortunate intervention by the Irish Dominican, Rev. Russell, saved two of the tombs from being cut up and re-used as paving stones. He had them re-set in the exact positions from which they had been removed. The Hugh O’Neill slab, however, appears to have been a casualty of the Risorgimento as it disappeared without trace around that time. It was either removed for safekeeping to an unknown destination or inverted in the church floor. Dr Fitzpatrick is continuing her research on the site, and intends to spend August in Rome doing further work on the crypt of the church'.

See http://www.rsai.ie/index.cfm ?action=obj.display&obj_id=88

For further details of Dr Fitzpatrick's work see http://www.nuigalway.ie /archaeology/research_Irish -Earls.html

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