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Flight of the Earls

This date in Irish History — September 14, 1607 — Flight of the Earls.  After the Battle of Kinsale in which the Irish forces of O’Neill and Hugh O’Donnell were defeated by the English, O’Neill fought his way back up to Ulster while O’Donnell sailed to Spain to enlist aid. O’Donnell died shortly after his arrival, and 300 years later papers were found which confirmed that he was poisoned by English agents.  When news of the death reached O’Neill, O’Donnell had accepted terms offered by the Lord Deputy which restored his lands and promised freedom to practice the Catholic religion.  The treaty was not honored, and the King formed the policy of planting Scottish and English settlers in Ulster on the confiscated lands of the Earls.  The only hope for the Earls was to flee. They boarded a ship in Rathmullen, Lough Swilly and sailed to Spain and then Italy, never being able to enlist aid before O’Neill died in 1616. With their flight the old Gaelic order came to an end.

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