Sidor som bilder

provincialism than from affection to Preston, he at last also (my lord) according to my obligation, I do once again grew disgusted with the treachery and temporizing of

forbid the same, assuring your honor that no other end

can be expected than to shorten your own days, whereby his adopted chief, and resolved to take service under

you will be an executioner of yourself if you follow the conOwen O'Neill, as the better general and truer man. trary. This much to discharge myselfe of my dutie toward This change must doubtless have cost him a struggle, you, I thought fit to certify, and so do rest, and will ever

remain your true servant.

OWEN O'SHIEL." but the fact we are about to record determined him to make it.

Two years after the date of this sanitary warning, In the autumn of 1616, the supreme council of the O'Neill and Preston, at the head of their respective Confederates resolved on taking Dublin out of the

armies, were confronting each other as implacable enehands of the Viceroy Ormond, who was negociating mies, for the Leinster general had joined Loru Ormond's secretly with the Parliamentarians for its surrender the

faction, and O'Neill clung with desperate fidelity to the moment their ships anchored in the bay. The posses

party of the Pope's nuncio and the clergy. The odium sion of the metropolis would have given the national theologicum occasioned by excommunications and interparty great power over the whole island, and they ac

dicts exasperated the opposing parties, who, apparently cordingly despatched two armies, under Preston and

heedless of the preparations which Cromwell was makO'Neill, to besege the city. The rival generals pitched ing for the extermination of both, now seemed wholly their camps on the north bank of the Liffey, and in the in’ent on each other's destruction. At this crisis O'Neill's night time the numerous fires of their bivouacs were

troops held possession of Athy, Rheban, and other distinctly visible to the inhabitants, who beheld them

castles in the county Kildare, from which Preston underfrom the campanile of Christ Church and the elevatel took to dislodge them, whilst the Ulster general, with sites in the vicinity of St. James's-gate. The head. the main body of his forces, was employed in Munster quariers of the two generals were at Lucan and Leixlip, storming Nenagh, and ober-strongholds garrisoned by and the Pope's Nunzio, accompanied by Emer Mac- luchiquin, who had recently coalesced with Lord OrMihon, Bishop of Clogher, Father Scarampi, and o:hers mond. of his partizans, did all he could to urge O'Neill and On his march to Athy, Preston halted before the Preston to take the leagured city by assault. His

castle of Woodstock,* then occupied by Dame Catherine powers of persuasion, however, were lost on the latter, O'Sbiel, wife of our “ Eagle,” (who was with Owen who was in colusion with Ormond, through the agency Roe in Munster,) and despatched a trumpet to demand of the worthless Clamicarde, and desired nothing so its surrender. The lady, however, rejected the summuch as the total ruin of O'Ne:ll and the Ulster army. mons, and sent word to Preston that she would never In a word, Preston wavered in his resolution, temporized betray the trust reposed in her by General O'Neill by with the bitter enemy of his creed and couutry, and, betraying his castle.” Preston, on hearing this, desacrificing a grand opportunity to the hatred with which spatched a second trumpet to intimate that she sbould he always regarded his rival, refused to join in a com- give him the place after he had taken Athy. To this bined movement against the city, which must have failen she replied, “that neither before nor after such taking had he so willed it. False to the oath which he had would she surrender other than by main force.” The solemnly sworn, he now sought to place O'Neill between general finding her so inflexible, appointed.three captains, himself and Ormond, and thus cut off all chance of re- “ her own well-wishers,” to wait on her, and repretreat, but the Ulster general, seeing himself in danger sent the folly of holding out against him, but their of being compromised, raised his camp, and proceeded arguments only served to confirm her resolution. On by rapid marches to Kilkemy. The fate of Ireland was their return to the camp, Preston wrote to her that thus sealed by Preston's treachery, and on bis head rests he would be necessitated to take the place by as, the guilt of having left Dublin open to Jones, Crom. sáult, if she did not yield it at once, but nothing daunted well's lientenant, who soon afterwards garrisoned it by the tbreat, she directed Hugh O'Shiel, her husband's with Parliamentary forces.

nephew, to proceed to the general's quarters with : From that moment O'Shiel lost all confidence in the cartel, stating that “she defied him, and that although Leinster general, , and “ as a loyal member of both there were none but women in the place, he should never country and cause, resolved to relinquish him and ad- get possession of it till he had reduced it to a heap of here to O'Neill, whom he never afterwards forsook in all stones.” Irritated, and so far foiled by a woman, his fortunes." Thenceforth he devoted his skill to the Preston caused young Hugh to be detained, and service of the troops commanded by Owen Roe; but be- then wrote a second note to inform her that he would fore quitting the camp of his former chief, he sent him hang the prisoner in sight of the castle if she did not the following valedictory document, which proves that surrender without further parley. Her rejoinder to this he did not cease to take an interest in his bodily health. threat was worthy of old Captain Tyrrell's daughter


for she wrote to Preston thus: “If you prove such a “My Rt honble lord. Having known the constitution of your body this long while, and calling to memory also how

base tyrant as to execute such a messenger (contrary to some years since, I have given directions in the Low Coun- the law of arms), I will never ransom him at so dear a tries whereby your honour should abstain from all sorts rate as thereby to turn traitor to him who placed of wine, only Vin du pays and Rhenish wine, excess in which direction was altogether excluded then: and now

Built in the thirteenth century,

If you

trust in me; nay,


my husband and all my children “they had forfeited all right of sanctuary." Those were to be hanged upon such a score, I would not who escaped the swords and pikes of the Ulster men hiuder it, as being more tender of their good name were drowned in the Barrow, and Preston, seeing that than their lives as tainted with the ugly stain of treason.” his case was desperate, struck his tents and retreate i On receipt of this letter Preston ordered his provost- rapidly towards Carlow. Young O'Shiel was still in marshal to hang the youth from the shaft of a cart tilted the custody of his captors, who trưated him very cruelly; up for the occasion almost uuder the castle windows, but no sooner waz Owen O'Neill made aware of the fait but some of the staff officers ioterfered, and eventually than he addressed the following energetic note to Presa saved the lad's life, and Prestou's memory from the ton : stain of wanton bloodshed.* Young Hugh, however,

insist on keeping the prisoner, tell me what ranwas held in custody, and had to march with Preston's som in money or exchange you demand ; but if you erecute army to the leagner of Athy.

him, as I hear you intend, I protest by the holy rood there is Four companies of the Ulster troops under Captains

never a man of yours that will happen to fall into my hands,

or already are my prisoners, taken only on mercy and not on John O'Hagan, Con O'Neill, Daniel M.Kenna, and

quarter given, but I will yield them the same measure that you Daniel O'Mellan, garrisoned the castlef and the Domini- yield unto him, although he were your own son, and will use can monastery, then standing on the east bank of the my best endeavours to be beforehand with you.Barrow, when Preston sat down before the town. No This communication produced the desired effect, and one knew better than he did that the place would never young O'Shiel, being speedily released from duranc?, yield till resistance become utterly hopeless; and he, returned to Dame Catherine, in her castle of Wooltherefore, lost no time in opening nis battery against stock, to gladden her stout heart with a narrative of the castle. His shot told with terrible effect, for after Preston's discomfiture before Athy. cigliteen rounds the staircase was so damaged that the Throughout the entire of 1618, O'Shiel followed the besciged could not ascend or descend. O'Hagan, however, fortunes of Owen Rɔe, giving his best services to that contrived to remedy this disaster by means of ladders

gallant chieftain's army, whose masterly tactics and 1 from storey to storey, and no sooner was there a breach

bravery defeated on many a hard-fought field the seven made in the walls than he filled it up with hides, generals against whom it had to contend. In the followwool, and st:aw.” Whenever au opportunity presented ing year, however, the Ulster general was obliged to conitself, the Ulster men sallied out by a postern, and so clude a treaty with Sir Charles Coote, who held Derry for harassed Preston's people that they had to betake them- the Parliament, and he accordingly marched to the relief selves to their trenches for shelter. At length, seeing of that city, then leagured by the royalists. After some that he could not get the castle, the more so as the desultory skirmishes the latter were forced to raise the river was between him and it, Preston shifted his posi- siege, and Coote, opening the gates to his deliverer, retion, and levelled bis guns against the monastery wbich ceived him and his staff with great parade of hospitahad been evacuated by Con O'Neill

. Father Thomas lity and extraordinary plenty.” It was whispered, howBirmingham was then guardian of the community, and

ever, that Coote dealt foully with his guest, giving him at the memoir from which we quote teils us that “he his table some subtle poison, which so paralysed his planted a large wooden cross on the bell tower, imagin- energies that he was no longer able to mount his horse, ing that the holy symbol would induce Preston to spare and had to be carried in a litter at the head of his army the place.” Ile was deceived, however, for the Leinster back to Cavan, whence he was soon afterwards removed general, instigated by liis chaplain, Friar Barnewall,

to Clough Outer castle, the residence of his brother-inwho disregarded the Nuncio's censures, battered down law, Philip O'Reilly. Some have ascribed O'Neill's the belíry, and finally took the monastery by assault. illness•and death to a poisoned pair of russet leather Meanwhile intelligence of these events had sped to Owen boots sent him as a present by one of the Plunkets of O'Neill, in Munster, and he immediately despatched re- Louth ; but be that as it may, none of the biographers inforcements for the garrison of Athy. Advancing by of this great Irish gencral have hitherto given us any rapid marches, the relief at length arrived, and falling

account of the symptoms of his fatal malady. The unexpectedly on a detachment of Preston's troops, who memoir, however, on which we have already drawn so held the only ford on the river, between Rheban and largely, informs us that Coote's poison“ was of lingerthe town, they put them to flight, and then crossing the ing operation,' weakening its victim gradually, giving Barrow, proceeded to regain possession of the monastery. him little pain, but causing his hair and nails to fall off The Leinster men made a stout resistance, but they were by degrees." From the middle of August till the sixth literally hewn to pieces in the bawn, garden, and clois- of November, O'Neill pined slowly away, and we may

where," says the memoir, easily imagine how his brave heart waxed faint and * The memoir describes Preston as "a man delicate in

sorrowful while the watchers at bis sick bed related to his diet, wavering in his resolutions, imperious in his com- him the massacres of Drogheda and Wexford, and above mands, and fiery in his deportment.” We should not for, all, the slaughter of his faithful clansmen whom he had get, however, that Preston's defence of Louvain entitled him to a foremost place amongst the greatest generals of

recently sent to the support of the Royal cause. During

the first month of bis illness, O'Shiel was absent, and the | The castle of Athy was erected by Gerald, Sth Earl of

physicians in attendance mistaking his malady, treated him for goat. " His own doctor," co:rtinu's the “me

turs of the monastery,


his age.

Kildare, in 1506.

m vir," “ Divine Providence so ordaining, was for a month at the beginning of his infirmities absent, which had becn prime motive (divine disposition excepted) of the untimely death of that noble warrior.” The game anthority describes Owen Roe's last moments thus : “ He died in our Lord, 6th November 1649, a true child of the Catholic religion, in full sense and memory, many of both secular and regular clergy assisting hi.n in such a doubtful transit, and behaving himselt most penitently. Being most devout to all regular orders during his life, especially to the order of St. Dominic, Jie puit on his habit as a gure buckler against the rigor of future judgment, and was interred in the monastery of Cavan to oblige* both patriarchs."

Early in the March of the following year (1650), a meeting was held, under the presidency of MacSweeny, bishop of Kilmore, to elect a successor to the deceased general. The assemblage was numerous, and among those who aspired to the vacant leadership, were the Marquess of Antrim, Lieutenant General O'Ferrall, Sir Phelim O'Neill, Henry (son of Owen) and many others who had distinguished themselves at home and abroad. Unfortunately, however, clerical influence was in the ascendant, and Emer MacMahon, bishop of Clogher, was appointed to the command.

“ He was a man," says the memoir, “no way fit for such work, and his election was sanctioned solely to put an end to further intrigue.” Immediately after his appointment he proceeded to Ormond and Clanricard, then in Connaught, who cajoled him with promises of great assistance if he would march against Coote, “then the only champion of the Puritans in Ulster.” The bishop undertook do so, and receiving a commission from Ormond, he proceeded to the borders of the county Monaghan, to place himself at the head of his forces. O'Shiel, whose devotedness to the O'Neills never flagged, resolved to share the fortunes of the late general's son, and to stand or fall with him as fate might decree. A few months were spent in desultory skirmishing, and taking of some insignificant places which Coote had garrisoned ; but the bishop's generalship proved that he knew little of the " art military." Relying on Ormond's fidelity, his grand object was to keep open the communication through Ballyshannon with Connaught, whence he expected the supplies, and with this object he crossed the Foyle near Lifford, a fatal movement, which enabled Coote and Venables to effect a junction of their forces, and ultimately obliged himself to take up a position near Letterkenny, where, owing to the rocky nature of the ground, it was impossible to manquvre. Coote and Venables were at Schear Saullis, on the River Swilly, and knowing that the bishop had detached a strong force to seize Doe castle, they were prepared to attack him at any moment. A singular incident occurred on the eve of this blundering and fatal engagement; for we are told that a woman of uncommon stature dressed all in white presented herself to the bishop, and warned him that if he engaged the enemy where he then was,

* i.e. to secure the intercession of saints Francis and Dominic.

he would be beaten. Disregarding the weird prophecy, he assembled his officers on the night of the twentieth of June, to concert measures for next day's operations, and we are indebted to the “memoir" for the follow. ing account of the proceedings of the council convened on that momentous occasion,

Heory O'Neill rose to speak and addressed the bishop thus: “Let us remove hence and tire out the enemy. My father would use many counctation to save the life of a single man; and now, my lord, won't you do the game with this army rather than expose it to slaughter? It is no disparagement to your lordship that you are not versant in those nice quillets of thundering Mars as not bred in his martial academy. 'Tis the theorick of this art that wins the garland; therefore, cede and give place to practitioners. Lieutenant-general O'Farrell, and others that have endured the hardships of many temperatures for many years to the hazarding both life and fortune only for honour's sake to be dexter in this martial discipline, which cannot be acquired like our Paternoster in a day, otherwise than by much labour, pains and effusion of blood-he an i all of us who are of the art would fain dissuade you from engaging the enemy here. My lord, you may consider that I and all the rest here convened are as prompt to do service on the enemy as ever you are willing to command ; but would have it done like soldiers and not like men without art or experience. A great many of our soldiers are wanting upon other designs, and such as are extant are weary by much toil and travail. Let us then withdrai ourselves half a mile off, where we may be secure from any enemy, no matter how strong. If we act thus the people will flock to us, and the enemy will either disperse or starve. Should we not rather do this than hazard the only Catholic army in the kingdom to the slippery hands and wavering doom of never constant and variable fortuge? If we be worsted at the onset, (as my father of happy memory did on such another occasion wisely consider,) this army could never again, even after the lapse of many months, be recruited or come to 90 considerable a head; but if the enemy had here the worst, it may easily be restored to its former being, by the powerful assistance of the parliament of England, 101 in actual possession of the three kingdom. Canctation in all ages is laudable in a general. Was it not this that placed Scanderbeg in the frontispiece of the book of fame? What else won fame for Spinola serving in the wars of Flanders, but cunctation ? Did not this enable him to defeat Maurice, Prince of Orange? Sarely the ominous prophecy regarding the place where we now are is ground sufficient for any reasonable understanding to cede his own to the contrary inclinings. My lord, I have done, and I know that I have spoken the sentiments of all my brothers in arms."

The bishop paid no deference to the arguments 60 ably and unanswerably urged by Henry ONeill; for, instead of combating or questioning them, he phlego matically remarked that “the conclusions drawn from former results were no way suitable to the courage of brave soldiers, but rather to the dastardly behaviour of

As for Henry O'Neill, notwithstanding the promise of quarter, his Spanish birth, and the ransom offered by his wife Eleanor, daughter of Sir Luke Fitzgerald, he had good reason to regret that he did not share the fate of his companions-in-arms on the bloody field of Letterkenny. The court-martial dealt summarily with him, and when he pleaded the services which his father had rendered to Coote, and how the latter was wont to call him his “ dear Harry,” Coote replied, “ If you and your father did me courtesy, I repaid it; the sentence must be carried out ;" and so it was, for “ Henry Rɔ2 O'Neill was beheaded (in Londonderry) in the month of July by the unchristian and tigrish doom of the thrice.cruel butcher and human bloodsucker, Sir Charles Coote.”

How it fared with Dame Catherine and young Hugh O'Shiel after the “ Eagle's” death, the memoir does not tell 03;

but the old castle of Woodstock still exists in picturesque ruin, notwithstanding Preston's threat of blowing it up stone by stone. There is now no vestige of the Dominican monastery,* but there are still some remains of Athy castle. The hereditary taste for the healing art, however, has not perished in the O'Shiel family, for even at the present day some of that nams rank among the most distinguished of our medical practitioners.


such as feared to be eyewitnesses of the effsusion of their own or alien blood.” The die was now cast, and Mac Mahon resolved to grapple with the enemy, even on disadvantageous ground.

Next morning beheld the two armies within musket shot of each other, and the bishop, after a brief exhortation, commanded some regiments of foot to advance agaiost Coote's infantry, who were drawn up in admi. rable order, and suppɔrted by their horse. The impetuosity of the onset produced a momentary panic in the enemy's ranks, but a charge of several squadrons of cavalry restored their confidence, and drove back the Irish on their main body. Circumstanced as the Irish horse were by nature of the ground, they could not act, and had to remain idle spectators of the unequal combat. Nevertheless the infautry, led by Henry O'Neill and Lieutenant-general O'Farrell, fought with their accustomed bravery, and maintained the conflict till towards mid-day, when they were obliged to sound a retreat. In the confusion of this rout, Coote and Venables lost comparatively few of their men, but ere the sun set, 3500 of the Irish were slain between Schear-Saullis and Letterkenny. During the battle as well as in the retreat, Henry O'Neill distinguished himself even to the admiration of his enemies, for the memoir tells us that “he dashed among them like a merlin hawk among a multitude of sparrows, or a lanza lod* bull set free from the yoke by its cervical strength," till at last, surrounded by Coote's trooper3, he was obliged to surrender on promise of quarter, and was sent prisoner to London lerry. “The bishop,” says the memoir, "the cause of this citas'rophe, accompanied by O'Ferrall, and escorted by two hundred horse, fled day and night for twenty-four hours towards Fermanagh without meat or drink, and was finally arrested by Major King, commanding the garrison of Enniskillen, who sent bim back to Londonderry. O‘Ferrall contrived to escape, but the bishop was executed by orlers of Coote. Among the killed on the side of the Irish there were eighteen captains of the O'Ferrall family, besides inferior officers; and in the list of the more distinguished prisoners, we find the names of John O'Cahan, and Phelim MacToole O'Neill (who routed Preston at Athy), all of whom were taken to Londonderry, certain of being exchanged or ransomed. “O fatal destiny," continues the memoir, “this army, ever yet victorious under Owen O'Neill, was destroyed by the self-opinion of one man; so much so, that the O'Neill family, in the ebb of many years, may never recover their former stato.” As for O’Shiel, be proved a true man to the cause of religion, honour, and country, for he was found among the slain, between Letterkenny and Schear-Suullis, bearing on his mutilated body more than one deep scar, for which neither the “ Book of the O‘Shiels” nor the “ Lily of Medicine” could have prescribed a “corative salvo." “ He died,” concludes his panegyrist, " leaving many men and women bemoaning his lose,—whom may God keep in his glory for crer and ever.


Oy the summit of a mountain

Looking o'er the sunlit sea, By a wildly gushing fountain,

Warbling soft song ceaselessly, I was lying-o'er me waving

Fern plant of mystic seed, While the boom of ocean laving

Rock and shore, mine ear did heel.

Bright the “Golden Spears"| beforo me

Cleft the azure waste of air ; Sweetly from the Heaven bent o'er me

Hymned the lark his anthem rare. Dreamily the murmur sounded

Of the ever-vagrant bee, Where the floral balm abounded,

Banqueting right royally,

In the purple-tinted distance

Far my searching eye descried, Rising up in brave resistance

To the vainly-surging tide, Old Ben-Heder, legend haunted,

Hill of ruined abbey grey, Up whose rugged slopes I've panted

Many a sultry summer's day.

* Founded by the Boswells and Wogans in the thirteenth century. A Protestant church now occupies the site of the monastery, which was taken down in 1652.

$ The Irish poetical designation of the Sugar Loaf mountains, C). Wicklow.

Pierced with a lance.

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Of the fairest type her beauty,

Brow serene as summer skies ; Love and truth and holiest duty

Spake from out her lustrous eyes. Grace her queenly form pervaded,

And that nameless infuence dwelt Round her, which, alone, unaided,

Can a higher soul make felt.

Towards the fount with earnest glances

Looked she ever and anon; (Ah, what fathomless expanses

Of pure light in those eyes shone ;) Looked, as though the waters singing

Ever their one silv'ry song, Some remembrances were bringing

O'er ber which had slumbered long.

Tuose bold promontories and intruding bays, which so deeply indent the map of Ireland along its whole western outline, tell of a long and fierce struggle between land and ocean. How wild a warfare has the great Atlantic waged against our island-home along that iron-bound coast for nigh six thousand years! Those jutting headlands projecting so far into the deep; thoso rocky islets, left so far out among the wild waves by the vanquished and retreating terra firma ; those jaggel creeks and bays penetrating towards the very heart of the country, and searching out every nook where the solid granite, or the quartz, or the limestone was not as hand to resist the invading element—all these indicare the terrific power of the hostile forces, and the varying success of that everlasting conflict.

But not one of those headlands forms so prominent a feature on the map, or one so interesting on many accounts, as the great peninsula which still rejoices in the euphonious old title of Corkaguinny, and of which the local chief place is the ancient little town of Dingle. All round from Malin-head to Cape Clear, without excepiing even Achil or the tempest-shorn Mwcelrea, there is

And methought this radiant daughter

Of my wand'ring fancy, came Unto where the crystal water

Burst forth with the speed of flame;

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