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The Tudor Society
  • August 13 – The hangings of a friar and bishop

    On this day in Tudor history, 13th August 1579, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Roman Catholics Friar Conn (Connatius) O’Rourke and Patrick O’Healy, Bishop of Mayo, were hanged just outside Kilmallock, co. Limerick.

    So desperate was Sir William Drury, Lord President of Munster, to get rid of these two Catholics, that he used martial law to find them guilty of treason, rather than giving them a trial.

    What did Drury do to poor Bishop O’Healey, and what happened to the remains of these religious men afterwards?

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  • 31 December – “The Gunner”, Sir William Skeffington

    On this day in Tudor history, 31st December 1535, in the reign of Henry VIII, Sir William Skeffington, Lord Deputy of Ireland, died at Kilmainham in Dublin.

    Skeffington had become known as “the Gunner” following his use of heavy artillery while taking Maynooth Castle in County Kildare, where he killed, or had executed, the whole garrison.

    Find out more about the life and career of Sir William Skeffington in today’s talk.

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  • Shane O’Neill

    Born in about 1530, Shane O’Neill (Seán Mac Cuinn Ó Néill) was the youngest son of Conn Bacach O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone. His father was forced to recognise Henry VIII as his overlord and monarch, acknowledging his laws and supremacy and agreeing to renounce the Pope. Conn petitioned the king for the earldom of Ulster, but was offered instead the earldom of Tyrone, which he accepted. He later travelled to England to formally submit to Henry in person. Conn’s eldest son Mathew was created Baron of Dungannon at this time and had the right to succeed his father as Earl of Tyrone. Shane, as an adolescent, was excluded from the negotiations leading to the settlement.

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  • A Black Christmas: The Battle of Kinsale by Heather R. Darsie

    Christmas Eve, 1601. The setting: a sleepy, south-eastern port town in Ireland. The Nine Years War of Ireland had been raging since 1594, with the English fighting to have control of Ireland under Elizabeth I of England. The unorganized Irish had won several battles and skirmishes against the English, frequently through the use of ambush. But in 1601, trained Spanish troops arrived, giving great hope to the Irish.

    Ireland was a Catholic country and Catholic Spain had recently suffered the humiliating defeat of their Armada by Elizabeth I in 1588. The Spanish, led by Don Juan del Áquila, arrived at Kinsale in September of 1601, with Kinsale being the poorest choice to undergo a siege, as it was situated in a hollow and did not have strong walls. The Spanish were forced to land at Kinsale due to poor weather. The English experienced some relief when they learned that the Spanish fleet was headed for Ireland and not England.

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