O’Hanlon raids The Pale

Already the English influence was confined mainly to a strip of territory centred on Dublin and reaching no further north than Dundalk – The Pale.

O’Hanlon, from his stronghold just north of it, was able, when opportunity offered it, to impose a ‘black rent’ upon the English people living in and about Dundalk. It was a kind of insurance against incursions and other plunderings. Indeed some authorities insist he levied the tax over a large area even south of Dundalk.

Indeed so firm was his position that the arrangement was formalised in a treaty between The O’Hanlon and the English people of Dundalk in 1341, a document that was approved by the King.

On 23 April 1346 in the reign of Edward III, protection was granted to the O’Hanlons on their lands and in their possessions, provided they ‘behaved’.

The internal rivalries between Irish clan leaders continued however. In 1380 O’Hanlon, Lord of Orior was slain in battle – along with great numbers of the English, by the Magennis’s of Iveagh. His replacement was killed just eleven years later by his own kinsmen.

Nor was the latter outrage an isolated affair. Indeed some seventy years earlier Manus O’Hanlon, Lord of Orior had his eyes put out by his own kinsman, Niall, son of Cu-Uladh O’Hanlon, on Spy Wednesday, thereby temporarily securing the Lordship for himself. He quickly submitted to Richard III of England, but it wasn’t enough to save his life. Before the year was out he was killed by the English of Dundalk.

In 1422 the O’Hanlon (with his men) joined a northern force and accompanied the English in a foray into Connaught. Still, in the following year they marched with the Irish of Ulster and attacked the English of Louth and Meath, taking much booty and exacting even heavier tribute from the English people there.

This bonanza ended when the English sent a determined Viceroy to Ireland in 1424. The O’Hanlon and certain other northern chieftains quickly submitted.

O’Hanlon conflicts with the Church …

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