Shane O’Neill eliminates rivals

In Shane O’Neill’s time (1550s-60s) there was acrimony and conflict within the O’Neill clan between the English appointed Barons (or Earls) of Ulster and the clan-elected leadership. 


For example on 12th April 1562, between Newry and Carlingford Brian, the young Baron (eldest son of Matthew O’Neill) was slain, along with twenty of his retainers by Turlough Lynagh O’Neill at the head of 100 horsemen. 

Turlough Lynagh O’Neill was Shane O’Neill’s tanist (second and heir apparent) under the Brehon laws. It was by this deed that Hugh, Brian’s brother became Baron of Dungannon. He was raised under English rule and patronage but, as we know, he rejected this in 1595 on the death of Turlough Lynagh and became ‘The O’Neill’. 


He was almost immediately then to lead the greatest rebellion against English rule.


It is in Shane O’Neill that for the moment we are more interested. He abhorred and rejected his father’s (Conn‘s) acceptance of the English title of Earl and had his rivals (his illegitimate half-brother Matthew (d. 1558) – and his son Brian – above) put to death, as he determined to assume the title and responsibilities of The O’Neill (even in his father’s time) towards the end of the 1550s: – his father Conn died in 1559.

… more later ….

Bagenal decides to quit …

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