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The Flight of The Earls

Historical events such as ‘The Flight of the Earls’ have led to deep connections between Northern Ireland and mainland Europe. In the sixteenth century there had been many wars in Ireland between the Irish people and the English. The Nine Years’ War (1594-1603) took place during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First and ended with the defeat of the Gaelic chieftains. Two of the most powerful chieftains, the Earl of Tyrone and the Earl of Tyrconnell left Ireland with many of their supporters in an event known as ‘The Flight of the Earls’.

They boarded a ship in Rathmullan in County Donegal on 4th September 1607 and hoped to sail to Spain where they would ask for help from the Spanish King to drive the English out of Ireland. However, because of storms the Earls never reached Spain. Instead they landed in France and ended up in Rome. They never returned to Ireland.
The lands of these chieftains were confiscated by King James and he decided the ‘planting’ of loyal subjects would stop the threat of rebellion in Ireland.

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Ancestry Links

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland