Manus O'Donnell

O'Donnell, Manus, Lord of Tirconnell, flourished in the 16th century: he had his principal residence at Donegal, where his predecessor, Hugh Roe O'Donnell, had erected a castle and monastery. In 1527 he built a castle at Lifford, to oppose the inroads of the O'Neills, and we read of his heading powerful expeditions against the MacQuillans and the neighbouring tribes. In 1537, on the death of his father Hugh in the monastery of Donegal, he was formally inaugurated Lord of Tirconnell. He cannot have been wanting in magnanimity, as he spared the life of the slayer of his son, Niall Garv, in an assault upon the castle of Moygara, and, against the wishes of his clansmen, sent him away in safety. In 1539 he ravaged Meath, in company with Con O'Neill; yet two years afterwards he met the Lord-Justice at Cavan, and formed a "league of peace, alliance, and friendship " with him. In 1543 he attended "the great council" at Dublin, bringing with him in chains two of his relatives, Egneghan and Donough O'Donnell, whom he liberated on the advice of the Lord-Justice.

In 1555 he was deposed by his son Calvagh, who held him a prisoner for three years. Manus died at his castle of Lifford, 9th February 1563-'4, and was buried with his ancestors in the Franciscan monastery at Donegal. He appears to have been four times married and to have had fourteen children. His first wife was sister of Con Bacagh O'Neill; his second, daughter of the 8th Earl of Kildare; his third, daughter of MacDonnell of Islay; and his fourth, daughter of Maguire of Fermanagh. His apparel is thus described by St. Leger in a despatch to Henry VIII.: "He was in a cote of crymoisin velvet, with agglettes of gold, twenty or thirty payer; over that a greate doble cloke of right crymoisin saten, garded with blacke velvet; a bonette, with a fether, sette full of agglettes of gold."


52. Burke, Sir Bernard: Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages. London, 1866.

134. Four Masters, Annals of Ireland by the: Translated and Edited by John O'Donovan. 7 vols. Dublin, 1856.