Turlough Luineach O'Neill

O'Neill, Turlough Luineach, nephew of Con Bacagh, and the great rival of his cousin, Hugh O'Neill (Earl of Tyrone), was, after Shane's murder in 1567, inaugurated The O'Neill. In 1570 he compassed the death of some of the principal MacSweenys. In 1581 he attacked and humbled the O'Reillys, in retaliation for their having imprisoned some of his cousins. In the month of July of the same year he was engaged in hostilities with the O'Donnells. The Four Masters say: "A furious and desperate battle was fought between them; and the celebrated proverb was verified on this occasion, i.e., 'Lively is each kinsman when fighting against the other.'" In 1585 he went to Dublin to attend the Parliament that assembled on 26th April, but does not appear to have taken his seat, as his name is not on the official list.

It was Elizabeth's intention to have created him Earl of Clan O'Neill and Baron of Clogher; but the patent was never perfected. Probably it was at this time that, encumbered with his fashionable English garments, he expressed his discontent to Perrot with good-natured simplicity: "Prithee, my lord, let my chaplain attend me in his Irish mantle; thus shall your English rabble be diverted from my uncouth figure, and laugh at him." In 1588 he defeated his cousin, the Earl of Tyrone, and a large force, at Carricklea, near Strabane. In 1592 he received an Anglo-Irish garrison into his stronghold at Strabane, and engaged in a series of operations against the Earl and his allies. Next year, however, he appears to have dismissed these troops, and made peace with his cousin. He died at Strabane in 1595, and was buried at Ardstraw. He is represented as having been a staunch friend of the bards and brehons. Professor O'Donovan says: "There are still extant several Irish poems addressed to Turlough Luineach, inciting him to shake off the English yoke and become monarch of Ireland like his ancestors... But he was so old when he was made O'Neill that he seems to have then retained little military ardour lo tread in the wake of his ancestors; and he was so much in dread of the sons of Shane the Proud and of Hugh (Earl of Tyrone), that he continued obedient to the Queen."


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