Battle of Knockdoe
|Battle of Knockdoe|
|The Clanricarde, Ó Briain and MacNamara of Thomond, Ó Carroll of Ely, Ó Kennedy of Ormond, O'Briens of Ara, plus several Gallowglass units.||Earl of Kildare, Ó Donnell of Tír Conaill, O Connor Roe MacDermot of|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Ulick Fionn Burke of Clanricarde||Garret Mor FitzGerarld, 8th Earl of Kildare|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Knockdoe was a conflict between the Hiberno-Norman de Burghs (Burkes) and Anglo-Norman Fitzgeralds, along with their respective Irish allies. On 19 August 1504, the Parish of Lackagh (Irish Leacach) was the site of what appears to have been an unusually bloody conflict, arising from a dispute between Maelsechlainn mac Tadhg Ó Cellaigh (Mod. Irish Maoilseachlainn mac Thaidhg Uí Cheallaigh), King of Ui Maine – Mod. Irish Uí Mháine) and Ulick Fionn Burke, the Clanricarde.
Ulick Finn, as Burke was called, was an aggressive local magnate. He had become The Clanrickarde in the year 1485, and sought to establish his authority over all Connacht, including County Mayo, where the other branch of the great De Burgo (Burke) family held power. Although both families were of Norman stock, the western de Burghs (or Burkes) were integrated into the Gaelic world, whereas the Fitzgeralds of the Pale, though Gaelicised, retained cultural, social and political links to England.
The King's Deputy, Gerald, Earl of KIldare (Gearóid Mór), became concerned that Ulick Burke's attempt at supremacy in Connacht could threaten his claim to be the paramount magnate in Ireland. He tried to persuade Ulick to acknowledge his authority by giving him his daughter Estacia in marriage. But Ulick Burke resisted all attempts to have his tenantry and power absorbed by the Earl of Kildare, forming an alliance with O'Brien of Thomond and the magnates of Munster.
The Burkes of Mayo, on the other hand, joined forces with Kildare with a view to suppressing their dangerous neighbour.
|The Battle of Knockdoe|
In 1503 Ulick Burke attacked and destroyed the castles of O'Kelly, Lord of Hymany, at Monivea (Muine Mheá), Garbally (Gallach) and Castleblakeney (Garbhdhoire). The Irish sources attest that O'Kelly complained of this to the Lord Deputy. Burke appears to have also taken up with O'Kelly's wife, and there may have been ill-feeling between the Lord Deputy and Burke because of the latter's treatment of Gearóid Mór's daughter.
It appears that for political (and possibly for personal) reasons the Lord Deputy was eager to help O'Kelly weaken the prestige of Clanrickarde. Both sides gathered to their side a large contingent of lesser magnates and their armies. The Lord Deputy's forces included contingents from Leinster, Ulster and Connacht, among which were the armies of Red Hugh O'Donnell (Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill) and Art Ó Néill, the McDermotts and Morrisroes of Connacht and a contingent provided by O'Kelly. Facing them were the forces of Burke and his allies – the O'Briens of Thomond, the McNamaras, the O'Kennedys and the O'Carrolls.
The armies met on the slopes of Knockdoe, almost a mile to the north of Lackagh Parish Church, with heavily armed Gallowglass playing a large part on both sides. The battle appears to have lasted all day, with the heaviest fighting (according to tradition) taking place along the River Clare in the townland of Ballybrone (Baile Bhróin). The precise number of casualties is unknown, though contemporary observers, as evidenced in later chronicles, were impressed by the extent of the slaughter. Round the summit of Knockdoe are many cairns (burial mounds) where, by tradition, the dead are said to have been buried, with one in particular being pointed out as the resting place of the two sons of O'Brien of Thomond.
The Lord Deputy, though victorious, had many among the slain. His army remained the night on the field as a token of victory, then marched to Galway, looting Claregalway castle en route and taking as prisoners the two sons and daughter of Ulick Burke. They remained in Galway for a few days and departed to Athenry, which they captured.
The Clanrickarde Burkes faded into obscurity for some decades, with their rivals, the Mayo Burkes, gaining influence as a consequence.
It is said that firearms were employed in the course of the battle, an early instance of their use in Ireland.
- Blackmore, Liz, John Cronin, Donal Ferrie agus Bríd Higgins (ed.), 2001. In Their Own Words: The Parish of Lackagh-Turloughmore and its People. Galway. ISBN 0-9539834-0-4
- McCollough, David W. (ed.), 2000. Wars of the Irish Kings: A Thousand Years of Struggle, from the Age of Myth through the Reign of Queen Elizabeth 1. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-4028-9562-3
||Constructs such as ibid., loc. cit. and idem are discouraged by Wikipedia's style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title. (June 2010)|
- Annals of the Four Masters, M1504.13: http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/G100005D/index.html
- McCullough (ed.), Wars of the Irish Kings, pp. 239–244.
- A comprehensive list of the magnates involved can be found in Annals of the Four Masters, M1504.14: http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/G100005D/index.html
- The Four Masters provide an impressionistic but striking account of the aftermath: M1504.14: http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/G100005D/index.html
- Annals of the Four Masters, a major chronicle incorporating a range of earlier sources. Online edition in Irish, with English translation.