Hugh de Lacy, 1st Earl of Ulster
He erected a motte in the 1180s in Carlow, on the site of which Carlow Castle was built in the 13th century. Excavations at Carlow Castle in 1996, found the remains of a series of post-holes inside a curving ditch, running under the walls of the towered keep and therefore pre-dating it. The remains of a corn-drying kiln were found to the north of this. These features were interpreted as representing the remains of the first castle here, whose defences and buildings seem to have been constructed of earth and timber. A reinterpretation of the historical sources suggests that this primary timber castle was built in the early 1180s by Hugh de Lacy for John de Clahull.
In 1199, King John of England authorized de Lacy to wage war on John de Courcy. Hugh captured de Courcy in 1204. An account of his capture appears in the Book of Howth. He granted Drogheda its charter. He continued the conquest of the north-eastern over-kingdom of Ulaid as part of the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century, following de Courcy's success of De Courcy. The Earldom of Ulster was based around the modern counties of Antrim and Down.
He married Emmeline de Riddlesford, the daughter of Walter de Riddlesford about 1242. They had no issue. It was Emmeline's second marriage. Her first husband was Stephen Longespee, grandson of Henry II of England, by whom she had two daughters.
The earldom became extinct at de Lacy's death.
- "Carlow Castle". Carlow Town.com. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- "Carlow Castle, Carlow". Excavations.ie. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- Mac Annaidh, Séamus, ed. (2001). Illustrated Dictionary of Irish History. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 0717135365.
- Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Lacy, Hugh de (d.1242?)". Dictionary of National Biography 31. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 379.