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Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster

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Richard Óg de Burgh
2nd Earl of Ulster
Arms of de Burgh: Or, a cross gules.[1]
PredecessorWalter de Burgh, 1st Earl of Ulster
SuccessorWilliam Donn de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster
Native nameRicard Óg de Búrca
Other titles3rd Baron of Connaught
Died29 July 1326(1326-07-29) (aged 85–86)
Athassel Priory, near Cashel, Ireland
Issue10, including:
Elizabeth, Queen of Scotland
John de Burgh
Edmond de Burgh
ParentsWalter de Burgh
Aveline FitzJohn

Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and 3rd Baron of Connaught (English: /dˈbɜːr/; d’-BER; 1240 – 29 July 1326), called The Red Earl (Latinized to de Burgo), was one of the most powerful Irish nobles of the late 13th and early 14th centuries and father of Elizabeth, wife of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland.

Early life[edit]

Richard's father was Walter de Burgh, 1st Earl of Ulster (of the second creation) and Lord of Connacht,[2] who was the second son of Richard Mór de Burgh, 1st Lord of Connaught and Egidia de Lacy. Richard's mother was Aveline FitzJohn, daughter of Sir John FitzGeoffrey.

"Richard Óg", means "Richard the Young", which may be a reference to his youth when he became earl in 1271, or to differentiate him from his grandfather, Richard Mór.

Earl of Ulster[edit]

Lea Castle
Athassel Priory

Richard Óg was the most powerful of the de Burgh Earls of Ulster, succeeding his father in Ulster and Connacht upon reaching his majority in 1280.[2] He was a friend of King Edward I of England, who summoned him repeatedly to attend him in person in the Scottish wars, and ranked first among the Earls of Ireland. Richard married Margaret, the daughter of his cousin John de Burgh (also spelt de Borough) and Cecily Baillol.

He pursued expansionist policies that often left him at odds with fellow Norman lords, in particular the FitzGeralds. In the 1290s he clashed fiercely with John FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Kildare. Matters reached a climax in 1294 when Kildare captured Richard and imprisoned him at Lea Castle for several months "to the disturbance of the whole land". The Parliament of Ireland eventually secured Richard's release and thereafter relations between the two men improved, with Richard's daughter Joan marrying Kildare's son and heir. Kildare, though he received a royal pardon for his actions, was forced to surrender his lands in Connacht to Richard, and proved no threat to Richard's policy of expansion in the longer term.[3]

Richard's daughter Elizabeth became the second wife of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland. However, this did not stop Richard from leading his forces from Ireland to support England's King Edward I in his Scottish campaigns; Edward captured Elizabeth in 1306, but in order to gain the support of Richard, Edward only put Elizabeth under house arrest. When the forces of Edward Bruce invaded Ulster in 1315, the Red Earl led a force against him, but suffered defeat at Connor in Antrim. The invasion of Bruce and the uprising of Felim McHugh O'Connor in Connacht left Richard virtually without authority in his lands, but O'Connor was killed in 1316 at the Second Battle of Athenry. The result was that Richard was able to recover Ulster after the defeat of Bruce at Faughart.[2]

Richard died on 29 July 1326 at Athassel Priory, near Cashel, County Tipperary.[4]

Children and family[edit]

Annals of the Four Masters[edit]

From the Annals of the Four Masters:

M1303.8.A great army was led by the King of England into Scotland; and the Red Earl and many of the Irish and English went with a large fleet from Ireland to his assistance. On this occasion they took many cities, and gained sway over Scotland. Theobald Burke, the Earl's brother, died after his return from this expedition, on Christmas night, at Carrickfergus.

M1304.2. The Countess, wife of Richard Burke, Earl of Ulster, i.e. the Red Earl, and Walter de Burgo, heir of the same Earl, died.

M1305.2. The new castle of Inishowen was erected by the Red Earl.[5]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Burke, Bernard (1884). The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales; comprising a registry of armorial bearings from the earliest to the present time. University of California Libraries. London: Harrison & Sons.
  2. ^ a b c Curtis, Edmund (2004) [1950]. A History of Ireland (6th ed.). New York: Routledge. pp. 78, 83–86. ISBN 0-415-27949-6.
  3. ^ Otway-Ruthven, A.J. (1993). A History of Medieval Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble reprint. p. 211.
  4. ^ Duffy, Seán (2004). "Burgh, Richard de, second earl of Ulster [called the Red Earl] (b. in or after 1259, d. 1326), magnate, lord of Connacht". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3995. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. Retrieved 21 December 2021. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ Annala Rioghachta Eireann: Annals of the kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, from the earliest period to the year 1616. Edited from MSS in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy and of Trinity College Dublin with a translation and copious notes. Vol. 5. Translated by O'Donovan, John (1st ed.). 2016 [1851]. Retrieved 11 March 2019.


External links[edit]

Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by Earl of Ulster
Succeeded by