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Memorial to the 1580 rebel
Fiach McHugh O'Byrne, Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow.
See street view.
On the other side of the same rock is a memorial to the
Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam, Kt,
of Merrion, Baggotrath, Booterstown
born c.1519 (succ aged c.9 yrs),
mar Genet Finglas,
lived initially at Baggotrath,
but later moved the seat of the family to Merrion Castle,
seems to have left Baggotrath
and rented it out by 1547,
MP for Co.Dublin
1559, Vice-Treasurer of Ireland 1559,
fought in the campaign against Shane O'Neill 1560,
Sheriff for Co.Dublin as at 1564,
the Lord Deputy Sir Henry Sidney
visited him at Merrion in 1565 after arriving in Ireland and before entering Dublin,
fought in a further campaign against Shane O'Neill 1566,
after this, Sir Henry Sidney knighted him,
at Drogheda, autumn 1566,
the family conformed to Protestantism at the Reformation,
but their conversion was only nominal
and by 1600 they were Catholic again
(although they were always loyal to the crown in Ireland),
this was a frontier castle
at the edge of the Pale,
facing hostile Irish tribes
(whose traditional leaders were the
he fixed the boundaries of Wicklow county
(as Sir Henry Sidney did with Clare county in 1565),
will dated 1591
(copy of will burnt in 1922),
died 9th Nov 1592, age c.73 yrs,
The Battle of Glenmalure
on 25 August 1580 was a major victory for the native Irish
against The Pale.
the native Irish of Co.Wicklow had been raiding
Reformation, some of the "Old English"
(old Anglo-Norman settlers who stayed Catholic)
would sometimes be allied together
the native Irish
against the Protestant crown.
One such alliance was during the
In 1580 at Glenmalure, Co.Wicklow
(near Glendalough, W inland from Wicklow town,
in heart of Wicklow mountains,
the forces of the Crown
Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey of Wilton
were defeated by a coalition of native Irish and Pale rebels under
Fiach McHugh O'Byrne
and James Eustace, 3rd Viscount Baltinglass.
It was the high point of the rebellion.
For a brief time Dublin itself was threatened.
"There was panic in Dublin as the news of the battle filtered back.
This defeat was the worst reverse ever suffered by a royal army in Ireland.
The question on every Elizabethan official's lips was almost certainly whether
Glenmalure's victors would march on Dublin."
The O'Tooles and the O'Byrnes were finally conquered in 1601.
Mac Cahir Og your face brooding o'er the old disgrace
That black Fitzwilliam
stormed your place and drove you to the fern. Grey said victory was sure, soon the firebrand he'd secure
Until he met at Glenmalure
Feach Mac Hugh O'Byrne.
Curse and swear, Lord Kildare, Feach will do what Feach will dare
Now, Fitzwilliam, have a care: fallen is your star, low!
Up with halbert out with sword, on we go for by the Lord Feach Mac Hugh
has given his word, follow me up to Carlow!
See the swords of Glen Imayle
flashing o'er the English Pale
See all the children of the Gael beneath O'Byrne's
Rooster of the fighting stock, would you let a Saxon cock
Crow out upon an Irish rock, fly up and teach him manners!
From Tassagart to Clonmore flows a stream of Saxon gore
Och, great is Rory Og O'More at sending loons to Hades.
White is sick and Lane is fled, now for black Fitzwilliam's head
We'll send it over, dripping red, to Liza and the ladies."
Who does "black Fitzwilliam" refer to?
The following have been suggested: