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The blood-feud in medieval Ireland

McLeod, N. (2004) The blood-feud in medieval Ireland. In: O'Neill, P., (ed.) Between intrusions: Britain and Ireland between the Romans and the Normans. University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, pp. 114-133.


In 1452, Owen O'Neill, over-king of much of Ulster, led a large raid against the English settlers in the Fews (in the south of modem Co Armagh). O'Neill's forces were swollen by those of his ally Thomas Maguire/ the king of Fir Manach (roughly equivalent to modern Co Fermanagh). This raid started off well. O'Neill's party carried off plenty of booty and turned for home in high spirits. But then something unexpected happened. One of Owen's sons (Owen junior), together with a party of Maguires, had been pursuing booty in the region of Cloch-an-bodaigh. They unexpectedly encountered a strong force which gave chase. Owen O'Neill's own forces came to the aid of his son. But the pursuers wrought havoc, slaying (among many others) Sorley MacDonald, the leader of O'Neill's crack Scottish mercenaries. According to the Annals of Ulster, 'O'Neill went to his stronghold that night in great wrath.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Publisher: University of Sydney
Copyright: The authors
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