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Mary Frances Cusack
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 779 pages of information about An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800.

In 1204 he defeated the Viceroy in a battle at Down.  He was aided in this by the O’Neills, and by soldiers from Man and the Isles.  It will be remembered that he could always claim assistance from the latter, in consequence of his connexion by marriage.  But this did not avail him.  He was summoned before the Council in Dublin, and some of his possessions were forfeited.  Later in the same year (A.D. 1204) he received a safe conduct to proceed to the King.  It is probable that he was confined in the Tower of London for some time; but it is now certain that he revisited Ireland in 1210, if not earlier, in the service of John, who granted him an annual pension.[318] It is supposed that he died about 1219; for in that year Henry III. ordered his widow, Affreca, to be paid her dower out of the lands which her late husband had possessed in Ireland.

Cambrensis states that De Courcy had no children; but the Barons of Kinsale claim to be descended from him; and even so late as 1821 they exercised the privilege of appearing covered before George IV.—­a favour said to have been granted to De Courcy by King John, after his recall from Ireland, as a reward for his prowess.  Dr. Smith states, in his History of Cork, that Miles de Courcy was a hostage for his father during the time when he was permitted to leave the Tower to fight the French champion.  In a pedigree of the MacCarthys of Cooraun Lough, county Kerry, a daughter of Sir John de Courcy is mentioned.  The Irish annalists, as may be supposed, were not slow to attribute his downfall to his crimes.

Another English settler died about this period, and received an equal share of reprobation; this was FitzAldelm, more commonly known as Mac William Burke (De Burgo), and the ancestor of the Burke family in Ireland.  Cambrensis describes him as a man addicted to many vices.  The Four Masters declare that “God and the saints took vengeance on him; for he died of a shameful disease.”  It could scarcely be expected that one who had treated the Irish with such unvarying cruelty, could obtain a better character, or a more pleasing obituary.  Of his miserable end, without “shrive or unction,” there appears to be no doubt.

[Illustration:  STALACTITE CAVE, TIPPERARY.]

[Illustration:  KING JOHN’S CASTLE, LIMERICK.]

FOOTNOTES: 

[304] Warrior.—­Hib.  Expug. lib. ii. cap. 17.

[305] Defeated.—­Giraldus gives a detailed account of these affairs.—­Hib.  Expug. lib. ii. cap. 17.  He says the Irish forces under Dunlevy amounted to ten thousand warriors; but this statement cannot at all be credited.  De Courcy took advantage of some old Irish prophecies to further his cause.  They were attributed to St. Columbkille, and to the effect that a foreigner who would ride upon a white horse, and have little birds painted on his shield, should conquer the country.  De Courcy did ride upon a white horse, and the birds were a part of his armorial bearings.

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