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1317-1318] BATTLE OF FAUGHART
of prowess were performed by O'Connor and Bermingham, was fought at Athenry. But the young Irish king was slain, and his army utterly routed.
Undeterred by the fate of his ally, Edward Bruce (who was now joined by his brother Robert) advanced to the walls of Dublin ; traversed Ossory and penetrated Munster (13161317). But the excesses committed by his army caused a violent reaction against him. The English now prepared for a final struggle. Roger Mortimer, the lord-deputy, took the field with a formidable army, and the Bruces were compelled to retreat to Ulster.
Robert soon gave up the struggle in despair, and returned to Scotland. But Edward held his ground. Mortimer and Bermingham now advanced Ulster (1318) with a force of 15,000 men.
The Scots and Irish met them at Faughart near Dundalk. De Lacy urged Bruce to await reinforcements from Scotland. But Bruce resolved to hazard all on a single battle. Placing himself at the head of his men, he gave the order to advance, and the fiercest encounter of the war ensued. In the thick of the fight a Norman knight named Maupas challenged Bruce to mortal combat, and they fought with such fatal energy that both fell dead on the plain. The Scoto-Irish army was annihilated, and Bermingham, with brutal ferocity, ordered Bruce's body to be cut into pieces, and sent his head, salted, in a box to Edward.
The victory of Faughart crushed Bruce, but it did not secure Ireland to the English. Indeed, throughout the reign of Edward III. (13271377) their power, undermined by Irish hostility and Norman disaffection, declined everywhere. Tumult and riot prevailed in all directions, and the government was utterly helpless to put down rebellion or maintain order. Sir John Bermingham, the hero of Faughart, was ensnared in a trap and slain, with 160 retainers, by a rival English faction in Leinster. In Munster, Lord Philip Hodnet and 140 followers shared a like fate.
In Ulster, William de Burgo was brutally murdered by his own uncle-in-law, Richard de Mandeville--a deed which brought with it a terrible retribution, for the Norman-Irish of the district fell on the De Mandeville faction and slaughtered 300 of them. The De Burgos of Connaught, maddened by English misrule, broke away from the English connection altogether, and assumed the dress and the language of the Irish. On the banks of the Shannon,' says Mr Richey in his history of Ireland, 'in the sight of the royal garrison of Athlone, they stripped themselves of their Norman dress and arms and assumed the saffron robes of Celtic chieftains.' The example of the De Burgos was followed by many another Norman family, to whom the charm of Irish character, with all its shortcomings, was preferable to the weak and unscrupulous government of England.
Norman discontent was accompanied by Irish insurrection. Irish septs swept over the country, seizing English strongholds, invading
UPRISING OF THE IRISH
English territories, wresting from English hands the estates of which they had been despoiled. Ireland was, indeed, once more slipping from the grip of the Sassenach.
THE FIRST EARL OF DESMOND
N this extremity Edward invoked
the aid of Maurice Fitz-Gerald, the most powerful Norman noble of the Pale, as the English settlement was called. Fitz-Gerald responded to the call, took the field with 10,000
men, defeated the Irish in many expeditions, quartered his troops on the colonists, and, in recognition of his services, was created first Earl of Desmond.
About the same period (1328-1330) James Butler-another powerful Norman noble—was created first Earl of Ormond.
Desmond and Ormond grew in power and eminence. They were, in fact, petty kings. They held courts, bestowed offices, conferred titles of rank and nobility, commanded armies and administered the law. The king became jealous of their authority, and in 1331 sent Sir
Anthony Lucy, as viceroy, to hold them in check, and to govern the country. Lucy summoned two parliaments, one in Dublin, one in Kilkenny; but Desmond refused to attend either, asserting the appearance of Lucy as an invasion of his own privileges. But Lucy determined to uphold the prerogatives of the Crown. He seized Desmond and flung him into prison. There the Earl remained for eighteen months. Then Lucy was recalled, and Sir John D'Arcy sent in his place.
D'Arcy reversed the policy of Lucy, released Desmond, and governed on conciliatory lines. But the policy of concession failed as the policy of coercion had failed. Ireland remained rebellious and disturbed all the time. Between 1332 and 1341 many viceroys came and went, but the condition of the country always remained the same. Normans and Irish, at war with each other and quarrelling among themselves, were united in one thing only-hostility to the government of England.
At length, in 1341, Sir John Morris was sent to rule with a strong hand. But the Norman nobles treated him with utter contempt. He summoned a parliament in Dublin, but Desmond and Kildare and many other Norman lords refused to attend, and summoned a parliament of their own at Kilkenny. But Morris held his ground, and the king proclaimed that all natives, whether of Irish or English descent, should be dismissed from all offices, and that English-born men should alone be appointed to positions of emolument and trust. This de