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Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland
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Flight(s) of the Earls to the Continent and England

The Irish nobility was an international one, and under the Stuart kings, many of its members moved outside of the realm. Sometimes their relocation was spurred by religious and political tensions: Many Gaelic lords fled to Continental Europe seeking the support of Catholic sympathizers. The momentous “Flight of the Earls” of Tyrone and Tyrconnell to Rome in 1607 is typically thought to mark the end of the Gaelic—and Catholic—order in Ireland. Sometimes flight was motivated by loyalty to England’s monarch, however, as when the Protestant Duke of Ormond joined his king, Charles II, in exile from Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth. Less well-known is the phenomenon of Irish nobles—both Catholic and Protestant—willingly leaving Ireland in order to be closer to the crown and court in England.

Tadhg Ó Cianáin.  Diary of the Flight of Earls. ca. 1609

O’Fihely. Enchyridion fidei. Venice, 1509

Stanyhurst. De vita S. Patricii, Hiberniae apostoli, libri II. 1587

O’Sullivan-Beare. Historiae catholicae Iberniae compendium. 1621.

Hugh O'Neill. Detail from Italian fresco, 16th century

Carve. Itinerarium. 1639

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