Richard de Burgh

(c. 1259—1326) magnate, lord of Connacht

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Richard de Burgh (c. 1173—1243) justiciar of Ireland


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(c.1259–1326), earl of Ulster and lord of Connacht, known as the Red Earl, in his day the most powerful man in Ireland. He was the son of Walter de Burgh and Avelina, daughter of John fitz Geoffrey. He gained possession of his inheritance on 5 January 1281 and led violent campaigns in Connacht and Ulster in 1286 and 1288, on the latter occasion being opposed by his great Geraldine rival John fitz Thomas, later 1st earl of Kildare. On 27 September 1286 Richard and Thomas de Clare of Thomond formed the Turnberry ‘band’ with a group of Scottish nobles, whose aid they enlisted for a campaign in Ireland. Some time afterwards he seized the Isle of Man and handed it over to King Edward in June 1290. His quarrel with fitz Thomas came to a head in 1294 when the latter imprisoned him, and the dispute was not finally resolved until a transfer of lands was agreed between them in 1298. He served on the Scottish campaign in 1296 and in 1303, and in 1302 his daughter married Robert Bruce. Richard opposed the invasion of Ireland by Edward Bruce in 1315, and was defeated in battle, although the citizens of Dublin later imprisoned him, suspecting his loyalty, and he may have forfeited his earldom for a time. In 1326 he retired, due to ill health, to the priory of Athassal, Co. Tipperary, where, on 29 June, he died. He was succeeded by his grandson William de Burgh.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.