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Sorley Boy MacDonnell

(c. 1503—1590) chieftain


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(c.1505–1590). He completed the conquest of the part of Co. Antrim known as the Route from the MacQuillans and secured English recognition of his family's rights in Ireland. After the assassination of Shane O'Neill, he repeatedly requested agreements with the crown but the lands claimed by the MacDonnells were included in the Enterprise of Ulster. In 1575 he retaliated for the Rathlin massacre by descending on Carrickfergus, a frequent object of MacDonnell plunder. In the 1580s Lord Deputy Perrot again tried to eject Sorley and the MacDonnells but neither expeditions nor garrisons could keep the Scots out. Finally, in return for a solemn submission in Dublin in 1586, Perrot made him a denizen of the crown, constable of Dunluce Castle, and owner of half the Route. In the winter of 1588 Sorley gave Spanish Armada survivors passage to Scotland and helped himself to guns and possibly treasure from the Girona.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.


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