Fiach MacHugh O'Byrne

(c. 1544—1597) chieftain

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(c.1544–1597), the main leader of the O'Byrnes of Wicklow after 1580, and a major obstacle to the extension of crown government. In the Baltinglass revolt, O'Byrne defeated a government column at Glenmalure and burned the southern suburbs of Dublin. He made pragmatic token submissions to Perrot in 1584 and to Fitzwilliam in 1588. In 1594 O'Byrne was held responsible after a murder was committed by his son-in-law, Walter Reagh FitzGerald. Sir William Russell, the new lord deputy, mounted a surprise winter attack on his mountain fastness, capturing his house at Ballincor and his wife Rose O'Toole, and hanging Walter Reagh. Hugh O'Neill now claimed O'Byrne as an ally as the Irish of Leinster grew restive. O'Byrne was eventually killed on 8 May 1597. His head was displayed on the battlements of Dublin Castle and later sent to England, but this did little to redeem Russell's failed governorship.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.

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