The Flight of the Earls and the Ulster Plantation

The face of Ireland changed in September 1607 when the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell along with their companions stept aboard a ship at Portnamurry near Rathmullan on the shores of Lough Swilly and departed their native land for the continent. As the Annals of the Four Masters records 'Good the ship-load that was there, for it is certain that the sea has never carried nor the wind blown from Ireland in recent times a ship-load that was better and more illustrious and more noble'. With these words Ulster's Gaelic leaders were lost to their people and as history unfolded Ireland's northern-most province was changed utterly and in time permanently as a consequence of that departure.

In 2007 the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive marked the four hundredth anniversary of the Flight of the Earls with an exhibition and outreach programme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The emphasis of that exhibition was to bring the material held within the library and archive relating to the 'flight' and the personalities involved to a wider audience.

In order to better examine how those events played a role in laying the foundation for the subsequent Ulster plantation, a short publication has been assembled again to reflect the many sources within CÓFLA that will assist in the study of this important aspect of our past and to demonstrate the depth and range of those resources.

A number of outreach initiatives for children and adults have been developed by the Education and outreach staff in the library. These include a half day work shop for Key Stage 2 in primary schools and a one hour workshop on using historical sources for Key stages 3 and 4 of secondary level. The primary school workshop in particular embraces a broad range of themes, including English and Maths, science and technology, history, geography and art.

A presentation has also been created for use with adult groups, for example, local historical societies, that may wish to discover more about this important topic. It employs the archival collection at CÓFLA to explore both the Flight of the Earls and the subsequent Plantation in Ulster. Further information of any of these can be obtained by contacting the library.

Cardinal Toms Fiaich Library
15 Moy Road
BT61 7LY
Northern Ireland

Tel: +44 28 3752 2981

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