Flight of the Earls chronicles the history of that momentous occasion when some ninety-nine persons, led by Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone and Rory O’Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell, sailed from Rathmullan, County Donegal on 14 September 1607. Their intended destination was Spain, from where it was hoped a new expedition would be launched, but bad weather forced them to land in France; from there they headed towards Flanders, then a Spanish dependency. While wintering in Louvain, they heard the bitter news that Spain no longer wished to receive them. Eventually they were obliged to settle for Rome. The Flight was to end in failure, with the leaders’ thwarted attempt to solicit aid from Spain to return to Ireland, and also tragedy, as all of the key figures would die in exile within a few years of leaving. This book gives a detailed but highly readable account of this event, whose significance to Irish history cannot be overstated. The Flight paved the way for the Plantation of Ulster, which introduced into that province Scots Presbyterians and thereby led to a sectarian division that persisted for four hundred years.
About the Author
Fr Liam Swords was one of the first clergy members in Ireland to realise the power of television and the media. As a newly ordained cleric in the 1960s, he became involved in film and television work. His early TV involvement included contributions to the religious programme Outlook on RTÉ and he also worked on the popular Radharc TV series.
A native of Swinford, Co Mayo, Fr Swords served on the teaching staff at Coláiste Pádraig, Swinford, for 11 years, after which he went on study leave to Paris and remained on in the Irish College there doing historical research. In 1979 he joined the Catholic Communications Institute of Ireland, working in publishing, and in 1980 he was appointed director of Veritas publishing.
Since 1995 he had been living in Dublin researching and writing A People’s Church: The Diocese of Achonry. The First 1000 Years: From the 6th Century to the 17th Century. He died on February 19th, 2011.