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Irish Rebellion
Irishmen
Date: 1259-
Place: Ireland
Outcome: Irish independence
Major Battles: Siege of Derry
Battle of Druim Dearg
Recapture of Derry
Combatants

Flag of Ireland Kingdom of Ireland
*O'Neill O'Neill Clan
MacCarthy MacCarthy Clan
O'Brien Clan
O'Rourke O'Rourke Clan

England Kingdom of England
*Lordship of Ireland Lordship of Ireland
*Loyal clans

Commanders

O'Neill High King Brian Ua Neill
O'Neill Domnall I of Ireland
Flag of Ireland Fineen MacCarthy
Flag of Ireland Connor O'Brien
Flag of Ireland Art O'Rourke

England Henry III of England
England Toby Parsones

The Irish Rebellion of 1259 was the war that resulted in the independence of the Kingdom of Ireland from the Anglo-Normans and their Lordship of Ireland. Led by High King Brian Ua Neill, the Irish fought the English and their Irish loyalists and took over the provinces of Ireland from the Anglo-Normans, despite a crushing defeat at the Battle of Druim Dearg

Background

Ireland, the Emerald Isle, was divided into dozens of feuding clans ever since the idea of civilization came to the island. All of the clans had territories and all claimed the title of "King", without any source of unity. When the Normans conquered England following the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the Norman King William the Conqueror planned to create a large empire stretching from Normandy in northern France to the northern tip of the Kingdom of Scotland, and as far west as the coast of Eire. The Irish warlords feuded as the Anglo-Normans conquered their families in single fashion, and many were divided between the English and Irish cause; some clan leaders wanted to survive rather than fight for their country. The Anglo-Norman Conquest of Ireland took time, stretching from the 1100s to the 1200s, and just when they had taken control of all of the country, the clans started to unite and fight the British. Led by King Brian Ua Neill of the County Donegal's O'Neill Clan, the O'Rourke Clan of Art O'Rourke from County Down, and County Munster's Connor O'Brien of the O'Brien Clan, the Irish separatists rebelled from their own provinces, planning to conquer the other cities that remained in English hands.

War

Brian horseback

Brian at the Battle of Druim Dearg in 1261

King Brian, recruiting both volunteers and local mercenaries, besieged the city of Derry in the Province of Ulster, marching from his fortifications near Lifford to assault the English. After a short siege, the Irish troops stormed the city and liberated Ulster, although they exterminated the populace to keep the pro-English civilians under their thumb, defeating the opposition. Brian made sure that the fortifications of Derry were fully-reconstructed before he continued his drive southward.

Brian's army of 2,400 Irish troops was jolly and ready for battle, but were surprised when they faced a huge English army led by William of Meath at Druim Dearg, north of Trim, made up of 4,200 Anglo-Irish dismounted feudal knights, peasant footsoldiers, and heavy cavalry. The Battle of Druim Dearg was a total disaster, with the Irishmen holding their front lines against the peasants until the heavily-armored dismounted feudal knights charged and cut them down by the score. The Irishmen lost the year of 1260 to the Englishmen, who recaptured Ulster and then exterminated the poor populace again.

The Irishmen lost their northern fortunes, as Brian barely survived the battle, but his southern allies, the O'Rourke Clan and MacCarthy Clan, advanced on Dublin. The Dubliners were hostile to Anglo-Normans in their city and overthrew the local garrison but refused to join the O'Neill Clan loyalists, and instead bowed their heads to their own leaders. The O'Neill troops refused to fight and lose men to their own kind, rather advancing on County Meath from the south. They advanced north and prepared their siege works, marching on the castle of Trim that Brian had set his sights on before his disaster. 

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