The O’Kellys of Hy Many, 1541-1601:
English Expansion in a Gaelic Lordship
by Dr. Joe Mannion

This lecture charted the advance of anglicisation in the South Connacht lordship of Hy Many in mid-to-late Tudor times. Beginning with the Butler-O’Kelly agreement of 1541 relating to the medieval manor of Aughrim in East Galway, the speaker will outline the major political developments of this crucial period in Irish history, and the strategic response of the leading O’Kelly lords to the determined extension of Tudor rule into their hitherto autonomous lordship. This involved some five decades of collaboration and cooperation with the government officials of the day; however, the ever-increasing demands of the crown and the ultimate failure of some segments of the clan to adapt to the alien English governmental structures led to discontentment and revolt in some parts of Hy Many as the sixteenth century drew to a close. An overview of O’Kelly involvement in the Nine Years War and the momentous battle of Kinsale in 1601 will conclude the presentation.

Dr Joe Mannion is a retired Principal Teacher who holds a PhD in history from NUI Galway, awarded for his dissertation on the Tudor lordships of the Burkes of Clanrickard and the O’Kellys of Hy Many. His published works include a biography of Galway’s earliest known ecclesiastic entitled The life, legends and legacy of Saint Kerrill, as well as a wide range of journal articles and book chapters dealing with the medieval and early modern history of the South Connacht region.