Flight of Earls

After defeat at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 and subsequent loss of land and power in Donegal and Tyrone, the Flight of Earls took place on 14 September 1607 when Hugh Ó Neill of Tír Eóghain, Rory Ó Donnell of Tír Chonaill and about ninety followers left Ireland for mainland Europe. They set sail from Rathmullan, a village on the shore of Lough Swilly in County Donegal. Several left their wives behind, hoping either to return or retrieve them later. Their destination was Spain, but they disembarked in France. The party proceeded overland to Spanish Flanders, some remaining in Leuven, while the main party continued to Italy. The Earls planned to return to Ireland and campaign for the recovery of their lands, with the support of Spain, but both died in exile

The 400th anniversary of the Flight of Earls was marked in Donegal on 14 September 2007 with a regatta of tall ships, lectures, conferences, and the unveiling of a statue depicting the Flight at Rathmullan.

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