Saturday, January 06, 2018

Edward Bruce 700 - Death at Faughart, 14 October 1318

Another important anniversary is coming up this year, when a headstrong Edward Bruce, the titular but disputed ‘High King of Ireland’ (through alliance with his relatives the O’Neills of Ulster) decided not to wait for reinforcements from his brother King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, and so was killed in the Battle of Faughart between Dundalk and Newry. Reputedly parts of him are buried at the ancient graveyard there. Just parts. The rest were sent to the four corners of the kingdom by Edward II as a warning.

The Bruce army retreated to Scotland, led by a John Thomson, which according to my friend Joe Rae gave rise to the expression that the folk in Galloway and Ayrshire are all 'Jock Tamson's bairns’ - because if Jock hadnae brocht the menfolk hame, there would have been nae mair weans born!

Almost 300 years later, many of the descendants of Bruce’s soldiers would return to Ulster and settle on our side of the water permanently, led again by two Ayrshiremen - but not Robert and Edward Bruce of Turnberry this time, but Hugh Montgomery of Braidstane and James Hamilton of Dunlop, beginning in May 1606. 

The death of Edward Bruce and the end of the Bruce campaign in Ireland is a major story for later this year – and a perfect example of how integrated life and history in ‘these islands’ has been throughout the ages.

Pics below of Faughart.

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