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The conspiracie of Rothorike monarch of Ireland, and of the residue of the princes against Mac Morogh and Fitzstephans.

IN the meane time the wheele of fortune is turned vpside downe, and they which before séemed to stand aloft, are now afraid of sliding: and they which were on high, in perill now to fall. For assoone as it was noised through the whole land of the good successe of Dermon, and of the comming in of strangers into the land, and whereof they were much afraid: Rothorike prince of (1) Conagh, and (2) monarch of the whole land, coniecturing how of small things great doo grow; and considering that by the comming in of strangers, the whole land was in some perill; sendeth abrode his messengers, and summoneth a parlement of the whole land: who being assembled, and the matter at full debated, they doo with one voice and consent conclude and determine to make open warres, and to giue the battell vnto Mac Morogh. And foorthwith euerie man hauing made readie both men and armor to his vttermost power, doo ioine all their forces and strengths togither, and with maine and strength doo inuade the countrie of Okensile in Leinster.

Dermon Mac Morogh in this distresse was somwhat disquieted, and in a great perplexitie; partlie bicause some of his (but glosing) fréends distrusting the sequele, did shrinke from him, & hid themselues: some of them most traitorouslie, contrarie to their oth and promise, were fled to his enimies: and so in this his distresse he had verie few fréends, sauing onlie Robert Fitzstephans and the Englishmen with him. He therefore with such companie as he had, went vnto a certeine place not farre from Fernes, which was compassed and inuironed round about with great thicke woods, high stikle hilles, and with bogs and waters; a place so strong of it selfe, as it was in a maner inaccessible, and not to be entred into. And as soone as they were entred into the same, they foorthwith by the aduise of Fitzstephans (3) did fell downe trées, plashed the wood, cast great trenches and ditches round about, and made it so strict, narrow, crooked, and strong, that there was no passage nor entrie for the enimie: and yet by their art and industrie it was made much more strong.

(1) Conagh, in Latine Conacia, is one of the fiue portions of the land, according to the ancient diuision. In it are thirtie cantreds or baronies; and before and vntill the conquest they were under the gouernment of the sept of the O Conners, the eldest man of which sept by the Irish law was ouer the prince: but at the conquest it was giuen to certeine noble men of England, & by certeine descents it came to sir Walter de Burgo, who was lord of that whole prouince and earle of Wolster. From these Burghs descend the Burghs now being in Conagh, they being of a base line, and first were put onlie in trust to kéepe that countrie to the vse of their lords, who then dwelled and remained in England. This countrie lieth betwéene Vlster in the north, Mounster in the south, and the seas in the west. The cheefest and onelie merchant towne or emporium thereof is Gallowaie.

(2) There was alwaies one principall gouernor among the Irish, whom they named a monarch; and he was commonlie either of the Mac Carthies in Mounster, or of the Moroghs in Leinster, or of the O Connors in Connagh, as this Rothorike was. He was elected & chosen by the common consent of all the nobilitie of the land: & being once chosen, all they did homage and fealtie vnto him. The prouince of Meth, which was the least of the fiue seuerall portions, was reserued alwais vnto him for his diet. For though the Omolaghlins did dwell in Meth, and were great inheritors or possessioners there, yet they were not counted for princes as the other were. This monarch did gouerne the whole land vniuersallie, & all the princes were directed by him: in him it laie whether it should be peace or warre; and what he commanded was alwaies doone.

(3) The maner of the Irishrie is to kéepe them selues from force of the enimies, or in the bogs, or in the woods: the one of his nature is so strong as no horsseman is to aduenture into the same; the other with industrie they make strong, by felling of trées & plashing of the woods; and by these means the horssemen (in whom is all the strength of their warres) can haue no passage nor entrie to the enimie, but must either retire, or go on foot, or séeke some other waie. If they will and must néeds passe that waie, they must of necessitie go on foot, and then they are too weake, and easilie to be ouercome by the Kernes, whose seruice is onelie on foot: therefore they doo chéefelie kéepe themselues in such places, as where they can take the aduantage of others, and not others of them.

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