1602 – The O’Sullivan Beara’s are driven out of West Cork by the English who had defeated the combined Spanish and Irish forces at the Battle of Kinsale.

Dónal Cam O’Sullivan, chieftain of the clan, begins the long march to Leitrim on this date, where he hopes to gain sanctuary with the O’Rourke’s of Breffni. Accompanying him are 1,000 men, women and children representing the first large-scale exodus of people from the Castletownbere region.

The O’Sullivan Beara’s were driven out of West Cork by the English who had defeated the combined Spanish and Irish forces at the Battle of Kinsale.

Dónal Cam O’Sullivan, chieftain of the clan, began the long march to Leitrim on December 31, 1602, where he hoped to gain sanctuary with the O’Rourke’s of Breffni. Accompanying him were 1,000 men, women and children representing the first large-scale exodus of people from the Castletownbere region.

In the middle of January 1603 they finally reached their destination with only 35 people remaining. Many had been killed or fallen behind with exhaustion and sickness. Others settled along the route.

In Leitrim, O’Sullivan sought to join with other northern chiefs to fight the English and organised a force to this end, but resistance ended when Hugh O’Neil successfully sued for peace and swore an oath of loyalty to the crown. O’Sullivan sought exile, making his escape to Spain by ship.

Retreat of O Suilleabhain Beara Documentary download from RTÉ Radio One: http://www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone/radio-documentary-o-suilleabhain-beara-march-1603.html

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