1562 – Shane O’Neill of Tyrone pleads his cause at the Palace of Whitehall in London before Queen Elizabeth I of England, who recognises his status. He returns to Ireland on 26 May and resumes his rebellious activities by November.

Accompanied by the Irish Earls of Ormonde and Kildare as surity for his safety. William Camden describes the wonder which O’Neill’s wild gallowglasses occasioned in the English capital, with their heads bare, their long hair falling over their shoulders and clipped short in front above the eyes, and clothed in outlandish saffron dyed shirts of fine linen. Elizabeth was less concerned with the respective claims of Brian and Shane, the one resting on an English patent and the other on the Gaelic custom, than with the question of policy involved in supporting or rejecting the demands of her proud suppliant. Characteristically, she temporised; but finding that O’Neill was in danger of becoming a tool in the hands of Spanish intriguers, she permitted him to return to Ireland, “recognising” him as “The O’Neill”. Elizabeth’s recognition of Shane’s claim to the title “The O’Neill” was effectively meaningless, as she had no authority to confirm a title conferred under ancient Irish Brehon law. During this visit Shane’s legal claim to his father Conn Bacach’s Earldom was verbally confirmed and Shane was led to believe he would be recognised as the 2nd Earl of Tyrone, though some reservation was made of the possible future rights of Hugh O’Neill, who had meantime succeeded his brother Brian as baron of Dungannon. Brian had been killed in a skirmish in April 1562 by Shane’s Tanist Turlough Luineach O’Neill. However, confirmation of the grant of the Earldom was never delivered, and Shane was eventually compelled to defend his hegemony in Ulster when his one-time supporter Sir Henry Sidney was appointed Lord Deputy and resurrected Sussex’s policy of undermining Shane’s authority.



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