The Battle of the Yellow Ford was fought in western Co Armagh, during the Nine Years War. It was fought between the Gaelic native Irish army under Aodh Mór Ó Néill and Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill and a crown expeditionary force from Dublin under Henry Bagenal. The crown forces were marching from Armagh town to re-supply a besieged fort on the Blackwater when they fell into an ambush and were routed with heavy losses.
The English decided to make an all-out effort to end the war and sent Bagenal into the north with five thousand men. Some years earlier O’Neill had married Bagenal’s sister against her brothers wishes and the marshal was eager for revenge. O’Neill had eight thousand men under his command and was assisted by Aodh Ruadh, Maguire and MacDonnell. The two armies met at the Yellow Ford on the Callan River, two miles from Armagh on August 14, 1598. The Ulster chiefs inflicted a crushing defeat on the English, Bagenal himself being killed during the battle.
The ultimate result of the Battle of the Yellow Ford was the expansion of the Nine Years’ War from a conflict fought largely in Ulster to a struggle against English control throughout Ireland as a whole.
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