Get Nuala O'Donnell essential facts below. View Videos or join the Nuala O'Donnell discussion. Add Nuala O'Donnell to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Nuala made a dynastic marriage with Niall Garve O'Donnell, a cousin and a rival claimant to the O'Donnell lordship. After the marriage Niall Garve became an ally of Hugh Roe and joined him after he took part in the 1594 Siege of Enniskillen, triggering the nine-year Tyrone's Rebellion. However Niall Garve, along with three of his brothers and many followers, dramatically switched sides and began assisting Crown forces under the English commander Sir Henry Docwra who were operating out of Derry. He led forces during the Crown victories at the Battle of Lifford and Siege of Donegal, and had troops of the Royal Irish Army placed under his command. Niall's ambition was to have himself declared the Gaelic lord of Tyrconnell.
When Nuala heard of her husband's defection, Nuala left him and returned to live with her brother Hugh Roe, taking some of her children with her. In a furious reaction to Niall Garve's betrayal, Hugh Roe reportedly beat his infant son (and his own nephew) to death. Nuala subsequently divorced Niall. Following her brother Hugh Roe's death in 1602, she joined the household of his successor Rory, who was made Earl of Tyrconnell following the Treaty of Mellifont which made peace with the Crown.
In 1607 she took part in the Flight of the Earls which took several Gaelic nobles, including her brother Rory, into Continental exile. She played a role in the raising of Rory's son Hugh, whose mother had remained behind in Ireland. She appears to have died in Rome. Her surviving child with Niall Garve, Grania O'Donnell, had accompanied her into Italian exile.
^ abc"Hugh Albert O'Donnell, born [to Rory and Brigid] about October 1606, was the only son of this marriage, Mary Stuart O'Donnell being born about a year later. Some authorities give an eldest child, Elizabeth, probably illegitimate, who became first wife of Luke Plunkett, first earl of Fingall" (Silke 2006).