Eoghan Ruadh Ó Néill (1585-1649) was a Gaelic Irish soldier best known as the commander of the Ulster Army of the Irish Confederates during the Irish Confederate War. Eoghan left Ireland as a young man and joined the Spanish Army, where he served in their Irish regiment stationed in the Spanish Netherlands. Following a decades-long and distinguished military career, including commanding a vastly outnumbered Spanish garrison in the Siege of Arras of 1640 during the Franco-Spanish War. Eoghan Ruadh returned to Ireland in 1642, taking command of the Confederates’ Ulster Army, immediately launching campaigns against the Scottish Covenanters and English Royalists. On 5 June 1646, Eoghan Ruadh routed a force of Covenanters at Benburb, County Tyrone, killing or capturing 3,000 Scots, his victory commemorated in various poems and ballads. The later years of the Irish Confederates was characterised by internal dispute, and an alliance between the Confederates and Royalists was rejected by Eoghan Ruadh and his close ally, the Papal Nuncio Giovanni Battista Rinuccini. Eoghan Ruadh would die on 6 November 1649 at Cloughoughter Castle, County Cavan, only several months after Oliver Cromwell’s arrival in Ireland.
Treaty of Arras (1640)
Owen Roe’s Speech At Benburb (1646)
Letter to Major Harrison (1646)
Letter to King Charles I (1646)