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Inchiquin, Murrough O'Brien, 1st earl of

Inchiquin, Murrough O'Brien, 1st earl of [I] (c.1614–74). Inchiquin, a protestant, was one of several commanders who played a semi-independent role in the confused situation that followed the Irish rising of 1641. He had succeeded to the barony of Inchiquin in 1624 when he was about 10. He took up arms against the catholic Confederation and inflicted several defeats upon it in Munster. Passed over by Charles I for the presidency of Munster, which he expected, he joined the parliamentary side in July 1644 and working with Monck won an important victory over the Confederation troops at Knockmanus near Mallow in 1647. But the following year he rejoined the royalists. Driven into exile when Cromwell landed, he was raised to the earldom by Charles II in 1654, converted to catholicism, and fought for the French. At the Restoration he was given back his Irish estates with substantial compensation. Though the complex situation does much to explain his tergiversations and he could never be entirely sure of his army, his political and religious shifts do not suggest steadiness of purpose.

J. A. Cannon

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