Postscript to the flight

Within a week of the departure of the Ulster chieftains, the English officials in Dublin coined the phrase Flight of the Earls. The word flight was chosen because it had legal implications: they departed without permission, thus breaking all earlier treaties with England. They were declared outlaws and their lands reverted to the ownership of the Crown.

The colonisation of Ulster could now proceed unhindered. Lands in counties Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Coleraine (which would become County London/Derry), Cavan, and Armagh were occupied by the new settlers. Undertakers (men of property who undertook to bring over protestant families) from the lowlands of Scotland and the north of England were invited to come and take up land to be run in the English manner.

The old Gaelic laws, language and customs were gradually eroded. The ordinary people lost their leaders and a whole native way of living. They had to pay rent for use of land to the new planters; patronage for bards and musicians ceased to exist.

Castles went to new ownership. Donegal castle, home of the O Donnells was now the residence of Sir Basil Brooke. Enniskillen castle, home of the Maguires, became an English garrison fort. Lord Mountjoy had earlier destroyed the O'Neill castle of Dungannon, and their lands granted to Sir Arthur Chichester.

According to distinguished Ulster historian Jonathan Bardon:

"The flight in 1607 sent shock waves reverberating down the centuries, stoking the fires of a conflict which convulsed Northern Ireland for more than 300 years."

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