Final Tour in Ireland
In 1588 FitzWilliam was again in Ireland as Lord Deputy, and although old and ill he displayed great activity in leading expeditions, and found time to quarrel with Sir Richard Bingham (1528–1599), the new President of Connaught.
His predecessor in office had been Sir John Perrot. FitzWilliam immediately seized on an opportunity to discredit him by giving countenance to the allegations by a renegade priest that Perrot had plotted with King Philip II of Spain to overthrow the Queen. The allegations were wild, but such was the momentum of criticism that came Perrot's way that he was convicted of treason at Westminster, and died while awaiting sentence of death in 1591.
FitzWilliam had pursued aggressive policies in Connaught and Ulster from the start. These policies upset the accommodations that had delivered an unusual peace to much of the island in the preceding years. In 1588 a large portion of the Spanish Armada was wrecked on the Irish coast, and FitzWilliam was responsible for ordering the executions of up to 2,000 survivors.
The Spanish threat was readily dealt with, and FitzWilliam turned up the pressure on those Ulster lords who owed their allegiance to the Earl of Tyrone. One of these lords, the MacMahon, was put to death by royal authority in Monaghan town in 1591, and it became clear that the Dublin government was set on thoroughly curbing the power of the Gaelic leaders of Ulster. Although Tyrone continued to display his loyalty to the crown, the course had been set for a showdown and he went in to rebellion in 1595, at the start of the Nine Years War.
In 1594 FitzWilliam left Ireland for good, and five years later he died at Milton Hall.
Read more about this topic: William Fitz William (Lord Deputy)
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