Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster

Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and 3rd Baron of Connaught (1259 – 29 July 1326), called The Red Earl (Latinized to de Burgo), was one of the most powerful Irish nobles of the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

Richard Óg de Burgh
2nd Earl of Ulster
Arms of the House of de Burgh.svg
Arms of de Burgh: Or, a cross gules.
PredecessorWalter de Burgh, 1st Earl of Ulster
SuccessorWilliam Donn de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster
Other titles3rd Baron of Connaught
Died29 July 1326(1326-07-29) (aged 66–67)
Athassel Priory, near Cashel, Ireland
ParentsWalter de Burgh
Aveline FitzJohn

Early lifeEdit

Richard's father was Walter de Burgh, 1st Earl of Ulster (of the second creation) and Lord of Connacht,[1] who was the second son of Richard Mór de Burgh, 1st Lord of Connaught and Egidia de Lacy. Richard's mother was Aveline FitzJohn, daughter of Sir John FitzGeoffrey.

"Richard Óg", means "Richard the Young", which may be a reference to his youth when he became earl in 1271, or to differentiate him from his grandfather, Richard Mór.

Earl of UlsterEdit

Lea Castle
Athassel Priory

Richard Óg was the most powerful of the de Burgh Earls of Ulster, succeeding his father in Ulster and Connacht upon reaching his majority in 1280.[1] He was a friend of King Edward I of England, who summoned him repeatedly to attend him in person in the Scottish wars, and ranked first among the Earls of Ireland. Richard married Margaret, the daughter of his cousin John de Burgh (also spelled de Borough) and Cecily Baillol.

He pursued expansionist policies that often left him at odds with fellow Norman lords, in particular the FitzGeralds. In the 1290s he clashed fiercely with John FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Kildare. Matters reached a climax in 1294 when Kildare captured Richard and imprisoned him at Lea Castle for several months "to the disturbance of the whole land". The Parliament of Ireland eventually secured Richard's release and thereafter relations between the two men improved, with Richard's daughter Joan marrying Kildare's son and heir. Since Kildare, though he received a royal pardon for his actions, was forced to surrender his lands in Connacht to Richard, he proved in the long run no threat to Richard's policy of expansion.[2]

His daughter Elizabeth was to become the second wife of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland. However, this did not stop him leading his forces from Ireland to support England's King Edward I in his Scottish campaigns; Edward captured Elizabeth in 1306, but in order to gain the support of Richard, Edward only put Elizabeth under house arrest. When the forces of Edward Bruce invaded Ulster in 1315, the Earl led a force against him, but was beaten at Connor in Antrim. The invasion of Bruce and the uprising of Felim McHugh O'Connor in Connacht left him virtually without authority in his lands, but O'Connor was killed in 1316 at the Second Battle of Athenry, and he was able to recover Ulster after the defeat of Bruce at Faughart.[1]

He died on 29 July 1326 at Athassel Priory, near Cashel, County Tipperary.

Children and familyEdit

Annalistic referencesEdit

From the Annals of the Four Masters:

  • M1303.8.A great army was led by the King of England into Scotland; and the Red Earl and many of the Irish and English went with a large fleet from Ireland to his assistance. On this occasion they took many cities, and gained sway over Scotland. Theobald Burke, the Earl's brother, died after his return from this expedition, on Christmas night, at Carrickfergus.
  • M1304.2. The Countess, wife of Richard Burke, Earl of Ulster, i.e. the Red Earl, and Walter de Burgo, heir of the same Earl, died.
  • M1305.2. The new castle of Inishowen was erected by the Red Earl.



  1. ^ a b c Curtis, Edmund (2004) [1950]. A History of Ireland (6th ed.). New York: Routledge. pp. 78, 83–86. ISBN 0-415-27949-6.
  2. ^ Otway-Ruthven A.J. A History of Medieval Ireland Barnes and Noble reprint New York 1993 p.211


Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Earl of Ulster
Succeeded by