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Redmond O’Hanlon

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Redmond O'Hanlon was born around 1640 in village of Poyntzpass in County Armagh, he was the son of Loughlin O'Hanlon who was the ruler of much of County Armagh, and rightful heir to the castle at Tandragee.

As a young man Redmond he worked as a foot boy to Sir George Acheson who was of Scottish plantation stock, he has a large estate at Markethill.

Although seen as a highwayman Redmond was educated in England and had received his military training in France. He returned with excellent manners and could speak fluent French, Irish and English. Dashing and debonair, it was said that in the matter of presence, only the Viceroy’s son could rival him. O’Hanlon was also a born mimic. He could impersonate an English captain, a merchant, a French traveller, or an Irish farmer, this gift he is said to have used many times to evade capture.

Redmond became fiercely anti-British, he spent several years in exile with the French army and tried to organise a French invasion of Ireland to depose the British.

Failing to elicit support from France O'Hanlon returned to Armagh and began his career as a highwayman, preying on the English and Scottish settlers extorting protection money from them.

A letter of the times relates that his income was estimated to exceed that of the government taxation of the area. He was popular with the mainly Catholic peasantry.

In 1674 the government put a price on his head with posters advertising for his capture, dead or alive. on April 25, 1681 Count Redmond O'Hanlon was murdered in his sleep at Eight Mile Bridge near Hilltown by his foster brother Art MacCall O'Hanlon. For this treaturous act Art O'Hanlon received £200 paid by the Duke of Ormond, he also received a pardon. A member of the milita William Lucas who had recruited Art O'Hanlon received a Lieutenant's commission in the British Army.

Redmond O'Hanlon's heas was placed on a spile over Downpatrick jail, his remains are thought to have been taken to Conwal Parish Church in Letterkenny County Donegal, where his parents had fled from the plantation forces.

O'Hanlon is remembered in folk songs and ballad which survive to this day, the writer William Carleton wrote a novel loosly based on his career.

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