Hugh de Lacy, 1st Earl of Ulster
b.abt 1176 Longtown, Herefordshire, England
d.26 Dec 1242
Facts and Events
He erected a motte in the 1180s in Carlow, on the site of which Carlow Castle was built in the 13th century. Excavations at Carlow Castle in 1996, found the remains of a series of post-holes inside a curving ditch, running under the walls of the towered keep and therefore pre-dating it. The remains of a corn-drying kiln were found to the north of this. These features were interpreted as representing the remains of the first castle here, whose defences and buildings seem to have been constructed of earth and timber. A reinterpretation of the historical sources suggests that this primary timber castle was built in the early 1180s by Hugh de Lacy for John de Clahull.
In 1199, King John authorized de Lacy to wage war on John de Courcy. Hugh captured de Courcy in 1203. An account of his capture appears in the Book of Howth. He granted Drogheda its charter. He continued the conquest of the east of the province of Ulster during the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century, following the success of De Courcy (died 1219). He founded the Earldom of Ulster based around the modern counties of Antrim and Down.