Headless Governor

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Headless English Governor
English Governor loses his head in dispute with ClanDonnell

ClanDonnell divers pulled a cannon off a Spanish Armada ship which sank off the coast of County Antrim. The clan put the cannon in working order and mounted it on the walls of Dunluce Castle.

Years later, the English governor demanded the cannon for use in the defense of Carrickfergus. The McDonnells refused.

In 1597, the McDonnells met the English governor and his soldiers to negotiate a number of disputes, including the possession of the cannon. The negotiations didn't go well. In the short battle that followed, the governor and many of his soldiers were killed, and the rest ran away.

The McDonnells cut off the governor's head and sent the rest of him to Carrickfergus.

The McDonnells gave the governor's head to the O'Neills as a gift. The O'Neills used the head as a ball, in an early form of Gaelic football.

The top photograph is the fortress at Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Photo by Linda McDonnell.

The bottom photo shows players in the Gaelic Athletic Association, from The University Observer. It doesn't take too much imagination to see them playing the game with the head of an English governor.

Visit The University Observer and visit the Gaelic Athletic Association