Red Hugh O’Donnell died in 1602, a year after the Battle of Kinsale which marked the end of the Nine Years War.
There had been great hopes that the campaign, led by Hugh and his father-in-law Hugh Mór Ó Neill, would drive the English out of Ireland.
It wasn’t to be.
Red Hugh went to Spain to try and enlist the help of King Philip in his campaign – but he died there.
Now Spanish archaeologists, hired by the municipal authorities, are excavating an area in the city of Valladolid where Red Hugh died and where it is believed his remains lie.
Meanwhile, back in Dublin, our capital city, the 1,000 year old buildings once occupied by the Kevin Street Gardai are still off limits not just to the people of Ireland but to archaeologists.
And not only do the municipal authorities, in this case Dublin City Council, not give a damn, they have allowed some garda unit or other to erect a massive solid black steel gate between the centuries old pillars at the entrance to the site so that we can’t even catch a glimpse of what’s inside.
The OPW is complicit in this vandalism.
The site was, in case you don’t know, once known as St Sepulchre’s Palace, home of the Archbishop of Dublin.
Jonathan Swift was a regular visitor and the old buildings back on to Marsh’s Library.
Last time anyone dug there, they found something really interesting.
The remains of ancient walls? Yes.
Plastic Wavin pipes?
I have been asking the Department of Heritage Culture and the Gaeltacht about this for months. No answer yet.
Isn’t it wonderful?
We jump up and down about someone changing the paint on a building that was visited by any of our 1916 leaders.
But we completely ignore buildings that are 1,000 years old and part of our great history.
Maybe if we invite the Spanish…?