MACDONNELL, SORLEY BOY (c. SCot0 Irish chieftain, son of Alexander Macdonnell, lord of Islay and Kintyre (Cantire), was born at Ballycastle, Co. Antrim. From an ancestor who had married Margaret Bisset, heiress of the dis trict on the Antrim coast known as the Glynns (or Glens), he inherited a claim to the lordship of that territory; and he was one of the most powerful of the Scottish settlers in Ulster whom the English Government tried to bring into subjection. He took an active part in the tribal warfare between his own clan and the MacQuillins, and by defeating the latter at Glenshesk in 5558, acquired the lordship of the Route. He was now too powerful to be neglected by Elizabeth and her ministers, who were also being troubled by his great contemporary, Shane O'Neill. Eliza beth aimed at fomenting the rivalry between the two men, and came to terms sometimes with the one and sometimes with the other. Shane O'Neill defeated Sorley Boy near Coleraine in in 1565 he invaded the Glynns, and at Ballycastle won a decisive victory, in which James Macdonnell and Sorley Boy were taken prisoners. James soon afterwards died, but Sorley Boy remained O'Neill's captive till 1567, when Shane was murdered by the Mac donnells at Cushendun (see O'NEILL). After the massacre of his
family by the English in 1575, Sorley Boy made a successful raid on Carrickfergus and re-established his power in the Glynns and the Route. His position was further strengthened by an alliance with Turlough Luineach O'Neill, and by a formidable immigration of followers from the Scottish islands. In 1585 he regained possession of Dunluce castle. Sir John Perrot reluctantly opened negotiations with Sorley Boy, who in 1586 made submis sion to Elizabeth's representative. He obtained a grant to himself and his heirs of all the Route country between the rivers Bann and Bush, with certain other lands to the east, and was made constable of Dunluce castle. For the rest of his life he gave no trouble to the English Government.
See G. Hill, An Historical Account of the Macdonnells of Antrim (1873) ; R. Bagwell, Ireland under the Tudors (3 vols., 1885ógo) ; Calendar of State Papers: Carew MSS. i., ii. (6 vols., 1867-73) ; D. Gregory, History of the Western Highlands and Isles of Scotland 1493-1625 (1881); Sir J. T. Gilbert, History of the Viceroys of Ireland (1865).