On the 14th September, 1607, a ship left the harbour of Rathmullan, Co. Donegal, sailed out of Lough Swilly and headed into the North Atlantic. Its destination was Spain.
On board was a strange cargo: Ulster chieftains of the O’Neills, the O’Donnells, the O’ Dohertys, the McDaids, the Maguires, the O’Gallaghers, the McSweeneys, the McMahons and many others, but also, in some cases, their wives and children.
Along with these Gaelic aristocrats were groups of priests, diplomats, students, poets, scribes, businessmen, soldiers, teachers, doctors, nurses and servants – 99 in all.
But they never reached Spain. Most of the 99 died far from home.