During the Spring and summer of 1603 Queen Elizabeth I Lord Deputy of Ireland, Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, concentrated his campaign in the Northern counties and Leinster. He ordered all land be scorched. Harvests and stock were destroyed and famine soon prevailed. Mountjoy insisted on not being drawn into battle in Kinsale. His ruthless methods were successful and the leaders fighting in Cork were soon turning their attention to protecting their homelands. The Nine Years War was over. O'Neill and O'Donnell had returned to the north. O'Neill went into the wilderness with his warriors 'as a wood kern'. Lord Mountjoy had succeeded where his predecessors failed.
However, Mountjoy knew as long as O'Neill was still in hiding he was still a threat. He convinced Queen Elizabeth I to use his tactic to attract O'Neill out of the deep forests of Tyrone and into talks. He without the favourable terms O'Neill would certainly not 'come in'. Reluctantly the Queen authorised Mountjoy to open negotiations with the 'Arch-Traitor' O'Neill.
A meeting was arranged in County Louth in a place known as Mellifont. Mountjoy received O'Neill's submission here on the 29th march 1603. O'Neill knelt before the Deputy and pleaded pardon for his actions and swore to be loyal to the crown and not seek further assistance from foreign powers. He was granted pardon and was restored as the Earl of Tyrone. During the negotiations many points were discussed including the contentious issue of religious tolerance.
Brehon law was to be replaced with English law. The Earls were no longer permitted to support the Gaelic Bards. English would be the official language. Catholic Colleges were banned and most of the great Gaelic Scholars were left with no option but to continue their studies in Europe.
The Treaty of Mellifont was signed on the 31st March 1603. In short it was the end of Gaelic Ireland and the start of English rule in the north that would continue to the present day.