The Apology of Sir William Fitzwilliam, Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1588 to 1594, offers a revealing insight into the origins of the Nine Years War, otherwise known as Tyrone's Rebellion, which convulsed Ireland between 1594 and 1603. The Apology was addressed to Queen Elizabeth to allay suspicions that corrupt and high-handed dealings during Fitzwilliam's governorship had provoked the war. It deals with key events the execution of Hugh Roe MacMahon, the revolt of Hugh Maguire, the escape of Red Hugh O'Donnell and, most importantly, reflects Fitzwilliam's view of his relations with Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone. The prefatory analysis, far from revealing the Apology as some truth-telling end-of-life confession, exposes a belated, carefully manipulated attempt to rescue the author's damaged reputation. This was under threat from the earl of Essex and his faction following the death of Fitzwilliam's patron Lord Burghley in 1598.