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  • Kilchreest
    Kilchreest
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    Knockbeha Mountain
    Knockbeha Mountain
     

    In our saint's second Life, we are told, when St. Patrick came to preach the Faith of Christ, in that part of the country, called Hy-Fidhgente,[1] he predicted the future birth and greatness of St. Senan. While St. Patrick brought over many from the errors of idolatry, in this part of the country,[2] a report of his extraordinary success and great virtues circulated amongst the people of Corcobaschind, in Clare County, on the northern bank of the Shannon. p. 213.

    St. Patrick, we are definitely told, never preached in the Clare portion of Thomond, and the absence of his name from the ecclesiastical legends and earlier churches bears out the statement. Even if his alleged journey with Caeilte, in the "Colloquy of the Ancients,"[1] was not absolutely mythical, it could only imply a hasty crossing from Cratloe to Lough Graney, and nothing more.

    Having provided a great number of boats, they passed over the Shannon, at a place, called Donoghmore, a parish church, in Limerick diocese... But, the Corcabaschind people, not satisfied with receiving Christian baptism themselves, requested the saint, that he would come as soon as possible to their country, so that their wives, children and servants might enjoy a like inestimable privilege. p.214.

    At last, St. Patrick relieved himself from their importunities, by saying, that he could not go with them, until he had more fully instructed those people of the country, where he then preached, in the mysteries of faith, and until he had built churches, and provided good pastors for them. He enquired, however, if there was any elevated place near him, from which he could obtain a view of their country. When conducted to a mountain, called Findinne,[3] which he ascended, he obtained a view of the boundaries of Corcobaschind, towards the North and East. He then predicted, that in course of time, their bounds should be enlarged, on the East, as far as the mountain Echtge,[4] and on the North, to another, which he pointed out in Corcomroe. p. 215.

    [1] The country of the Hy-Figeinte embraced the greater and better part of the county of Limerick; it extended from the Shannon to the middle of Slieve Loughra, and from Kerry to Limerick, according to John O'Donovan.
    [2] Colgan makes Hy-Fidhgente a part of Kerry County, and he refers to the Life of St. Molua, who belonged to the country, inhabited by "nepotes Fidhgente."
    [3] The name now seems to be obsolete, in that part of the country.
    [4] This mountain was situated in the north-eastern part of Clare, and on the borders of Galway County. It is now called Slieve Aughtee. The ancient territory of Tuath Echtghe comprised the greater part of this mountain, from which it was named. Dr. O'Donovan states, "this territory is mentioned in Mac Namara's rent-roll published by Mr. Hardiman, but in no other authority is it mentioned as a distinct territory. It comprised the entire of the large parish of Feakle, but we do not find that it formed the estate of any petty chief, at any period of our history. Before the year 1318, it was a part of the country of the Hy-Bloid, and is still placed in the deanery of Hy-m-bloid, or as it is Anglicised O'Mulled. It is my opinion, that it originally formed part of O'Shanahan's country." — "Letters and Extracts relative to Ancient Territories in Thomond, 1841," Signed "J. O'D., February 13th, 1841" p. 71.

    "Lives of the Irish Saints" (Vol. III, 1875)
    Rev. John Canon O'Hanlon, M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    The term "Thomond" is not used here in its almost prehistoric meaning of northern Tipperary and north-eastern Limerick, nor in its fullest meaning, when the might of the Dalcassians had added to these the present county Clare, a fragment torn from Connaught. p. 102

    St. Patrick, we are definitely told, never preached in the Clare portion of Thomond, and the absence of his name from the ecclesiastical legends and earlier churches bears out the statement. Even if his alleged journey with Caeilte, in the "Colloquy of the Ancients,"[1] was not absolutely mythical, it could only imply a hasty crossing from Cratloe to Lough Graney, and nothing more.

    A certain amount of Christianity may have spread across the Shannon from Singland, where the converted prince, Cairthinn, held his Court; but there is no legend of any church formed earlier than by Cairthinn's grandson Brecan.

    Brecan, son of King Eochy Bailldearg[2] lived late in the fifth century... probably conceived the idea of founding a mission in the centre of the present county Clare... he fixed his establishment at a place called Noughaval, in the district of Magh Adhair. It was a low green ridge, not far from the Fergus, and commanding a view across the whole plain of Clare to Burren, Echtge, and Slieve Bernagh. p. 102-104

    Divided as Thomond was between three great groups of tribes - whom we may roughly name the Dalcassians, the Corcomodruadh, and the Corcovaskin - it is not wonderful that in early times it was divided into three tribal bishoprics. p. 111

    The Synod of Rathbreasail,[3] about 1112, made provision for a new arrangement, by which it would appear that it wisely intended to establish one bishopric over all Thomond. It appointed, as bounds to the enlarged see of Killaloe, limits from Slige Dala to Cuchullin's Leap, at Loop Head, and from Mount Eachtuige to Vide an Riogh (a summit of the Cratloe Hills, at Glennagross, near Limerick, and from thence to Glen Caoin, in Tipperary, which does not concern our present county Clare. The neighbouring sees were thus bounded where they touched the bishopric of Killaloe: Clonfert by the Shannon, and along Eachtige to Buirenn; Limerick from Tairbert, on the south bank of the Shannon, to Cuinche, in Thomond, to the cross[4] on Mount Uidhe an Riogh, and to the Dubh Abhainn, or Blackwater, a little stream running into the Shannon not far above Limerick. p.112.

    [1] " Silva Gadelica," vol. ii., "Colloquy of the Ancients," p. 126.
    [2] For collected account, see Journal R.S.A.I., 1895, P. 252, and Lord Dunravan's "Notes," vol.I., under Temple Brecan in Aran.
    [3] Keating's "History of Ireland" (O'Connor's edition) p. 101.
    [4] Hence Glennacross

    "The Churches of County Clare and the Origin of the Ecclesiastical Division's in that County." (1900)
    T. J. Westropp, M.A.

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    "Caiseal is derived from 'Cais-il', i.e. a stone on which they used to lay down pledges; or 'Cis-ail', i.e. 'the payment of the tribute', from the tribute given to it by the men of Eire. Sidh-dhruim ('fairy hill') was the name of the place at first." Then follows the description of the appearance of an angel on the hill to swineherds, who foretold the coming of St. Patrick, and blessed the hill and the place. "The figure which appeared there was Victor, the angel of Patrick, prophesying that the grandeur and supremacy of Eire would be perpetually in that place. Accordingly, that town is a metropolis to Patrick, and a chief city of the King of Eire. And the tribute and service of the men of Eire are always due the king of that place i.e. the King of Caiseal, through the blessing of Patrick the son of Alplainn. Now, here are the stipends of the kings from the King of Caiseal, if he be King (monarch) of Eire, and his visitation and refection among them on that account." [1] It is curious to find this prophecy of supremacy gravely attributed to an angel, in presence of the well-known fact that the supremacy of Eire had not for many centuries rested in the King of Cashel or Munster. The only explanation I can find for this notable incongruity is in the supposition that in the time of Brian Boroimhe the story was invented, with a view to establish the right all along of the supremacy of Cashel by virtue of the blessing of St. Patrick; and now, when the supposed right had become a fact, the stipends and tributes to the subordinate princes were decreed in order to secure their allegiance. A monarch so vigorous and so successful as Brian Boroimhe may well be credited with a desire to retain, for the throne of Munster, the supremacy of all Ireland, which he had won for it with his good sword; and what better means could be devised than, first, to invest it with a kind of Divine right by reason of the blessing of St. Patrick, and then prop it up by paying for the support of some of the provincial kings and petty princes? p. 36-7.

    [1] Book of Rights, p. 31.

    "History of Clare and the Dalcassian Clans of Tipperary, Limerick and Galway." (1893)
    Very Rev. P. White, PP.,VG.

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Synod of Ráith Breasail. [A.D. 1110 or 1118] The division of Ireland into the two Ecclesiastical provinces of Ard Macha and Caiseal is founded, as the text[1] expressly states, upon the ancient political division of Ireland into Leath Chuinn (Northern Ireland) and Leath Mhogha (Southern Ireland)... The dioceses also were made coterminous with the smaller principalities or groups of tribes, and the knowledge we have of the boundaries of the latter helps to supplement the information given by the Synod about the boundaries of the former.

    The system followed by the Synod in defining these boundaries was to give the names of a certain number of places lying at opposite ends of the diocese. p. 5

    Diocese of Cluain Fearta
    From the Sionainn to Boirinn
    and from Eachtghe to the Suca. p. 14

    Diocese of Ceall Dá lua
    From Slighe Dhála to Léim Chon gCulainn
    and from Eachtghe to Sliabh Uidhe an Ríogh
    and from Sliabh Uidhe an Ríogh to Sliabh Caoin or to Gleann Caoinn. p. 15

    [1] Keating in his History of Ireland, Book II, Section xxviii, extracted the acts of this synod from an old book of annals belonging to the church of Cluain Eidhneach, which is now lost.

    "Archivium Hibernicum or Irish Historical Records." (Vol. III, 1914)
    Rev. John Mac Erlean, S.J.

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    An old story tells that in the time of Corc, king of Mumu, Cashel was "discovered"[1] in a region wholly deserted and uninhabited, when swine-herds driving their flocks into the woods to feed were led to the site by "a most beautiful person" singing and prophesying; and that the king hearing of the miracle was moved to set up on the rock his place of assembly and seat of customs for rent and tribute. According to Córus Béscna, a seventh-century law-tract, Corc was a hostage at Tara when Patrick came there, so that the occupation of Cashel, in Gaelic Caissel Cuirc, or "Corc's castellum," could not be much earlier than 440: it is known as the only Latin name among the fortresses of Irish kings - the one place of note in ancient Ireland which does not bear a Gaelic name.

    Great changes followed the advent to Cashel of the new rulers. At some unknown time kings of Mumu extended their power over Clare, formerly a part of Connacht, and even to the Aran islands where there is a territory that still preserves the name of Eóganacht. They annexed what are now the counties of Clare and Tipperary, a small part of Limerick, and the larger part of Waterford. p. 55

    [1] P. 55. MacNeill: "Phases of Irish History," p. 127; Keating: "History of Ireland" (Ed. Dinneer), I, 123, 125.

    "History of the Irish State to 1014." (1925)
    Alice Stopford Green

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Luig Meann otherwise Luig Lamh-dearg, the son of Aongus Tirach... fought seven bloody battles with the Conatians, in all which he had the advantage, and killed seven of their chief princes... and... deprived them only of the country now called Thomond, extending from the bay of Killcolgan near Galway to Limerick; and from Lough-dearg to Leim-Cuchullan, now called Loop-head, otherwise Cape Leane at the mouth of the Shannon; to this tract of ground he had a just and antient claim, inasmuch as it was within the limits of Leath-mogh traced out from Galway to Dublin; thus the victorious Luig Meann contented himself with the glory of recovering the right of his ancestors, and acquiring for his posterity the enjoyment of those lands as a perpetual memorial of his valour.

    The Psaltar of Cashel, here cited by the original, and other antient records, describe the entire patrimonial estate and dominion of Luig Meann and his posterity, according to the following delineation and limits, viz. from Leim-Cuchullan, or Leim-na-Con, in the west of Thomond, to Sliabh-Bladhma or Bloomy mountain in Ossory, now between the King and Queen's counties; and from Carran-Fearaidh or Knock-Aine in the county of Limerick, to Ath-Lucad on the frontiers of the county of Galway. Others have traced them from the Isles of Aran, to Sliabh-Eibhline near Cashel, as well as to Knock-Aine, and from the said Leim-na-Con to Slighe-Dala in Ossory; which is a more exact delineation of the length and breadth of the Dal-Cassian estate, than that of O'Flaherty, who gives them no other breadth than from Sliabh-Eachty on the north side of Lough-Dearg, to Sliabh-Eibhline in the county of Tipperary. p. 441-2.

    "The Tanistic Law of Senior Succession illustrated in an historical and genealogical account of the Kings of Munster of the Dal-Cassian race, connected with the history of the Eugenian Kings of Cashel and those of the other provinces of Ireland." (Colectanea de Rebus Hibernicis. Vol. I., 1786)
    Charles Vallancey

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    After the death of Corc, Crimthann, monarch of Ireland, conferred the sovereignty of Munster on Conall Each-luath, as Keting[1] writes, whom he had adopted: he was the great great grandson of Cormac Cas, king of Munster. But he is not enumerated among them in the poem of the kings of Munster.

    His sister Mongfinna poisoned her brother king Crimthann at Inisdorn-glas, an island of the river Muad... and her brother, on his way to Munster, died of the plague at this side of Limerick[2].

    Lugad Meann, the father of Conall... obtained the country between the city of Limerick and the mountain Ectga, (which we call now the county of Clare) divided by the river Shannon from Munster, and by the bay of Galway from West Connaught: it has been taken from Connaught. He gave it the name of Thumond, and his posterity were called Dalcassians. The territories of the Dalcassians extended from the leap of Cuculand, near the Western Ocean, in Thumond, to the bounds of Ossory; and from the mountain Ectga, in the confines of the county of Galway, to the mountain Eblinna. Cass, the son of this Conall, being surnamed Dolabra Mac-tail, from his foster-father, who was a smith, the original founder of the Dalcassians, from whom his posterity were called Clann-tail, had twelve sons... p. 307-310

    [1] Keting, in the reign of Crimthann.
    82 Cormac Cas Meann, king of Munster, c. 69.
    83 Mogcorb, king of Munster, cap. 70.
    84 Fercorb
    85 Ængus Tire
    86 Lugad Mean
    87 Conall Eachluath, in the year 3790.

    [2] Sliabh oidhe an Righ. The mountain of the death of the king.

    "Ogygia: or, a chronological account of Irish events: collected from very ancient documents, faithfully compared with each other and supported by the genealogical and chronological aid of the sacred and prophane writings of the first nations of the globe." (Vol II, Written originally in Latin by Roderic O'Flaherty. Translated by Rev James Hely, A. B., 1793)

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Do leathtaoibh Lúachra Dheaghaidh
    seach dhorus Bhealaigh Luimnigh
    tar slíabh Oigidh tar Eachtghe
    glúaismit ar gceitri buídhnibh

    By the side of Luachair Deadhaidh, past
    the gate of Bealach Luimnigh, over Sliabh
    Oidhidh, over Eachtghe, we go in four bands. pp. 8-9

    "Duanaire Finn. The Book of the Lays of Fionn." (Part II. Irish Text, with translation into English by Gerard Murphy, 1933)

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Occupying a district which served as a frontier ground between Munster and Connaught, it was upon these brave warriors that always fell the first brunt of invasion in any incursions from the latter province...[1]

    Some writers have asserted that, in despite of the solemn will of Olill Ollum, enjoining that the succession to the throne of Cashel should be enjoyed alternately by the Eugenian and Dalcassian branches of his family, yet so often had the former tribe encroached on the rights of the latter, that little more than one third of the princes elevated to that throne had been of the Dalcassian race. pp. 51-2

    [1] "There existed, from an early period, a constant enmity between the two provinces, Connaught and Munster, and the present county of Clare was the bone of contention; the Conacians claiming it, as being included in Northern Ireland. At an early period the Momonians were obliged to make Fearan Cloidhimh, or Sword-Land, of all the western coast; as they were, after the death of Goll, of many other parts." — Note on a Translation of the Ode of Goll, the Son of Morni, Transact. Of R.I.A Academy, 1788.

    "Cormac Mac Culinan" (from The History of Ireland, 1846)
    Thomas Moore

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    ...the so-called principle of alternate succession between the Eoganachta and Dál Chais is an audacious falsehood that cannot have arisen long before the composition of the Caithréim. The guilty propagandist may well have been the author of the Cogadh Gaidhel re Gallaib, where the claim, propounded in the manner of an after-thought, seems to be formulated for the first time (p. 54). There was nothing gross or brutal about the inventor’s method. Quite simply, with a touch so deft that it was scarcely perceptible, he made a dexterous alteration in the past and brought it into harmony with the actual political situation.

    The itch to pat history into fairer shape is common to all generations! What the concocter of the legend worked upon was the fact that in Munster there existed for many centuries the small state called In Déis Becc. It was in two parts, one north of the Shannon in east Clare, known as In Déis Tuaiscirt, and the other south of the Shannon, in east Limerick, known as In Déis Descirt. From a tract preserved in the Book of Ballymote (172a, 174a; cf. Pender, Déssi Genealogies, pp. 87f.) Professor MacNeill has shown (Ériu, XI, 35ff.) that each section of this little state had its own king and that there was "a close relation on terms of equality between the kings of the Déis Tuaiscirt and the Déis Descirt." As In Déis Becc as a unit would not have two kings but one, it is extremely likely that the succession passed alternately north and south. In Déis Tuaiscirt became known later as Dál Chais. We may take it then that Dál Chais or In Déis Tuaiscirt enjoyed equal rights with In Déis Descirt south of the Shannon in Limerick, while both together formed a state subject to Cashel. When the Dál Chais became powerful in Ireland it was easy to pretend that their special relationship south of the Shannon embraced not merely In Déis Descirt but the whole of Munster. pp. 95-6

    "The Historical Content of the 'Caithréim Ceallacháin Chaisil.'" (Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 1941)
    The Rev. John Ryan, S.J., M.A., D.Litt., Fellow.

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    The right of the king of Caiseal from his territories.

    Tosach lais i(d)-tír n-aili
    la rí Dál Cais—ní cheile
    lorg na righ Dáil Cais in Cheoil,
    ic taidheacht i crích n-naineoil.

    The first with him [1] into another country
    Belongs to the king of Dal Chais [2] — I will not conceal it;
    To take the rear of the king belongs to the Dal Chais of music,
    On coming from a strange land. pp. 70-71.

    [1] The first with him, i.e. to lead the van.
    [2] Dal Chais, i.e. the families of O'Briain (O'Briens), Mac Maghthamhna (MacMahons), Mac Conmara (Mac Namara), O'Deaghaidh (O'Deas), O'Cuinn(O'Quins), and their correlatives in the county of Clare.

    "Leabhar na g-ceart: or, The Book of Rights." (Edited with translation and notes by John O'Donovan, Esq.,M.R.I.A., 1847)

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    The militia, or knights of Thomond or North Munster, were the Clanna Baoiscne[1], so called from Baoiscne, their principal ancestor, who, according to the Book of Ballimote, now deposited in the library of the Royal Irish Academy, was the second son of Nuada Necht of the royal race of Leinster, and fifth direct ancestor of Fionn the son of Cumhall, the son of Treanmor, the son of Salt, the son of Elton, the son of Baoiscne. p.XXVI.

    The guards of... the kings of Thomond, or North Munster, were a detachment of the Clanna Baoiscne; but in latter times for these were substituted the Dal Cais, a most intrepid body of men. The palace of Brian Boroimhe at Killaloe was called Tigh Chinn Coradh, or the house at the head of the weir. p.XXVII-XXVIII.

    The hereditary marshals of Thomond, or North Munster, were the Mac Namaras; the standard-bearers the O'Deas, and the O'Gradys were the captains of the guards until about A.D. 1200, at which time they were succeeded in that trust by the O'Gormans or Mac Gormans... p.XXX.

    [1] Clanna Baoiscne. For further particulars of this tribe and their territory, see Leabhar na g-Ceart (Book of Rights), p. 48. n. g.

    "Transactions of the Ossianic society, for the year 1856. Vol. IV." (1859)
    John O'Daly

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Heavily-productive, truly-pleasant chace and stag-hunt was appointed by Fionn Mac Cumhaill, and the noble, handsome, fair-featured Fenians of the Gael, on the mountain of Torc[1], which towers over Loch Lene[2], over the district of Fear More[3], and Hy Connall Gabhra[4]. The chace was extended by them over the green pleasant mountain of Eachtaidhe[5], and from thence it spread over other green-capped mountains, through dense impassable woods, over marshy, rugged, reddish hills, and across the smooth extensive plains of the adjacent districts. Every Fenian chief chose the place which his taste suggested, his starting point, and the pass of danger, where he had been accustomed to exercise his power in every chace, in which he had been previously engaged; and the shouts which they raised in the turns and doubles of that hunt, re-echoed throughout the woods around; so that they started the nimblest bucks in the forest, caused the smaller red-furred game to clamber up the summit of the rocks, scared foxes astray, aroused badgers from the mountain clefts, drove birds to the wing, and fawns to their utmost speed. p. 119

    [1] Torc, now Turk mountain, contiguous to the lakes of Killarney. This celebrated mountain adds grandeur and sublimity to the surrounding scenery, and enhances in no small degree the beauty of the adjoining landscape.
    [2] Loch Lein is the old Irish name of the Lakes of Killarney.
    [3] Fear More, a district in the west of Kerry, now Corca-Duibhne, or Corcaguiny.
    [4] Hy Connall Gabhra, now the barony of Connelloe in the county of Limerick.
    [5] Eachtaidhe, alias Slieve Aughty, a mountain situated between the counties of Clare and Galway.

    "The Festivities at the house of Conan of Ceann-Sleibhe, in the County Of Clare." (1855)
    Edited by Nicholas O'Kearney, Esq.

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Lethat Túadmuman a túaid
    Sloinnfet tré dúan-molad dóib:
    Ó hAichtgi co hÉblinn áin
    Is é a dail fri hÉrinn hóig.

    The breadth of Thomond from the north
    I shall relate to them in a laudatory poem:
    from Sliabh Aichtghi to noble Sliabh Eibhlinne,
    such is the distribution of it as compared with the whole of Ireland.

    Aichtge (nom.), dat. Aichtgi - the present Sliabh Eachtaighe, or Slieve Aughty Mountains, in the Baronies of Leitrim and Loughrea, Co. Galway. It is also found spelt Echtge.

    "The Five Munsters" (Ériu: The Journal of the School of Irish Learning, Dublin, 1905)
    J. H. Lloyd

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Of the subdivision of Munster here. The race of Oilioll Olom having acquired the two provinces of Munster, they divide them into five parts, which are called the five Munsters. The first part which is called North Munster,[1] its length is from Léim Chongculainn[2] to Slighe Dála, i.e. the great road in Osraidhe,[3] and its breadth from Sliabh Eichtge[4] to Sliabh Eibhlinne.[5] And notwithstanding that all that is from Sliabh Eichtge to Limerick was in the ancient division of Connacht, yet Lughaidh Meann, son of Aonghus Tireach, son of Fear Corb, son of Mogh Corb, son of Cormac Cas, son of Oilioll Ólom, made sword-land of all that is from Eichtge to Limerick, and from the Shannon west to Leim Chongculainn, so that he annexed it[6] to Munster: and the name it was usually called was the rough land of Lughaidh, and the Dál gCais[7] had it free without rent, without taxing, from the kings of Ireland. p. 127

    [1] Thomond, i.e. Tuadhmhumha.
    [2] Cuchulainn's Leap, now 'Loop Head'.
    [3] One of the great ancient roads. Osraidhe, i.e. Ossory.
    [4] Now corruptly Slieve Aughty, near Loch Derg.
    [5] Slieve Eelim or Slieve Phelim.
    [6] i.e. the present Co. Clare.
    [7] Dalcassians, i.e. the tribe of Cas.

    "Foras feasta ar Éirinn. The history of Ireland by Geoffrey Keating, D.D." (Vol.I., Edited with translation and notes by David Comyn, M.R.I.A., 1902)

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    There were three non-tributary races, evidently later conquerors of "pre-Milesian" tribes — the Aine Cliach, the Ui Fidgeinte, and the Dal gCais. The latter were the kings of the district: under the Provincial King of Cashel, and sat "next his shoulder" at banquets; they led the van in his wars, and covered his retirement or retreat. From the tenth century they alleged an alternative right of succession to Cashel; but during the early historic period there is little or no evidence of their having obtained this position until Mathgamhain, son of Cenedig, was made king. p.13.

    The Dal gCais do not appear in the historic Annals before the reign of Cenedig, father of Mathgamhain and Brian Boroimhe. They appear to have split into two lines about 571, one reigning at Bruree and Singland, the other, at first more obscure, at Cragliath, near Killaloe. The first disappears after a great Norse raid in the ninth century; [1] the other, by a strange chance of fortune and their own fine qualities, fought till they overthrew the Danish rule, and became kings, first of Thomond, then of Cashel, then of Ireland. Innumerable O'Briens, MacMahons, Kennedys, and others represent them all over the world to this day. p.14.

    It is only important to recall that the first under the successive princes, Lughaidh Meann, Connall Eachluath (A.D. 377), and Eanna Airigthech (after 400), conquered the central part of the present Co. Clare from the Luimneach (or Shannon Estuary) up to Inchiquin Lake and along the hills of Burren to Luchid heath. This battle, the site of the decisive victory gained by the first king, extended his realm from Cahernarry (Carn Fearadhaig) to the present border of Clare and Galway. p.15.

    [1] Circa 830, before the rally of the Ui Chonaill in 839.

    "On Certain Typical Earthworks and Ring-walls in County Limerick." (Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Volume XXXIII. Section C., 1916)
    Thomas Johnson Westropp

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Mogh Corb governed Munster for twenty years, and died A.D. 334; he left a son called Fercorb, and he a son Angus (Tireach, or the land grabber [1]), a name probably derived from the conquest which he initiated of that part of Thomond now known as county Clare.

    Lughaid Menu was a son of Angus, and it was reserved to him to drive the King of Connaught out of Clare and to subjugate the Firbolgs who occupied that part of the country. Lughaid, therefore, was the first of the Dalcasian princes who was able to take full possession of Thomond, or North Munster, including Clare.

    We are able to ascertain pretty accurately the date of this conquest of Clare by reference made to it in the "Death of Crimthan, King of Ireland." From Mr. O'Grady's translation of this Celtic MS. we learn that, in Crimthan's reign, there was a great war, "and for a lengthened space of time, carried on by the Dalcasians of Munster to win the soil on which to this day they are still planted in Thomond; and this matter was the efficient cause of all the future fighting between the Dalcasians of Clare and the King of Connaught"; the latter held this territory as part of his province. From the MS. above referred to, we learn that "Lughaid-menn was the first that violently grasped this part of Thomond," for which reason he is called Lughaid; he is said to have made Clare "sword lands," or, in other words, lands taken and held by the sword. The historian adds, "the country which the Dalcasians acquired was taken by force; not because they had any title to it; it belonged by right to the province of Connaught." p. 64-65

    [1] "Silva Gadellca", p. 378, also 174; O'Curry's "Lectures", p. 209.
    [2] "Silva Gadellca" by Standish H. O'Grady, p. 377.

    "The story of an Irish Sept: their character and struggle to maintain their lands in Clare." (1896)
    Nottidge Charles Macnamara

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    ...the Fenian Saga, as a whole, does not seem to have had its origin among the Gaelic population proper, but among some tribes dispersed in early times among the general population and looked down upon by them as the remnants of an earlier and inferior race; the people whom the genealogists of the tenth century called the Firbolg. p.17

    The only sept that claimed descent from Fionn is the Dal Cais, i.e., the O'Briens of Munster. It is said that Fearcorb, their progenitor, was son of one of Finn's daughters by Grainne, d. of Cormac mac Airt. As the Dal Cais, or Dalcassians, were unknown to fame until shortly before the time of Brian Boromhe (Boru) and his brothers, it is clear that this Munster genealogy was invented after that time to dignify the ancestry of their race. p. 23

    "A Text Book of Irish Literature" (1906)
    Eleanor Hull

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Finn Cycle. Clare has been less forgetful of the far later saga cycle referring to Finn mac Cumhail and his warriors, the events of which are attributed to the third century. Finn, Conan, Caeilte, Dermot, and Oisin have left obvious traces in the place-names. The Agallamh says that Cluan Chepain in the mountains of Echtghe was named from Chepan, son of Morna, who fell there.[1] The site is now forgotten, but was to the south of Lough Graney. The elopement of Dermot and Grainne, Finn's wife, has given many names. I have already recorded their association with dolmens,[2] at one of which, Tobergrania, the use of a flooded dolmen as a holy well has replaced the pagan lovers by two Christian ascetics from Feakle. Several hill tops are called Finn's Seat, viz. On Slieve Bernagh, on Inchiquin Hill, and a carn at Black Head. p.100

    [1] Silva Gadelica, vol. ii., p. 126.

    [2] Vol. xxiii., pp. 91-2.

    "County Clare Folk-Tales and Myths" (Folklore. Vol. 24: A Folklore Survey of County Clare, 1913)
    T.W. Westropp

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Solace in Winter. [1]
    Cailté:

    Chill the winter, cold the wind,
    Up the stag springs, stark of mind:
    Fierce and bare the mountain fells —
    But the brave stag boldly bells.

    He will not set side to rest
    On Sliav Carna's snowy breast;
    Echta's stag, also rousing,
    Hears wail of wolves carousing.

    Cailté I, and Diarmid Donn,
    Oft, with Oscar apt to run,
    When piercing night was paling,
    Heard rousing wolves a-wailing.

    Sound may sleep the russet stag,
    With his hide hid in the crag;
    Him, hidden, nothing aileth
    When piercing night prevaileth. p. 134-5

    [1] "Silva Gadelica." Colloquy with the Ancients

    "Bards of the Gael and Gall: examples of the poetic literature of Erinn, done into English after the metres and modes of the Gael." (1897)
    George Sigerson, M.D., F.R.U.I.

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Great nature exhibits her grand primeval forms, unhurt by the officious hand of tasteless art, "it seems the haunt of wood-gods only." During our passage across the mountain, we started innumerable large deer, who ramble over those hills, unrestrained by wall or fence, in all their wild original state.

    We left Silvermines this morning early; it required an exertion to part from so delightful a spot, and from such kind friends, to whose politeness we felt ourselves very much indebted. The road to Killaloe leads through a north tract of fertile country but thinly inhabited. We crossed the Shannon, over a bridge of nineteen arches, which connects the counties of Tipperary, Limerick, and Clare. Killaloe stands upon the latter; it excites no prepossessing ideas on approaching it, being a very old town, and with little or no trade. p.47-8.

    "Sketches of Some of the Southern Counties of Ireland, Collected During a Tour in the Autumn, 1797, in a Series of Letters." (1801)
    George Holmes

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    To O'Brien's bridge (by the low road, — woody with occasional glimpses of the river); Village, white; lower end of it pretty, in the sunshine; upper part of it squalid, deserted mostly: relief-work road, — half breadth cut away, and so left: duckwood ditches, drowned bog, inexpressibly ugly for most part, some cleared improved spot, abruptly alternating with the drowned squalor which produces only bad brown stacks of peat... Two drunk blockheads, stagger into a cross road to be alone; are seen kissing one another as we pass, — just Heaven, what a kiss, with the drowned bog, and gaping full ditches on each hand! Long meagre village, hungry single street "Castle Connell"—? p. 174

    Up the river; hills of Clare, hills in Limerick county; wide expanse, not without some savage beauty, far too bare, and too little of it absolutely green. Talk of Browne and his "blind farmers". Assassination of a poor old soldier he had sent to watch a certain farm; ominous menace before hand, then deed done, "done with an axe", no culprit discoverable. Killaloe, Bourke's house across the river among rather ragged woods. p. 178

    West side of Lough Derg: pleasant smooth-dry winding road. Clare hills stretching up, black-fretted, and with spots of culture, all treeless to perhaps 1500 or 2000 feet, gradually enough, on the left. Greener high hills on the other side of lake with extensive slate quarries, chief trade hereabouts... Hail shower, two policemen, on the terrace of the stony hills, A country that might all be very beautiful, but is not so, is bare, gnarled, craggy, and speaks to you of sloth and insolvency. "When every place was no place, and Dublin was a shaking bog"; Irish phrase for the beginning of time. p. 180

    "Reminiscences of my Irish Journey in 1849" (1899)
    Thomas Carlyle

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Many fine seats lie on the left of the road, towards the river, particularly Mount Shannon, the residence, at least the property of the Earl of Clare; and glimpses are also caught of several other fine domains and villas, amongst others, those belonging to the numerous family of Massey.

    I went as far as a holy well, dedicated to St. Senanus...the trees that over-shadowed the well were entirely covered with shreds of all colours — bits and clippings of gowns, and handkerchiefs, and petticoats, — remembrances also of those who drank. These, I believe, are the title-deeds to certain exemptions, or benefits, claimed by those who thus deposit them in the keeping of the patron saint, who is supposed to be thus reminded of the individuals whose penances might otherwise have been overlooked. I noticed among the offerings some strings of beads, and a few locks of hair.

    About two miles up the river from Castle Connell we reached O'Brien's bridge; an old bridge, with a castle, and small village, on the Clare side of the river. The bridge has thirteen arches, and is only interesting from its antiquity. There is a slight fall of water; but not so much as to occasion any difficulty or danger, either in ascending, or in shooting the arch. Beyond O'Brien's bridge, the country improves; fine cultivated hills appear at some little distance from the river; and although a deficiency of wood may be remarked, the views on either side present many sweet pictures of quiet pastoral scenery — verdant slopes, and drowsy cattle, and nodding water lilies, and here and there, a farm-house, and its more animated accompaniments. p. 315-320

    "Journey throughout Ireland, during the Spring, Summer, and Autumn of 1834." (Vol I, 1835)
    Henry D. Inglis

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Above the rapids, the river flows in a broad stream forty feet deep, but here it is broken into great flurries and whirlpools by the rocky bed, which rises in dark irregular masses above its surface, and the roar and the dash and the white foam and flying spray are very picturesque...We sat down for a time at the margin of the river and watched the changing water, and then set off to find St. Senan's well.

    This whole valley of the Shannon, from Killaloe to the sea, is dominated by the patron of this well, St. Senan, a holy man who died in 544...We sat for a long time before his shrine, looking at the tokens and the crutches, and wishing we had been there the day they were abandoned. To be made whole by faith is a wonderful thing, whatever form the faith may take, and I should like to have seen the faces of the cripples as they felt the miracle working within them, here in this obscure place. Unlettered they no doubt were, unable to read or write perhaps, believing this flat and stable earth the centre about which the universe revolves...p. 246-249

    "The charm of Ireland" (1914)
    Burton E. Stevenson

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    For many ages before the territory of Thomond was formed into a county by the English, it was divided into distinct districts by the native inhabitants. These divisions were conterminous with the possessions of the several families, and they appear to have been most accurately defined, and for the most part to have remained unchanged for several hundred years before the division into baronies made in the time of Elizabeth. When at the Synod of Rathbreasail, it was resolved to partition Ireland into dioceses and parishes, the bishops and clergy adhered, as much as possible to the boundaries as already existing between the territories of the various septs.[1] Although in ancient times much larger, in the sixteenth century Thomond was only co-extensive with the present county of Clare, except that it had, in addition, the parishes of Iniscaltra and Clonrush, now joined to the county of Galway, and the parish of Castleconnell, now forming part of the county of Limerick. p.1.

    [1] A.D. 1120 Boundaries of diocese of Limerick situate in county of Thomond: from Cuinic to Cross (Glannagross) in Sliabhoighigh-an-righ and Dubh Abhain (the Blackwater). - Keating. History of Ireland, page-101. Dublin, 1723.

    "The history and topography of the county of Clare, from the earliest times to the beginning of the 18th century." (1893)
    James Frost

    Source: Internet Archive

     

    Barony of Tulla or Tullagh Lower. A barony in the south-east of the county of Clare, Munster. It is bounded, on the north-west, by the barony of Upper Tulla; on the north, by the barony of Upper Tulla and the bay of Scariff; on the east, by Lough Derg and the river Shannon, which separates it from the counties of Tipperary and Limerick; on the south, by the county of Limerick, and the barony of Lower Bunratty; on the south-west, by the barony of Lower Bunratty; and on the west, by the baronies of Lower Bunratty and Upper Bunratty. Its greatest length, south-south-westward, is 14112 miles; its greatest breadth, in the opposite direction, is 10112; and its area is 78,381 acres, 19 perches, of which 5,416 acres, 1 perch are water. A considerable portion of the surface, particularly in the middle part of the northern border and the middle part of the south-western district, is mountainous and moorish; but most of the remainder, particularly along the Shannon and in the southern district, is aggregately good land. A large proportion, especially on Scariff bay, along Lough Derg, around Killaloe, along the Shannon, and around Lough Doon, is highly picturesque. The principal mountain summits, together with their respective altitudes above sea-level, are Knocknalecka, on the northern boundary, 818 feet; another height on the northern boundary, 1113 mile east of Knocknalecka, 1,019 feet; Glennagalliagh, in the parish of Killaloe, 1,746 feet; Glennagalliagh, on the boundary between the parishes of Killokennedy and O'Brien's-Bridge, 1,458 feet; a height 2 miles west-north-west of the city of Killaloe, 1,353 feet; Cragnamurragh, on the mutual border of the parishes Killokennedy and O'Brien's-Bridge, 1,729 feet; a height 1112 mile south-west of Kilbane, 1,181 feet; Knockaphunta, in the parish of Kilseely, 843 feet; a height 1114 west by north of Knockaphunta, 1,018 feet; and a height on the mutual border of the parish of St. Munchin's and a detached district of O'Brien's-Bridge, 875 feet. Loughs Bridget, Derrynone, Kilglory, Cullaunyheeda, and Castle lie on the boundaries; and Loughs Doon, Aroher, Clonlea, and Cloonbrick lie in the interior. p. 407-8.

    "The Parliamentary gazetteer of Ireland: adapted to the new poor-law, franchise, municipal and ecclesiastical arrangements, and compiled with a special reference to the lines of railroad and canal communication, as existing in 1844-45; and presenting the results, in detail, of the census of 1841, compared with that of 1831." (1846)

    Source: Internet Archive