definitions archive 1 • definitions archive 2
• definitions archive 3
• definitions archive 4
• definitions archive 5
• definitions archive 6
• definitions archive 7
• return to definitions front page
  • Kilchreest
    Photography © 2006
    Knockbeha Mountain
    Knockbeha Mountain

    The cantred of O'm-Bloid [1] of satin banners,
    Kings of Cliach of embattled tribes,
    The tribe of Ui-Tail, to the clear green stream,
    Is throughout the wide yewy plain.

    Over the Ui-Cearnaigh, [2] of noble career,
    Are the O'Echthigherns, of Maicniadh's [3] land,
    A spirited territory is under the fine youth,
    To the bright old stream of Sionainn.

    The wood of Ui-Ronghaile [4] of cleared land,
    O'Seanchain of the bright eyes possessed
    The land about all Eibhlinn,
    Like the fine smooth plain of Maonmagh. p. 127.

    [1] O'm-Bloid. This name is still preserved in the deanery of Omulloid, in the east of the country of Clare. The chief families of this territory were the O'Kennedys, O'Shanahans, O'Duracks, and O'Aherns, who were all driven out of it in 1318 by Turlogh O'Brien, in consequence of the assistance which they had given to De Clare.
    [2] Ui-Cearnaigh. This was the tribe name of the O'Echtigherns, now O'Aherns, and was, as usual, applied to their territory. It comprised the parish of Kilfinaghty and a considerable portion of the district lying between it and the city of Limerick. The name of this territory is still locally preserved in that of the river Ogarney, which intersects the little town of Six-mile-bridge, and unites with the Shannon near Bunratty.
    [3] Maicniadh's land. This was a bardic appellation of Munster.
    [4] Ui'Ronghaile - the country of Seanchain. This territory is frequently mentioned in the Caithreim Thoirdhealbaigh as the country of O'Shanahan, a chieftain of the Ui-Bloid who joined De Clare. He was driven out in the year 1318, and his country was given to his enemies, the Mac Namaras. Hy-Ronghaile comprised the parishes of Kilnoe and Killuran, and some of the adjoining districts; but its exact limits cannot now be determined.

    "The topographical poems of John O'Dubhagain and Giolla na naomh O'Huidhrin." (1862)
    Translation, notes, and introductory dissertations by John O'Donovan, LL.D., M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Tomorrow we enter Connaught, according to the old division by Queen Elizabeth (and indeed to that of nature),though by some freak of geography, Clare has since been given to Munster. Believe me, &c. &c.

    Newmarket on Ferg. Co. of Clare. Sept. 12, 1817.
    As we proceeded, the Clare mountains rose, and spread with many charms before us; light shadows, and yellow patches of grain, marked their green sides, as a graceful waving line terminated their summits. The road proved level and good, having these mountains on the right, and the Shannon at a distance on the left. Our way ran through fine meadows, spreading a great expanse of verdure, to the river; and as we began to ascend, a vast amphitheatre of mountains met the eye. The opposite banks of the prince of streams appeared, covered with rich woods, mansions, and here and there a towering and ruined castle. As we arrived at Crattogh-woods, we seemed lost in the picturesque of Wales, and a charming cottage nestling in them, completed the illusion. From a small chapel near, there is a prodigious fine view of the Shannon, enriched by surrounding scenery, on which the pleased eye dwells with rapture! p.374-5

    "Walks through Ireland in the years 1812, 1814, and 1817: described in a series of letters to an English gentleman." (1819)
    John Bernard Trotter

    Source: Internet Archive


    We were a night all together
    In the plain of the Hy-Cairbre;[1]
    Our only shelter, our only woods
    Were our strong leather cloaks.
    Music we had on the plain and in our tents,
    Listening to its strains we danced awhile
    There methinks a heavy noise was made,
    By the shaking of our hard cloaks.
    A night at the barren Cill-Da-Lua;[2]
    We next turned our faces towards Leath-Cuinn;[3]
    A night at Luimneach[4] of the azure stream
    We were a night at Ath-Caille,[5]
    On the very brink of the Shannon:
    A night at the strong Ceann-Coradh;[6] p. 45, 47.

    [1]. The plain of Hy-Cairbre was the level country extending from the River Shannon towards Kilmallock, in the present county of Limerick.
    [2]. Cill Dalua — i.e. the church of St. Dalua or Luanus, now the town of Killaloe, on the Shannon, in the S. E. of the county of Clare.
    [3]. Leath Cuinn — i.e. "Conn's half," so called from Conn of the hundred battles, who ruled over it in the second century. The southern half of Ireland was called Leath Mogha, i.e. Mogh's half, from Mogh Nuadhat, King of Munster, who, after having defeated Conn, monarch of Ireland, in ten battles, compelled him to divide Ireland into two equal portions, of which Conn was to have the government of the northern half, and himself that of the southern.
    [4]. Luimneach Is still the Irish name for the city of Limerick. It was originally the name of that part of the River Shannon extending from the city of Limerick to its mouth, as is clear from many ancient Irish documents.
    [5]. Ath-Coille — i.e. Woodford. There is no place on the brink of the Shannon, near Limerick, now bearing this name. We cannot assume it to be the Ath-Coille, or Woodford, in the south of the county of Galway, as that place is several miles from the River Shannon. It must have been the ancient name of some place near Dunass or O'Brien's Bridge, between Limerick and Killaloe.
    [6]. Ceann Coradh - i. e. head of the weir, generally anglicised Kincora, was the name of a hill in the present town of Killaloe, on which the King of Thomond erected a palace. It is well known to the readers of Irish history as the palace of the celebrated Brian Boru, monarch of Ireland. It was demolished, and its materials, both stone and wood, hurled into the Shannon by Turlogh O'Conor, King of Connaught, in the year 1118. Dutton, in his statistical account of the county of Clare, confounds Ceann Coradh with the fort of Beal Borumha, which still remains situated about one mile to the north of the site of the palace of Ceann Coradh. But of Ceann Coradh palace itself, which extended from the present Roman Catholic chapel to the brow of the hill over the bridge, not a vestige remains. The name is still retained in Kincora

    "The Circuit of Ireland, by Muircheartach Mac Neill, Prince of Aileach" (a poem written in the year DCCCCXLII. by Cormacan Eigeas, Chief Poet of the North of Ireland. Translation and Notes, by John O'Donovan, 1861)

    Source: Internet Archive


    The well-known Cratloe Wood still lives in Kilfintinan. It was of old renown: the army of King Murchad "of the Leather Coats", in 940, found it Cretshallach, the worst pass during their "circuit of Ireland". p. 281

    We have grants of oaks from Cratellauch to Godfrey Luttrel in 1215; and it was sold to Philip Marc, four years later for 20 ounces of gold. Prince Murchad O'Brien, after his useless conference with Richard de Clare at Limerick in 1318, traversed "the Cratalachs — thick, sheltering, fruitful-branched, mast-abounding woods"; and his remote descendant Conor O'Brien, Prince of Thomond, in 1536 (alarmed by the taking of Carrigogunnell Castle, and the threatened advance of Lord Grey), felled its trees across the passes to stop the English, or at least their cannon, from entering his domains. p. 282

    "The forests of the Counties of the Lower Shannon Valley" (Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Vol. XXVII, Section C, No 13, 1909)
    Thomas Johnson Westropp

    Source: Internet Archive


    In May, 1891, at Plassy, some few miles up the Shannon from Limerick, it was my fortune to obtain a pupa of the Hornet Clearwing (Trochilium crabroniformis), which emerging the following month, produced the only specimen of the moth then recorded from this district. Going there this year I found the willow from which I had obtained it had been blown down, and as the stem seemed a good investment from an entomological point of view, I determined to secure it.

    From the 17th to the 28th of the month I was rewarded by the appearance of fourteen perfect insects, eleven being males, and three females. The production of unwelcome visitors as earwigs, woodlice, centipedes, slugs, worms, etc., was immense, at times almost alarming in one's house!

    Going to Cratloe again on the 15th July, a deformed Purple Hair-Streak (Thecla quercus) was found by my son under an oak tree in the grass. Keeping a look-out we soon noticed more fortunate individuals flying about the tops of oak trees, but entirely out of our reach. They continued on the wing until August 12th (possibly later), and I obtained a fair number of specimens. About four o'clock in the afternoons they become very active, playing with and chasing their companions in groups of from two to six or eight, and then is the collector's opportunity, as in so doing they frequently come within his reach, and he may, as I frequently did, secure several at one stroke of the net. A light handle, some ten feet long, I found a great help in dealing with this "high-flyer.' Silver-washed Fritillaries (Argynnis paphia), were very abundant all through the wood, the only variety obtained being a specimen in very good condition, in which the right pair of wings are female, and the left male. - Francis Neale, Limerick. p. 169-170

    "The Irish Naturalist" (Vol. I., 1892)
    Edited by George H. Carpenter, B.Sc, Lond. and R. Lloyd Praeger, B.A., B.E., M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Sarsfield... left Limerick on the night of Sunday, the 10th of August, for Killaloe. His route lay through Harold's Cross, near Blackwater; a sweet and romantic spot, which to this day is invested with picturesque charms which are universally admired...The cavalcade passed through Bridgetown and Ballycorney, the Shannon being all the time on their right... till they reached Killaloe... passing down by Law's Fields, at the back of the town, beyond the bridge, they crossed the ford between the Pier Head and Ballyvalley. This was one of the only two fords which were on the Shannon, about Killaloe at this period — the other ford was at Clarisford[1]. An old road ran to the Keeper mountains through the village of Ballina. p. 231

    [1] Within the last thirty years some changes have been made in the fall river by the Commissioners of the Shannon Navigation, and the ford at Ballyvalley is somewhat altered.

    "Limerick; its history and antiquities, ecclesiastical, civil, and military, from the earliest ages, with copious notes and illustrations. Comp. from the ancient annals, the most authentic MS. and printed records, recent researches, etc., etc." (1866)
    Maurice Lenihan, Esq.

    Source: Internet Archive


    One side of this County is water'd by the Shanon, the noblest river in all Ireland; which (as we observed) runs between Meth and Conaught. Ptolemy calls it Senus, Orosius Sena, and in some Copies Sacana; and Giraldus, Flumen Senense. The Inhabitants thereabouts call it the Shannon. It rises in the County of Trim, out of the mountains of Therne; from whence, as it runs Southward, it grows very broad in some places, like a Lake. Then, it contracts it self into a narrow stream, and after it has made a lake or two, it gathers-in it self again, and runs to Macolicum, mentioned in Ptolemy, now call'd Malc, as the most learned Geographer G. Mercator has observ'd. [But Sir James Ware declares, that he could not find any place of that name; unless it may be Milick by the river Shannon; which is in the County of Galway.]

    Soon after, the Shannon is received by another broad lake (called Lough Regith,) the name and situation whereof make it probable, that the City Rigia (which Ptolemy places in this Country) stood not far off. When it has pass'd this lake, it contrasts it self again within its own banks, and runs by the town of Athlon, of which in its proper place. From hence the Shanon, having passed the Cataract at Killalo... carries ships of the greatest burthen; and, dividing its stream, encompasses the city of Limerick. From hence a direct course of threescore miles (wherein it makes an Island here and there, and is broad; and deep) it runs very swiftly to the West. Where-ever it is fordable at low water, it has been guarded with little Forts by our provident forefathers, to secure the country against inroads and plunder. Then, it falls from a huge mouth into the Western Ocean, beyond Knoc-Patrick, i.e. Patricks-hill; for so Necham calls it in these Verses upon the Shanon:

    Great streams do Ireland's happy tracts adorn,
    Shanon between Conaught and Munster's born.
    By Limerick's walls he cuts his boundless way,
    And at Knoc-Patrick's shore is lost i' th' sea. p. 1375-1376

    "Britannia, or, A chorographical description of Great Britain and Ireland, together with the adjacent islands." (Vol. II., 1722)
    William Camden

    Source: Internet Archive


    ...Senan was not the real name of the river. In Ptolomy's map it is called Senus, but the Irish name for it was Sionna (Life of Fintan of Clonenagh, cap. 3.) or Seinnon, which used to be latinized into Sinannus or Sinennus, as we find it written in the second Life of Senan himself, in which he is constantly called Senanus. p. 96

    "An ecclesiastical history of Ireland, from the first introduction of Christianity among the Irish to the beginning of the thirteenth Century." (Vol. II, 1822)
    The Rev. John Lanigan. D.D.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The well of St Senan is a modern structure in a neat grove. It is loaded with china and other offerings, and is the resort of hundreds of pilgrims and visitors on August 15th each year. The saint's own day, on March 8th, the day of the patron of Iniscatha, is but little observed. Nearer to the river bank is the graveyard with a late 15th century church. Near its N.W. gable is a venerable fallen hawthorn covered with rags and beads; and in the rock before it is a bullan or basin, also an object of pilgrimage. No history is preserved of the origin or founder of Kiltinanlea church. It is dedicated to "Senan the Hoary", reputed to be a brother of the famous St Senan of Iniscatha, but some fancy him a personification of the foam-sheeted river beside the ruin.

    A short walk through the demesne leads along the river bank to the "Turret Rock", commanding a fine view of the Salmon Leap, and rapids. It is the "Rock of Astanen" in Elizabethan documents. Dun Easa Danainne in Irish annals. No trace remains of the fort, nor, for that matter, of the Mac Namaras' Castle, which was still standing on the rock in 1655; it was destroyed for material to make the terraces and the ruined turret by Sir Hugh Dillon Massy, the 2nd Baronet of Doonass, about the beginning of the last century. The great rounded mountain, seen up the river, over Castleconnell, is the Keeper, or Kimalta, the chief of the Silvermine and Slievephelim range. p. 27-28

    "The Antiquities of Limerick and its Neighbourhood" (1916)
    T. J. Westropp

    Source: Internet Archive


    At Castle Connell are the noble ruins of an ancient castle situated on an eminence which was once the seat of the O'Briens, kings of Munster. The grandson of Brien Boiromhe who was murdered here by the Prince of Thomond, who leaving his followers at the opposite side of the Shannon, was received with unsuspecting friendship; they, however, came over in the night, surprized the grandson of Brien, put out his eyes, and murdered him! When the English landed in Ireland this castle was granted to Richard de Burgo, Earl of Ulster known by the name of the Red Earl, on conditions of repairing and fortifying it, and from him it descended to William de Burgo, the last Earl of Ulster of that family who being murdered at Carrick-on-Suir, Castle Connell with all his other estates should have devolved on his daughter the Duchess of Clarence, but was withheld by collateral branches of the family. p. 292-3.

    "The History, Topography and Antiquities of the county and city of Limerick. Vol. I." (1826)
    Rev. P. Fitzgerald

    Source: Internet Archive


    Few of the Anglo-Norman adventurers who accompanied Strongbow and Henry II in the twelfth century acquired such possessions in Ireland, or attained to such honours and power, as the family of De Burgh or De Burgo; or as the name came to be spelled subsequently, Burke or Bourke. The progenitor of this powerful family was William Fitz-Adelm de Burgh, who got immense grants of land from Henry in Leinster, Munster and Connaught. His Lordship in Munster included the most fertile portions of the present counties of Limerick and Tipperary, called after him the Baronies of West and East Clanwilliam.

    Castleconnell, picturesquely situated on a rock overlooking the Shannon, about six miles north of Limerick, became the principal castle of the Bourkes in West Clanwilliam.

    This was the ancient seat of the O'Conaings, and took their name Caislean-ui-Chonaine. It subsequently fell into the possession of the O'Briens of Thomond.

    King John made a grant of Castleconnell, with five knights' fees, to William de Burgh, who erected a strong castle there. Walter De Burgh, about the end of the thirteenth century, considerably enlarged and strengthened this castle, which was the chief stronghold of his descendants at the end of the sixteenth century.

    The Lords of Castleconnell and Brittas were descended from Edmond (Mac-an-Iarla), a younger son of Richard De Burgh, "The Red Earl of Ulster," whose father Walter, through his marriage with Maud, only daughter and heiress of Hugh De Lacey, had succeeded to the Earldom of Ulster and Lordship of Meath. p. 192.

    "The Burkes of Clanwilliam" (1890)
    James Grene Barry, J.P.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Leaving Waterford Station, along the Suir Valley, we traverse hilly ground formed of Old Red sandstone and conglomerate, and then enter an undulating pastoral vale of Drift-covered Carboniferous limestone, with occasional cuttings in the rock on our way to Carrick-on-Suir and Clonmel. The Comeragh Mountains (Old Redsandstone and Ordovician) rise in places more than 2000 feet to the south, and similar rocks form the heights on the north, with Slievenaman (2364 feet).

    Beyond Clonmel we see on the south-west the irregular outlines of the Knockmealdown Mountains (Old Red sandstone), but the railway traverses the Carboniferous limestone and Drift to Caher. To the west the fine range of the Galtee Mountains (3015 feet), formed of Old Red sandstone and Ordovician, extends to near Caher. Beyond that town we pass through a cutting in Old Red sandstone on the borders of the Suir, and then traverse a low-lying grass country, the "Golden Vale," a part of the Central Plain, mainly Carboniferous limestone thickly overspread with Drift sand and gravel.

    Before reaching Tipperary we cross a belt of Old Red sandstone, which rises to the south-west of the town at Slievenamuck (1215 feet). Thence past Limerick Junction to Limerick, although the underground geology is varied by the presence of igneous rocks interbedded with and intrusive in the Carboniferous limestone, we pass over a flat or slightly undulating and for the most part Drift-covered district, famous for its dairy-farms. p. 167.

    "Stanford's Geological Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland. [Based on Reynalds' Geological Atlas] with plates of characteristic fossils. Preceded by descriptions of the geological structure of Great Britain and Ireland and their countries, and of the features observable along the principal lines of railway." (1907)
    Horace B. Woodward, F.R.S., F.G.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Gaelic form is Luimneach (pron. Limnagh), which was formally applied to a portion of the Shannon, and thence to the city (like Dublin, Sligo, Galway, etc.).

    The northeastern corner lying east of the Shannon and Limerick city is mountainous, covered by a continuation of that Tipperary group whose principal summit is Keeper Hill.

    In the north-east, separated from the Tipperary Mountains on the north by the narrow vale of the Clare River, the Slievefelim Mountains, or Slieve Eelim (sometimes also called the Twelve Hills of Evlinn), run east and west through the north part of the barony of Owneybeg, the chief summits being Cullaun (1,523), toward the east end; and about 3 miles east of this again rises the detached mountain, Knockastanna (1,467), separated from Cullaun by the valley of the Bilboa River.

    In the northeast of the county the Mulkear (or Mulkern as it is sometimes called), joins the Shannon about halfway between Limerick city and Castleconnell.

    "Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland. Part I: A comprehensive delineation of the thirty-two counties." (1905)
    P.W. Joyce, LL.D.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Tuath-Luimnigh[1] about the noble Sionainn,
    Two chiefs are over it on one side.
    O'Cadhla and O'Maille the swift,
    Beautiful ravens of the two inbhers.

    Ui-Aimrit,[2] land of hospitality,
    Is hereditary to the sept of the O'Duibhidhirs;
    Their acquisition is far over Cliach;
    They are a branch in every ford.

    O'Cedfadha, of the pure heart,
    Is over the cantred of the Caladh;[3]
    The sept of Cluain, chosen by Tal,
    The beautiful plain of O'Cedfadha. p. 129

    [1] Tuath Luimnigh, A district verging on the city of Limerick. O'Cadhla is now anglicised Kealy, and O'Maille, O'Malley.
    [2] Ui Aimrit or Ui Aimeirt. The situation of this sept is unknown. O'Duibhidhir, now O'Dwyer, was seated in the present barony of Kilnamanagh, in the county of Tipperary; but this appears to be a different family.
    [3] Caladh is on the north side of the river Shannon, near the city of Limerick, and extends from the Shannon to the southern boundary of the parish of Kilmurry na-Gaul. O'Ceadfadha is now anglicised Keating, but the true form would be O'Keaty.

    "The topographical poems of John O'Dubhagain and Giolla na naomh O'Huidhrin. Translation, notes, and introductory dissertations." (1862)
    John O'Donovan, LL.D., M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    ...when Patrick was preaching to the Hy Fidhgente, and baptizing them at Donaghmore of Cinel Dine, the Corco Baiscinn came with their King Bolc, son of Derc, in a great sea fleet over Luimnech from the north...

    ...They came southwards across the Luimnech, which was the ancient name of the Shannon from the city of Limerick to the sea, and must have landed somewhere in the vicinity of Foynes. They then proceeded to Donaghmore of Maghaine, or Cinel Dine. It would seem as if these descriptive epithets were added on, to distinguish this Donaghmore from another in the territory. It might have been in the district of Shanagolden and disappeared during the Danish wars. After preaching and baptizing them St. Patrick went to the hill of Finne or Fidhne, from which he saw their country and blessed it. From this hill he also saw the Atlantic ocean; Slieve Elbe, the ancient name of Slieve Elva, in the parish of Killonaghan, barony of Burren, Co. Clare; Slieve Echtge, or Aughty, on the frontiers of Clare and Galway; and Scattery Island in the mouth of the Shannon. pp. 31-33

    "The Diocese of Limerick, Ancient and Medieval" (1906)
    Rev. John Begley, C.C.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Early in the ninth century, we hear of a great slaughter of the "Gentiles," by the men of Munster (813); and Corc, chief of Thomond at that time, is described by Brian[1] as "the man who first routed the foreigners in eight great battles." In 834, the Danish fleet came up the Shannon, and ravaged Corcovaskin and Tradree.[2] Three years later, Iniscaltra was plundered, but the Dalcais[3] defeated the foe in a naval battle on Lough Derg. For a generation we have no further record of raids on Clare, and there was evidently a lull after the death of Turgeis (843); but in 866, Baraid and Amlaffson, with the Dublin fleet ravaged all Mumhan (perhaps Thomond), to Corcomroe and Loop Head,[4] and slew Cermad, chief of Corcovaskin. Twenty years later, Tomgraney was ravaged by the Danes. In 908, Tomrar Mac Elge,[5] the Danish King of Limerick, attacked Iniscaltra and Muckinish on a raid to Clonmacnoise. In 916, there was another great raid, but the men of Corcovaskin joined the men of Kerry, routed the foreigners, and slew "Rot, Pudarall, and Smuralt," their leaders. Despite their severe defeat at Singland (close to their city of Limerick), by Callaghan, King of Cashel, the foreigners attacked Iniscaltra, in 922, and "drowned" its relics and shrines - let us hope these may some day be recovered from the safe keeping of Lough Derg - they also plundered the other churches on the lake; and in 969, Tomgraney was again destroyed.[6] In 964, the men of Thomond suffered defeat and great slaughter in a naval fight on the Shannon; though Brian ravaged the Danes from Lough Derg to the Fergus, and all Tradree. At last fortune turned in the year after the death of Cormac Ua Cuillen, the restorer of Tomgraney Abbey (964). Mahon, King of Thomond, and his brother Brian, gained the victory of Sulloghod, and took Limerick; and in 977, Brian reduced the Danish settlements along the Shannon in Tradree, Inismore, and Inisdadrum. p. 105

    [1] "Wars of the G. and G.," p. 67.
    [2] Ibid.
    [3] "Chron. Scotorum."
    [4] Ibid.
    [5] "Annals Inisfallen."
    [6] "Wars of the G. and G.," p. 39.

    "The Churches of County Clare, and the Origin of the Ecclesiastical Divisions of that County" (1900)
    T. J. Westropp, M. A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Limerick (O.N. Hlymrek)[1], the great stronghold on the west coast, had no existence as a city before the ninth century. It was first occupied during the reign of Turgeis by Vikings, who used the harbour as a base for their ships.[2] The only chieftains mentioned in connection with this kingdom during the ninth century are Hona and Tomrir Torra (O.N. Thórarr Thórri), who were slain about the year 860 in attempting to capture Waterford.[3] A few years later Barith (O.N. Barthr) and Haimar (O.N. Heimarr) when marching through Connacht on their way to Limerick, were attacked by the Connachtmen and forced to retreat.[4] The real importance of Limerick, however, dates from the early part of the tenth century when it was colonised by Vikings under Tomar (Thórir) son of Elgi (O.N. Helgi). p. 23

    During the tenth century Limerick stood in close connection with the Scandinavian Kingdom in the Hebrides.[5] p. 25

    It is also interesting to note that the second element in the names of the three provinces, Ulster, Leinster and Munster is derived from the O.N. stathir (plural of stathr, 'a place'), while the name Ireland (O.N. Iraland) is Scandinavian in form and replaced the old Irish word Eríu during the Viking period. p. 28

    [1] The Irish name Luimnech (hence O.N. Hlymrek) was originally applied to the estuary of the Shannon, but was afterwards confined to the town itself when it had risen to importance under Scandinavian rule.
    [2] Annals of the Four Masters, A.D. 843; War of the Gaedhil with the Gaill, p. 8.
    [3] Three Fragments of Annals, pp. 167, 144-6. War of the Gaedhil with the Gaill, ch. 23.
    [4] Three Fragments of Annals, pp. 173-175; Chronicon Scotorum, A.D. 887.
    [5] Steenstrup: Normannerne, III., p. 213.

    "Scandinavian Relations with Ireland During the Viking Period" (1922)
    A. Walsh

    Source: Internet Archive


    When a country is lifted above the sea, as a plateau or as a mass of folded hills, the weather works away at it, the water gathers along certain weaker places, and streams run on its surface in valleys which become deeper as time goes on. P 49

    The Shannon rises in the water condensed on the high moors of Cuilcagh, nearly 2,000 feet above the sea, and drops 1,800 feet to Lough Allen, among gloomy hills. When it runs out of the lake, it wanders among drumlins away into the limestone plain.

    The fine wide water of Lough Ree sends the Shannon on its course as a noble river at Athlone. Then comes a winding stretch down to Portumna, with frequent grassy islands. The Suck, which rises far north near Castlereagh, and runs down parallel with the Shannon, comes in above Banagher, and adds a great flow of water from the plains of Galway. The Shannon valley at Portumna, between Slieve Aughty and Slieve Bloom, has a width of forty miles. In Lough Derg we find the remains of the older and narrower valley, for the river has not been able to sweep away the Old Red Sandstone and slate on either side. At Killaloe there is a picturesque passage through the hills.

    The drop to Limerick is fairly steep, producing the foaming rapids of Castleconnell, which prevent the steamers that run from Banagher from coming farther south than Killaloe. At Limerick we reach the drowned part of the valley. p. 51-52

    "Ireland: the Land and the Landscape: A Geography for Schools and Travellers" (1914)
    Grenville A. J. Cole, F.G.S., M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The shores of Lough Derg were examined from Dromineer to the end of Youghal Bay.

    Gerantium columninum appeared native on limestone rocks near Shannonvale. On the north shore of Youghal Bay Inula Salicina was found. This is the most southerly station yet known for this rarity, and I doubt if it will be found further south on Lough Derg, as the limestone here gives way to the inhospitable Old Red Sandstone.

    Next day I struck south over the low ground to Silvermines, under a threatening sky. The Silvermines Mountains were crossed in drenching mist, and by the time I got down into the grand glen of the Mulkear River it was evident that it was hopeless to attempt work on the high grounds of Keeper, which towered up into the driving clouds, so I worked down stream. Additional stations for Oenanthe crocata and Lepidium hirtum were found. The clouds rose as I cleared the mountains, and I worked across to Killaloe, where Petasites fragrans, unrecorded for VII., was seen; also Festuca Myuros in both Tipperary and Clare. A rapid reconnoitring of the Arra Mountains and an evening walk to Birdhill brought a 30-mile day to a conclusion. p. 138

    "Botanical Exploration in 1899. The Irish Naturalist." (1900)
    R. Lloyd Praeger, B.A., M.R.I. A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Shannon, in Ireland, the third river of the kingdom in the extent of its basin, is the first in the length of its navigation. p. 177

    From the head of Lough Allen to the foot of Lough Derg, a distance of 131 miles, it descends at the rate of little more than four inches per mile. But between the last named point and Limerick, the inclination of its bed changes considerably, and gradually increases, till it reaches a fall of seventeen feet per mile, between the towns of Castle Connel and Castle Troy. It is here that the great stream, 300 yards wide, and forty feet deep, pours its body of water through and above a congregation of huge rocks and stones, extending nearly half a mile, and forms the magnificent rapids of Doonas, where the navigation is conducted by a lateral artificial canal. Inglis, a wanderer in many lands, had never heard of these rapids before he arrived in the neighbourhood; but ranks them in grandeur and effect above either the waterfalls of Wales, or the Giessbach in Switzerland. p. 178

    "The British Islands: Their Physical Geography and Natural History" (1874)
    Rev. Thomas Milner. M.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    There is... no well-defined watershed in the country, with rivers radiating from it. It seems much a matter of chance whether a stream rising in one of the central counties should run into the Irish Channel or the Atlantic The plain is, in fact, a sort of gathering ground for the waters that trickle from the surrounding hills, and for the sand and gravel that they wash down. p. 2.

    The Shannon, after its first rapid drop from Cuilcagh, a scarp of Upper Carboniferous Sandstone in Fermanagh, becomes essentially a river of the plain. It wanders south through the broad limestone country, in an independent and unbounded fashion, now and again expanding into lakes, which are enlarged by the actual solution of their shores. At the south end of Lough Derg, it cuts across the local anticlines, amid mountain-scenery at Killaloe; but it then winds again over ledges of limestone to Castleconnell and the Atlantic. p. 9.

    "The Topography and Geology of Ireland" (in "Ireland: Industrial and Agriculture", William P. Coyne ed., 1902)
    Grenville A. J. Cole, F.G.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    General Account of the Area and its Superficial Deposits. The dominant physiographical feature of the district is the great River Shannon, which enters the map on the north-east, flows south-westward for five miles, and then bending west-ward, takes a sinuous course across the map into its estuary. The river is affected by the tides up to about two miles above Limerick; but from above its westerly bend to the place where it enters the map near Castleconnell its current is swift, and broken in places into picturesque rapids by rocky ledges, so that continuous navigation is impossible. Communication between the more placid waters above and below this broken reach is carried on by means of a canal lying to the west of the river. In the upper part of its course this canal follows a pre-glacial hollow deeply filled with drift, but on joining the Blackwater River it leaves this hollow which, however, is continued southward to the Shannon at the great bend. p. 2. would appear that the river has attained its present dimensions only since Glacial times. Although its present course between Killaloe and the intake of the canal at O'Brien's Bridge probably coincides with a pre-glacial valley, the river loses touch with this valley before reaching Castleconnell and has cut a new channel for itself across a hummocky lowland of Carboniferous Limestone and Glacial drift; and not until it reaches Limerick does the river permanently recover the pre-glacial hollow. p. 3.

    "The Geology of the Country around Limerick." (1907)
    G. W. Lamplugh, F.R.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The ice, tending to move southwards, here met with obstructions to its course by the uprising of the Slieve Boughta, and Slieve Bernagh Hills on the one side, and the Maugher Slieve and Slieve Bloom Mountains on the other. On approaching Slieve Boughta, the most advanced of these barriers, the stream was forced to divide; one branch trended in the direction of the Shannon mouth, and the other was forced to move right across the Shannon Valley near Portumna, and N. of Nenagh, where observations show a SE. course. In taking this direction, however, the stream had to cross the neck which connects Slieve Bloom and Maugher Slieve, over which it passed and escaped into the open plain of Tipperary and Kilkenny. p. 244

    "The Physical Geology & Geography of Ireland" (1878)
    Edward Hull, M.A., F.R.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    After lunch, the members left, at 2 o'clock p.m., in chars-a-bancs, for Killaloe, passing through Clonlara and visiting the Turret Rock and falls of the Shannon at Doonass, the ancient Eas Danainne. The Church of Kiltinanlea near this, with its rock cut basin, holy tree (hung with rags and other objects), and St Senan's well were examined. They proceeded past Brien's Bridge, getting fine views of Craglea and the other mountains, to the great earthen fort of Beal Borumha, and eventually visited St Flannan's Cathedral and the early stone roofed oratory at Killaloe. They returned by the east bank of the Shannon, seeing Castleconnell on the way and the peel tower of Newcastle. p. 192.

    Driving past Ardsollas, the party was met by Lord Inchiquin at the Langough Wood gate of Dromoland, and examined the huge three-walled hill fort, or rather town, of Moghane, from which a wide and beautiful view was obtained from the mountains of Burren and Aughty to the Galtees. p. 193.

    The party left at 10 o'clock a.m. for Loch Gur, passing the curious round Castle of Rathurd (the Rath arda Suird of the Book of Rights, circa A.D. 900, the Rath-Siward of Norse and early Norman documents); and Carnarry (Carn Fhearadhaigh), the northern limit of the Dalcassian kingdom before Lughaidh Meann and his son, Conall Eachluath (A.D. 350-377) annexed to Thomond much of the present Co. Clare and the territory of the Tuath Luimnigh (from which Limerick is named) on the south bank of the Shannon. p. 196.

    "Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland" (1916)
    Thomas Johnson Westropp

    Source: Internet Archive


    More to the centre, a great number of isolated patches of this sandstone break through the general flatness of the limestone country. Especially in Longford and Roscommon; but the greatest development of it, withen that district, is in the range of mountains which, under different names of Slieve Boughta, Silvermines, Slieve Bloom. the Arra, Slieve Phelim &c., occupies considerable area in the in the counties Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary, and of the Queen's County, extending north and south from Limerick to near Loughrea, and eastwards to near Mountmellick. p. 167.

    The central and highest points of the several portions of these mountains are of clay-slate; the flanks and general mass are old red sandstone, whilst the edge is fringed with the newer or yellow sandstone, on which the limestone of the surrounding level country rests. Through a gorge in this mountain range, at Killaloe, the Shannon rushes, its vast waters being precipitated from the level expanse of Lough Derg down the rapids of Doonas and Castletroy towards Limerick. pp. 167-8.

    "The Industrial Resources of Ireland" (1845)
    Robert Kane

    Source: Internet Archive


    The next of the three ranges consists of the hills called Slieve Bloom (1733 feet), the Devil's Bit (1583 feet), and the Keeper (2278 feet), and their connecting ridges. They are all composed of Lower Silurian rocks, with an unconformable envelope of Old Red Sandstone round their base, patches of the same rock being sometimes left on the summits of the hills.

    The third range may be said to be formed of the Slieve Aughta (1243 feet), the Slieve Bernagh (1746 feet), and the Slieve Arra (1517 feet), which are of precisely similar constitution with the hills of the second range. Slieve Arra, indeed, is only separated from the Keeper group by a narrow limestone valley, not so wide, in fact, as the one which intervenes between Slieve Bernagh and Slieve Aughta.

    ...limestone and Coal-measure hills are separated from the Slieve Aughta and Slieve Bernagh by a low limestone tract, spreading from Galway, past Gort and Ennis, to the Lower Shannon, the watershed of which is in the neighbourhood of Gort, and is in some places not higher than 150 feet above the sea. It is a branch of this low limestone country which runs out to Lough Derg by Scariff, between the Slieve Aughta and Slieve Bernagh hills. pp. 380-81.

    "On the Mode of Formation of some of the River-valleys in the South of Ireland" (1862)
    J.Beete Jukes, Esq., M.A., F.R.S., F.G.S. (Local Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland, &c.)

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Silurian. The rocks of this System occur inside a series of inliers surrounded by Old Red Sandstone, dotted about in the wide area of Carboniferous strata of the North-eastern and Central parts of the Province, in the area of Clogher on the west, and of Waterford to the east. The following areas demand description: Lough Graney, Slieve Bernagh, the Silvermine Mountains, Slieve-Felim, and the Devil's Bit; Slieve Galty; Slievenaman; The Comeragh Mountains; Clogher Head and Dingle.

    Everywhere the rocks are green, grey, or blue grits, slates, and flags, with beds of sandstone, rare limestones, and black slates. The slates are especially quarried and utilized in Clare, Cork, Kerry, and Tipperary. At Lough Graney the beds answer this description; they are imperfectly cleaved, and, about Scalpnagown, contain beds of volcanic ash and breccia, and masses of felsite, andesite, and amygdaloidal diabase, some of which are intrusive, but others are undoubtedly lavas of contemporaneous date. No fossils have hitherto been found in these rocks, and their exact age is unknown. In the Slieve Bernagh range occur compact green grits, purple and green slates, quartzo-felspathic sandstones, with olive and red clay rocks; fossils are fairly abundant. pp. 81-82.

    "Guide to the collections of rock and fossils belonging to the Geological Survey of Ireland (arranged in Room 3, E. of the Museum of Science and Art, Dublin)" (1895)
    A. Mc Henry, M.R.I.A., and W.W. Watts, M.A. F.G.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Old Red Sandstone is magnificently developed in the south-west of Ireland, supporting first the Carboniferous Slate, or Devonian form of the Carboniferous Limestone; then the Carboniferous Limestone itself, in its various modifications, as we trace it from south to north.

    The Old Red Sandstone, however, dies away as we proceed from S. W. to N. E., until in Carlow, Kildare, and Dublin, the Carboniferous limestone rests directly on the Old Granitic and Silurian floor, with only two or three occasional small patches of Red Sandstone and conglomerate at its base, which can be assigned to the Old Red Sandstone. On the west the Old Red Sandstone retains more of its southern importance up to the latitude of Galway Bay. It is well seen on the flanks of Slieve Bloom and Slieve Aughta, where it is still several hundred feet thick. These are obviously the upper beds only of the Cork and Kerry Old Red, the lower thousands of feet having never been deposited on the north. p. 7-8.

    "On the Subdivisions of The Carboniferous Formation in Central Ireland" (1866)
    J. Beete Jukes, M A., F. R. S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Cratloe Hills lie to the north of the city of Limerick, in the County of Clare. In them there is a long narrow exposure of Cambro-Silurian rock, bounded, on the north, by a very continuous fault which can be traced eastward across the valley of the Shannon into Limerick, Tipperary, and perhaps even the King's County; its course being past Birdhill, Silvermines, and Toomavara, into the country near Moneygall. p. 31.

    To the N.E. of the Cratloe Hills are Slieve Bernagh (County Clare) and Slieve Arra (County Tipperary), separated from one another by the south arm of Lough Derg. In Slieve Arra and the eastern portion of Slieve Bernagh, the Cambro-Silurian rocks seem to belong to the Ballymoney series.p. 32.

    Slieve Aughta lies to the north of Slieve Bernagh, at the junctions of the Counties Clare and Galway. In the south, or Clare portion of the group, the rocks belong to the Ballymoney series, and, near Lough Graney, have eurites or gabbros associated with them. In the north, or Galway part of the group, the rocks principally belong to the Dark Shale series. p. 33.

    "Manual of the Geology of Ireland" (1878)
    G. Henry Kinahan, M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Between Broadford and Killaloe rises the range of the Slieve Bernagh, separated from the Arra Mountains by the long, narrow channel of the southern portion of Lough Derg and the Shannon. Craig Mountain, 1729 ft. above Killaloe, is, next to Glennagalliagh, 1746, the highest point of the Slieve Bernagh, which is continued to the S.W. nearly to Six Mile Bridge, and separated by a narrow valley from the Cratloe Hills that rise immediately N. of Limerick. Divided from the Arra Hills by the valley of the Kilmastullagh River are the Silvermine Mountains, which are themselves cut off by another valley called Glen Collos from Mount Keeper (2278 ft.), visible for an enormous extent of country. The Slieve Phelim Mountains, a portion of the same group, are conspicuous features as the traveller passes along Limerick and Waterford Rly., and keep company with him the whole distance to Limerick Junction, stretching away to the N., and occupying a very large area between Nenagh, Tipperary, and Cashel. p. xiii.

    "Handbook for Travellers in Ireland" (1864)
    John Murray

    Source: Internet Archive

  the centre of Ireland, several isolated areas of Silurian grits and slates occur, cropping out from beneath the newer strata which surround them; they form groups of low hills which overlook a wide extent of the adjoining country, the latter being flat and low-lying. In these hills, therefore, is exhibited the phenomenon of rocks, stratigraphically lower and older, forming the higher ground.

    Such tracts - inliers - denuded of their former covering, are to be seen at Rooskey, Longford, and Chair of Kildare, as well as in Slieve Bloom hills in Queen's County; Slieve Aughty, Slieve Bernagh, and Cratloe hills in Clare; Slieve Arra, Keeper Hills, Galtees and Slievenaman in Tipperary, Limerick, and Kilkenny, and a large area lying to the west of Waterford. p. 64.

    "A description of the soil-geology of Ireland: based upon geological survey maps and records with notes on climate." (1907)
    J. R. Kilroe

    Source: Internet Archive


    The highlands west and south of the Devil's Bit reveal large areas of Silurian rocks, and we find them abundantly displayed in the Arra and Silvermine mountains in Tipperary and also in the Slieve Bernagh and Slieve Aughty mountains west of the Shannon. In all cases their exposure is due to the removal by denudation of the Old Red Sandstone rocks which rested upon them. p. 54.

    The highest point in the Silvermines is composed of Old Red Sandstone; and Keeper Hill is capped by an outlier of this rock. It also occurs in the Arra mountains on the east of the Shannon and in the Slieve Bernagh range in Clare. Farther north a large development of this formation is found in the Slieve Aughty range. In every case the appearance of Old Red Sandstone rocks is due to the weathering of the Carboniferous rocks by which they were originally covered throughout the whole area. p. 56.

    "Munster" (from "The Provinces of Ireland" edited by George Fletcher, F.G.S., M.R.I.A., 1921)
    Isaac Swain, B.A., A.R.C.Sc., M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Co Limerick is, roughly speaking, the earliest "Thomond," Tuadh Mumha, or North Munster, which name got narrowed more and more till it coincided in the end with the present Co. Clare. p. 2.

    A few words on the hills which fringe our view from Limerick. The purple ridge north of the Shannon is Slieve Bemagh or Cratloe. At its western end, towards Bunratty, was the vast oak forest so famous... The more eastern part is "Sliabh Oidhidh an Riogh," where King Crimthann died poisoned by his sister, in Glennagross, about A.D. 377, whence the claim of his foster son, Conall Eachluath, to Co. Clare as an eric. Up the valley we see Thountinna, where Fintan slept so soundly that the Deluge did not drown him. Opposite to it, above Killaloe, is Cragliath, the home of the great Banshee, Aibhinn, or Aibhell (who appeared to King Brian before the battle of Clontarf), and the site of King Brian's palaces. East of Limerick are the "Silvermines" (or Slievephelim) culminating in the great dome of Kimalta "The Keeper"; southward, the Galtees and their continuation the Ballyhoura (Bealach Fheabrath) Mountains and the bold outlying hill of Slievereagh on which the royal fort of Dun Claire remains, westward the faint low ridges of Luachra. In the centre of the plains (S.W. from Limerick) is the mote-like Knockfierna, the famous fairy hill of Donn Firinne the fairy king. p. 6.

    "The Antiquities of Limerick and its Neighbourhood" (1916)
    T. J. Westropp

    Source: Internet Archive


    Lughaid menn son of Angus (called tíreach or 'landgrabber') son of Fercorb, he it was that first and violently grasped the land of Thomond: for which reason it is called 'Lughaid Redhand's cruel sword-land'; seeing that the countries which the men of Munster acquired by main force were two: that of Ossory in eric of Edirsceol (whom Leinster slew), and Thomond's in eric of Crimthann son of Fidach. Howbeit, not because they have any legitimate title to it they possess the same: because that, according to legal right of provincial partition, such ground of Thomond belongs to Connacht's province, which [properly speaking] extends from Luimneach [the lower Shannon] to the river Drowes. p. 378

    "Silva gadelica (I-XXXI): a collection of tales in Irish with extracts illustrating persons and places" (1892)
    Standish H. O’Grady (Edited from MSS and Translated)

    Source: Internet Archive


    Aos trí muighe, mín gach fuinn,
    Duthaigh cochlach Ui Conuing,
    Clár, braoingheal as saor snoidhe,
    Dar taobhlean Craobh Cumhraidhe.

    Aos-tri-muighe,[1] smoothest of plains,
    Is the grassy territory of O'Conaing,
    A bright watered plain, of noblest aspect,
    By the meadowy side of Craobh Cumhraidhe.[2] p. 129

    Giolla na naomh O'Huidhrin

    [1] Aos-tri-muighe, i.e., the people of the three plains. This territory comprised the whole of the present barony of Clanwilliam and a considerable part of what is now called the county of the city of Limerick. O'Conaing was seated at Caislen Ui-Chonaing, now Castleconnell, and his territory extended from Cnoc-Greine, near Pallas-Grean, to the city of Limerick. He was dispossessed by a branch of the Burkes shortly after the English Invasion. See Annals of the Four Masters, A.D. 1597, p. 2041, note z.
    [2] Craobh Cumhraidhe, i.e., the sweet or odoriferous branch, now Crecora, the name of a parish near the city of Limerick.

    "The topographical poems of John O'Dubhagain and Giolla na naomh O'Huidhrin. Translation, notes, and introductory dissertations." (1862)
    John O'Donovan, LL.D., M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    ...ranging north and south of the estuary of the Shannon, the carboniferous limestone emerges to the eastward... and is here and there interspersed with extensive deposits of the lower Silurian clay-slate rocks, and of the Old-red-sandstone, especially in the south of Galway, eastern borders of Clare, and in Tipperary; throughout this tract these two great formations are singularly interposed with regard to their relative positions, and no less complex in their general outline. p. 67-8.

    The more mountainous parts of Clare consist chiefly of clay-slate and sandstone, flanked by the limestone. This range extends across the Shannon into Tipperary, where they constitute a small group called the Arran Mountains... some astonishing deposits of lead ore have been discovered in the lower limestone east of Clare. One of this class was found in a bog near Ballyhickey. Near Quin, in the same county, is the rich argentiferous lead mine of Kilbricken. Antimony has occasionally been met with in this district.

    In the clay-slate in the gorge of Killaloe, and other places, lead and copper are wrought. Slates of a superior quality are extensively quarried in the neighbourhood of Killaloe, on the eastern side of Lough Derge; from the level expanse of which the Shannon precipitates its voluminous waters adown the rocky declivities of Doonas and Castle Troy towards the ancient city of Limerick. p. 68-9.

    "Geology, Minerals, Mines, & Soils of Ireland: In Reference to the Amelioration and Industrial Prosperity of the Country" (1857)
    Joseph Holdsworth, Esq, M.G.S.F. &.c.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The various groups of hills on both banks of the Middle Shannon are likewise ranged along axes running from west to east, and this parallelism in the arrangement of the mountains of South-western Ireland must evidently be traced to a general cause acting over a wide area. Slieve Bernagh (1,746 feet) and Slieve Aughty rise to the west of the Shannon; the Silvermine Mountains, culminating in Keeper Hill (2,278 feet), Slieve Felim, and the Devils-bit Mountain (1,586 feet) rise to the east; whilst Slieve Bloom (1,733 feet) occupies the most central position of the Irish hills. p. 382

    "Universal Geography: The Earth and its Inhabitants" Vol. IV (1876-94)
    Elisée Reclus

    Source: Internet Archive


    In Davies' very good Atlas, published 1837, no road is shown through this mountain district we went through; it must then have been utter wilderness. It has now a thoroughly good road, but is still one of the dreariest districts I have been through... It was a fearful drive. It was blowing cold, wet rain in our faces (we all know the difference between wet rain and dry!) Every hill we twisted round only opened up new and interminable vistas of black valley and black round hills. I could have sat on a fence and cried... p. 208.

    I have travelled on either side of those hills, yet, surely, I never realised the existence of that broad band of wilderness in the heart of those mountains about twenty-eight miles long by ten broad. What a fastness it must have been in Elizabethan times! Then the Irish possessed immense herds, and one can fancy that even now thousands of cattle might be hidden away unknown in the folds of those hills. p. 209.

    When at last, near 7 o'clock, we opened up the Limerick valley, the sun came out to greet us, or rather I suspect we came out of the mountain mist into a glory of grey and silver lights over the Shannon plain. p. 210.

    "A Jog, Jog, Journey to Limerick" (1909)
    Charlotte Grace O'Brien (Selections from her writings and correspondence)

    Source: Internet Archive


    At Rath Bresail [said to have been assembled A.D. 1118] defining the number and boundaries of the respective Irish dioceses are not the least deserving of notice. p. 329.

    The Bishopric of Clonfert extended from the Sinainn or River Shannon to Boirenn, now Burren, in the northern part of Clare county; and from Sliabh Echtighe, or Slieve Aughty, on the confines of the counties of Galway and Clare, to the Suca, or River Suck. p. 330

    The diocese of Killaloe extended from the great south-western road, called Bealach-mor Muighe-Dala, or Slighe Dala, extending from the southern side of Tara Hill, in the direction of the castle of Ballaghmore, in the territory of Ossory, to Leim Conculainn, Anglicized Cuchullainn's Leap, now corruptly called Loophead, for Leaphead, the extreme south-western point of Clare county, and from Sliabh Echtighe or Slieve Aghty to Sliabh Oighedh-an-righ or Slieve Eeyanree, now the Cratloe or Glennagross Mountain, county Clare, and thence to Sliabh Caein, or Glenn Caein. See Dr. O'Donovan's "Annals of the Four Masters," vol. i., n. (q), p. 104, and vol. vi., n. (1), pp. 2108, 2109. See, also, his edition of "The Genealogies, Tribes and Customs of Hy-Fiachrach, commonly called O'Dowda's Country." Addenda, p. 344. p. 331

    "Lives of the Irish saints: with special festivals, and the commemorations of holy persons, compiled from calendars, martyrologies and various sources, relating to the ancient Church history of Ireland." (Vol. II, 1875)
    Rev. John O'Hanlon. M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Lord Macartney, when embarking in 1791, for his government at Madras, thus addressed this noble river:

    "Raptured, I try the strain,
    Great king of floods! to hail thy new-born reign,
    Which breaks from darkness like the rise of day,
    And gives the promise of imperial sway!
    Already commerce spreads her ample stores,
    Pours Afric's riches on Iernia's shores;
    Brings either India's treasures to her view,
    Brazilian gold, and silver of Peru!
    Bids wondering navies on thy billows ride,
    Rolls the world's wealth, O Shannon, to thy tide!"

    "The Irish tourist's illustrated handbook for visitors to Ireland in 1852”

    Source: Internet Archive


    As we proceeded about five miles from Limerick, Castleconnell was pointed out to me, famous for its chalybeate spa, and the romantic beauty of its scenery, through which the boast of Ireland, the sovereign of her rivers, the Shannon, rolls majestically along. This place, which is a collection of numerous genteel lodging-houses, detached from each other, is much resorted to in the summer by invalids suffering from obstructions of the liver and bilious affections, and by those who wish to enjoy some of the finest displays of nature. p. 196-7.

    Above Limerick, the Shannon, and the lakes of its creation, are navigable with boats for several miles. During a course of one hundred and ninety-one miles, its descent from its source is not less than one hundred and fifty-one feet. In the lakes and river a species of trout, called gilderoy, is caught, remarkable for having a gizzard like that of fowls. p. 203.

    "The Stranger in Ireland, or, A Tour in the southern and western parts of that country in the year 1805." (1806)
    Sir John Carr

    Source: Internet Archive


    Thus, under existing conditions the Newport and Annagh Rivers form a system with a pronounced valley, independently of the Shannon, instead of being directly tributary. They turn sharply southward a few miles to the east of the main stream, and are tributary only after joining the Mulkear, which empties into the Shannon somewhat against its current. Again, the latest glaciation was effected by an ice-sheet which moved over the Cratloe hills, probably from the high grounds in west Clare, and fanned out eastward at Castleconnell to south-eastward at Limerick without being in the least affected in direction by the Shannon valley. In consideration of these unwonted circumstances, and having discovered what seems to me a reasonable means of accounting for an intermission of the Shannon erosion in this locality, I cannot hesitate to see in the new appearance of its course a strong suggestion of the river not having occupied it for a time at least; that, in fact, the river is, in a sense, a recent visitant there—a monarch returned, after a long absence, to a part of his dominions which by force of circumstances he had abandoned. p. 88

    "The Shannon: its Course and Geological History" (Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1907)
    J. R. Kilroe, H. M. Geological Survey

    Source: Internet Archive


    The group the north-east constitutes the southern extremity of that extensive chain which, commencing at Keeper mountain and its subordinate range in Tipperary and Limerick, runs northward to the King's County, where it terminates in the range of Slieve Bloom. The names of the Slieve Phelim and Bilboa mountains are applied to those subordinate portions of the Keeper group which spread southwards into the counties of Limerick and Tipperary.

    About midway between the embouchure of the Mulkern and O'Brien's Bridge, at the extremity of the county, is Castle Connell, a well built small town, surrounded by delightful scenery. It is built on the eastern side of the Shannon, which, flowing between well-timbered banks chiefly occupied by demesnes and pleasure grounds, forms a series of precipitous rapids of uncommon grandeur, the principal of which is known as the Leap of Doonass. The valley of the Shannon is here contracted by the Slieve Baughta mountains on the one side, and the range of Keeper on the other, and presents features of a highly grand and striking character throughout a distance of several miles. p. 489

    "The Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" (Volume 13, 1839)

    Source: Internet Archive


    Along the lower part of the Shannon, in the counties of Galway, Tipperary and Limerick, there was an ancient population known as Fir Iboth, or by the adjectival name Ibdaig. p.74.

    Solinus says the inhabitants in his time grew no crops and live on fish and milk. It is possible that an ancient branch of this population preserved their identity by forming, so to speak, a fisherman caste on the banks of the Shannon. p.75.

    "Pre-Celtic Inhabitants of Ireland. Phases of Irish History." (1920)
    Eoin MacNeill, Professor of Ancient Irish History in the National University of Ireland.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The chase was arranged and spread by them throughout the woods and wildernesses and sloping glens of the lands nearest to them, and throughout smooth, delightful plains and close-sheltering woods and broad-bushed, vast, oak forests. And each man of the fiana of Ireland went separately to his mound of chase and his site of throwing and his gap of danger, as [1] they were wont to arrange every victorious chase before that. But on that day it was not the same for them as on every other day, for the chase failed them, so that they found neither wild swine nor hare nor wolf [2] nor badger nor deer nor hind nor roe nor fawn on which any one of them might redden his hand that day. And that night they spent in sorrow and disgrace; and on the morrow they rose in the early bright morning; and the chase was extended by them along the Shannon of green currents and throughout lofty, cold Slieve Aughty and throughout the ancient Plain, of Adhar son of Timor; but that day also the luck of the chase failed them as it had done on the first day. p. 53

    [1] The MS. has 'where'.
    [2] The Ms. has bree 'trout'.

    "The Chase of Sid na mBan Finn and the Death of Finn." From Egerton 1782, fo. 20b. 1.
    "Fianaigecht: being a collection of hitherto inedited Irish poems and tales relating to Finn and his Fiana." Royal Irish Academy. Todd Lecture Series. Volume XVI. (1910)
    Kuno Meyer, Ph.D.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Eoghan enquired: "and what night may this be?"
    "Samhain-eve," replied Patrick...

    Caeilte said then: "a fitting time it is now for wild stags and for does to seek the topmost points of hills and rocks; a timely season for salmons to betake them into cavities of the banks." And he uttered a lay:—

    "Cold the winter is, the wind is risen, the high-couraged unquelled stag is on foot: bitter cold to-night the whole mountain is, yet for all that the ungovernable stag is belling. The deer of Slievecarn of the gatherings commits not his side to the ground; no less than he the stag of frigid Echtge's summit catches the chorus of the wolves. I, Caeilte, with brown Dermot and with keen light-footed Oscar: we too in the nipping night's waning end would listen to the music of the pack. But well the red deer sleeps that with his hide to the bulging rock lies stretched — hidden as though beneath the country's surface — all in the latter end of chilly night. pp. 191-192.

    "Agallamh na Senórach 'The Colloquy of the Ancients'. Silva gadelica (I-XXXI): a collection of tales in Irish with extracts illustrating persons and places." (1892)
    Standish Hayes O'Grady, ed. and tr.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Cormac Cas [1] took to wife the daughter of the great poet, Oisin or Ossian, who was son of the celebrated warrior Finn MacCumhaill, and had by her a son, Mogh Corb, whose great-grandson, Luighaidh Meann, wrested from the Firbolgs the county of Clare, in which they had hitherto succeeded in holding sway. From him this territory thus added to his patrimony received the name of Tuadh Mhumhain, or North Munster, which, in modern times, is Anglicised into Thomond. p. 14

    [1] O'Curry's, Man. Mat. p. 209.

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

    Source: Internet Archive


    The territory which forms the present county of Clare, as stated in Charles O'Conor's Dissertations on the History of Ireland (p. 289), was taken from Connaught in the latter end of the third century by Cormac Cas, son of Oilioll Olum, king of Munster, or by Lughaigh Mean, king of Munster, in the third century, another descendant of Oilioll Olom, and added to part of Limerick under the name of Tuadh-Mumham, or North Munster, a word anglicised to Thomond (see O'Brien's Dictionary at the word Tuadh). The O'Briens of the Dalcassian race became kings of Thomond. Conacht, according to Keating, O'Flaherty, and others, derived its name either from Con, one of the chief druids of the Tuath de Danans, or from Conn-Cead-Cathach, that is Con of the hundred battles, monarch of Ireland in the second century, whose posterity possessed the country; the word iacht, or iocht, signifying children or a posterity, and hence Coniocht means the territory possessed by the posterity of Con. The more ancient name of Connaught, according to O'Flaherty and Charles O'Connor, was Olnegmacht, and was so called from Olnegmacht, an ancient queen of the Firbolgs; and hence the inhabitants were called Fir Olnegmacht. p. 97

    "The Annals of Ireland" (Translated by Owen Connellan, Esq., Irish Historiographer to Their Late Majesties George IV. and William IV. Annotations by Philip Mac Dermot, Est., M.D., and the translator, 1846)
    Michael O'Clery

    Source: Internet Archive


    Dr. O'Brien (Vall. Collect. p. 384), says that "all the tribes descended from Oilioll Olum by his three sons, Eoghan Mor, Cormac Cas, and Cian, were considered as free states, exempted from the payment of annual tribute for the support of the king's household."

    Ní dligh du chlannaibh Cais
    cís Caisil na (g)-cuan

    The clann of Cas are not liable
    To the tribute of Caiseal of the companies. pp. 66, 67.

    "Leabhar na gCeart - The Book of Rights" (Edited and Translated by John O'Donovan, 1847)

    Source: Internet Archive


    Erin was filled with the fleets of the foreigners,
    viz. the fleet of Birn, the fleet of Odunn,
    the fleet of Grisin, the fleet of Suatgair,
    the fleet of Lagmann, the fleet of Erbalbh,
    the fleet of Sitric, the fleet of Buidne,
    the fleet of Bernin, the fleet of the Crioslachs,
    the fleet of Toirberd the red,
    the fleet of Snimin, the fleet of Suainin,
    the fleet of Barun, the fleet of Miledh Bua,
    the fleet of the Red Maiden,
    and all the evils that Erin had suffered until then
    were as nothing (in comparison);
    for they spread over Erin,
    and they built cities and fortresses,
    and they did not give respect to anybody,
    and they killed its kings,
    and they used to keep its queens
    and its noble ladies in bondage beyond the sea. p. 9

    "On the Fomorians and the Norsemen" (The original Irish Text, Edited, with Translation and Notes by Alexander Bugge, 1905)
    Duald Mac Firbis

    Source: Internet Archive


    "Has the eye been torn out of my head, giolla?" said the king. [Eochaidh]
    "Woe is me!" said the servant, "Red is the lough with thy blood."
    "Therefore the name shall triumph," said he, "namely, Dergderc = Redlough." p.47

    It is an interesting fact that between Tulla and Lough Derg in East Clare a well at Fortanne is credited with healing blindness. The moss of the well is used to wash the eyes. (Journal R.S.A.I., XLI, pp. 7, 19). Healing-wells are common all over Ireland, but in this particular case there is probably some recollection of Eochu's story behind the belief about this well situated in the very heart of "Coiced Echach mac Luchta." p.52

    "Side-lights on the Táin age and other studies" (1917)
    Margaret E. Dobbs

    Source: Internet Archive


    Kinkora (Mac-Liag)

    I am Mac Liag, and my home is on the Lake;
    Thither often, to that palace whose beauty is fled,
    Came Brian to ask me, and I went for his sake.
    Oh, my grief! that I should live, and Brian be dead!
    Dead, O Kincora!

    This poem is ascribed to Mac-Liag, the secretary of Brian Boruimha, who fell at the battle of Clontarf, in 1014; and the subject of it is a lamentation for the fallen condition of Kinkora, the palace of that monarch, consequent on his death. The decease of Mac-Liag is recorded in the "Annals of the Four Masters," as having taken place in 1015. The palace of Kinkora, which was situated on the banks of the Shannon, near Killaloe, is now a heap of ruins. pp. 121-123.

    "James Clarence Mangan: His Selected Poems, with a study by the editor" (1897)
    ed. Louise Imogen Guiney

    Source: Internet Archive


    Fair nymph of Shannon! The vile worms that mope
    In thraldom's dirt thou spurnedst. - The dust
    Of hearts that swell with glory's thrill and ope
    In patriotic pulse, thy pride. - Ah! e'en now crushed
    In valour's file, the brave mixed with thy clay are hushed. p. 12

    "The Last Bard of Limerick (An original and national poem in Spenserian stanza)" (1865)
    Rev. James O'Leary

    Source: Internet Archive


    Brian, however, after that, and with him the young champions of the Dal Cais, went back again into the forests and woods and deserts of north Mumhain.

    Moreover they, with him, used to set up rude huts instead of encampments, in the woods and solitudes and deserts and caves of Ui Blait [1]. The country was wasted by him from Derc [2] to the Forgus, and from Echti [3] to Tratraighe. pp 60-61

    I banished - this is no falsehood -
    The foreigners from Deirg-Derc to the Forgus;
    We drove the other party
    From Echtge to Tradraighe. p. 65

    [1] Ui Blait. O mBloid.
    [2] From Derc. O Deirg Derc, [i.e., from Loch Derg].
    [3] Echti. Echtge; now Sliabh Echtghe, or Baughty, a mountainous district on the borders of the counties of Galway and Clare.

    "Cogadh Gaedhel re Gallaibh = The war of the Gaedhil with the Gaill, or, The invasions of Ireland by the Danes and other Norsemen." (The original Irish Text, Edited, with Translation and Introduction by James Henthorn Todd. D.D., M.R.I.A., F.S.A., 1867)

    Source: Internet Archive


    Loingeas mór na mna ruaidhe
    ba measa ná gach cuaine
    duairc an phrímhghin tar muir malc
    d'ingheanaibh míne macdacht

    Do chuaidh Brian a h-Eachtga áin
    cheithre catha 'na chómhdháil
    bail a mbiodh longphort na mna.
    tangadar na taisgealta.

    A great invasion of the red woman,
    Who was worse than any host,
    The first-born who came over the mighty sea.
    To gentle young maidens,

    Brian went from noble Eachtga,
    With four battallions in his company,
    To the place, where the camp of the woman was.
    The portents came.

    An inghen ruadh, the Red Maiden, is also mentioned in War of the Gaedhil, ch. XXXVI and CXVII. Professor Steenstrup has written about her ('Normannerne', I, pp. 19-22) and suggested that she is identical with the heroine Rusila, Rusla, who is mentioned by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus.

    This poem makes the Red Woman (or Girl) a contemporary of king Brian Borumha, and lets his son Murchadh kill her in Sliabh Eachtga (now Slieve Aughty, in Galway), and on the same time it transforms her into a supernatural being. Her residence is called a fairy mansion (sidh) and it is said that the portents (taisgealta) came to help her. There can, however, be no doubt that bean ruadh is identical with inghen ruadh. pp. 21-24.

    "On the Fomorians and the Norsemen" (The original Irish Text, Edited, with Translation and Notes by Alexander Bugge, 1905)
    Duald Mac Firbis

    Source: Internet Archive