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  • Kilchreest
    Photography © 2006
    Knockbeha Mountain
    Knockbeha Mountain

    To His Royal Highness Ernest II., reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the enlightened Patron of German Art and Literature, this volume is (by permission) dedicated.

    Lough Derg is one of the gloomiest and most inhospitable districts in Ireland: but, fortunately, it grew pleasanter and the sky became blue, but a strong breeze rippled the waters, which glistened like steel in the sunlight. The shores, along which we passed were hilly and only scantily covered with brushwood; the rest was naked and greenish-grey in colour.

    "Take up the glass and tell me what ruins you can see."

    "I see," I began, "a round tower close to the lake. It stands perfect and erect, looking down over the black gloomy water, and by it stands a ruined wall half covered with ivy and creepers, while round it are graves."

    "The crumbling walls," the bishop explained, "are the remains of the Seven Churches, which Brian Boroo is said to have restored here after the Danes had destroyed them in 834. But the work of human hands does not endure. Time has destroyed them, and the ruins lie there. Now look to the left of the Seven Churches, for a clump of bushes."

    "I have found it, your eminence."

    "Under those bushes is the cave, which is still called St. Patrick's Purgatory, and regarded as holy. The story goes that St. Patrick implored the Lord to remove the entrance to purgatory to Ireland, so that the then un-believing inhabitants might be convinced of the immortality of the soul and the tortures which await the godless on the threshold between time and eternity." pp 234-237

    "The island of the saints; a pilgrimage through Ireland" (1861, translated from the German by Sir. Lascelles Wraxall)
    Julius Rodenberg

    Source: Internet Archive


    Of the various lakes, which are strung like pearls on the silver thread of the Shannon, the two middle ones, Lough Ree, near Athlone, and Lough Bodarrig, are the least pleasing, as they lie in the central plain of the island, and are partly surrounded by bog-land. The shores of the northern half of Lough Derg are also quite flat and unpicturesque. But the upper lake, Lough Allen, is in the northern mountainous part of Ireland; and, the Slievh Boughty, and the Slievh[1] Bernagh, which here stretches its numerous arms far into the lake. Like all the Irish lakes, Lough Derg is filled with a number of little green islands, which give it a particularly attractive appearance. Small as these are, each one has its name, as Crow Island, Hare Island, Cow Island, &c. Many of them afford excellent pasturage. p. 67

    [1] Slievh (Sliabh), — Irish for mountain. — [tr.]

    "Travels in Ireland" (1844)
    Johann Georg Kohl

    Source: CELT (UCC)


    On this side of the Shannon are two groups of hills, called respectively Slieve Bernagh and Slieve Aughta. The northern portion of the first lies west of the smaller division, on the south-west arm of Lough Derg, and the latter lies west of the larger division, the two groups being separated from one another by the Scarriff Valley.

    In the northern portion of Slieve Bernagh no great faults can be positively proved, although it is probable there are at least two; but in connexion with Slieve Aughta six nearly east and west faults have been proved by the Government Survey, each associated with a valley or marked feature. They may be called, beginning towards the south, 1st. The Scarriff valley north fault, 2nd. The Cloonnagro and Corra valley fault, 3rd. The Lough Atorick valley fault, 4th. The Derrybrian valley fault, 5th. The Owennaglanna and Boleyneendorrish valley fault, and 6th. The Dalystown river valley fault. These faults, from 1 to 4 inclusive, are downthrows to the southward, while numbers 5 and 6 have downthrows to the northward. All of them are of Post-Carboniferous age, and they, as well as others farther south, probably belong to one system, and were formed simultaneously. p. 2.

    "The water basin of Lough Derg, Ireland" (1873)
    G. Henry Kinahan

    Source: Internet Archive


    Feacle, a parish in the barony of Upper Tulla. The surface consists of the loftiest, wildest, and most northerly of the western uplands of the county; and includes the southern declivities of the Slieve-Baghta mountains, and those offshoot ranges and masses which embosom Lough Graney, and stretch toward Lough O'Grady. The highest ground is on the west, and has an altitude of 1,312 feet; the two chief summits on the east have an altitude of respectively 724 and 992 feet: and the two chief summits on the north have an altitude of only 448 and 589 feet. The chief streams are the two which pour their united waters into the Scarriff arm of Lough Derg; but these gather their volume from numerous rills and rivulets, which trot and tumble down small glens and uplands. Lough Graney lies nearly in the centre of the parish. p.198

    "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


    Between its two ranges of hills - the Ogonnelloe, Broadford, and Truagh Hills on the east, and the Feakle, Glendree, and O'Dea Hills towards the north-west and west - lies the extensive undulating plain which may well be called the heart of Clare. Narrow on the north at Scarriff and Tomgraney, where it abuts on Lough Derg, and looks over towards Holy Island, it widens out gradually till it rests southwards on the whole extent of the Shannon between Limerick and Kildysart. Lakes, fairly stocked with fish of various kinds, nestle between the numerous low hills, which are nearly all ornamentally planted. pp. 1-2.

    From Lough Derg to Galway Bay the northern aspect of Clare is wild and rugged, relieved only by the lonely but beautiful lake, Loughgraney. The land is mostly barren and uncultivated. An imaginary boundary line, running on the eastern side through heath and moorland, and on the western side over the mountains of Burren, separates it from Galway. p. 9.

    "It is Brian also that gave distinctive surnames to the men of Ireland, by which every tribe of them is known. It is by him, likewise, the church of Cill Dalua and the church of Inis Cealtra were erected, and the steeple of Tuaim Greine was renewed." — Keating quoting MacLiag. p. 63.

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

    Source: Internet Archive


    We shall find that the members of our Sept, from the early part of the fifth to the middle of the seventeenth century, dwelt in a well defined district of Clare, a county which until comparatively recent times was isolated from the rest of Ireland; its southern and eastern boundary being formed by the river Shannon, which throughout this part of its course was only fordable at one place situated below the town of Killaloe. To the north, Clare is separated from Galway by a range of high hills (Echtye) running from the Shannon westward towards Galway Bay; between the extreme western spur of these hills and the bay is a strip of low lying swampy land, through which the road northward from Clare passed; this low land as well as the Echtye hills were in former times covered by a dense forest rendering them almost impassable. The geographical position of the county was such as to preserve its inhabitants from successful invasion, or from being occupied by foreigners until late in the sixteenth century. p. 1.

    "The story of an Irish sept" (1896)
    Nottidge Charles Macnamara

    Source: Internet Archive


    Ui Donghaile. This was the tribe name of the O'Gradys, and it became, as usually happened, the name of their country. O'Gradys were originally settled in the parish of Killonasoolagh. After the Ui Bloid, that is, the O'Shanahans, O'Kennedys, etc., had been driven out by the descendants of Turlogh O'Brien, aided by the MacNamaras, the O'Gradys were placed at Tomgraney, and their tribe name of Ui Donghaile transferred to the territory of which they got possession. That district comprised the parishes of Tomgrany, Moynoe, Iniscaltra, and Clonrush. Of these the two latter are now included in the County of Galway, though within the present century the parish of Iniscaltra was accounted part of the County of Clare. p. 122-3.

    "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


    Tomgraney Parish. Alias Termon I Graney.
    This name is considered by some, and on antient Irish authority too, to have been given in allusion to the worship of Granaeus Apollo, the Sun-God. Others associate this name with some poetical fancy of the entombment of The Lady Grain, which in plain prose is nothing but the fact that a certain mountain stream arising in Lough Graney has its outflow into the Shannon near hand. p. 475.

    "The Diocese of Killaloe from the Reformation to the close of the eighteenth century." (1878)
    Reverend Philip Dwyer, A. B.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Many holy wells are to be seen in different parts of the county.[1] That near Toomgraney, in the barony of Tullagh, called St. Coolen's, is remarkable for the purity of its water, and for the remains of an oak tree, that measures upwards of sixteen feet in circumference four feet from the ground.

    I do not recollect anything remarkable of the other wells but the goodness of the water; the saints of ancient days were certainly good judges of water and land.

    [1] These wells are little regarded, but by the most ignorant people, and this Scythian custom will soon vanish. p. 31

    "Statistical survey of the county of Clare, with observations on the means of improvement; drawn up for the consideration, and by direction, of the Dublin Society." (1808)
    Hely Dutton

    Source: Internet Archive


    In a Paper on the "Churches of the County Clare" (vol. 6, 3rd ser., Proc. R. I. A., pp. 100-180), Mr. T. J. Westropp, M.A., records upwards of one hundred holy wells in this county. Special attention is directed to Tobereevul, the well of Aoibhill, the great banshee of the Dalcassians, on Craglea, above Killaloe... and to Tobergrania, in Ballycroum, a cromleac, or rude stone monument, used as a holy well. These are all indubitably of pre-Christian origin. Clare and Sligo appear to be the only counties in Ireland where even the mere enumeration of the sites of holy wells has been attempted.

    Well of Kilvoydan, parish of Inchicronan... Well of St. Mochulla, parish of Kilnoe; St. Mary's Well, St. Mary's, Iniscaltra, Lough Derg; Toberbreedia; Kiltanon, Toberbreedia; Cragg, Tobermochulla; Fortanne, Tobermochulla; Kilgorey, Tobermochulla; Kilmore, Tobermore and Toberamanrielta: all in the barony of Tulla... Rock basin, called "a well", at Fahy, in the parish of Feakle; Well of St. Colan, at Tomgraney. Moynoe; Tobernagat. pp 90-91.

    "Traces of the elder faiths in Ireland: a folklore sketch: a handbook of Irish pre-Christian traditions." (Vol.II, 1902)
    W. G. Wood-Martin, M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The interest shown in the statement as to the occurrence of forest names round Echtghe encourages me to copy from my notes the following list of place names round the southern slopes of those hills:

    Inchicronan Parish - Derrynagleera, Derrynacrogg, Durra, Derryvet, Derryvinnaun, Derrygoul, Derryhamma, Derryskeagh, Derrybeg, Derryfadda, Derrynarahny, Derrymore (2).

    Tulla Parish - Derryulk (3), Kyleduff, Kylemore, Rosslara, Derrymore (2), Derrybeg, Derrynabrone, Derrykeadran, Derrinterriff.

    Feakle Parish - Derrynaveagh, Derryfadda, Derrycarran, Dereendooagh, Derricnaw, Killanena, Gortaderry, Crossderry, Derrynaneal, Derrynagittagh (3), Derryabbert, Derryvinna, Derryeaghra, Derryhehagh, Derrygravaun, Deirynaheila, Derryulk, Derrywillin, Aughaderreen, Knockbehagh, and Corbehagh.

    The names stop abruptly at Feakle Parish, there being none in Moynoe Parish, though it runs for several miles up the hills. One name, Derrycon, is found in Iniscaltra Parish. p. 92

    "Dolmens near Ballycroum, near Feakle, County Clare." (Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Third Series Vol. VI, No. 1, 1900)
    T. J. Westropp, M.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    We occasionally come across evidence bearing on the destruction of the forests. In deepening the River Graney above Scariff, in 1893, I noticed large quantities of iron slag in the bed of the stream. The only record that may bear on this is in the "Commonplace Book relating to Ireland", p. 239, where Hugh Brigdall's description, about 1695, says: "The River of Scariff, whose waters drive two iron Mills". Whether, however, this refers to the machinery or the materials worked in the mills, I do not attempt to assert. Dr. Bindon Blood Stoney informs me that he has seen a large mass of vitrified material and the remains of iron works between Tinneranna, on the shore of Lough Derg, and Killaloe. Tradition seems to have forgotton such works; but they account for the destruction of the trees between Scariff and Lough O'Grady.

    In 1727 Thomas Baker had a tanyard at Rossroe, which probably was equally destructive to the surviving oak trees of the district. p. 285-6

    "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


    Feakle Parish, Townland of Corabehagh, subd. of Fahey: Michael Cullen, wife, son, and daughter dwelt in "a building formed by nature in a mountainy clift, like a hermit's cave or cell." — Enumerator's note in 1821 Census, Public Record Office, Dublin.

    The same enumerator gives James Cullinan, labourer, his wife, son, and daughter, as dwelling in the Island of Loch Graney in the townland of Flagmount, subd. of Knockbehagh, adding: "This is a beautiful lake, surrounded with high mountains and also with natural and artificial woods on the brows of it." - Ibid. p. 174

    "Cúirt an Mheadhon oidhche (Brian Merriman)" (1912)
    Risteárd Ó Foghludha, Piaras Béaslaí

    Source: Internet Archive


    Scariff (The), a rivulet of the north-western district of the county of Clare, Munster. It issues from Lough Teroig, on the mutual boundary of Clare and Galway; runs 3¼ miles south-west to Lough Graney; is lost, for 2 miles southward, in that lake; runs 4 miles south-southeastward thence to Lough O'Grady; and, after reissuing from that lake, proceeds 3¾ miles eastward, past the villages of Scariff and Tomgraney, to the head of Scariff bay, in Lough Derg. It usually bears the name of the Graney river above Lough O'Grady; and its principal affluents are the Loughrea rivulet at the foot of Lough Graney, and the Cloghaun rivulet into the head or west end of Lough O'Grady.

    "Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland" (1845)

    Source: Clare Local Studies Project (CLASP)


    St. Mochuille, Mochulleus, or Mochulla came into Clare about... 620. His father was Dicuil, or Dicaldus according to the Life of 1141, which tells how Mochulleus struck the hillside and three streams broke out and ran down to the lake (stagnum), north of Tulla.

    The two springs forming St. Mochulla's well are on the eastern shore of Loch Graney, and the earthworks are still traceable round the church of Tulla (Tulach nan easpuig, rendered "Collis Episcoporum" in the Life). The saint is also commemorated by Temple-mochulla in south-east Clare, and by no less than fifteen holy wells near Tulla.

    "County Clare Folk-Tales and Myths" (1913)
    Thos. J. Westropp

    Source: Internet Archive


    Feakle in Clare and Roscommon. In Clare they have a legend that a saint dropped his tooth there, and a church was built over the relic. A saint's tooth was often venerated as a relic. (See Hogan, Achad-fiacla: and O'Hanlon, vol. i. p. 99.) p. 352

    "Irish names of places." (Vol. III, 1913)
    P. W. Joyce, L.L.D.

    Source: Internet Archive

    Feakle, a parish, rectory and vicarage, with a village of its name, in the Barony of Tullagh, county of Clare, and Diocese of Killaloe. It is a mountainous and uninteresting district. Population in 1831, 8844. Post-town, Scariff. p. 423

    "Gazetteer of Ireland, containing the latest information from the most authentic sources." (1842)
    John Parker Lawson, M.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    In the Barony of Tulla Upper.
    In the Townlands of Tyredagh Lower and Tyredagh Upper, and Parish of Tulla, close to Tyredagh Castle, are two dolmens, one only of which, marked Cromlech, appears in Ord. Surv. Map No. 27. The other has been observed by Mr. Westropp.
    In the Townland of Corracloon Beg, and Parish of Feakle, is a dolmen marked Cromlech in Ord. Surv. Map No. 20. It lies a mile and a half S. of Lake Graney, W. of the Graney river, and E. of Knockaunboy Holy Well.
    In the Townland of Cappaghbaun-Mountain, and Parish of Moynoe, is a dolmen ...marked Dermot and Grania's Bed in Ord. Surv. Map No. 21.
    In the Townland of Ballycroum, and Parish of Feakle, is a monument named in Ord. Surv. Map No. 19 "Altoir Ultach". It lies about a mile and three-quarters W. of the dolmen at Corracloon Beg. Two hundred yards E. of this dolmen (for I certainly regard it as one) is the holy well called Tobergrania...
    In the Townland of Dromandora, and Parish of Feakle, there are two dolmens, not marked in Ord. Surv. Map These are probably the ones noticed by Mr. Brogan, as between Gort and Feakle, and which he thought were in Galway. "This", he adds, is "the only instance he had met with of the hero and heroine of the romance being provided with separate beds." pp.87-96.

    "The dolmens of Ireland, their distribution, structural characteristics, and affinities in other countries; together with the folk-lore attaching to them; supplemented by considerations on the anthropology, ethnology, and traditions of the Irish people." (Vol. 1, 1897)
    William Copeland Borlase, M. A.

    Source: JSTOR


    The more elevated waste lands, situated in the mountain district to the north and south of the valley of Scariff, being those which must be considered of a doubtful character as a theatre for improvement; but these latter views must be confined to the lands which are situated near the summits of the mountains at considerable elevations above the level of the sea. p. 582-3.

    - furnished by R. Griffith, Esq., C.E., and General Valuation Commissioner.

    From the 'Devon commission' Digest of evidence taken before Her Majesty's Commissioners of inquiry into the state of the law and practice in respect to the occupation of Land in Ireland. Part I. (1847)

    Source: Internet Archive


    A kind of sand composed chiefly of crystals, which is used for making scythe-boards, greatly superior to those brought from England, is found on the shore of Lough Graney, in Clare. It is in such request among the country people, that they come for it upwards of twenty miles. Sand of the same quality is procured also from Lough Coutra, on the estate of Pendergast Smyth, Esq. [1] p. 115

    [1] Dutton's Survey of Clare, p. 14

    "An account of Ireland, statistical and political" (1812)
    Edward Wakefield

    Source: Internet Archive


    Fos-leac. - A house of flags. On the hills, north of Feacle, county of Clare, at the maum, or gap leading northward from the valley called Glen Bonniff, there are very peculiar Fos-leacs, as out of each there is a low, narrow, flagged passage. These seem in former ages to have been used by the hunters waiting for the deer to pass in the migratory season, as their gins and wooden vessels full of lard occur in the bog which now nearly covers the structures. The late J. B. Jukes, Esq., F. R. S., on seeing these, remarked the similarity between them and the huts used by the Newfoundlanders while waiting in the deer passes in that island.

    "Proceedings and Papers from The Journal of the Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland" (Vol. 1, 1869)
    George H. Kinahan, M.R.I.A.

    Source: JSTOR


    Once every people in the world believed that trees were divine, and could take a human or grotesque shape and dance among the shadows; and that deer, and ravens and foxes, and wolves and bears, and clouds and pools, almost all things under the sun and moon, and the sun and moon, were not less divine and changeable...

    ...and when a sudden flight of wild duck, or of crows, passed over their heads, they thought they were gazing at the dead hastening to their rest; while they dreamed of so great a mystery in little things that they believed the waving of a hand, or of a sacred bough, enough to trouble far-off hearts, or hood the moon with darkness.

    All old literatures are full of these or of like imaginations, and all the poets of races, who have not lost this way of looking at things, could have said of themselves, as the poet of the Kalevala said of himself, 'I have learned my songs from the music of many birds, and from the music of many waters.' p. 272-3.

    "Ideas of Good and Evil: The Celtic Element in Literature" (1903)
    WB Yeats

    Source: Internet Archive


    ...we find an oblique allusion to the fairies in Gortnamearacaun ("foxglove field"), called also "Thimbletown", — the foxglove being the fairies' thimble. Caheraphuca has a fine dolmen and haunted fort. Knocknafearbreaga derives its name and legend from the "seven" (recte five) pillar stones, once the seven robbers who ill-treated St. Mochulla's tame bull. It is noteworthy that the life of St. Mochulleus, (sought for vainly by Colgan about 1637 and only recently found in Austria and published), gives the seven soldiers and the slaying of the tame bull that ran errands for the saint.[1] p. 185.

    In the mass of hills near the Shannon [Slieve Aughty, Slieve Bernagh], Carrickeevul, Tobereevul, and Glennagalliach ("hag's glen") commemorate banshees. Knockaunamoughilly is named from a "Boughil", and other "sham men" appear at the Farbreagas in Cloontra and Cloongaheen. Seefin in Kilseily is another "seat of Finn". Some names are more doubtful. Lough Graney, the river Graney, and Tomgraney, are attributed to a suspicious solar heroine, the lady "Gillagreine" or "Grainne of the bright cheeks". p. 185-6.

    [1] Analecta Bollandiana, xvii., p. 135.

    "Collectanea: A Folklore Survey of County Clare" (Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review. Myth, Tradition, Institution & Custom. Vol 21, 1910)
    Thos. J. Westropp

    Source: Internet Archive


    By a place, as táncadar rompa do Luimneach, ocus do Chuaille Chepain a n-Echtge, ocus do Loch na bo girre, rir a n-abarthar Loch Gréine, "they came on by Limerick, by Cuaille Chepain in Echtge, and by Loch na bo girre, which is called Loch Greine," Book of Lismore, fol. 199. In this sentence the do would be made de at present throughout the diocese of Ossory. (p. 302-303)

    By, denoting the instrument, means, &c., as iar n-a g-cur do Ghréin ghruadh-sholuis a rachdaibh broc, "after their having been transformed into the shapes of badgers by Grian of the bright cheek," MS. Trin. Coll. Dubl. H. 3. 18. p. 42. (p. 302)

    "A grammar of the Irish language, published for the use of the senior classes in the College of St. Columba." (1845)
    John O'Donovan, Member of The Irish Archaeological Society

    Source: Internet Archive


    Loch Greine (Grian was Find's daughter),
    Loch Ibrach in Ibar-glend,
    the loch by which Trom Torach settled,
    which they call Corr Cruad-glorach,

    Loch Cipp, Loch Cori, Loch Cno,
    Loch Bricc, Loch Bairchi, Loch Bo,
    Loch na mBarc, at Boith in Mail,
    Loch Eitte, Loch Ethludain,

    Loch ind Eich, Loch ind Aige,
    Loch na Druad, Loch na Daime,
    Loch Laig, Loch na Fer Fuinid,
    Loch Nechtain, Loch Athguinig. p. 307
    -Sliab n-Echtga II

    "The Metrical Dindshenchas" Part III (Royal Irish Academy, Todd Lecture Series. Vol. X., 1913)
    Edward Gwynn

    Source: Internet Archive


    Travelling through the history of a literature one comes to different climates, different scenery, different races of men; but every now and then one sees strange, grim, gigantic figures, abnormal, refusing to conform to the type of the place where they are located. p. 1
    "Merriman's secret: an interpretation" - Piaras Béaslaí

    Ba ghnáth me ag siubhal le ciumhuis na habhann
    Ar bháinseach úr 's an drúcht go trom,
    In aice na gcoillte i gcoim an tsléibhe,
    Gan mhairg gan mhoill ar shoillse an lae.
    Do ghealadh mo chroidhe nuair chínn loch Gréine,
    An talamh, an tír, is íoghar na spéire,
    Taitneamhacht aoibhinn suidheamh na sléibhte
    Ag bagairt a gcinn tar druim a chéile. p.35
    - Brian Merriman

    "Cúirt an Mheadhon oidhche (Brian Merriman)" (1912)
    Risteárd Ó Foghludha, Piaras Béaslaí

    Source: Internet Archive


    ...' many fish came up out of the dark water at early morning to taste the fresh water coming down from the hills.' p. 37

    'He was the greatest poet in Ireland, and he'd make a song about that bush if he chanced to stand under it. There was a bush he stood under from the rain, and he made verses praising it, and then when the water came through he made verses dispraising it.' p.40.

    'There was no part of Ireland I did not travel,
    From the rivers to the tops of the mountains,
    To the edge of Lough Greine whose mouth is hidden,
    And I saw no beauty but was behind hers.' p.40.

    There is an old woman who remembers her, at Derrybrien among the Echtge hills, a vast desolate place, which has changed little since the old poem said, 'the stag upon the cold summit of Echtge hears the cry of the wolves,' but still mindful of many poems and of the dignity of ancient speech. p. 41-42.

    "The Celtic Twilight" (1902)
    WB Yeats

    Source: Internet Archive


    A stream issues from Lough Terroig, on the boundary with the county of Galway; runs southward to the beautiful Lough Graney or Lake of the Sun; pursues a serpentine course of 4 miles to Lough O'Grady; collects there the waters which several rivulets bring down from the mountains; and then runs eastward to Lough Derg, at the picturesque bay of Scariff.

    The Bow rises a little east of Lough Terroig, has most of its course on the boundary of Galway, and falls into lough Derg, 1¼ mile north east of Scariff... p. 401

    "The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland" (1846)

    Source: Internet Archive


    North from Tyredagh, Tulla, Maryfort, and Coolreagh hardly any forts, dolmens, churches, or peel-towers exist, save near Feakle and Lough Graney, till we cross the mountains of Slieve Aughty. They, or at least their flanks, were uninhabited, impenetrable oak forests, the same being true of Slieve Bernagh, except for the valley of Killokennedy and its branches up to Formoyle. The opposite is the case in the plains. Here were the earliest of Clare's churches and monasteries, the fifth-century Kilbrecan, Doora and Clooney, the sixth-century Tomfinlough and Tomgrany, the seventh-century church of St. Mochulla at Tulla, and many others of the ninth to the twelfth centuries. Of forts Doora, Clooney, Tulla, and Kilnoe had some fifty each; Quin had over eighty. There are nearly fifty dolmens and at least twenty-five peel-towers, showing how important a centre of population the plain must have been from early time down to and past the Norman Conquest. p. 374

    "Types of the Ring-forts and similar structures remaining in Eastern Clare (Quin, Tulla, and Bodyke)" (Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1909)
    Thomas Johnson Westropp, M.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Here are also plenty of Wilde Fowle. p. 177.

    The stream which flows from Ross Roe, Fenloe, and Ballycar lakes, is only a small one in summer, passing under ground between Ballycar (late belonging to the Colpoys family) and Newmarket, and again under the demesne at Carrigoran, the seat of Sir Augustine Fitz Gerald. There are several other instances in the county of Clare arising from the cavernous formation of the limestone which prevails through the centre of the county of Clare — the " Toomeens" in the demesne of Kiltanon being the most remarkable in the county. In wet weather, the inability of these passages to carry off the water causes the numerous Turloghs which exist in Clare. p.178

    "Extracts from the Journal of Thomas Dineley, Esquire, Giving Some Account of His Visit to Ireland in the Reign of Charles II." (1681)
    Communicated by Evelyn Philip Shirley, Esq., M.A., with notes by The Hon. Robert O’Brien, and The Rev. James Graves in The Journal of the Kilkenny and South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society 1867.

    Source: JSTOR: a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects.


    ...about Inchicronan. Whose name it bears is absolutely forgotten: he may have been the monk connected with Tomgraney and Tomfinlough, who probably lived about 550. At any period it must have been a place in which it was fitter that wild fowl should nest than that human beings should spend their lives. [1]

    Inchicronan. The Site - The building lies in a prettily wooded district, at the end of a long tongue of land projecting into the Lake of Inchicronan, near Crusheen. The peninsula was once, it seems, cut into two islands; but they are now connected with each other and the northern shore by a causeway and boggy fields; even still, the ruins are isolated after unusually heavy rains.

    We pass through open fields and bogs, tufted with the sweetly-smelling bog myrtle, and vividly recalling on a bright summer day the joyous scenes in which the heroes of Finn loved to hunt as described in our older poetry:

    "Brilliance of the season ever on the margin,
    The summer swallow skims the wave,
    The swift horses seek the pool.
    The heath spreads out its long hair.
    The weak fair bog-down grows." [2] pp.133-134

    [1] We found a wild duck's nest within the ruin on the occasion of our first visit.
    [2] "Ossianic Society" vol. iv., p. 303.

    "Augustinian Houses of The County Clare. Clare, Killone and Inchicronan." (1899)
    Thomas Johnson Westropp

    Source: Internet Archive


    Lough Cooter, near Gort, receives the drainage from most of the north-west portion of Slieve Aughter. The Beagh river flows out of Lough Cooter, having for about two miles an open course, when it disappears in the limestone under a drift cliff. But its course can be traced by sluggas, called the Devils Punch-bowl, the Black Weir, the Ladle, and the Churn, to Pollduagh, a cave, out of which it again comes to the surface. After this it is an open river for about three miles, when it sinks again SE. of Kiltarten, but rises west of that village to again sink and rise several times, till eventually it finds its way into Coole Lough; into which the Boleyneendorrish river and Owenshree also flow. These are similar in their passage across the limestone, being in places subterranean; and the combined waters of these rivers, during floods, form an extensive turlough, over five hundred acres in area, in connection with Coole Lough. From Coole Lough the water finds its way by subterranean passages to the sea.
    p 326-6

    "Manual of the geology of Ireland" (1878)
    Henry G. Kinahan

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Death of Hanrahan

    Hanrahan, that was never long in one place, was back again among the villages that are at the foot of Slieve Echtge, Illeton and Scalp and Ballylee, stopping sometimes in one house and sometimes in another, and finding a welcome in every place for the sake of the old times and of his poetry and his learning.

    His hand had grown heavy on the blackthorn he leaned on, and his cheeks were hollow and worn, but so far as food went, potatoes and milk and a bit of oaten cake, he had what he wanted of it; and it is not on the edge of so wild and boggy a place as Echtge a mug of spirits would be wanting, with the taste of the turf smoke on it. He would wander about the big wood at Kinadife, or he would sit through many hours of the day among the rushes about Lake Belshragh, listening to the streams from the hills, or watching the shadows in the brown bog pools; sitting so quiet as not to startle the deer that came down from the heather to the grass and the tilled fields at the fall of night. pp. 63-64

    "Stories of Red Hanrahan, The secret rose, Rosa alchemica" (1914)
    W.B. Yeats

    Source: Internet Archive


    Clare, or at least its northern or western portions, seem to have been still pagan in the early seventh century.[1] The saint, leaving the mountains, followed a doe (constantly recurring in folk-lore) to a hill, "Dorsum riscarum", now called "Episcoporum collem" (Tulach na n-espoc), covered with trees, brambles and bushes. Mochulla found a smooth rock with a cavity (bullaun, or basin-stone, not infrequent in the district), which the doe fills with milk, and here he and his brother hermit found a cell. "King Guaraeus" (evidently Guaire "the hospitable", of Aidhne, near Gort, c.620, who died at an advanced age in 662), sends seven soldiers to capture Mochulla. They join the community and toil for a year "in erecting an impregnable stone fort as a refuge against further attack". It had ramparts, very deep fosses, and outworks ("muros, fosseta profundissima necnon et antemuralia"). The enraged Guaire comes by night across the mountain passes, and, remaining on a spur, sends his troops across the plain to the monastery. A female anchorite, "Glasnetis" (unknown to local tradition), who had gone to "fetch away fire" from the place, meeting the soldiers, drops the burning embers and (as is the case at, perhaps, the very "spurs" while we write) the heather and furze catch fire and make a dense smoke; the soldiers fall insensible in the reek, Guaire becomes humble, and "afterwards becomes renowned for his liberality". Mochulla is consecrated a bishop, and the Life ends abruptly. pp 387-8

    [1] From the prayer in the Stowe Missal (late sixth century), folio 25.

    "Types of The Ring Forts and Similar Structures remaining in Eastern Clare (Quinn, Tulla, and Bodyke)" (Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1909)
    Thomas Johnson Westropp, M.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Synod of Ráith Breasal - Boundaries of The Dioceses of Ireland
    [A.D. 1110 or 1118]

    Here follow the parochiae or dioceses and their boundaries they were ordered in this Synod of Ráith Breasail: - p. 12

    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 Riogh
    and from Sliabh Uidhe an Riogh to Sliabh Caoin or to Gleann Caoinn. p. 15

    Cluain Fearta: this d. included the present dd. of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh. It was peopled by the tribes of Ui Maine and Ui Fiachrach Aidhne.

    Eachtghe: b. of dd. of Cluain Fearta and Ceall Dalua, the district in which is Sliabh Eachtghe, Slieve Aughty, a mountain range on the borders of the cos. of Galway and Clare, for its exact extent vide Hogan, Onom. Gad. a.v. p. 22

    The following contractions are used : b., boundary ; bar., barony ; d., diocese ; p., parish

    "Archivium hibernicum; or, Irish historical records" Vol. III (1914)
    Rev John MacErlean, S.J.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Patrick said to the Corco Baiscinn: "Is there a place from whence your district will be clear to me so that I myself may descry it from my seat and bless it from that spot?"
    "There is, forsooth," say they. "The hill there that is Fidne."

    St. Patrick then went to the top of Fidne, and said to them... "Doth your territory reach the mountain there in the east, that is Echtge in the territory of Desa?"
    "It reached not," saith they.
    "It shall reach after a long time," saith Patrick.

    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. pp. 30-32

    "The diocese of Limerick, ancient and medieval" (1906)
    Rev. John Begley, C.C.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Tar Uibh Neill aonachta, fodes la
        taoibh na hEchta
    Reilgi mic Crimhthannain, berar
        co hinis Celtra.

    "Across the united Ui-Neill, southwards
        by the side of Echtga,
    The relics of the son of O'Crimthannan
        are borne to Inis-Celtra."

    Echtga is Slieve Aughty, between Clare and Galway; and Inis-Celtra is in Loch-Derg.
    The son of O'Crimthannan (or, the "son of the descendant of Crimthannan") was probably St. Cammin of Inis Celtra, who was the sixth in descent from Crimthann, son of Enna Cennselach, king of Leinster circa A.D. 400. pp 100-101

    "The Book of Fenagh in Irish and English" (1875)
    W. M. Hennessy, M.R.I.A., D. H. Kelly, M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Above a tomb there is a stone, squarely hollowed and full of the water of heaven, which water is said to have the virtue of curing corns. How charming it is to travel in Ireland!

    The borders of the lake in this district were some time ago covered with wood, but this has all been cut down, and the whole country is naked and arid. Near Woodfort the landscape begins to improve, and is rather pretty near a village called Abbey, on the confines of the provinces of Munster and Connaught. p. 134

    "A Frenchman's walk through Ireland, 1796-7 (Promenade d'un Français dans l'Irlande)" (1917)
    Translated from the French of De Bougrenet de Latocnaye by John Stevenson

    Source: Internet Archive


    I shall now proceed to state the result of my observations, and of the information which I have gleaned from different sources, respecting the condition of the district of the country between Woodford and the county of Clare, being along the borders of Lough Derg, and bounded on the north by the mountains of Derrygoolin and Bohatch, and which comprises an area of about twenty-two square miles.

    The soil is for the most part a stiff clay, overlaying clay slate, except in a few places where the limestone crops out; it is consequently cold and tenacious, and does not permit the free percolation of the rain. In the year 1849, the population of this district was represented by 665 families, numbering 5,713 persons; in the present year the number of families is 576, and the inhabitants 3,036. Comparing the breadth of land under tillage in 1849 with that of the present year, we find that there has been no sensible decrease commensurate with the diminution of the population. p. 19

    "The west of Ireland: its existing condition, and prospects" (1862)
    Henry Coulter

    Source: Internet Archive


    The surface of the mainland is a belt of low ground on Lough Derg, immediately backed by the declivities of the Slieve-Baughta mountains; and it blends with the lake and the circumjacent country in the formation of a brilliant landscape. About a mile south-west of Mount Shannon stands Woodpark, the seat of Mr. Reade. The rivulet Bora separates from each other the two sections of the parish, and at the same time forms the boundary between Connaught and Munster; and the joint road from Scariff toward respectively Portumna and Loughrea passes up the margin of the lake. p.316

    The vicarages of Inniscalthra, Moynoe, Clonrush, constitute the benefice of Inniscalthra. Length, 9 miles; breadth, 3; area of arable and pasture lands, 25.736 acres. But the union includes also a large tract of wild mountain, attached to each of its three parishes; and it extends from within ¼ of a mile of the town of Woodford to within ¼ of a mile of the town of Scariff. p.317

    "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


    The surface of this county is extremely irregular. The high lands occupy about 150 square miles, included between the Shannon on the east and the Galway boundary on the north. Here the Slieve Baughta mountains attain an elevation of from 2000 to 2500 feet This group stretches into the adjoining county, and contains three principal connected lakes: Loch Teroig, on the boundary of Clare and Galway; Loch Graney, farther south in the centre of the group; and Loch O’Grady, between Loch Graney and that expansion of the Shannon called Loch Derg in the east, into which the waters of the district discharge themselves by the Scariff river at the village and creek of the same name. p. 229

    It has been proposed to cut a canal from Scariff by Loch Graney through the valleys of the Slieve Baughta mountains and the flat country beyond to the bay of Galway... p. 230

    The Slieve Baughta mountains consist of a nucleus of clay-slate, supporting flanks of sandstone, intruded through a break in the surrounding limestone plain, in the same manner as the Slieve Bloom range on the opposite bank of the Shannon. p. 231

    "The Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" Vol.VII. (1837)
    Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (Great Britain)

    Source: Internet Archive


    The most reliable way to study the history of warfare in any country is to begin with the topography or natural geography of the country. The physical make-up of a region very largely determines the character of any military operations carried on within it. p.9.

    The general expanse of the Central Plain has only two real breaks of a mountainous character - as distinct from projections of the northern and southern mountain areas and the mountains along the Atlantic coast. The two breaks are (1) the Slieve Aughty, Slieve Bearnagh, and Cratloe Hills in Galway and Clare and (2) the Slieve Bloom, Keeper, and Devil's Bit ranges in Queen's County and Tipperary. The protracted independence of Thomond in the one case, and Ely, Offaly, and Leix in the other, were largely due to the protection afforded by these ranges. p.15.

    "The Irish wars, a military history of Ireland from the Norse invasions to 1798" (1920)
    J. J. O'Connell, M.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    They were one day in a circle around the cemetery in Rahen praying. While Mochuda was there he saw the demon in the midst of them. Mochuda asked him: 'Wretch, what way didst thou find to get here?' The devil answered him, and said: 'On the tonsure (lit. baldness) of the Connaught man,' said he; 'this was a student of Cenel Aeda na h-Echtge.' 'Well, O clerk,' said Mochuda, 'where was thy mind, when the devil came by way of thee, and got into our midst?' The young churchman prostrates himself before Mochuda, and told him the reason, which was this: 'My brothers after the flesh were giving battle, and this was revealed to me; and until they were victorious, my attention was with them, and not here. But I promise to thee, and to the Lord, that the devil shall not find a road out by way of me, though he found that way in.' This was true. p.301

    "Bethada Náem nÉrenn. Lives of Irish Saints." Vol II. (1922)
    Edited from the Original MSS. with Introduction Translations, Notes, Glossary and Indexes by Charles Plummer.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Cobhthach. - He had three sons, namely, 1, Aodh, the ancestor of the tribe called Cinel Aodha na h-Echtghe, of whom the O'Cahills and O'Shaughnessys were the chiefs after the establishment of surnames; 2, Colman, the father of the celebrated Guaire Aidhne, King of Connaught, and ancestor of the families of O'Clery, O'Heyne, Mac Giolla Cheallaigh, now Kilkelly, and others; 3, Conall, the great grandfather of St. Colman, patron saint of Kilmacduagh, whose crozier and belt, ornamented with gold and gems, was in the possession of the O'Shaughnessy family in Colgan's time (1645). p. 374

    "The Genealogies, Tribes, and Customs of Hy-Fiachrach, commonly called O'Dowda's country." (1844)
    From The Book of Lecan, in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, and from the Genealogical Manuscript of Duald Mac Firbis, in the Library of Lord Roden, with a Translation and Notes by John O'Donovan.

    Source: Internet Archive


    In the year 1579, Dermot O'Shaughnessy, one of the chiefs of the O'Shaughnessys of Kinelea in the south-east of Galway, laid a snare for his brother's son, William, at a place popularly called Ardmealuane, in the parish of Beagh in Galway, four miles south of Gort; he succeeded in slaying his nephew, but the young man defended himself so well, that the assassin died of his wounds an hour after the combat.

    The Four Masters, in recording this event, call the place Ard-Maoldubhain, Maoldubain's height; it contains the ruins of a castle, which is called Ardamullivan in the Ordnance maps.

    Irish Personal and Family Names. p. 126-7.

    "The origin and history of Irish names of places" (1875)
    P. W. Joyce, LL.D., T.C.D,, M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    When Sidney visited the province, in 1576, and talked with the lords and chiefs, he felt convinced that the origin of all their ruin was the uncertain grant and unstable possession of their lands; it was this which led to so many wars. To substitute the certain and well-defined English system of tenure for this uncertain and contentious system would be, he thought, a great improvement, and he began by establishing counties and appointing sheriffs. He had also induced the chiefs to surrender their lands to the Queen, and then get them back by letters patent and hold them by English tenure; but before this arrangement was carried out his term of office expired. [1] Nearly ten years later, these changes were effected under Sir John Perrott. For this purpose he summoned the Connaught chiefs to Dublin, in 1585. Each of them surrendered all the lands upon which he dwelt, or which he cultivated, or over which he exercised any authority, or from which he derived any income, and received them back from the crown to be held by knight's service. Some portion of land was given to each chief as his demesne, and freed from rent or cess of any kind; for the remainder he paid a crown rent of one penny for each acre. p.100-101

    [1] 0'Flaherty's Iar Connaught, p. 299.

    "History of Ireland: From the earliest times to the present day." Volume 3 (1910)
    The Rev. E. A. D'Alton, LL.D. M.R.I.A

    Source: Internet Archive


    At the distance only of two hundred years from the detail of miserable warfare here exhibited as having taken place within the United Kingdom, it is difficult to conceive in what quarter of the globe more barbarous military proceedings could occur. p.viii.
    "The Siege of Ballyally Castle in the County of Clare. [Introduction]" (1841) T. Crofton Croker

    The Castell of Inshecronane was beseidged the 13th of March, being the daie aftar thaye left Balyaly, by Gileduffe O'Shanes and the Grades, and som Conoth men that were returning home; where upon Anthony Heathcot sent a lettar to the Earle of Thomond, promesing his lordship a rick of wheat, if his lordship would bee plesed to releve hem; whereupon the earle sent for Durman O'Brien and John M'Namarow and there companyes to goe with hem, which thaye did accordingly, and lickwaies tuck his one trope and about 50 English men in armes, and went (according to Mr. Heathcotte's desire); but before hee came to the castell som of the Irish sent notes to the seeidgars, where upon thaie removed before his lordship came; but, howevar, finding two or three rogges remaining in the bushes, his lordship kild them. But the rick of wheat by the enemy was burnt. p. 21
    "A brief narrative of the beginning and continuance of the Commotion in the County of Clare, alias Thomond." (1642) Maurice Cuffe, of Ennis, Esq.

    "Narratives illustrative of the contests in Ireland in 1641 and 1690." (1841)
    Edited by Thomas Crofton Croker

    Source: Internet Archive


    A.D. 1601. Teige, the son of Torlogh, who was son of Donall, who was son of Conor O’Brien, entered into a confederacy with the sons of John Bourke, and in the course of three days afterwards requested them to accompany him on an excursion into some part of Thomond. This request was not refused for he was accompanied by some of the Chiefs from the camp with their kerns. On leaving the camp they passed along the borders of Kenel-Aodha na h-Echtge and Kenel-Dunghoile. They sent forth marauding parties on both sides of the River Fergus into the upper part of the Territory of O'Fearmaic, and the upper part of Clann-Culein. Some of these advanced to Baile-Ui-Aille and Clonroade and returned that night with spoils to Cill Reachtais in upper Clan-Cuilein.

    "Ordnance Survey Letters containing information relative to the ANTIQUITIES of the COUNTY OF CLARE" (1839)
    John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry

    Source: Clare Library


    {It is stated that Redmond Burke being at war with the Earl of Clanrickard, (continued) plundering the territory of Kenel-feichin "to the South of the Barony of Leitrim", until the Earl of Clanrickard arrived and pitched his camp at the Monastery of Kenel-feichin.}

    Thus they {i.e. the Earl and Redmond} remained for four or five days {during which time some persons of low rank were slain on both sides,} until Teige, the son of Brian na murtha, who was son of Brian Ballach, who was son of Owen O'Rourke, arrived with a number of bold and well armed troops to assist Redmond. When the Earl perceived that these two parties were united against him, he left his camp and passed into Clanrickard. The others pursued him as far as Loughreagh; and because the Earl and his people effected their escape from them on this occasion, they traversed, plundered and burned the country from Leitrim to Ard-Maoldubhain (Ard-Maoldubhain locally pronounced Ard a Mhaolubháin is a T.L. {Townland} in Beagh Ph. {Parish}), and as far as the gate of Feadan (angl. Fiddan, a Townland in the same Ph. in which stands the ruined walls of an old Castle. Beagh Ph. lies in the S.W. of the district anciently called Cinéal Aodha na h-Echtghe, adjoining the Co Clare {Thomond}) in the west of Kinel Aodha. p.500

    Your obedient &c. Servant,
    P. O'Keeffe.

    Source: Ordnance Survey Letters of Galway (1838)


    They sent out their marauders to plunder Clanricarde... [1]

    The next day O'Donnell went with his army to the monastery of the hill, at the gate of Galway, for the purpose of a conference with the townspeople to see if he could obtain an exchange of strange clothing and beautiful property from them for some of the plunder which he had, for it was not easy for his people to collect and drive with them to their own lands all the flocks and herds which they had; and besides, he did not mean to return to his own country (were it not for the great treasure his army had) until he came to Gort[2] of Inis Guaire,[3] in Cinel Aedha[4] na Hechtgha.[5] p. 133

    [1] Clanricarde. — It included the baronies of Loughrea, Kiltartan, Clare, Dunkellin, Athenry, and Leitrim, i.e., the south-eastern portion of Co. Galway.
    [2] Gort. — Gort insi Guaire, i.e., the field of the island of Guaire, a town midway between Ennis and Athenry.
    [3] Guaire. — The common ancestor of the O'Heynes, O'Clerys, &c. He was King of Connaught from A.D. 652 to 665. The Irish poets speak of him as the personification of hospitality. See Tribes of Hy Fiachrach, p. 60; and Transactions of the Ossianic Society, v. 34; Dublin, 1860.
    [4] Cenel Aedha. — Aedh, son of Cobtagh, from whom this tribe has its name, was eighth in descent from Eochaid Moighmheadhoin.
    [5] Na Hechtgha. — Now Slieve Aughty, the mountainous district between Loughrea and Mount Shannon, Co. Galway.

    "Beatha Aodha Ruaidh ui Dhomhnaill. The life of Hugh Roe O'Donnell, prince of Tirconnell (1586-1602)" (1895)
    Rev Denis Murphy, S. J., M.R.I.A. ed.

    Source: Internet Archive


    DE BURGH, Earl of CLANRICARDE. [1]

    It is proper to observe here, that all the French families of this name still continue to write it De Bourg, and in latin De Burgo; and after the De Burghs removed from Normandy to England, they also wrote De Burgo, and sometimes De Burgh, in order to accommodate the word to the English or Saxon accent, and in process of time they wrote Bourk. But, 13 May, 1752, the King, by letters under his signet royal and sign manual, granted to the Earl, Ulick Bourke of London, and Thomas Bourke of Ireland, and their descendants, full power, licence and authority to assume and use the name of De Burgh. (Gazette.) p.117

    [1] Chiefly drawn up from the MS. of Lord Clanricarde, and from the collections of the Author.

    "The peerage of Ireland; or, A genealogical history of the present nobility of that kingdom." (1789)
    John Lodge Esq., & Mervyn Archdall A. M.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Of the country between Thomond and Galway, the Chancellor writes that "it was governed by Mac William, Earl of Clanricarde, that there was only two ploughs at work there until lately, and now that there are forty ploughs, that ploughing increaseth daily, thanks be to God, and the people be now so quiet that they leave their ploughs, irons, and cattle in the fields without fear of stealing, and experience showeth that there can be nothing so good to be used with such savage people as good order to be observed and kept amongst them, for execution of the law is more feared when it is done in order than any other punishment." p. 11.

    "Report on the State of Connaught" (1552) by the Chancellor of Ireland, Sir Thomas Cusack, quoted in "Anecdotes of the Connaught circuit. From its foundation in 1604 to close upon the present time." (1885)
    Oliver J. Burke, A.B., T.C.D.

    Source: Internet Archive


    I went (27th February, 1575-6) into Thomond... I there subdued a rebellious race of the syrname of the earl, the O'Breens; their captains were called the Bushop's sonnes,[1] and indeede the bastards they were of a bushop of Kilallow, which bushop was sonne to an O'Breene, captain of Thomond. Of this wicked generation some I killed, some I hanged by order of lawe, but all I subdued; and so leaving that country in quiet, which is a great one, and by me made a county of the name of the county of Clare, I went out of the same into O'Siagnes' country, which I found all in garboyle and violent warres. The captain[2] whereof (as I thought he ought to be, his brother being dead, and having before served my Lord of Leycester) I settled in his due roome, and quieted all the rest; and so went to the good town of Galloway; in the way to which mett me the Earl of Clanrickard, myne old acquayntance, p. 312.

    [1] Bishop O'Brien's Sons. - Sir George Carew, Earl of Totness, states, in his valuable pedigrees of Irish families, [Carew MS., 635, and Harl. MS., i., 1425,] that "Moriertagh O'Brien, Bishop of Killalowe, married Slaney, daughter of Dermot, Lord Insequin, divorced from Tirlogh O'Brien, of Corcomroe; and had issue Tirlogh Mac Aspick," ("son of the bishop,") "lord of the barony of Ara, 1615."
    [2] O'Shaughnessy. - The predecessor of this chieftain was in power at the period of the Invasion, for, in the Norman metrical history of the conquest, his name is recorded among those of the Gaelic kings who attacked Trim castle:
    "O'Sathnessy, do Poltilethban;
    Si alad le reis Molethlin,
    E reis O'Rorig son voysin."
    The chieftain in the text appears to have been notable for his civilisation. [See Gaelic Domestics, Journal, vol. 3.]

    "Sir Henry Sidney's Memoir of His Government of Ireland", Ulster journal of archaeology. Vol. 5. (1857)
    Herbert F. Hore

    Source: Internet Archive


    About this time, in the year 1563 or 1564, Connaught, according to Sir R. Cox, [1] was divided into six counties, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon, and Leitrim. Other accounts, with more probability, place the division of Connaught into counties in Sir Henry Sydney's time, when an Act of Parliament was passed for dividing the country into shires; [2] and in 1570 and 1576 entries appear in the State Papers, showing that in these years the province was divided into counties and baronies. p. 185.

    [1] Sir R. Cox, Hibernia Anglicana, p. 317.
    [2] Sir R. Cox, Hibernia Anglicana, P. 331.

    "The O'Conors of Connaught: An Historical Memoir." (1891)
    Compiled from a MS. of The Late John O'Donovan, LL.D. with additions from The State Papers and Public Records by the Rt. Hon. Charles Owen O'Connor Don.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Irish families of note in these parts: were the O-Kellies, O-Maddens... p. 1381

    Clan-Richard, i.e. the Sons or Tribe of Richard, or the Land of the Sons of Richard, borders upon these, and is reckon within this County [Galway]. They take their name, after the Irish manner, from one Richard, of an English Family sirnam'd De Burgo, which afterwards came to have great authority and interest in these parts. Ulick de Burgo of this Family was by Henry the eighth made Earl of Clan-Richard; whose eldest son enjoys the title of Dun-Kellin. [1] He had a son Richard, the second Earl, whose children (by several venters) involv'd their father, their country, and themselves, in great troubles and difficulties. Richard, who died old, was succeeded by his son Ulick, the third Earl, and father of Richard the fourth Earl, whose untainted loyalty to the English, and great valour, were signaliz'd at a time when the English Interest was at its lowest ebb. p. 1382

    [1] Iniskellie

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

    Source: Internet Archive


    ...boundaries are also mentioned in a MS. poem [in the Library of Trinity College], addressed to William, son of Donogh, who was son of Conor O'Kelly, on the occasion of his having invited all the poets, minstrels, and other professors of art in Ireland, to his house, in the year 1457. In this poem it is stated, that William, the son of Duvessa (his mother), had got possession of the entire territory of Hy-Many, extending, according to its well known boundaries, from Grian to Caraidh.

    ...his lands were bounded by the great lakes of Loch High, and Loch Dergdherc; and also that the great plain of Maonmhagh [Moinmoy], the ancient patrimony of the Clanna Moirne, which had been in the occupation of strangers till William grew up, was again restored to the Hy-Many, and divided among their septs.

    It is also stated in a poem addressed to Eoghan O'Madden, chief of Sil Anmchadha, contained in a fragment of the Book of Hy-Many, preserved in the Library of Trinity College (H. 2. 7. p. 190), that Lough Greine, now in the north of the county of Clare, were a part of Hy Many... and included... Inis Cealltra in Lough Dergdherc.

    "The Tribes and customs of Hy-Many, commonly called O'Kelly's country." Now first published from the Book of Lecan, a MS. in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy; with a translation and notes. pp. 6-7 (1843)
    John O'Donovan

    Source: Internet Archive


    Teige O'Dugan, whose ancestors had been bards and historians of the Hy-Many, published, about 1750, a topographical poem in which he names the O'Naghtens and O'Mullalys as the chiefs of Moenmagh.

    These are his words:

    "To whom the rich plain is hereditary
    Two who have strengthened that side
    O'Naghten and O'Mullally,
    Their fight is heavy in the battles,
    They possess the land as far as Hy-Fiachrach." p.198

    "The Sept of O'Maolale (or Lally) of Hy-Maine" (Galway Archaeological and Historical Society Journal, June 1903)
    Miss J. Martyn

    Source: Internet Archive


    Shortly after the English invasion, William de Burgo, and other Anglo-Norman leaders, led their forces into Connaught, and after fierce contests with the O'Conors and other chiefs, got possession of a considerable part of the country. From Richard, or Rickard de Burgo, a great part of the county of Galway got the name of Clanrickard, which comprised, according to Ware, the baronies of Clare, Dunkellin, Loughrea, Kiltartan, Athenry, and Leitrim. The de Burgos became the most powerful family in Connaught, and were its chief governors under the kings of England. They were styled lords of Connaught, and also became earls of Ulster; but on the death of William de Burgo, earl of Ulster, in the fourteenth century, and the marriage of his daughter, Elizabeth, to Lionel, duke of Clarence, son of King Edward III, his titles passed into the royal family of England...

    In the beginning of the fourteenth century the heads of the two principal branches of the Burkes took the Irish name of Mac William, and adopted the Irish language and customs. Sir William, or Ulick Burke, the progenitor of the earls of Clanrickard, had great possessions in Galway and Roscommon, and took the name Mac William Eighter. p. 132

    "The Annals of Ireland" (1846)
    Michael O'Clery, 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.

    Source: Internet Archive


    For his [Maurice FitzGerald's] assistance in the campaign of 1235 Richard de Burgh rewarded him out of the territory of O'Heyne in parts of the baronies of Dunkellin and Kiltartan, County Galway. [1] p. 205

    The O'Heynes and O'Shaughnessys assisted Richard de Burgh more than once, accepted their subordinate position, and were left in possession of parts of their territories. p. 206

    [1] Red Book, f. vi, where the grant is transcribed. The parcels are 'duo cantreda terre de Ofecherath [ui Fiachrach (Aidhne)] sicut Rothy Ohethyn [Ruaidhri O'h-Eidhin] ea... tenuit salvo et in manu mea retento cant redo de Kenoloth' [Cenel Aodha, 'O'Shaughnessy's country'] to be held by the service of four knights and the rent of 40 marks. Among the witnesses are Hugh de Lacy, Walter de Ridelisford, Gerald de Prendergast, Mathew Fitz Griffin, Richard de Tuit, Peter de Bermingham, Nicholas Power, John de Cogan and others - pointing to the year 1235. This was the only land held by Maurice Fitz Gerald directly of the de Burghs. The two cantreds were, seemingly, Coill ua bh-Fiachrach and Oga Bethra.

    "Ireland under the Normans 1169-1216" Vol. III (1920)
    Goddard Henry Orpen

    Source: Internet Archive


    Pedigree of O'Heyne. The Irish annalists preserve but very few notices of this family from the year 1340 to 1578. At the year 1377 Mac Namara and his people of Clann Coilen defeated the people of Clanrickard, and slew Theobald, son of Ulick Burke, the commander of a great body of Kerns, and O'Heyne's three sons, with many others of the chiefs of Clanrickard. Ann. Clonmacmoise. p. 403

    "The genealogies, tribes, and customs of Hy-Fiachrach, commonly called O'Dowda's country" (1844)
    Translation and Notes by John O'Donovan

    Source: Internet Archive


    O'Heidhin or O'Heyne, Anglicised "Hynes", was styled Prince of South Hy-Fiachra, a district co-extensive with the diocese of Kilmacduagh; and comprised the barony of Kiltartan, and parts of the baronies of Dunkellin and Loughrea in the County Galway.
    O'Seachnasaigh, O'Shaughnessey, or O'Shannesy, chiefs of Kinel Aodha or Kinel-Hugh, a district in the barony of Kiltartan, County Galway. Kinel-Hugh was sometimes called Kinel-Hugh of Echty, a mountainous district on the borders of Galway and Clare.
    O'Cathail or O'Cahil was also a chief of Kinel-Hugh.
    MacGiolla Ceallaigh or MacGilkelly, Anglicised "Kilkelly," chiefs in South Fiachra. O'Cleirigh or O'Clery, Anglicised "Clarke", chiefs in Hy-Fiachra Aidhne, same as MacGilkelly. This family took the name "Cleirigh" from Cleireach, one of their celebrated chiefs in the tenth century.
    O'Duibhgiolla or O'Diffely, chiefs of Kinel-Cinngamhna [Cean Gamhna].
    MacFiachra (Anglicised MacFetridge), chiefs of Oga Beathra.
    O'Cathain, O'Cahan, or O'Cane, chiefs of Kenel-Sedna; and O'Maghna, chiefs of Ceanridhe, all chiefs in Aidhne or South Hy-Fiachra: all these chiefs were descended from Gauire Aidhne, a king of Connaught in the seventh century. p. 325

    "Irish pedigrees; or, The origin and stem of the Irish nation" (1880)
    John O'Hart

    Source: Internet Archive


    O'Ceallaigh or O'Kelly was Prince of Ui-Maine [1]; O'Conaill, lord of the land which extends from Grian to Ceann-Maighe [2]; O'Neachtain and O'Maelalaidh, two lords of Maenmhagh. [3] p. 255

    [1] Ui Maine included the one-third of the province of Connacht. See Tribes and Territories of Ui Maine for its limits at various periods.

    [2] That is, the head of the plain, i.e. the plain of Maenmhagh. The O'Connells of Ui Maine, who were of the same race as the Mac Nevins, originally possessed a territory in the south of Ui Maine, extending from the river Grian, on the confines of Connacht and Thomond, to the head or southern limits of the plain of Maenmhagh.

    [3] This was the ancient name of a plain lying round the town of Loughrea, in the county of Galway. See Tribes and Customs of Ui Maine, pp.70, 130, 176.

    "Cambrensis Everus: The history of ancient Ireland vindicated: the religion, laws and civilization of her people exhibited in the lives and actions of her kings, princes, saints, bishops, bards, and other learned men." (1665)
    The Rev. John Lynch, originally written in Latin, translated by Rev. Matthew Kelly, 1848

    Source: Internet Archive


    "O'Connell's portion of that country,
    Of that delightful pleasant land,
    From Grian to the great plain
    Whose hosts obey the noble chief."

    Grian here mentioned was the name of a river on the borders of Clare, and the plain alluded to was Maenmoy; hence O'Connell's territory appears to have been parts of the barony of Leitrim in Galway, and of Tullagh in Clare, The O'Connells and Mac Egans were marshals of the forces to the O'Kellys, princes of Hy Maine, and of the same descent as the O'Kellys.

    Mac Eideadhain or Mac Aodhagain, anglicised Mac Egans, were chiefs of Clan Diarmada, a district in the barony of Leitrim, county of Galway, and had a castle at Dun Doighre, now Duniry. The Mac Egans were celebrated as Brehons in Connaught and also in Ormond, and many of them eminent literary men. p. 130

    "The Annals of Ireland" (1846)
    Michael O'Clery, 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.


    O'Madagain or O'Madadhain, Anglicised "Madden", chief of Siol Anmchadha or Silancha: a name derived from "Anmchadh", a descendant of Colla-da-Chrioch. This territory comprised the present barony of Longford in the County Galway, and the parish of Lusmagh, on the Leinster side of the river Shannon, in the King's County. The O'Maddens are a branch of the Clan Colla, and of the same descent as the O'Kellys, princes of Hy-Maine; and took their name from Madudan Mor, one of their ancient chiefs.

    O'Huallachain or O'Hoolaghan, sometimes Anglicised "O'Coolaghan" and "MacCoolaghan", chiefs of Siol Anmchadha.

    O'Maolalaidh or O'Mullally, Anglicised "Lally". "O'Neachtain or O'Naghten, Anglicised "Norton". The O'Naghtens and O'Mullallys are given by O'Dugan as the two chiefs of Maonmuighe or Maenmoy: an extensive plain comprising a great part of the present baronies of Loughrea and Leitrim in the County Galway. The O'Naghtens and O'Mullallys are branches of the Clan Colla. pp. 325-6

    "Irish pedigrees; or, The origin and stem of the Irish nation" (1880)
    John O'Hart

    Source: Internet Archive


    The seven lower baronies of Galway, Longford, Clare, Dunkellen, Loughrea, Kiltartan, Athenry and Leitrim were early appropriated by the MacWilliams Eighter or Burkes of Clanrickard, whose chief abode was at first the castle of Loughrea, and later that of Portumma. They held no exclusive possession, for the O'Shaugnessys, connected with them by various matrimonial alliances, retained portions of Kiltartan, of which they once were chieftains, as did the Mullalys of Loughrea, the Hallorans of Clare or Clan Fugail, Donnellans of Clan Brassail in Leitrim, Maddens and Hoolaghans in Longford, Haverties, Haynes and Connollys in Athenry. pp. 51-52

    "Transfer of Erin: or The acquisition of Ireland by England" (1877)
    Thomas C. Amory

    Source: Internet Archive


    Richard de Burgh's principal manor was at Loughrea, where the castle which he built in 1236 [1] became the chief seignorial seat of the lordship. In Earl Walter's time there were four carucates of demesne land at Toolooban near Dunsandle, and prior to 1333 even more, all arable land under the lord's plough. Richard had also a castle and manor at Meelick on the Shannon. This was in O'Madden's country, where the Irish chiefs seem always to have been friendly to the de Burghs. We also hear of the earl's castle at Portumna, where the ferry was valuable. Apart from the demesne-lands, the cantreds comprised in the present baronies of Loughrea, Leitrim, and Longford, and the district about the town of Galway, appear to have been granted to free tenants for rent service, or on minor tenures in comparatively small lots, and to have been strongly colonized. This was the territory which from about the middle of the fourteenth century became known as 'Clanrickard's country'. pp.191-192.

    [1] Ann. Clonmacnois, 1236. Loughrea was in the cantred of Maenmagh, which had been given by Cathal Crovderg to Gilbert de Nangle in 1195: ante, vol. ii, p. 155. In February 1207, King John confirmed this grant, but in the following November he made a grant to Gilbert of lands further to the east, no doubt in substitution for Maenmagh.

    "Ireland under the Normans" Vol. III (1920)
    Goddard Henry Orpen

    Source: Internet Archive


    In A. D. 1316, another battle was fought near Athenry between the natives and the settlers, in which the former were again signally defeated. This battle is described in the unpublished Annals of Clonmacnoise: "A.D. 1316. Ffelym O'Connor heareing of the returne of William Burke to Conaught from Scotland, he proclaimed that all his people from all parts where they were, with such as would joyn with them, wou'd gather together, to banish William Burke from out of Conaught, at whose command all the Irishrie of Conaught from Easroe to Sliew Veghty or Eighty were obedient to him, and came to that place of meeting. Donnogh O'Bryan, prince of Thomond, O'Melaghlen king of Meath, O'Roirk of the Breifnie, O'Fferall chieftaine of the Annalie called the Convackne, Teige O'Kelly king of Imanie, with many others of the nobility of Ireland, came to this assembly, and marched towards Athenrie to meet with William Burk, the lord Bremingham and others, the English of the province of Conaught, where they mett, and gave battle in a place neare the said towne, in which battle the Irish men were discomfitted and quite overthrone." p 267

    "A Chorographical Description of West or H-Iar Connaught, written A.D. 1684, by Roderic O'Flaherty, Esq., Author of the 'Ogygia'." (1846)
    Edited, from a MS. in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, with Notes and Illustrations, by James Hardiman, M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    1314. Donnchad [Ó Briain] together with the English came through the whole of Tuadmumu and took hostages; and Muirchertach Ó Briain with his following, including people and their chattels, made their way to Echtge. But Lord Maurice Rocheford and Donnchad Ó Briain with his kinsmen and a very large host followed them, and on that occasion Clann Chuiléin was utterly ruined, for buildings and all crops were left in flames, and the church of Tulach was damaged and despoiled of many valuables by some wicked camp-followers. On the morrow they pursued Muirchertach to Echtge, but he and the Clann Chuiléin and the sept of Flaithbertach Finn Ó Dedaid abandoned the territory and entered Connachta. p.419

    "Annals of Inisfallen"
    Author Unknown - translated by Seán Mac Airt

    Source: CELT: The Corpus of Electronic Texts