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  • Kilchreest
    Photography © 2006
    Knockbeha Mountain
    Knockbeha Mountain

    The little town from which I write, affords a striking illustration of the prosperous state of the country for some years past. The population of Scariff has suffered a great diminution since the famine year; but the town, which in 1846 had only one little shop of the meanest description, now contains several thriving and wealthy shopkeepers, who have set up establishments and made their fortunes within a period of ten or twelve years...

    I have traversed the parishes of Feakle, Kilnoe, Tomgraney, and others in the barony of Upper Tulla, forming portions of the Scariff union. The same observations are applicable to all these districts, the potatoes and the corn crops having suffered everywhere in nearly equal proportions. The parish of Feakle is probably the poorest in the union. It is an extensive mountainous district, with, for the most part, a cold unproductive soil.

    "The west of Ireland: its existing condition, and prospects" (Notes: Reprinted from Saunders's news-letter of the latter part of 1861 and the first of 1862)
    Henry Coulter

    Source: Internet Archive


    A Sight on a Hillside. Eviction was rapidly reduced to a fine art in this unhappy valley, and each morning saw some task begun in the campaign of extermination, and each evening saw its close, with the relentless regularity of a machine. When we drove into Bodyke each day there were some half-dozen families beneath the roof they had built, in possession of the crops they had sown—poor, perhaps, but still sheltered from the wind and the rain, and with that primal eldest privilege of civilised mankind, a hearthstone which is sacred to them from the whole world. Each night as we drove back these families were in the ditch or the road, their cottages ruined by the crowbar, their furniture smashed to bits by the sledge-hammer, their goats and chickens and pigs driven off the land, the mothers and daughters and sisters noted down in a constable's book for summons, and the fathers and brothers in handcuffs on their way to prison—and all for what? Simply from inability to perform the miracle of squeezing from the land a yearly sum of money which is admittedly in the majority of cases beyond its physical power to produce.

    "Bodyke; a chapter in the history of Irish landlordism" (1887)
    Henry Norman

    Source: Internet Archive


    Feackle Parish, Alias Feacle. This means "a tooth,'' a name supposed to allude to its being a narrow strip of arable land, running to a point into the wild heathy mountain of Sleive Eichtghe. The walls of the old church were built up into the new Protestant Church in modern times. While the patron saint of Tulla is Mochille; he of Feackle is Mochunna. In this parish on the Townland of Ballycroum is perhaps the most curious well in Ireland, as fully bearing identification with the well called " The King of Waters," celebrated in Book of Armagh. Tubber-Graney is resorted to for the cure of sore eyes. Little doubt can be that this was a Pagan well, worshipped by the old idolaters of Ireland, of whom were two kinds—the worshippers of fire and the worshippers of water. The modern people of Feackle seem to have united these forms of worship in the extensive production and use of Fire-water, distilled and imbibed largely until the revenue and police officers interfered. The Lake of Loughgraney is extensive, and its sides are well wooded; also rare exotics bloom in great luxuriance in Cahir, the romantic residence of Wm. O'Hara, Esq. The late James Molony, Esq., of Kiltanon, opened up this wild district by modern roads. Traditions exist of superior schools being carried on in these wild retreats of the people, whose lore of learning was inextinguishable.

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

    Source: Internet Archive


    To endow the church at Tulla, Mac Con Mac Namara, 20° Richard II., granted the then rector and his successors, 21 plough lands; amongst which was Kiltanon, and an Inquisition was held by directions of Sir Richard Bingham in 1585, who found that this alteration was against the Statute of Mortmain. No action seems to have taken upon this till 1611, when an Inquisition was held before Nicholas Kenny, the Escheator-general; but he could not get the jurors to find the mortmain, for which they were subjected to great trouble; but having afterwards summoned a more compliant jury, the lands were declared forfeited to the Crown, by reason of mortmain; and in 1613 granted to Nicholas White of Dublin, from whom Kiltenan and other lands passed to Sir Rowland Delahoyd. His heir, Oliver Delahoyd, having taken up arms with the Irish in 1641, lost the estate, which was granted to Philip Bigoe. In 1713, William, Earl of Inchiquin, made leases of an extensive tract of country to James Molony of Kiltannon, including the Abbey of Corcomroe, in Burren, the fee of which was afterwards purchased.

    The present generation are deeply indebted to the present James Molony of Kiltannon, Esq., whose public spirit and generous expenditure has opened for them the great tract of mountain country lying between Tulla and Galway; which, though thickly inhabited, was almost inaccessible for traffic, as well as for his efforts to introduce manufactures and the growth of flax.

    Notes by the Hon. Robert O’Brien and the Rev James Graves (January 1, 1867)

    "Extracts from the Journal of Thomas Dineley, Esquire, Giving Some Account of His Visit to Ireland in the Reign of Charles II."
    The Journal of the Kilkenny and South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society (JSTOR)

    Source: Internet Archive


    Their own territory of Ui Caisin originally consisted of the following parishes:—Inchicronan, Kilraghtis, Templemaley, Doora, Clooney, Quin, Tulla, and Kilmurry-na-gaul; but after 1318 it included besides these the following parishes: Killaloe, Aglish, Killuran, Kilnoe, Killokennedy, Tulla, Moynoe, Kilseely, Feakle, Kilfinaghty, Iniscaltragh, Tomgraney, in short the whole of Upper and Lower Tulla.

    As soon as they had acquired almost the entire eastern division of the county of Clare, as here described, they changed the names of the districts and called their territory east and west Clanculein, the first named being assigned to a chief called MacNamara Fionn, and the other to a kindred chief designated as MacNamara Reagh. The two districts here named absorbed the following denominations which had existed under their various tribe names from remote times till 1318: Tuaith Eachtao, Ui Dongailé, Ui Congailé, Ui Rongailé, Ui Bloid, Ui Floinn, Ui Cearnaigh, Tradraighe, Gleann Omra, Ui Toirdhealbhaigh, and Ui Ainmire.

    "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


    ...after the expulsion of the Ui-Bloid, and the killing of De Clare, the Cinel Dunghaile, or O’Grady’s, were removed to Tuaim-Greine [Tomgraney], where they obtained possession of a territory comprising the parishes of Tomgraney, Moyno, Iniscaltra, and Clonrush, of which the two latter are now included in the county of Galway, though still belonging to the Dalcassian diocese of Killaloe, and to the deanery of O-mBloid.

    The territory of the Ui-Ronghaile is frequently mentioned in Magrath’s Caithreim-Thoirdhealbhaigh as the country of the O’Seanchans, a very warlike sept of the Ui-Bloid, who espoused the cause of Brian Ruadh O’Brien against Turlough O’Brien and the Mac Namaras. They were driven out of Dal-gCais in 1318 (when they settled in the mountains of the county of Waterford), and their country was added to that of their conquerors, the Mac Namaras. It appears from Mac Namara’s Rental, published by Hardiman, that in the fifteenth century Ui-Ronghaile comprised the parishes of Kilno and Killuran; but there can be little doubt that previously to A. D. 1318 it comprised also the entire of Tuath-Echtghe, or the parish of Feakle, and a portion of the country given to O’Grady after 1318; but its exact limits cannot be defined by any documents as yet discovered.

    "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)
    John Lynch, originally written in Latin, translated by Rev. Matthew Kelly, 1848

    Source: Internet Archive


    Parts; districts, territories: - 'Prince and plinnypinnytinshary of these parts' (King O'Toole and St. Kevin): 'Welcome to these parts.' (Crofton Croker.)

    Place; very generally used for house, home, homestead: - 'If ever you come to Tipperary I shall be very glad to see you at my place.' This is a usage of the Irish language; for the word baile [bally], which is now used for home, means also, and in an old sense, a place, a spot, without any reference to home.

    Scalp, scolp, scalpeen; a rude cabin, usually roofed with scalps or grassy sods (whence the name). In the famine times - 1847 and after - a scalp was often erected for any poor wanderer who got stricken down with typhus fever: and in that the people tended him cautiously till he recovered or died. (Munster.) Irish scaílp [scolp].

    "English as we speak it in Ireland" (1910)
    P. W. Joyce, LLD., T.C.D., M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    From the Parish of Killaloe, County of Clare.
    Much of the ground on which we sought information, is amongst some of the highest mountains in the county of Clare. and inhabited by poor creatures who scarcely know the common comforts of civilized life. They are without decent covering by day, and almost totally without night covering. Many of the little children are absolutely naked. In this part of the parish they have been able to save very little of their turf.

    From the Parish of Feakle, County of Clare.
    Their wearing apparel is in a very wretched state, and the bed clothes usually in the possession of persons of moderate independence, are hardly known in the neighbourhood. The people cover themselves at night with their great coats and cloaks, which are often damp, and never sufficient for warmth. They are wholly destitute of shoes, and the men and boys who must work out of doors, feel this want very severely.

    "Extracts from The Ladies Correspondence on The Clothing sent to Ireland" (1823)
    Report of the Committee for the Relief of the Distressed Districts in Ireland: appointed at a general meeting held at the City of London Tavern, on the 7th of May, 1822

    Source: Internet Archive


    May 25, 1831

    My Dear S-------, we commenced our campaign against the Terries on Sunday last. It was short and bloodless but dreadfully fatiguing, I mentioned in my last letter that I was stationed at the foot of the mountains, connecting Galway with Clare. In the midst of these wilds there is a populous village called Derrybrien, and we received information that many persons implicated in the late dreadful outrages resided at that place or in the vicinity. A plan of attack was therefore concerted with the greatest secrecy, and a concentric movement from Gort, Kilchreest, Loughrea and various posts in Clare, was directed upon the village. Eleven detachments of cavalry and infantry accordingly marched from different points on Sunday night, with orders to arrest every man they met, to capture all the male inhabitants of the villages on their way, and to concentrate at Derrybrien at 6 o'clock A.M.

    We marched at eleven o'clock on Sunday night and commenced ascending the mountain; it was moonlight, and until we reached the summit of the first range of hills, all went well, but a dense fog then enveloped us, we lost our way, (not our road, for road there was none,) and for a couple of hours we were floundering in a great bog. We succeeded with great difficulty in extracting ourselves from this quagmire, and continued plunging onwards through a morass and over the most desolate tract of moor and mountain you can conceive, when at dawn of day the barking of dogs assured us that we were near a village. With infinite valour and discression I prepared for the attack, surrounded the hamlet, placed sentries at every door, and then prepared to secure the inmates.

    It was in truth a curious scene; the people were as wild as the deer, and the women and children little better than savages. One bed served for a whole family, nay, for two or three generations, and they seemed when asleep to deem all clothing quite superfluous. We arrested eighteen men some of whom wore cloths quite superior to those of persons in their condition, the remainder of the men were most probably attending some illegal meeting in the mountains.

    Officer's letter quoted in the "United Service Journal and Naval and Military Magazine, 1831. Volume 7

    Source: Google Books


    I was born on June 7th at Gurtavrulla, Feakle, Co. Clare. My people belonged to the middle farming class. Our home was situated at the foot of the Slieve Aughty Mountains in north east Clare. My father and uncles were active in the Land League days and my grandfather was in the Fenian movement. In my boyhood days I often heard stories told around the fireside on winter nights about the Bodyke evictions and the Fenian movement.

    "Witness statement from Seán Moroney - Captain IRA, Clare, 1921" (1956)

    Source: Bureau of Military History


    Geological Character.—The eastern district of Galway has not been geologically described, but, with the exception of a portion of the sandstone and clay-slate formation of the Slieve Boughta range, which it includes, and of the range of the Slieve Dert hills on the borders of Roscommon, it is understood to consist almost wholly of the same floetz limestone tract which extends over the central plain of Ireland.
    Agriculture.—The richest soil in this county occurs in a tract extending from Gort through Loughrea to Portumna, Eyre Court, and Ballinasloe.

    "Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" (1838)

    Source: Internet Archive


    Sliabh, pl. Sleibhte, a mountain, a range of mountains or hills; a mountainous plain or district; a moor, a marsh, heathery land; it is sometimes applied to a district consisting of a long mountain range and a wide contiguous plain.

    Sliabh Eichtghe, Slieve Aughty, or Slieve Baughta, on the conterminous borders of Co. Galway and Co. Clare; a limit of Thomond; a limit of Garbh-fhearann Luighdheach (Co. Clare); Guaire Aidhne claims the territory from Luimneach to (i.e., Co. Clare), as once belonging to Connaught; v. Echtghe.

    "The History of Ireland" (1902)
    Geoffrey Keating

    Source: Internet Archive


    Clare (Munster). Area 852, 389 acres. This is a pastoral county. Along the eastern borders the Old Red sandstone and Ordovician form large tracts of country around Lough Graney, and they extend in the Slieve Bernagh Mountains (1746 feet) to the borders of Lough Derg. Killaloe, on the Shannon, stands near the junction of the two formations.

    Galway (Connaught). Area 1,519,689 acres. Essentially a mountainous county. The limestone, sometimes much drift-covered, elsewhere standing out in rugged forms at the surface, occupies the country as far as the borders of Lough Derg, and around Loughrea and Gort.

    To the south of Crusheen and on the east of the railway we pass Lough Inchicronan, beyond which to the north-east rises a mountainous tract of Old Red sandstone and Ordovician with Knockaniss (1312 feet).

    Through Tubber, Gort, and Ardrahan the scene constantly varies, and we pass from peat-grounds to rocky vale and woodland. Beyond Craughwell and Loughrea we come to a veritable desert of stone.

    "Stanford's Geological atlas of Great Britain and Ireland; 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


    O mic Murchadha moir,
    Ris [?rit] na geib fidh na fiadmoin,
    Maidm ar bar n-Geintibh cu boin,
    Ria bhar n-gaillmeirgibh griansroill.
    Sceirdit [-at] broigh snechta as a sroin
    Occaib, bar Echtga im iasnoin.

    O son of Murchadh the great,
    To whom [? thee] may neither wood nor hare belong,
    [May] defeat [be inflicted] upon your Foreigners, down to a cow,
    Along with your foreign banners of sun [-bright] satin.
    May flakes of snow issue from the nostril [of each man]
    With ye, [as ye retreat] over Echtga* towards evening [?].

    *Slieve Aughty, on the confines of Clare and Galway.

    "Book of Ballymote" (Todd Lecture Series. Vol. III, 1892)
    B. Mac Carthy, D.D.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Gidhat iomdha mh’imeirce
    mh’édach aniú is gerr,
    me féin do[g]ní m'foraire
    i mullach na mbend.

    Though many are my wanderings,
    my raiment to-day is scanty;
    I myself keep my watch
    on the top of the mountains.

    Robáoi-siomh i Ros Chomáin an oidhche sin, luid aissein arnamhárach co Slíabh n-uráoibhinn nEachtghe, aissein co Slíabh mínaluinn Mis, aissein co Slíabh bennard Bladbma, aissein co hInis Mureadhaigh.

    That night he remained in Ros Comain and went thence on the morrow to delightful Sliabh Aughty, thence to smooth, beautiful Sliabh Mis, thence to lofty-peaked Sliabh Bloom, thence to Inis Murray.

    "Buile Suibhne (the Frenzy of Suibhne) being the adventures of Subhne Geilt, a Middle Irish romance" (1913)
    Translation by J.G. O'Keeffe

    Source: Internet Archive


    Ainmneacha Áiteann. Barnadtririogh: it got its name from three kings because one king was coming up the road and the other king was coming down the road, and the other king was coming over the road, and they met there. It is near Kilchreest school.

    When the mountains look very blue it is a sign of fine weather.

    Schools Folklore Collection, Scoil Náisiúnta Cill Críosta (1938)

    Source: dú


    Chief officers of the household of O'Kelly, king of Hy Many,
    in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries:
    rearers of horses, Kinel-Aeda;
    rearers of hounds, the people of Slieve Aughty.

    "A social history of ancient Ireland; treating of the government, military system, and law; religion, learning, and art; trades, industries, and commerce; manners, customs, and domestic life, of the ancient Irish people" (1903)
    P. W. Joyce

    Source: Internet Archive


    Finn and the Fianna made a great hunting one time on the hill of Torc that is over Loch Lein and Feara Mor. And they went on with their hunting till they came to pleasant green Slieve Echtge, and from that it spread over other green-topped hills, and through thick tangled woods, and rough red-headed hills, and over the wide plains of the country.

    "Gods and fighting men: the story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fiana of Ireland" (1904)
    Lady Gregory

    Source: Internet Archive


    Having passed through Loughrea, the road to Gort, is that to the L. running south-west, and near the lake; near 2 miles from Loughrea, is Curheen, the seat of Mr. Loftus, on the L. and near the western extremity of the lake; one mile further, are the ruins of a castle, on the L.; and the church and village of Kilcrist, 3 miles beyond Loughrea; near 9 miles beyond this, is Roxborough, the seat of Mr. Persse, half a mile on the R.; and a mile further, are the ruins of Killinan church.

    6½ miles beyond Loughrea, is Corbally, the seat of Mr. Blake, on the L.; 1½ mile further, are the ruins of two castles and a church, on the R. and of 2 church, on the L.; and 2 miles beyond these, is Annagh, the seat of Mr. Burke, on the L.

    A little beyond Gort, and about a mile on the L. is Ryndysen, a seat of Prendergast Smith, Esq.; and 2½ miles beyond Gort, on the R. and L. of a little village, are the seats of the Mr. Fosters; and above a mile, to the L. is Craig, that of Mr. Butler; near which are the ruins of a castle; and other ruins, a little further on, on the R.

    Within one mile of Crusheen, are the ruins of a castle, near a mile on the R.; and near one mile beyond Crusheen, those of another, on the L. curiously situate on a peninsula of a small lake.

    3 miles beyond Crusheen, are the ruins of a castle, on the R.; a little further, is Drunaguin, the seat of Mr. Crow; and about a mile, on the R. Nutfield, that of another gentleman of the same name: within half a mile of Ennis, it Lifford, the seat of Mr. England, on the R.; and on the L. of Ennis, separated by the River Fergus, is Cappaghard, the seat of Mr. Leckey.

    "The traveller's guide through Ireland; being an accurate and complete companion to Captain Alexander Taylor's map of Ireland" (1794)
    George Tyner

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Summer Excursion to Gort and its vicinity, as arranged for our Antiquaries this year, will enable them to visit a district rich in historical and archaeological interest. Ancient churches, mediaeval castles, cromleacs, and cahers are familiar features of the district, as well as interesting memorials of the past.

    The selection of Gort as a centre is judicious, though the town is modern, and the name seems to sound more Saxon than Celtic. But "Gort" is only the Anglicized form of a portion of the original name, which, as we have it from the "Four Masters," is "Gort-insi-Guaire," i.e, the "garden of Guaire's island." Dr. Joyce, with his usual accuracy and scholarly research, tells us that "Gort is cognate with the French jardin, the English 'garden,' and the Latin hortus." Guaire was one of the most celebrated of our provincial kings. He was the friend and patron of priests and poets alike; and his name is handed down to us by bards and historians, as "Guaire the Hospitable."

    The king's descendants in the district were known by the tribe-name of Kineal Aedh na Echte, and, as was natural, they cherished the memories of this historic spot.

    "The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland" (1905)
    The Very Rev. Dr. Fahey, P.P., V.G.

    Source: Internet Archive


    On the south of Loughrea there is some high mountainous ground, which is the extreme northern part of the group called Slieve Aughta[1], the highest being Cashlaundrumlahan and Kylebeg, which reach the respective heights of 1,207 and 1,080 feet. One large E. and W. hollow cuts across this mountainous land. This at the west forms the valley of the Boleyneendoorish River, while towards the east it is occupied by the Owenaglana, the line of watershed between them sinking in one part to about 900 feet above the sea. Small secondary valleys run into it both from northward and southward. A large semicircular valley occurs on the south of Kilchreest.

    [1] This is a corruption of Sliabh Echtghe.

    G. H. Kinahan, F.R.G.S.I.

    Source: Geological Survey of Ireland


    Farewell to the sweet reed I tuned on the hill,
    My grief for the rough slopes of Sunnach* so still,
    The wind in the fir tree and bleat of the ewe
    Are lost in the wild cry my heart makes for you.

    *Sunnach - means milking place and in this case is a townland up behind Kilchreest (there is also one in Crusheen).

    "Waysiders: Stories of Connacht" (1918)
    Seumas O'Kelly

    Source: Internet Archive


    Ascending a hill, some miles from Lough-rea, we had a noble prospect. Our plan had been at first to go to Portumna ; but we resolved to take the opportunity of calling at Marble Hill, the seat of Sir John Burke. This is an exceedingly fine place, situated amongst noble woods, and commanding extensive prospects. Sir John and Lady Burke, and some very amiable
    relations, received us with much politeness, and entered into all the spirit of our tour.

    It is impossible, my dear L., until I see you, to do full justice to the hospitality and polished manners of the gentlemen of Connaught and their families.

    "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


    Loughrea, containing about 470 acres, viewed from the town or from the road to Dalyston, has a charming effect, accompanied by the wood of Coureen[1], and environed on the opposite side by the picturesque and ever verdant hills of Park, &c. &c which are continued almost round the lake until they touch the town of Loughrea on the south. The view of Grouse lodge, backed by the Slieubh Bogtha mountains, adds not a little to the charming effect, and the mountains close the scene in the happiest manner.

    [1] This picturesque wood has lately been cut down.

    "A statistical and agricultural survey of the county of Galway : with observations on the means of improvement" (1824)
    Hely Dutton

    Source: Internet Archive


    Of the Parish of KILLEENADEEMA. The celebrated mountainous territory of Sliabh Echtghe begins in this parish at the townland of Coppanagh, but it is so extensive that my informants could not attempt to define it. They think however that it is all included in the County of Galway, which, I believe, is not the fact, at least Beaufort shews Sliabh Baughta on his Ecclesiastical map as extending to Tomegrany in the County of Clare. The name of this mountain is pronounced in this parish as if it were written Slia Bacht-te, which is a remarkable corruption for in all the Irish MSS. of authority it is written (either) simply Echtghe or with the word sliabh prefixed Sliabh n-Echtghe, and sometimes Sliabh Eachtaídhe, which is, I believe the pronunciation that prevails in the county of Clare.

    We shall never be done!

    Your obedient Servant,
    John O'Donovan

    Source: Ordnance Survey Letters of Galway


    In the Loughrea area the hard, black, coaly shales which contain Graptolites, and are interbedded with soft grey shales, are probably of Llandeilo age, and the overlying conglomerates and sandstones seem to belong to the Bala or Caradoc Series.

    "Guide to the collections of rocks and fossils belonging to the Geological Survey of Ireland, arranged in room III. E. of the Museum of Science and Art, Dublin" (1895)
    A McHenry, M.R.I.A., and W. W. Waits, M.A., F.G.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    CAHERATRIM, in Galway, is three miles S.W. from Loughrea, on the north brow of the Derrybrian mountains. Slate occurs here at the foot of the hill, in a stream that runs northward, a few chains south of its junction with a larger stream running westwards. This slate is calcareous, and contains a profusion of the ordinary fossils found lowest in the series, as Leptagonia analoga, Spirifer attenuata, Orthia creniatrioa, &c. &c.

    "Journal of the Royal Geological Society of Dublin" (1857)
    John Kelly, Esq.

    Source: Internet Archive


    A.D. 1890. January 27. - Bog at Loughatorick North, Co. Galway - The bog is situated in the townland of Loughatorick North, on the Slieve Aughty Mountains, nearly on the watershed, and 300 feet above Ballinlough Lake, which lies N.E., and into which the bog drains by a small river. The bog consists of two portions, separated by a narrow neck, where exposed rock was seen after the outburst. The upper and larger part is 70 acres in extent, the lower only 15 acres. The latter began to move 3 days before the upper portion; in its centre was a small lake to which an underground stream could be traced; after the outburst, this lake became dry. After a fall of snow, a sudden thaw set in on the 24th January ; three days later a movement of the bog commenced, and continued till 1st February. Great masses of peat were carried away by the black flood into Ballinlough Lake, which was nearly filled with peat and the outwashed trunks of trees. The lowlands were covered with peat over an area of 100 acres, and for a depth of 12 inches. Traces of the flood were visible to a height of 6 or 7 feet on the trunks of trees which stood in its course. The upper part of the bog subsided from 10 to 15 feet ; its margins were much rent with fissures.

    "The Irish Naturalist" (1897)
    R. Lloyd Praeger, B.E.

    Source: Internet Archive


    There are, besides, several mountain ranges in the interior, insulated in the flat secondary limestone country, and composed, partly of transition slate, and partly of overlying beds of old red sandstone. The most important of these ranges are the Curlew mountains in Sligo, which consist entirely of old red sandstone ; the Slievebon mountains in Roscommon, the Derrybryan and Tullow mountains in Galway and Clare, on the west side of Lough Derg; the Keeper, Devil's Bit, and Slieve-bloom mountains, in Tipperary and Ossory ; and the Galties and Slievenaman mountains in Limerick, Tipperary, and Kilkenny.

    "System of universal geography, founded on the works of Malte-Brun and Balbi. Embracing the history of geographical discovery, the principles of mathematical and physical geography, and a complete description, from the most recent sources, of all the countries of the world" (1851)
    Balbi, Adriano, 1782-1848; Malte-Brun, Conrad, 1775-1826

    Source: Internet Archive


    Galway is a large maritime county in the W. of Ireland. Its landward boundaries are Mayo, Roscommon, King's County, Tipperary, and Clare.
    The occupations of the people are mainly of an agricultural character. The county town is Galway, on Galway Bay, between which and New York a line of steamers ply - the Galway route being the shortest to North America.

    Clare ("a level piece of land") is bounded on the N. by Galway Bay and Galway; on the E. and S. by the Shannon, which separates it from Tipperary, Limerick, and Kerry; and on the W. by the Atlantic Ocean.

    The surface is diversified with mountain, valley, stream, and lake. In the E. are the Inchiquin, Slieve-Baughta, and Slieve-Barnagh Mountains: and in the W. is Mount Callan. The county possesses about 100 small lakes. The chief rivers are the Shannon and the Fergus. The coast is rocky, and in some places exhibits bold precipitous cliffs, 400 feet high.

    "Rudiments of modern geography" (1882)
    Alexander Reid

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Old Red Sandstone is responsible for all the bold rock-scenery of Waterford, Cork and Kerry, including the country of Macgillicuddy's Reeks, the fine passes between Killarney and Glengarriff, and the crags of the Comeragh Mountains south-west of Carrick-on-Suir. Up thrust domes of Old Red Sandstone appear all across the country, such as those that form Slieve Aughty near Loughrea and Slieve Bloom near Maryborough. A considerable mass of this rock, giving rise to strong red soils, spreads north-eastward from near Enniskillen through Tyrone. The Irish Old Red Sandstone, like that of South Wales, passes regularly into the first deposits of the Carboniferous sea.

    "General guide to the natural history collections: description of the raised map of Ireland" (1920)
    Grenville A. J. Cole F.R.S., M.R.I.A., F.G.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    About the time when the wide sea-floor of what we can now call the Carboniferous Sea was being upheaved into dry land again, another series of great earth-foldings occurred; or it might be that these foldings caused the upheaval.

    These foldings are sometimes called Armorican, because they are so well marked in Brittany, whose ancient name is Armorica.

    The same foldings, too, thrust Clare into a great table-land, and ridged up the Slieve Aughty and the Slieve Bernagh mountains at its east.

    "Structural geography of Ireland, as part of the region of N.W. Europe" (1922?)
    Elenor Butler

    Source: Internet Archive


    The difficulty in the assumption of a glacial lake is to account for the containing barriers. There is no difficulty regarding its northern and north-western margin, for that would be formed by the ice sheet itself. Partial boundaries would have been provided to the south-west by the Slieve Aughty Mountains, to the south by the Silvermines Mountains, and to the south-east by the Slieve Bloom Mountains ; but these hills would leave wide gaps below the level of 350 feet, and even below 250 feet at Loughrea, Scarriff (140 feet), and the Nenagh-Curraheen gap (247 feet), while to the east of Tullamore there were wide tracts below the level of 350 feet. Unless all these outlets had been blocked by ice, there could have been no glacial lakes adequate for the formation of the eskers.

    "The Irish Eskers" (January 1, 1921)
    J. W. Gregory, D.Sc., F.R.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Ballinasloe, where traditionally the hosts gathered at the ford upon the River Suck, is the frontier town of the county on the route to Dublin. P. W. Joyce suggests that the great fairs held here are a survival of old tribal gatherings. From Loughrea, near a small lake, the ground rises southward to Slieve Aughty on the border of Clare, and the region of grass-lands and sheets of limestone is changed for uninhabited moors. The broad Shannon, forming the south- east frontier, is bridged at Portumna, just before it passes between its level shores into Lough Derg.

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

    Source: Internet Archive


    South of the line between Dublin and Galway, numerous interruptions of the plain occur, in the form of somewhat round-backed masses, often with basin-shaped depressions in their centres. Such are the Slieve Bloom Mountains, Slieve Aughty, Slieve Bernagh, and the broad upland from Devilsbit Mt. to Slieve Felim. The range of the Galtees and the Ballyhoura Hills has the same structure.

    "Geology of the British Isles" (1918)
    G. A. J. Cole

    Source: Internet Archive


    ...southward the eye follows with delight the open gap between the hills of Burren by the western sea, and that other line, Slieve Echtge, which divides the plain of Gort from the Shannon. Here was the boundary and pass between Connaught and Munster, the country of the O'Kellys, Hy Many; and no place in Ireland was so often fought over. As you go south from Athenry to Ennis, the whole landscape is studded with old castles and peel-towers, set for the most part in pairs, every one watching his neighbour, like players lined up at football.

    "Connaught" (1912)
    Stephen Gwynn

    Source: Internet Archive


    The eastern part of Connaught presents numerous marshes; but few mountains, except those of Baughta on the south. The extreme western peninsula is one of the most mountainous regions in Ireland. Among other names may be mentioned, Mount Nephin, in the county of Mayo, a solitary hill of 2640 feet, and one of the most considerable in the island. That of Croagh Patrick, on the S. E. of Clewbay, a cone of 2666 feet; the Fernamoor mountains to the west of Loughmask; and the Twelve Pins, a line of so many small peaks in Ballinahinch; with others to the south of Loughcorrib.

    "The American universal geography, or, A view of the present state of all the kingdoms, states, and colonies in the known world." (1812)
    Jedidiah Morse, D.D. F.A.A. S.H.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Slieve Aughty Mountain [1], on border of cos. Clare and Galway, between Lough Rea and Lough Derg ; greatest alt., 1243 ft. ; for the most part of the old red sandstone formation.

    [1] Slieve, or Sliebh, is Gaelic, and signifies "Hill," or "Mountain."

    "The survey gazetteer of the British Isles, topographical, statistical and commercial; compiled from the 1901 census and the latest official returns; with appendices and special maps" (1904)
    J. G. Bartholomew

    Source: Internet Archive


    Carboniferous Series in North Munster. In Clare, and extending into Galway. Old Red Sandstone. Its chief mass extends from Derrybryan mountain, on the north, to Lough Derg on the south-east; but from near Lake Youlky on the west, it is continued to the south and east in a narrow belt, encircling the clayslate mountains, and reposing, wherever the contact is observable, in unconformable position; in the higher grounds, in nearly horizontal strata, but on the flanks declining according to the declivity.

    To the north, Derrybryan mountain, consisting wholly of this formation, exhibits horizontal beds in the higher lands, but inclined on the flanks. Thus, in proceeding west toward Gort, the sandstone strata are inclined 30° and 25° westward, and the succeeding limestone, where first apparent, is in conformable position, but more west it gradually becomes horizontal. In Derrybryan mountain may be found all the common varieties incident to the old red sandstone, including beds of red, indurated clay, and sandstone conglomerate. The latter rock appears occasionally in considerable force, containing, in places, rounded and angular ingredients as large as turkey's eggs.

    "Transactions of the Geological Society of London" (1837)
    Thomas Weaver, Esq. F.G.S. F.R.S. M.R.I.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Cregganore, in Galway, more commonly known by the name of Toberelathan is on the N.W. brow of the Derrybrian mountains, six miles S.W. of Loughrea, and two furlongs east of the Gort road. There is a junction visible here, in a stream of the Old Red Sandstone, lying unconformably on the graywacke slate, and a little higher on the hill are several junctions, showing patches of yellowish conglomerate on the slate; and in some places, a few perches of the lower bed or two only ; near the well called Toberelathan, in the stream, the blackish calcareous slate appears ; the lowest slate of the Carboniferous rocks, which is full of the usual fossils, especially Spirifer attenuata and Leptagonia analoga.

    "Journal of the Royal Geological Society of Dublin" (1857)
    John Kelly, Esq.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Mountains of Connaught include the Nephin Beg. 2,065, Croagh Patrick. 2,510 feet, and Muilrea. 2,688 feet, in the county of Mayo; and the Mountains of Connemara, the Twelve Pins group, the Mamturk Range and the Slieve* Aughty, in the county of Galway. A great limestone plain extends across the middle of the island, from Dublin Bay on the east, to Galway Bay on the west, on either side of which are several minor plains.

    * Slieve, Irish, Sliabh, a mountain.

    "The Advanced Class-book of Modern Geography, Physical, Political, Commercial" (1892)
    William Hughes F.R.G.S., & J. Francon Williams F.R.G.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Clare. On the northeast margin are Turkenagh and Cappaghabaun (1,126), which may be regarded as offshoots of the Slieve Aughty range, on the Galway side of the boundary. The River Graney issues from Lough Graney in the barony of Tulla, and passing through Lough O'Grady, falls into Lough Derg at Scariff bay; its headwaters are two streams that fall into Lough Graney, viz., the Bleach River, which comes from the east, rising in Lough Atorick, on the boundary between Clare and Galway, and the Drumandoora coming from the west. Lough Graney, in the east, 2½ miles long by mile broad, lies in the midst of hills; south of which is the smaller Lough O'Grady; and 6 miles northeast of Lough Graney is Lough Atorick, on the boundary with Galway. Hy Caisin, the territory of the Macnamaras, lay in the baronies of Upper Bunratty and Upper Tulla.

    Galway. The southern border, including a good part of the baronies of Loughrea and Leitrim, is also mountainous; and west of this, in the baronies of Kiltartan and Dunkellin, there is much rugged rocky surface, a continuation to the north of the Burren hills in Clare. In the south the Slieve Aughty range stretches in a curve from northwest to southeast, for about 13 miles; chief summits, Cashlaundrumlahan (1,207) and Scalp (1,074). In the south of the county. Lough Cooter lies near Gort, and Loughrea beside the town of Loughrea. The old territory of Hy Many, the country of the O'Kellys, extended from the Shannon to Galway Bay : the eastern part of it, now occupied by the barony of Longford, was the O'Madden's country, called Sil Anmcada; and the southwestern part, now occupied by the baronies of Kiltartan and Dunkellin, was called Aidne or Hy Fiachrach Aidne.

    "Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland" (1905)
    P. W. Joyce, LL.D

    Source: Internet Archive


    In South Galway...Upper Old Red conglomerates and shale crop out, rising from beneath the limestone of the plain, and partially concealing the Silurian strata of the Slieve Aughty hills, on the west side of Lough Derg.

    In East Clare, the low ground—roughly corresponding in outline with the limestone area in the region—is generally overspread with Drifts, which for the most part consist of limestone gravel and boulder-clay. The slopes of the hills usually bear a covering of Old Red Sandstone detritus, with fragments of Silurian rock intermingled; and Drift of this character spreads outward from the hills over the limestone area at their foot.

    North-west of Tulla, reddish brown clay contains angular blocks of red and yellow sandstone; and about Spancilhill, to the north-east of Ennis, similar materials mingle with debris of limestone, together with blocks of conglomerate.

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

    Source: Internet Archive


    Tulla, though a small place, is the largest town in its district. It contains several shops, and a small inn, where cars can be hired. From the crest of the hill on which the modern church and ruins of the ancient one are situated, an extensive view of the country around is commanded.

    This basin-shaped district is bounded on the south by the fertile ridge of hills which separate it from the valley of the Shannon; on the east, by the Sieve Bernagh, or Killaloe mountains; and on the north, by the Inchiquin and Slieve Aughty mountains, which lie between it and the great craggy limestone plain surrounding the towns of Gort and Loughrea. It consists of an alternation of bog, lake, and fertile lands—the latter, highly so, and is diversified with a considerable number of handsome country seats. Of these, Kitanoan, the residence of Mr. Molloney, near the town, is one of the largest, and, apart from its extent and beautiful surface, is very interesting from the subterranean course of the Affic rivulet, which runs through the grounds.

    A mile to the east of the town is Garruragh; at two and a-half miles, Maryfort; at three, Ballynahinch, Derrymore, and Kilgory.

    The village of Feakle is seven miles to the north east of Tulla, on the road leading from Gort to Killaloe; and four miles from Feakle, on the same road, embosomed among the Inchiquin hills, which there rise above 1,000 feet, is Lough Graney, its southern shores being adorned by the woods of Caher and Knockbeha, the latter the lodge of Mr. Molloney, the former that of Mr. O'Hara.

    We feel confident that those who are interested in the topography as well as in the agricultural state of this comparatively waste, but highly improvable district, will be gratified by a detour along the beautiful road which lends across the hills from Tulla to Gort. It attains to an elevation of 533 feet, and commands extensive prospects of all the lower districts on either side of the ridge.

    "A hand book for travellers in Ireland: Descriptive of Its Scenery, Towns, Seats, Antiquities" (1854)
    James Fraser

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Slieve Barnagh-Mountains, or south-eastern mountains of Clare, are wholly interior congaries, at the distance of from 30 to 40 miles from the sea. The Slieve-Baughta Mountains are separated from the proceeding congaries only by the valley of Scarriff; they extend about 17 miles north-north-eastward, so as to form a screen to the greater part of Lough Derg; they are situated at the distance of from 12 to 24½ miles from the head of Galway bay; and their principal summits are two heights of 829 and 990 in the parish of Inchicronan, four heights of 1,064, 533, 755, and 308 in Tullagh, five heights of 1,312, 448, 589, 724, and 992 in Feakle, three heights of 765, 1,126, and 1,028 in Moynoe, a height of 944 in Tomgraney, a height of 977 in Kilthomas, three heights of 1,060, 1,207, and 799 in Killeenadeema, the Scalp 1,074, three heights of 692, 602, and 562 in Ballinakill, a height of 655 in Inniscalthra, and a height of 407 in Kilbeaconty.

    "The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, 1844-45, p.xxxii." (1846)
    Publisher: Dublin [etc.] A. Fullarton and co.

    Source: Internet Archive


    August 3rd, 1880.

    With much regret, I have to mention that the potato-blight appears to have shown itself rather widespread and well-marked, from the neighbourhood of Galway City to the mountains of Derrybrien. The oats, which have hitherto presented so fair a promise have, in many parts, been beaten down and "lodged," owing to the recent heavy rains.

    I remain, Gentlemen,
    Your obedient Servant,
    George Sigerson, M.D., Ch.M.

    "The Irish Crisis of 1879-80: Proceedings of the Dublin Mansion House Relief Committee" (1880)

    Source: Internet Archive


    On The Defeat of Ragnall
    by Murrough King of Leinster
    A.D. 994

    Ye people of great Murrough,
    Against whom neither forest nor wild moor prevails,
    Ye that before your Norse battle-standards of sun-bright satin
    Have routed the heathen hordes as far as the Boyne!
    Blood breaks like snowflakes from their noses
    As they flee across Aughty in the late evening.

    "Selections from ancient Irish poetry" (1913)
    Kuno Meyer, compiler and translator

    Source: Internet Archive


    At Athlone we cross the Shannon, and proceed by Ballinasloe to Athenry, with distant views of the fine Old Red sandstone uplands of Slieve Aughty to the south.

    Ordovician and Old Red sandstone extends from the neighbourhood of Nenagh to the southern borders of Lough Derg. In this tract the older rocks yield slates, north of Ballina, and they rise to 1517 feet in the Arra Mountains. Along the eastern borders the Old Red sandstone and Ordovician form large tracts of country around Lough Graney, and they extend in the Slieve Bernagh Mountains (1746 feet) to the borders of Lough Derg.

    "Stanford's Geological Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland" (1907)
    Horace B. Woodward, F.RS., F.G.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Loughrea and Slieve Aughty area has banded brown and chocolate coloured sandstone, interbedded with purple micaceous sandy shale, quartzose conglomerate with fragmental felspar and epidote, and occasional seams of "cornstone" an impure earthy and ironstained limestone... The Lower and Upper Limestones of the Slieve Aughty range are very pure and free from sedimentary ingredients, though they contain some beds of chert. They are crinoidal often dark and shelly, and sometimes seamed by dyke-like plates or masses which have the composition of dolomite. The alteration of these portions is almost certainly due to magnesian water percolating into the mass of the rock from the walls of the joints by which the rock is traversed.

    "Guide to the collections of rocks and fossils belonging to the Geological Survey of Ireland, arranged in room III. E. of the Museum of Science and Art, Dublin" (1895)
    A McHenry, M.R.I.A., and W. W. Waits, M.A., F.G.S.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The old red sandstone is most extensively developed in the south of Ireland. 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, within that district, is in the range of mountains which, under various names of Slieve Boughta, Silvermines, Slieve Bloom, the Arra, Slieve Phelim, &c, occupies considerable area in the counties of Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary, and of the Queen's County, extending north and south from Limerick to near Loughrea, and eastwards to near Mountmellick.

    "The industrial resources of Ireland" (1844)
    Robert Kane M.D.

    Source: Internet Archive


    The limestone, dipping gently northwards from the slopes of the Slieve Aughty and Slieve Bloom Mountains, stretches away to the Newry axis and the Curlew Hills, in a plain that rarely rises 400 feet (120 metres) above the sea. During the Ice Age, this lowland was the meeting-ground of confluent glaciers from the hills.

    "The Oxford Survey of the British Empire" (1914)
    Edited by A. J. Herbertson, M.A., Ph.D. and O. J. E. Howarth, M.A.

    Source: Internet Archive


    Clare is bounded by the Shannon on the south and east, on the west by the Atlantic, which is always eating away the rocky coast, and on the north by a border that has no connexion with the structure of the land, except that it reaches Lough Derg along the high crests of Slieve Aughty.

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

    Source: Internet Archive


    The Finn episode from Gilla in Chomded húa Cormaic's poem "A Rí richid, réidig dam"

    Finn's first race -
    it was a chosen course -
    which he ever ran before the sons of Morna,
    into Loch Corrib from Loch Ree
    around Connaught of the beautiful shields.

    Into Mag Corainn, to Assaroe,
    along Cuallach of Brefne
    of lasting fame,
    by the side of the Shannon -
    woe that was greatest! -
    to lofty Slieve Aughty in one day.

    "Fianaigecht: being a collection of hitherto inedited Irish poems and tales relating to Finn and his Fiana" (1910)
    Kuno Meyer

    Source: Internet Archive


    Botanical Subdivision of Ireland. Galway.

    The dividing line between North-east and South-east is the Midland Great Western Railway from Ballinasloe to Oranmore, where the line meets the sea at Oranmore village. Galway SE. Western. Area about 738 square miles. Maritime to a small extent, the western margin fronting the indented head of Galway Bay for some miles. The eastern boundary is formed by the rivers Suck and Shannon, and by the grand lake-like expansion which is called Lough Derg. There is no other river of any consequence, but several good-sized lakes lie in the centre and south. Near the southern boundary rises Slieve Aughty (1074 feet) a broad group of Old Red and Silurian hills, boggy and bare. Everywhere else, the low limestone country extends without interruption. In the east, along the Shannon, it is varied by enormous bogs and occasional eskers, and is well wooded in places. As we go westward, woods and bogs grow scarce, and the brown soil gives place more and more to bare weather-worn limestone, till near the sea-board grey stone walls enclose fields of grey rock, hopeless to the agriculturist, but fascinating to the botanist. The area under grass is high—61 per cent. : and that under crops low—18 per cent. ; turf bog and mountain land are each represented by about 7 per cent. Many botanists have visited this division on account of the great interest attaching to two localities—the neighbourhood of Woodford and Lough Derg in the south-east, and of the “ limestone crag” country of Castle Taylor and Gort in the south-west. The rest of the division is still imperfectly known.

    "Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Vol. VII" (1901)
    Robert Lloyd Praeger

    Source: Internet Archive