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There are few parts of Ireland of the same area that contain 
so large a number of memorials of the past, as the portion of 
South Galway comprised within the diocese of Kilmacduagh. 
Bath and dun, and frowning castles and crumbling churches, are 
to be met with everywhere ; and there, too, our ancient " pillar 
towers " have kept watch over Christian cemeteries for over a 
thousand years. 

I felt that those monuments. Christian and pagan alike, 
must have had a history ; but I found that that history was 
for the most part unknown. The fortresses spoke of con- 
querors and of conquered, but the names of victors and 
vanquished were alike forgotten. And what was true of the 
monuments of the Norman aggressors of the remote past, and 
of their brave Celtic opponents, was for the most part true of 
the Saints whose names lived on only in the names of their 
ruined churches. 

There was at least one exception — ^a notable one — ^in the case 
of Kilmacduagh; for the personality of the holy patron of 
the diocese survived in the hearts of the people. His name 
was venerated and his memory cherished with a singular 
affection. And yet, even of the history of St. Colman Mac 
Duagh there was but little known outside of the vague and 
the undefined. 

A little patient study convinced me that the history of the 
district was not irrevocably lost It was buried, but it could 
be disinterred. I felt, too, that the buried treasures would 
amply repay the labour of giving them once more to the 
public. I trust that the public will estimate in a spirit of 
kindly sympathy the partial character of my success, con- 
sidering the difficulties necessarily connected with such an 
effort, and the limited opportunities within my reach of pro- 
secuting my researches. 

I am glad that I have given back to the faithful Catholics 

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viii PREFACE. 

of Kilmacduagh the venerated names of Foila and Sourney, 
of Colga and Gelsus {Cealleach), and of other Saints held in 
honour by their ancestors. And if I have given to our holy 
patron, St. Mac Duagh, the definite place in ecclesiastical 
history to which history gives him a claim, it shall prove a 
crowning satisfaction. 

In aiming at this, I have endeavoured to make the existing 
interesting remains of otir early churches illustrate the labours 
of their founders. 

"The stones of Venice" are not the only stones that can 
speak to those who understand. Hence, I have also given our 
old castles a prominence which must give additional interest 
to the narrative of the long struggles between the encroaching 
Normans and the native chiefs. 

The convulsions of the seventeenth century transferred to 
the "men of new interests," the possessions of the Irish 
chiefs, and of the "more Irish" Normans. In a time like 
ours, when land tenure has become the diflBculty of the hour, 
both to the Legislature and to the people, a study of those 
past transfers, their origin and sanctions, must possess a special 

And as the bishops of a diocese are not merely the spiritual 
guides, but also the sharers of the sorrows and the joys of 
their flocks, the sketches of our bishops are given in im- 
mediate connection with the various periods of which I have 
treated. In the notice of the career of Dr. Hugh de Burgo, 
the special value of this line of treatment is best illustrated. 

The sketches of the several modem parishes must be of a 
much more circumscribed interest. This may also be said of 
the succession of pastors in their parishes. And yet I feel 
that the "mass-houses" of the last century, so contemptu- 
ously referred to by the hirelings of the period, are objects 
of interest which should not be forgotten. I also felt that 
the priests, through whose zealous labours the material 
Church of Ireland sprang into new life with such marvellous 
rapidity, who clung to their famishing flocks amid famine 
and pestilence, were men whose lives have claims on future 

I wish to thank many friends for the kind encouragement 
which they have extended to me in my labours in the progress 
of this work. 

J. FAHEY, D.D., V.G. 

St. Colman's, Gort, 
JwM 29, 1893. 

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Introductory — Ancient territonr of Hy Fiachracb Aidhne coex- 
tenflive with the Diocese of Eilmacduagh — Its conterminouB 
districts — Early Belgic settlements at I^ugh Cutra and Cam 
Conail — Lugaa Mac Conn lands at Maree, and defeats the Irish 
Monarch Art at Turlogh Art — Fin Mac Cumhail in Aidhne — 
Early occupiers of the territory descendants of Prince Fiachra — 
His son !Dathy — ^Eoghan Aidhne fostered by one of the Belgic 
tribes of the district, . . . . .1 


The provincial kings who resided in the territory of Hy Fiachracb 
Aidhne — Mac Earc, Colman, Loigneun, and Guaire — Royal 
Raths at Kinvara and Gort— Guaire entertains the Bards at 
Gort — He is the kinsman of Cummian, St. Colman, and St. 
Caimin ; the friend of St Fechin and St. Maidoc— Guaire 
defeated at Cam Fearadhaigh by Failbe Flann — The battle 
of Cam Conail, near Gort — The murder of St Ceallagh — 
Guaire does penance, and is buried at Clonmacnoise, a.d. 663 — 
His character, . . . . . .14 

St. Ceallagh, patron of Iser Kelly, . .24 


Early development of sanctity in Aidhne — ^Did St. Patrick preach in 
Galway? — St. Coman's Church at Kinvara destroyed by the 
Ua Carras — St Colman Ua Fiachracb— His Feast— St. Sourney 
— Her church and holy well at Dromacoo — St Foila of 
Kileely, ........ 28 

St Colga of Kilcolgan, ....... 36 

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St Caimin of Inis Cealtra, half-brother of Guaire— His austerity— 
Extant fragment of his writings, . . • .43 


St Colman Mac Ducu;h— His parentage and descent from Dathy — 
His Birthplace — Legends regarding his Baptism, . . 48 


St Colman Mac Duagh in Aranmore— The fame of Aranmore as a 
sanctua^ of learning and holiness — His churches erected 
there— Charms of the island for its solitaries, . . .52 


St Colman becomes a hermit in the last decade of the sixth century 
within the solitudes of Burren — Legends regarding his sojourn 
there — St Colman's oratory in Burren— His grotto and holy 
well — ^The district as seen from Kinaille, . . • .58 


St. Colman builds a monastery, and becomes Bishop of Kilmacduagh 
— ^Was he aided by St Gobban the " Architect " I—Monastery 
founded a.d. 610— Existing ruins described — The Cathedral— 
The Monastery — St. John's Church — Our Lady's — Bishop's 
House, . . . . . . .68 


The Kilmacduagh round tower recently excavated and restored— 
DiBCOvery of human skeletons beneath the foundations — Com- 
parison with similar discoveries — Miss Stokes's views and con- 
clusions — Probably built under King " Brian of the Tributes," . 84 


St Colman resigns his Diocese — He dies at Oughtmama— The ruins 
there — He was buried at Kilmacduagh — His Grave there — His 
Feast on 29th October — ^A major double for Ireland — His Proper 
Office composed and published by De Burgo, A.D. 1751, . . 94 

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Kilmacduagh recognised as a remarkable sanctuary — Right of 
sanctuary — Its origin and nature — Pilgrimages to Kilmacduagh 
—St Colman's holy wells, . . . .103 


Kilmacduagh from the death of Guaire to the close of the Danish 
occupation— Chieftains of Aidhne during the period— Flan Mac 
Lonan, Chief Poet of Ireland, a native of Aidhne — His poems 
—Died A.D. 896 — ^Episcopal succession, . . . .115 


The Chieftains of Aidhne — Brian Boroimhe marries Mor, daughter 
of Flan, Lord of Aidhne— Maelrunaidh CHeyne commands a 
division of the Irish army at Clontarf — Is slain in that 
engagement, with most of his tribe, . .127 


Chieftains of Kilmacdaagh in the eleventh and twelfth centuries — 
Wars between the Princes of Thomond and Connaught— Hugh 
O'Connor slain at Turlogh Aidhne, near Clarinbridge — Raids on 
Thomond — Kilmacduagh invaded, 1116, by O'Brien — Roveheagh 
attacked — O'Brien retreats— Again, 1117, invades Kilmsu^uagh 
— O'Brien defeated — Chiefs of Aidhne inaugurated at Rove- 
heagh — In 1133, Turlogh O'Brien invades Kilmacduagh — 
Destroys Roveheagh and ravages the West — O'Connor invades 
Munster 1161 — Herenachs, or lay patrons, faiin the Termon, 
or Church lands — O'Heynes Herenachs of Kilmacduagh — 
Synod of Kells, 131 


Chieftains of Kilmacduagh in the thirteenth century — Aims of 
Roderick O'Connor frustrated by the rivalry of his children- 
Treachery of Murrouffh O'Connor — Roderick retires to Aidhne 
—He abdicates— BatUe of Kilmacduagh, 1199— Its consequences 
—Invasions of Kilmacduagh by O'Brien — O'Heyne is blinded 
by O'Connor — Owen O'Heyne defeats O'Brien — Battle of 
ijrdrahan, 1225 — The De Burgos — Was William de Burgo 
conqueror of Connaught?— Episcopal succession, .142 


The De Burgos drive the CFlahertvs from Moyseola— Richard de 
Bui^ as king-maker— Owen O^Heyne, Chief of Kilmacduagh, 

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makes peace with the English — They help him to invade 
Thomond — He helps the English in Connemara — His death — 
Walter de Bur&^o, Earl of Ulster, seizes the Castle of Ardrahan, 
1264 — The (yClerys driven from Kilmacduash by his sons— 
Their lands are seized by Hubert and Redmond Burke, younger 
brothers of the Red Earl— Battle of Athenry — Episcopal suc- 
cession, ......*• 156 


On the death of the Earl of Ulster, the Clanricarde territory is 
claimed by the Connaught De Burgos — William of Annaghkeen 
first Mac William Oughter — ^Various branches of the O'Heyne 
family — The O'CahiUs and O'Shaughnessys — The episcopal 
succession, ........ 168 


Corcomroe territory coextensive with Kilfenora Diocese — The O'Con- 
nors and O'Louf^hlins, its chieftains — The Abbey erected, a.d. 
1200, for Cistercians — A branch house established at Kilshanny 
— John, Abbot of Coi-comroe, Bishop of Eilmacduagh — ^Exist- 
ing remains at Corcomroe — Connor O'Brien killed at the battle 
of Suidhne, A.D. 1267— Battle of Corcomroe, a.d. 1317— Monu- 
ment of O'Loughlin, King of Burren — O'Loughlin of Mucinis 
executed by Captain Bralmzon, a.d. 1548— Grants of the Abbey 
lands made to O'Brien of Ennistymon, with the lands of the 
O'Connors— The O'Dalys of Finievara— Donogh More O'Daly, 
the Ovid of Ireland, and other bards of Burren, = . . .178 


The Mac Williams of Clanricarde— Ulick "the Fair"— Ulick "the 
Red ''—Ulick " of Knockto "—Battle of Knockto— Richard " the 
Great" of Dunkellin marries lady Man^et Butler — He builds 
the castle and fort of Dunkellin — The Burkes inaugurated 
on " Cahir an Earla," near Roveheagh — He makes new grants 
to AtheniY Abbey — Dies 1630— Ulick " na g-Ceann," unpopular 
with his kinsmen, is plundered by them — His ener^ — He is 
raised to the peerage at Greenwich, 1st July 1646— The court 
pageant — He is presented with Brian Boroimhe's harp — 
Keceives a grant of the Church lands of Clonfert — Dies 1544— 
Litigation between his " wives " — Episcopal succession, . . 191 


The Lord of Kinel Aedh is created Baronet, but remains true to 
his religion — The Lord Deputy encamps at Gort, and is enter- 
tained by him — His sons, Sir Roger and Dermot " Reagh " — 

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Richard Saxonach, second Earl of Clanricarde, obtains a grant of 
the Church lands of Eilmacduagh, and of many other reliffious 
houses — He is a Catholic — He marries the daughters of the 
first and second Earls of Thomond — His sons Ulick and John, 
"the Mac an Earlas"— Earl Richard arrested, a.d. 1672— His 
sons rise in revolt — Executions at Galway — Earl Richard dies, 
A.D. 1582 — Sir Roger CyShaughnessy -— His brother Dermot 
betrays the Primate, Dr. Creagh, and receives the thanks and 
support of Queen Elizabeth — He claims the family estates on 
his brother's death, and is opposed by his nephew — ^They die 
in mortal combat — Perrot's "Indentures of Composition" — 
Their character— They are accepted in Clanricarde by most — 
The CHeynes of Lydecane Casue— Episcopal succession, . 204 


Sir Richard Bingham Chief Commissioner of Composition — He 
destroys Clonuane Castle, and executes its lora, who was 
regarded as the Pope's chief champion— O'Donnell lays siege to 
Atlienry, and wastes the country to Oranmore and Galway — 
Ulick, third Earl of Clanricarde, supports Endish interests, 
and opposes CDonnell in the North — O'DonneU invades Clan- 
ricarde, and plunders Iser Kelly and Kinvara — In the following 
year he again enters Clanricarde, and encamps at Ruaidh 
Bheitheach, and invades Thomond — Is secretly supported by 
the discontented chiefs — In 1600 he again invades Clan- 
ricarde, and plunders the eastern districts of Kilmacduagb— He 
enters Thomond, and returns with his booty by Corcomroe and 
Kinvara — The Qeraldine League — Dermot O'Connor's connec- 
tion with it— Is massacred with his men at Gort — Activity of 
Redmond Burke, nephew of the Earl of Clanricarde— Episcopal 
succession — Valuation of parishes under Elizabeth, . . 224 


Distinguished families in Kilmacduagh Diocese in the opening of 
the seventeenth century — The Marchioness of Clanric^e 
retained Kilcolgan Castle — Edmond Burke, brother of the Earl 
of Clanricarde. resided in Kilcoman Castle— Redmond Burke of 
Kilcoman — Tne Burkes of Cloghcroke Castle — John Burke of 
Clc«hcroke, Sheriff of Clanricarde — Honoria Burke of Clogh- 
croke, wife of the third Earl of Clanricarde — Rev. Thomas de 
Burgo, O.P., a member of the femily — ^Their estates become 
Lambert property — The Burkes of Cahirforvace — The De 
Burgos of^Mannin Castle — The Mac Huberts of Iser KcJly — 
Rev. William de Burgo, O.P., a member of the family — The 
Mac Redmond Burkes of Ballyconnell — The Burkes of Ballylee 
Castle— The Burkes of Tullyra— The CHeynes of Lydecane 
Castle— The Kilkellys of Clo^ballymore Castle— The O'Shaugh- 
nessys of the period — The OTahys — Episcopal succession, . 242 

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Sir Roger (VSliaughiiessj and the Galway jurors — His son, Sir 
Dermot, a member of the Confederate Council, . . 261 


Dr. Hugh de Burgo, Bishop of Kilmacduagh, and the Confederate 
Movement, . . . .265 


Dr. Kirwan's tribute to the character of Sir Roger O'Shaughnessy — 
He supports the Confederates as Lieutenant-Colonel — His son 
raises a troop of fifty men — Galway betrayed — Dominick Bodkin. 
Nicholas French, and Richard Kirwan rewarded for their " gooa 
services" — The Castle of Gort besieged by Ludlow — He shoots 
forty inmates and bums the castle — O'Shaughnessy's property 
confiscated — Redmond Burke of Kilcoman and Edmond nieyler 
Burke of Moyode deprived of their lands — The Taylors get 
possession of the castle and lands of Castle MacGrath — Lady 
Clanricarde, restored to Kilcolgan Castle by Charles, is again 
expelled — The castle given to Captain Mor^n — Clanricarde 
and O'Shaughnessy restored — How Dunkellin and Kiltartan 
were transplanted — Sir Roger O'Shaughnessy's will — Exile of 
Rev. J. Fahy, O.P., and Rev. William de Burgo, O.P.— Their 
character and career, ...... 294 


By the "Applotment" of Sir Roger O'Shaughnessy and others, 
Galway contributes £2410, 15s. 3d. monthly toward the mainten- 
ance of King James — Sir Roger dies, at Gort ten days after the 
King's defeat at the Boy ne— Galway besieged — De Ginkle places 
Captain Morran at Kilcolgan — He intercepts Luttrell's supplies 
for Galway— Captain Marcus French and Arthur French betray 
the town — They acquire propertv in Kilmacduagh — Roebuck 
French of Durus — ratrick French of Clogh — James French — 
His daughter marries De Basterot, President of Bordeaux 
Parliament, 1770— Their family at Durus— The Frenches of 
Tyrone and Rahasane — Lamberts of Aggard and Creg Clare 
acquire property — Royal grants to Dean Dudley Persse— The 
Martins of Tullyra permitted to retain their property — Rev. 
Thomas de Burgo of Cloghcroke exiled — His career — Rev. 
Edward de Bur^o of Cahirforvace, O.P. — His career and writings 
— The Registration Act — Episcopal succession^ . . . 306 

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The (ySliauglinessy estates are declared confiscated, and conferred 
on Thomas Frendergast for ''acceptable services "—His "dis- 
covery of the assassination plot" — "William (yShaughnes^ serves 
in the French Army— His splendid career — Colman CShaugh- 
nessy, Bishop of Ossory, claims the family estates — The suit 
against John Prendergast Smyth continued by Roebuck 
(rShau^hnessy and by his son Joseph, who takes possession of 
the family mansion at Gort— O'Shaughnessy's defeat and ruin^ — 
Episcopal succession— Dr. OMadden — Dr. F. de Burgo — Dr. 
Eilkelly, Bishop of Kilmacduagh and Eilfenora, . . .329 


The Kirwan family — Kirwans owners of Ballyturrin — Richard 
Eirwan, LL.D., etc., bom at Cloghballymore — His eminence as 
a writer — His death — Sibilla Fi;ench marries Blake of Ballma- 
fad, who becomes owner of Clogh — Redingtons of Kilcoman — 
Thomas Redington files bills of discovery against his Catholic 
brother of Eilcoman — Richard Gregory of London purchases the 
Coole and Einvara estates— Burke Eyre acquires the Cloon 
estates— Stafford Eyre's Inquisition — Dean Netnercoat gives his 
returns of the Papists in 1766 — Episcopal succession, . . 341 


John Prendergast Smyth inherits his uncle's estates — He is raised 
to the peerage as Baron Kiltartan and Viscount Gort — He 
adopts (i)lonel Vereker, his nephew, as his heir — Lough Cutra 
Castle built — Beauty and historic interest of the surroundings — 
Mineral productions of the district — Episcopal succession — Dr. 
Dillon's pastoral — Declaration of the Clergy of the united 
diocese— Dr. Concannon — Dr. Archdeacon— Dr. French, . 364 


Parishes of Kilmacduagh and Kiltartan — Town of Gort: Father 
Duffy is appointed parish priest — He builds the church — His 
character and career — The Very Rev. M. Nagle succeeds — His 
career — Parishes of Kilmacduagh and Kiltartan united — The 
Very Rev. T. Shannon succeeds — His labours and career — The 
present incumbent — Recent church extension, . . . 3§9 


The Parish and Church of Kinvara; succession of priests — The 
Parish and Church of Ballindereen ; succession of priests — 
Parish and Churches of Clarinbridge ; succession of priests — 

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The Parish and Churches of Crau^hwell ; succession of priests — 
The Parish and Church of Beagh ; succession of priests — The 
Parish and Church of Ardrahan ; succession of priests — The 
Parish and Church of Kilbecanty ; succession of priests — ^The 
Parish and Church of Kilthomas ; succession of priests — Parish 
and Churches of Kilchrist; succession of priests — Episcopal 
succession — Dr. Fallon — His Grace Dr. MacEvilly — His Grace 
Dr. Carr — Dr. Mac Cormack, ..... 





DuNQORA Castle, 

Cathedral and Towbb of Kilmacduaoh, 


Castle Dalt, . 
CooLB Pare, . 
Convent Schools, Gort, 
St. Colman's Church, Gort, 



The Author acknowledges his indebtedness to Miss Wyne, Loughrea, 
from whose accurate photographs most of the illustrations have been 

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Introductory — ^Ancient territory of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne coextensive 
with the Diocese of Eilmacduagh — Its conterminous districts — Early 
Belgic settlements at Lough Cutra and Cam Conail — Lu^d Mac 
Conn lands at Maree, and defeats the Irish monarch Art at Turlogh 
Art — Fin Mac Cumhail in Aidhne — Early occupiers of the territory 
descendants of Prince Fiachra — His son Dathy — ^Epghan Aidhne 
fostered hy one of the BeJgic trihes of the district. 

It is necessary to fix with as much clearness as possible the 
position of the principal districts to which reference shall be 
made in those pages; to identify under their present names 
the remarkable localities to which our annalists refer under 
designations long forgotten; to give the Celtic names of the 
distinguished men of the olden periods, harsh though they 
may sound to readers unfamiliar with Irish history. We know 
the effort is not without its difficulties; and we are conscious 
also, that even though successfully done it may fail to elicit 
general interest. Yet we must not forget that they are the 
dry bones indispensable for the unity of our narrative, through 
which alone the past can be made to live again. And if they 
can be made to live again, and take their proper place in the 
story of their country's life, we shall feel amply rewarded for 
our labours in having them disinterred from their long-forgotten 
graves. The aim is a legitimate one, the effort a laborious one ; 
and we shall trust that an indulgent public may find in the 
character of the narrative some evidence of success. 

The field of inquiry, so long neglected, which our narrative 
opens up, is one well worthy the attention of the antiquarian 
and historian. We know few districts in Ireland, of the com- 
paratively limited area of the diocese of Kilmacduagh, that 
offer a richer field for antiquarian research. Its ruined 
churches carry the mind back to the period when Ireland's 
sanctity was the marvel of the Western world. Its numerous 

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crumbling castles speak of powerful chieftains, who took their 
part in the continued warfare in which the country's energies 
were weakened and its life seared. 

And as the venerable monuments at Eilmacduagh suggest 
holy thoughts and solemn reflections, as do those of Clon- 
macnoise and Glendalough, so too the thoughtful reader of 
history will feel that the events decided on Turlogh Art, at 
Cam Conail and Ardrahan, and other battlefields within the 
diocese, are amongst the momentous events which have gone 
to mould our nation's career. 

In the glimpses which we shall have of Colga and Colman 
and Foila, and other saints of the diocese, we shall have 
evidences of the manner of men our solitaries and saints of 
the " Third Order '* were when Ireland's faith and fervour were 
in the glow of its early vigour. In the " generous and pious " 
Guaire we shall see the good Christian king, not, however, 
without evidences of the human weaknesses from which even 
kings can claim no exemption. 

In the chieftains who inherited the district from one of the 
bravest of Ireland's kings, we shall see men who bravely 
resisted the aggression of the invader, whether Dane or 
Norman; and whose valour at Saheen, Eilmacduagh, and 
Ardrahan showed them not unworthy of their brave and royal 
ancestor. And when their power had passed away, and with 
their power their independence, we shall see the men of " new 
interests," who, taking the tide at the flood, came into posses- 
sion of the lands of the ruined chiefs, by means which, in 
many instances, must be regarded as equivocal, whether as 
regards honour or probity. But the career of the new owners, 
and their influence in their new sphere of authority, cannot be 
without its interest to the thoughtful. 

And if a view of this character possesses interest, it shall be 
equally interesting to follow, from the foundation of the See 
in the early part of the seventh century, the episcopal succes- 
sion during those eventful centuries, with few broken intervals 
of interruption, to the reign of the present Supreme Pontiff, 
— from Pope Houorius to Pope Leo the Thirteenth. 

The diocese of Eilmacduagh, which extended over the 
southern districts of Gal way, was conterminous wiih Tuam 
and Clonfert on the north and north-east, and with Eillaloe 
on the south and south-east. The dioceses of Eilfenora and 
Galway, with which it is now incoiporated, adjoin it on Uie 
south-western and north-western sides. It was coextensive 
with the ancient territory of Southern Hy Fiachrach, more 
usually known as Hy Fiachrach Aidhne. 

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Its ancient territorial boundaries were the territories of the 
OTlahertys and O'Kellys, on the north and north-east, 
known as M07 Seola and Hy Maine ; on the east and south 
it was bounded by the Echtge Mountains and portions of 
Thomond, while on the west its limits were fixed by the 
Burren Mountains and the Bay of Galway. 

Its extreme northern point was near Athenry, where it 
touched on the territories of Moy ^ Seola and Hy Maine. The 
plain, which extends from Athenry to Loughrea, and forms the 
southern limit of the O'Kelly country, was known as the Plain 
of Maenmoy. 

The portions of Thomond which bounded Hy Fiachrach on 
the south composed chiefly the present barony of Inchiquin, 
formerly known as Kineal Fearmaic, a territory of which the 
O'Deas and O'Briens were the hereditary chiefs. 

The Echtge Mountains, which form the eastern boundary 
in part, compose a large portion of the mountain ranges which 
extend from near limerick to Loughrea, and rise to a height 
of from 1000 to 1200 feet. We shall see that their picturesque 
features were such as to inspire the fertile muse of Flan Mac 
Lonan, the Irish Laureate of his time. 

The venerable O'Flaherty tells us that the Bay of Galway, 
which divides Corcomroe from lar Connaught, was formerly 
called " Lough Lurgan," and he thinks it not improbable that 
it had been at one time entirely separated * " from the sea by 
strong banks, till the western ocean, undermining the confines, 
united it with itself. The remains of the barrier seem to be 
the three islands of Aran." Similar natural phenomena were 
not unusual in Ireland in the remote past. It is recorded that 
the lake of Loughrea appeared in the year of the world 3506, 
and that of Loughgraney, near Lough Cutra, in the same year. 
There is a passage in OTlaherty's lar CouTumglU which 
speaks still more clearly of Lough Lurgan. It refers to it as 
one of the three most ancient lakes in Ireland. 

The Burren Mountains, which still retain their ancient 
name, form on the west a natural barrier which divides Hy 
Fiachi'ach from Corcomroe, a territory coextensive with the 
diocese of Kilfenora. Though bold, and in many places very 
striking, the Burren Hills do not attain to an altitude of much 
more than 1000 feet. Though so bare and barren now as to 
remind modern travellers of the stricken hills of Judea, they 
were in the remote past clothed with dense forests of oak and 
waving pine. 

The area of the diocese, about 137,520 acres, comprises only 
* Jar CmnaugUy p. 364, ^ Ogyg^, voL ii. p. 6. - 

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the baronies of Kiltartan and Dunkellin, with consideTable 
portions of Loughrea. Seaward, and along the Munster 
border, the features, if barren and rugged, are often interesting. 
Inland, however, the rugged surface and light soil disappear. 
Extensive woods and secluded lakes give attractiveness and 
variety to the landscape. Indeed, the western province can 
boast of few scenes more picturesque and attractive than 
Lough Cutra, to which the Firbolg chieftain Cutra has given 
his name. OTlaherty states^ that Cam Conail, situated in 
the modem parish of Kilbecanty, and on the north side of 
Lough Cutra, has its name from another Belgian chieftain, 
Connail, brother of Cutra. He also informs us that Medrigia, 
which he identifies as the peninsula of Maree in the Bay of 
Galway, had its name from the same race. 

It is evident, therefore, that at the time of those chieftains 
there must have been extensive Belgic settlements in Hy 
Fiachrach Aidhne.* We also find that they were at the period 
also established in Hy Maine and in Clare, then a portion of 

It was in the reign of the celebrated Meave, Queen of 
Connaught, that those Belgic chieftains were allowed to settle 
in Connaught. The circumstances under which the permission 
was obtained is given in detail by O'Curry. 

After the defeat of the Belgic colonists by the Tuatha Da 
Danaans, they were driven from Ireland. A little before the 
period of the Incarnation of our Lord, a remnant succeeded in 
returning and in obtaining from King Cairbre permission to 
rent some of the lands of Meath. A crushing rent was, how- 
ever, exacted for their tenancy, while hostages for their good 
behaviour were also required. They were then generally 
known as Umorians, or sons of Omar, and governed by 
Acngus, their chieftain. Finding their burdens in Meath too 
oppressive, they fled stealthily to the west, bringing all their 
property with them, and crossed the Shannon in safety. 

While Cutra and Connail settled in those districts of Hy 
Fiachrach to which they have given their name, Aengus, 
their chief, who was also their brother, established himself in 
Aranmore. The vast stone fort which he erected there, and 
which is known as Dun Aengus, remains to the present day to 
astonish visitors by its extent and massive character. 

The King of Tara sent soon after to exact through his 
hostages the guarantees forfeited by the fugitive Umorians. 
It was agreed that the demand should be decided by the 

* Ogygiay vol. ii. p. 21. 

* Curry, Manners and Customs of Ancient Erin, voL ii. p. 122. 

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arbitrament of single combat, in which, amongst others,^ 
Connail was slain by Cuchulain. It "was over this young 
chief that his father and friends raised the heap of stones 
which from him took the name of Cairn Chonaill." O'Donovan 
identifies the site of the contest as the same on which, more 
than six centuries later, more important issues were settled by 
the sword between Guaire, the King of Connaught, and the King 
of CasheL 

Though there are remains of several Belgic cahirs in Hy Fiach- 
rach Aidhne, which in structure and character resemble Dun 
Aengus, there is none there which perpetuates the name of 
either Cuti-a or Connail. 

In the townland of Ballabane, near Gort, there is a very 
striking monument of the Belgic period, called Cahir Mugach- 
aue. It commands a very extensive view of the plain of 
Aidhne. The woodlands of Coole and Lough Cutra are 
visible, though the lakes over which they cast their leafy 
shelter are mostly hidden. On the east and west, the moun- 
tain ranges, which are not indebted solely to distance for 
their enchantment, are seen to special advantage. 

The cahir is a massive circular fort, built of stone, without 
cement. Though much ruined, it still stands about 11 feet 
over the level of the interior surface. The masses of stones 
now strewn around its base show that it was originally much 
higher. Its circumference may be about 120 yards. The 
width of this extraordinary piece of masonry seems not less 
than 14 feet. The entrance, which looks east, is entirely 
blocked iip. From the local traditions, as well as structural 
indications, it is pretty certain that there is a cave within the 
fort. It is much to be regretted that no efforts have- been 
hitherto made to have it cleared and examined. 

About a quarter of a mile farther south there are the 
remains of another stone fort, of about the same circumference. 
It is, however, nearly levelled to the earth. 

But the most important and interesting of those monuments 
in the district is that of Cahir Cugeola, on the western side of 
the Garry land Forest, and in the parish of Kilmacduagh. 
Tliough much ruined, quite enough remains to mark it out as 
worthy of special attention. 

Its circumference is about 144 yards exterior measurement. 
Its height over the level of the interior at the highest point is 
about 13 feet. It is constructed of stone, without cement, and 
measures in width at the base about 18 feet, and at the top 
about 13 feet Its entrance is eastward, and shows the 
^ O'Cuny, YoL ii p. 123. 

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remains of two massive piers built in cement There is, how- 
ever, a considerable portion still remaining, and standing 
about 18 feet over the surface level. From the entrance there 
was a raised passage leading to some stone enclosures in the 
interior. Though these enclosures do not seem uniform in 
style, there can be little doubt that they are "claghans," 
similar in character to those at the " ancient city of Fahan," 
and also to the remains in the Dun of Ballyheabought, 
county of Kerry, which are minutely described by O'Sullivan 
in his Introduction ^ to O'Curry's learned work on the Manmrs 
and Customs of Ancient Erin. 

The cahir has two concentric stone enclosures. The inner 
one stands about twelve yards outside the cahir. It is nearly 
entirely ruined ; but enough remains to enable us to ascertain 
its direction. The outline of its foundation would not justify 
us in assuming that it was more than 3 feet in width. 

The outer enclosure stood at a considerable distance from 
the fort. It was a much more formidable rampart than the 
inner one just referred to. Even in its ruined state, we can 
judge that it was about 5 feet in thickness. 

Within those enclosures there are the remains of four 
circular ruins. That on the south side of the cahir is the 
most perfect. It consists of a circular wall of massive un- 
cemented masonry. It rises about 5 feet above the surface 
level The enclosure measures about 24 feet in diameter. 

On the south-west side there is another of those ruined 
structures of the same character. On the west side there is 
another, which measures about 22 feet in diameter. There 
was another on the north side, of which the outline of the 
foundations alone remains. 

But the territory of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne was remarkable in 
our annals even before the Belgic chiefs were permitted to 
settle there through the benevolent kindness of Queen Meave. 
The Four Masters tell us, under date A.M. 3727, that Magh 
Aidhne — Le. the Plain of Aidhne — was the scene of one of the 
many battles in which the monarch Eochaid was engaged, who 
ruled Ireland for twenty years. 

In A.M. 3872,^ the monarch Muineamhon died of the plague 
in Aidhne, after a reign of five years. He was the first who 
caused chains of gold to be worn on the neck by the kings 
and chieftains of Ireland as a mark of nobility. 

In A.M. 4606, we find that the celebrated king, Uganie Mor, 
had given the territory of Aidhne to Orb, one of his sons. 

> Pp. 310-316. 

^ Four Masters. (yCronnoUy gives a.m. 2920. 

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When recording the birth of Conn of " the Hundred Battles," 
A.D. 123,^ we find our annals responsible for the following 
singular entry. It is that "on the night of his birth there 
were discovered five principal roads to Tara, which were 
never observed till then." Lug O'Clery, in a poem to which 
OTlaherty refers in his Ogygia, would have it appear that 
those highways " sprang spontaneously into existence of their 
own accord/' as if to indicate the future greatness of the infant 
monarch. But O'Donovan, the learned editor of the Four 
Masters, treats the statement as a mere poetical exaggeration. 
He adds, that those important highways were in reality con- 
structed by Feidhlimidh, the law-giver, and were probably 
opened to the public for the first time on the occasion of the 
birth of his son Conn. 

One of the most important of those highways was called 
the " Slighe Mor," and was also known as the " Eiscir Eiada." 
The annalists tell us that this highway " was the division of 
Ireland into two parts," between the princes Conn and Eoghan 
Mor. It led from Dublin to Maree, the peninsula already 
referred to, which runs into the Atlantic in the Bay of Gal way. 
Its course may still be traced, from Maree through Kilcoman 
towards Athenry and Athlone, by a remarkably continuous 
line of sandhills. Its course is mentioned in an ancient manu- 
script, to which O'Donovan refers in the following words : — 

" It is mentioned in an ancient manuscript as extending 
from Dublin to Clonard, thence to Clonmacnoise and Clnn- 
barron, thence to Maedhraighc — ^a peninsula extending into 
the Bay of Galway." 

Between the peninsula of Maree and the wooded shores of 
Tyrone, there is a sheltered bay in which Lugad Mac Conn and 
his fleet of foreigners landed, A.D. 250.^ His landing resulted 
in a most important engagement in the neighbouring plain of 
Turlogh Art, then known as Moymucroimhe, in which "a 
kingdom was lost and won." 

Lugad, through whom the invasion was effected, had held 
the important office of judge in Munster; but had been, for 
alleged maladministration of the laws, deprived of his office 
and driven into exile by Ollioll OUum. He resolved to be 
avenged for the disgrace attaching to his deposition and exile. 
Having secured for himself the alliance and support of Beni, 
King of the Britons, he returned to Ireland with a powerful 
foreign army, having landed at Maree without opposition, 
probably because his return was unexpected by the monarch 
Art. What seems still more strange is, that he was able to 
* Four Masters. ^ Ogygia, vol. ii. p. 227. 

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pitch his carnp there, and recruit the strength of his troops ^ 
i)y a stay of seven days. 

His friends in Ireland were namerous and influential, even 
in the court circle. Though Art, the reigning sovereign, was 
nephew of Ollioll OUum's first wife, Lugad was son of his 
second queen. He therefore must have been anxious for some 
delay, to give his friends some time to exercise their influence 
in his favour. Indeed, Keating states that Fin, " the geneml- 
in-chief of the Irish forces, sold his loyalty to Mac Conn." It 
is certain that he absented himself, with tne main body of his 
troops, from the muster of the royal forces at Turlogh Art 
' Undeterred by this unexpected defection and disloyalty, the 
monarch Art met the invaders on the plainof Moymucroimhe, 
near Kilcoman ; having marched thither probably by the 
Eiscir Riada highway. The contest was a fierce one, and fatal 
to Art. Many of the leading princes of the realm were also 
numbered amongst the slain. We are told by OTlaherty * and 
others, that amongst those who fell in defence of their rightful 
sovereign were the King of Connaught and seven sons of Ollioll 
Ollum by his first wife. The unfortunate but brave monarch 
Art fell by the hand of Lugad Laga, the companion in exile 
of Lugad Mac Conn. OTlaherty tells us that he fell near a 
brook in Aidhne.* "But the brook has got the name of 
Turlogh Airt, in commemoration of this action, which it 
retains to this very day ; being situate between Moy voela and 

After this victory, Lugad was proclaimed King of Ireland, 
which high office, the Four Masters tell us, he held for thirty 

This same Turlogh Art is identified by O'Donovan * as the 
scene of another bloody contest in the year 1067, between Hugh 
O'Connor of "the Broken Spear," King of Connaught, and 
O'Ruarc, with the clans of Breifny. The death of O'Connor 
on the occasion, and of many of the best and bravest of his 
followers, is recorded by the annalists. 

Mr. Hardiman, when referring to the victory of Lngad on the 
plain of Turlogh Art, in his notes to lar Connaught, suggested 
that " it would be creditable to the proprietor of the soil " to 
have a monument erected on that historic spot But the 
suggestion has remained unheeded; and the interesting and 
historic battlefield has been left to share the same neglect to 
which many other interesting monuments of a remote antiquity 
in Aidhne have been ruthlessly consigned. 

* Ogygiay vol. ii. p. 227. * Ibid. 

» JM, p. 228. . * Four Masters. 

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We find the name of the celebrated general of the Irish 
forces, Fin Mac Cumhail, associated with the legendary as well 
as the purely authentic history of the territory. It should be 
lemembered that, though he is the hero of many incredible 
bardic legends, there is no reason to doubt the historical 
certainty of his existence. It is regarded by O'Curry as 
indisputable as "that Julius Caesar lived." In the composi- 
tions of our early bards, it is often diflBcult to distinguish 
between the real and the purely heroic; and the eventful 
career of Fin lent itself easily to poetical exaggeration. 

O'Curry refers to an early poem which is ascribed to Fin 
himself, (for it seems he could wield the pen as skilfully as 
the sword,) in which certain events are recorded, supposed to 
have occurred in Aidhne. In one of his expeditions to 
Ck)nnaught — such is the narrative^ — ^"he defeated the chief- 
tain Uinche in a battle at Ceann Mara, now known as 
Xinvara, on the Bay of Galway." Uinche escaped, however, 
with a few faithful followers, who immediately marched to 
Leinster, and, attacking Fin's residence in his absence, 
succeeded in destroying it completely. . Fin soon returned 
home ; but, finding his residence destroyed and several of his 
people killed, he went, with his son Oisin and his cousin 
Cuilte, in pursuit of the enemy, whom he overtook -and slew at 
a ford, called ever since " Uinche's Ford." Both the ford and 
the district are well known in the parish of Kilmacduagh; 
they bear the name of the ill-fateil chief to the present day. 

In the well-known prose epic, "The Pursuit of Diarraait and 
Graine," we find the name of Fin again mentioned in connection 
with the territory of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne.' Hfe had pursued 
the errant pair to the woods of Doire Dha bhoth, where 
they had taken shelter. The wood referred to was situated 
within a valley in the Echtge ranges, which is identified as 
the present valley of "Chevy Chase." It is in our day a 
well-wooded valley, about equidistant from Lough Cutra and 
Loughgraney,* *'of the bright salmon." The broad stream, 
which still retains its ancient name, " Abain da Loilgheach," 
rushes through those picturesque valleys to Lough Cutra, from 
its home in the mountains of Derry Brien. The name of the 
river is explained in the JDuinscnckus, which 0*Curry appro- 
priately styles "an ancient and very curious topographical 
tract." It also explains the circumstances under which the 
Echtge Mountains received that particular designation. 

The Lady Echtge, grand - daughter of Finde, one of the 
Tuatha Da Danaan colony, gave her name to those hills. She 
1 CCurry, MSS. Materials, p. 303. * Hy Maine, p. 145. 

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married Fergus Mac Euidi, who held those mountains by right 
of his office of cupbearer to the king. He gave the mountain 
valleys referred to, to feed the cows which his lady brought 
with her as her dowry. Two of the cows, which were 
previously remarkable for their fruitfulness and abundant 
milk supplies, were placed one on either side of the river. 
But, as the river divided the fertile from the barren districts, 
the result was naturally a diminished yield on the part of the 
less fortunate of those interesting cattle. And so the river 
had from the circumstance been called by the name above 
given — i,e. " the river of the two milch cows " — a designation 
which it claims to our time. 

It may be interesting to note that Hy Fiachrach Aidhne 
extended over a considerable portion of that district which 
in Ptolemy's map of Ireland is marked as the country of the 
Gangani. Ware infers that this tribe extended themselves 
not merely over the southern part of the County Gal way, but 
over some adjoining portions of Clare. Camden thinks that 
they were descended from the Concani of Spain, who were 
Scythians originally. Such opinions manifest much learned 
ingenuity. But we think it better to pass at once from the 
region of unprofitable speculation, ingenious though it may be, 
and deal with certainties. It is certain that the district of 
Hy Fiachrach Aidhne was occupied and held from an early 
period by the descendants of Prince Fiachra, from whom also 
it derived its name. They were a brave and martial race, who 
seemed to have inherited much of the spirit of their royal 

Prince Fiachra, brother of Niall of the Hostages,^ was twelve 
years King of Connaught. After the death of his brother 
Brian, he was appointed to command the army of Niall, the 
supreme monarch. It was while holding this high official 
position that Prince Fiachra marched into Munster, and at 
the battle of Kenry defeated the Munster forces, and exacted 
hostages for the future allegiance of the Kings of Munster to 
Niall. But through the treachery of the hostages he failed to 
reach Tara. They succeeded in seizing him, and having him 
buried alive at Hy Mac Uais, the present barony of Moy 
Goish in Westmeath. So died Fiachra of " the Flowing Hair," 
the ancestor of the tribes of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, leaving live 
sons, the youngest but most distinguished of whom was Dathy. 
So remarkable was he as a successful and brave soldier, that 
he was proclaimed king and successor to his illustrious father 
Fiachra. In 406, on the death of Niall, he succeeded as 
^ Tribes of Hy Fiachrach^ p. 309. 

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supreme king, having placed his brother Awley on the throne 
of Connaught. 

Dathy was a monarch of vast ambition, and of extraordi- 
nary military powers. He was also remarkable for his skill in 
the science of self-defence.^ His high position as supreme 
King of Ireland did not satisfy his ambition. Like his heroic 
predecessor Niall, he resolved to lead his victorious troops to 
other countries. Our annalists refer to him* as "King of 
Erin, Alba, Brittain, and as far as the mountains of the Alps." 
Though this language may savour of exaggeration, it helps us 
to judge of this prince's extraordinary mUitary successes. His 
authority was respected through every province in Ireland. 
Perhaps we can refer to no better proof of this than the fact 
that he exacted and obtained, without opposition, the Boru- 
mean tribute on three successive occasions. Unopposed at 
home, he was able to assert his authority abroad. Indeed, we 
see him bearing the Irish flag triumphantly over the remote 
provinces of Gaul. It must have been with strange feelings 
that the legions of Gaul found themselves compelled to fly 
before this invincible barbarian from an almost unknown 
island in the Northern Ocean. Our historians and annalists 
abound with glowing accounts of his prowess, which impart a 
poetic interest to his career. From the following quotation it 
will be seen that his triumphant career has inspired not only 
the annalists of the venerable and remote past, but also poets 
of our own age : — 

" Little those veterans mind 
Thundering hail or wind, 
Closer their ranks they bind, 

Watching the storm. 
While a spear-cast or more 
On the front rank before, 
Dathy the sunburst bore, 

Haughty his form." 

The circumstances under which his extraordinary career was 
cut short at the foot of the Alps, a.d. 420, accord in their 
character with that marvellous career, though some of the 
circumstances may, we think, be received with caution. His 
death is recorded by O'Flaherty* in the following simple 
words: "Dathy, the last of the Irish pagan kings, was 
killed by lightning at the foot of the Alps, after coming off 
victorious in one hundred and fifty battles, according to 
history." He adds : " They write that his death was a judg- 

> Keating. « Trtftea 0/ Fy FtocArocA, pp. 17, 33. 

• Ogygia^ Part ii. p. 361. 

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ment for having violated the cell and hermitage of St. 
Firmin." The hermit here referred to with some hesitation is 
said to be Firminus, a supposed Xing of Thrace, who had 
resigned his kingdom and crown, that he might serve God in 
that remote solitude. He had built himself a tower there, in 
" which he saw not a ray of the sun or other light." But it 
would seem that neither the king nor his soldiers hesitated to 
violate the hermit's retreat. In punishment for this impiety, 
the monarch was,^ it is recorded, struck dead on the spot by 
lightning. Thus perished the last of the pagan kings of 
Ireland, the ancestor of the tribes of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne. 

Of his many sons, OUioU Molt succeeded as King of Con- 
naught, and after some time as monarch of Ireland. But it 
was from his third son, Eochaid Breac, that the chief tribes 
of Aidhne are descended. This Eochaid had a son Eoghan, 
who was fostered by one of the Firbolg tribes then resident in 
the territory of Aidhne. He is known in history as " Eoghan 
Aidhne," from the fact that he was " fostered in the territory 
of Aidhne." * The tribes who resided there at the period were 
the "Oig Beathra,"* who held the northern portions of the 
territory, and to whose fostering care the young prince was 
entrusted; the Caonrighe, who occupied Ard Aidhne, or 
Ardrahan; and the Cainraigh Oga Beathra of Dubh-ros, or 
Durus. The simple record of the descendants of ''Eoghan 
Aidhne," the son of Eochaid Breac, as recorded in the Tribes 
and Customs of Hy Fiachrach, may be interesting here. 

" Eoghan Aidhne, son of Eochaid Breac, was called Eoghan 
Aidhne because it was in the territory of Aidhne he was 
fostered by the tribe called 'Oga Beathra, the third tribe 
who inhabited Aidhne before the Hy Fiachrach,' as already 
mentioned. The Oig Beathra came from the country of 
Ealla, and were of the tribe of Eoghan Taidhleach. They took 
possession of the northern part of Aidhne, and it was they 
that fostered Eoghan Aidhne, the son of Eochaid Breac." 

The country of Ealla is identified by O'Donovan, in his 
Notes to the Tribes and Customs of Hy Fiachrachy^ as " a well- 
known district, and now a barony in the county of Cork, and 
takes its name from the river Ealla, or AUoe, which flows 
through it." The Book of Hy Fiachrach adds that the Oga 
Beathra also fostered Eoghan Beul, the son of Ceallagh, 
" grandson of Dathy, and they were his faction when he was 
assuming the government of Connaught." And it continues : 
" Eoghan Aidhne was the foster-son of those tribes, and it was 

* Guitome of Hy Fiachrachy p. 21 ; Ogygia, loc. cit. 

« Tribes of Hy Fiachrach, p. 55. « Lop, cU. * P. 63. 

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the Oga Beathra, as we have already stated, that maintained 
the territory of Aidhne for him and his descendants after him." 
The fidelity of this tribe to the descendants is thus clearly 
attested. They were faithful to him and to his descendants. 
Eoghan Aidhne ^ had four sons — Conall, Cormac, Seuona, and 
Seachnasach, from whom St. Saimait was descended, and 
the several tribes of the territory, the O'Heynes, the O'Clerys, 
the O'Kilkellys,* the O'Shaughnessys, and others. 

The line of descent of the tribes of Southern Hy Fiachra 
may be more concisely given in the following quotation from 
O'Flaherty's Ogygia:^ "King Dathy had Achy Breac, from 
whom are descended the Hy Fiachrians in the county of 
Galway, near Thomond." 

1 Tribes of Hy Fiachrachy p. 53. » Keating. « Vol. iL p. 260. 

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The provincial kings who resided in the territory of Ry Fiachrach 
Aidhne — Mac Larc, Colman, Loigneun, and Guaire — Koyal Hatha 
at Kinvara and Gort— Guaire entertains the Bards at Gort — He is 
the kinsman of Cummian, St. Colman, and St. Caimin ; the friend 
of St Fechin and St. Maidoc — Guaire defeated at Cam Fearadhaich 
by Failbe Flann — The battle of Cam Conail, near Gort— The 
murder of St Ceallagh — Guaire does penance, and is buried at 
Clonmacnoise, a.d. 663 — His character. 

The references made by our Irish poets to the chiefs and 
territory of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne are very flattering. To 
illustrate this, we shall quote from O'Duggan's topographical 
poem, cited at considerable length by O'Donovan : ^ — 

*' Let us approach Aidhne of the steeds, 
Their nobility and hospitality ; 
Let us follow their kings, who are not few ; 
Let us touch upon the race of the nobles. 

Let us treat of Aidhne, it is a duty without condition ; 
Let us leave the tribes of Connaught ; 
Let us sweetly sing their chieftains out ; 
]jet us celebrate the chiefs of Hy Fiachrach." 

We are informed in the Book of Hy Fiachrach^ that 
*• Colman, Guaire Aidhne, Muireheartach, and Loiojhnen were 
four kings of Connaught, who dwelt in Aidhne." The ancient 
poem quoted by Mac Firbis gives us a very similar record : — 

" Four kings of the province of Connaught 
Dwelt in great Aidhne^ land of saints, — 
Muireheartach, one of the perfect breed, 
Laighnen, Guaire, and Colman Caomb." 

Muireheartach, as O'Donovan assures us,^ was great-grand- 
son of Niall of the Hostages. He also tells us that in the year 
515 he attained the position of supreme King of Ireland. He 
was known by the surname of Mac Earc. His reign, wliich 
was very eventful, continued for twenty-four years.* During 

* Hy Fiachrach, p. 61. « Ibid, p. 93. 

« Itkd. p. 31 1. 4 Four Masters. 


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. • iVi'^' :*'". -.ij.-i^ ul.: ,•!•" • . '« ■•• y 'J. nil. 

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^•■^. i 

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hose twenty-four years, the" annals contain the records of the 
deaths of many of our early saints. It was in the twenty- 
second year of his reign that St. Bridget died. Reference is 
made by our annalists, in the twenty-third year of his reign, to 
his *' virtues on the hill of Tara and on the plains of Kildare, 
also on the hill of Kinneigh, adjoining Wicklow." The battle 
of Aidhne, in the same year, is also referred to. His death is 
recorded in the year 527. 

The battle of Claonloch in Cinel Aidhne is recorded a.d. 531, 
in which the victory was gained by Goibhneann, chief of Hy 
Fiachrach Aidhne, against the chief of Hy Maine. This 
Goibhneann was, O'Donovan tells us, great-grandfather of the 
celebrated Guaire Aidhne, King of Connaught. 

Colman succeeded Muireheartach, after a short interval, as 
King of Connaught. He reigned for twenty-one years ; and fell 
at the battle of Cambo, near Eoscommon, by the hands of 
Eagellach. Colman ^ was son of Cobhtach, son of Goibhneen, 
son of Eoghan Aidhne. He married the mother of St. Caimin 
of Inis Cealtra.* 

Colman's sons were Loigneun * and Guaire Aidhne. 

Though Loigneun is enumerated amongst the kings of Con- 
naught, the Foui- Masters have preserved no notice of him. We 
lind. however, in the Book of Hy Fiachrdch a brief reference 
to his reign, which tells us that he was " seven years in the 
government of Connaught when he fell." He was succeeded 
by his celebrated brother, the " renowned Guaire Aidhne." 

The royal residence, subsequently transferred to Cruachan, 
was then at " Eath Durlais." * In the Book of Lecan it is 
styled " the fort of lasting fame," and also — 

" The white-sheeted fort of soft stones, 
Habitation of poets and bishops." 

The fort of Durlais occupied the site of the existing Castle 
of Dunguaire, which was erected by Eory More O'Shaughnessy 
in the early part of the sixteenth century, on the site of the 
royal Eath. It stood on the most inland point of Galway 
Bay, and close to the present town of Kinvara. 

It was not, however, the only royal residence in the territory 
of Hy fiachrach Aidhne. There was another which occupied 
an interesting situation on an island formed by the river of 
Gort. It was known as " Gort insi Ghiaire" and occupied the 
site of the present military barracks of the town. 

Guaire, King of Connaught, stands out prominently amongst 

1 Hy Fiachrach, p. 313. « Ibid. p. 391. 

« Loc. cit. * lUd. p. 279. 

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the fllustrious characters of the important period in which 
he lived. He was the friend and generous patron of the holy 
and learned men of his time ; so that poets and bishops alike 
were usual and ever welcome guests at his royal " fort of last- 
ing fame." Indeed, the bards did not fail to celebrate his 
generosity in the privileged language of poetic exaggeration. 
They represented his right hand as longer tlian his lelt, owing 
to the almost unremitting exercise of generous beneficence. 
"As generous as Guaire'* was accepted then, and for cen- 
turies after, as the recognised formula for expressing the 
most lavish generosity. 

The following narrative, referred to by O'Curry, will illustrate 
the extent to which the poets of his time — a privileged class — 
calculated upon and experienced the hospitality of the generous 

After the celebrated Seanchan Torpest had been elected to 
the high and important position of chief poet of Ireland, he 
visited the hospitable King of Connaught at his palace at Gort- 
insiguaire. He came attended by a goodly portion of his 
official retinue. It consisted of " one hundred and fifty learned 
poets, one hundred and fifty pupils, with a corresponding 
number of women, servants, dogs," etc. 

Guaire received his distinguished visitor in the kindest 
manner, and entertained him and his learned and numerous 
retinue for " a year, a quarter, and a month," and in a fashion 
truly royal. 

O'Curry broadly insinuates that the conduct of the scholars 
was not on the occasion all that could be desired. The con- 
version of the palace into a sort of college of Irish bards 
may have been interesting for a period, but it must have 
proved inconvenient to his Majesty and his court; so the wise 
Mearbhan, brother of Guaire, with a delicate appreciation of 
the difl&culties in which his Majesty was placed, suggested a 
stratagem. It was to ask the Laureate Seanchan to recite the 
much-prized epic of the "Tain Bo," which, it was well known 
to all, had long been lost. Mr. Ferguson, in his lays of the 
Western Gael, tells the story in imperishable verse. He repre- 
sents Guaire as addressing the poet in the following words : — 

" * Bear the cup to Seanchan Torpest ; 

Yield the bard hia poet's meed ; 
What weVe heard was but a foretaste ; 

Lays more lofty now succeed. 
Though my stores be emptied well-nigh, 

Twin bright cups there yet remain ; 
Win them with the rai4 of Cuailigne ; 

Chant U8, bard, the famous " Tain." * 

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Thus in hall of Gort spake Guary ; 

For the king, let truth be told, 
Bounteous though he was, was weary 

Giving goblets, giving gold — 
Giving aught the bard demanded. 

But when for the * Tain * he called, 
Seanchan from his scat descended ; 

Shame and anger fired the scald." 

Though rising in " shame and anger " to depart, he does not 
appear to have been ungrateful for the attention he received 
at the hands of his royal host He accordingly presented his 
Majesty with a farewell poem, from which we take the follow- 
ing stanzas, which mark his appreciation of the favours of his 
royal patron : — 

" We depart from thee, O stainless Guaire ; 
A year, a quarter, and a month 
Have we sojourned with thee, high King» 

Three times fifty poets, good and smooth ; 
Three times fifty students in the poetic art, 
Each with a servant and a dog, — 
They were all fed in the one great house. 

Each man had his separate meal. 
Each man had hi^ separate bed ; 
We never arose at early morning 
Without contentions, without calming. 

I declare to Thee, God, 

Who canst the promise verify, 

That, should we return to our own lands, 

We shall visit thee again, O Guaire, tho' now we depart" 

This Mearbhan to whom we have referred is not merely 
styled " wise," but he is also called a " holy hermit" But his 
hermitage of "Glean na Scail," refeiTcd to by O'Curry, does 
not appear to have been identified by our antiquarians. 

It may, however, be asked whether the ancient church of 
Kilomoran, situated on the margin of Lough Deechan, may 
not be one with which the name is identified. As it would be 
difficult to find a place more suggestive of weird loneliness, the 
pious solitary may have erected a hermitage there \ and Kil Ui 
Mearbhan may have been anglicised Kilomoran. 

As the generous king was patron of the bards and learned 
men, so too he cultivated the friendship of the principal Saints 
of his time and district Some of the most celebrated of these 
were his own kmsmen and relatives. 

St Caimin of Inis Cealtra was, as we have noted, his half- 

2 - 

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brother. Eeferring to this subject, the learned editor of the 
Customs of Hy Fiachrach'^ tells us that Cohnan, who was 
father of Guaire Aidhne, married the mother of St. Caimin of 
Inis Cealtra. This, of course, clearly implies tliat St. Caimin's 
mother, whose name was Cummianea, had been married pre- 
viously. Colgan attests the same fact in the following 
words : " Cummianea, daughter of Delbronius, was mother of 
Caimin and Guaire." 

The fact is also attested with equal clearness by the Four 
Masters : * " Guaire and Caimin of Inis Cealtra had the same 
mother, as is said, ' Cumman, daughter of Dalbronach, was the 
mother of Caimin and Guaire.'" 

Our annalists make an additional statement in reference to 
this remarkable lady, too strange not to be referred to here, 
though it will appear to many as obviously incredible. It is 
that " seven and seventy was the number born of her." This 
statement is practically repeated by Colgan. It is, however, 
pretty clear that he merely wishes to convey that seventy- 
seven reputed Saints were desccTided from her. " Fx ejiis semiiii 
2'>rodiisse feruntur st'pivxKjinici septem reMqiii sandi" 

The celebrated St. Cummian " the Tall " — one of the most 
remarkable of the Saints of his time — is also referred to as a 
half-brother of the king, by Colgan. The statement is repeated 
by Dr. Healy in his well-known work on Ireland's Ancient 

A knowledge of the king's relations with those two cele- 
brated Saints adds additional interest to a curious legend 
which Dr. Moran hag extracted from the Felirc of Aengus, and 
which we think may be quoted here : — 

" Once upon a time that the Guaire Aidhne and Cummian Fota 
and Caimine of Inis Cealtra were in the church of Inis Cealtra 
in Loch Deirgheire, namely, the great church that was built 
by Caimine there ; they were then giving spiritual counsel to 
Guaire. ' Well, Guaire,' said Caimine, * what w^ouldst thou 
wish to have this church in w'hich we are, filled with ? ' Guaire 
answered him and said, * I would wish to have it full of gold 
and silver ; and not from covetousness of this world, but that I 
might give it for my soul to saints and churches, and in like 
manner to every one that would ask for it.' *God will give 
thee help, Guaire,' said Caimine, * and will grant thee the 
expectation thou hast formed for the good of thy soul ; and 
hereafter thou shalt possess heaven.' 'We are thankful,' said 
Guaire. ' But thou, O Cummian,' said Guaire, 'what wouldst 
thou wish to have in it ? ' 'I would wish,' said Cummian, ' to 
1 P. 391. 2 Anno 0(52. ^ p. 230. 

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have it full of books to instruct studious men, and to dis- 
seminate the word of God into the ears of all, to bring them 
from following Satan unto the Lord/ 

"'But thou, Caimine,* said they, 'what wouldst thou wish 
to have in it ? ' Caimine answered them and said, ' I would 
wish to have the full of it of disease and sickness to lie on my 
body, and myself to be suffering my pain/ And so they 
obtained their wishes from God, — viz. the earth to Guaire, 
wisdom to Cummian Fota, and sickness and disease to 
Caimine, so that not one bone of him remained united to the 
other on earth, but his flesh dissolved, and his nerves, with the 
excess of every disease that fell upon him/' 

Apart from any historical value this legend may be supposed 
to possess, it throws into an interesting and strikin<j light the 
distinguishing features in the character of each of the parties 
to this little episode, viz. Guaire's generosity, Caimine*s peni- 
tential spirit, and Cummian's love of learning. 

We shall see in another chaptpr that the king was also 
close allied to the holy founder of Kilmacduagh by bonds of 
kindred as well as of personal friendship. 

But there were also many contemporary Saints with whom 
lie was intimately associated, though by ties of friendship only. 
Indeed, we find him styled by the Saints of his time " the pious 
king," as with the Bards he was the " hospitable Guaire." At 
one time, when St Fechin and his companions were engaged 
in converting the pagans on the island of Immagh, they were 
reduced to extreme distress by the hostility of the islanders.^ 
" But Guaire, hearing of their distress, sent them-abundance of 
provisions/' And with those much-needed supplies he is also 
said to have sent the holy man his own cup. 

We have in the life of St. Madoc of Ferns a striking 
instance of the Saint's affection for the king. He was just 
about setting out for Cashel, on one occasion, when he 
ascertained ^ that Guaire was lying dangerously ill ; on receiv- 
ing this intelligence, he set out at once for l3un Guaire, and 
it is recorded that " the king regained his health through 
the Saint's prayers." 

Though Guaire Aidhne had no inconsiderable share in the 
wars of his time, we cannot establish for him a high military 
fame. The fixing of the boundaries between the kingdoms of 
Munster and Connaught had proved even before his time a 
fruitful source of misunderstanding between the royal claimants. 
It would suit the Connaught kings to make the Shannon the 
boundary of the southern limits of their kingdom. On this 
* Lanigan, vol. iii. pp. 45, 50. * IhH, vol. ii. p. 339. 

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subject we are assured by Hardiman,^ that "Luig Meann 
deprived the Connacians of Clare and Thomond. He converted 
the whole into * Fearan Clionih/ or sword land, for the main- 
tenance of his knights, in order to secure his country against 
the Connacians, In an endeavour to recover this back in the 
year 550, Guara, Kang of Connaught, was defeated with dreadful 
slaughter." The inaccuracy of the date is obvious, as Colraan, 
father of Guaire, reigned till 617. It may be a misprint for 
650 — which is given by some as the date of the victory gained 
by Diarmot over Guaire, at Carn Conail, near Gort. 

In 622 we find that he was defeated at Cam Fearadhaigh, 
near Limerick, by Failbe Flann. The annalists expressly 
record that " he fled from the field." Though the annalists do 
not record the cause of the battle, there can be no doubt that 
it was connected with the frontier question. In this defeat of 
Guaire, Conail, the King of Hy Maine, with several other nobles, 
was slain. 

His defeat at Carn Conail in the year indicated, at the 
hands of Diarmot, son of Aedh Slaine, cannot be the defeat 
referred to by Mr. Hardiman. O'Donovan identifies this Carn 
Conail as the present Ballyconnell, in the parish of Kilbecanty, 
near Gort, and states that it was certainly within the ancient 
territory of Aidhne. He writes : " It appears from an account 
of this battle preserved in Leahhar na h'Uidhri, in the library 
of the Eoyal Irish Academy, that Cam Conail is situated 
in the territory of Aidhne, which was co-extensive with the 
diocese of Kilmacduagh, in the county of Galway. This place 
is probably that now called 'Ballyconnell,' in the parish of 
Kilbecanty, near Gort" This battle is noticed in the Annals 
of Ulster and in the Annuls of Clonmaanaise, 

We are informed by the annalists that King Diarmot, on 
his march to meet the forces of Guaire, had visited the shrine 
of St. Ciaran at Clonmacnoise, " He was met by the abbot, 
prelates, and clergy of Clonmacnoise, in procession, when they 
prayed God and St. Ciaran to give him the victory over his 
enemies, which God granted at their requests." And Diarmot 
returned to Clonmacnoise to congratulate the clergy, "by 
whose intercession he gained that victory," and to confer upon 
them substantial proofs of his gratitude. There can be no 
doubt that Guaire's defeat was complete, and that many 
distinguished personages,* amongst whom was the King of 
Munster, were slain on the occasion. 

As he was supported by the King of Munster with his chief- 
tains on this occasion, we cannot assume that the battle of 

* History of Galway^ p. 38. * Four Masters, a.d. 642 {rede 649). 

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Cam Conail was in any way connected with the question of 
the rectification of boundary between Munster and Connaught. 

There can be very little doubt that Diarmot, who, with his 
brother Blathmac,^ was joint monarch of Ireland, crossed the 
Shannon, and marched against Guaire and his allies, for the 
purpose of deposing him from the sovereignty of Connaught, 
for his complicity in the murder of St. Ceallagh, the Prince- 
Bishop of Kilmore Moy. The bishop's brother, Cugiongelt, 
who urged his deposition with all his influence, was married 
to the Princess Aili,^ daughter of Blathmac and niece of 
Diarmot. And in the murdered bishop's connection with 
Clonmacnoise we shall find an explanation of the interest 
manifested by the religious there in Diarmot's success against 
the " pious and hospitable " Guaire. 

St Ceallagh was eldest son of Eoghan Beul, who ruled 
Connaught thirty years, and had succeeded Amailghaigh in 
the sovereignty. Though heir to the crown of his native 
province, his ambition was not for earthly honours. It was of 
a higher and a holier kind. He renounced the world, and placed 
himself under the guidance of St. Ciaran, the holy Abbot of 
Clonmacnoise, leaving an only brother, Cugiongelt, who was 
also called Muireadhach, to inherit the crown.* At the battle 
of Sligo, in 537, Eoghan Beul was defeated by Fergus and 
Domhnall, and wounded mortally, and as he felt the approach 
of death, he advised his people to induce his son Ceallagh to 
leave Clonmacnoise, and assume the sovereignty, as his brother 
was not of age. In an evil hour, the young prince, attracted 
by the prospect of the immediate possession of royal power, 
left the safe enclosure of his monastery without the permission 
or knowledge of its holy abbot. But the intelligence of his 
rashness, when it reached St. Ciaran, naturally excited his 
displeasure. He probably foresaw the dangers to which, 
through intrigue and faction, his young disciple would neces- 
sarily be exposed by the circumstances of his roynl birth. 
We are assured that St. Ciaran not merely denounced, but 
cursed him solemnly for his conduct. Meantime, his learning 
and piety were so conspicuous, that he was appointed Bishop 
of Kilmore Moy. 

The bishop lived in comparative retirement, probably in- 
fluenced by the terrible denunciations of his venerated master. 
Yet he was regarded by Guaire as a powerful and dangerous 
rival, who, if he did not wear the crown himself, would at least 
secure it for his brother Cugiongelt.* He accordingly laid 

» Ogrysfio, p. 374. » Hy Fiackrach, p. 415. 

* Four Masters. * Hy Fiachrachf p. 415. 

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a plot for his immediate assassination. The Book of Hy 
Fiachrach ^ tells us that the assassination was carried out hy 
the bishop's four foster-brothers, who were his habitual attend- 
ants, at the instigation of Guaire Aidhne, son of Colman, 
through envy about the sovereignty. 

The murder was soon after discovered, and summary 
vengeance wreaked on the murderers by the young Cugiongelt, 
who slew them in " revenge for their fratricide." After this, 
Cugiongelt received the hostages of Northern Hy Fiachrach 
and Tirawley, and the sovereignty of Guaire was limited to 
Aidhne. The effect of the crime upon the public mind was 
necessarily a strong public feeling against its instigator. 
And as the murdered bishop had been so intimately connected 
with Clonmacnoise in his early years, it was natural that the 
community should show publicly, that the instigator of the 
murder had forfeited their sympathy and regard. . 

It is certain that Guaire*s defeat at Cam Conail heralded 
the decay of his authority. Cugiongelt, as the son-in-law of 
Blathmac, compelled him to retire to Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, 
and limited his authority to that particular district for the 
remainder of his life. 

It is sad that so bright a career should have been stained by 
so great a crime. But the penances with which he endeavoured 
to atone for it were such as won for him, even before the 
close of his life, the esteem of his fellows. Dr. Healy,^ after 
informing us that Diarmob " secured the right of sepulture at 
Clonmacnoise, and was himself buried there," immediately 
adds, "What is stranger still, his rival Guaire, towards the 
close of his life, came to do penance at Clonmacnoise; and he 
too, the Generous and the Hospitable, was buried there in a.d. 

. The record of his death, as given in the Booh of Hy Fiach- 
rach, is worth citing here. 

"Guaire Aidhne, son of Colman, son of Cobhtach, was 
thirteen years in the government of Con naught, when he died 
penitently, and was interred at Clonmacnoise, tvith great honour 
and veneration,** * 

In the foregoing narrative we have abstained from referring 
to many legendary narratives in connection with Guaire, though 
there are many such given by the Venerable Keating in his 
history. It may, however, be interesting to direct the atten- 
tion of our readers to one which in part illustrates strik- 
ingly the characters of both kings, Diarmot and Guaire. 

It appears that, after the battle of Cam Conail, the rival 

* Loc, cit p. 33. * Irish Schoolsy p. 271. « Hy Fiachrach, p. 314. 

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kings were reconciled. Diarmot, as a proof of his esteem, 
invited Guaire to the great national fair of Tailtean. ^*The 
two princes with a noble retinue came to Tailtean, and Guaire 
carried with him a great quantity of money to dispose of in 
acts of charity, and upon other occasions as opportunity 
afforded. But Diarmot, understanding the generosity of his 
nature, gave secret orders through the whole fair, that no person 
should presume on any account to apply to Guaire for his 
charity. Three days after his arrival, Guaire, perceiving no 
miserable object to implore his relief, was so dejected, that he 
desired the king to allow him the attendance of a good bishop, 
to whom he might confess, and from whose hands he might 
receive absolution and the holy ointment. The king, surprised, 
asked him what he intended by this request ? He answered, 
that his death he was certain was approaching, because he was 
unable to live without exercising his charity. The king 
immediately revoked his order, and by that means opened a 
way to the bounty of his royal companion," etc. 

But from the gleanings of his history which we have given, 
we may form a fairly correct estimate of the "pious and 
charitable " King of Connaught. As long as impartial history 
must record the murder of St. Ceallagh at the instigation 
of Guaire, so long shall we have to deplore in liis character 
the evil results of an inordinate ambition, a not uncommon 
vice at every period of the world's history. 

Yet there can be no doubt that extraordinary benevolence, 
combined with strong religious feelings, formed the most 
prominent and striking features in his character. As his 
hospitality was unequalled, so too was his zeal in the cause of 
religion without a parallel, during the long and eventful term 
of his reign. 

We have seen that it is recorded, that " he died penitently." 
Even the community of Clonmacnoise seemed satisfied as to the 
sufBciency of his " penances," for they threw open their church 
to celebrate his obsequies, and his remains were laid within its 
walls with " great honour and veneration." 

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St. Ceallagh, whose sad death cast its tragic shadow on the 
otherwise bright career of Guaire, Eling of Connaught, was 
great-grandson of OUioU Molt, son of Fiachra, and therefore 
a near kinsman of Guaire. His father, Eoghan Beul, was King 
of Connaught; and as eldest son he was himself rightful heir 
to the crown. But the youug prince's ambition was for 
heavenly things, and for a crown tliat never fades. Renouncing 
the world accordingly, in his early years, he placed himself 
under the spiritual guidance of St. Ciaran, the holy founder of 
Clonmacnoise. Though he renounced the world, however, he was 
unable to escape the importunities of interested friends, who 
saw in his retirement an obstacle to their own advancement. 
They therefore importuned him to abandon his monastery and 
assert his just claims to the throne. Owing to the circum- 
stances of his father's death, they were to some extent 

Mortally wounded at the battle of Sligo, a.d. 537,^ Eoghan 
Beul expressed a wish that Ceallagh should be asked by his 
people to leave his holy retreat and accept the provincial 
crown, as his brother was not of a sufficiently advanced age to 
succeed him. The royal message was stealthily conveyed to 
the prince, who, without consulting his holy guide, quitted the 
monastery, and placed himself at the head of a large force, who 
were prepared, if necessary, to support his claims by an appeal 
to arms. Meantime, St Ciaran, having ascertained the flight 
of his young novice, was filled with indignation at his dis- 
obedience ; and, as Keating assures us,- " cursed him with a most 
dreadful imprecation." It was, no doubt, with a prophetic 
knowledge of the future that he " implored Heaven to blast his 
designs." When Ceallagh got intelligence of the holy abbot's 
indignation, he was smitten with remorse, and resolved to 

* Fonr Masters. 

* History of Ireland^ p. 354, Duffey's Edition ; also Four Masters, 
anno 532. 


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return without delay to his monastery, and seek Lis abbot's 
forgiveness. Quitting the world once more, with its bright 
prospects, he repaired to Clonmacnoise, and, casting himself at 
St Ciaran's feet, he humbly sought forgiveness. The penitent 
disciple also promised implicit obedience in future, declaring 
his readiness to secure his abbot's counsel in his future under- 
takings. St, Ciaran was moved by the teai^s of his disciple ; but, 
though giving him willing assurance of the forgiveness which he 
sought, he at the same time ominously foretold that he had 
yet to pay the penalty of his disobedience — Heaven, he assured 
him, had decreed that his death should be violent and unex- 

The young disciple meantime applied himself assiduously 
to his monastic duties, and soon became highly distinguished 
for virtue and knowled^re. Ultimately, indeed, his attainments 
marked him out as worthy of the episcopal dijjnity. He was 
accordingly consecrated Bishop of Kilmore Moy. Though 
ent^ged in the faithful and exemplary discharge of the duties 
of his sacred ofiSce, he was still supposed to manifest an interest 
in the succession to the throne. His widespread and power- 
ful influence, which was as much the result of his great virtues 
as of his royal birth, he was supposed by some to use in favour 
of his brother, and against Guaire. Some writers ^ think this 
opinion well founded ; and that the holy bishop was anxious 
to retain the succession in his own branch of the royal line of 
Fiachra. It is certain, at least, that either his open advocacy 
of his brother's claims to the crown, or his supposed sympathy, 
provoked the hostility of Guaire. O'Donovan tells us that at 
this juncture St. Ceallagh resigned his episcopal charge, that 
he might in solitude devote himself more earnestly to God. 
It may be also assumed that he may have desired to hide 
himself from his jealous and angry kinsman. 

He constructed his hermitage on an island in Lough Con, 
and there he retired with four disciples, his own foster- 
brothers.* Guaire's agents, however, succeeded in discovering 
his retreat, and in so corrupting his disciples by promises, as to 
have them undertake to have him assassinated. The murderers 
were but too successful in the perpetration of their foul and 
sacrilegious crime. The murder was perpetrated in a wood 
between "Louoh Con and Lough Cuillin in the south of 
Tirawley." ' We are told that they kept him the night before his 
murder shut up in the hollow of an oaJc,* and then dragged him 

* Keating, loc. cit. ■ Loc. cit, 

• Ckutoms of Hy Fiachrachy p. 415. 

^ Montalembert^ Monks of tne West^ vol. ii. p. 367. 

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forth into the open space and assassinated him. Thus fell tlie 
holy Bishop Ceallayh, in whose sudden and sanguinary death was 
seen the verification of St. Ciaran's prophecy. In connection 
with his death Montalenibert preserves for us a beautiful legend 
which he borrows from the Bolandists. It tells us that two 
stags came forth from the forest and brought his body back 
to the hollow of the aged oak which had been his last resting- 
place. Meantime, the murderers had received from Guaire a 
grant of the territory of Tirawley as a reward for their 
treachery and crime. 

Cugiongelt, the holy bishop's brother, suspicious of Guaire's 
designs, and apprehensive for his brother s safety, came to his 
hermitage at Lough Con. Not finding him there, his worst 
fears were strengthened. After a laborious search and 
lengthened inquiries, he succeeded in discovering his mangled 
remains. He also succeeded in tracing the foul crime to the 
faithless and treacherous disciples by whom it was perpetrated. 
They had constructed a strong fort at Dun Fine ; and as 
Cugiongelt had long before left the district for ^leath, where 
he got married to the daughter of the monarch Blathmac, 
they fancied themselves in entire security from danger from 
him or from his friends. They were keeping high festival at 
Dun Fine with their supporters, when Cugiongelt returned 
unexpectedly. Having assumed a convenient disguise, he easily 
obtained permission to join the revellers, where, awaiting a 
convenient opportunity, he signalled for his followers, a tried 
band of three hundred armed men, who easily overpowered the 
guards, and carried the murderers away as prisoners. On the 
following day they expiated their crime by execution on the 
heights of Ardnaree. 

Cugiongelt had the remains of his holy brother solemnly 
bonie to the church of Eiscreacha, where, despite the danger 
of ofl'ending Guaire, they were interred with special solemnity. 
We are assured that after this Cugiongelt secured the sympathy 
and support of the tribes of Tirawley and Northern Hy 
Fiachrach,^ and that they withdrew their allegiance from the 
king. During the remainder of his reign, liis royal authority 
was limited to Aidhne. The sanctity of St. Ceallagh was 
widely recognised. Colgan informs us that his festival was 
celebrated on the 1st of May. In the diocese of Kilmacduagh 
we have an ancient church dedicated to his name. The church, 
an uninteresting and comparatively modem ruin, of which 
little more than the side walls remain, probably occupies the 
site of an older church. It gives its name to a district, 
^ Customs of Hy Fiachrach, p. 416. 

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once an independent parish, which is long incorporated in the 
present parish of Kilchrist. Its modern name, " Iser Kelly," 
is correctly identified by Mr. Joyce as Disert Ceallagh, the 
Disert Ceallagh of the Four Masters. In the interesting 
map of the diocese of Kilmacduagh prefixed to the Customs 
of Hy Maine, this church is given with its old Irish name. 
It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that Disert 
means a secluded place, and is generally used in Ireland 
to designate those secluded spots in which our hermits 
were wont to hide themselves in the early period of our 
Church history. In modern times the word has assumed 
various forms. It is found as Dysert, Ister, and Iser. 

It is not improbable that St. Ceallagh may have come 
amongst his kindred in Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, and might have 
had a cell where his church was afterwards erected. There can 
be no doubt of its antiquity. The Four Masters record that 
Tuam, Disert Kelly, Kilmaine, etc., were burned in the year 
A.D. 1180 ; and O'Donovan identifies the Disert Kelly mentioned 
here as the name of an "ancient church and parish in the 
diocese of Kilmacduagh." In a.d. 1598 we find Disert Kelly 
again referred to by our annalists as the seat of a leading 
branch of the De Burgo family, who. were generally known as 
the Mac Hubert Burkes. In the twenty-eighth year of Eliza- 
beth's reign, we find the Presbytery and Vicarage of Dysert 
Kelly referred to on the taxation returns of the diocese made 
for her Majesty. 

There can be no doubt that the memory of the holy victim 
of King Guaire's ambition was long honoured there. But his 
memory and name have alike passed away, and his festival 
is entirely forgotten in the district. 

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Early development of sanctity in Aidhne — Did St. Patrick preach in 
Gal way? — St. Coman's Church at Kinvara destroyed by the Ua 
Cairas—St. Colman Ua Fiachrach — His Fedst— St. Sourney — Her 
Church and Holy Well at Dromacoo— St. Foila of Kileely. 

It is generally assumed that our national apostle never 
preached in the county of Galway. Though this opinion does 
not seem to rest on direct evidence, still the negative evidence 
seems sufficiently stronjr to justify the assumption. It may 
be interesting, however, to note a statement here which O'Curry 
casually advances on the authority of one of our ancient 
poems, — "The Dialogue of the Ancient Meii,"^ — ^to the effect 
that St. Patrick on one occasion passed through Limerick, 
Cratloe, Sliabh Echtghe, and many other places, into Hy 
Maine, on his way to the royal palace at Eoscommon. Should 
it be thought that tliis statement may possess historical 
authority, it would follow that our great apostle blessed 
Galway by his presence; nay, as the Echtge ranges are 
principally in Aidhne, it would follow that a portion of Kil- 
macduagh diocese was sanctified by his footsteps. 

There is a well-sustained popular tradition in the district 
of Deny Brien, a village within those Echtge Mountains, to 
the effect that St Patrick and his associates made a brief 
stay there as he journeyed through. The village is situated 
in the Clonfert diocese, and adjoins the extreme eastern 
extremity of the diocese of Kilmacduagh. 

Without intending to discuss the value of the existing 
tradition, or of the ancient legend, we think they possess 
sufficient interest to merit passing reference at leaat 

15ut the early growth of the Christian religion in Aidhne 
and the surrounding districts, remains enveloped in obscurity. 
But the fact that St. Enda, with his flock, found it necessary 
in his day 

"To teach the infidels from Corcomroe," ' 

A MSS. Materials, p. 312. 

' " Voyage of St. Brandan," Macarlhy's poem. 

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and the additional fact that St. Fechin still later, had to 
struggle against the infidels of Immagh, shows clearly that 
along the western coast tlie spread of Christianity was slower, 
and attended with greater difficidties, than in the other 
portions of Ireland, in which our great apostle had laboured 
and preached. There can, however, be no doubt that the 
light of Christianity had not merely dawned upon Aidhne, 
but that it shone upon it with brightest lustre in the reign of 
King Guaire and of his father Colman. There is no evi* 
dence whatever to show that the growth of the Christian 
religion was retarded by any agj^ressive action on the part of 
those along the western coast, who may for a time have clung 
to the old pagan superstitions. Yet we have reason to believe 
that the peace of the Church was sometimes disturbed by tierce 
and unprovoked outrage. 

In the singular story of the sons of Ua Carra, referred to 
by O'Curry,^ we find that the churches of Tuam, Kinvara, and 
many others, were destroyed about the middle of the sixth 
century.* As Mr. O'Curry puts the facts, we are told that 
the Ua Carra brothers collected around them some desperate 
men, and entered on "an indiscriminate war of destruction 
against the Christian churches of Connaught and their priests." 
But as the legend is invested with a true poetic charm by 
Mr. T. D. Sullivan, I may be excused for citing his words. 
He writes : — 

" We were brothers wild and free, 

Rou^h and strong and fierce of will ; 
Alike m shape and mind were we, 
We loved but war and cruelty, 

And found our joy in doing ill. 

Prepared at last with dire intent, 
forth from our meeting-place we burst, 

And, scattering terror as we went, 

To Tuam's chiuxjh our way we bent 
To wreck that sacred pile the first." 

Graphically indeed does the poet sketch the work of ruin in 
the following stanza : — 

" We slew the priests that could not flee, 

We gathered altar, bench, and door, 
Mitres and vestments fair to see, 
We heaped them high, and hurriedly 

We burned them on the blood-stained floor." 

* MSS. Materials, p, 290. 

* A.D. 540, cirdUr^ 

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Then follows a reference to their visit to Kinvara : — 

" Then for Kinvara shaped our way 

For mild St. Coinan s liouse of prayer. 

Twas well he fled at close of day : 

That night the waves of Galway Bay 
Were orightened with its lurid glare." 

In the course of some little time those sacrilegious despera- 
does are touched with remorae, and, under the guidance of St. 
Finnian of Clonard, they resolve to do penanca The Saint 
gave them his benediction, and then said, "You cannot 
restore to life those innocent ecclesiastics whom you have 
slain, but you can go and repair and restore, as far as it is in 
your power, the many churches and other buildings which 
you have desecrated and ruined."^ The penitent brothers 
willingly undertook the great duty of public satisfaction to 
which they were thus committed by their holy guide, and, 
having restored all the churches exce]^t one, they returned to 
St. Finnian, and informed him that the church of Kinvara 
alone was neglected by them. The Saint replied, " That was 
the first churck which you ought to have repaired — the church 
of the holy old man Coman of Kinvara. And return now," 
said he, "and repair every damage you have done in that 

" And when our course was nearly run, 
We 8oiii(ht the holy Saint once more ; 

We told him of our labours done, 

The churches builded all but one. 
Far distant on Kinvara'a shore. 

* Go, sons,' said he, * from hence away ; 

To far Kinvara travel fast. 
St. Coman's Church by Galway Bay 
Was not the house your hearts should say 

To leave a ruin to the last.' " 

Obedient to the Saint's commands, the brothers immediately 
repaired to Kinvara, and restored its church to more than its 
original beauty. 

" We kissed hi«^ hands, and forth we hied, 
To Gal way's coast our ste])s we turned, 
And soon above the dark blue tide 
'J lie church towered up in stately pride, 
And grander than the church we burned.'* 

Of the St. Coman referred to in the interesting legend, we 
can find no other notice by which he can be identified amongst 
1 MSS. Materials, p. 291. 

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those of the name in the Mariyrology of Donegal May it not be 
a misprint for Colman, i.e. Colman Hy Fiachraeh ? The ruined 
church which bears his name still flings its shadow on the 
" dark blue tide " from the lofty eminence within the town 
which it crowns. In the long past, none but the recognised 
and leading:: representative branches of the Hy Fiachraeh tribes, 
such as the O'Hynes, Kilkellys, and O'Shaughnessys, tvcrc 
allowed the privilege of interment within the sabred precincts of 
the church of Cil Ua Fiachraeh at Kinvara. 

In the Martgrology of Donegal we find the following notice 
of St. Colman Hy Fiachraeh : " Colman Ua Fiachraeh of 
Sean Botha in TJi Ceansealaigh. He is of the race of Fiachra." 
We find a supplementary notice of the Saint, which casts much 
additional light on his descent, in the Cttstoms of Hy Fiach- 

Here we are told that his mother was Fearamhla, sixth in 
descent from Dathy, and fifth from Kochaid Breac, ancestor of 
St. Colman Mac Duagh. "And she was the mother of St. 
Colman, the son of Eochaid, who is, i.e. lies, interred at Sean 
Bhotach- in Hy Censiolaigh." ^ And in the Martyrology of 
Donegal it is added, " He is of the race of Fiachra." We also 
find, on the same authority, that the "three 0'Suanai«^lis," 
memorable amongst our early Saints, were his brothers, as 
were also St. Aodhan of Cluain Eochaille and St. Dichlethe 

We find in the life of St. Maidoc,^ that he was a contem- 
porary of St. Colman of Kilmacduagh. St. Colman Ua Fiach- 
raeh was therefore a contemporary as well as a kinsman of 
Guaire, King of Connaught. It is therefore not improbable 
that he may have built his church at Kinvara for the con- 
venience of his pious relative and his court. He afterwards 
became abbot of the monastery at Seanbotha, in which he was 

The church of Seaubotlia is identified by O'Donovan^ as 
that now called Temple-Shambo, "which is situated at the 
foot of Mount' Leinster, in the barony of Scarawalsh and 
county of Wexford." The monastery of Temple-Shambo was 
probably founded by himself. His festival was observed there 
on the 27th October, the exact date on which his feast is fixed 
in the Martyrology of Donegal. 

1 Hy Fiachraeh, p. 37. ^ j^^^ p, 37 

3 Colgaii, A. A. S. * Vide supra. 

^ 11 y Fiachraeh y p. 36. 

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St. Sairnait. 

We are expressly tx)l(i by the same autbority that St. Sairnait 
(St Sourney) is of the race of Eoghan Aidhne. She was 
fourth in descent from Eochaid Breac, father of Eoghan 
Aidhne.^ She was 

" Daughter of Aedh, 
Son of Seanach, 
Son of Eoghan Aidhne, 
Son of Eochaid Breac, 
Son of Dathy." 
The date of her birth is not given; but by comparing her 
genealogy with that of St Colman Mac Duagh, which shall be 
hereafter given, it will be seen that she stands the same 
number of degrees from their common ancestor, Eochaid 
Breac, as does Cobhtach, whose son Conal was great-grand- 
father of St Colman Mac Duagh.* Hence it may be fairly 
assumed that Cobhtach and St. Sourney were contemporaries. 
And as Gobhtach's father fought in the battle of Claonloch, 
A.D. 531, we can justly assume that St Sourney belonged to 
the middle of the sixth century. She was bom of the same 
princely tribe of which St Colman was bom later in the same 
century. She is identified by O'Donovan as the same female 
Saint who is now "corruptly called St Soumey, to whom 
there are wells dedicated in the districts of Aidhne, and whose 
church still stands in mins in the great island of Aran, in the 
Bay of Galway." * And we are told by OTlaherty's leamed 
editor that " this church is held in the greatest veneration by 
the islanders."* 

But there is more to commemorate and honour the name 
of St Sourney in Aidhne than the holy wells to which 
O'Donovan refers. St Soumey's Church may still be seen in 
a fair state of preservation at Dromacoo, in the present parish 
of Ballindereen, at a distance of about three miles and a half 
from Kinvara. 

St. Soumey *s Church at Dromacoo is a very interesting ruin. 
Its low Cyclopean doorway in the western gable, and the 
masonry of a portion of the western gable and northern side 
wall, attest the great antiquity of that portion of the building. 
The rest of the church has clearly undergone many alterations, 
and is much more modern. 

The southern doorway is a splendid specimen of decorated 
Gothic. It is deeply recessed, and consists of several arched 

* Customs ofHy Fiachrach, p. 55. * Ibid pp. 37 and 374. 

* Ibid, p 37. * lar Connaught, p. 56. 

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members, which are supported on clustering columns on 
elaborately wrought capitals. The dentals, owls' heads, and 
lozenge ornament, with which the ribbed projections of the 
arches are enriched, are very perfect, considering the lapse of 
time. Indeed, it is not too much to add that so interesting a 
specimen of ornate carving is rarely met with amongst our 
ancient ruins. 

The eastern gable has a well-wrought double lancet window, 
one of which is now hidden away in masonry. This was 
evidently done to suit an alteration in one side wall, by which 
the original width of the church was reduced. Considering 
the many alterations which this church has manifestly under- 
gone, it is now impossible to ascertain its original dimensions. 

At the present time it is an oblong without a chancel, and 
measures about 50 feet in length by 20 feet in width. It is 
much disfigured by a pretentious but tasteless mausoleum 
built against it at its northern side. 

Within the church there are but few monuments more ancient 
than the seventeenth century, and those belong to a distin- 
guished and very old family, the Kilkellys, who a little prior 
to that century occupied the neighbouring castle of Clogh- 
ballyniore, and owned some of the adjoining estates. A portion 
of the old rude stone altar remains, though much injured. 

A little outside the church, and on its southern side, 
" Leaba Soumey," St. Sourney's Bed, is still pointed out. It 
stands close to the entrance of the cemetery. It resembles 
one of those stone cells in which many of our early Saints 
loved to do penance. It measures about 6 feet in length by 
4 in width externally. Its height cannot be easily ascer- 
tained, owing to the quantity of rubbish and earth which have 
accumulated around it. Its stone roof is still nearly perfect. 
Such, briefly, is the present state of this interesting cell, in 
which, according to the uniform tradition of the locality, St. 
Sourney spent a portion of her holy life. Its appearance recalls 
Harris's description of the anchorite's cell at Foure, Coimty 
Westmeath : " He inhabits a small, low cell, so narrow that a 
tall man can scarce stretch himself at length on the floor." ^ 

Immediately outside the cemetery enclosure, and on the 
south side, is a holy well, dedicated to her name. It was 
surrounded by a stone enclosure, which is now much ruined. 
The fountain is filled up with decayed vegetable matter, and 
with the stones of the broken enclosure. 

Moss-grown mounds of great extent, and fragments of 
broken masonry concealed under a rich growth of mosses, 
* Petrie, Rownd Tower b^ p. 116. 

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may still be noticed around this interesting church. The 
religious establishment of which they are the remains, though 
probably of a much more modern period than that to which 
St. Soumey belongs, must certainly have been important. 
There is no doubt that a religious establishment of consider- 
able importance grew up at Dromacoo, and around St. Soumey's 
Church. So remarkable, indeed, did the establishment become, 
that the death of its Coarb, in the early part of the thirteenth 
century, is recorded by our annalists. A Biatach, or house of 
hospitality, was maintained there, in which food was always 
provided for all who came to accept it. Such establishments 
were numerous in our country in ancient times. It is estimated 
that at one period there were as many as 2000 such establish- 
ments throughout Ireland.^ Our annalists record the death of 
the official in charge of the establishment at Dromacoo, A.D. 
1232, in the following words: — "Fachtna O'Halgaith, Coarb 
of Drom Mochuda, and official of Hy Fiachra, a man who kept 
a house of hospitality for the learned, and for the relief of the 
sick and indigent, died." And in another place this institution 
at Dromacoo is referred to as a house " for the instruction and 
improvement of the country and the land."* 

The church and cell and holy well of St. Sourney are not 
the only memorials of that Saint in the parish of Ballindereen. 
Such is the reverence in which her memory continues to be 
held there, that Sourney is not an uncommon name amongst 
the females of the district, though, we believe, unknown in 
other parts of Ireland. 

It is deeply to be regretted that the gleanings from history 
and tradition regarding St Soumey are so meagre. Yet it 
may be hoped that the foregoing notice may prove interesting 
to many, and that in time the labours of our Celtic scholars 
will throw much more light on her interesting history. 

Her church in Aranmore, so pointedly referred to both by 
O'Donovan and O'Flaherty, would, it is probable, show that 
she too sought this sea-girt sanctuary to study at St. Enda's 
feet the great science of sanctity. Her example must have 
strongly influenced her kinsmen. We shall hereafter have 
occasion to record a similar connection with "Aran of the 
Saints" on the part of her holy kinsman, St. Colman Mac 
Duagh. And we shall now refer to St. Foila and her holy 
brothers, who were St. Soumey's contemporaries and kinsmen, 
and who no doubt were influenced by her holy life. We find 
in the Martyrology of Donegal a St. Saimait commemoration 
on the 3rd of May. 

^ Four Masters, Connellan ed, 4467. * Ibid. O'Donovan's ed. 

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St. Foila. 

St. Foila, patroness of the old church of Kileely (Kilf oila), in 
the present parish of Clarinbridge, was daughter of Aedh Draic- 
nighe, great-grandson of Dathy. To her mother, whose name 
was Cuilena, we shall have occasion to make more particular 
reference in our notice of St. Colga's career — ^her distinguished 
brother. The notices of her life are extremely meagre. We are 
assured that her reputation for sanctity during her lifetime was 
widespread, and attested by the performance of many miracles. 
She was buried in her church, still called from her name 
Kileely, i«. Kilfoila ; ^ but the still larger number of miracles 
performed at her tomb obtained for her an enduring posthum- 
ous fame.* Colgan assures us that miracles were of daily 
occurrence there ; and he adds that her church continued to be 
visited by vast multitudes of pilgrims even in his own time.^ 
But alas! the holy shrine has been long deserted and ruined. 
The pilgrimages are forgotten, with the cruel laws by which 
they were suppressed, and the once celebrated shrine is now a 
neglected ruin, situated about half a mile from Kilcolgan, and 
about a mile and a half from the church of Dromacoo, already 
referred to. It is an oblong structure without a chancel, 
measuring about 50 feet by 16. 

The most ancient portion of St. Foila's Church is a portion 
of the northern side wall, which is an interesting specimen of 
pure Cyclopean masonry. The remainder of the church has 
been restored, and is much more modem. The entrance, 
which is modern and uninteresting, is on the south side. The 
sanctuary is lighted by a tall lancet window in the eastern 
gable, and by another similar window in the southern side 
walL The interior possesses no monuments or inscriptions of 
interest. Indeed, the condition of this once venerated shrine 
and place of pious pilgrimage is one of utter neglect in our 
day. Even the name of St. Foila is scarcely known to many 
of the peasantry of the district. Just as the facts of her life 
are unknown, so too the particular date of her death is involved 
in uncertainty. But we think it may be referred to the early 
portion of the seventh century. Her festival is authoritatively 
fixed on the 3rd of May by Colgan : " Ejus natalis in tertio 
Majii in Ecclesia Kilfoila Diocesis Duacensis in Australi 
Conaciae celebratur." It is also fixed on the same day by the 
Martyrology of Tallaght and of Donegal, 

1 Dr. Kelly, Cat Irish Saints^ p. 32. 

* Lanigan, vol. iL p. 328. • Colgan, p. 456. 

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Not far from the armlet of Galway Bay up which Lugad 
Mac Conn with his fleet of foreigners sailed in the year 250,^ 
stands the village of Kilcolgan. It is in truth a deserted 
village now. The circumstances which lent it some distinction 
are long since forgotten. Its chief interest for us at the 
present day is borrowed from the ruins among which it stands, 
and from such fragments of their history as have come down 
to us in the pages of our ancient records. St. Assournida's 
Church is in the immediate vicinity ; and there, too, are the 
churches of St. Foila and of her holy brother Colga. The 
river which guided 0*Donnell in the sixteenth century, in his 
predatory excursion from Athenry to Maree, flows by, as 
abundant in its supplies of trout and salmon as when St Enda 
in the fifth century blessed its waters. 

But our annalists give no notice of Kilcolgan till long 
after the period when Mac Conn and his foreigners won the 
crown of Ireland on the adjoining plains of Moyvoela. Later 
on, however, there is a far larger number of references to its 
history than its present insignificance would lead us to expect 
In 1258 it was a town of some importance in the territory of 
Owen O'Heyne, Prince of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne. In one of these 
struggles for the sovereignty of Connaught, between the sons 
of Koderick O'Connor and those of Cathal Crovedearg, which 
disgraced the history of the period, we find that Kilcolgan was 
burued to the ground, with many other " street towns." The 
proximity of Kilcolgan to the residence of Clanricarde, gained 
for it an undesirable notoriety in the years 1598-1600, in con- 
nection with the raids made by the northern princes on the 
territories of Clanricarde and Thomond. In 1598, O'Donnell 
pitched his camp at its " gates ; " and it was from there he sent 
his men to plunder the surrounding districts, and carried back 
with him to Ballymote " immense spoils " and " heavy herds." 
But the facts which invest this unknown village with its chief 

* Some say 224. 

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interest are of quite a different kind. It arises from the 
church and monastery which have given it its name. The 
death of one of the Eienachs of the monastery in the twelfth 
century is recorded by our annalists: "1132 — Concaile Ua 
Finn, Airhineach of Cill Colgan, died." Colga, whose name was 
given to the village which sprang up close to his monastery, 
was son of Aidus Draicnighe, of the race of Hy Fiachrach, and 
great-grandson of Dathy. His mother's name was Cuilena. 
She too was of princely birth ; and we know, on the authority 
of our Irish calendars, that Foila, her daughter, to whom we 
have already referred, with another of her sons, Aidus, are 
ranked amongst the Saints of Erin. Our Saint, therefore, can 
easily be distinguished from St. Colga " the Wise," who ifrom 
his great learning was called " the Scribe and Doctor of all the 
Irish." A prayer of his, full of beautiful and glowing imagery, 
which is fortunately extant, and is referred to by O'Curry, 
illustrates to some extent his claim to this flattering title. 
He was Professor at Clonmacnoise a.d. 789, and was not there- 
fore even a contemporary of our Saint's. By parentage or 
descent they can also be easily distinguished, as Colga of Clon- 
macnoise was known as Colga Ua Duinechda. 

In addition to this, Lanigan is very explicit regarding our 
Saint. He tells us that he governed a church, and perhaps a 
monastery, at Kilcolgan, called from his name, in the diocese 
of KUmacduagh, barony of Dunkdlin, and county of Galway. 
This Kilcolgan is therefore not to be confounded with places 
of the same name in Clonfert and Cochlans country, in the 
Queen's County. Colgan supports the same opinion, and states 
that Colga was abbot of the church of Kilcolgan, in the 
diocese of Kihnacduagh. Those opinions of Lanigan and 
Colgan are also supported by Dr. Reeves in his Annotations to 
Adamnan's Zife of SL Columba. The learned commentator 
thus writes: "From Colga, the parish church of Kilcolgan, 
and from his sister Foilena, the adjoining parish of KUeely, 
both in the diocese of Kilmacduagh, which was co-extensive 
with the civil territory Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, derive their 
names respectively." ^ 

Though we cannot fix the exact date of St. Colga's birth, 
we have no hesitation in saying it may be referred to the early 
part of the sixth century. The character of his early educa- 
tion may be inferred from the fact that he made himself a 
disciple of St. Columba, one of the most austere of the masters 
of religious life in Western Europe. St. Columba had then 
established himself at lona, far away from his native country. 
* Eeeves' Adamnan^ p. 46. 

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In its chilling atmosphere and unproductive soil there was 
nothing to attract the Irish from the fertile fields and genial 
climate of their native land. Yet a life of exalted sanctity 
and of strict religious observance, which illustrated the super- 
natural power of our holy religion, possessed attractions 
for Irish hearts in those days which they prized beyond all 
other considerations. It was so with Colga, son of Draicnighe. 
True, indeed, his native land was then in literal fact an Island 
of Saints. And Aranmore, cradled in the bosom of the bay 
with the shores of which he was familiar from infancy, was 
amongst the most famous schools of sanctity then known to 
Ireland. It was, in the poet's words, "The Sun of All the 
West." But as Colga knew that the fame of Columba had 
even surpassed that of Enda, for the light of his sanctity 
flashed far beyond the gloom of the Hebrides, he resolved to 
brave the perils of the ocean, and perfect himself in the 
science of the Saints at the knees of the holy Prince of the 
Hy Niall. During his stay at lona we find him honoured by 
special mention by Columba's holy biographer. I am aware, 
indeed, that Lanigan endeavours to show that the Col^ra men- 
tioned by Adamnan is not identical with our Saint. He does 
so, however, contrary to his custom, without advancing any 
argument whatever. Colga is expressly mentioned by Adamnan 
as the son of Draicnighe, and of the race of Fiachrach. Apart 
altogether from the authority of the writers already quoted, 
this fact alone would clearly establish his identity with St. 
Colga of Kilcolgan. 

The writer speaks of the heavenly favours with which the 
closing years of Columba's life were blessed. He was frequently 
surrounded with a supernatural light too brilliant for mortal 
eyes to gaze upon. Of one of those visions St. Colga found 
himself the privileged witness. We will allow the simple but 
graphic words of St. Adamnan to give the reader a knowledge 
of the event 

" Another night also, one of the brothers, whose name was 
Colgius, the son of Aedh Draicnighe, a descendant of Fechreg 
(Fiachrach), mentioned in the first book, came accidentally, 
while the other brothers were asleep, to the gate of the church, 
and stood there praying for some time. Then suddenly he 
saw the whole church filled with a heavenly light, which 
flashed like lightning across his eyes. He did not know that 
St. Columba was praying at that time in the church. And 
after this sudden appearance of light he returned home in 
great alarm. On the following day the Saint called him aside, 
and rebuked him severely, saying, ' Take care, my child, not to 

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pry too closely into the nature of that heavenly light. That 
privilege is not given to you ; and beware how you tell any one 
what you saw during my lifetime.' " 

No doubt the narrative of manifestations such as that 
just mentioned, may be regarded as incredible by many of 
the sceptical of our time. And Montalembert points, per- 
haps unnecessarily, " to the proverbial credulity of Celtic 
nations " regarding the legends of their Saints. But he takes 
care to state " that no Christian will be tempted to deny the 
verified narratives which bear witness, in Columba's case, to 
supernatural appearances which enriched his life, and espe- 
cially his old age." And we are assured he was frequently 
surrounded with a supernatural light, too brilliant for mortal 
eyes to gaze upon, of which St. Colga was one of many pri- 
vileged witnesses. 

Before finally quitting lona, St. Colga returned to Ireland at 
Columba's special command. The mission with which he was 
entrusted was of a specially delicate kind, and seems to indicate 
the esteem in which he was held by the patriarch of lona. 
The object of his mission was, indeed, the conversion of his own 
mother. I may be excused for reproducing the narrative here, 
from what has been with authority styled the oldest biography 
in Europe. 

" This Colga, residing one time in the island of lona, was 
asked by the Saint whether his mother was religious or not ; 
Col^a answering him said that he had always known his 
mother to be good, and to have that character. The Saint 
then spoke the following strange words : * Quickly now return 
to Ireland, and interrogate your mother closely regarding 
her very grievous secret sin, which she does not wish to 
confess to any man.' " 

Colga returned to Ireland on his singular mission, which 
proved by its result the supernatural character of the wisdom 
of his master and guide. Great indeed must have been his 
mother's surprise when he disclosed to her the object of his 
visit. At first she denied her guilt But at length, gratefully 
recognising the merciful intervention of Providence in her 
favour, she confessed her sin, '' and doing penance according to 
the judgment of the Saint, was absolved, wondering very much 
at what had been revealed to the Saint regarding her." 

There can be little doubt that his mother's guUt must have 
been grave, and entailing danger of the most serious kind to 
her salvation. An inquiry into its character might appear 
undesirable, as well as unprofitable. But as it has been insti- 
tuted by others, I may be excused for inviting my readers' 

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attention for a moment to the result. Dr. Eeeves connects 
her guilt with her sojourn in the palace at Cashel. It was in 
her youth she was the guest of King Failbe Flanij. And he 
supports his opinion by the following extract regarding her 
from a tract of Aengus, De Matribus Sanctorum Hibemice : — 

" Cuilein, the motlier of Colga the Chaste, 
Was received in Ma^h UUen for a time 
By Failbe Fland without charge of guilt 
Sne went to Cashel straying." 

If, however, the seductions of the court of the King of Cashel 
led Cuilena's young heart away from God, there can be little 
doubt that she made ample reparation for her sin by the per- 
formance of such penances as the "judgment" of the Saint 
required. Even a slight knowledge of the character of our 
penitentials will show that these penances must have been 
excessively severe. 

Before finally quitting lona, St. Colga asked his holy master 
to disclose to him some things regarding his own future ; for 
the spirit of prophecy was but one of the many gifts with 
which the Holy Ghost enriched St. Columba*s favoured soul. In 
reply, he was assured, that he was destined to preside over a 
church in his own country. That country was the territory of 
the Southern Hy Fiachrach, co-extensive with the diocese of 
Kilmacduagh. "In your own country, which you love, you 
shall be head of a certain church for many years." Even the 
circumstances which were to indicate the immediate approach 
of his death were also pointed out to him, though these were, 
under other aspects, of an unimportant and trivial character. 

" And when at length you shall see your butler playing for 
a company of friends at supper, and twisting the tap in a circle 
round his neck, know that you shall soon die." 

"This same prophecy of the holy man," adds Adamnan, " was 
exactly fulfilled as it was foretold to Colga." 

St. Colga did return to Ireland, and selected as a site for his 
monastery that portion of the lands of the tribe of which he 
was a distinguished member, which overlooks the most inland 
portion of the Bay of Galway. The sea breezes would be borne 
freshly to his monastery over those picturesque and wooded 
undulations which are now known as " Tyrone," and which there 
marked the western limits of the territory of the princes of the 
Hy Fiachrach ; and the grounds now designated as " Tyrone " 
but conceal under a very transparent disguise the ancient name 
of the locality, -r- " Tir Owen" should mean the country of 
" Owen," prince of the district. And just beyond the estuary 
on which his convent stood was the "Eiscir" highway, extend- 

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ing from Maree to Dublin, which divided the kingdom of Conn 
from that of his brother and rival, Eoghan Mor. Nor was it 
unnatural that the site which St. Colga should select for his 
monastery would be close to the church with which the name 
and fame of his holy sister Foila was to be inseparably asso- 
ciated. The church of St Foila stands in the immediate 
vicinity of Kilcolgan, and in its present neglected condition 
gives no indication of the reverence with which it was regarded 
as a sacred shrine to which the pious faithful thronged even as 
late as two centuries ago. 

There can be no doubt that St. Colga erected a church and 
monastery at Kilcolgan. Being "head of a certain church," 
could simply mean that he ruled a community in connection 
with that church; and this, we are assured, was a position 
which he occupied 'per midtos annos. Besides, we find he is 
expressly styled Abbot of Kilcolgan by the learned author of 
the Acta Sanctorum Hibernice, 

It is, I think, by no means ejisy to understand the meaning 
of the signs which the Abbot of lona foretold, should indicate 
the immediate approach of St. Colga's death. Commentators 
admit the obscurity of the original passage in Adamnan. But 
Dr. Beeves correctly attributes much of its obscurity to our 
imperfect knowledge of the domestic customs, etc., of our 
countrymen at that early period. He offers the following as 
a plausible rendering of the passage : — 

"When you see your brother making merry in a supper of 
his friends, and twisting the ladle round in the strainer, know 
that you shall soon die." And he adds, "The difficulty" of 
understanding the passage " arises from our imperfect know- 
ledge concerning the domestic utensils of the early nations." 
I believe that few will question the plausibility of his opinion. 

It is not easy to ascertain with absolute certainty the exact 
site of St. Colga's Church and Monastery. I have little doubt, 
however, that its site is now occupied by a dismantled Pro- 
testant church in the grounds of the late Christopher St. George 
of Tyrone, Esq., about half a mile south of the present village 
of Kilcolgan. A close inspection of this modem though ruined 
structure enables one to see that a great portion of the eastern 
gable is very ancient. Fragments of tracery and carved mul- 
iions may also be discovered in the most incongruous positions 
beneath the mortar of the modern masonry. Crumbling masses 
of masonry strewn around, and forming moss-grown mounds, 
revealing here and there a gravestone, where the dead are at 
rest for centuries, indicate clearly enough the original character 
of the place. And local traditions confirm these impressions. 

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and tell how a family that abandoned the faith of their 
fathers sought to destroy every vestige of this interesting 
and sacred memorial of a glorious past. The unenlightened 
bigotry which such an effort reveals has fortunately failed in 
its purpose ; and the unsightly ruin which desecrates the spot 
shall be remembered only as a satirical memorial of the failure. 

The site was in many respects a pleasing ona Even before 
the extensive plantings around the adjoining mansions of Kil- 
cornan and Tyrone brought the scenery into harmony with the 
taste of our time, the general features of the landscape were 
attractive. But how unlike his late home at lona ! HerCj 
indeed, was the " dark blue " of the ocean, but its hoarse mur- 
murs were hushed to rest within the arms of those sheltering 
bays, and the foam of the broken billows no longer flecked his 
cowl, as he recalled by the " Mairee " shore the lessons which 
Columba taught him on the surf-beaten cliffs of lona. 

On either side, and at equal distances, were the churches of 
St. Assournida and of his holy sister Foila. Nor is there any 
inherent improbability in the opinion that the church of St. 
Hugh in the adjoining parish was that of his holy brother St. 
Aidus (Hugh). 

We are unfortunately unable to throw any additional light 
upon those fruitful years which St. Colga spent as " head of his 
church in the country which he loved." Neither do we know 
with certainty the date of his death. Colgan merely states 
that he " flourished " towards the close of the sixth century. 
Though some would fix his feast on the 20th of February, we 
do not think that the authority of our martyrologies can be 
cited in favour of such an opinion. 

The facts which we have been able to glean regarding our 
Saint are indeed meagre. Yet, because they help to bring into 
merited prominence one other of our early Saints, and because 
they help to throw some light on one of the forgotten shrines 
of our land, they may possess sufficient interest to merit for 
them a place in those pages. St. Colga is noticed in the 
Martyr ology of Donegal, on the 5 th March, in the following 
words : — 

" Foileann, daughter of Aedh, sister of Aedh of Cill Colgan 
of Aith Cliath Meadhraighe in Connachta, and they were of the 
race of Dathy, son of Fiachra, and Cuillenn was the name of 
their mother." 

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St CSaimin of Inis Oealtra, balf-brotber of Guaire — His austerity— Extant 
fragment of bis writings. 

Dr Lanigan * inclines strongly to the opinion that Caimin is 
identical with Coman of the Third Order of Saints. The 
apparent difference in the names he would account for by 
a frequent and not unusual substitution of vowels in the 
spelling of Irish names, which provincial varieties of pro- 
nunciation rendered natural if not inevitable. He adds, " Thus 
Caimin might have been written for Comin or Cumin." 

Should this opinion recommend itself to the reader, it may 
be also urged as probable that the church of Coman at 
Kinvara, already referred to in the legend of the O'Carras, was 
the church of St. Caimin. St. Caimin was indeed a half-brother 
of the celebrated King Guaire, whose principal residence was, 
as we have seen, at Kinvara. It would therefore be natural 
that he might have established a church there. 

The mother of this holy man was Cummiena,* celebrated 
for the eminent sanctity of her children. Our annalists do 
not tell us whether her son Caimin had been born prior to her 
marriage with Colman, father of Guaire. But they do tell us 
that he was her son by Dima of the princely house of Hy 
Kiuselagh, without reference to the date of the marriage. 

Even the date of the Saint's birth is unknown. But we are 
told by Colgan that he was celebrated both for his miracles 
and sanctity as early as the year 640. He eagerly sought to 
avoid the admiration with which the sanctity of his life was 
regarded by his contemporaries. For this purpose, he departed 
to a lonely island on the Shannon, situated, as Colgan is care- 
ful to tell us, on the confines of Galway and Thomond. 

Inis Cealtra — the lonely island of his choice — is cradled on 
the bosom of the Shannon near the present little town of 
ScariflT, and about thirty miles from Kinvara. But the 
solitudes of Inis Cealtra were soon destined to be disturbed 
by the pious chants and holy prayers of the multitudes 
* Vol. ill pp. 11 and 13. » A. A. S., p. 248. 

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who would be attracted to its shores by Caimin's heroic 

Indeed, Colgan speaks of the multitude of the disciples as 
innumerable, who came there anxious to copy his angelic 
sanctity of life. His life was one of the most rigid austerity. 
And, not content with the austerities which he so rigidly 
practised, he prayed that his body would be stricken with 
infirmities. In the legend already referred to regarding the 
meeting between Caimin, Guaire, and Cumin Fota, in Caimin's 
church at Inis Cealtra, this singular wish is referred to. And 
we are assured that his prayer was granted by Divine Pro- 
vidence. So emaciated had he become under the exhaustion of 
his enduring infirmities, that we are assured that his fieshless 
bones were barely held together by the nerveless sinews. 
Yet was he not only patient, but he even longed for increased 

No claims of kindred could make him forget the higher 
claims of justice. Of this he gave a striking proof in his 
opposition to his brother Guaire, on the occasion of that 
king's engagement with King Diarmot at Cam Conail, in the 
eastern plains of Aidhne. 

We are told by Keating that a certain holy solitary com- 
plained to Diarmot of a seemingly trivial act of injustice for 
which he regarded the King of Connaught, as responsible. 
This is represented as the cause — though it could only be an 
ostensible one — of the great struggle at Carn Conail. St. 
Caimin also had intelligence of the alleged injustice, and 
marked his displeasure at his brother's conduct by " supplicating 
on his knees against his success." In vain did Guaire sue in 
the most humble manner, for the Saint's forgiveness and 
prayers for the success of his arms. Caimin, in reply to his 
entreaties, only assured him "that his overthrow and the 
destruction of his army was determined, and that the decree 
of Heaven could not be revoked." Those prophetic words were 
verified. Guaire's army suffered a complete defeat; and he 
himself fell a prisoner into the victor's hands. Keating ^ is at 
pains to assure us that this crushing defeat was attributable 
to the prayers of Caimin. That holy man, the chronicler 
informs us, spent three days and three nights in prayer, 
imploring Heaven to blast the designs of Guaire and to 
confound his army. 

Fortunately we are not without satisfactory evidence of the 
success with which he devoted himself to ecclesiastical studies 
during his rare leisure intervals. The sacred Scriptures, and 
* Keating, p. 357. 

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especially the Psalms; occupied his special' attention. We 
know on the authority of Ware and Lanigan * that he composed 
a commentary on the Psalms. In this work he displayed a 
critical knowledge of the sacred text. He also proved himself 
a good Hebrew scholar, by collating the Latin version with the 
original Hebrew. Most of this interesting work is lost. It is, 
however, fortunate that even a fragment remains to indicate 
its character. . It is the Saint's comment on Psalm cxviii. 
This venerable fragment was seen by Usher before the year 
1639! In the time of Sir James Ware it was preserved in the 
Franciscan Monastery of Donegal.* Colgan saw it, and pro- 
bably had it iu his possession. It Will be gratifying to all 
interested in the history of our early Church, to know that 
this interesting fragment is now preserved in the Franciscan 
Monastery, Dublin. An interesting : paper on the authenticity 
of the manuscript was published in the Ecclesiastical Record of 
1873, by Mr. Henessy, the eminent antiquarian and well-known 
Celtic scholar, from which we shall take some additional facts 
regarding the history of this most interesting fragment. 

In the year 1872, the Italian Minister at Paris, Chevalier 
Nigra, having examined the Celtic MSS. at St. Isadore's, 
communicated to Mr. Henessy, by letter, his impressions 
regarding this fragment referred to, to which he devoted 
special attention : " And," writes Mr. Henessy, *' his description 
of its nature and contents led me to suppose that it was the 
MS. to which Usher refelred as alleged to have been written 
by St Caimin of Inis Cealtra. And this it is." 

And the writer continues : " The following note in Irish, in 
the handwriting of Michael O'Clery, in p. 3 of the MS., is 
valuable as indicating the persons from whom the frao^ment 
came into his possession, and through him to the Franciscans 
of Donegal. 

"'According to the traditions of the sons of Mac Brody, viz. 
Flann and Bernard, as they heard with their father and with 
all in general, it is Saint Caimin of Inis Celtra, on Loch 
Deergdeire, in Thomond, that wrote the book in which this 
leaf was. . It is not surprising that those learned men should 
have truth, for it is iu the Termon of Caimin they are abiding 
and residing, and their ancestors abode before them. I, the 
poor friar Michael O'Clery, am witness that I myself saw 
Mac Brody residing in the Termon of Caimin, and his children 
after his death. And it is they and Diarmuit 0*J)uibhcertaigh 
that gave those leaves of Caimin's book to me the poor friar 

^ Ware's Anti/j., Lanigan, vol. iii. p. 11. 
« A, A, S, ; Dr. Kelly, Cat. Irish Saints. 

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aforesaid.' " And he adds : " It may be taken as proved that 
O'Clery obtained the MS. from the sons of Conor Mac Brody, 
who was slain in November 1639 ; and that he had deposited 
it in the library of the Convent of Donegal before 1639.'* 

The family of the O'Brodys referred to resided as late as 
1641 at Leter Moylan, in the present parish of Dysert, 
barony of Inchiquin, County Clare. That the extant MS. 
preserved at Dublin is that referred to by Usher, and to which 
Colgan refers, there can therefore be no doubt. 

But as to whether it was really written by St. Caimin is, 
Mr. Henessy considers, a " matter of question," notwithstanding 
the tradition regarding it handed down from a very early age 
in a family specially identified with the preservation of 
historical traditions. The MS. itself is thus described by the 
same distinguished writer : — 

" This MS., which is only a small remnant of what must have 
been a large work, consists at present of hut six leaves of thin 
vellum measuring fourteen inches in length by ten in breadth. 
It contains a large fragment of Psalm cxviii. in the Douay 
Bible. The portion remaining is divided into twelve chapters 
of eight verses each. Every chapter begins with a large 
illuminated letter of most exquisite pattern ; and each verse 
with an ornamental capital of smaller size. 

" The text, which is in Latin, is interspersed with explanatory 
glosses in the same language; and additional glosses and 
scholia are written in the spaces between the chapters, and 
along the margins. 

" The writing of the scriptural text is unusually large, the 
letters being nearly half an inch in length, and not rounded, 
as in the Book of Kelts, 

" The penmanship is not so beautifully executed as that of 
the Book of Kells; and the attempts at ornamentation are, 
in general, rather rude compared with the exquisite style of 
illumination which characterises that splendid volume. But 
the St. Isadore MS. is probably no less ancient." 

As regards the date of St. Caimin's death, there seems to be 
no question. It is given by Colgan as a.d. 653. Dr. Lanigan, 
Dr. Kelly, and others, give the same date. His feast is fixed 
in some calendars for the 25th of March. In the Martyrology 
of Donegaly however, it is fixed on the 24th of the same month. 
And it adds : " That Caimin of Inis Celtra was, in his manners 
and life, like unto Paucomius the monk." He was buried at 
Inis Cealtra, and his church there became, in after years, one of 
the most celebrated sanctuaries in Ireland. 

There are extant on the island of Inis Cealtra many inter- 

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csting ecclesiastical ruins, amongst which is a fine roand tower. 
Amongst the churches and oratories there, St. Caimin's is the 
principal. The original cliurch built by St. Caimin was, 
Dr. Petrie^ thinks, rebuilt by the monarch Brian Boroimhe. 
As it exists, it consists of nave and chancel. The nave 
measures 30 feet 6 inches * by 20 feet, while the chancel is 
about 14 feet by 12 on the "clear." It has projecting 
antse on the east and west ends. It had the door on the 
west gable. There are but two small windows, and those on 
the south side. The masonry of the nave is archaic, consisting 
of the usual large and well-fitting stones common to our 
Cyclopean buildings. The chancel is of a diflferent and more 
modem style of architecture. 

" The chancel arch, which," writes Petrie, " is less distin- 
guished for ornament than the doorway, is triple-faced, or 
formed of three concentric arches on the western face ; and is 
double-faced on the eastern or inner side. But the arches 
consist simply of square-edged rib work ; and the ornamental 
sculpture is confined to the piers, which are rounded with semi- 
columns, and adorned with capitals." 

His festival is fixed by the Martyrology of Donegal on the 
24th of March. It has the following notice of the Saint: 
" Caimin of Inis Cealtra in Loch Deirgheire. He was of the 
race of Cathair Mor of Leinster. A very ancient vellum book 
states that Caimin of Inis Cealtra was, in his manners and life, 
like unto Paucomius the monk." 

* Round Totwr*, p. 281. * Patric Bragh. 

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St. Colman Mac Daagh — His parentage and descent from Dathy — His 
Birthplace — Legends regarding his Baptism. 

Amongst the Saints who made the reign of the pious King of 
Connaught memorable, there is none whose sanctity is so 
revered, and whose name is so enthusiasticaUy honoured 
throughout the district of Aidhne, as is St. Colman, son of 
Duagh. The diocese of Kilmacduagh, of which he was founder, 
perpetuates his name ; and through its various parishes he is 
still piously invoked as a powerful and holy patron. 

His connection with the king was of the most intimate 
kind, being united to him by ties of intimate friendship as 
well as by those of kindred. 

In the Martyrology of Donegal, we find him referred to as 
" Colman Bishop, i,e. Mac Duagh of Cill Mic Duach in Con- 
nachta; he was of the race of Fiachra, son of Eochaid 
Muidhmheadoin ; great were his virtues and miracles." 

This authoritative reference to him as Bishop of Kilmac- 
duagh, and also to his parentage, helps effectually to remove 
all difficulties as to his identity. The name of Colman was 
indeed a favourite one with the holy men of the period. This 
will be abundantly evident from the fact that the Martyrology 
of Donegal commemorates as many as one hundred and 
thirteen Saints who bear the name of Colman. But from out 
of this multitude whose name he shares, the individuality of 
the holy son of Duagh, of the princely race of Fiachra, is 
clearly fixed. 

The same interesting and important fact follows still more 
clearly from the Saint's genealogy as it is given in the Customs 
of Hy Fiachrach^ where he is specially mentioned as one of the 
" Saints of the race of Eochaid Breac : " — 

" Colman, son of Duach, from whom Ceall Mhic Duach, 

Son of Ainmire, 

Son of Conall, 

Son of Cobhtach, 

Son of Goibnenn, 

* Hy Fiachrachy p. 37. 


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Son of Connall, 
Sod of Eoghain Aidhne, 
Sou of Eochaid, 
Son of DathL" 

There can be no doubt as to the Ceall Mhic Duach referred 
to. But were there any, it is authoritatively removed by 
O'Donovan, who expressly states that it is "the Church of 
the Son of Duach — now Kilmacduagh — in the barony of 
Kiltartan, in the south-west of the county of Galway." ^ 

Another passage in the same work throws additional light 
upon his parentage, and renders the question of his identity, 
if possible, still more incontestible. It is as follows: "The 
issue of Cormac became extinct, except one daughter, Righnach, 
the mother of St Colman Mac Duach, a quo Ceall Mic Duach, 
i.e, Kilmacduagh." * His mother was therefore the sole repre- 
sentative of the noble line of Cormac, great-grandson of Dathy. 
It is therefore obvious that the connection between our Saint 
and the chieftains aud tribes of Aidhne was that of close 
kindred, and manifestly favourable ibr the great purpose for 
which he was raised up by Providence. 

We can have no difficulty as to the particular period to 
which St. Colman's public life may be referred. There is no 
doubt that it is to be referred to the close of the sixth and the 
opening of the seventh century. Our fuller knowledge of the 
history of his distinguished contemporaries, removes all diffi- 
culty on that head. But the exact or approximate date of his 
birth can be only a matter of conjecture. Neither have we 
any historical evidence of the particular place of his birth. 
We have, however, a well-defined tradition, always accepted in 
the diocese of Kilmacduagh, which fixes the village of Corker, 
in the present parish of Kiltartan, as the place of his birth. 
The same interesting tradition which tells us of the place of 
his birth, preserves also some interesting circumstances in 
connection with it. 

Ehinagh, the Saint's mother, when in an advanced state of 
pregnancy, became the object of the king's jealous hatred. The 
reigning king was Colman, father of Guaire. He had heard 
that, according to a prophecy of authority, Rhinagh's son was 
destined to surpass in greatness, all others of his illustrious 
lineage. Dreading the jealous hostility of the king, which she 
thus unconsciously excited, she was obliged to fly. But the 
hostility of the king pursued her. She was seized by his 
minions, and cast, with a heavy stone tied around her neck, 
into the deepest portion of the Kiltartan river. She was 
» Hy Fiachrachy p. 36. ' Ibid. p. 6a 


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miraculously preserved from drowning, however ; and the 
stone lies still by the river margin, an object of interest to 

It was in the adjoining solitude at Corker that the infant 
was born, who was indeed destined to bring upon the district 
'' a thousand blessings which time has brought to ripeness." 

The anxious mother laid her new -bom babe under the 
friendly shelter of a spreading ash, and waited impatiently for 
some one who might at least pour on its head the waters of 
regeneration. And though the tradition here loses itself in 
one well known to be applied by poets and hagiographers to 
St. Patrick, it may be undesirable to destroy its continuity. It 
continues to tell us how two aged clerical pilgrims approached 
the anxious mother. One was blind and the other lame. 
Being unable to procure water to administer baptism, they 
invoked the Divine aid ; and lo ! a fountain gushed forth from 
under the shelter of the tree. After administering baptism, 
the pilgrims washed in the waters of the fountain and were 
healed. The grateful monks besought the mother to entrust 
them with the safety and education of the child — a permission 
which, under the circumstances, must have been gladly accorded 
to them by Rhinagh. 

Dr. Lanigan ^ tells us of a similar legend in connection with 
the baptism of St Patrick. It forms the subject of one of De 
Vere's most beautiful ballads — 

" How can the babe baptized be, 

Where font is none and water none? 
Thus wept the nurse on bended knee, 
And swayed the infiEUit in the sun. 

The blind priest took the infant's hand, 
With that small hand above the ground 

He signed the Cross : at Qod's command 
A fountain rose with brimming bound. 

In that nure wave, from Adam's sin, 
The blind priest cleansed the babe with awe ; 

Then reverently he washed therein 
His old unseeing face — and saw." 

The holy well at which St. Colman is said to have been 
baptized, still remains at Cdrker, and bears his name. It is 
held by the people of the village and surrounding district in 
the highest veneration. " Hounds *' are still performed there ; 
and it is confidently asserted in the locality that the super- 
natural eflScacy of the water is still frequently proved in favour 
^ Lanigan, voL L p. 90. 

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of those whose faith in the Divine mercy, and in the efficacy of 
St Coknan's patronage, is pure and strong. 

The venerable ash has disappeared, but its place is supplied 
by a cluster of venerable hawthorns, which will please the 
lovers of the picturesque, as well as those to whom the 
legendary history of our Saints is dear. 

On a rising ground at a little distance from the holy well 
stands a ruined oratory of considerable antiquity. The northern 
side wall alone remains. Unfortunately all else is destroyed, 
so that one can only conjecture what its original features 
may have been. It seems probable it was an oratory of the 
ninth or tenth century, built perhaps on the site of one earlier 
still, in which the sanctity of St Colman was honoured. 

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St. Colman Mac Dua^h in Aranmore— The fame of Aranmore as a sanc- 
tuary of learning and holiness — His churches erected there — 
Charms of the island for its solitaries. 

However much we regret that we are ignorant of the names 
of those good monks who undertook to guard Rhinagh*s holy 
child in his infancy, and to educate him in his early years, we 
must at least admire the success with which they sheltered him 
from the jealousy of the king. Even now we are unable to 
glean even the smallest particulars regarding the history of his 
early years. It is only in his mature years, after he had 
already entered the sanctuary, that we can obtain even a 
shadowy glimpse of him as he is engaged in his missionary 
labours or personal austerities. 

He reappears in the celebrated island of Aranmore, then 
widely known as Aran of the Saints. Its reputation as a 
sanctuary of piety rivalled that of Lerins and of lona. In fact, 
Western Europe had not many more remarkable homes of 
piety than " Ara-na-Naomh." 

The number of Saints is very great who lived there, and 
whose illustrious and immortal names are for ever connected 
with its history. But many lived there in the odour of sanc- 
tity whose very names are forgotten. Colgan justly assures 
us that innumerable mints are buried there wlio are known 
only to God. 

Aranmore was a celebrated sanctuary even before St. Col- 
man's birth, and it must have been well and favourably known 
to him even in his early life. The cliffs of Aranmore are 
visible from the rugged heights of Burren. They rise from the 
Atlantic, and, as it were, sentinel the entrance to Lough 
Lurgan, the waters of which washed the ancient fortress of 
Durlus Guaire. He must have known that holy pilgrims had 
been seeking its coast from near and far. St. larlath had 
come to be educated there and prepared for his future labours 
at Tuam. St. Mac Creighe came there from the neighbouring 
coast of Clare. Indeed, the greatest of the Saints of the Second 


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Order repaired thither to learn sanctity and knowledge at the 
feet of St. Enda. Neither had its glory lost its brilliancy, nor 
had its fame been obscured, when its shores were visited by so 
many illustrious Saints of the Third Order, to which St. Colman 
belonged. St. Brendan had been there; St. Ciaran prepared 
himself there for his labours at Clonmacnoise. Nor is it at 
all likely that even amongst the storm-tossed waves of the 
Hebrides the recollection of Aranmore ever passed away from 
the memory of the great founder of lona. 

Amongst other celebrated visitors to Aranmore in those days 
was Finnian of Clonard ; and Aengus* Martyrohgy adds the 
names St Tapeus, St. Carthage, St. Lonan, St. Nechatus, St. 
Lebeus, and St Colman, brother of St. Kevin of Glendalough. 
We are assured by O'ilaherty * that this St Colman was the 
" most famous of the Saints of Aran. He is believed to have 
often abated storms and dissipated mists when piously 
invoked." Indeed, the reputation for sanctity which that 
island sanctuary then enjoyed has been expressed in imperish- 
able verse by our gifted countryman : — 

<< Aran blest ! O Aran blest I 

Accursed the man that loves not thee ; 
The dead man cradled in thy breast, 
No demon scares him : well is he. 

Each Sunday Gabriel from on high 

(For so did Christ the Lord ordain) 
Tby masses comes to sanctify. 

With fifty angels in his train. 

Each Monday Michael issiies forth, 

To bless anew each sacred fane ; 
Each Tuesday cometh Raphael, 

To bless pure hearth and golden graio. 

Each Wednesday cometh UrieL 

Each Thursday Sariel fresh uom Qod ; 
Each Friday cometh Ramael, 

To bless Uiy stores and bless thy sod. 

Each Saturday comes Mary, 
Comes Babe in arm *mid heavenly hosts. 

O Aran, near to heaven is he 
That hears Qod's angels bless thy coasts ! ^ 

Considering, therefore, the merited celebrity of Aranmore in 
those days, it is no marvel that we find St Colman a visitor 
there, and we can have no hesitation in assuming that he per- 
fected there that spirit of prayer, retirement, and austerity of 
* lar Connaughtf p. 87. 

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which he soon afterwards gave striking proofs in his Burren 

St. Cohnan's stay in Aranmore must have been considerable, 
as he built there two churches, which, according to Dr. Kelly, 
are attributed to St. Colman, both by " history and tradition."* 
Beferring to those churches, and speaking of certain architec- 
tural features which they possess in common with the ancient 
cathedral of Kilmacduagh, Dr. Petrie writes : " Of this descrip- 
tion of doorway I shall only here insert another example, from 
a church which was erected by the same St. Colman Mac Duagh 
within the great cyclopean fort or cashel in Kilmurvey, on the 
great island of Aran, and which is still in good preservation." 
The church here referred to by Petrie is usually styled Team- 
puill Mor Mhic Duagh.* It consists of nave and chancel, — the 
chancel being 16 feet long by 11 broad, while the nave is little 
more than 18 feet long by 14 broad. The style is cyclopean, 
and similar to the existing ruins at Oughtmama and the most 
ancient portions of the churches at Kilmacduagh. 

As the doorway of St. Colman's Church at Aranmore is 
graphically described by a learned and well-known writer in 
the Record of 1870, I will quote his words: "It is 5 feet 
6 inches in height, 2 feet in width at the top, and 2 feet 3 
inches at the bottom. The lintel is of granite, and measures 
5 feet 6 inches in length, 1 foot 6 inches in height, and 
extends the entire thickness of the wall, which is 2 feet 6 

The other existing memorial of our Saint's presence in Aran 
is a little oratory called Teampuill beg Mhic Duagh. Both 
are close to each other, and form a portion of that well-known 
group at Eilmurvy, now usually known as the Seven Churches. 
This rather familiar designation gives no correct idea of the 
actual number of churches there in the past. Dr. O'Keely, 
Archbishop of Tuam, a man eminent alike for his learning 
and virtues, drew up a descriptive list of the churches which 
existed in Aran in A.D. 1645. This list has been preserved by 
Colgan, and is as follows : — 

1. The parish church, commonly called Kill Enda, lies in 
the county of Galway and half barony of Aran, and in it St. 
Endeus or Enda is venerated as patron on the 31st MarcL 

2. The church called Teglach Enda, to which is annexed a 
cemetery wherein is the sepulchre of St. Endeus, with one 
hundred and twenty-seven other sepulchres, wherein none but 
Saints were ever buried. 

^ Distertaiions on Irish Hist, p. 188. 
* lar Cannaughtf p. 76. 

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3. The church called Teampuill Mac Longa, dedicated to St. 
Mac Longius, is situated near the parish church, which is 
sometimes called Kill Enda, that is, the Cell of St. Endeus, and 
sometimes Teampuill Mor Enda, or the Great Church of St 

4. The church of Teampuill Mic Cononn, near the aforesaid 
parish church. 

5. The church called St Mary, not far from the same parish 

6. The church which is named Teampuill Benain, or the 
Temple of St Benignus. 

7. The church called Mainster Connachtach, that is, the 
Connaught Monastery, in place of which, being afterwards 
demolished, was erected a chapel to St Kievan. 

8. The church called Balnamanc^h, that is. the Church or 
Cell of the Monks, which was dedicated to St. Cathradochus or 
Caradoc, surnamed " Garbh," or the " Rough." ' 

9. The church Teampuill Assuimidhe, St Soumey's Church, 
and this church is held in the greatest veneration amongst the 

10. The church called Teampuill na Creathruir Aluinn, or 
the Church of the Four Beautiful Saints, who were SS. Fursey, 
Brendan of Birr, Conall, and Bercham, whose bodies are also 
said to be buried in the same tomb lying in the cemetery of 
the same church. 

11. The church called Teampuill Mic Duach, or the Church 
of Saint Mac Duagh (who is also called Colmanus, surnamed 
Mac Duagh), which is a handsome church dedicated to that 

12. The handsome and formerly parochial church called 
Teampuill Breccain, or the Church of Breccain, in which also 
his feast is celebrated on the 22nd of May. 

13. The church near the aforesaid Church of St Breccan, 
which is commonly called Teampuill a Phuill, or St Paul's. 

These churches were extant in the days of the illustrious Dr. 
O'Keely in the large island alone. But ten years later, 1655, 
those venerated shrines were plundered, desecrated, and ruined 
by the Cromwellian governor of the island ; and as the work 
of ruin was intended to be complete, the very stones of which 
some of those venerated monuments were constructed* were 
carried away and used in the erection of the citadel and other 
works of defence. This vandalism will be seen in its truer 
light when it is remembered that it is described by a writer 
familiar with the place as being " paved over with stones." * 
1 lar Connaughi^ p. 74, * Ibid, p. 66. 

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A visitor, " surprised at its appearance, remarked that it was a 
mistake not to have called them the marble islands, for they 
were all a maas of limestone and marble." Yet it was on this 
barren island that St. Enda and his disciples shut themselves 
out from the world, its luxuries and allurements. Though 
content with the simple necessaries of life, even those neces- 
saries were procured by those holy men only by incessant toil 
But a life of toil and privation suited the heroism of their 
characters; and it was their aim also to conceal, as far as 
possible, their virtues and sanctity. Nor could they find a 
retreat more in harmony with their aims and heroic purposes 
than that afforded by the barren, ru^ed, and secluded shores 
of Aran. Cradled in the bosom of the Atlantic, and with 
its beetling cliffs, against which the heaving billows lash 
themselves into foam, rising to a height of 300 feet above 
the sea-level, it seemed to secure for the solitaries their 
much-prized treasures of poverty and seclusion. The booming 
of the ocean must have sounded in their ears as the solemn 
voice of Nature thundering forth its unceasing hymn to the 
majesty of its Creator. Those deep and solemn murmurs 
of the sea constituted perhaps an additional attraction. 
Indeed, those island solitudes have long exercised a powerful 
attraction for holy Saiuts. It was so in the days of St. 
Ambrose, as well as in earlier and later times, and is referred 
to in such beautiful words by that holy Doctor, that the atten- 
tion of the reader may be respectfully directed to his words.* 
He speaks of these islands as a " necklet of pearls which God 
has set upon the bosom of the sea, and in which those who 
would fly the irregular pleasures of the world may find a 
refuge wherein to practise austerity, and save themselves 
from the snares of this life. The sea that enfolds them 
becomes, as it were, a veil to hide from mortal eye their deeds 
of penance ; it aids them to acquire perfect continence ; it 
feeds grave and solemn thought ; it has the secret of peace, 
and repels all the fierce passions of earth. In it those faithful 
and pious men found incentives to devotion. The mysterious 
sound of the billows calls for the answering sound of sacred 
psalmodies, and the peaceful voices of holy men, mingled with 
the gentle murmurs N)f the waves breaking softly on the shore, 
rise in unison to the heavens." These charms of his island 
sanctuary St Colman must have felt and loved with all the 
ardour of his holy soul. But the time was at hand when he 
was to leave a place endeared to him by strong and sacred 
ties. His stay there must have been considerable. The erec- 
^ Hexamenmf lib. iiL cap. v. 

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tion of his churches alone would show that his stay at Aran- 
more was a protracted one; yet his interest in the current 
events of his own native territory remained as strong as ever. 
The strange career of the brothers of the Ua Carra, already 
related, interested him much. That and " other adventures of 
the brothers of the Ua Carra were related to him by Bishop 

But the seclusion of Aranmore was not deep enough to satisfy 
the yearnings of St. Colman. He resolved to hide himself in 
some deeper solitude, that he might abandon himself more 
completely to the influence of that all-absorbing spirit of prayer 
and mortification with which he was then so deeply imbued. 
Yet who can doubt that on quitting the shores of Aranmore 
he experienced the same feelings of deep regret which the poet 
ascribes to St. Columba on his departure thence — 

*' O Aran, sun of all the West, 

My heart is thine ; as sweet to close 
Our dying eyes in thee, as rest 
Where reter and where Paul repose." 

1 O'Curry, MSS. Materials, /n«fc llifAmj^ p. 293. 

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SL Coloian becomes a hennit in the last decade of the sixth century 
* within the solitudes of Burren — Legends regarding his sojourn there 
— St Colman's oratory in Burren — His grotto and holy well — The 
district as seen from Kinaille. 

The closing years of the sixth century, which witnessed St. 
Colman*s departure from Aranmore, are memorable for a new 
development in the religious life of the nation. The monastic 
life had attained in Ireland a development probably un- 
paralleled. If not the golden age of Ireland's holiness, our 
early writers speak of the effulgence of its sanctity in compari- 
son with subsequent times, as the brightness of the moon 
compared with that of the stars. 

There were, before the close of the century, clear evidences 
that the hermit's life was preferred by many to the usual 
community life of the monk. It may be that our stem 
ascetics regarded the influx of native and foreign students to 
our monasteries, as obstacles to high and intimate union with 
God. It is certain that the desire to live in complete solitude 
became very general, and marks a new epoch in the religious 
life of Ireland. The hermits of the period are known as a 
distinct order of Irish Saints.* This " Third Order " of Irish 
Saints, as they are called, numbered one hundred, and were 
nearly all priests. " They dwelt in deserts, and lived on herbs, 
water, and alms ; they shunned possessing private property." * 
There were amongst them also some few bishops, amongst 
whom we find the name of St. Colman. Dr. Lanigan * assures 
us that this Bishop Colman of the Third Class was, " accord- 
ing to every appearance," St. Colman of Kilmacduagh. 

Indeed, there can be no doubt that St. Colman Mac Duagh 
sought in the depths of the Burren forests, for perfect solitude 
and seclusion to commune alone with his Creator, like another 
Anthony or Hilarion. The career of austere and exalted 
sanctity on which we now see him entering even recalls the 
desert life of the Baptist, who fed on the locusts and honey of 

^ Lanigan, vol. ii. chap. xiv. ^ Memoir of St, Patrickj p. 89. 

' Ecclesiastical History y vol. ii. p. 341. 

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the desert. A spirit of profound humility, a love of retire- 
ment and mortification, were virtues which he had hitherto 
cultivated with assiduity, and which constituted leading traits 
in his character. But the solitudes of Aranmore, and the 
sacrifices and austerities practised there by the holy disciples 
of St Enda, seemed insufficient to the generous soul of St. 
Colman Mac Duagh. He resolved to give himself to the 
practices of penance and contemplation with all the ardour of 
his soul in complete solitude and retirement. 

The Burren ranges form the mountain barriers which divide 
Aidhne on the south-west from the rugged defiles of Corcomroe. 
Extremely desolate at the present day, the Burren hills had 
their rugged sides then clothed with dense forests, well calcu- 
lated to afford that concealment for which he sought. The 
waving pines, the lordly oaks, the graceful ash which crowned 
the summits and rugged sides of Burren, have long since been 
cut away. Only a few of the hazel copses of its valleys 
remain. But there is no one familiar with its rugged solitudes 
and deep defiles, at the present day, that cannot realise how it 
was in St Colman's time well fitted to be a hermit's chosen 

Colgan informs us that St Colman retired to Burren accom- 
panied by a solitary attendant, while his old enemy and name- 
sake, Colman, father of Guaire, yet occupied the throne of 
Connaught And it is not improbable that a knowledge of the 
cruel persecutions to which his mother had been subjected by 
her royal kinsman, made him r^ard it as a matter of grave 
importance to conceal as much as possible the place of his 

Though we cannot fix the date, we can form an accurate 
approximate judgment as to the time of his retirement into 

Guaire did not succeed to the throne of Connaught till a.d. 
604. His brother Loigneun succeeded his father Colmau, and 
reigned for seven years. As it was in Colman*s reign that our 
Saint retired to his hermitage, the period of his retirement 
could not be later than the last decade of the sixth century. 
We are informed by Colgan that St. Colman wrote from his 
retirement to St Columba, then in lona, seeking spiritual 
direction ; and we know the death of St Columba occurred in 
A.D. 597.^ 

Our Saint constructed his little oratory at the base of the 
frowning cliff of " Ceanaille." Tradition points to a cave close 
to the oratory in which he sought shelter and repose. A 
^ Montalembert ; Lanigan. 

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crystal fountain supplied him with drink, the wild herbs of 
the forest were his only food, and the skins of the wild deer 
fonned his coarse and scanty raiment either in summer heats or 
wintry snows.^ 

Here shut out from all human converse, and dead to all 
earthly things, he led a life of the highest spirituality. His 
fasts, like his prayers and vigils, were interrupted only by the 
necessities of failing nature.^ So absorbing did his sense of 
Divine love become, that he was frequently wrapped in ecstasy, 
and enjoyed the most abundant spiritual consolations. He 
had, however, his moments of aridity, when God seemed to 
withdraw Himself from His servant It was in one of those 
moments of spiritual trial that he wrote to St. Columba. 
Colgan's brief reference to the Apostle of lona's reply, shows us 
that it was full of friendly sympathy and of respect for St. 
Colman's sanctity. He reminds St. Colman that the great 
losses complained of presupposed the existence of abundant 
spiritual treasures.* Such friendly banter can be easily under- 
stood, when we remember they were kinsmen. And as St. 
Columba himself had traversed those Burren solitudes,* and 
erected a church in one of its deepest valleys, — Glan 
Columkille, — it is possible that they may have been personally 

Of course there are legends full of the marvellous yet 
preserved in connection with his stay in his Burren hermitage. 
To the readers of the nineteenth century they will appear 
incredible. By some they may be even regarded as too puerile 
to find any place in serious history. Some of those are given 
by Colgan, however. And Keating repeats the legends on the 
authority of a manuscript of "«(?me credit^ though of small 
importance!^ It should be remembered that those eminent 
writers who reproduce those legends never professed to do 
more than carefully reproduce what they had found in ancient 
writings, without at all holding themselves responsible for their 

Keating writes : " Mac Duagh was retired into the wilderness 
for the benefit of his devotion. He had no living creature 
about him except a cock, a mouse, and a fly. The use of the 
. cock was to give him notice of the time of night by his crowing, 

^ " Olera sylvestria cibus . . . pellibus cervorum vestiebantur." — A. A, 8. 

* '* Labia a divinis laudibus non cessavit nisi quando mens ejus extra se 
rapta tota ferebatur in coelestia.'* — A, A, S,-p. 244. 

^ '^Jacturas et damna non esse nisi ubi substantias et possessiones 

* See A. A. S, , 

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that he might know when to apply himself to his prayers. 
The mouse, it seems, had his proper office, which was to prevent 
the Saint from sleeping above five hours within the space of 
twenty-four ; for, when the business of his devotion, which he 
exercised with great reverence and regularity upon his knees, 
had so fatigued his spirits that they required a longer refresh- 
ment, the mouse would come to his ears and scratch him with 
his feet till he was perfectly awake. The fly always attended 
on him when he was reading. It had the sense, it seems, to 
walk along the lines of the book ; and when the Saint had tired 
his eyes, and was willing to desist, the fly would stay upon the 
first letter of the next sentence, and by that means direct him 
where he was to begin." 

Amongst the writers of weight who even censure the repro- 
duction of such legends as the foregoing, I may mention Dr. 
Lanigan. Tet neither modem science nor modem modes of 
thought can regulate God's ways with His Saints, which shall 
be ever " wonderful." And considering the sanctity and sinless- 
ness of those who sacrifice all, even the society of men, that 
they may give themselves more unreservedly to God, it will 
seem less wonderful that the bmte creation are sometimes 
made for them the agents of God's bountiful protection. 

For seven long years our Saint lived on in his Burren 
hermitage, completely hidden and unknown.^ Yet how quickly 
the years had sped ! The songs of the forest birds, and the 
music of the mountain streams, and the whisperings of the 
breezes as they stirred the mstling leaves, had grown familiar 
and dear to him during those seven summers past, and the 
remembrance of them seemed like the recollection of some 
happy and tranquillising dream. How could he forget the long 
prayers, happily uninterrupted by the turmoil of the world, 
offered there beneath the vault of heaven — 

"A fitting shrine to hear the Maker^s praise, 
Such as no human architect has rais^, 
Where gems aud gold and precious marbles blaze." 

Yet the time was fast approaching when he should leave his 
beloved retreat, and stand before his kindred and the world, as 
a buming light and an ornament to the episcopacy. 

The accession of Guaire to the throne of Connaught in the 
opening years of the seventh century was destined to mark a 
new and a bright era in the religious life of the clans of Hy 
Fiachrach Aidhne; and the son of St. Colman's inveterate 
enemy was raised up by God to become at once his friend and 
powerful patron. 

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The Hospitable King had his principal residence at Kinvara ; 
and yet, though living at Einvara, he seems to have had no 
knowledge of the presence of his holy kinsman in Barren. The 
king at length discovered the hermitage, and became so deeply 
impressed with the holy solitary's sanctity, that he urged him to 
accept the episcopal charge of the territory of Aidhne. Such a 
discovery was perhaps inevitable. But our annalists speak of 
it as brought about by supernatural agency, to which some of 
our mediaeval writers have added some incredible marvels of the 
usual legendary character. The narrative is given at length by 
Colgan, who takes it from the Menology of Aengus. 

Our Saint had spent the Lent in the usual exercises of 
austerity. And on Easter morning, after reciting the divine 
office and offering the sacred mysteries, he inquired of his 
youthful attendant if he had procured anything special for their 
repast in that great and joyous feast His attendant replied 
that he had only procured a little wild fowl in addition to the 
herbs which were their usual fasting fare,^ and began to repine 
at the severity of a life which even on so joyous a festival 
brought them no legitimate relaxation. He contrasted their 
position with that of those who had the good fortune of form- 
ing Guaire's household. The Saint, seeing with concern that 
his attendant's patience was nigh exhausted, commended the 
matter to God, and uiged that the King of Heaven and Earth, 
whose servants they were, could easily supply a feast, and 
strengthen his attendant's failing confidence, if such were 
His Divine pleasure. And as to Guaire's royal banquet, to 
which reference was made, and of which his chieftains and 
retainers were then about to partake, it might, if it so 
pleased Providence, be transferred from the palace to the 

The banquet was being set on the royal tables at Durlus 
while the Saint was yet speaking. And there can be no doubt 
that it was a sumptuous one, and worthy of His Majesty's 
characteristic love of hospitality. The old writers recount 
with evident satisfaction the important additions to the feast 
which had been procured specially for the occasion by the 
king's huntsmen. Before sitting down to the feast, the king 
exclaimed, with unusual impressiveness, " Oh, would it pleased 
Heaven that this banquet were set before some true servants 
of God who require it ; as for us, we might easily be provided 
with another." He had no sooner spoken than the dishes were 
removed by invisible hands. All were struck with astonish- 

^ ^'llle autem nihil habens quod apponent praeter consueta olera et 
unam aviculam/' etc. 

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roent. The king, amazed at the marvel, summons his mounted 
guard, that they may follow, and discover, if possible, the 
destination of the dishes. All his retinue follow in hot haste, 
and are accompanied by a motley crowd of women and 
children from the district through which they pass.^ Mean- 
time, the dishes had reached the Burren hermitage, and were 
set down in the open space in which the Saint and his disciple 
were wont to partake of their scanty meals. On seeing them, 
the disciple exclaimed, ** father, behold the reward of thy 
patience ! Let us thankfully partake of the food sent us by 
our good God." Our Saint, however, would first know with 
certainty whence they had come, and is informed by an angel 
that the feast was sent in response to his prayers, and througVi 
the benevolence of the king.* Meantime, the unexpected 
arrival of His Majesty with his retinue and followers filled 
them with alarm. Their astonishment at discovering the 
oratory and cell was increased by seeing the banquet spread 
before the holy hermit and his attendant, who, with thankful 
hearts, and, it may be assumed, with good appetites, were about 
to partake of the good things thus bountifully provided for 
them by Heaven. But our Saint, with a full confidence in the 
protection of Heaven, commanded that his unexpected visitors 
should not approach till he and his disciple should have par- 
taken of the feast so providentially provided for them. And 
here another marvel occurs. Riders and pedestrians alike are 
unable to move.* The level limestone ledges bear to the present 
day the footprints, as it is piously thought, of that motley 
gathering ; Colgan, who gives the legend, must have thought 
so. No doubt this singular phenomenon of the footprints on 
the rocks must have been in the days of Colgan, and in the 
still more remote times of Aengus, much more striking than 
it is in our time. But the ascent or approach through the 
mountain gorge is in our time, as in Colgan's and centuries 
earlier, called " Bohir na Maes," ie. the Eoad of the Dishes. 
Thus did it please God to manifest in a most striking manner 
the singular sanctity of His servant to the king and the 
assembled multitude. The favour which he found with God 
was thus manifested to the world, despite his humble efforts to 
hide himself, as well from the admiration as from the hostility 
of men. At the king's entreaties, all were again set at liberty 
through the Saint's prayers; and they returned to publish 

^ "Foemioae pueri et tota patria turmatim regem et aulam Bequuntur." 
* " Cui angelica vox respond it vestra oratio et prsepia Guarii liberalitas." 
' " Res stupenda, haerent equites bserent pcedetes canes et equi aistuntur 
nee ante nee retrogressum movere potuerunt" 

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throughout Aidhne the sanctity of the holy solitary, and the 
extraordinary things which it pleased Heaven to do through the 
efficacy of his prayers. 

Then, as there are now, there were men probably who scoff 
at austerities. Seeking only the present, and such enjoyments 
as the world gives, they account the wisdom of the Saints as 
supreme folly. Disregarding the future, they know no re- 
straints except such as conventional propriety render necessary. 
The Saints, on the other hand, looking beyond the present to 
the bright future which faith reveals, sacrifice the transient for 
the everlasting. And were not they in truth truly wise and 
truly heroic whom we see in the Thebaid in the fourth century, 
and in Ireland in the seventh, leading lives of solitude and 
rigid penance ! They heard the Eedeemer's voice inviting them 
to follow Him in the path of perfection, and in a spirit of sub- 
lime self-abandonment they left all to follow Him. Surely 
that untiring patience, that indomitable perseverance, that 
willing and joyous spirit of endurance which they exhibited 
in their holy lives, should command the admiration even of 

When the foundation of humility is safely and deeply laid, 
then and then only can we attempt to raise the superstructure 
which reaches heaven. Oh, blessed virtue of humility ! chiefest 
ornament of God's servants ! source and secret of their great- 
ness ! It is thus that the humble are exalted, and the lowly 
magnified, and the weak made strong, and the timid and re- 
tiring are fitted by God for the achievement of great things. 

Nor are we to mistake the sufferings and penitential lives of 
the Saints for sources of mere present unhappiness. They 
suffer, it is true. But the weight of their burden ceases to 
oppress them, because they suffer for Christ, a good and tender 
Master. And so their tears lose their bitterness, and become 
sources of consolation and of interior peace surpassing all 
understanding ; and the peace which beams upon their souls, 
like a ray of light from God's own presence, brings with it 
repose and interior joy. 

Though it has been remarked that the Third Order of our 
Saints were holy, while those of the Second Order were holy 
in the second degree, and the First Order thrice holy. Dr. 
Lanigan well remarks that there were among the Third 
Order many Saints as holy as in either the Second or First. 
Star differs from star in beauty, yet all go to constitute that 
harmonious whole which we contemplate with wonder in our 
clear midnight skies. So our Saints, reflecting each in his own 
degree the sanctity of Him whom they served so faithfully. 

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have shed upon Ireland a light and a glory which the night of 

ages has failed to dim. 

St. Colman's oratory, secluded though it was, was only about 
five miles from the royal residence at Kinvara. Though now 
much ruined, enough remains to enable us to form an idea of 
its original extent It is about 16 ft. by 12, and the southern 
side wall and eastern gable are completely ruined. The 
northern side wall is nearly perfect, and has one small 
window, exceedingly rude and simple, close to the western 
gable. The western gable has neither door nor window. The 
dimensions of the oratory may be said to coincide fairly with 
the dimensions of those that were constructed in the seventh 
century. The average dimensions of such buildings are stated 
to be about 15 ft. in length by 10 in breadth, — interior 
measurement. Yet Petrie expressly states that there was 
amongst those ancient buildings a want of uniformity as to 
size.i But though the dimensions of the Burren 'oratory 
coincide with the average measurements of such buildings, 
yet it wants some of the most striking features peculiar to the 
oratories of the seventh century. There is no trace of the 
doorway with its inclining jambs which always stood in the 
western gable. Neither does the masonry seem to belong to 
the old Cyclopean style. It is pretty certain that the original 
oratory erected by our Saint at Burren was of wood, and that 

, the present ruined oratory was erected on its site. When we 
remember tliat our Saint entered the Burren forests accompanied 
only by a youthful attendant, it will be clear that the erection 
of a stone oratory would have been attended with very serious 
difficulties, which neither his actual requirements nor the 
custom of the period would require him to undertake. The 
oratories of the period were usually of wood, — though not, says 
refrie,^ always of that material, even where wood was abundant 
and stone scarce. 

The existing ruin belongs to different periods. The masonry 
of the gable affords immistakeable evidence of having been 
restored and elevated somewhat above its original height. The 
restoration may have been as recent as the early part of the 
thirteenth century. O'Brien, by whom the neighbouring 
monastery of Corcomroe was founded, about a.d. 1200, may 
have ordered and carried out the restoration of the oratory. 
Speaking of such oratories, Petrie writes : " It can scarcely be 
questioned that this class of buildings were originally erected 
for the private devotion of their founders exclusively. And if 
there were any doubts of this, they would be removed by the 
1 Petrie, 'Rowid, TiyicerSy p. 361. « Ilnd. p. 350. 


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fact that in the immediate vicinity of such oratories we usually 
find not only the cells, or the ruins of them, which served as 
habitations for the founders, but also the tombs in which they 
were interred." ^ 

Here, indeed, we have the cell. As has been already stated, 
it is a cave, still known as " St Colman's Grotto," or '* Leaba 
Mhic Duagh," situated on a steep elevation about 30 ft. above 
the oratory. It is about 15 ft long, by 4 or 5 at its greatest 
width. Even a tall man may with ease stand erect within it 

Close to the oratory, and on the northern side, is an oblong 
piece of solid masonry. It is about 1\ ft long by 6 wide. Its 
height is about 4 ft. Local traditions are entirely silent as 
regards its object Neither does Petrie's suggestion quoted 
above throw light upon it As St Colman was buried at 
Kilmacduagh, it cannot be the founder's tomb. 

It is, however, well known that those oratories were 
frequently used as places of penance. Hence they are not 
unusually called " houses of tears," or " duirtheachs." Nor is it 
easy to conceive places better fitted for penance in a religious 
age, and amongst a pious people. It is not, therefore, im- 
probable that the monument to which I refer may mark the 
grave of some zealous copyist of the austerities of St Colman 
Mac Duagh. 

A beautiful fountain, dedicated to St Colman, is also close 
to the oratory. This holy well is enclosed by a circular 
enclosure of solid masonry. Some ancient hawthorns cluster 
there, and in the early summer still fill the air with the 
fragrance of their blossoms. They must, however, be very old, 
as some of them are f£ist decaying. 

There are no inscriptions on the ruins. And as the names 
of the restorers of this most interesting monument are 
forgotten, so too are the names of those by whom it was 
desecrated and left in ruins. We know, however, that the 
Castle of Leimeneagh was garrisoned by Cromwell's followers 
for a time. Our knowledge of their fierce fanaticism would 
justify the suspicion that they are responsible for the sacri- 
legious outrage ; the plunderers of Corcomroe were not likely 
to have spared the oratory. It is to those men that a 
lugubrious epigram is attributed, which was as suggestive of 
the bent of their murderous dispositions, as it was descriptive 
of the then barren character of the district^ "Burren," they 
said, "had neither wood enough to hang a man, nor earth 
enough to bury a man, nor water enough to drown a man." 
But though ruined for centuries, the memory of our great Saint 
^ Petrie, Round Joit'crs, p. 357. * Lewis's Topographical Dictionary, 

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has invested this oratory with an interest in the minds of the 
people and the district, which time cannot destroy. Though 
wrecked and ruined, it remains a sacred shrine. Within the 
solitudes of those eternal hills it has preserved imperishably 
for over twelve centuries the fame of St. Colman's sanctity. 
It is a monument more imperishable than sculptured marble. 

The clifl* which shelters the ruined oratory of St. Cohuau is 
the loftiest in the Burren Mountains. Eising in crescent form 
against the north, it encloses within its sheltering embrace the 
ruins of the unpretending oratory in which the Saint so often 
prayed and ofi'ered the Holy Mass. Its situation, even at the 
present day, is one of singular loneliness. The very spirit of 
solitude seems to pervade the place, and to assert its sovereignty. 
On the crest of the cliff the Buixen eagles have their eyrie. 
Save the mountain goat, which safely leaps from crag to crag 
along the ivy-covered ledges of rock, few other living things 
are seen. The scanty but rich grass of the valleys, however, 
affords nutritious pasture to sheep and cattle. Though the 
foiest trees flourish there no longer, and the rugged limestone 
ledges, which rise like gigantic terraces one above the other, 
are everywhere visible, yet it is rarely that one sees a more 
striking view than that which is commanded by the plateau 
in which St Colman's oratory is situated. 

Towards the south and west the mountains rise in rugged 
boldness,— eastward, the plain of Aidhne extends until the 
mountains of Echtge limit tlie vision. The plains of Maenmoy 
and Hy Bruin extend along the horizon from north to east. 
The beautiful Bay of Galway, the Lough Lurgan of the ancients, 
lies nearer, and extends its many arms inland, until it washes 
the walls of the ancient palace in which Guaire dispensed his 
lavish hospitality. Under the bright sunlight the waters of 
the bay sparkle like a polished mirror. Islands, headlands, 
and wooded promontories form many a sheltered cove, where 
the fisherman's skiff rides leisurely on the tranquil tide. The 
woods of Mairee and Tyrone on the one side, and of Durus on 
the other, give to the whole tlie appearance of a great inland lake. 

The hamlets seem to sleep on the quiet plain below. The 
feudal castles, standing out prominently in the landscape, speak 
of days of warfare happily passed away. The surface of grey 
limestone which gives to this portion of the Galway seaboard 
a marked appearance of barrenness, is diversified by occasional 
cultivated fields and patches of pasture ; seen under the bright 
sunlight, the landscape there is often invested with a weird 
charm, enhanced by the shadow of the frowning mountains on 
one side, and on the other by the sparkling waters of the bay. 

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St. Colinan builds a monastery, and becomes BiBbop of Kilmacduagb — 
Was he aided by St Gobban the "Architect"? — Monastery founded 
A.D. 610— Exifiiting ruins described — The Cathedral — The Monastery 
— St. John's Church — Our Lady's— Bishop's House. 

The character of the holy Solitary of Barren, thus providentially 
made public, won for him at once the esteem of his clansmen. 
His austerities and his miracles were on the lips of all, and the 
public joy was increased by the knowledge that he was a 
representative of one of the noblest of the tribes of Hy 
Fiachrach. Meantime, the* king, his relative, was urgent in 
his request that St. Colman should found a monastery, and 
also assume episcopal charge of the territory of his kinsman. 
The office of abbot and bishop were frequently united. It did 
not always happen in those days that bishops exercised 
episcopal jurisdiction. They were more numerous in our 
early Irish Church than in modem times. As Montalembert 
puts it, " they were in many cases incorporated as a necessary 
but subordinate part of the ecclesiastical machinery with the 
great monastic bodies." ' But in most cases, as in the case of 
our Saint, the abbot who was invested with the dignity of 
bishop also exercised episcopal jurisdiction, and in such cases 
their jurisdiction was coextensive with the territory or tribe 
or clan to which they belonged. Thus it happened that the 
jurisdiction of St Colman Mac Duagh extended over the 
entire territory of Aidhne, the patrimony of the southern Hy 
Fiachrach, and that the ancient boundaries of the territory 
continued in after times to mark the boundaries of the diocese 
of Kilmacduanh. This conventual organisation was spread 
throughout tlie land. Indeed, it was the sole ecclesiastical 
organisation of the period. But it cannot be doubted that it 
suited perfectly the requirements of the time, and the religious 
spirit of the country. Its results are summarised by the gifted 
author of the Monks of the West?' He says : " In those vast 
monastic cities, that fidelity to the Church which Ireland has 
maintained with heroic constancy for fourteen centuries, in face 
1 Mmik^ of the JVed^ vol. iii. p. 281, -* Ibid. vol. iii. p. 86. 

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of all the excesses as well as of all the refinements of per- 
secution, took permanent root." There can be no doubt that 
those arrangements adopted in our early Church suited the 
temperament of the people and their institutions. It was not 
till the Synod of Kells, that dioceses, as known to us, were 
canonically constituted in Ireland. 

In earnest prayer St. Colman sought the Divine guid- 
ance, and it was soon revealed to him that the king's 
requests were in conformity with the will of Heaven. It 
was furthermore revealed to him, that the site of his 
monastery and cathedral would be miraculously pointed 
out to him.^ His girdle was to drop to the earth of itself, 
on the particular place on which the monastery was to be 
founded. When gazing from the elevated tablelands near 
his Burren hermitage, over the territory of Aidhne, he may 
perhaps have noted specially the solitudes towards the south- 
east, where the lakes and swamps spread out towards the 
undulating forest lands. At the north-western side of the 
diocese, the monastery of St. Colga, at Kilcolgan, was a centre 
of light and guidance for the surrounding districts. The 
example of St. Sourney, the teachings and example of St. 
Foila, were additional powerful incentives to sanctity in the 
same districts. The most remote districts of Aidhne, which 
were those on the south, appealed perhaps most strongly to the 
charity of Colman. And besides, those solitudes amongst 
which Colman was about to construct his monastery, while 
favourable to monastic quiet and holy contemplation, were 
dangerous to travellers. His monastery there would prove a 
refuge to many to whom the dangerous passes of those low- 
lying lands might otherwise prove fatal 

Certain it is that our Saint proceeded thither, and discovered, 
by the anticipated sign of the girdle falling, that it was the 
destined site of his monastery. " As he journeyed through the 
forest," says Colgan, " his cincture fell on a certain place, not 
far from his former cell, and there he built his monastery, 
which, from his name, is commonly called Kilmacduagh." 
This girdle continued to be long preserved with religious 
care by his kinsmen, the O'Shaughnessys. It was in their 
possession in the thirteenth century ; and even centuries later, 
in Colgan's time, they retained it still. It was studded with 
gems ; and it possessed the marvellous property of fitting all 
who were chaste, though it could not be used by the unchaste, 
no matter how emaciated. 

^ " Postea autem divinitus monitus de cella extruenda quo primum 
ejus zona ceu ciugulum in terram caderet." — Colgan. 

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St. Colman "was now face to face with a great work It was 
a holy work, the results of which were destined to endure. 
It was a work which would inscribe his name on the hearts of 
a grateful people, who would transmit it, with the memory of 
his virtues, from generation to generation. 

King Guaire, with characteristic generosity, not only granted 
the required site for the cathedral and monastery, but granted 
also large endowments for its future maintenance.^ This was 
not all. His Majesty sent several teams of oxen to procure 
the necessary materials. He sent numerous labourers and 
skilled artisans to carry out the work. Though chroniclers are 
silent on the fact, we have it on the authority of a very 
widely-received tradition, that through the influence of the 
king he was also able to secure the assistance of Gobban, the 
eminent architect. This tradition is noticed as of special 
importauce by Walsh.* It is also noticed at considerable 
length by the learned Petrie,* from whom I take the follow- 
ing extracts. " In popular tradition," he writes, " the erection 
of both (church and tower) is assigned to Gobban Saer." 
In another place, referring to the same tradition, he says : 
** Nor can I think the popular tradition of the country is of 
little value, which ascribes the erection of several of the exist- 
ing towers to the celebrated architect Gobban, or, as he is 
popularly called, * Gobban Saer,' who flourished early in the 
seventh century ; for it is remarkable that such a tradition 
never exists in connection with any towers but those in which 
the architecture is in perfect harmony with the churches of 
that period, as in the towers of Kilmacduagh, Killala, and 
Antrim ; and it is further remarkable that the age assigned 
to the first buildings of Kilmacduagh, about the year 620, is 
exactly that in which this celebrated Irish architect flourished." 
The learned wiiter points out that Gobban's reputation as a 
builder is preserved wherever the Irish language was then 
spoken in Ireland. And yet the traditions in the South and 
West by no means ascribe the erection of their oldest buildings 
to this celebrated man. Brash expressly states that Petrie 
is in error " when he states that the traditions of the South 
assert that he never visited or was employed on buildings 
south-west of Gal way or south-west of Tipperary." Dr. Petrie's 
regard for the trustworthiuess of those traditions must recom- 
mend them strongly to the intelligent. 

Nor is Gobban a mere myth, as some might be disposed to 
think. That he flourished, and obtained a pre-eminence for 

* " Amplissima munera ei obtulit et qusecunque vellet prsedia." — Colgan. 
* Ecd, Hist, Ireland, p. 576. ^ Bound Towers, p. 405. 

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skill in building in the seventh century, are incontestable facts. 
But Gobban is not only remarkable for his fame as an architect, 
but for the fax higher distinction of being ranked amongst our 
early Saints. 

He was an illiterate monk in the monastery of St. Madoc of 
Ferns. " A church was to be erected," writes the chronicler, 
" but no builder could be found to guide the religious brethren 
in the work. Wherefore, full of confidence in God, St. Aidan 
(Madoc) blessed the hands of an untutored man named Gobban. 
From that moment he became most skilled in all the intricacies 
of the art, and was able in a most perfect manner to complete 
the church of the monastery."^ His skill was subsequently 
shown in the erection of many other churches and monasteries, 
and he is known in the ancient historic tales and legendary 
poems of our island as Gobban Saer." ^ O'Curry,* speaking of 
Gobban, adds, " and it was his constant occupation to do the 
work of the Saints in every place in which they were, until at 
length he lost his sight." In the ancient life of St. Abban, 
published by Colgan, it is prophetically said of Gobban that 
his fame as a builder in wood as well as in stone would last in 
Ireland to the end of time,* a prophecy which hitherto at least 
has been amply verified. A manuscript of the eighth century, 
discovered at St. Paul's at Carinthia, also records his fame — not 
merely as a builder of ordinary religious houses, but also of 
towers — ^in the following lines : — 

" It was Qobban tbat erected them, 
A black bouse of penance and a tower. 
It was through belief m the God of heaven 
That the choicest towers were built" 

Such are the strong testimonies which reach us from different 
authentic sources attesting the singular pre-eminence of Gobban 
as an architect. We have seen that his fame as a living 
architect was widely known when St Colman was about to 
found his monastic buildings at Kilmacduagh. His coming 
to superintend the construction of his monastic establishment 
for St Colman, would be easily accounted for by the friendship 
which, as we saw, existed between King Guaire and St. Madoc, 
of whom Gobban was a discipla 

There can be no doubt that the date of the foundations at 
Kilmacduagh was A.D. 610. This date is thus definitely fixed, 
as regards the monastery and cathedral, by such writers as 

1 Vita St. Aidanl « Eccl Record, 1871, p. 367. 

* Manners and GtiMoms of Ancient Erin^ vol. ii. p. 44. 

* -4. il. ^. p. 619. See also Walsh, Eccl. Hid. p. 674. 

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Lanigan,* Colgan,^ Dr. Petrie,* Walsh,* and others ; and Brash, 
though quoting Lanigan, simply states that the date of the 
foundation was probably before the year 620. Mr. Brash 
might have done Lanigan the justice of adding that Colraan, 
in Lanigan's opinion, founded Kilmacduagh in the fourth or 
fifth year of Guaire's reign, and that, therefore, in his opinion 
the foundation maybe assigned to "about 610." There are 
also very strong reasons adduced in support of the opinion that 
the tower of Kilmacduagh was erected at the same time. 
This conclusion, indeed, seems to be deducible from the per- 
fect similarity of style between the oldest portions of the 
cathedral and tower. Petrie, writing on this subject, says : ^ 
" The perfect similarity of the masonry of the tower to that 
of the original portions of the great church, leaves no doubt of 
their being contemporaneous structures." And again he writes : ® 
" But whatever uncertainty there may be as to the existence of 
those buildings (towers) in St. Patrick's time, there can, I think, 
be little, if any, doubt that they were not uncommon in the 
sixth and seventh centuries. Of the fact we have a striking 
evidence in the architectural characters of many of the existing 
towers, in which a perfect agreement of style is found with 
the original churches, where such exist. As a remarkable 
instance of this, I may point to the church and tower of Kil- 
macduagh." Certainly, had the tower existed at Kilmacduagh 
prior to St. Colman's foundations there, it would have formed 
a very noteworthy feature in the site which he had chosen for 
his church and monastery; and we might naturally expect 
that some reference to it might be made by our early writers. 
Yet our writers are silent regarding it. We think that no 
more rational explanation of their silence regarding it can be 
offered than that it was not then constructed. When other 
features of the site are pointed out by our early writers, — that, 
namely, of its being not far distant from St. Colman's former 
cell, — ^it would be difficult to think that so prominent an 
additional feature of the place as a tower would have con- 
stituted, had it existed there, would not have been also noticed. 
In this connection we may notice the existing ruins there. 
The cathedral is the largest, and it is also in many senses the 
most interesting, of the many extant monuments at Kilmac- 
duagh. It stands nearest to the round tower. Its form is 
that of a Greek cross, and in this is unlike most of our ancient 
churches. But it owes this peculiar form to its transepts, 

1 Lanigan*8 Ecd, Hist, vol. ii. p. 342. » A. A,S. p. 219. 

» Nound Toioers, p. 176. * Walsh, IJccl. Hist, p. 312. 

« Round Towersj pp. 399, 400. « Ibid. 

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which did not belong to the original plan, and are not older 
than the fifteenth ceutury. Its original form, we can have no 
doubt, was an oblong. 

We are assured on high authority that a very remote 
antiquity may be claimed for the western exit of the present 
structure. By Petrie it is referred to' as a portion of St. 
Colman's original church. The masonry of the gable and por- 
tion of the side walls is cyclopean. The doorway in the gable, 
with its marked cyclopean characteristics, is well preserved, 
though built up in solid masonry. It is 6 feet 6 inches in 
height, 3 feet 2 inches at level of floor, and 2 feet 6 inches 
at the lintel, which is formed of one massive stone extending 
the entire width of wall. The width of this gable, which fixes 
the uniform width of the church as it stands, is 22 feet 
7 inches. The height of this ancient gable, which is con- 
siderable, has fixed the height of chancel and transept gables. 
An addition to the original height of the side walls is, however, 
distinctly traceable, and the corresponding change in the pitch 
of the roof is shown in the western gable. The rebuilding, 
enlargement, and restoration of the church at various periods 
have removed all traces of its original length. Its length, 
however, must have been considerable, as the ancient masonry 
is distinctly traceable in the northern side wall for a distance 
of perhaps 30 feet or more. 

Subsequent restorations and extensions gave the church 
its present length, which is 97 feet 10 inches. It is very 
probable that the earliest enlargement included a portion of 
the choir and the entire of the present chancel, which is 25 
feet 6 inches in length, and uniform with the church in 
breadth. It is lighted by a window filled with simple stone 
tracery of the late Early English period. The splay on tlie 
inside is wide and regular ; and its closely-jointed and well- 
chiselled stones present a surface unbroken and seemingly 
fresh after the lapse of centuries. A door leads from the 
chancel to a neat but comparatively modern sacristy on the 
south side. 

The chancel is separated from the choir by a semicircular 
arch, which is supported by plain and strong pilasters 3 
feet wide. The most striking feature of the chancel arch is 
the closely -jointed and well -cut surface which it presents. 
The completion of choir and chancel as it stands does not, 
probably, belong to a more remote period than the close of the 
thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth century. 

The south transept must have been the next important 
addition to the cathedral. It stands nearer the western gable 

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than to the chancel gable. It opens on the nave by a poiDted 
arch, which is moulded and well cut, but somewhat low. This 
wing has therefore much more the appearance of a side chapel 
than of an ordinary transept It probably was Our Lady's 
ChapeL The interior is lighted by a fiue window in the gable, 
with well-preserved flamboyant tracery; and a smaller but 
well - proportioned window in the eastern side wall, of the 
same style. The masonry consists of neat and carefully- 
set courses. Its erection cannot be referred to an earlier 
period than the fifteenth century. Its length is 25 feet and 
its width 22 feet 4 inches. 

A stone altar, well moulded, and showing twisted columns 
at the front angles, stands there in fair preservation, though it 
had been used recently as a tomb,^ and was thus considerably 
injured. A nicely-cut stone bracket still occupies the angle 
on the right of the altar. The well-moulded doorway of the 
cathedral, situated in the southern side wall and close to the 
western gable, was probably inserted at the same period, and 
the old western entrance closed with masonry, which remains 
to the present day. 

The position of the north transept corresponds with that of 
the southern transept. There is also an arch of about the 
same dimensions, but much more rudely constructed ; probably 
it was owing to the defective style of its construction that it 
was filled up with masonry, as it is now, leaving only a simple 
Gothic doorway to open on the church. This transept has 
therefore all the appearance of a chapel ; and is, in fact, often 
spoken of as the " O'Shaughnessy Chapel." It is so called by 
Pococke in his Irish Tour, 1752. It contains, indeed, many 
interesting memorials of that remarkable though unfortunate 
family. Opposite the entrance, and against the transept gable, 
stands by far the most interesting monument in the church. 
It is sometimes called an " altar ; " it probably is an altar-tomb, 
as it still .bears upon it, in light and very delicate relief, two 
shields, one at either side, with the coat of arms of the unfor- 
tunate O'Shaughnessys, baronets of Gort The triple-towered 
castle, e.g,, is still easily traceable in both ; the two lions, or 
supporters, are also still distinctly traceable. Little else, how- 
ever, is now traceable there; and though we know that the 
motto of the family was " Fortis et stabilis," * it is now illegible, 
if it ever had been inscribed upon them. 

On a plinth, which must have stood somewhat higher than 

^ An inscription on the table refers to an O'Shaughnessy family, and 
gives a date 1798. 

^ Customs of Hy Fiachrach, 

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the transept floor, rests a simple cut stone projection, which 
supports a table which measures 3 feet 2 inches in width, but 
projects only a few feet from the line of gable. On this table 
rest square bases about twelve inches high, on which rest 
pillars with moulded bases and Corinthian capitals. The 
pillars, including bases and capitals, measure 4 feet 1 inch, 
and support an entablature carefully moulded, and measuring 
1 foot 5 inches in depth. The back of the altar is done in 
carefully-chiselled stone, showing on either side, and close to 
the capitals of the pillars, the raised shields ; and in the centre, 
and between the shields, a large space is deeply and carefully 
incised into the masonry. It might have been used as a place 
in which relic-cases could have been safely exhibited. 

Instead of the usual tympanum which one might have 
expected would surmount a structure savouring so much of 
the Renaissance, it has a Crucifixion rudely sculptured in relief. 
The slab on which it is cut is placed imder a simple cornice, 
and between arabesque figures, set within square pinnacles, 
which rest on the extremities of the entablature. Over the 
projecting cornice of the Crucifixion, similar pinnacles, on a 
narrower space, form the crowning finials of the structure. 

Though this monument bears no inscription, there is a mural 
slab adjoining it on the Epistle side, bearing an inscription 
in small raised letters, now scarcely legible, which probably 
refers to it : — 

Fecerunt me Ughonus 

filius Hugonis 

Shaghnasi de Cluonyn 

et uxor ejus Norina Grifa temp 

ore Di Rogeri Shaghnasi militis 

sue nationis Capitane 

sub Carolo rege an o reg 16 8° Cris. 

Anno Domini 1645. 

This Roger O'Shaughnessy referred to was the Sir Roger, 
chief of the sept, who resided in Feddane Castle in 1647. 
O'Donovan gives the date of his death as 1650. Of Hugo 
O'Shaughnessy of Clonyn,* and his wife Norina Grifa, we know 
nothing further. But we think that the adjoining altar-tomb 
must be the monument which they claim the credit of having 
. There is a much larger slab, with an inscription of the same 

^ Clonyn became in more recent times the residence of the Blake 
Fosters, and is known now as Ash field. 

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period, inserted in the wall on the other side of the altar. 
Its original place in the church is, however, unknown. 
It was found detached from the building at the time of 
the recent restoration, and placed in its present position 
with a view to its preservation. The inscription is as 
follows : — 

Ad majorem Dei gloriam et 
M'Duagh . hujus celeberime 
Hoc monumentum condi fece^runt 
Rogerius O'Shaughnessy et Joanes 
Eeagh filii Cornel ii Kogeri Shac diebus 
quorum animabus propiet 
c s tempore Eeverendi admodum 
a m Vicari generalissimi 
domini, domn domini Kogeri equitis auriti 
sue natio 
Ecce quam bonum et qnam unum. 
PLS. 132. 

Owing to the illegible character of the letters, and the some- 
what rude latinity, an accurate rendering in English is not 
easy. The following may prove sufficiently accurate, though 
it only purports to be a free rendering : — 

Roger O'Shaughnessy and John (the Swarthy), sons of 
Cornelius, erected this monument, to the greater glory of God 
and Mac Duagh, the celebrated patron of this church, in tlie 
lifetime of Sir Roger Shaughnessy, baronet, and in the time 
of the Very Reverend a m Vicar-GeneraL May God 
be merciful to their souls. 

" Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell 
together in unity." — Ps. cxxxii. 

A fracture in the slab makes any efforts hopeless that may 
be made to discover the name of the Vicar-General referred to. 
The name of Cornelius O'Shaughnessy, whose sons are referred 
to, is not given by O'Donovan in his pedigree. The repetition 
of " dominus," as expressive of the rank of O'Shaughnessy, is 
not without precedent in the adulatory latinity of the seven- 
teenth century. 

Another slab, found during the recent restorations in the 
choir of the cathedral, is now placed in the side wall, and 
not far from those which we have been examining. Though 
somewhat injured, the following inscription on it is fairly 
legible : — 

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In honore Sanctissimi Colomapi 
alias Cathedralis EcclesiaB Duacensis 
Patroni Donaldus Shaughnessy Cornelius Shaughnessy Pres- 
et Vicarius peipetuus de Eossane [bytere 
pro ipsis et ipsorum et hered 
omnipotens Deus. Amen et hoc conditum 
Patris fratris Oliveri de Burgo ex ordine iis 
Apostoliei Duacensis, in vita illustrissimi 
Dermitii Shaughnessy de Gortinsigory 
Nis Capitany Anno Domini 1646 
Jucundum habitare fratres 
Memento Mori. 

A free rendering of the foregoing may run as follows : — In 
honour of the most holy Colman, patron of the Cathedral 
Church of Kilmacduagh, also of the father of Brother Oliver de 
Burgo, of the Order of Preachers, Vicar-Apostolic of Kilmac- 
duagL Donald Shaughnessy and Cornelius Shaughnessy, 
priest and rector of Eossane, had this monument built for 
them and their heirs. May the omnipotent God be merciful 
to thenL — Amen. In the lifetime of the most illustrious 
Dermot O'Shaughnessy of Gortinsiguaire, captain, a.d. 1646. 
How pleasant it is for brethren, etc. Eemember death. 

This simple record of the piety of Donald O'Shaughnessy, 
and of Cornelius, the parish priest of the district known in 
our time as Kilbecanty, is all that we know of their public or 
private lives. The Dermot here referred to was Sir Dermot 
O'Shaughnessy, heir of Sir Eoger, — to whom reference has been 
already made, — and his son by his first wife, a Lynch of 
Galway. As he was the heir-apparent to his father's estates 
and titles, he must have been then, in 1646, his recognised 

Oliver de Burgo was, as we shall see at greater length here- 
after, a distinguished Dominican father, and first rector of the 
])ominican Convent at Louvain, from which important office he 
was promoted, in the year 1624, to be Vicar-Apostolic of the 
diocese of Kilmacduagh. This distinguished man was the 
immediate predecessor of Dr. Hugh de Burgo, under whom the 
latest attempts towards the restoration and repairs of the 
church had been made, alas ! ineffectually. He was also his 
brother. This Sir Dermot O'Shaughnessy was married to Lord 
Barrynore's daughter, and died in 1673. By his will, dated 
19th January 1671, he ordered that his "bodie be buryed in 
the Cathedral Church of Kill M'Duagh, in the tomb where my 
ancestors were buryed," and his son and heir " shall cause fy ve 

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hundred and fower skore Mjtsses to be said or celebrated for 
his soule " immediately after his death. By a distinct provision, 
he bound his second son Charles to have two hundred Masses 
celebrated for his soul. To James Devenishe he bequeathed 
his gold diamond ring for " saying one hundred rosaryes for his 
soule," which are striking evidences of his strong Catholic faith. 

The gable of this transept shows on the exterior a small 
Tudor window, now closed in masonry; but the interior is 
lighted by a window in each of the side walls of exactly the 
same character. That on the eastern side wall, though low, 
had a cut stone mullion, now missing. 

Immediately under this window are placed two sculptured 
slabs. On one of these a bishop, with ancient mitre and crozier, 
is quaintly carved. The following Latin inscription, in slightly 
raised letters, runs around it : " Sanctus Colomanus Patronus 
totius Diocesis Duacensis ; " ie. St. Colman, patron of the 
entire diocese of Kilmacduagh. On the other side, and beside 
it, is the other slab. It represents the Crucifixion, with the 
figures of the Blessed Virgin and St John in the same simple 
and primitive fashion. This also has an inscription in raised 
letters, which can be deciphered with some little diflBculty : 

" Dominus Noster. Sancta Maria. I.KRI. 

Miserere nostri Domine miserere nostri. Fiat 

misericordia tua domine super nos." 

I.e. " Onr Lord. Holy Mary. I.KR.I. Have mercy on us, 
Lord, have mercy on us. Let Thy mercy, Lord, be upon 
us." ^ It is certain that those rudely-sculptured slabs are very 
ancient. They most probably belonged to the old cathedral, 
but were removed on the occasion of some restoration or 
improvement, and reverently inserted in the positions they 
now occupy, merely for the purpose of preserving them. 

If Cotton* may be regarded as a safe authority. Bishop Pococke 
found those slabs, a hundred years before Cotton wrote, form- 
ing portion of an altar " in good taste " on the south side of the 
cathedral, opposite to where they -are now placed. "On the 
south side of the cathedral is an ancient altar in good taste. 
Under a relief of a bishop is this inscription : * Sanctus Colman, 
patronus totius Diocesis l)uacensis/ In the middle is a crucifix, 
and a person on each side, with * Ave Maria ' and some devotions 
around it." These quotations may be regarded as showing 
satisfactorily that those two slabs occupy now a different 
position from that which they formerly occupied in the 

» Ps. xxxiii. 22. * Fasti, 

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" In that chapel," writes Pococke, " there i«ras a tomb with 
this inscription : * Orate pro anima Edmondi O'Cahel Praepositi 
et Canonici Duacensis, 1742/ Unfortuoately there is now 
no vestige either of the tomb or of the inscription." 

St. Cohnan's monastery stands apart from his cathedral, and 
from the other ecclesiastical buildings which are grouped around 
it He built it on a low-lying neck of land about 50 perches 
north-west of the cathedraL 

Archdall, referring to this site, says it is situated between two 
loughs, " which, according to some authors, evacuate themselves 
in the summer into whirlpools." It is a matter of uncertainty 
as to whether the whirlpools ever existed. It is certain that 
they are now entirely unknown in the district. 

Under the influence of modem systems of drainage, the lakes 
have in a measure been dried up. Yet enough of both remain 
to show the substantial accuracy of our ancient chroniclers. 
A slightly-elevated causeway which passed by the monastery 
may still be traced between the lakes. It was probably the 
great highway which led from the seaside districts of South 
Connaught to the southern province. Probably one of the 
preat aims of the abbey was to attend to the wants of the 
travellers who passed there. 

From the existing ruins we may infer that the original 
monastery was one of considerable importance. It was, however, 
most probably entirely wrecked in the beginning of the thirteenth 
century by William Fitz Adelm De Burgo. To revenge his 
defeat at Kilraacduagh, he is said to have ruthlessly destroyed 
the principal monasteries of the province. Hence it cannot be 
supposed that he spared that which actually witnessed his 
defeat before Cathal the Red-handed O'Connor. But St 
Colman's Abbey was not suffered to remain long in a state of 
ruin. It was restored for Canons Eegular of St Augustine, in 
about the middle of the thirteenth century, by Bishop Ileyan, 
who died A.D. 1283. The broad features of the existing ruins 
of the abbey are those of the transition period, and in some 
cases the very best features of the transition period. There are, 
however, some evident remains of the older monastery, some of 
which are especially striking in the lower portion of the chancel 
of the church. 

The Abbey Churcli, which forms tlie northern side of a 
quadrangle, is very interesting and well preserved. A some- 
what modern pointed doorway leads to the choir from the 
quadrangle. There are now no traces of the cloister. This 
was evidently the entrance intended for the religious. On the 
northern side, and close to the western gable, there is another 

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well-cut doorway, which was probably the entrance for the 

In the chancel, the chancel arch is the only missing feature. 
All else is perfect. Its columns with their bases and capitals are 
perfectly preserved. The bases are well moulded. Each pier 
consists of a cluster of engaged shafts which support rich and 
curiously-wrought capitals. They are enriched with designs in 
which are embossed some of the most chaste Romanesque orna- 
ments, with designs of the transition period. The pillars and 
capitals are of a light-coloured limestone peculiar to the locality. 
The delicate character of its cutting gives the stone much of 
the freshness and polish of modern work. 

The chancel measures 18 feet 9 inches in length, by 19 feet 
9 inches in width, and is lighted on the southern side wall 
by a lancet 8 feet high by about 6 inches wide, widely splayed 
on the interior, but without mouldings ; and by a double lancet 
of wide splay and rich moulding in the gable. The class of 
stone used on this altar window is the same as that of the 
chancel columns ; while the graceful character of design and 
the delicate style of execution is similar in both. Each curve 
and line and moulding is as true and fresh as if it were the 
work of fifty years ago. The chancel window, though recessed 
and moulded on the exterior, is widely splayed on the interior, 
and reduces, by a regular and uniform expansion, the central 
I)ier to a delicately - moulded shaft, which forms the central 
support of the arched mouldings of the double lancet. On 
either side of the window there are shafts similarly moulded, 
and finished with bases and capitals. Even the interior of the 
sill shows the same splay of the sides and arch, and also corre- 
sponding moulding members. Those delicately-wrought lancets 
are 8 feet high to top of arch, and only 6 inches wide. 

On the exterior of the chancel the carving of the angle 
quoins into shafts with bases and capitals forms a noteworthy 
feature. Mr. Brash refers to them, and informs us that 
similarly finished quoin shafts may be found at Tomgraney, 
Monaincha, Clonfert, and Temple na Hue. There is even, in 
the vicinity of Kilmacduagh, another monument with the 
exterior angles of the chancel similarly finished. It is the 
beautiful Abbey of Corcomroe, which is not referred to by Mr. 

Archdall, in his references to this abbey, notices that on the 
north side, "and about 2 feet from the Abbey Church, there is 
an old wall ; an ancient tradition still exists at Kilmacduagh, 
of its being once a place of penance." We think it unlikely 
that such a tradition existed in Archdall's time. We are quite 

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certain that no such tradition existed there in our time. To 
any ordinary observer it will be clear that the "old wall" 
referred to, is but the original side wall of the nave, as it 
existed before its restoration, when the width of the nave was 
lessened to what it is now. 

The eastern wing of the convent quadrangle, which is well 
preserved, meets the church towards the choir and chancel, 
and is 56 feet in length, and has a uniform width of 23 
feet. A single narrow lancet on the east side wall lights the 
sacristy, which opens on the choir by a pointed doorway. A 
somewhat low doorway leads from the sacristy to a vaulted 
chamber, which is dimly lighted from the east by a small 
lancet window. It was probably the treasury of the monastery. 

Adjoining the treasury is a much larger vaulted apartment, 
lighted on the e€tst side also by two lancet windows, widely 
apart. Its only doorway, which is pointed and plainly cut, 
opens on the quadrangle or cloister. It probably was the 
refectory of the community.^ The doorway has been lately 
built up in solid masonry, and the chamber has been appro- 
priated as the mausoleum of the late proprietor. How such 
appropriation may be consistent with enlightened taste, we 
will leave others to inquire. 

The side walls rise to a good height over those vaulted 
chambers ; and yet there are no windows to light this upper 
storey, except two lancet windows which look in on the quad- 
rangle. It is now difficult to conjecture what those apartments 
were used for. They were, probably, the dormitories of the 
commimity. There are no remains on the southern side of the 
quadrangle. On the western side, however, the masonry of the 
foundations remains, with a considerable portion of a building 
which might have served as kitchen. On the northern side 
of the church the pier of the shattered gateway remains. 
Portions of the general enclosure may also be traced there 

To some, this notice of the Abbey and Cathedral of Kilmac- 
duagh may appear rather lengthy; but it should not be forgotten 
that those monuments have direct reference to the personal 
history of St. Colman Mac DuagL Nor can we omit at least 
a passing notice of other very ancient and interesting ecclesi- 
astical monuments, which cluster around his abbey and 

The Church of St. John Baptist — ^Teampuill Owen — ^is close 
to the cathedral on the north-east. It consisted of a nave and 
chancel ; but the chancel has nearly entirely disappeared, with 
^ This is Archdall'8 opinion. 

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the west gable and north side walL The southern side wall, 
however, remains ; and indicates the length of the nave and the 
character of the masonry. It is 74 feet long by 22 feet wide, 
and was lighted by two small lancet windows on the south side. 
Those windows are of the most primitive character. The 
masonry is cyclopean, and seemingly as old as the oldest 
portion of the cathedral. 

Our Lady's Church — ^Teampuill Muire — is situated at about 
an equal distance east of the cathedral It is separated from 
the cemetery by the public road. The men who were respon- 
sible for the vandalism of running the public road through the 
cemetery, were the members of the Grand Jury of nearly a 
century ago, whose names are fortunately forgotten. 

The church is a plain oblong building, without a chancel, 
measuring 41 feet 7 inches in length by 19 feet in breadth. 
The east gable has a narrow lancet window, widely splayed on 
the interior. There is also a similar lancet in the southern 
side wall. The door, which is plain, with a semicircular arch, 
is placed on the south side towards the west gable. It con- 
tains no monuments, or other features of special interest 

At a distance of some yards north of St John's Church, is a 
large quadrangular building two storeys high, with some pro- 
jections such as are frequently seen in castellated buildings. 
The upper storey was well lighted, and still retains some well 
cut double lancet windows. The masonry of the lower storey is 
much more massive, and seems to have been altogether without 
windows. Nearly all the doorways have been wrecked. 
Though much of its internal arrangement has been destroyed, 
enough remains to show that it was used as a residence. Many 
think it was the episcopal residence and seminary in the four- 
teenth and fifteenth centuries, an opinion which is regarded as 
very probable. The name "Seanclogh," by which it is now 
known amongst the peasantry, throws no light, however, on its 
original purpose. It has, towards the eastern angle, a curious 
projection, from which Pococke thinks Benediction used to 
be given on the 27th of October. When O'Donovan and 
his distinguished associates were engaged on the Ordnance 
Survey of Ireland, there were two other oratories at Kilmac- 
duagh, which can only with difficulty be traced out at present 
Amongst O'Donovan's letters, now fortunately preserved in the 
library of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, there is a map 
showing their position at Eilmacduagh. On this map we have 
Teampuill beg Mac Duagh, or St Colman's little Church, and 
also St Colman's tomb. The little church stood about 100 
yards south-west of the present cathedraL Some moss-covered 

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mounds alone remain at present to mark its site, and even 
those are not within the cemetery's enclosure, which seems to 
have been built much in the interests of the surrounding sheep* 

St. Colman's tomb was but a short distance west of the 
cathedral It is referred to by Cotton ^ as a " small cell, where 
they say the patron Saint was buried," and that the ''body 
was afterward carried to Aughrim." Cotton gives no authority 
in support of the alleged tradition regarding the translation of 
the Saint's relics. He takes it without acknowledgment from 
Bishop Pococke's narrative. We have not seen it referred to 
by any other writer. Tradition clearly points to the site of the 
Saint's tomb, as that in which the Most Bev. Dr. French, Bishop 
of the diocese, was interred, a.d. 1852. It probably is the site 
of the "small cell" 

» Foidi^ p. 199. 

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The Kilmacduagli round tower recently excavated and restored— Dis- 
corerj of human skeletons beneath the foundations — Comparison 
with similar discoveries — Miss Stokes's views and conclusions — Pro- 
bably built under King << Brian of the Tributes." 

The round tower is far too interesting a monument to be 
omitted in a notice of the extant group of ancient ruins at 
Kilmacduagh. And though there will be many to question its 
claim to being regarded as one of the buildings erected there 
by St. Colman or his successors, there shall be none to question 
its antiquity. As to the opinions of those who claim it as the 
work of Christian hands, they are opinions which must possess 
a deep interest, even in the eyes of those by whom they are 
rejected as inconclusive. 

As it stands at present, it is one of the most perfect in 
Ireland. This state of completeness is, however, the result of 
its much-needed restoration in 1878 and 1879. 

Its height is given by Ledwitch, as 110 feet. Measurements 
recently made have verified this estimate, for such is its ascer- 
tained height as it now stands. Its circumference is about 56 
feet It leans visibly from the perpendicular. That interesting 
feature has been referred to by most writers ; and, owing to the 
reckless exaggeration of Archdall, it has been referred to by 
many vniters as leaning 17^ feet from the perpendicular, or 
more by 4^ feet than the celebrated inclining Tower of Pisa. 
As a fact, the tower leans about 2 feet from the perpendicular. 

The doorway is placed at a height of 26 feet from the ground, 
and measures 6 feet 10 inches in height It is arched, but the 
arched head seems cut out of a single stone. The jambs in- 
cline slightly towards the top. It looks east-north-east, and 
towards the cathedral, which stands about 40 yards from the 
tower. Above the doorway there are five well-marked offsets 
in the internal masonry for the support of the various floorings, 
and each is lighted by a window, which is square-headed in- 
ternally, but externally shows a lancet consisting of two stones 
resting one against the other at the apex. There are six such 

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windows in the uppermost compartment, which are in con- 
struction and style similar to the windgws in the other storeys. 

The cone is now perfect. But, prior to the restoration in 1879, 
only a small portion of the cone remained. The rest had fallen, 
and with it a breach of about 40 or 60 feet on the south side 
of the tower. The condition of the tower, therefore, before 
the restoration of our ancient monuments was undertaken, 
was one of considerable actual decay, and of prospective 
destruction. The reconstruction of the ruined portion has 
been efficiently carried out, and the cone reconstructed to its 
original pitch. 

It was found that the interior was filled up to the level of 
the doorway. It seemed, therefore, desirable to test in this 
instance, the accuracy of a statement advanced by Petrie, to the 
effect that the basement storeys of the towers were built up in 
masonry to the level of the entrance. On examination, it was 
found that the statement was groundless. The filling was 
but the accumulated d£bri$ of ages. 

The result of the excavation, which proved deeply interesting, 
was published by A. Scott, Esq., the enlightened superintendent, 
in the Builder of 3rd January 1879. The various strata through 
which the workmen passed during the excavation are thus 
classified in the article referred to : — 

" 1. The first 2 feet was composed of partly decayed twigs, 
and a few of the fallen cap stones. 

" 2. The next 4 feet were filled with stones of cap and lime 
rubbish, exclusively. 

" 3. The next 3 feet, with decomposed twigs, same as top layer, 
mixed with small human and other bones. 

" 4 The next 3 feet, with brown earth mixed with ashes of a 
reddish hue, small pebbles, small human and other bones, princi^ 
pally ribs of the human frame. 

" 5. The next 9 feet 10 inches, with brown earth, principally 
ashes of a reddish hue mixed with a large amount of small 
human bones, and bones of the lower animals, oyster-sheDs, 
sods of turf, a little charcoal, and a few pieces of brass. All 
the bones were small, and such as could be carried by birds, 
and were found chiefly close to the wall all around. 

" 6. The underneath 6 feet 2 inches was packed with small- 
sized stones and with very little rubbish. The packing in this 
case was by no means accidental, but was done by the builders 
to form a flooring on which to stand and scafibld, for the stones 
used in packing were clean, weather-worn, and identical with 
those used in building the inside face of wall from this point to 
the level of the door. 

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** The diameter of the interior, from within 6 feet 2 inches of 
the foundation, is from 5 feet to 5 feet 2 inches, and is faced with 
large unhammered stones in the radest form Just as if it were 
built against a bank. The above figures make 28 feet from door* 
sill to bottom of foundation course both inside and outside." 

Even a careless reader will not fail to be struck by the 
recurrence of ashes and human bones, at such a depth as the 
strata classified as 4 and 5. It clearly indicates the action of 
fire in the tower, perhaps at different periods, disastrous to 
the interior and to its inmates. 

As to the depth from the door-sill to the bottom of the founda* 
lion, it is clear that the bottom of the foundation is only 2 feet 
under the present surface level. As we shall see presently, this 
massive structure rests simply on the virgin earth ; and hence 
we can easily account for the inclination of the tower from 
the perpendicular by a depression of the foundation, quite 
natural under the circumstances. 

It was fortunately deemed desirable to continue the excava- 
tions below the level of the foundation. The clay contained 
no building rubbish, but was composed of rich vegetable earth 
containing a large amount of human bones. After excavating a 
depth of about 2 feet, human skeletons were found, not, as 
might be expected, in the centre of the narrow area, but on 
either side, and partially under the massive foundation. Two 
skulls were found, seemingly in the same grave, though some 
feet apart. In connection with; one, the spinal column was 
nearly perfect, also some portions of the ribs and arms were 
preserved. This skeleton lay with the face looking due east. 
In connection with the other skull, no other bones were found, 
but this might be owing to the fact that the search should be 
made under the foundation, a course which might be dangerous. 
On the opposite side, and at the same level, a third skeleton 
was found, with the face looking north-east. A portion had been 
necessarily disturbed during the excavation, but the remainder 
was left as it had been found. The head was far under the 

In order that those interesting facts might be verified, and 
the excavations continued if considered desirable, the remains 
were disturbed as little as possible. " So that," as Mr. Scott 
observes in his letter already quoted, " any persons wishing to 
examine the place can do so, and satisfy themselves as to the 
truth and accuracy of the above statements." The writer of 
these pages was the first who did satisfy himself of their 
accuracy, in December 1879. 

A similar excavation made in the tower of Kilkenny in 

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1847, led to a similar discovery. Here, too, the bodies were 
found lying east and west. This discovery is referred to by 
Miss Stokes ^ as " one of the most important that has been 
achieved since Dr. Petrie published his investigations." The 
bodies lay partly under the foundations. She considers that 
the particular position of the remains rendered the conclu- 
sion a probable one, " that these were the forms of Christians." 
Burial with the face towards the east is a very general Christian 
practice. She quotes from a very ancient source * to show that 
this practice was introduced into Ireland by Cormac Mac Art, 
" the third person who believed in Erin before the arrival of 
St. Patrick." 

There were, however, similar excavations made earlier, and 
with like results. Dr. Kelly, in his admirable Essay on the 
Eound Towers,' refers in a particular manner to the excavations 
made in Drumbo by Mr. Getty of Belfast, on which occasion a 
human skeleton nearly complete had been exhumed.* 

He tells us that a similar discovery was made by Mr. Wen- 
dale at Ardmore. As regards these discoveries. Dr. Kelly em- 
phasises the significance of the fact that neither urns, nor 
ornaments, nor weapons of war, nor any other " marks of Irish 
pagan sepulture," have been found in connection with those 
remains. The explanation which he suggests is that the build- 
ings were raised over Christian graves by Christian architects. 

The foregoing facts justify the conclusion that the tower of 
Kilmacduagh was built on soil long used as a cemetery. 

The opinions held by the authorities referred to, regarding 
similar discoveries, taken especially in connection with the 
ascertained position of the skeletons at Kilmacduagh, makes it 
very probable that the cemetery was Christian. Those who 
may accept this reasoning would have no diflBculty in admit- 
ting also that the tower was built by Christian hands, and for 
Christian purposes. 

Such a conclusion does not harmonise with the opinions of 
Petrie, set forward in the preceding pages. It would refer the 
erection of the tower to a period long subsequent to the time 
of St. Colman, to which he ascribes it. It would also follow 
that even the oldest portion of the present cathedral, is by 
no means as old as the seventh century. The striking simi- 
larity between the architecture of the church and tower oblige 

1 Early Christian ArckiUdurey p. 58. 

^ Leahhar na Huidre, * Dublin RevieiCy 1845. 

* CRorke's Tower at Clonmacnoise was excavated in 1851 hj Colonel 
Jones. Two skeletons were found " in the centre and slightly under thd 
foundation coiir9e."-^Brasli, p. 65* 

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tis to refer both to the same period. But we are reminded by 
Miss Stokes,^ that increased experience and a more extensive 
knowledge of the science of archaeology taught Petrie himself 
" that he had antedated many of our buildings." This is also 
the opinion of Mr. Brash. If this be so, there can be little 
difficulty in admitting that the cathedral and tower of Kil- 
macduagh, are amongst the buildings so antedated. In finish 
and size the church is far in advance of those usually ascribed 
to the seventh century. Though the mcwonry of tower and 
church is cyclopean, it is of a very perfect kind, in which 
cement is used, in which the joints are very close, and in 
which the faces of the stones are carefully cut to the line of 
the church and round of the tower. Miss Stokes considers 
work of this class, referable to the time of Cormac 0*Killeen, 
Abbot of Tomgraney, who flourished in the tenth century. 
His death is chronicled as having occurred a.d. 964. Our 
annalists tell us that this learned and holy man erected a 
church at Tomgraney, of which the western gable, and portions 
of the side walls, still remain. Its masonry, as described by 
Brash,* is massive, " and of rather a polygonal character, but 
closely fitted," in which respect the features of the masonry 
correspond exactly, with those of the cathedral and tower at 
Kilmacduagh. In the churches of Kilmacduagh and Tom- 
graney the western doorways are also very similar. 

We know that the period of peace which followed the death 
of Turgesius, was utilised for the reconstruction of the many 
churches that were either wrecked or destroyed during the 
troubled period of the Danish wars. And it is at that period 
that we find our annalists notice for the first time the existence 
of our towers ; — the need of some such structures must have 
been then long and widely felt. Even during the entire pre- 
ceding century, we are assured that the Northmen, who poured 
themselves in myriads on our shores, aimed at the destruction 
of our faith, as well as at the independence of our country. 
The ruined monasteries and plundered churches of the pro- 
vinces proved this beyond the possibility of doubt. The 
desecration of the celebrated shrines of Armagh and Clonmac- 
noise by pagan rites, showed also that those barbarians aimed at 
establishing paganism on the ruins of Christianity. 

The continuous struggle of a few generations, on the part of 
the Irish people, with those hostile hordes, must have taught 
them to feel the urgent need of plswjes of security for the 
protection of ecclesiastics and of church treasures. We think 

^ EarV^ C^rUtian Architecture, 

' Brsuihy EccU«ia9tical Architecture^ Ireland^ p. 23. 

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with Miss Stokes, that it was " war and rapine " that called 
forth " the lofty stronghold bearing its cross on high," close to 
the church and within the precincts of the cemetery. And 
such causes, would have urged the Irish to avail themselves of 
them for the purposes just set forth, had they even remained 
as monuments of pre-Christian period. Though we read of 
the constant plunder and destruction of churches in the ninth 
century, there is no record of the burning of towers during 
that period, — in fact, no rererence made to them, though we iind 
such references and records constantly recurring during the 
tenth and eleventh centuries. This was the period when the 
bell-tower of Tomgraney was built by its celebrated abbot. 
The Chronieon Scotorum, when recording his death, has the 
following entry : " a.d. 964, Cormac Ua Cillin of the Ui Fiach- 
rach Aidhne, Comarb of Ciaran and Coman, and Comarb of 
Tuaim Greine, by whom the great church of Tuaim Greine 
and its belfry were constructed, quievit in Christo." In 942 
the belfry of Slane was burned by " the foreigners," and we are 
informed that it was on the occasion filled with ecclesiastics 
and church treasures. It is needless to enumerate similar 
entries. We have, however, much older entries, which have a 
more direct bearing on our subject. The records of the monas- 
teries that were burned, and of the men that were " slain by 
the foreigners," are constantly recurring even a hundred years 
earlier. The Four Masters tell us that all Connaught was 
" desolated by them in 830." In 836, Inis Cealtra was burned 
by the foreigners. In 843, Turgesius with his fleet was on 
Ix)ughrea, and plundered Connaught. In 866 the foreigners 
landed at Kinvara. Miss Stokes, in her admirable map of the 
invasion of the Northmen, shows that their course on this 
occasion was by Kilmacduagh to Clare. It may therefore be 
regarded as certain that Kilmacduagh was then at least ruined. 
The accession of Brian of the Tributes brought much-needed 
peace, and his piety and inBuence was used to ^ive a stimulus 
to the restoration and rebuilding of churches. His biographer ^ 
informs us " that he gave out seven monasteries, both furniture 
and cattle and land, and thirty-two bell-towers." It was under 
his immediate patronage, that the restoration of Eillaloe and 
Inis Cealtra was carried out 

The king must have taken a deep interest also in the terri- 
tory of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne. His first wife was Mor, daughter 
of O'Heyne, Lord of Aidhne ; consequently the maintenance of 
the monasteries and churches of the territory must have been 
objects of special interest to him. The cathedral of Kilmac- 

^ Mac Liag. 

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duagh would therefore be rebuilt In its extant west gable 
we find the same features as that of Gormac O'KlUeen's church 
at Tomgraney, erected a.d. 964 ; and as the tower, in the 
estimation of most, is of the same style of masonry, it is most 
probably one of the thirty-five said to be erected by King 
Brian. And this is in truth the period to which its erection 
is referred by Miss Stokes, in her Early Christian Architecture. 
We may assume that the venerable Abbot of Tomgraney, who 
had completed his bell-tower there, retained an ardent interest 
in his native territory of Aidhne, and would have used his 
influence with the powerful Munster prince to have the cathe- 
dral of his native diocese rebuilt, and adequately protected, by 
the erection of a tower or fortress. 

There is no question raised as to the suitability of this and 
similar structures, as places of safety lor ecclesiastics and their 
treasures. The massive character of the tower at Kilmac- 
duagh, the great height of 26 feet, at which the door is placed, 
would seem to render it almost impregnable, at a time when 
the use of artillery was unknown. And though each storey 
to the top is lighted, the single window in each is placed so 
near the offsets on which the floors rested, as to show that they 
were as useful for casting out missiles on assailants as for the 
admission of light. It is very noteworthy, that the need of 
such fortresses continued to be felt even in the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries in Ireland. We have in the diocese of 
Kilmacduagh two such, built in the style of a modem square 
keep, and in connection with churches. One may be seen at 
Dunis, in the parish of Kinvara, the other at the monastery of 
Killenavara, in the present parish of Ballindereen. 

But though the primary purpose of the erection of such 
towers was for " strength of defence and faithfulness of watch," 
the names by which they are usually designated, give no 
indication of that primary object They indicate rather a 
secondary purpose, for which they were certainly used after 
the Danish invasion. The tower of Kilmacduagh, like 
O'Eorke's tower at Clonmacnoise,^ has been always called 
" Clogas." They are still more frequently called " Clogad " and 
" Clogteach." It is well known that the usual Irish designa- 
tion for bell, is "clog." Therefore, setting aside philological 
inquiries, with which educated readers are more or less fami- 
liar, and of which they may, perhaps, be weary, we take the 
term bell house or tower ^ as a sufficiently correct renderiug of 
those various designations In the annals of the tenth and 
eleventh centuries, they are usually referred to as belfries or 

^ Brash, p. 65. 

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bell-houses. Hence it is obvious that they were utilised at 
that period, for keeping or preserving bells. When the destruc- 
tion of the tower is recorded, the destruction of its bells is 
also frequently recorded, as in the case of the belfry of Slane, 
A.D. 964, and the destruction of Armagh, A.D. 1013, and again 
in A.D. 1020. 

It is a subject of interesting inquiry, whether (1) those bells 
were hung as in ordinary belfries ; or (2) whether they were 
merely placed within the towers, as other church treasures, for 
safety ? 

The intelligent reader is well aware that bells existed in 
Ireland from the days of St Patrick. In the opinion of 
O'Curry, the bell actually used by St. Patrick, and made in 
Ireland by his artificer Mac Cecht, is still preserved in Dublin. 
They are spoken of as existing in the time of St. Bridget and 
St. Senan. O'Curry, speaking of another bell in the possession 
of Mr. Cooke of Birr, states that there "are grounds for 
believing'* this bell to be the bell used by St Ruadhan, when 
he solemnly placed Tara under ban. 

Our museums are fortunately enriched by specimens of 
those very ancient bells, and we are thus enabled to judge 
correctly of their character. Their unfitness for being rung 
from belfries must be obvious to all. They were small and 
light, and such as might be easily used by the hand. But 
as venerated memorials of the holy men by whom they 
were used, they were certainly esteemed as priceless treasures. 
They were enclosed in costly shrines ; and it may be said of 
the extant specimens of those early Irish bell shrines, that the 
richness of the material, and the delicate detail of the work- 
manship, elicit the astonishment of the critical of even the 
nineteenth century. As valued treasures they were most 
probably placed for safety in the bell-houses, as were the rich 
manuscripts, the jewelled croziers, and costly chalices. 

But in the tenth century we find the style of our Irish bells 
much improved. The bell of the primitive Irish Church, 
which was square in form, and consisted of parts that were 
riveted together, was superseded by solid bells of circular 
form, more sonorous, and such as could be heard over a far 
wider area. Dr. Petrie states that this change was adopted in 
Ireland previous to the twelfth century.^ But Miss Stokes is 
more definite, and ascribes it to the tenth century. Judged by 
modem standards, even those bells would be considered very 
smalL They were rarely more than 12 inches high by about 
9 inches wide. As the effect of such bells for the transmission 
^ E(Aimd Tfjwers, p. 252. 

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of sound is best ascertained by experiment, we will allow Miss 
Stokes to gives us the result of such an experiment made by 
herself, and for this particular object.^ " The writer carried an 
ordinary dinner-bell to the top of Clondalkin round tower, and 
observed that the sound seemed much greater, when heard 
within the topmost chamber of the tower, than in an ordinary 
hall ; and a friend standing at a distance of a hundred feet 
from the building, said the tone was quite as loud as when 
rung beside her down on the level of the ground." Hence 
such bells might be rung in our belfries; and this would be 
quite in accord with a certain Irish legal enactment, which 
accorded certain privileges to ecclesiastics within the area over 
which the bells of their Clogteach might be heard. O'Curry * 
informs us that a church was entitled to claim the property of 
a stranger who might die within sound of its bells. 

It is most probable that several of those bells were hung 
together, and rung as a chime, with a hammer. As regards 
this mode of ringing our mediaeval bells, Miss Stokes's views 
coincide exactly with those of O'Curry. We will therefore 
adopt her opinion, that such bells might produce a pleasing 
effect within the tower,' "and also be quite audible to the 
inliabitants of the monastic buildings that clustered round its 

We are not aware that any of the bells used in those towers 
have been preserved. They are frequently referred to in our 
legends and traditions, as hidden away in some adjoining lake 
or morass. Miss Stokes tells us how, in the vicinity of Augha- 
gower, in Mayo, the peasantry speak of the bell which was 
used in ^the round tower, as buried in an adjoining bog ; " and 
that, of a quiet day, its sound, like silver, can be heard across 
the waste." "The same story," she tells us, "is told of the 
bells of Terta, hidden in a neighbouring swamp." 

A similar tradition is well known to exist at Kilmacduagh. 
It states that the tower bell was cast into the waters of an 
adjoining lake. It is stated that it is still there. A peasant 
accustomed to fish there in the past generation, was familiar 
with the place in which the bell was sunk. As the little lake 
divided two properties, it said that he reported the matter to 
the owners, who from petty causes seldom acted in harmony. 
In the present case, it seems they had neither the spirit nor 
the intelligence, to agree regarding the means of recovering 
this most interesting relic. 

* Eatly Chriaian Architecture^ p. 83. 

* Manners and Ctutoms of Ancient Erin, 

* Early Christian Architecture, 

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From the reasons advanced in the foregoing chapter, we 
conclude — 

1. That the tower was not erected for some centuries after 
St Golman's foundations at KilmacduagL 

2. That it was probably built towards the close of the tenth 
century as a fortress and belfry, and at a time when the 
oldest portion of the cathedral v)a& rebuilt. 

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8t Colman resignfl His Dioceee — He dies at Ouglitmama— The rains there 
— He was buried at Kilmacdoaffh — His Grave there — His Feast on 
29th October— A major double lor Ireknd — His Proper Office com- 
posed and published oy De Burgo, ▲.D. 1751. 

St. Colman laboured solely to enkiiidle the fire of Divine love 
in the souls of his spiritual children, and Heaven blessed his 
labours Avith the richest fruit. Beligious houses flourished 
around him, full of zealous souls, amongst the most devoted 
of whom were many of his own noble kindred St Foila's 
Church, and the monastic establishment of her distinguished 
brother, St Colga, were under his episcopal charge, and their 
fame has remained to our time. An older house, and one not 
less celebrated, was that of St Soumey at Dromacoo. Auxiliary 
houses in connection with the parent house of Eilmacduagh were 
necessary in other districts of the diocese also, as the spiritual 
wants of the people were at that period in Ireland, almost ex- 
clusively in the charge of the monasteries. A tradition, vague, 
it is true, but still significant, has it that such houses were 
erected by him at Xiltieman, where there is still a very 
ancient church, and also at Eillenavara, where a monastery 
still stands, with many evidences of restoration effected in the 
Tudor period. St. Morbhan's retreat at Kilomoran would 
naturally secure his particular interest, and may have then 
been made a monastic establishment. The remains of a very 
ancient monastery with a little oratory may still be seen there, 
situated close to the waters of Lough Deehan. In the year 
1785 the waters of this lake sank very low, and a wooden 
house was discovered. It was formed of massive oak beam& 
Its sides and roof, which remained, were of wattles of the same 
material, and were perfect The learned annotators of Arch- 
dall state that " it was fully a thousand years old, and may 
have belonged to one of the early religious establishments of St 
Colman." It is certain that the soil in which he scattered the 
good seed was no ungenerous soil. He had the happiness of 
beholding with his own eyes a rich harvest that blessed his 

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labours, and caused the writers of after times to refer to his 
diocese as "Great Aidhne, land of Saints." His martial 
kindred of the clans of Hy Fiachrach were induced by the 
teaching and example of their holy relative to put aside the 
sword and the spear, and march peaceably heavenward under 
the sacred banner of the Gross. He may be regarded in at 
least a broad sense as the spiritual father of many of those 
seventt/'Seven Saints of the race of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne who are 
referred to by Father Colgan and by our annalists. The fame 
of his sanctity was on the lips of all. And the king, who was 
from the beginning his friend and generous patron, was careful 
to secure for himself his spiritual guidance.^ 

But while his diocese rejoiced in the blessings which his 
labours and presence brought them, he was himself filled with 
a consciousness of his own unworthiness, and he longed to be 
free from the heavy burden of the episcopal charge.* He was 
weary of the praises of men, and he wished to hide himself in 
solitude once more, and there await his approaching dissolu- 
tion. Even during the years of his public labours, his mind 
frequently went back to his beloved solitude in Burren. He 
treasured the memory of those happy days which he spent 
there, with no interruption which might divert his thoughts 
from the contemplation of holy things. For him there was 
society in solitude; and in the "pathless woods," there was 
enduring attractiveness, for he could there commune without 
interruption with his Maker. 

As he well knew, the Burren forests sheltered many a lonely 
glen ; and he knew from experience their fitness for a life of 
austerity and prayer. They seemed to invite him once more ; 
and at lengtli he resolved • to retire thither, and hide himself 
from the praises and admiration of all. 

The little valley of Oughtmama was the secluded spot in 
which he chose to spend the remaining days of his life. It 
stands within the vsdley of Gorcomroe, and not far from his 
former hermitage. The rugged mountains rise steeply round 
it, forming a girdle which completely hides it. The giants of 
nature must have been at work when they piled up those 
massive terraces of stone around it, giving it the semblance of 
some vast amphitheatra The limestone masses thus piled 

1 Colgan : " InBuper officium spiritualem vitse sues curam St Colmano 
et oorpiu post mortem." 

* '' Licet Sanctis sane sanctus et omnium judicio dignus fuerat, ipse 
tamen se indignam aostimabat." — Colgan. 

* ^ Volens igitur vulgaris aurn afflatus declinare et se totum iterate 
ccelestium contemp]atione dicare.^ — Colgan. 

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stratum over stratum, are in our time scarcely relieved by even 
a patch of vegetation. 

The beautiful ruins of Gorcomroe, which adjoin it on the 
north, are completely shut away by the folds of the hills ; and 
though the sea steals in among the sheltered and wooded slopes 
of Finievara, which is near, there are no views of its sheltered 
surface from the valleys, nor of the line of barren territory 
which stretches westward, over which the ruined castles of 
the O'Loughlins, former chiefs of Burren, seem still to hold 
some weird chaise. 

In our Saint's time the aspect of the landscape was different, 
for the rugged outline of the hills was then veiled beneath the 
waving branches of forest trees, aud concealed the valley of 
Oughtmama in still deeper seclusion. It was here that St 
Colman determined to regain that seclusion for which he 
earnestly longed. Accordingly he resigned his See,^ and 
erected here a church and cell close to that *' pleasant fountain " 
of which his biographer speaks, and which fortunately may be 
seen there even at the present day. 

Though the fact of his retirement is thus historically certain, 
the particular date can be only a matter of conjecture. But 
considering the extent and character of his labours in the 
episcopacy, we do not think it was earlier than 625. 

In retiring from his See to devote himself more closely to 
God, St. Colman followed the example of other holy bishops, 
his predecessors and contemporaries in the Irish Church. St. 
Assicus, the holy Bishop of Elphin, resigned his episcopal duties. 
But above aud before all, he had the example of our national 
apostle to encourage him in taking this important step ; for he 
too resigned his episcopal charge. "There seems to be no 
doubt," writes Father Morris,* " that St. Patrick retired from 
the government of the See of Armagh many years before his 
death, probably in A.D. 455; and during the long interval 
between that period and his own death, he saw four bishops 
successively fill that See." It was natural that St Colman's 
disciples should desire to share their master's solitude ; and so 
the valley of Oughtmama soon became ai;i important monastic 
centre. The extensive ruins there, would alone suggest the 
idea that it had been once a monastic settlement of consider- 
able importance. But the churches alone are fairly preserved ; 
all else leave but faint traces of their extent or character. 

Two of the churches are in a state of excellent preservation. 

^ '* Abdicato epiacopatus numere solitarius denuo se contulit^ fixo 
domicilio juzta fontem amaenum ia magno salto de Burren." — Colgan. 
> Lift of St. Patrick, p. 146 ; A. A. S. p. 368. 

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They have attracted the special attention of such eminent 
antiquarians as Brash and Petrie ; and though we do not, with 
Petrie,^ regard them as the identical churches that were erected 
by St. Colman, we do regard them as amongst the most in- 
teresting specimens of our early Eomanesque. 

The principal church is about 40 feet long by 18 feet wide, 
internal measurement It consists of a simple nave and 
chancel. The chancel, which is about 18 feet long by 15 wide, 
is divided from the nave by a low Eoman arch, supported by 
plainly-cut square piers, and resembling strikingly, the extant 
chancel arch in the cathedral at Kilmacduagh. The chancel 
is lighted from the eastern gable by a single narrow lancet 
window. The nave is lighted by two narrow lights in the 
southern side wall, one arched and the other square-headed. 
On the north side there are no windows. The doorway, which 
is square-headed, is placed in the western gable. It is about 
6 feet 5 inches in height, and 2 feet 11 inches in width, at the 
base. The jambs incline towards the lintel, and are built of 
massive stone, well cut and closely jointed. A trough, which 
had been probably used as the holy water font, remains in the 
south-western angle of the church. It has a grotesque figure 
rudely carved on its face. In the masonry the stones are often 
very large ; and though they are not laid in courses, the joints 
are very close, and the faces well cut. Thus this interesting 
church retains the chief features proper to our early Romanesque. 

The second church at Oughtmama is much smaller. It is but 
20 feet long by 12 feet broad, measured on the interior. It is 
therefore but a large-sized oratory. It is lighted only by two 
simple lancet windows, one of which is in the eastern gable, and 
the other in the south side wall, close to the altar. Here, too. 
the doorway is in the western gable ; but, unlike the doorway of 
the adjoining church, it is rudely arched. The arch is formed 
by eight massive stones, which extend the entire breadth of the 
wall. In all other respects the features of both doorways are 
quite similar, as are also the general features of the masonry of 
the building. Speaking of this church, Petrie observes that 
" it is obviously of contemporaneous age with the second and 
larger church in the same place, in which the doorway has the 
usual horizontal lintel." 

At a short distance eastward, there are still traceable the 
ruins of another oratory. However, little of its masonry 
remains, except a portion of the eastern gable, in which there 
is a small semicircular-headed window, of the same type as 
those of the adjoining churches. Near the churches on the 

^ Rowni Tmoers. 

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south side is the holy well already referred to ; and at some 
distance up the hillside, on the bed of a little rivulet, are the 
ruins of a very old mill. Dr. Petrie states that " the memory 
of St Golman is venerated here as the founder of those 
churches." Yet we do not think that the extant churches 
there do more than mark the site of those founded by him. 
But there can be no doubt that they date as far back as the 
tenth century. 

Several other ruins are traceable on the grass-grown mounds 
which surround the churches. But they do little more than 
confirm the historical fact, that the monastic foundation there 
was in the remote past one of considerable importance. It 
grew to be, in truth, a home of Saints. Some who had died 
within its walls were ranked amongst the recognised Saints of 
Erin as early as the close of the eighth century. We find that 
the " Seven holy Bishops of Oughtmama in Corcomruadh " are 
invoked by Aengus in his Litany ,i written A.D. 780. Who 
those bishops were, it may now be difficult, probably impossible, 
to ascertain. But it is not improbable that they were Bishops 
of Elilmacduagh, who, during the early ravages of the Danes, 
retired to Burren for greater security. 

Here, then, in his beloved retirement, our Saint awaited his 
approaching dissolution with the assured confidence of the 
just. Indeed, the hour was near, when he was to be summoned 
to exchange a life of unceasing austerity and labour for a 
life of unending bliss. He longed to be dissolved and be with 
his God. Bequeathing his body to his cathedral church at 
Kilmacduagh, and leaving to his diocese the rich inheritance 
of his example and the fruits of his labours, he is believed to 
have yielded up his soul to his Maker on the 29th of 
October a.d. 632, in the pontificate of Honorius I. 

Beferring to his tomb at Kilmacduagh, Petrie speaks of the 
massive stones of which it was constructed. "Such, for 
instance," he says, " was the tomb of St. Colraan Mac Duagh at 
Kilmacduagh, which was constructed of very large blocks of 
square limestone, and measured 10 feet in length and 5 in 
breadth." 2 

The site of the Saint's tomb is marked in a map of the 
cemetery already referred to, which is preserved amongst 
O'Donovan's letters in the library of the Koyal Irish Academy. 
It is pretty certain that the map was made at the time of the 
Ordnance Surveys, when the letters were written. It shows 
St. Golman's tomb at a small distance south-west of the 

» MSS. Materials, Jrw^ History, O'Curry. 
* Bound Towers, p. 466. 

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cathedral. But the massive stones of which the tomb was 
composed have been for many years removed, though it is 
impossible to leam by whom this act of vandalism was 
eflfected. Yet though the masonry has been removed, the spot 
itself is well known, and held sacred in local traditions as St. 
Colman's grave. In the fulness of their faith in the power of 
their patron's patronage, the people have often taken the earth 
from this grave and applied it to their sick with a hope that it 
would relieve or remove their sufferings. This small cell, in 
which it was said he was buried, existed when the Protestant 
Bishop Pococke wrote, and is referred to by him in the follow- 
ing words : — 

" To the west of the cathedral in the churchyard is a small 
cell, where they say the patron Saint was buried, and that the 
body was afterwards carried to Aughrim." ^ We do not think 
that Bishop Pococke had any authority for speaking of the 
translation of the remains to Aughrim. He gives none ; and 
we can find no evidence that any tradition existed which 
justified the statement. 

On the 14th July 1852, the remains of the Most Rev. Dr. 
French were laid in this grave, traditionally regarded as the 
grave of the first bishop of the diocese. 

It is stated by Dr. Lanigan, I know not on what authority, 
that St. Colman died on the 3rd of February. Other writers 
have also attempted to fix his feast on the 3rd of February. 
It is so fixed by the Abbot of Knock, — Marianus O'Gorman, 
— ^and also by the Martyrology of Tamlaght Nor can it be 
supposed that the Martyrology refers to any other of the many 
Saints who bore the name of Colman, as it refers to him 
expressly as Colman, " son of Duagh." 

Ware and Harris, however, very properly remark that the 
3rd of February is not the day on which his feast is observed 
in the diocese of Kilmacduagh. And though the Martyrology 
of Donegal gives the 3rd of February as the date of his 
festival, it is careful to add that " Ua SecHnasaigh* says that 
the festival of Mac Duagh is on the 27th {recte 29th) of the 
month of October, for he was his own patron and his relative ! " 
And the learned editors of the Martyrology — Todd and Beeves 
— add, in explanation of the text, that " this was probably * The 
O'Shaughnessy,' or head of the family at the time when this 
work 2 was compiled, and whose testimony our author intimates 
was the more worthy of credit, because St. Colman Mac Duagh 
was the patron Saint of his tribe, and of the same race." 

As a matter of fact, the festival of St. Colman Mac Duagh has 
* Archclall, Dr. Moran'e edition, * The Martyrology, 

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been observed in the diocese of Kilmacduagh from time im- 
memorial on the 29th of October. It is fixed for the 29th of 
October in the rescript obtained from Pope Benedict XIV. by 
Eev. John Baptist Lynch of Galway, A.D. 1747, by which that 
festival, with many others, was raised to the dignity of a major 
double for Ireland. The following is the list of festivals as 
given in the rescript : — 

Die 16 Jan. St. Fursei, Abb. Latiniacensis. 

„ 17 Feb. St Fintani, Presb. and Confessor. 

„ 8 Martii. St. Cataldi, 

„ 20 Martii. St. Cuthberti, Epiacopi. 

„ 27 Martii. St. Ruperti, Episc. and Confes. 

„ 7 Aprilis. St Celsi, Episcopi. 

„ 10 Mayii. St Congalli, Abb. 

„ 8 Julii. Ep. Herpepolen et Mart 

„ 3 Aug. St. Fiacrii, Conf. 

„ 25 Sep. St Firmini, Epis. et Mart 

„ 10 Oct St. Canicii, Abb. Acharensis. 

„ 22 Oct St Donati, Episc. et Conf. 

„ 29 Oct St Colmani Duaci in Hiber- Episc. Duacensis et Confes. 


„ 15 Nov. St Livini. 

Sacra eadem congregatio audito prius in voce Rev"* Patre Domino Fidei 
Promotore, etc. etc. etc., benigne indulsit atque concessit Hac die Julii 
1-* 1747.1 

Locus D. FoRTUNATUS Card Samb. 


From the terms of the rescript, therefore, there can be no 
possible room for doubting, that the Colman whose feast is 
referred to as celebrated on the 29th October, is none other than 
the holy patron of the diocese of Kilmacduagh. He is referred 
to as Colman of Duagh, or son of Duagh, Bishop of Kilmac- 
duagh ; and, lest the peculiar Latin term for the diocese might 
be understood as referring to continental districts of the name, 
the words in Hibemia are added. The feast of St. Colman 
Mac Duagh, celebrated on the 29th of October, was therefore 
constituted for the whole of Ireland * a major double ; but in 
the diocese of Kilmacduagh it is celebrated as a double of the 
first class. 

In the parish of Kilmacduagh, it is celebrated, from time 
immemorial, as a strict holiday of obligation. Indeed, the 
interesting question of the origin and antiquity of this practice 
was raised, as far back as the year 1840, at a conference of the 
priests of Kilmacduagh, at which the bishop, the Most Eev. 

* For original see Appendix. 

* "Ad universum illius regnum." 

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Dr. French, presided. It was there arranged, that inquiries 
regarding the matter should be made by the priests in their 
respective parishes, and the result communicated. This was 
accordingly done, and the information thus obtained, through 
the oldest and most intelligent men of the diocese, showed that 
the festival was always observed as one of obligation in the 
parish of Ealmacduagh. It was furthermore ascertained that 
until comparatively recent times, it had been observed as a 
general diocesan holiday. They failed, however, in obtfuning 
any information as to the time of its abrogation as a general 
diocesan holiday, or as to the circumstances which led to it. 
We have little doubt, however, that it occurred in the middle of 
the last century, when Pius VI. dispensed the Irish Catholics 
from the obligation of hearing Mass and of abstaining from 
servile works on the days now known as *' retrenched holidays." 
The rescript is addressed to the archbishops and bishops of 
Ireland. It breathes such a paternal spirit of sympathy with 
the Irish people, then in the darkest hour of their heroic 
strufrgle for faith and fatherland, that the reader will peruse 
the following short extract with interest : — 

" So much have calamities and difficulties increased owing to 
the misfortunes of the present period, that its (Ireland's) unfor- 
tunate inhabitants, especially those who eat their bread in 
the sweat of their brow, are often unwillingly compelled to 
neglect holidays, and engage in servile works to procure neces- 
sary sustenance, and that this the more easily happens owing 
to the increased number of festival days. Hence we have been 
humbly entreated to have regard to those circumstances, and of 
our apostolic clemency to dispense in them, as we do hereby." ' 

Father Colgan, writing in the middle of the seventeenth 
century, makes it perfectly clear that the festival of St. Colman 
Mac Duagh was in his time observed in the diocese of Kilmac- 
duagh as a solemn one (in ckoro et foro), and that its vigil 
was observed strictly as a fast day, on which the use of meat, 
eggs, and milk diet was strictly prohibited; and the wilful 
violation of this fast was regarded, not merely as a grievous 
sin, but as a crime calculated to draw down on the perpetrator 
the signal manifestation of God's anger. But the custom does 
not seem to have been the result of any diocesan legislation. 
It was rather the outcome of that signal reverence and esteem 
in which the patron's memory was held in the diocese ; * and as 
those practices must have been especially dear to his own illus- 
trious kinsmen, the O'Heynes and O'Shaughnessys, there can 

^ Hibemia DomimcanOj p. 24. For original see Appendix. 
^ Ck>lgan ; Lanigan, yol. ii. p. 342. 

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be little doubt that they helped to uphold them both by their 
example and great influence. 

Colgan speaks of some supernatural manifestations which 
were regarded as manifestations of the Divine displeasure 
caused by the non-observance of the prescribed fast on the 
eve of the festival. One, he tells us, occurred to William 
O'Shaughnessy, a member of the Gort family. He was a 
distinguished soldier, and an intimate friend of the Earl of 

Another instance to which Colgan refers as recent, occurred 
in the case of certain workmen who were employed by The 
O'Shaughnessy, and who were unwilling to observe the cus- 
tomary rigid fast of the vigil. These instances, which are given 
at some length by Colgan* shall be found in the Appendix to 
this volume, together with a still more modern case, well 
and widely known in local traditions. 

The Mass and office for St. Colman Mac Duagh are from the 
common of a Confessor Pontiff. The rescript of Benedict XIV. 
already referred to proves that proper offices of Irish Saints 
had been then submitted to the Holy See for approval in regard 
to some or all of the festivals therein referred to. This was 
the work of Dr. de Burgo, Bishop of Ossory. After three years 
of multitudinous correspondence with many dioceses in every 
part of Europe, he discovered them all, except those of St. Col- 
man and St. Celsus. They were published in Dublin, a.d. 
1751. Those proper offices were submitted to the Holy See, 
and were to be recited by all Irishmen bound to the divine 
office. The proper office for St. Colman Mac Duagh and St. 
Celsus, however, seemed to have been lost. Those he com- 
posed himself, and they are distinguished from the other offices 
by being in italics. De Burgo's Officia Propria seems to have 
gone out of print, though a second edition appeared in a.d. 
1767, and so the common offices of Confessor Pontiff have been 
used for St. Colman within the memory of living priests. 
The writer has been fortunate enough to discover in the archives 
of Galway a copy of De Burgo's work of 1767, from which 
he has carefully copied the office, and reproduces it in the 
Appendix to this work. The lessons of the second nocturne 
are a beautiful reproduction of the outline of our Saint's life 
as given by Colgan and other authorities. But neither St 
Colman's office nor that of St. Celsus had been actually sub- 
mitted to the Holy See, before the death of their distinguished 

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Kilmacduagh recognised as a remarkable sanctuarj — Right of sanctuary 
— Its origin and nature — Pilgriniages to Eilmacdua^— St Colman's 
holy wells. 

MONTALEMBERT * tells US that the cherished memory of its first 
apostles, their hallowed tombs, their names invoked in prayer, 
churches erected in their honour, are amongst the facts which 
remain " ever graved indelibly on a nation's mini" And he 
continues in eloquent words : " That which is graven by reli- 
gion on the altar, and in the heart by prayer, outlives monu- 
ments of brass and marble ; and those kings who survive only 
in the pages of history have a less during record than apostles 
possess in a nation's heart " So it was as regards the venera- 
tion in which St. Colman was held in the diocese he had 
constituted. The lapse of ages did not weaken the venera- 
tion in which he was held throughout the entire territory. To 
the chieftains there, the descendants of the tribes of Guaire and 
of Aedh, he was a special patron and protector, or, as Marianus 
O'Gorman puts it, he was their " protector ab adversitatibus 
hospitalis et benignus." Hence we are not surprised at finding, 
on the authority of our ancient writers, that Kilmacduagh soon 
became a well-known and much-frequented sanctuary. And 
we are also assured that the privileges of Kilmacduagh as a 
sanctuary were visibly and strikingly vindicated by Divine 
Providence. Indeed, we are assured that it was miraculously 
protected, and that those who presumed to violate its privileges 
were visited with signal punishment.* 

The right of sanctuary recognised at an early period in Ire- 
land claims a very early origin. We find it recognised even in 
pagan times. In pagan Greece and Bome the temples of the 

^ St, Mary Magdalene, 

' Colgan, p. 246 : " Porro Christi famulus ecclesiam eo dignitatis ac 
celehritatis erexit, ut commune tutissimumtjue locum haberetur . . . et 
a divina majestate per sacra sui merita sic protegi, ut vel facinerose 
tentatum mirabiliter defenderet^ vel sacrilege violatum presenti punitione 


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gods were regarded as secure places of refuge. This may be 
easily illustrated by the familiar passage in the jEneidy in 
•which, in the sack of Troy, Hecuba and her daughters are 
represented as flying for refuge to the altars : — 

" Hie Hecuba et natae nequidquam altaria circum 
. . . et divum ampleza slmulcra sedebant." 

Amongst the Jews there were places of sanctuary or cities of 
refuge, and placed under the care of priests and Levites.^ 
They were erected on either side of the Jordan, and so situated 
that all accused might easily find protection until the justice of 
the charges against them, would be clearly established. ** Then 
Moses set aside those cities beyond the Jordan at the east side, 
that any one might flee to them who should kill his neighbour 
unwillingly." The precise period is not fixed at which the 
right of sanctuary became recognised in the early Church. 
But it is certain that its recognition by the Church was early. 
St. Augustine and St. Jerome speak of the custom, as long 
established in the West, They support the acceptance of the 
practice by their wonderful eloquence and authority. It is 
thought that the practice received public sanction in the reign 
of Constantine. As an instance of the respect in which the 
practice was held at an early period in the East, we may refer 
to the case of the tyrant Eutropius. 

That tyrant had himself, actually proposed a law against the 
right of sanctuary ; ^ and yet, when, after his fall, the indignant 
populace sought his life, he flew to the church for protection ; 
and there, through the influence of St. Chrysostom, and the 
public veneration for the sanctity of the church, he was saved 
from falling a victim to the popular fury. 

We are told by the eloquent historian of the Monks of the 
West? that in Britain the right of asylum was extended 
even to every field which belonged to St. David. " This," he 
continues, "is one of the first examples, as conferred on a 
monastic establishment, of that right of asylum afterwards too 
much extended and disgracefully abused towards the end of 
the Middle Ages, but which at that far distant period was a 
most important protection to the weak." 

In Ireland, from the days of St. Patrick, the right of the 
poor and defenceless to seek protection in the church, was 
always recognised. And the right was not alone local as 
regarded holy places, but it was also personal, extending to 
the persons of ecclesiastics. And this privilege of personal 

^ Dent. xix. 4, et seq. ^ Jus asyli. 

« Vol. iii. p. 52. 

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isandtuiry was conceded to ecclesiastics even outside the pre- 
cincts of their churches. 

The first record of this privilege conceded to Irish ecclesiastics 
which we find in our annals, is in connection with St. Columba. 
The occasion is given by the Four Masters/ a.d. 554, in the 
following words : " Cuman, . . . son of the King of Connaught, 
was put to death by Diafmaid, in violation of the guarantee 
and protection of CoUum Cille, having been forcibly torn from 
his hands, which was the cause of the battle Cul-Dreimhne." 
The violation of the right of sanctuary involved in this case 
was personal. But we find that the right of sanctuary, both 
personal and local, was recognised by our Brehon Laws,^ or 
ancient Irish code of jurisprudence ; and the penalties incurred 
by their violation increased " in proportion to the respect due 
to the sanctuary, or the dignity of the cleric whose protection 
was sought, and the grievousness of the crime." * 

The utility of the right of sanctuary, especially in the 
remote past, cannot be questioned by any who are familiar with 
the comparative lawlessness which prevailed in the Middle 
Ages, and the strong tendency which ever manifests itself in 
ages of warfare, to supersede law and justice by brute force. 
In such states of society, the protection afforded to the weak 
and the innocent by the recognition of the " right of sanctuary " 
was of the greatest importance. Writing on this subject, Mon- 
talembert observes : " Who does not understand how irregular 
and brutal was at that time the pursuit of a criminal ; how 
many vile and violent persons occupied the oflBce of the law ; 
and how justice herself and humanity had reason to rejoice, 
when religion stretched her maternal hands over a fugitive 
unjustly accused, or over a culprit who might be worthy of 
excuse or indulgence." * 

Thus, on the one hand, it acted as a restraint on lawlessness, 
and, on the other, it afforded a desirable protection to the inno- 
cent. As to the guilty, there were precautions by which it was 
safeguarded, which made its abuse a matter of some difficulty. 
It was only partially extended to those whose guilt was certain, 
and whose crimes were heinous, such as murderers, public 
debtors, those guilty of treason and conspiracy, etc. Such 
criminals, however, who might seek the right of sanctuary, 
were allowed the option of exile, should they prefer it to being 
handed over to the justice of the law. Those who in such 

1 Also O'Curry, MSS. Materials, Irish Hist. p. 328. 
« Tract quoted by O'Donovan, Lib. T.C.D. (H. 3, 18). 
' Life of Columba, Dublin ed., p. 168. 
* Monks of the Wetst^ vol. iiL p. 52. 

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circumstances made the choice of exile, were said by the old 
writers to have "abjured the land." Thus, "A Franciscan, 
Eichard Deblet, took sanctuary, and, free from all arrests, 
abjured the land" ^ Thirty days was the period during which 
the right of sanctuary lasted. Guilty persons were therefore 
allowed ample time, as they were also afforded the most ample 
opportunities, for repentance, while the innocent were protected, 
and wanton lawlessness restrained. The privilege of sanctuary 
was accorded, not alone to the interior of the church, but also 
to the space surrounding, usually used as cemeteries. It was a 
privilege which owed its origin to the influence of the Church ; 
and which manifests in a striking manner the respect in which 
religion and its ministers were held by our ancestors, even in 
the remotest times. 

Colgan gives an instance, one which in his time must have 
been regarded as credible, and generally accepted, to show how 
Divine Providence continued to preserve from violation the 
privileges of Kilmacduagh as a venerated shrine. The legend 
may be seen in the Appendix to this volume. The well-known 
custom of making pilgrimages to celebrated shrines in Ireland 
may be traced back to our early Church. O'Curry * tells us 
how "countless groups of men, lay and ecclesiastics, left Erin 
on pilgrimages to the Holy Land," as early as the time of St 
Brendan. Pilgrimages from Ireland to Eome were still more 
frequent As was natural, the holy places imperishably con- 
nected with the lives of our great Irish Saints, had very strong 
attractions for our countrymen. Even converted foreigners 
residing amongst us were influenced by the custom. We read 
in the Annals of Tighemach how, in the year 980, " Amlafif, son 
of Sitric, chief king of the Danes of Dublin, went to lona on 
penance and pilgrimage." 

It was but natural that men should visit with sentiments of 
true piety and veneration those places in which God's holy 
servants have lived their lives of heroic sanctity. Such places 
being, as it were, consecrated to prayer and penance, would 
help to awaken the desire of copying the same great virtues. 
The practice may also have been to some extent strengthened 
by the practice of public canonical penances usual in the early 
Church, and afterwards often voluntarily embraced. Certain 
it is that the spirit manifested itself strikingly in Ireland at an 
early period. The holy places of Ireland possessed for Irish 
pilgrims, a decided attraction. From the earliest Christian 
period in our country they were frequented by pilgrims. 

1 Eccl Higt., Malone, p. 129. 
« MSS. Materials, p. 382. 

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The Irish designation for pilgrimages in modern times is 
"Turas," which, according to our best authorities,^ signifies 
literally a "journey." O'Donovan justly informs us that this 
word is still figuratively used to designate " a certain peniten- 
tial station which the Koman Catholics still perform, or lately 
performed, in many parts of Ireland, at holy wells, near ancient 
churches, and in the modern chapels. It is performed by 
moving on the knees from one penitential station to another 
at the ancient churches . . . and repeating certain prayers 
before each station." Petrie tells us that the more ancient 
term used to designate this pilgrimage, was " Ailithre." 

Those pilgrimages to Kilmacduagh have been from time 
immemorial a recognised practice ; and here the ** Turas " 
includes not merely the prayers and penitential practices 
within and around the church, but also those performed at 
the adjoining holy well, dedicated to St. Colman Mac Duagh. 
Those penitential practices are commonly gone through on the 
feast of the patron. Hence the practice and its abuse, have 
become familiar to us under a modern and false designation, 
namely the " pattern." These patterns, or pilgrimages, to the 
church and holy well at Kilmacduagh continue to our own 
days, but fortunately unaccompanied by the abuses which have 
in many instances rendered such practices objectionable. The 
custom has continued, despite the ridicule which "advanced 
thinkers " would cast upon it in our own time, and despite the 
efforts of non-Catholic writers to represent them as " idolatrous," 
or at least " grossly superstitious." 

That there were abuses connected with our Irish pilgrimages 
to our holy wells, and ancient shrines, is certain. The celebra- 
tion degenerated in many cases into excesses, which were 
strongly condemned by the Church, and which every good 
man must regret ; and the Catholic clergy were amongst the 
foremost to suppress such excesses. And when those abuses 
could not be prevented, the clergy did not hesitate to dis- 
courage pilgrimages altogether. Apart from these abuses, 
however, we find that they have not merely the sanction of 
immemorial custom, but also the direct sanction of the Church. 
At a provincial synod held at Drogheda, A.D. 1614, we find 
the following decree regarding our holy wells, and the venera- 
tion in which they were held : " But should it be found that 
any well or fountain possessed some healing eflficacy, either by 
its natural quality, or through the prayers of the Saints, 
persons might use those waters, taking care, however, to 
remove every danger of superstition, and other similar 
. 1 O'Riely, Jm^I>ur<.; O'Donovan. 

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abuses." * Such, indeed, has been the invariable attitude of the 
Church in relation to those time-honoured practices, which 
have come down to us from a very remote past. 

There are, however, many in our time who would scoflF at 
such practices, and would regard them as relics of a moribund 
superstition. Such men seldom inquire into the nature of 
such customs. They are equally ignorant of their origin and 
object. Hence it may be desirable that some few remarks 
should be made here regarding the origin of a custom so 
ancient and general in Ireland, as the veneration for holy 

The antiquity of the practice is traced back to the days of 
our national apostle. The vast number of his converts made 
it necessary for him frequently to administer the sacrament 
of baptism at some fountain. In the ViJta Septima of St. 
Patrick we read : " On that day he gained for Christ the seven 
sons of Amalgaith (the king), the king himself, and twelve 
thousand men, and baptized them in the well which is called 
Tubber Enadharc." Wo are furthermore assured that the holy 
wells of Ballina ^ and Multifarny, were used for similar pur- 
poses by the same apostle. Dr. Lanigan informs us, that on 
the occasion of St. Patrick's arrival at Naas, he baptized, at a 
fountain near the north side of the town, the princes lUand 
and Alild, the king's sons. In the case of those numerous 
converts, at least, it was natural that a sense of gratitude to 
God for the great grace of their conversion, and a veneration 
for the sanctity of St. Patrick, should induce them to return 
perhaps frequently, to visit the scene of their deliverance from 
the blindness of pagan superstition. 

In addition to this, our ancient records show that our early 
Saints blessed many wells, which were afterwards naturally 
held in reverence by the people. This fact is clearly and 
strikingly illustrated from the following passage from the 
ancient Life of St. Columkille, taken from the Ledbhar 
Breac : — 

" He blessed three hundred miraculous crosses, 
He blessed three hundred wells, which were constant." 

The following singular occurrences recorded in Adamnan's 
life of the same Saint, have also a direct beariug on the same 
subject. Speaking of a certain well in the country of the 
Picts, which was famous amongst the pat^^ans of the district, he 
states that " those who drank of this fountain, or purposely 

^ Memoir of Dr. Lombard, p. 53. 
^ Customs of Hy Fiachrachy p. 467. 

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washed their hands or feet in it, were struck by demoniacal 
art, and returned leprous or blind, or suffering from weakness or 
other kinds of infirmity." Having ascertained those singular 
facts, the Saint came there on a certain day.* " But he having 
first raised his holy hand and invoked the name of Christ, 
washed his hands and feet, and then with his companions drank 
of the water which he had blessed. And from that day the 
demons departed from the fountain ; and not only was it per- 
mitted to injure no one, but moreover many diseases amongst 
the people were cured by this same fountain after the blessing 
of the Saint and his washing in it." And again, the same 
writer mentions another singular instance of a miraculous well. 
"On another occasion, when the Saint was on a pilgrimage, 
a child was presented him for baptism by liis parents, and 
because there was no water in the neighbourhood, the Saint, 
turning aside to a rock that was near, knelt down and prayed 
for a short time ; and after having prayed, rising up, he blessed 
the face of the rock, and immediately there gushed from it an 
abundant stream of water, in which he forthwith baptized the 
child . . . where there is seen to the present day a well 
called by the name of St. Columba." ^ 

In addition to all this, it should be remembered that many 
Saints, especially those of the Third Order, who generally 
lived on herbs and water, in complete solitude, generally 
selected a site for their hermitage close to some fountain, and 
spent years of peace, piety, and prayer, by those^ fountains of 
which they drank. Hence it is no way wonderful that such 
fountains should be associated with their names and history. 

And we have the amplest evidence that our holy wells were 
venerated throughout Ireland from the earliest ages of our 
Christian history. The Booh of Lecan speaks of Tubber 
Lughna, which, according to O'Donovan,* is the Well of Luchna, 
the nephew of St. Patrick. Dr. Petrie tells us of a holy well 
called Tubber Maine, — a well dedicated to the memory of St. 
Manius, a disciple of St. Patrick. Tighernach the annalist 
tells us of a certain holy well at Clonmacnoise dedicated to St. 
Fineen or Fingen, and called Tubber Fingen. *' a.d. 756, Gorman 
... it was he that was more than a year in the water of 
Tiprait Fingen (St. Fineen's Well) at Clonmacnoise, and died 
on his pilgrimage to Cluain." Petrie, speaking of the well, 
says : " The well alluded to in the preceding passage still bears 
the name given to it by the annalists, and is held in the 
greatest veneration." 

1 Life of Coluwha, Dublin ed., p. 73. • Ibid, 

« Customs of Hy Ficuhrachy p. 200. 

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The facts advanced prove conclusively, that holy wells were 
venerated in Ireland from the earliest and brightest period of 
our Christian history, and the reasons assigned constitute, we 
will venture to state, a strong argument in justification of the 
practice. In later times, the circumstances of the country 
operated powerfully in developing the love of the Irish people 
for those wells reputed holy in the history and traditions of 
the country. For centuries the Catholic worship was banished, 
the churches of our people were despoiled, or reduced to ashes, 
while the faithful clergy were dragi^ed to dungeons or death, 
or ruthlessly driven into exile. Under those circumstances, 
it only remained for the faithful Irish, to seek out the most 
retired spots which the history of a bright and glorious past 
represented as sacred, and there recommend themselves to the 
God of their fathers, through the intercession of the Saints 
whose names and holy examples were associated with those 
places, both by history and tradition- 
Instances might be cited on the authority of writers of 
eminence, even in comparatively modem times, to show that 
Divine favours were frequently bestowed on those who sought 
them in such places with a strong faith, and through the inter- 
cession of the Saints. The venerable OTlaherty* does not 
hesitate to adduce the following case, of which he speaks from 
personal knowledge, with reference to the grave of St. Colman : 
" 1 have seen one grievously tormented by a thorn thrust into 
his eye, who, by lying soe in St. Colman's burying-place, had it 
miraculously taken out without the least feeling of the patient, 
the marke whereof in the comer of his eye still remaines." 

It may here be stated that even the trees planted within the 
enclosures of our ancient sanctuaries, received not unfrequently 
a share of popular veneration. And as this fact is regarded by 
hostile writers as another of the many so-called proofs of the 
hopeless superstition of the Irish, it may be referred to here. 
These trees were called in the Irish language " Fidneamedh," 
i,t, " trees of the sanctuary," and were objects of special atten- 
tion frequently on the part of the founders and superiors of 
Irish monasteries. St. Patrick is believed to have planted a 
yew tree at Newry, which was afterwards regarded with so 
much veneration, that its burning, 1162, is chronicled by the 
Four Masters. Giraldus speaks of St. Bridget's tree as existing 
in his time.2 And even in our own times, the remains of the 
yew tree supposed to have been planted at Glendalough by St. 
Kevin, were pointed out. A similar tradition exists, according 

* lar Connaught, p. 89. 

* JJissertatiom on Irish Hist. p. 157. 

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to which St. Colman is said to have planted a tree at Kilmac- 
duagh, which contiiiued even in Colgan's time to be held in 
special veneration. It is referred to by Cotton as having been 
planted near the church. The tree, he tells us, was supposed 
to have possessed extraordinary properties. And Cotton i adds 
that portions of the tree were usually taken away by the 
people as relics.* Indeed, the belief in its miraculous properties 
was widespread. Even the smallest portion of the Cuaile Mic 
Duagh, as it was popularly called, even in Colgan's time, was 
regarded as a valuable safeguai-d against danger. He gives in 
his narrative some instances of a very singular character of 
protection thus obtained, which the reader will find given in 
the Appendix. We believe it was planted a little way west of 
the cathedral and near St. Colman's tomb. But it has long 
since disappeared. 

It is clear, therefore, that at Kilmacduagh, as at other Irish 
sanctuaries, the yew tree, or "Cuaile," and holy well, were 
regarded as objects of popular veneration, especially on the 
occasions of the pilgrimage or " Turas." They were interesting 
memorials of their patron's life and labours, at which a tribute 
might be justly and fittingly paid to his memory. 

But the holy well at Kilmacduagh seems destined to be 
soon entirely lost to public notice. Its site has been much 
encroached upon by an awkward road fence. In addition, 
the efforts recently made by the owner to drain the adjoining 
lands leaves the well usually dry. And as he is one for 
whom the past seems to possess but little interest, in whom 
it is powerless to awake " thoughts Divine," it is almost inevit- 
able that accumulating rubbish will soon completely hide the 
once celebrated holy well of Kilmacduagh. 

Though unwilling to burden those pages with a narrative of 
the marvels said to have been effected at this well, through the 
intercession of St. Colman, the writer thinks the following 
singular story, given to him on credible testimony, worth record- 
ing. It is supposed to have occurred towards the close of the 
last century, and must strongly remind one of the miracle 
recorded by Tighemach as having occurred at Tubber Fingen, 

A boy of five or six years old, happened to escape the 
vigilance of his parents, who resided in the vicinity. While 
at play on the brink of the well, the child happened to fall in. 

1 Fadi, p. 199. 

' " Auxit actiam loci reverentiam plantata a sancto yiro hand procul ab 
ipsa eccleeia qusedam arbor vulgo Cuaile Mic Duagh, i,t, palus Mic Duagh 

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The anxious parents missed the child after some time, and onl^ 
after a long and diligent search found him head downwards in 
the water. They naturally thought him drowned. But great 
indeed was their surprise, when, on taking him out, they found 
him alive and welL Being asked how he felt in the water, the 
child stated he was protected there by a venerable old man of 
sweet countenance, and long grey hair. The grateful parents 
thanked God and St. Colman Mac Duagh, to whose miraculous 
interposition they attributed the safety of their child. 

Throughout the diocese of Kilmacduagh there are several 
holy wells dedicated to St. Colman, each popularly known as 
*' Tubber Mac Duagh," at most, if not all, of which the patron 
is still venerated by the devotional " Turas," or pilgrimage. 

About a mile south of the cathedral, on the confines of Clare 
and Galway, there is Tubber Mac Duagh, still frequented by the 
pious votaries of St. Colman. I mention it first, only because 
it is nearest to Kilmacduagh. 

At the Saint's reputed birthplace, at Corker in Kiltartan, there 
is another Tubber Mac Duagh, to which I have already referred. 
It is still visited by pilgrims, and is held in great veneration 
by the people of the locality. It was shaded by some very 
ancient hawthorns, some of which remain to the present day. 
Within the memory of living men, some of those old trees were 
stealthily cut down. The act was reprobated by the people of 
the district, though it occurred at a season when there was 
some scarcity of fuel. General suspicion pointed to one man, 
who was, in fact, principally concerned in the act. And, 
strange to say, a singular malformation of features made itself 
painfully noticeable on him soon after, and continued during 
the remainder of his life. The man was well known to many 
still living, and the fact was regarded as a mark of the Divine 
displeasure at his conduct. 

At a short distance from the ruins of Guaire's ruined palace 
at Kin vara, there is another Tubber Mac Duagh. An interesting 
description of the well, with a pretty accurate sketch of its 
position and surroundings, was published by Dr. Petrie in the 
Dublin Penny Journal, He considers that St. Colman must 
have on some occasion, administered the sacrament of baptism 
there. And, while accepting that opinion as very probable, we 
think that the same opinion may apply equally to the other 
holy wells dedicated to his name in the diocese. It is close to 
the sea-shore, it has the usual circular stone enclosure. A 
stone cross is erected there ; but it is rude and modem. It is 
sheltered by a steep rising ground on the north, and seaward 
by a decaying cluster of ancient hawthorns. Here, too, even 

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V ' %" 


the present day, pilgrims may be seen piously performing their 
" Turas" in honour of St. Culman. 

There is another Tubber Mac Duagh at Caherglissane, in the 
same parish, at about three miles south-east of Kinvara. It is 
perhaps in its position and surroundings the most interesting 
of any in the diocese. Though not more than two feet square 
by two feet deep, it contains an unfailing supply of purest 
water. It is overshadowed by a splendid ash, which casts its 
roots into the earth on eitlier side of the fountain. It has a 
stone enclosure, and is also surrounded by clusters of hawthorns 
and hazels. 

Within a few yards on either side are two similar enclosures, 
without water, also overgrown with hazel and underwood. 

Close to the entmnce to the holy well is the Leaba Mac 
Duagh, or St. Colman's Bed. As seen at present, it is simply 
a natural arbour, formed by a cluster of whitethorn and hazel. 
The branches thus shelter a slight excavation carpeted with 
moss and ivy, in which tradition says our Saint sometimes 
sought repose. It is situated at almost mid distance between 
Kiimacduagh and Kinvara. It is not improbable that our 
Srtint on his visits to his royal kinsman may have journeyed 
this way, and remained to repose and pray in this secluded 
spot. Under the leafy shelter of the trees, with the air fra- 
grant with the perfume of the wild-flowers and the hawthorn 
blossoms, and with the crystal waters of the spring close by to 
refresh him, he could for a little forget the cares of his pastoral 
charge, and, fancying himself once more in his beloved solitude 
at Burren, unite himself more intimately to God. Even at the 
present day, the solitude of this locality is striking. South-west, 
about a distance of half a mile, is the church of St. Enda, now 
known as Kilena. And about a mile eastwards is the very 
ancient oratory of Kilomoran, on the margin of its weird 
lake. The deep and yawning chasms whicn are numerous 
there are memorials of the great Lisbon earthquake, which 
appeared for the first time at the moment the capital of 
P<^rtugal was destroyed, on which occasion a portion of the 
adjoining Castle of Caherglissane was wrecked. 

Here, too, the pilgrimages in honour of St, Colman are still 
continued, and until recently, at least, resting in the " Leaba " was 
usually regarded ajs an important poi tion of the pilgrimage for 
those who sought there, through the Saint's intercession, restora- 
tion to health. It is probably not so frequently visited as some 
of the other holy wells, because, perhaps, of its remote situation. 
Itemote as it is, however, a visit will amply repay those who 
may be anxious to learn what the traditions of the diocese 

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may teach regarding the veneration in which its holy patron 
was popularly held. 

In the parish of Kilbecanty there are* two holy wells 
dedicated to St. Colman. One is situated about two miles 
east of Gort, in the village of Eakerin. The other is on the 
eastern shore of Lough Cutra lake. Here the fountain flows 
from under a large sheltering rock, on the face of which there 
is a cross rudely sculptured, and the date 17-45. 

The last of those holy wells in the diocese dedicated to St. 
Colman which I shall notice, is one situated in the parish of 
Kilchrist, and adjoining the Clonfert diocese. In the well and 
its surroundings there is much that is quaint and picturesque. 
Springing from the side of a gentle mound, it is surrounded by 
an enclosure of strongly-built and seemingly ancient masonry. 
It is shaded by the spreading branches of an ash. There 
is also a much larger tree, which is now fast decaying. The 
rich undulatinji: meadow-lands which surround it are dotted 
with trees and intersected with hedgerows. It is pretty prob- 
able that the mound adjoining the well, which is now grass- 
grown, was the site of a little oratory in the past. Some 
wrought stones, time-coloured and moss-grown, such as carved 
window muUions, remain there. Were the mound excavated, 
additional evidence mijrht be found to justify this supposition. 
There is also a stone cross there with the following rudely 
carved inscription : 

" Blessed Trinity, have mercy 
On us. Blessed angels, make intercession 
for us, 173 iii "(rece« 1733). 

Here, too, pilgrimages are still made in honour of St. Colman. 

This spirit of pilgrimage, not only to St. Colman's Church, 
but also to the places dedicated to his name and memory in 
popular traditions, must be regarded as a powerful and endur- 
ing evidence of the faith of our people in the efficacy of his 
prayers. And in the peasant who prays by some famous holy 
well to an Irish Saint, or who invokes his intercession within 
the crumbling ruin that helps to perpetuate his memory and 
name, we can only see a reflex of the spirit and piety which 
year after year in our time has been leading men to Lourdes 
and Paray, and other shrines of world-wide fame. 

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Kilmacduagh from the death of Quaire to the close of the Danish occu- 
pation — Chieftains of Aidhne during the period— Flan Mac Lonan, 
Chief Poet of Ireland, a native of Aidhne — His poems — Died a.d. 
896 — Episcopal succession. 

In the year a.d. 662, the remains of King Guaire,^ " who died 
penitently," were laid in their last resting-place with " great 
honour and veneration." He left three sons — (1) Nar, who 
was progenitor of the O'Moghans, for a short period chieftains 
of Aidhne ; (2) Arthgal, ancestor of the O'Clerys, O'Heynes, 
and Mac Gilla Kellys (Kilkellys) ; and (3) Aoedh, ancestor of 
the Cinel Enda. Of the O'Moghans, the descendants of Nar, 
we have but scant records in our annals. The most important 
reference to them that we can discover is that they for a time 
retained the chieftaincy of the territory. They were " Chiefs 
of Cinel Guaire and of Ceanrighe," until Mac GioUa Ceallaigh, 
who represented the more energetic descendants of Feargal, 
deprived them of the chieftaincy of their ancestral territory .^ 

Arthgal, second son of Guaire, had a son Feargal, who suc- 
ceeded to the crown of Connaught. His reign seems to have 
been short and uneventful. His death is recorded by our 
annalists A.D. 694 

On the death of Feargal Aidhne, grandson of Guaire, the 
provincial sceptre passed for ever from the tribes of Hy Fiach- 
rach Aidhne to the Hy Bruin tribes, who were collateral bmnches 
of the same great family. The Hy Bruin tribes, known in 
more recent times as the O'Flahertys and O'Connors, were 
descended from Duach Gallach, King of Connaught, who died 
A.D. 420. 

The transfer of the royal residence from Gortinsiguaire 
and Kinvara. was calculated to deprive the territory of Aidhne 
of much of its former prestige. However, the chieftains who 

^ Manners and Cudoms of Hy Fiachrack, p. 314. 

• Tribes of Hy Fiachrachj p. 62. O'Donovan eays it is probable that the 
name O'Mo^han is now anglicised Mooney, of which there are some 
respectable families in Westmeath. 


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ruled the territory impressed themselves on the history of the 
period with a boldness that was not unworthy of their historic 
and royal descent. The following entries with reference to 
them are found in the annals of the Four Masters : — 

" In 763, Conchobar, son of Commascach, Lord of Aidhne, 
died. This Commascach was great-grandson of King Feargal. 

" In 768, Art, also called Arthgal, son of Flaitnia, chief of 
Aidhne, was slain. This Flaitnia was second son of Feargal 

In A.D. 780, we find that there was another great battle 
fought at Carn Conail, in Kilbecanty, in which the tribes 
of Hy Fiachrach were defeated by Tibraide, son of Taog, King 
of Connaught. The battlefield was the same on which Guaire 
had been defeated more than a century earlier. There is no 
mention made of the leader of the Hy Fiachrach tribes on 
the occasion. 

Cleirigh, who was grandson of Comasach already referred 
to, is regarded as the founder of the O'Clery family, who 
retained the chieftaincy of Aidhne till the close of the tenth 
century, and who continued to be after favourably known in 
the history of the country. The Kilkellys were also of the 
same line. 

Cleirigh had two sons, Maelfavail and Eidhin, the progenitor 
of the 0*Heynes, who succeeded the O'Clerys and Kilkellys as 
lords of Aidhne. The death of Maelfavail is recorded by the 
Four Masters, a.d. 887. 

Maelfavail had two sons, Tighernach and Flan. Tigher- 
nach succeeded to the chieftaincy. The annalists record his 
death, A.D. 916. 

The successor of Tighernach in the chieftaincy was Maelmac- 
duagh, a name which indicates the reverence in which the 
patron of the diocese continued to be held. In its literal sense 
Maelmacduagh meant tonsured (i.e. consecrated) to Mac Duagh, 
the patron of the territory. The Four Masters tell us he was 
slain by the foreigners, a.d. 920. He may have been a son of 
Tighernach, but of this we have no historical evidence. 

In the same year, a.d. 920, the death of Aedh, son of 
Lonan O'Guaire, Tanist of Aidhne, is recorded by the Four 

The murder of Maelmacduagh by the foreigners in a.d. 920, 
is one of the earliest intimations given by our annalists of the 
presence of the Danes in the diocese of Kilmacduagh. How- 
ever, we find by reference to Miss Stokes's valuable map,^ illus- 
trative of the Danish incursions on our country, that the 
' Early Christian Architecture^ IrelancL 

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foreigners invaded Corcomroe in a.d. 816, when the churches 
of Glan Columkille and Oughtmama were the only churches 
there to excite their cupidity or hatred. Their line of march 
on the occasion seems to have been by Kilmacduagh to 
Oranmore and Lough Coirib (Orbsen). 

The Four Masters tell us that in 928 the "foreigners of 
Luimneach went up Lough Orbsen, and the islands of the lake 
were plundered by them." It is certain that in the territory 
of Aidhne the Danes met, not merely with spirited opposition, 
but with crushing defeat. In A.D. 938 it is recorded that 
" Aralt, grandson of Imhar, Lt, the son of Sitric, Lord of the 
foreigners of Luimneach, was killed in Connaught by the Cean- 
raigh of Aidhne." In reference to this entry of the annalists, 
Mr. O'Donovan tells us that " the Ceanraigh of Aidhne were a 
sept seated in Ard Aidhne, near Ardrahan, in the barony of 
Kiltartan and county of Galway." Though he does not men- 
tion the exact site of this important victory over the Danes, 
we consider there is ample evidence to justify us in stating 
that it was within the present townland of " Kaheen," in the 
parish of Ardrahan. The Annals of Clonmacnoise record the 
same event, though assigning a different date, and expressly 
mention Ratheyney as the site, thus : " Harold (Aralt) 
O'Hymar (Imhar), King of the Danes of Limerick, was killed 
in Connaught at Eatheyney." O'Donovan distinctly states that 
the event recorded by the Four Masters is identical with that 
recorded by the Annuls of Clonmacnoise, notwithstanding a 
difference in chronology.^ 

There can be no doubt that those events occurred when Flan, 
brother of Tighemach, was Lord of Aidhne. He seems to have 
succeeded Maelmacduagh as lord of the territory. The annalists 
record his death, A.D. 950. The notice of his death, as given by 
the Four Masters, shows clearly that he was regarded as a man 
of eminence, — even as a recognised aspirant to the crown of 
Connaught: "Flann Ua Cleirigh, Lord of South Connaught, 
and royal heir to all Connaught, was slain by the men of 

We do not find that his son Comhaltan aspired, as his 
father did, to the throne. But we know that he inherited the 
lordship of his ancestral territory, and that in military prestige 
he was at least as eminent as his father. In the year a.d. 964 
he defeated Feargal O'Euarc, King of Connaught, aided by his 
ally O'Gara. The slain on the occasion numbered seven 
hundred. The record of the Four Masters with reference to 
the event may be thus summarised : " A victory was gained by 
^ The date in the Annals of Clonmacnoise is a.d. 833. 

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— -T JJT 


.. ^ T'' .T"^"'^*''^ '^^ the h:<r,n r.l ::. 

. • • :.-^- ' - - ^^"-n of Jlafrnia, chief i 
>^ WIS se.v.-J son of F,it-^ 

"*T -* r* ' ■?" ^*"^^^- Tit^re is no 

x^ r" 


"^ "^^ *.'-^ ^-Lx3.\ dr^a^h referrel 

" ** *" H; l" t^ familr, who 

--> - .T „ LT.e c--.«$e of the t^nth 

- — .^_x=_r5 were also of the 

' / ■-- .^ : E. riz, :le pro;:renitor 

_ i !i.^-.-.T_: is rtv\-,rded hv the 

- '!^-.->rr. 1 Lzi Eaa TigheT- 
': — ; Tic Ar. r .Al:5is record his 

.'^ iir ^r-.-^n.'e in which the 
. -. • Sr :t-i Ic its lixer&l sense 

.^^ . • i>fvr:t:ei • lo Mac Dudgh, 
. ^ r> ^ '^ Xi^<rr5 tell us be was 

- ^ 5- - ^^ ^^^ teen a son of 

^ - ' ::r ^-^ '>^ -^«^. son of 
^ ,. :j rftXi^iec br the Four 

- - V :V :.T«^:i«5 in jlh 920, 
' "" " ^ V r ."iur ABDilists of the 




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Comhaltan Ua Cleirigh, ie. Lord of Ui Fiachrach Aidhne . . . 
on Feargal Ua Euarc, when seven hundred were lost," The 
death of this powerful chief is recorded : " a.d. 976, Comhaltan 
Ua Cleirigh, Lord of Ui Fiachrach Aidhne, died." 

In A.D. 989, Muirceadhach Ua Cleirigh, who succeeded Com- 
haltan in the lordship of Aidhne, died. 

The activity of the son of Comhaltan after the death of 
Muirceadhach is recorded by the annalists. He evidently 
endeavoured to assert the paternal claim to the lordship of 
their territory. In a.d. 992, Euadhri, son of Cosgrach, Lord of 
South Connaught, was slain by Conchobar, son of Maelseachlain, 
and by the son of Comhaltan Ua Cleirigh. In a.d. 998, the 
son of Comhaltan Ua Cleirigh is again referred to by the annal- 
ists, in connection with a triumph over the son of the chief of 
the O'Maddens: " Diarmuid, son of Dnnadhach, Lord of Siol 
Anmchadacha, was slain by the son of Comhaltan Ua Cleirigh, 
Lord of Aidhne ; " he therefore succeeded in attaining to the 
coveted position of lord or chief of the territory. O'Donovan 
thinks that the son of Clery referred to in those notices was 
Giolla Ceallaigh O'Clery, who was himself slain by Taog 
O'Kelly, Lord of Hy Maine, in a.d. 1003. It would seem that 
the engagement in which he lost his life was one of more 
than usual importance. "In a.d. 1003 a battle was fought 
between Taog O'Kelly with the Hy Many, and the Hy Fiach- 
rach Aidhne with the men of West Connaught, in which were 
slain Giolla Cheallaigh Mac Comhaltan O'Clery, Lord of Hy 
Fiachrach Aidhne, . . . and many others." 

O'Donovan adds that " this Giolla Cheallaigh is the progenitor 
after whom the family of Kilkelly or Killikelly have taken their 

Giolla Ceallaigh 0*Clery was succeeded in the lordship of 
Aidhne by one of the O'Heynes, who then for the first time 
secured the lordship of the territory. We do not refer to him 
in this chapter, as we shall hereafter have occasion to refer to 
him at some length. 

Cugeola, grandson of Giolla Ceallaigh, succeeded to the chief- 
taincy. He was the last of the O'Clery family who received 
the allegiance of the clans of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne. His 
career must have been uneventful, as the annalists record his 
death only, which occurred a.d. 1025. We shall, however, see 
in a future chapter that the O'Clerys retained a high position 
amongst their clansmen until the close of the thirteenth century, 
when they were driven out of their possessions by the De 

Though we contemplate with pain the petty quarrels which 

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left the Irish chieftains powerless for a combined national 
effort against the incursions of the Northern hordes, we must 
at the same time admire the persevering fearlessness with 
which they continued to resist them for over two centuries, 
until triumph completely crowned their efforts at Clontarf. 
The heroism of our people at that period had perhaps few 
parallels in history. The Northmen, though often defeated, 
would return in increased numbers to engage again in plunder 
and bloodshed ; as wave su-cceeds wave, to dash themselves in 
unavailing fury against the crags of some rock-bound coast 
Our Irish chiefs, thoujrh too often engaged in petty warfare 
amongst themselves, seldom failed to meet those pagan plun- 
derers with a determined spirit of resistance ; and frequently 
their resistance was crowned with success, as in the case of the 
victory already recorded, which the chiefs of Aidhne gained 
over the Northmen at Baheen. 

But long before that event, the people of Aidhne, in common 
with the entire western province, had ample reason to fear the 
l)resence of those barbarians. As early as the year 835, Tur- 
gesius, the fierce leaHer of those barbarians, invaded Connaught, 
and ravaged the entire province. Our annalists speak of this 
invasion as a *' vastatio crudeUssima," a devastation of a most 
cruel character. Influenced by an intense hatred of the 
Christian religion, as well as by the prospect of plunder, they 
constantly attacked the monasteries and churches. They 
robbed the altars of their precious ornaments, they seized the 
sacred vessels ; and the shrines, which were costly with gold 
and gems, they carried with them, flinging the relics to the 
winds or into the flames. And after churches and monasteries 
were thus sacrilegiously plundered, they were generally reduced 
to ashes by those barbarians, while their helpless inmates were 
put to the sword, or dragged into slavery worse than death. 

These constantly - recurring scenes of bloodshed, sacrilege, 
and rapine, suggest and explain the origin and urgent need of 
places of refuge, to which the clergy might fly for safety, and 
in which the treasures of the monasteries and churches might 
be comparatively secure. We have the most ample historical 
evidence to show that our round towers were used for this 
purpose during the Danish occupation. Even those who 
endeavour to establish a prehistoric origin for the towers, 
cannot question the accuracy of this evidence. It is very 
noteworthy, too, that those structures are never noticed or 
referred to by our annalists until the time when the need just 
mentioned was well and widely felt. And while our annalists 
testify that they were then used for the purposes indicated, 

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they also testify, alas ! that they did not always afford, suffir 
cient protection to our ecclesiastics against the hostility of pur 
pagan enemies. 

After oveiTunning the province, Turgesius took steps to 
establish his authority there. Keating tells us that he erected 
a fort at " Lough Ribb which commanded the country about 
.He plundered Clonmacnoise, Tirdaglass, and Lothra." 

In course of time Turj^esius was reinforced by a large body 
of his couDtrymeu, who effected a landing on the west coast. 

In Miss Stokes's interesting and valuable map of the Danish 
incursions,^ we see that in A.D. 866 they effected a landing near 
Kilcolgan, probably at Maree. On this occasion they passed 
through the entire territory of Aidhne, and we cannot doubt 
that, on the occasion, so notable a church and monastery as 
those of Kilmacduagh did not escape profanation and plunder. 
It may be interesting to mention even here that Bishop 
Colman, son of Donchadthaigh, was then not long dead. 

We also see, from the map referred to, that the barbarians 
extended their incursions from Inis Cealtra to Baeth in 
Aidhne, which, from its position on the map, may, we think, be 
identified as the ancient church at " Beagh," situated a short 
distance east of the present town of Gort. 

Considering that this terrible struggle was maintained for so 
many generations, and considering, too, the lawlessness which 
usually results from a system of oti'ensive or defensive warfare, 
no matter how just, the wonder is that religion and religious 
institutions could have survived, and that any records of that 
interesting period could have been preserved. It is certain 
that those barbarians, with the true instincts of destruction, 
sought to destroy even our monastic libraries, — ^more valued 
than treasures of silver and gold. In the general ruin it was 
not strange that very many of our libraries were actually 
destroyed. It is beyond doubt that many of the most valuable 
historical treasures of our early Church were then lost for ever. 
This destruction of our ancient records was a misfortune which 
fell more heavily on Connaught than on any of the other 
provinces. Ware, speaking of Connaught at the period, tells 
us that " almost all the ancient charters and registers of the 
bishops of that province are lost, to the great detriment of the 
Church, except some few bare catalogues."* These causes 
considered, it is no wonder that we find the notices of our 
distinguished and learned men in the diocese of Kilmacduagh 
during the period, few and unsatisfactory ; and that the notices 

* Early Irish Christian Architecture. 

* Antiquities, p. 148. 

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of the episcopal succession in the diocess are equally obscure. 
Yet all is not obscure. Indeed, it is a subject of the deepest 
surprise to ascertain that, despite the prevailing disorder, the 
work of education was still continued throughout the land; 
and this at a period when other liuropean countries were 
steeped in darkest ignorance. The annalists mention ^ several 
learned and distinguished men during the latter half of the 
ninth century. The schools of Cloumacnoise and Devenish, of 
Kildare and Durrow, of Roscommon and Tallaght, and of many 
other places, were maintained, and continued to produce men 
whose names have been transmitted to us as remarkable for 
their eminence in learning and wisdom. There are equally 
gratifying evidences of the same intellectual activity during 
the second half of the tenth century. Lanigan, writing of this 
period, says : " It is clear that learning continued to be culti- 
vated during this whole period, notwithstanding its having 
been dreadfully troubled by almost constant wars between the 
Irish and the l)anes, or between themselves."* 

The evidences which have reached us of the successful 
cultivation of learning in this troubled period by descendants 
of the ancient tribes of the Southern Hy Fiachrach, are inter- 
esting. The Four Masters speak of Connmhach, a descendant 
pf.Guaire, a learned man who lived at Clonmacnoise. They 
record his death, a.u. 806, thus: "Connmhach, son of Durbotha, 
a descendant of Guaire Aidhne, scribe of Clonmacnoise . . . 

The death of Indrect, Bishop of Kilmacduagh, is recorded 
by the annalists, a.d. 814 ; and in the same paragraph 
the deaths of many other eminent ecclesiastics are 
recorded. The death of Ailbe of Ceanmhara is noticed. 
From the context, therefore, we can have little doubt that 
Ailbe, too, was one of the distinguished ecclesiastics of the 
period. There can be no doubt as to the identity of Cean- 
luhara, as 0*Donovan tells us it is Kinvara, " a small seaport 
town in a painsh of the same name, in the west of Kiltartan 
barony, County Galway," of which he states St. Coman is 

Amongst the eminent ecclesiastics of that age, Cormac 
O'Killeen of the " Hy Fiachrach Aidhne " holds a very distin- 
guished place. He was a man of recognised piety and learning. 
As Comarb of Ciaran and Coman, he must have had charge of 
several ecclesiastical institutions. And he was himself the 
builder of the great church at Tomgraney, with its Clogteach, 
or i-ound tower. 

1 Lanigan, vol. ii. p. 370. * Ihid. vol. iii. p. 370. 

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The notice of his death already given from the Chronicon 
Scotorum is as follows : " a.d. 964, Cormac Ua Cillin of the 
Ui Fiachrach Aidhne, Comarb of Ciaran and Coman, and 
Comarb of Tuaim Greine, by whom the great church of Tuaim 
Greine and its Cloigtech were constructed, sapiens et senex 
et episcopus, quievit in Christo." 

The Irish Bards have been always regarded as amongst the 
most favoured class in Ireland; and as they were the most 
privileged, so, too, they were amongst the most learned. 
Their course of studies was long. The poet was also obliged 
to be free from every charge that could be a reproach to men 
of learning. 

Flan Mac Lonan of Aidhne holds perhaps the highest place 
amongst the Irish Bards of the middle ages. He was fourth in 
descent from Torpa, who was great - grandson of Guaire the 

He seems to have inherited his poetic inspiration in a great 
measure from his distinguished mother Laitheog, who was 
herself a poetess of repute. 

Of her compositions, O'Curry ^ tells us that there is only a 
fragment extant, which is addressed to her son. It exhorts 
him to liberality and generosity such as became a distinguished 
poet and scholar as he was, and opens with the following 
beautiful lines : — 

" Blessing upon thee, Flann of Aidhne, 
Receive from thy mother counsel ; 
Let not thy noble career be without hospitality, 
Since to thee is granted whatever thou seekest*' 

O'Curry also informs us that the poem was quoted centuries 
(1452) afterwards by Brian Ruadh Mac Conmidhe, and that its 
author is styled the "Nurse of the Learned." The poem 
consisted of forty-eight lines, and its chief purpose seems to 
have been to urge him to the practice of such generous 
hospitality as became his high station. 

Three of his extant poems are described by O'Riely in 
his Irish Writers, Of these, he, however, says that they " are 
not possessed of any extraordinary beauties. " ^ (1) A poem of 
eighty-eight verses on the defeat of Flann Sionna by Lorcan, 
King of Munster; (2) A poem of forty-eight verses in praise 
of the actions of Lorcan ; (3) A poem of forty-five verses on the 
fortress of Ceann Coradh enclosure of harvest stores. O'Curry 
obtained copies of four other poems attributed in ancient 

* Manners and Customs of Ancient Erin^ vol. ii. p. 98. 
« h-ish IVriters, ]), b9. 

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manuscripts to Mac Lonan, of which O'Eiely had no knowledge. 
'J hose poems are noticed at great length by the learned 
O'Curry. It will not be out of place here to give his learned 
analyses of a few of those poems, and in his own graphic 

His elegy on the death of the son of Dalach, he states, 
possesses a " curious historical value," and he continues : " The 
Chief of Tirconnell died in the year 902 ; and on hearing of the 
sad event from his servant Mac Nagcuach, the poet, who, it 
appears, was no stranger to his mansion and his hospitality, 
wrote those verses, consisting of sixty-four stanzas, which he 
sent forthwith to the north; and in them he dwells with 
considerable minuteness on his own reception in former times 
by the deceased chief, and on the various gifts and presents he 
had received from him. From the nature of the presents thus 
described, and the circumstances under which they were given, 
and sometimes procured by the donor, this poem presents to us 
a very interesting glimpse of the mode of life at the court of 
Eignechan at the time. 

*' The most curious part of this poem, however, very valuable 
as it is in a historic point of view, is that in which we are told 
that the chief found himself compelled to purchase peace and 
exemption from plunder and devastation for his territory, from 
the * Danish pirates,* who were at this time committing fearful 
depredations along the seaboard of the island. This peace 
and exemption was purchased by the chief consenting to the 
marriage of his three beautiful daughters to three of the pirate 
commanders." One of the ladies took the earliest opportunity of 
flying from her husband, and carried with her a casket containing 
trinkets of great value. " When the pirate found his wife and 
his casket gone, he flew in a rage to her father, and threatened 
to have his territory ravaged if he did not restore to him his 
casket. This Eignechan undertook to do, and he invited the 
Dane to come on a certain day with his brother commanders, 
and all their immediate followers, to his court, when the gold 
would be restored and the company royally entertained. The 
Danes arrived, and were well entertained accordingly; after 
which the company retired to the lawn of the court, where 
stood a tree upon which the Tirconnellian warriors were accus- 
tomed to try their comparative strength and dexterity, and the 
metal and sharpness of their swords, by striking their mightiest 
strokes into its trunk. Eignechan then stood up to open the 
sports; and, drawing his sword, he struck at the tree, but 
designedly missed it, and the weapon, glancing off with immense 
force, struck his reputed son-in-law on the head, killing him 

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on the spot. This was a preconcerted signal for the Tirconnel- 
lians, who instantly rushed on the rest of the band of their 
enemies, and quickly put them all to the sword. 

" The number of the Danes slain on this occasion may be 
inferred from the stated number of their ships, which was one 
hundred and twenty ; and it is stated that not one of their 
crews escaped. Eignechan then demanded the casket of gold 
from his daughter, and gave it all away on the spot in proper 
proportions to the tribes and to the chief churches of his 
principality. Just, however, as he had concluded the distri- 
bution of the whole of the piratical spoil, Mac Lonan, with his 
company of learned men and pupils, happened to arrive on the 
lawn on a professional visit to his patron. And here we have a 
characteristic trait of the manners of the times. When the chief 
saw the poet, and found himself with empty hands, he blushed 
and was silent ; but his generous people, perceiving his confu- 
sion, immediately knew the cause, and came forward to a man, 
placing each his part of the gold in the hands of his chief. 
Eignechan's face brightened ; he redivided the gold, giving the 
poet a share of it proportionate with his rank and profession, 
and disposing of the remainder amongst those who had so 
generously relieved him of his embarrassment" 

Another poem of this eminent man is well worthy of 
attention. It consists of one hundred and thirty-two lines. 
Its opening line — 

« Delightful, delightful, lofty Echte" 

— indicates the subject with which it deals, — the mountain 
ranges which form the eastern boundary of the diocese of 

The poet goes on then in a vigorous and clear style to 
give some account of the history of the mountain, and the 
tribes and warriors who in succession occupied it, made it 
their hunting-ground, and left their names on some parts of 
it, among whom he mentions Fin Mac Cumhail and his 
warriors.^ He then enumerates by name all the remarkable 
places, the hills, peaks, lakes, rivers, fords, woods, etc. ; and 
he concludes with a vigorous eulogium on the Dalcassians of 
Clare, their munificence and loftiness of soul, of which the 
poet gives a very curious specimen. He relates that on one 
occasion he met a Dalcassian at Magh Fine, in the county of 
Galvvay, who had just concluded a service of twelve months to 
a man of that county. Having met tlie poet on his way 
home, he addressed him in these words : — 

^ Manners and Customs of Ancient Erin, vol. ii. p. 99. 

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" He said to me in prudent words, 
Sing to me the histonr of mj cuuntrj, 
It is sweet to my soul to hear it. 
Thereupon I sang for him the poem. 
Nor then did he show aught ofloth : 
All that he had earned — not mean or meagre — 
To me he gave without deduction." 

We are informed by O'Curry that Mac Lonan was mur- 
dered iu Clare by a party of robbers from the county of 
Waterford. The record of his death, as found in the Four 
Masters, is noteworthy, and may fittingly be quoted here: 
"A.D. 892, Flann, son of Lonan, the Virgil of the race of 
Scota, chief poet of the Gaeidhil, the best poet that was in 
Ireland in his time, was secretly murdered by the sons of 
Corrbuidhe — who were of the Ui Fothaith — at Loch Dachaech 
in Deisi-Mumhan." Such a laudatory notice of the deceased 
poet clearly shows that he was regarded by his countrymen 
as one of the most gifted of our mediseval laureates. He is 
referred to in the Annals of Ulster as Flan Mac Lonan 
O'Guaire. According to the Innisf alien Annals, he died 
A.D. 896. 

For some centuries after the death of St. Colman Mac 
DUAGH, the episcopal succession in the diocese which he had 
founded continued to be involved in considerable obscurity. 
But it may be added that a similar obscurity envelopes the 
history of the episcopal succession in most of the Irish Sees 
during the period of the Danish occupation. In many cases 
the historical records were, as we have seen, destroyed with 
the monasteries and churches; in many cases the succession 
was interrupted by long intervals, owing to the incursions of 
the foreigners; and in many cases also, owing 'to the same 
causes, the bishops sought security in complete seclusion. 
We do not doubt that the Bishops of Kilmacduagh sometimes 
sought that security within the mountain ranges which 
sheltered St. Colman's monastery at Oughtniama. This 
supposition would derive at least some plausibility from the 
example of the founder of the See himself. But we think 
it derives additional confirmation from the invocation in 
Aengus's Litany, in which, according to Petiie, the intercession 
of the " seven holy Bishops of Oughtraama, in Corcomruadh," 
is invoked. It is nf>t, therefore, we think, improbable that 
those "seven holy Bishops of Oughtmama" were Bishops of 

The first of St. Colman's successors in the See of Kilmac- 
duagh whose name is recorded is St. Indrect. His death 

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in the year A.D. 814 is thus recorded by the Four Masters: 
" In the twenty-second year of Aedh Dernidhe, Indreachteach, 
Bishop of Cill Mic Duagh . . . died/* The words of the annalists 
leave no room for doubting the identity of the See, and were 
there any doubts possible, they would be removed by O'Donovan's 
editorial note, in which it is expressly stated that the See 
referred to is that of Kilmacduagh. His death as Bishop of 
Kilmacduagh is also recorded by Ware, Colgan, and Lanigan.^ 
Unfortunately, however, those writers have not preserved any 
facts of interest regarding his holy life. 

In the year A.D. 846, we find the death of Colma^n, son of 
Donncothaigh, successor of Colman of Cill Mic Duagh, recorded 
by the Four Masters. There can be no doubt that he was the 
immediate successor of St. Indrect in the See. But thouj^h his 
episcopate anil death are referred to on the high authority of 
our annalists, his name is entirely omitted by Ware and other 
authorities who profess to furnish a list of the bishops of the 

Until the year a-D. 967, our annalists give no other entry 
relative to the See of Kilmacduagh. But in that year we find 
the following record : " Donnchadu, son of Cathlan, Abbot of 
Cill Mic Duagh . . . died." Though we know that the office of 
abbot was frequently combined in our early Irish Church with 
that of bishop, yet we are unable to say with certainty that 
this Donnchadh was also bishop of the See. 
1 EccUs. Hist, vol. iii. p. 266. 

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The Chieftains of Aidhne — Brian Boroinihe marries Mor, daughter of 
Flan, Lord of Aidhne — MaelrunaiHh O'Heyne commands a 
division of the Irish army at Clontarf — Is slain in that engage- 
ment, with most of his tribe. 

We have seen in the foregoing chapter that CugeolaO'Clery, 
who died a.d. 1025, was the last chieftain of his name to whom 
the clans of Aidhne yielded allegiance. A junior branch of 
the family had already risen to eminence, which was destined 
to retain for centuries the chieftaincy of their native territory. 
Its founder was Eidhin, second son of Cleirigh, whose death as 
chief of Aidhne is recorded, A.D. 887, and he is regarded by the 
O'Heynes of Kilmacduagh as their common ancestor. He had 
one son Flan, and one daughter Mor, who was the first wife 
of Ireland's supreme monarch, Brian of the Tributes. 

The chieftains of Aidhne had approved themselves brave, 
and their royal lineage lent additional prpsti;»e to their military 
successes. These were characteristics which the brave Munster 
prince, who, in the opening of the el&venth century, attained 
supreme power in Ireland, was not slow to perceive and appre- 
ciate. Brian, son of Cenedeih, was indeed already connected 
with the western province by a very near and dear tie. His 
mother Beibhionn was daughter of the King of West Con- 
naught. But his mai-riage alliance with the chieftains of 
Aidhne, by espousing the Princess Mor,* dau^jhter of Flan, 
rendered his connection with the western province still more 
intimate. By this marriage there were three sons, — Murchadh, 
Conchobar, and Flan, who, with their royal father, were slain 
on the bloody field of Clontarf.* 

It is recorded that Murchadh, while yet a boy, distinguished 
himself, A.D. 978, when in a hand-to-hand engagement he slew 
the chief of Hy Fighenty, on which occasion Brian became sole 
and supreme King of Munster. His connection with Connaught 
secured for him the powerful and willing support of the 
western clans. 

Both Maelrunaidh and Maelfavail, sons of Flan, succeeded 
^ Manners and Customs of Hy Fiachrach, p. 393. * Loc, cit, 


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to the chieftaincy of Aidhne, Maelrunaidh, who from his piety- 
was surnamed ** na Padre," — of the prayer, — took a prominent 
part in the great national effort to destroy the aggression of 
the Northmen. Brian's most active supporters in ettectinGf the 
great muster of the West, were, with O'Connor, the provincial 
king, O'Kelly, Prince of Hy Maine, and O'Heyne of Hy Fiach- 
rach Aidhne. 

Keating, in referring to O'Kelly's action on this occasion, 
in mustering a large number of men, adds: "And this gave 
encouragement to the princes of Aidhne, with many others of 
the first quality and interest in their country, to gather what 
strength they were able, which amounted to a considerable 
number, because of their near relation to Brian Boroimhe, 
whose mother was a princess of that province." i 

The second division of Brian's forces at Clontarf, which 
consisted of the Connaught troops, was commanded by 
O'Connor, King of Connaught, Maelrunaidh, Prince of Hy 
Fiachrach Aidhne, O'Kelly, Prince of Hy Maine, and 
O'Flaherty of West Connaught. They were supported by a 
strong body of Munster troops. This powerful corps was to 
engage the second wing of the enemy, which, according to 
some writers, was led by the fierce wamor Brodar. 

The character of the engagement is known to all. It is 
perhaps most graphically summarised in the words of the 
Four Masters : " The foreigners of the west of Europe 
assembled against Brian, and they took with them ten 
hundred men with coats of maii. A spirited, fierce, violent, 
vengeful, and furious battle was fought between them, the 
likeness of which was not to be found at that time." ^ 

But the mail-clad warriors, with their countrymen, were 
defeated, and the power of the Danes was crushed for ever in 
our land. 

The victory gained on that memorable occasion was, how- 
ever, purchased by the blood of Ireland's noblest and bravest. 
Ireland's monarch Brian, "the Augustus of the West of 
Europe, in the eighty -eighth year of his age,"* was amongst 
the slain ; and with him was his son Murchadh, grandson of 
Flan O'Heyne, and heir-apparent to the sovereignty. Imme- 
diately after those of the king's household lost on that field of 
glory, we find honourable mention of O'Kelly of Hy Maine, 
and Maelrunaidh, Lord of Aidhne, who on that day also 
sacrificed their lives for their country's weal. It is perhaps 
impossible to form any accurate estimate of the numbers of 

' Keating, p. 496. « Four Masters, 1014. 

» Ibid, A.D. 1013. 

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ihe slain, as they are variously computed; that they were 
very numerous is certain. According to a tradition which 
O'Donovan regards as of authority, the carnage amongst the 
Connaught clans was so dreadful, that "very few of the 
O'Kellys or O'Heynes survived it" ^ 

There are few events in the chequered history of our 
country which Irish students may dwell upon with such 
natural feelings of pride, as the glorious victory gained by 
the monarch Brian at Clontarf, a.d. 1014 We must admire 
the genius of the prince who evoked order from the confusion 
of over two centuries of lawless turbulence ; who created 
strength from comparative weakness, and union from discords 
which held a nation so long divided. We must admire the 
valour of a people who, galled to madness by continuous 
aggression and crying injustice, resolved to drive for ever 
from their shores the cruel oppressors of their religion and 
race, or perish in one grand and general eflfort for freedom. 
And we may perhaps, without weakness, drop a tear upon the 
page which records the heroism of the monarch, who, while 
the shouts of his victorious army came ringing in his ears, 
fell, clasping to his bosom the sacred symbol of man's redemp- 

As regards the monarch's efforts to promote the religious 
and material interests of the country, we cannot over-estimate 
his untiring activity and success. He rebuilt the monasteries 
in a style of elegance to which they had not hitherto attjdned. 
He also laboured to restore the libraries which the Northmen 
had destroyed. For this object he commissioned men of 
learning to go abroad and purchase new supplies. 

"He sent professors and masters to teach wisdom and 
knowledge, and to buy books beyond the sea and the great 
ocean, because their writings and their books in every church 
and every sanctuary where they were burned and thrown into 
the waters by the plunderers from the beginning to the end." * 

As might be expected, the erection and protection of 
churches was the object of his special care. In his life we 
read that " by him were founded cells and churches, and were 
made stone houses, bell houses, and wood houses in it"* 

And again : ^ It is Brian that gave out seven monasteries, 
both furniture, and cattle, and land, and thirty-two bell houses." 

We believe it will be admitted that the only bell-houses of 
that period of which history knows anything are our round 

1 Four Masters, a.d. 1013. ' Warz of the Gael wUh the OaedhilL 

* Life by Mac Liag. 


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towers, which were also used for the various other purposes of 
protection and defence which we have already indicated 
And though the number of bell-houses attributed to Brian 
by his biographer be large, yet we do not find that the names 
are particularised in more than one instance, that, namely, of 
the tower of Tomgraney. 

In the history of the Wars of the Gaedhill with the Gad^ 
we have similar entries showing his active energy in the con- 
struction and repairs of churches and towers : " By him were 
greeted also noble churches in Erin and their sanctuaries. . . . 
Many works also, and repairs^ were made by him. By him 
were erected the church of Gill Dalua, and the church of 
Iniscealtra, and the Clochteach of Tuaim Greine, and many 
other works in like manner." 

In the case of the churches mentioned in the foregoing 
passage, it is only to the restoration of those churches that 
reference is made. Many other churches were similarly 
rebuilt by him. We cannot, therefore, think that the chief 
church of Aidhne received no share of the monarch's 
patronage. His intimate connection with its chief lay patrons, 
the O'Heynes, renders such a supposition in the last degree 
improbable ; and, as already indicated, we can scarcely doubt 
that the restoration of St. Colman*s Church there, and the 
erection of its tower, was one of the earliest works in which he 

Apart altogether from historical evidence, similarity in the 
architectural alterations eflfected in the churches of KUlaloe, 
Inis Cealtra, and Tomgraney, during the monarch's reign, are 
noticed by such modem authorities as Brash and Miss Stokes. 
Now, the general features of the oldest portions of the Kilmac- 
duagh tower and cathedral are quite simileir, and belong to the 
same period. They are so classified by Miss Stokes, but 
belong rather to its opening than to its close. Though in 
the cathedral and tower of Kilmacduagh we have no traces 
of Eomanesque, we have the latest and best of the old pelasgic 
work, — the large polygonal blocks of well-dressed ashlar, and 
the cemented and closely-fitting joints. 

So similar, indeed, is the masonry to which we are referring 
in Tomgraney and Kilmacduagh, that the description of the 
one, which we take from Mr. Brash, exactly applies to the 
other: "The west end of Tomgraney church is the finest 
specimen of the primitive type in our island ; its massive 
pelasgic-looking doorway, and grand old masonry, strike both 
antiquary and architect with astonishment." These words 
apply without a change to Kilmacduagh. 

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Chieftains of Kilmacduagh in the eleventh and twelfth centuries — Wars 
between the Princes of Thomond and Connaught — Hugh O'Connor 
slain at Turlogh Aidhne, near Clarinbridge — Raids on Thomond — 
Kilmacduagh invaded, 1116, by O'Brien — Roveheagh attacked — 
O'Brien retreats — Again, 1117, invades Kilmacduagh — O'Brien 
defeated — Chiefs of Aidhne inaugurated at Roveheagh — In 1133 
Turlogh O'Brien invades Kilmacduagh -^ Destroys Roveheagh and 
ravages the West — O'Connor invades Munster 1151 — Herenachs, or 
lay patrons, farm the Termon, or Church lands — O'Heynes 
Herenachs of Kilmacduagh — Synod of Kells. 

Maelfavail O'Hkyne, brother of Maelrunaidh, the hero of 
Clontarf, attained to the chieftaincy of Aidhne soon after 
A.D. 1025. He seems to have retained the chieftaincy of his 
territory for the unusual period of twenty-three years. His 
death is recorded by the annalists, AD. 1048. 

He was succeeded in the chieftaincy by his son Cugeola. 
But of this chieftain we have hardly any record. ODonovan 
thinks he may be the Lord of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, of whom 
the annalists record that he slew Donald Euadh O'Brien 
A.D. 1056. This no doubt occurred in one of those fatal 
struggles between the O'Briens and O'Connors, which con- 
tinued with little interruption during the eleventh and twelfth 
centuries, and in which the chieftains of Aidhne usually took 
part. Such a fatal conflict took place at Corcomroe, just 
about that particular date, on which occasion Donogh O'Brien 
suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of his nephew and his 
Connaught allies. 

Those struggles originated in the mutual jealousies of the 
princes of the house of O'Brien. No sooner had they consigned 
the remains of their heroic father to his honoured grave, after 
the victory of Clontarf, than this spirit of dissension manifested 
itself, with the result that the influence which should naturally 
belong to the family of Ireland's late monarch was much 
weakened. The kings of Connaught were quick to notice 
those elements of weakness in the royal house of Munster, and 
to profit by them. In the divisions of their powerful neigh- 


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hours they saw a favourahle opportunity of aspiring to more 
than mere provincial rule. Accordingly, we see them, a few 
years after Clontarf,^ invading Thomond, and plundering and 
destroying Kincora. By this act of aggression was inaugurated 
a long period of sanguinary strife between the two provinces. 
The conterminous districts of Clare and Gfidway became 
necessarily the theatre of most of those recurring engage- 
ments. Indeed, the civil history of North Thomond and of 
Aidhne might for nearly two hundred years after be sum- 
marised as devoted to strife and bloodshed through the rivalry 
of those contending royal houses. 

Hugh O'Connor had early espoused the claims of Turlogh, 
grandson of Brian Boroimhe, against Donogh, that monarch's 
youngest son.* This combination led to the crushing defeat 
of Donogh's troops at Corcomroe about 1055, to which we 
have already referred.' O'Connor, desirous of giving as much 
completeness as possible to Donogh's defeat, led his Connaught 
troops against Kincora. On this occasion he destroyed not 
merely the fortress, but the town and church of Killaloe. 

Though Turlogh O'Brien had availed himself of the support 
of his Western allies in crushing his powerful rival, he seems 
at the same time to have distrusted their zeaL He accordingly 
availed himself of the support of the King of Leinster to 
invade Connaught and humble its ambitious king. The 
invasion ended in disaster. O'Connor had intimation of his 
enemies' movements, and, having carefully prepared an 
ambuscade, into which they fell, they were defeated with 
loss. King Hugh O'Connor himself fell a few years later at 
Turlogh Aidhne, near Clarinbridge, A.D. 1067. O'Donovan 
tells us that this Turlogh Aidhne is probably the same 
place as Turlogh Art in Aidhne, between Moyseola and 
Kilcoman, which, as we have seen in a former chapter, is one 
of the most remarkable of our early battlefielda The notice 
of the O'Connor's fall, which we find in the annals, is so 
suggestive, that it may, we think, be inserted here. 

"The battle of Turlach Aidhnaich,* between Aedh of the 
Broken Spear, O'Connor, King of Connaught, and Aedh, the 
son of Art Uallach Ua Euairc, and the men of Breifne along 
with him: Where fell Aedh O'Conchobhair, King of the 
Province of Connaught, the helmsman of the valour of Leath 
Chuinn ; and the chiefs of Connaught fell along with hiuL" 

Roderick O'Connor succeeded as King of Connaught. Less 
fortunate than his predecessor, he was dethroned by Turlogh 

1 A.D. 1016. * -ETweory of the Dalcas, Cronnolly, p. 287. 

• Memoirs ofihe O'SrienSy p. 44. * a.d. 1067. 

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O'Brien, and it was only on the death of Turlogh that he 
attempted to reassert his authority as king. Soon after the 
accession of Mortogh, Turlogh O'Brien's second son, O'Connor 
invaded Thomond^ with a powerful army, and defeated 
Mortogh O'Brien on the Shannon, and again at Corcomroe. 
Indeed, Corcomroe was ravaged by the Western troops three 
times that year I And, speaking of his raids there, the annalists 
add : " And it is wonderful if he left any cattle or people without 
destroying on those occasions." In a naval engagement, the 
Munster forces were once more defeated by the Connaught 
troops. O'Connor soon after, aided by Mac Loughlin, Prince of 
Aileach, marched on Kincora, which he left in ruins, with 
many other places of importance. 

In the opening years of the twelfth century, we find the 
energies of the Connaught king as active as ever. In 1115 
he " plundered the country" as far as limerick.^ And in the 
following year he marched against Kincora, which he again 
completely ruined. His gallant rival was, indeed, prevented 
by illness from offering any effective opposition. 

Meantime, the command of the Ualgais was assumed by 
Dermod, brother of King Mortogh O'Brien. In order to avenge 
recent defeats and humiliations, he invaded Aidhne, a.d. 1116, 
and proceeded to attack Roveheagh, then a fortress of import- 
ance, which was situated in the modern parish of Clarinbridge.' 
After a fierce attack on the fortress, Dermod O'Brien was 
compelled to retreat to Thomond by a hasty flight, having 
" left behind them their provisions, their horses, their arms, 
and their armour." * 

To avenge his defeat, Dermod O'Brien was in the field in the 
following year, a.d. 1117. He again invaded Aidhne and plun- 
dered it But the Connaught forces, quickly summoned together, 
and commanded by Cathal O'Connor, were sent in pursuit, and 
defeated them, pursuing them to the mountains of Burren and 
Echtge, and committing " acts of conflagration and slaughter." * 

Roveheagh, which is referred to in the preceding passage, was 
the place of inauguration for the chiefs of Aidhne. It must 
have been, therefore, a place of considerable importance and of 

We are informed by O'Donovan ^ that the place of inaugura- 
tion of Irish chieftains was " always a celebrated or remarkable 

* A.D. 1088. " Memoir of the O'Briens, p. 60. 

* North-west of the parish of Kileely, barony of Dunkellin, County 

* Four Masters, a.d. 1116. • IHd, 1118. 

* Custonu of Hy Fiachrach, p. 451. 

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place, appointed of old for the purpose, where there was a 
stone with the impression of two feet," believed to mark the 
size of the feet of the first chief of the territory. The historian 
of the territory should be present at the inauguration. An 
oath was administered to the chief, by which he bound himself 
to respect the laws and customs of his tribe and temtory. As 
a symbol of authority, a white wand was placed in his hand as 
he stood in the supposed footprints of his predecessor. There 
were also other ceremonies observed, some of which were of a 
distinctly rehgious character. But, in every instance, it was 
indispensable that the chief or prince should be descended from 
the original conqueror of the territory, free from personal 
blemish, and of an age to lead his troops. 

We find no notice of any recognised chief of Aidhne during 
the closing half of the eleventh century, notwithstanding the 
important events which mark its history. The succession from 
Cugeola, the last Lord of Aidhne, whom we have noticed, is 
given as follows by O'Donovan : ^ — 

" GioUa na Naomb 0*Heyne was son of Cugeola ; 
Flann was son of GioUa na Naomb ; 
Connor was son of Flann ; 
Hugh O'Heyne was son of Connor." 
There can be little doubt that this Hugh O'Heyne was the 
recognised chief of Aidhne, and the same Lord of Aidhne who 
in 1121 aided O'Connor in efiecting a disastrous invasion of 
Munster. Soon after the events of 1117, Turlogh O'Connor, 
then aspiring to the position of monarch of Ireland, invaded 
Munster, and marched against Kincora, which he again de- 
stroyed. Continuing his march southward, he burned Cashel 
and Lismore, and ravaged St. Carthagh's ternion lands. In this 
incursion O'Connor was supported by O'Flaherty of West 
Connaught,^ and by Hugh O'Heyne, Lord of Hy Fiachrach 
Aidhne, both of whom were slain. The Annals of Ulstery 
recording O'Heyne's death on that memorable occasion, speak 
of him as " King of OTiachrach." Eoused by such sacrilegious 
outrages, the Munster forces rally under Connor O'Brien, and, 
attacking the enemy at Ardfinan, gain a complete victory.* 

In A.D. 1124, a strong cnstle was erected at Galway, where 
two of the sons of Auslis O'Heyne were slain by O'Flaherty of 
lar Connaught. The annalists, recording the death, A.D. 1125, 
state that it occurred through treachery. There is no reason to 
believe that this Auslis O'Heyne or his sons were chiefs of their 
native territory. Hugh, Lord of Aidhne, seems to have been suc- 

* Cmtoms of Hy Fiachrach^ p. 398. * Four Masters, a.d. 1121. 

• lar Connaicghtf p. 374. 

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ceeded by his son, Gillikelly O'Heyne, who was slain with his 
son Hugh, A-D. 1153. 

Towards the middle of the century, a.d. 1132, we find 
Turlogh O'Brien, King of Munster, preparing to avenge the 
humiliations to which his beautiful province had been so 
recently subjected. He accordingly marched into Aidhne, A.D. 
1133. He laid siege to Roveheagh, seized and levelled the fort, 
and destroyed the historic " red beech " which cast the shelter of 
ancient branches over the inauguration-stone of the territorial 
chiefs. O'Donovan, commenting on this entry of the annalists, 
says : " This tree, which was evidently the inauguration-tree of 
the Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, gave name to the hamlet of Eove- 
heagh in the parish of Kileely, barony of Dunkellin and 
county of Galway." The fort was, he thinks, a circular 
" caisseal," or stone wall, built in the cyclopean fashion around 
the tree.i Marching soon after towards Athlone, O'Brien 
encountered the King of Connaught, whom he defeated with 
great slaughter. Among the slain was O'Flaherty of lar Con- 
naught, by whom, as we have seen, the sons of Auslis O'Heyne 
had been treacherously slain. Turlogh O'Connor was compelled 
to fly before the victorious Munster troops into the fastnesses 
of West Connaught. Meantime the victors laid waste "the 
entire of Connaught, from the river Drowes to the Shannon, 
and to the southern mountains of Echtge, and took with 
them a prey of a thousand cows.'* * 

Encouraged and aided by Teigue, brother of Turlogh O'Brien, 
Turlogh O'Connor invaded Munster, a.d. 1151.^ He had on this 
occasion secured the support of the infamous Leinster king, 
MacMorrough. The annalists tell us that they "plundered 
Munster before them till they reached Moin Mor,"* in the 
present parish of Emly, County Tipperary. There a fierce 
struggle took place between O'Brien and the confederates, in 
which O'Brien was defeated, with a loss of seven thousand men, 
— '*^ a slaughter unparalleled throughout the war of succession." 
Having banished Turlogh O'Brien, O'Connor asserted his 
supremacy over Munster, and was recognised as Ard-Righ with 
opposition. He accordingly divided Munster, and appointed 
two subordinate kings, assigning the sovereignty of Thomond to 
Teigue O'Brien, and that of Desmond to Dermod Mac Carthy. 
The exiled King of Munster, however, sought and secured the 
aid of Mac Loughlin, Prince of Aileach, and of the Northern 
tribes. O'Connor, supported by his Connaught troops and his 
Munster allies, marched without delay into Westmeath. As a 

* lar Connaughty p. 375. '* Ibid. 

« Four Masters. * Ibid. 

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powerful detachment of the Connaught forces, under command 
of Roderick O'Connor,^ heir-apparent, were pitching their tents 
at Fardrum, County Westmeath, the Northmen rushed upon 
them unexpectedly, and defeated them with great slaughter. 
Giollachealiaigh Ua Eidhin, Lord of Aidhne, and hia.8on Aedh 
(Hugh) are the first amongst the chiefs who fell on that fatal 
day, whose names are given by the Four Masters. 

The chieftainship of Aidhne, thus rendered vacant by the 
death of Gillikelly O'Heyne, was assumed by his second son, 
Gilla na Naomb,^ of whom the Irish annals preserve no record. 

In 1154 we find Turlogh O'Connor once more engaged in one 
of those predatory incursions so frequent during his reign, in 
which his son was slain, with one of the subordinate chiefs of 
Aidhne, — Donnchadh O'Cathail, Lord of Cinel Aedh in Echtge, 
the eastern district of Aidhne. 

The hostility between the Munster chiefs and those of South 
Connaught, fostered by the ambition of these princes, seemed 
only to grow in intensity with time, as we shall see in a future 
chapter. And though Turlogh O'Connor maintained till his 
death in a.d. 1156 his authority as Ard-Eigh with opposition, 
it must be felt that the success of his ambitious aims was 
purchased at a very high price. Nor is it easy, on a review of 
his reign, to see his special claims on the high-sounding and 
somewhat adulatory terras in which he is referred to by the 
annalists as " the splendour of Ireland, and Augustus of the 

This brief outline of the civil history of St. Colman Mac 
Duagh's diocese during one of the most troubled periods of our 
history, will help us to understand more clearly the ecclesiast- 
ical aspects of the history of the period. If we see abuses 
with pain, which robbed the country of much of its earlier 
fame, we can also see that they originated in warfare, and were 
continued by the turbulent conduct of petty chieftains. The 
picture of prevailing abuses under which the Irish Church 
groaned in the middle of the eleventh century, is graphically 
drawn by the Four Masters. Writing under date 1050, they 
say : " There grew up dishonesty amongst all, so that no protec- 
tion was extended to church or fortress, gossipred or mutual 
oath." But the Synod of Killaloe, held in that very year, 
which "enacted a law and a restraint on every injustice,"* 
showed the anxiety of the Church to deal with those evils. 
Early in the twelfth century the work of reform was still more 
energetically continued by St. Celsus of Armagh, whose sanctity 

* Four Masters, A.D. 1163. * "Servant of the Saints." 

* Four Masters. 

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and influence was recognised by natives and forei|(ners alike. 
The same great work of reform, continued with still greater 
energy by St. Malachy, seems to have been crowned with 
signal success by the celebration of the Synod of Kells, con- 
vened in A.D. 1152 under Cardinal Paparo. 

It was natural, perhaps necessary, that the acts of violence, 
aggression, and lawlessness which marked the period should 
tend to social disorganisation, and prove fatal to the interests 
of the Church. The Church groaned under the oppression of 
the laity. The descendants of those by whom the Church was 
originally endowed became her greatest oppressors, and fre- 
quently seized the revenues of the Church, and her offices of 
honour and authority only for themselves. Montalembert, 
referring to this abuse, writes : " After the ninth century, in 
consequence of the relaxation of discipline, the invasion of 
married clerks, and the increasing value of land, the line of 
spiritual descent confounded itself more and more with that of 
natural inheritance. And then arose a crowd of abbots purely 
lay and hereditary, as proud of being the descendants of some 
holy founder, as they were happy to possess the vast domains 
with which the foundation had been gradually enriched." ^ 

It is well known that this crying abuse extended so far that 
thQ See of Armagh * continued to be held for fifteen generations 
by lay intruders. In the instructions given by Pope Innocent 
III. to Cardinal Paparo regarding the celebration of the 
Council of Kells, he refers to this evil as "that pernicious 
practice which allowed sons and grandsons to succeed to their 
fathers and grandfathers in ecclesiastical benefices." * To this 
truly pernicious practice St. Bernard ascribes the evils by 
which the Church was afflicted in the twelfth century. 

Those lay intruders are commonly known in Irish history 
as " Herenachs." Their office was intended to be a means of 
relieving ecclesiastics of the distracting charge of temporalities 
by transferring them to the care of laymen. It was, therefore, 
originally useful, and had the sanction of the Church. It was 
natural that those selected for such offices of trust, should be 
of the families by whom the endowments of the churches or 
monasteries were originally made. But those families soon 
claimed election to those offices as a matter of right. They 
could present for election to the office any member of the 
family whom they wished, though recognising the bishop's 
right to reject him "for just reasons." In such a case the 
family would proceed to a new election. It was only when 

> M(mJk» of the Wedy vol. iii. p. 287. « Ware. 

' CcmmevU. de Regno Hih,y Lombard, p. 99. 

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the family became extinct, or failed to agree as to a choice, 
that the right of election of Herenachs was ceded to the 
clergy. When the family became extinct, the bishop and 
clergy were to choose another family from which to select their 
Herenachs, under the usual conditions.* 

The Church lands, usually designated "termon" lands, of 
which the Herenachs obtained charge, were free from all 
secular or State taxes, and were charged only, as Ware tells us, 
" with certain pensions to be paid yearly to the bishop of the 
diocese whereto they belonged."^ But in farming those 
termon lands they generally consulted most for their own 
interests, disregarding the rights of the churchep which they 
were bound to protect. Being generally laymen and married, 
their cupidity was stimulated by a desire to enrich their 
children. And as the evil increased with time, the authority 
and control of abbot and bishop was entirely ignored. Even 
Gerald Barry assures us of this. He writes, "Though the 
consent of the bishop was originally necessary to the appoint- 
ment of the Herenach, yet, in course of time, many of them 
maintained the abbey lands in their person in defiance of both 
temporal and spiritual authority." It was thus that those men 
even dared to assume the name as well as the emoluments of 
abbot, and sometimes even of bishop. 

Under the title "Coarb" — a term also familiar to Irish 
students — we not unfrequently meet the Irish lay bishop of 
our medisevfd Church. Its meaning, therefore, is analogous to 
that of Herenach, and is sometimes used for it. But it is 
most generally used to designate a successor to the dignity 
of prelate. The term, no doubt, may be sometimes used to 
designate canonically consecrated bishops. This is the opinion 
of Sir John Davis. But it is certain that the Coarbs were 
very frequently laymen who usurped the position and emolu- 
ments of bishop. But though assuming the insignia of the 
episcopal ofiBce, and arrogating to themselves the influence 
and titles of abbots or bishops, they were careful to engage 
duly consecrated ecclesiastics for the discharge of the sacred 
functions of their office. Hence, though having neither 
orders nor ecclesiastical training, they are frequently spoken 
of as abbots and bishops in our histories. It is not to be 
wondered at that such men should have exercised an evil 
influence on the religious houses and sees which were subject 
to their authority. In vain did the Church remonstrate against 
the injustice and profanation. The evil went on increasing, 
until at length it was met by the active opposition of St. 
* Ware, « Ware's Anivi, p. 43. 

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Malachy, and of the other great prelates who adorned the 
Irish Church at the period, by the scathing invectives of St 
Bernard, and by the marked censure of the Pope. 

It would, however, be an error to assume that this great 
abuse was unknown outside Ireland. It was also well known 
in Germany and France, though perhaps less general in those 
countries than in Ireland. 

The Church lands were, as we have seen, called " termon " 
lands, from the Latin word terminus^ a boundary. The 
limits of such lands were determined by the bishop and 
prince of the territory. It was a matter of great importance 
that the limits of those termon lands, should be easily 
known, as they secured a certain right of sanctuary and 
important civil exemptions for the tenants who lived upon 

The termon lands of Kilmacduagh were extensiva Harris 
mentions a deed of sale effected by a certain Eoland Lynch, 
Protestant Bishop of Kilmacduagh, to Robert Blake, of 
the lands given by King Guaire to the See, and consisting 
of twenty-eight denominations or town-lands, for £5 sterling 
a year. This number of town-lands is not much less than 
those of which the parish of Kilmacduagh consists at present. 
We think it not improbable that the village of Tarmon, where 
a rude stone cross stood until recently, marked the southern 
limit of the Kilmacduagh Church lands ; while a similar cross, 
which may still be seen at the village of Cranna, may have 
marked their limit on the north. 

The O'Heynes, direct descendants of the first royal patron 
of Kilmacduagh, were, as might be expected, Herenachs of the 
See. At even a comparatively late period we find Edmond 
O'Hejme mentioned as Herenach of Kilmacduagh. There is 
no evidence, however, that they abused their position as 
trustees of the Church lands. There is, on the other hand, 
presumptive evidence that their generosity to the See was not 
unworthy of the descendants of the open-handed and charitable 
Guaire. The splendid monastery, rebuilt under their patronage 
for the Canons Regular of St. Augustine on the site of St. 
Colman's monastery, is still popularly known as "Hynes 
Abbey." Even at the present day the striking remains of its 
ornate architecture command the admiration of every visitor. 

But we seek in vain for one of the family who was Bishop 
of Kilmacduagh, or " Coarb " of St. Colman. It would have 
been only in harmony with the spirit of the times, and a 
comparatively easy matter, to place some "junior member 
of the family " in possession of the dignity and its emoluments. 

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We seek in vain for an O'Heyne amongst the bishops of the 
See. Yet we find that the family governed some of our most 
important Irish Sees with wisdom, sanctity, and learning. 
Two bishops of the name assisted at the Synod of Kells, — 
namely, Hugh O'Heyne,^ who is styled Archbishop of Connaught, 
and Aedh or Hugh O'Heyne, Bishop of Cork. In 1205, 
O'Heyne, Archbishop of Cashel, retired from his diocese to 
Holy Cross Abbey. Connor 0*Heyne, Bishop of Killaloe, 
attended the Fourth Lateran Council, and died 1217. In A.D. 
1438 ^ we find John 0*Heynes, of the Kinvara family, governing 
the See of Clonfert. The absence of their name, therefore, 
from the bishops of the See of which they were patrons, would 
seem to indicate on their part a strong disapproval of one of 
the worst abuses of the age in connection with lay patronage. 

Under the circumstances of those troubled ages, it was not 
unnatural that abuses should have arisen in Ireland. And 
when, in a.d. 1152, Cardinal Paparo, Legate of Pope Eugene 
III., opened the Council of Kells, the suppression of this lay 
ascendancy was one of the great questions with which the 
three hundred ecclesiastics assembled there were called upon 
to deal. 

Another measure, full of interest in itself and of utility to 
the Irish Church, which occupied the special attention of the 
Synod, was a reduction in the number of Sees and a readjust- 
ment of Irish dioceses. 

Up to this period the limits of diocese in Ireland, though 
often conterminous with the territory of the tribe or clan, 
were not always clearly defined. There were also, prior to 
this period, many bishops in Ireland without any fixed sees 
whatever. Hence the number of bishops in Ireland in the 
eleventh and twelfth centuries, and earlier, was very large. 
This can be no matter of surprise, if it be true, as advanced 
by many writers, that St. Patrick consecrated not less than 
three hundred and fifty bishops ^ in our country. 

The number of bishops was therefore, from an early period, 
in excess of the number of Sees. We are even informed by 
Lombard* that a diocese might sometimes have as many 
bishops as it had churches. There can be little doubt that 
this was frequently owing to lay patronage. Indeed, we are 
assured by Lombard that Ireland had a larger number of 
bishops than England, Scotland, and islands of the British 
seas together. 

1 Keating, p. 518. « Fi6. Bern, p. 220. 

* M(ynki of ike Wed, vol. iiL p. 281 ; Lanigan, voL i. p. 335. 

* Com, De Regno Eib.j p. 31. 

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But the reduction of the number of Sees and the formation 
of parishes, though necessarily a work of extreme difficulty, 
was, with the co-operation of the Irish Church, successfully 
effected by the Cardinal Legate. 

While respecting the primacy of Armagh, he established an 
Archiepiscopal See in each province, and assigned to each a 
certain number of suffragan Sees. The entire number of 
suffragan Sees then established in Ireland is estimated by 
Dr. Carew ^ as thirty-four. 

The amalgamation of the old dioceses, as given by Ware,* 
is very interesting. But for our purposes it is only necessary 
to see the arrangement of Sees in the western province. 

Under Guaire were the Sees of Mayo, Killala, Roscommon, 
Achondry, Clonmacnoise, and Kilmacogh. The quaint Keat- 
ing* gives nearly the same ecclesiastical division. "The 
jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Tuam extends over the 
dioceses of Mayo, Killala, Roscommon, Clonfert, Achonry, 
Cluain Mac Nois, and Kilmacogh, in Irish Cill Mac Duagh. 
But these," he adds, " are now fewer, and some of them are 
entirely unknown." The See of Mayo was afterwards united 
to TuauL The diocese of Roscommon is now known as 
Elphin. The diocese of Clonmacnoise was united to the 
diocese of Ardagh, after a protracted ecclesiastical controversy. 
The diocese of Emaghdime, not mentioned, was united to 
Tuam in 1324. The union is regarded by Mr. Hardiman as 
" as singular an instance of ecclesiastical rapacity as occurs in 
the ecclesiastical annals of Ireland.^ It is therefore clear that, 
amidst the changes and amalgamations, the independence and 
territorial extent of the diocese of Kilmacduagh were respected 
by the Legate and the Synod of Kells. 

Of the Bishops of Kilmacduagh during the period under 
review we discover hardly any record. From A.D. 967, the 
date of Abbot Donchadh's death, to the Synod of Kells, wo have 
only one entry referring to them in the Annals. 

In A.D. 1093 the Four Masters record the death of the 
successor of Colman of Cill Mac Duagh. From the Annuls of 
Ulster it would appear that his name w£ts Ailill O'Niallan. 
In the fuller entry of the Vlder Annals he is styled Coarb 
of Kiaran, Cronan, and Mac Duagh, 

1 Ecdes. Hut, p. 130. * Antiq. p. 39. 

* HUt of Ireland^ p. 618. * Hardiman, Hid. of Qohoay^ p. 234. 

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CliieftaiiiB of Kilmacduagh in the thirteenth centunr — Aims of Boderick 
O'Connor frustrated by the rivalry of hia children — Treachery of 
Murrough O'Connor— Roderick retires to Aidhne—He abdicates — 
Battle of Kilmacduagh, 1199 — Its consequences — Invasions of Kil- 
macduagh by O'Brien — O'Heyne is blinded by O'Connor — Owen 
O'Heyne defeats O'Brien— Battle of Ardrahan, 1225— The De Burgos 
— Was William de Burgo conqueror of Connaught? — £piscopal 

Roderick O'Connor, who, as we have seen, was defeated at 
Fardrum, A.D. 1153, was intimately connected with the territory 
of Aidhne and its chieftains. After the death of Gillikelly 
O'Heyne, who fell at Fardrum in that fatal struggle, his son, 
GioUa na Naonib, succeeded to the chieftaincy. \Ve are told 
by O'Donovan that the future monarch of Ireland resided in 
the territory of Aidhne during Giolla na Naomb's time ; and 
there can be no doubt that he received from its chiefs a loyal 
support in asserting his claim to supreme power. In the year 
1154 we find that Donnchadh Ua Cathail, Lord of Cinel Aedh 
of Echtge, was slain with his own son, in one of Eoderick's 
unsuccessful "incursions."^ In 1159 we find that O'Shaugh- 
nessy of Cinel Aedh of Echtge is amongst the distinguished 
men, enumerated by the annalists, who supported O'Connor at 
Ath Firdia,and were slain on the occasion. In 1166, Roderick 
O'Connor was inaugurated monarch of Ireland, — " as honour- 
ably," say the annalists, " as any King of Gaeidhil was ever 

Though his rule was regarded as one of "wisdom and 
moderation," his enemies were forced to acknowledge his 
military successes, and his friends could see with pride that 
his great ambition was to give unity and strength to the 
disconnected elements of Irish nationality. The wisdom and 
necessity of his policy for the nation was soon made evident 
by the English " Invasion," which brought such disasters on " 
the Irish race. Instead of united action in opposing the 
invaders, we find our provincial kings and chieftains occupied 
^ Four Masters ; Customs of Hy Fiachrachy p. 374. 


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by their old feuds and jealousies. In the rivalry and dissen- 
sions of our native princes we find the true source of the 
success of the English adventurers of the period. The vener- 
able Charles O'Connor of Ballinagar hesitates not to ascribe 
their success to the fatal rivalry of his own ancestors, — the 
Connaught kings. "Because," he writes, "they were not 
themselves steady to each other, they were crushed by lawless 
power and the usurpation of foreigners. May God forgive 
them their sins." Commentiug on this remarkable statement, 
O'Curry says : " This is a singular admission on the part of the 
best Irish historian of his time. But it is a fact capable of 
positive historical demonstration, that the downfall of the 
Irish monarchy and of Irish independence was owing to the 
barbarous selfishness of the house of O'Connor, and their 
treachery towards each other, with all the disastrous con- 
sequences of that treachery to the country at large, more 
than to any other cause within or without the kingdom of 

The success of the convention or synod which the monarch 
convened at Athboy, to which came the successor of St. 
Patrick and the chiefs of Leathcuin, both lay and ecclesi- 
astical, seemed to justify a hope of better things. "They* 
passed many good resolutions at this meeting respecting 
veneration for churches and clerics, and control of tribes and 
territories, so that women used to traverse Ireland alone." 
Though there were " thirteen thousand horsemen" at that con- 
vention, and "it separated in peace and amity," yet, unfor- 
tunately for Ireland, the union of which it gave promise did 
not last. As soon as Mac Murrough returned to Ireland with 
his English allies, to destroy the independence of his native 
land, Mac Carthy and O'Brien at once tendered their submis- 
sion, if not their allegiance, to the invaders. And when tlie 
English adventurers appeared for the first time in Connaught, 
— A.D. 1177, — it was under the treacherous guidance of Mur- 
rough O'Connor, the monarch's own son,* that they appeared 
there. In punishment of his treachery, Murrough had his 
eyes put out by orders of the monarch, and was thus rendered 
ineligible for the ofiice of Tanist, or successor to the throne, to 
which he aspired. 

Fresh dissensions sprang up among Eoderick's sons and 
nephews. In one of their pitiable family quarrels, fifteen 
princes of the tribe, as we are informed,* fell. Speaking of 
those facts, the annalists say that "a general war broke out 

1 MSS. Materials, IHsh Hid, p. 115. « Four Masters. 

• Jar Connaught, p. 379. * D'Arcy Magee, p. 185. 

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amongst the princes,^ and in the contests between them many 
were slain." But the spirit of treason remained with his 
family. He was in 1189 practically deposed and exiled by 
his son, Connor Moinmoy. In 1191 * he was obliged to fly 
from his faithless family, and accept the protection of the 
faithful chieftains of Aidhne, with whom he once more resided. 
It is likely that the aged king regarded those singular events in 
the light of a new rendering of the inspired epigram, " Vanity of 
vanities." Certain it is that he soon after retired to the quiet 
cloisters of the Abbey of Cong, and there prepared himself 
for a better kingdom and a more precious crown. In 1198 
the remains of the last monarch of Ireland were laid in the 
grave beneath the shadow of the towers of Clonmacnoise. 
But the solemn echoes of the last requiem chanted over his 
grave had hardly died away over the waters of the Shannon, 
when his degenerate sons and relations once more engaged in 
a deadly struggle for the crown. This time the influential 
claimants were Cathal Carragh, son of Connor Moinmoy, and 
Cathal Crovedearg, better known, perhaps, by the English 
rendering of his name as " Cathal the Red-handed," * his grand- 
uncle. Each had his supporters as well in Aidhne as through 
the entire province. But the rivals sought support also 
amongst the Norman adventurers, who witnessed this un- 
natural struggle with intense gratification. Hence we find 
those designing allies fomenting the discord by becoming the 
allies, now of one party, then of the other. To them it 
mattered little which side might prove victorious, their aim 
being to divide and weaken. After some indecisive engage- 
ments, the contending armies met in great force at Kilmac- 
duagh, A.D. 1199. William Fitz Adelm de Burgo was the ally 
of Cathal Carragh on the occasion ; while Crovedearg had the 
support of De Lacy and De Courcy. The fight was a fierce 
one, and ended in a complete victory for Cathal Carragh. 
Three of the five battalions opposed to him were cut down, 
while the two surviving battalions fled in disorder to Rindoun, 
near Loughrea, where many more were cut down.* The 
Annals of Innisf alien tell us that this memorable battle took 
place a little to the west of Kilmacduagh, — a broken ground, and 
but ill suited to the movements of military bodies. Fitz Adelm 
and his surviving followers retired to Meelick (O'Madden), 
from which he was soon expelled. 

* A.D. 1186. ' Four Mastere. 

^ Cathal Crovedearg was a younger brother of the deceased monarch 

* Four Masters. 

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Crovedearg was banished by his now successful rival. He 
soon returned, reinforced on this occasion by Fitz Adelm. 
They passed by Tuam to Boyle, where Cathal Carragh had 
assembled his forces to oppose them. Here Cathal Carragh 
was accidentally killed in a skirmish, and Crovedearg remained 
the recognised provincial king. The astute Norman was 
already secretly plotting the death of his prot^g^; but, say the 
annalists, " God protected *' the king from his evil designs. It 
was probably to avenge his intended treachery that the Conna- 
cians rushed upon his men and killed seven hundred of them. 

But De Burgo soon returned, breathing vengeance against 
the province. On this occasion " he plundered Connaught, as 
well churches as territories," ^ a.d. 1204 It is not likely he 
would forget Kilmacduagh, the scene of his former struggle. 
But, as a fact, we find that the Ajinals of Clonmacnoisc 
expressly inform us that he " took the spoils of the churches 
of OTiagragh." The Four Masters add "that God and His 
Saints took vengeance on him for that ; for he died of a singular 
disease too shameful to be described." 

There can be no doubt he was guilty of the greatest and 
most revolting atrocities on the occasion of that sanguinary 
raid. He put all to the sword without distinction of class or 
sex. Even the clergy were butchered as well as the laity. 
Having plundered the religious houses, he set fire to them ; so 
that from Kilmacduagh to Clonmacnoise the churches and 
monasteries were reduced to ashes. For these atrocities he was 
excommunicated by the clergy of Connaught, and was denied 
Christian interment within the province, though afterwards 
interred in the monastery of Athassel, County Tipperary, which 
he had founded. 

But those terrible calamities occasioned throughout the 
districts of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, through the ambition of the 
Connaught princes, were to be equalled, if not surpassed, by 
those which the feuds of the O'Briens were to bring immedi- 
ately on that unhappy district. I shall allow Mr. Cronnolly to 
give the story.^ 

"The Four Masters, under date 1210, record the death of 
Murtogh Muimhneach, son of Turlo^^h More O'Brien. This 
Murtogh, in 1207, led his predatory forces into Hy Fiachrach 
Aidhne, and plundered fifteen towns and villages in that 
territory, viz. Gortinsiguaire, Rue, Kilmacduagh, Cahirmore, 
Kinvara, Cloughballymore, Kilcolgan, Dunkellin, Athenry, 
Ardrahan, Kiltiernau, Killeenavara, Drumharsny, Aran, and 

* Four Masters. . * Hist, of the Dakas^ p. 289. 


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" The people of H7 Fiachrach were again visited in 1225 by 
Murtogh, son of Donal, and brother to Donogh Cairbreagh 
O'Brien, who, with the English of Desmond, overran the country, 
and left not a four-footed beast from Island Eddy to Athenry, 
or from Tuam to Echtge. Four of the Lagenian chiefs in Mur- 
togh's army were slain on this occasion, and they were interred 
at Creg na n Uaim, in the vicinity of Cloughballymore House, 
where some upright stones mark their graves." 

The significance of recent events was not lost on Cathal 
Crovedearg. He at once aimed at redressing the evils into 
which his early ambition had plunged the province. He com- 
prehended thoroughly the dangers with which the Irish chief- 
tains were threatened, not less by even the friendly alliances 
of the English adventurers, than by their avowed hostility. In 
a military age he was acknowledged to be a brave soldier. His 
successes were numerous, and wisely tempeied with mercy and 
moderation. It is much to be regretted that he was not 
spared to carry out his wise reforms. Like his royal father, 
he grew weary of royalty, and retired to Abbey Knockmoy, of 
which he was himself the founder and generous patron ; and 
here he prepared himself for his approaching dissolution. 
Singularly enough, "an awful heavy shower which fell in 
Connaught" at this time was regaided as a presage of his 
approaching end. He died in 1224, " remarkable," says D'Arcy 
Magee, " for ardour of mind, meekness in prosperity, fortitude 
under defeat, prudence in civil business, undaunted bravery in 
battle, and a piety of life beyond his contemporaries." 

Immediately on the death of Cathal Crovedearjr, the 
cjovemment was assumed by his son, Hugh O'Connor. In his 
father's reign he was recognised Tanist, " and had the hostages 
of Connaught in his hands " at the time of his father's death. 
But in the next year after his accession he was actively opposed 
by Turlogh and Hugh, sons of Roderick, and by most of the 
provincial chieftains. Indeed, his accession was but the signal 
lor another outburst of those bloody feuds amongst the O'Connor 
princes, that ended in ruin for themselves and their country. 
It is not strange, however, that his accession to his father's 
throne should have met with active and general opposition. 
As Tanist he had already evinced a spirit of cruelty which the 
chieftains of the West were quick to resent. Without cause or 
apparent justification, he put out the eyes of Donnchadh 
O'Heyne of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne in 1212. There can be 
little doubt that this act, judged even by the rough standard of 
the period, was as illegal as it was cruel, for the annalists 
distinctly say it was done without the permission of the king. 

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" Donnchadh 0*Heyne had his eyes put out by Aodh (Hugh), 
the SOD of Cathal Crovedearg O'Connor, without the permission 
of O'Connor himself " 

By this act of revolting cruelty, Donnchadh O'Heyne was 
rendered permanently ineligible for the chieftaincy of his native 
territory, to which he seems to have been entitled.^ O'Donovan 
has no doubt that he was gmndson of Aodh (Hugh) O'Hey ue, who, 
as has been already stated, was slain in a.d. 1 1 53. He seems 
also to imply that Connor O'Heyne, whose death is recorded by 
the annalists, A. D. 1211,2 and Cugeola O'Heyne, who died A.i). 
1212,* were his brothers. Eoghan O'Heyne, son of Giolla na 
Xaomb O'Heyne, succeeded to the chieftaincy in a.d. 1225. 
In Eoghan O'Heyne we find one of the most active chieftains 
in the West of Ireland. He seems to have continued an un- 
compromising opponent of Hugh O'Connor's authority. 

While alienating the loyalty and support of his Southern 
chieftains by his cruelty, Hui^h incurred the displeasure of 
the most powerful of the Northern chieftains by his injustice. 
By robbing Mac Geraghty of his territory, he provoked the 
hostility of O'Neil, who marched southwards, invaded O'Connor's 
territory by Athlone, and, after inflicting on him merited 
chastisement, he joined the disatt'ected chieftains of Connaught 
in inaugurating Turlogh O'Connor provincial king. 

Cruelty and injustice are not unusually allied with baseness. 
We cannot be surprised to discover this trait, therefore, in 
the character of Hugh O'Connor. To recover, if possible, the 
throne from which he had been justly deposed, he at once 
sought an alliance with the English invaders, who were then 
encamped at Athlone. The supix)rt which he eagerly solicited 
was willingly promised. The Four Masters, in their quaint style, 
take care to tell us that " the English received him gladly, and 
kept him amongst them with affection for some time after- 
wards." Some Irish chieftains were found so forgetful of the 
national honour as to rally around him. Amongst those were 
O'Melaghlin of Meath, and Donogh Cairbreagh O'Brien,* his 
own maternal uncle. With those powerful allies he commenced 
the work of plunder and bloodshed in the north of the province 
almost without opposition. The news of their success in the 
north of Connaught reached the English of Desmond, who, " as 
soon as they heard what good things the Lord Justice and his 
English followers had obtained in Connaught at that time," 
joined Murtogh O'Brien in invading Connaught on the south. 
We are told by the annalists that this incursion was signalised 

' QxuimM ofHy Fiachrach, p. 399. « Four Masters. » Ibid. 

♦ Memoir of the ifBriens^ p. 100. 

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by carna^^e. "Thpy slew all the people that they caught, and 
burned their dwellings and villages." Deploring the misfor- 
tunes with which the province was visited at the time, the 
annalists add, " Women and children, the feeble and the lowly 
poor, perished by cold and famine in this war." 

The spectacle thus presented to us is one over which the 
Irish student may shed a tear. But it was one but too well 
calculated to give sincere pleasure to the English adventurers 
of the period. The only effect which this carnival of bloodshed 
in Aidhne and South Connaught had on Hugh O'Connor, 
was a feeling of jealousy that he himself had no share in the 
plunder of South Connaught, as he had in the northern districts 
of the province. 

The chieftains of Aidhne did not suffer this like passive 
slaves. Owen OHeyne was, as we have seen, lord of the 
territory at the period. He was energetic, brave, and active ; 
in a word,^ " one of the most conspicuous chieftains that ever 
ruled the territory." But, unable to contend with such power- 
ful forces, he wisely awaited such reinforcements as Turlogh 
O'Connor was able to send him, under command of his brother, 
Hugh O'Connor. Meantime O'Brien and his English friends, 
.continuing their raid unopposed, effected a junction with Hugh 
O'Connor and his English allies. It may be assumed that he 
made peace with his royal nephew, " on behalf of his people and 
cows," without difficulty. Fearing no opposition now in the 
Southern districts which he had so ruthlessly ravaged, he sent 
on "a detachment of his people before him with immense 
spoils." 2 

The Lord of Aidhne was vigilant, and ready with his " select 
men." He boldly attacked the Munster troops, seized their 
*' immense spoils," and detained their chiefs as hostages. A 
peace treaty was soon after solemnly entered into, binding 
O'Biien, on the one side, to respect the territory of Aidhne, and 
make no hostile incursions on it in future, and obliging 
(3'Heyne, on the other side, to set the hostages free. But it 
would seem that the obligations of solemn treaties, as well as 
the claims of patriotism, were equally disregarded by this 
degenerate descendant of the hero of Clontarf. We find him 
immediately after violating his solemn engagement, and once 
more joining his i-oyal nephew, Hugh O'Connor, and his English 

While O'Heyne and his patriotic followers were turning 
their successes to account, Hugh O'Connor, who heard of them 

1 Cudoms ofHy Fiachrachy p. 309. 
* Four Masters. 

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with amazement, set about reorganising a new armament. He 
accordingly appealed once more lo his English friends for rein- 
forcements. He was not disappointed, for, say the Four 
Masters, "the English responded to his call cheerfully and 
expeditimisly'* He needed them, as the chiefs of the entire 
province had at that time united to support his rival, Turlogh 
O'Connor. The English of Leinster, who were despatched to 
his support, were commanded by William Grace. He de- 
spatched a powerful army, under the command of his brother, 
Felim O'Connor, and other distingilished officers, into Hy 
Fiachrach Aidhne, to wreak vengeance on its brave chieftain. 
They marched to Ardrahan, O'Heyne's principal residence, and 
at that time a town of considerable importance ; and entered 
the town unopposed, seemingly with the object of besieging and 
plundering the residence, and of making arrangements to over- 
run the country. 

Meantime intelligence of the danger which threatened the 
Lord of Aidhne reached his faithful friends in West and North 
Connaught The O'Dowdsof Northern Hy Fiachrach, and the 
OTlahertys of Connemara, "with one mind and accord, 
followed the English, until they came very close to them."^ 
Travelling all night, they resolved to attack the English in 
Ardrahan in the early morning. A strong and select detach- 
ment was placed under the command of Tuathal O'Connor 
and young O'Dowd, for the dangerous work of storming the 
town. Animated with the spirit of their leaders, the soldiers 
fought " boldly and spiritedly," and routed the English from the 
town, east and west. They perhaps desired the open country 
as more favourable for their movements. However, the retreat 
soon ended in a disorderly flight. A large party fled eastward 
towards the Echtge Mountains, amongst whom was the English 
commander, who vainly endeavoured by feats of personal daring 
to reanimate his men. He was first wounded by O'Connor, but 
was slain by O'Dowd. 

Those, however, who fled westward were more fortunate. 
Though 0*Flaherty had been placed with some reserves on that 
side, the flying English took him unawares, and succeeded in 
cutting their way through his lines, and effecting a successful 
retreat. The Lord of lar Connaught was taken unprepared, 
considering, no doubt, the defeat in the town, and the dis- 
orderly flight to the east, as final. Such wds the splendid 
victory gained at Ardrahan, a.d. 1225, a victory to which one 
of our national poets, anxious to arouse and sustain the 
patriotism of the Connaughtmen of this centuiy, by reminding 
* Four Masters. 

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them of the valour of their ancestors, refers in the following 
well-known lines : — 

** For often in O'Connor'e van 
To triumph dashed each Connauglit clan ; 
And fleet as deer the Normans ran 
Through Corlieu's pass and Ardrahan." 

After this defeat the fortunes of Hugh O'Connor declined 
rapidly. Hated and despised by the princes and people of his 
piovince, he was about to be deserted by his false and interested 
allies. Having been at length expelled from his native 
province, he was invited to a conference at Dublin by the 
English, whose real object was to make him prisoner there. 
Though rescued from the plot by a generous friend, he was 
soon after arrested by Jeofrey March, Lord Justice of Ireland 
(sic), and executed, a.d. 1228. By the people of his own 
province he was reputed cruel, false, and unjust. Hence he 
was despised and distrusted. He died the victim of his own 

The peace which his death brought to the province was like 
the rest which death brings, — " a necessary tranquillity," say the 
annalists, " for there was not a church or territory in Connaught 
at that time that had not been plundered and desolated." 
And the evils of war were now supplemented by evils of a still 
more dreadful character. A desolating plague raged through 
the country, — "a heavy burning sickness," — by which the 
towns were depopulated completely, and their streets were 
left as silent as those of the cities of the dead. It is 
difficult indeed to realise a condition of greater wretchedness 
than that to which the districts of Aidhne had been reduced at 
this period. 

The influence of the Normans was making itself widely felt. 
But there can be no doubt that their growing ascendancy in 
the West was attributable more to the fatal jealousies of the 
O'Connor princes, than to their acknowledged valour, their 
armour, or their superior military training. In our next 
chapter we shall see some of the acknowledged descendants of 
Niall of the Hostages driven from their ancestral territory of 
Hy Fiachrach Aidhne by the representatives of Fitz Adelm de 
Burgo, whose career has been already briefly noticed. And when 
we remember the part which De Burgo had taken in the events 
of his time in Ireland, — when, in addition, we recollect that he 
was the founder of a family which, for good or for evil, has 
influenced the history of Aidhne and of Ireland for over seven 
hundred years, — we may naturally be expected to give some 

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additional details regarding the descent and character of this 
remarkable man. He was remarkable amongst the many re- 
markable men who accompanied him to Ireland in 1171. It 
must be admitted that he holds a high place among the many 
adventurers of his race who came to plunder Ireland ; and it 
must be also admitted that he possessed many qualities which 
eminently fitted him for his mission. He was astute, ambitious, 
daring, unreliable, and false. And yet, though many vices cast 
their shadow on his character, it must be also admitted that he 
founded in this country a powerful house, which gave, even to 
the cause of Ireland, some very able and distinguished sup- 
porters, and to the Irish Church many bright ornaments. 

Fitz Adelm de Burgo was descended from Serlo de Burgo, 
who married Arlotta, the mother of WilUam the Conqueror 
of England.^ By this marriage Serlo de Burgo was father of 
Robert and of William. William de Burgo married Agnes, 
daughter of Louis, the seventh King of France. Of this 
marriage were bom Adelm and John. Of Adelm, William 
Fitz Adelm de Burgo was son and representative. 

De Burgo's birth and connections therefore rendered it 
natural, perhaps necessary, that his share in the eventful 
history of his time should be one of importance. But he was 
careful to strengthen his position yet more by his marriage 
with the daughter of Henry II., King of England, who, it 
would seem, had died previous to his arrival in Ireland. In 
Ireland, however, he soon found a solace for his affliction 
in a marriage with the daughter of Donald O'Brien, King of 
Munster. By this alliance the astute Norman secured the 
support or neutrality of one of the most powerful of the 
Southern Irish princes. 

After the death of Earl Strongbow, the government of 
Ireland devolved for a time on Raymond Le Gros. Owing, 
however, to unfavourable representations made to the king, 
Le Gros* was recalled, and De Burgo appointed viceroy. 
After entering on his duties as viceroy, he received large 
grants of land at Castle Connell, near Limerick, which remain 
to this day in the hands of his descendants.* In 1179 he 
• obtained from the king a grant of the entire province of 
Connaught,* though in direct violation of the terms of the 
treaty, solemnly entered into at Windsor between King Henry 
and the Irish monarch. De Burgo had neither time nor 
opportunity for asserting his shadowy claim to the province. 

* The reader knows that William was illegitimate. 

* Mac Geoghegan, p. 278. ' Ibid, p. 296. 
^ Hardimaa's Oaltoay, p. 45. 

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But the quarrels of the degenerate family of O'Connor afforded 
him an easy and favourable pretext for promoting his own 
interests, by fomenting their jealousies, and encouraging them 
in their fatal and unpatriotic rivalry. Self-aggrandisement was 
Fitz Adelm de Burgo's highest aim. He was implacable as 
an enemy. As a friend he was unreliable. He was revenge- 
ful, and his revenge was untempered by mercy. He was 
cruel, and his cruelty knew neither pity nor compassion. 
Though he was himself the founder of a monastery ,i neither 
churches nor monasteries were sacred in his eyes. He pillaged 
and burned them, and put their unoffending inmates to the 
sword. Indeed, his spoliation of monasteries and churches 
seems to rival that of Turgesius himself. Such is substan- 
tially the character of De Burgo, as depicted by the well- 
known court historian, Gerald Barry ,2 who would naturally 
wish to speak with bated breath of so powerful a subject, and 
one so closely allied to the court. Yet it is his pen that 
describes him as always plotting, always false, always hiding 
the poison in honey, — always the snake concealed in the grass. 
He was, says Keating, "miserably covetous,"' and to this 
sordid covetousness he is said to have added vices of a still 
more degrading character.* 

It is no wonder, therefore, that the learned author of the 
Hiiemia Dominicana — a De Burgo himself, and a writer 
who gives prominence to the remarkable and noteworthy 
features in the history of his very remarkable family — 
should be content with a simple reference to William Fitz 
Adelm de Burgo, without any reference to his career or 

Mac Geoghegan endeavours to become his apologist to a 
certain extent, but, as O'Donovan assures us, "to no effect." 
" They have not been able to find a good trait in his character 
on record."* To attempt to change the verdict of history is 
censurable ; to hide it is equally culpable. 

" Nor florid prose, nor honeyed lies of rhyme, 
Can blazon evil deeds, or consecrate a crime.'' 

If we except a spirit of reckless daring, we fail to discern in 
his character a solitary trait calculated to raise him beyond the 
level of contempt or hatred. As a military adventurer, he is 
referred to by some historians as the "Conqueror of Connaught." 

* Athassel, County Tipperary. ' Hih, Expugnaia, lib. ii. c. xvL 
' JJvftory of Ireland, p. 541. 

* " Vir vino veneroque deditus " {ffib, Expugnata). 
' Cuftams of My Fiachrachy p. 72. 

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Lord Macaulay refers to him as "the Norman knight, who, 
at the head of a handful of warriors, scattered the Celts of 
Connaught."^ But Macaulay is seldom at much trouble in 
aiming at accuracy, when speaking of Ireland ; and in this 
passage he seems to have consulted more for the rhythm of 
his sentence than for the character of the Celts of Connaught. 

We have already seen the character of this successful raid, 
which was successful for the time because unopposed, and 
unopposed because unexpected. Had the Celts of Connaught 
been conquered by De Kurgo and his ** handful of warriors," 
it is difficult to see how those Celts could twenty-one years 
afterwards have defeated the English at Ardrahan. It is 
equally difficult to see how they could, if vanquished, have 
deposed and banished England's 'proUgi^ Hugh O'Connor. 
Cathal Crovedearg did not permit the prestige of the Western 
province to sink so low. We even find that King John, on 
his arrival in Ireland, deemed it wise to treat with him as 
(ieferentially as Henry II. had treated with Koderick O'Connor 
nearly forty years before. Hence, whatever may have been 
De Burgo's claims to the character of a successful military 
adventurer, he has none to the title of ** Conqueror of 
Connaught," so gratuitously given him by some of his 

We have seen that the independence of the See of Kilmac- 
duagh was respected by the Synod of Kells. From that 
period downwards the episcopal succession in the See can be 
traced with but few interruptions. 

Eegnad O'Euan, son of Cellaig, is the first whose name we 
find recorded after the Synod as Bishop of Kilmacduagh. He 
died A.D. 1178. Though he may probably have been bishop 
when the National Synod was being celebrated at Kells, he 
does not appear to have attended there. It is at least certain 
that his name does not appear on the list given by Mac 
Geoghegan and others. But it is perhaps very noteworthy 
that the number of bishops who attended that council was 
only twenty-three, though there were thirty-eight independent 
Sees constituted by its authority.* 

The death of Gillakelly O'Euan, Bishop of Kilmacduaoh, 
is recorded by the Four Masters, a.d. 1203. He may probably 
have been Eegnad O'Euan's inmiediate successor. He ruled 
the diocese on the occasion of the fatal strupgle at Kilmac- 
duagh. It is a curious fact that we find the Sees of Tuam, 
Kilmacduagh, Achondry, and Killala at this period occupied by 
bishops of this name. 

^ History of Ev gland, * Malone's Church History^ p. 20. 

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O'Kelly, whose death as Bishop of Hy Fiachrach is recorded 
by the annalists in a.d. 1214, must have been Bishop O'Ruan's 
immediate successor. O'Donovan expressly states that the Hy 
Fiachrach referred to by the annalists is the diocese of Kilmac- 
duagh, as the Bishop of Northern Hy Fiachrach then, and lor 
many years after, was Cormac OTarpaidh. 

O'Shaughnessv seems to have succeeded. His death is 
recorded a.d. 1223. The O'Shaughnessy family, even prior to 
this period, held a distinguished place amongst the chieftains 
of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne. In the annals the family are often 
referred to as the Kineal Aedh. And because they occupied 
the eastern portion of Aidhne, which extends alone? the Echtge 
Mountains, they are sometimes referred to as " Kineal Aedh 
na Echtge." As Aedh,^ from whom the O'Shaughnessys were 
descended, was great-grandfather of St. Colman Mac Duagh, 
the O'Shauglmessys were the kinsmen of the holy founder of 
Kilmacduagh. And it may be said with truth, that one of the 
distinctive features in the character of the family for centuries, 
was its hospitality, and its reverence for its holy kinsman and 
patron, Mac Duagh. They were the hereditary custodians of 
the crozier and girdle of the Saint, and had them enriched with 
gold and gems. They handed them down as a sacred charge 
from sire to son, and guarded them with jealous care.^ Our 
annalists and hagiographers alike attest that those venerated 
relics possessed miraculous powers. Hence the crozier was 
used to give a solemn and sacred sanction to treaties, and the 
violation of treaties so ratified was regarded as a public crime. 
It is such a violation of treaty that is referred to, a.d. 1223, as 
affecting the O'Shaughnessy family. "The son of Giolla na 
Naomb O'Shaughnessy was slain by the Clan Cuilen, a deed 
by which the Bachal Mor of St Colman, son of Duagh, was 
profaned." We are unable to leam the cause which led to this 
crime on the part of the MacNamaras or Clan Cuilen. But 
O'Donovan explains,* and informs us that " when parties were 
sworn on a crozier, or any relic, to observe certain conditions, 
such as to offer protection to a man in case he made his 
appearance, and that such an oath was afterwards violated, 
the crozier or relic, in the language of those annals, was said 
to be profaned." There can be no doubt that the profanation 
of St Colman's crozier recorded by our annalists was of the 
nature indicated by their learned annotator. 

The crozier and girdle of St Colman also continued to be 
guarded with jealous care in the O'Shaughnessy family from 

' Cugloms of Hy Fiackmch^ p. 374. ' Vide Colgan. 

» Four Masters, a.d. 1223. 

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generation to generation. Even in the days of Father Colgan, 
the " crozier and belt ornamented with gems and gold " were 
still in their possession, and were still nsed to add in popular 
estimation to the sanction of oaths or other solemn under- 

But, after this ancient and influential family was cast 
into obscurity by the adverse judgment of Mansfield, towards 
the close of the last century, the crozier passed into otlier 

As we are informed by 0*Donovan that the family became 
allied to the Butlers of Gregg by the marriage of Helen, sister 
of Colonel William O'Shaughnessy, with Theobald Butler, Esq., 
on the ruin of the Gort baronets, the crozier passed into 
the possession of the Butlers. Even then it was frequently 
used as a means of influencing the possessors of goods fraudu- 
lently obtained to yield up their illicit property to the owners. 
The writer has had the good fortune of knowing a very old 
man,i who remembers his father to have obtained the crozier 
from the Gregg family for a like purpose. He saw the crozier 
on the occasion. 

We are assured by O'Donovan that it passed into the 
possession of George Petrie early in this century, and is 
preserved in the valuable collection of that distinguished 
antiquary, now in the museum of our National Academy. 
" This relic," he writes, " is yet extant, but in bad preservation. 
It is in the cabinet of George Petrie, Esq., author of the Essay 
on the Round Towers, etc." 

it has been identified, and differs in little from the Irish 
croziers of the period, with which those who have examined 
the treasures of the Academy are familiar. The same delicate 
filigree ornamentation, the same beautiful enamels, are there 
still, though many of the jewels are lost with which the inter- 
lacing bands were artistically studded. Little more, however, 
than the head of the crozier remains. Such is the treasure 
of which the O'Shaughnessy family were the custodians for 
centuries. It may well be assumed that Bishop 0*Shaugh- 
nessy was as worthy of wielding as of guarding the venerated 
crozier of his holy kinsman. 

Maelmurry O'Connor, who succeeded, died in 1224. By the 
Four Masters he is called O'Conmaic, Bishop of Hy Fiachrach 
and Kinelea Referring to this entry, O'Donovan remarks, 
" By this the annalists mean the Bishop of Kilmacduagh." 

Odd, Chanter of Kilmacduagh, succeeded. He was elected 
A.D. 1227. The date of his death is not recorded. 

^ The old man was John Keane of Gort, recently dead. 

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The De Burgos drive the O'Flahertys from Moviola — Richard de 
Burgo aa kinj^-maker — Owen O'Heyne, Chief of Kilmacdnagh, makes 
peace with the English — They help him to invade Thomond — He 
helps the English in Connemara — His death — Walter de Burgo, Eaii 
of Ulster, seizes the Castle of Ardrahan, 1264 — The O'Clerys driven 
from Kilmacduagh by his sons— Their lands are seized by Hul>ert 
and Redmond Burke, younger brothers of the Red Earl— Battle 
of Athenry — Episcopal succession. 

The grant of the Province of Connaught to Fitz Adelm de 
Burgo, made by Henry II., ad. 1179, was a violation of the 
treaty which Henry had made at Windsor with the "Last 
Monarch of Ireland." Fitz Adelm was unable, as we have seen, 
to assert his unjust claim. 

Following the example of his royal predecessor, Henry III., 
in A.D. 1215, made a grant of "the whole kingdom of Con- 
naught," ^ to Richard, son of William Fitz Adelm. But no eflbrts 
were made to enforce even this grant till after the death of 
Cathal Crovedearg. The Red-handed King of Connaught would 
tolerate no such aggression. In 1225, the Earl Marshal of 
Ireland received instructions to seize the province, and give it 
to De Burgo at the yearly rent of 300 marks for ever.* It 
does not, however, appear that the " Earl Marshal " paid any 
particular attention to those remarkable instructions. In 
the year 1227, Richard de Burgo was appointed Governor 
of Ireland, a position most favourable to the attainment of 
even his most ambitious aims. He was not slow in utilising 
all the advantages of his position. 

He seems to have been a brave soldier. But, though endowed 
with military qualities of a high order, his ardour was tempered 
with nmch of the calculating astuteness of his father. And, 
like the other adventurers of his race, he was careful to 
strengthen his position by marriage alliance. In this he was 
also successful, as he married Hodierna, grand-daughter of 
Cathal Crovedearg. He became thus closely allied to the 
great reigning family of the West, whose territory he intended 
^ Hardiman's Galway^ p. 46. ' Xoc cU. 


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to appropriate, and whose power he purposed to destroy. Were 
the princes of the West united, as they should have been, his 
efforts would have J^een useless. He saw this, and therefore 
resolved to divide still more the already disunited princes of . 
Connaught. One of his first acts, therefore, was to act the t61c 
of king-maker, and set up Hugh, son of Cathal Crovedearg, as 
king. For De Burgo, the rdle of king-maker was as easy as 
it was politic at the time ; as the aspirants to royal honours 
amongst the O'Connor princes were then very numerous. 
Felim, son of Roderick, was the recognised king. 

One of the fii'st of the Western chiefs who rose to oppose the 
pretensions of De Burgo's royal puppet was O'Flaherty, whose 
territory at that period extended along the eastern shores of 
the Corrib, through the districts now known as the barony of 
Clare. O'Flaherty was but poorly supported. Hugh O'Connor, 
hy the aid of his foreign allies, soon overran the province, 
harassing and spoiling his helpless countrymen wherever he 
passed. The results were disastrous. The Four Masters tell us 
that " excessive dearth prevailed in Connaught in consequence 
of the wars of the sons of Roderick O'Connor." 

O'Flaherty was one of his first victims. He was attacked 
and driven with his tribe from his native territory of Moy- 
seola, — or Clare barony,^ — which was immediately seized by De 
Burgo, and extensively ca*^tellated by him and his followers. 
Driven from Moyseola, O'Flaherty fortified himself in his 
castle at Galway. But from this too he was, after a brave 
resistance, driven by De Burgo, and obliged to take refuge in 
the wilds of lar Connaught (Connemara), a great portion of 
which he afterwards retained, with his tribe. The advantages 
of such a position as that of Dun Gallive (Galway) was at 
once clear to De Burgo. He therefore erected a strong fortress 
there in A.D, 1232. Two years earlier, he had deposed his 
protSgi, Hugh O'Connor, and for some little time, Felim, his 
brother, was regarded as his successor. Two years later, how- 
ever, he restored Hugh to his mimic royal state. In 1232 the 
fact is recorded by our annalists in the following suggestive 
words : " The Kingdom of Connaught was given to Hugh, the 
son of Roderick, by the son of Mac William Burke." He must 
have been anxious to impress the chieftains of the West with 
a sense of his great authority, and with a knowledge of the 
powerlessness of the O'Connors. 

Some efforts were made, though weak and unsuccessful, to 
check this daring aggression. In 1232 several of the Connaught 
chieftains rallied round Connor, son of Hugh O'Connor, and 
* Iwr Connaught 

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made an incursion into the Tuathas or districts along the west 
side of the Shannon. But " Connor, with Gilla Kelly O'Heyne, 
and the son of Donogh Mac Dermott, and many others along 
with them, were slain." 

We do not, however, find that Gilla Kelly O'Heyne's dis- 
tinguished kinsman Eoghan had any part in the efforts thus 
inaugurated. Indeed, we find Eoghan O'Heyne, only ten years 
after the victory of Ardrahan, on " the warmest terms of friend- 
ship with the English." ^ 

Perhaps this is not very much to be wondered at As the 
O'Connor princes were so false to one another, it is not much 
to be wondered at that a similar spirit sliould have influenced 
the less popular chieftains and popular leaders. 

In forming this discreditable alliance with the English, 
O'Heyne was influenced witli a desire to be avenged on Donogh 
Cairbreagh O'Brien, by whom the territory of Kilmacduagh had 
been so recently plundered and wasted. He had no difficulty in 
inducing them to consent to his project, the invasion of Thomond. 
He had, with Eichard de Burgo, many of the n>ost powerful of the 
Anglo-Normans amongst his supporters. His cause was sup- 
ported by Fitz Maurice, the Lord Deputy, De Lacy, Earl of 
Ulster, the Chief Baron of Leinster, and Lord John Cogan, who 
commanded the English of Munster. After a private consulta- 
tion, held at the request of Eoghan O'Heyne, it was determined 
that they should enter Thomond " without giving the Momo- 
nians any notice of their intentions." This they accordingly 
did, A.D. 1235, committing, as the Four Masters tell us, "great 

When King Felim O'Connor, son of Cathal Crovedearg, 
became aware that the English troops had left for Munster, he 
proceeded immediately to the relief of Donogh O'Brien, his 
uncle. On his arrival in Munster, skirmishes between his and 
the English troops were of daily occurrence. "At length a 
pitched battle took place, in which the united forces of the 
Connacians fought bravely against the English ; but the English 
troops, consisting of infantry and cavalry, who were all clad in 
armour, at length vanquished them, and killed numbers both 
of the Connacians and Moraonians, but especially of the latter, in 
consequence of Donnchadh Cairbreach O'Brien. . . . The follow- 
ing day O'Brien made peace with the English, and gave them 
hostages. The English then returned to Connaught, and went 
first to Aodh O'Flaherty, who made peace with them rather 
than that they should plunder his people and carry off his 

* CutUmu ofHy Fiachrachj p. 400. * Ibid. p. 401. 

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Felim O'Connor, the defeated king, had retreated to Conne- 
mara, "leavinj^ the country desolate to the English as he 
passed," and expecting to find an ally in O'Flaherty. 

He naturally calculated on the support of the first victims 
of De Bur«^o*s aggressive selfishness. In this, however, he was 
disappointed. O'Flaherty felt that he might copy the selfish- 
ness of the O'Connor princes with some advantage to himself. 
His old ally O'Heyne had followed their example. Hugh 
O'Flaherty accordingly " made his peace with the English ; " ^ 
and we find him with O'Heyne actively aiding the English. 
Both chieftains came with a great army to the relief of the 
Lord Justice, who with his troops hud pursued the Irish to 
Connemara. They also sent to his aid a large number of 
boats, which with great labour they had transported overland 
for a long distance to Leenane in Killery Bay. The English 
troops were thus enabled to sail from Leenane to Clew Bay, 
where they "committed incredible slaughter through the 
numerous islands there." This expedition, supported and led 
by those renegade Irish chieftains, " left the Connacians bereft 
of food, raiment, and cattle, and the country of peace and 
tranquillity, — the Gaels themselves plundering and destroying 
each other."* It is impossible to exempt O'Heyne from being 
in a great measure responsible for those sad results. We seek 
in vain for justification of his unpatriotic conduct, nor is there 
any evidence that his alliance with the English had been after- 
wards severed. 

In A.D. 1236,* Brian, son of Turlogh O'Connor, was set up by 
the English as another royal puppet. With his English allies 
he committed " great depredations " on his kinsmen and country- 
men, who retaliated in turn, " so that the country was destroyed 
between both parties." 

Many of the Connaught chieftains once more rallied round 
Felim O'Connor with their forces, and induced him to march to 
liindoun,* where Brian O'Connor, with Owen O'Heyne, and 
his other allies, " had all the cows of the country." * The raid 
was successful. But the forces were engaged in carrying away 
the booty in different directions, and the king was consequently 
left with but a small bodyguard. Observing this Brian 
O'Connor and Owen O'Heyne fell upon him "with a party 
of horse and many foot soldiers."* King Felim defended 
himself bravely and successfully against this unexpected 
attack. De Burgo must have recognised his success, for the 

* A.D. 1236. * lar Connaught^ p. 50. 

* Four Master?. * Near Loughrea on the Shannon. 

* Four Masters. * Ibid. 

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annalists tell us " that as soon as he had learned that O'Connor 
had defeated all who had turned against him, he joined them 
to reduce them." 

We have no further notice of Eoghan O'Heyne, until we find 
his death recorded hriefly by the annalists, a.d. 1252: "Owen 
O'Heyne, Lord of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, died." Though he 
lived to see the death of Richard de Burgo, a.d. 1243, he saw 
alien ascendancy established on a permanent basis in his 
native province. The Norman castles erected at Loughree, Gal- 
way, and through the districts of Moyseola, spoke clearly of an 
ascendancy which promised to be enduring, and which O'Heyne 
himself had helped effectually to build up. He did not live 
to see that ascendancy estalilished over an important portion 
of -his own territory by the capture of O'Heyne's castle at 
Ardrahan ; by the expulsion of the O'Clerys from the territory 
of Kilmacduagh, and the seizure of their possessions. 

Having been summoned to France by the English king, 
Henry III., Eichard de Burgo died on the voyage, a.d. 
1245, and was buried at Bourdeaux with almost regal pomp. 

His son, Walter de Burgo, inherited his authority and 
influence. He was also the first of his family who became 
Earl of Ulster. This high distinction he obtained through his 
wife, who was daughter and heiress of Hugh de Lacy. Walter 
de Burgo seems to have studied closely tlie aims and policy 
of his distinguished father. We find him accordingly plun- 
dering and seizing " Gno More and Gno Beg," the districts now 
comprised by the barony of MoycuUen, and taking " possession 
of all Lough Corrib," a.d. 1257.^ In 1258 we find it recorded 
by the annalists that " a great war broke out between the 
English, during which were burned Ardrahan, Kilcolgan, and 
many street towns and much corn."^ It is difticult to say 
what part De Burgo may have had in those trans ictions. 

In 1263 a great portion of the districts of Kilmacduagh was 
again ravaged. On this occasion, however, it was not the work 
of the English. Donnell Oge O'Doiinell had effected a junction 
with the troops of Hugh O'Connor at the Curlieu Mountains ; 
and, having marched into Clanrickarde, " tliey totally ravaged 
the country as far as Echtge and Galway."^ In 1264 the 
castles of Long Mask and of Ardrahan were taken by Walter 
de Burgo.* The castle at Ardralian was the chief residence of 
the O'Heynes, and with its capture we can date the growth 
and extension of the authority of the De Burgos through the 
districts of Kilmacduagh. Walter de Burgo soon after opposed 
the pretensions of Hugh O'Connor to the throne, and was 
1 Four Masters. - Ibid. » Ibid. * Ibid. 

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defeated with considemble loss near Carrick-on-Shannon. 
Walter de Burgo did not long survive his defeat. He retired 
to his castle in Galway, and died there in a.d. 1271. 

We think it very probable that the expulsion of the 0*Clerys, 
former chieftains of Aidhne, occurred soon after the Castle of 
Ardrahan was wrested from the O'Heynes by Walter de 
Burgo. It is certain that- they were driven from their 
ancestral possessions in Aidhne by the De Burgos, as the 
OTlahertys had been driven out from Moyseola a generation 
earlier by Eichard de Burgo. 0*Donovan does not give the 
exact date ; he only states in a general way that their ex- 
pulsion may be referred to the second half of the thirteentli 

Tliough the chieftainship of Aidhne had passed from the 
O'Clerys after the death of Braon O'Clery, a.d. 1033, the 
family continued for seven generations * to hold promi- 
nent positions as subordinate chieftains in their ancestral 
territory. O'Donovan is of opinion that it was in the time of 
Domhnal, seventh in descent from Eoghan, who died 1063, that 
they were forced by their Norman plunderers to fly from their 
ancestral possessions. 

Domhnal O'Clery had four sons. The oldest, Jolin, surnamed 
" the Comely," was founder of the most remarkable branch of 
the family, which in two generations after became permanently 
settled in Donegal. There, under the patronage of the powerful 
chieftains of Tirconnell, they became remarkable as historians, 
some of whom have acquired imperishable fame. From this 
illustrious stem are descended Michael and Conary O'Clery, 
two of the most able compilers of the annals of the Four 

Daniel O'Clery, the second son, was ancestor of the O'Clery s 
of Tirawley.* 

From Thomas, the third son, are descended the O'Clerys 
of Breifny O'Eiely, a territory which comprised the entire 
county of Cavan, with the exception of two baronies. 

Cormac, the youngest son, was ancestor of the O'Clerys of 

We have not been able to find the exact limits of the O'Clery 
territory in Aidhne authoritatively fixed. We think, however, 
that they held a considerable portion of the north-eastern dis- 
tricts of Kilmacduagh at the time of their expulsion. And we 
think this assumption sufficiently established by the fact that 
these districts were seized and appropriated at that period by 
the two younger sons of Walter de Burgo, Hubert and Red- 
1 QuiiorM o/Hy Fiachrach, p. 394. « /i,i^ p 394^ 


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luond, brothers of the Eed EarP of Ulster. Hubert de 
Burgo was founder of the Iser Kelly family, known as the 
Mac Hubert Burkes. Their castle stands, in splendid pre- 
servation, within the demesne lands of the present proprietors. 
The present castle is, however, evidently modern, — the date 
1603 found on a mantelpiece within the castle is probably the 
<late of its erection, — ^and stands probably on the ruins of the 
far older family residence, the antiquity of which is shown by 
the records of our annalists* We find the death of Kichard, 
son of Hubert de Burgo of Iser Kelly, recorded, A.D. 1406.* 
We also find that Ulick Carraghe Mac Hubert Burke resided 
at Iser Kelly, and had his Castle plundered by CDonnell, on 
the occasion of that chieftain's memorable raid on Clanrickarde 
at the close of the sixteenth century. 

Eedmond Burke, to whom we have referred, brother of the 
Red Earl of Ulster, and son of Walter De Burf;o, seems to have 
seized another very important portion of tlie O'Clery possessions. 
Eedmond Burke was the ancestor of the Burkes of the ex- 
tensive district known as " Oireaght Redmond." * This district 
of the Mac Redmond Burkes included 58^ quarters of land in 
Ballycahalan parish, Kilbecanty, and Ballyconnell and Bally- 
lisbrayne. At Ballyconnell, the ruins of one of their castles 
may still be seen. Another stood on the north-east side of 
Ballyturrin hill, and is now nearly destroyed. 

While Hubert and Redmond de Burgo established them- 
selves permanently in those fertile districts of Kilmacduagh, 
their eldest brother Richard succeeded his father as Earl of 
Ulster. From his complexion he was popularly known as the 
" Red Earl." With the earldom of Ulster, which he inherited 
from his father, he also claimed the title of " Lord of Con- 
naught."* The " Red Earl" was admittedly the most powerful 
subject in Ireland in his time. He claimed the lordship " iii 
demayne and sarvice" of a vast extent of the country, anil 
lost little time in attempting to assert his pretensions.^ In 
1286 he invaded Connaught with a great army, " and many 
monasteries and churches throughout the province were de- 
stroyed by him." ® 

In 1289 he again invaded Connaught, but was met at 
Roscommon by Manus O'Connor, son of Connor Roe, King 
of Connaught, and successfully opposed. In 1294 he was 
arrested by John Fitzgerald, who seems to have charged him 
with secretly encouraging the Scotch revolt under his kinsman 

1 ffift. Dominicanay p. 274. ' Ibid, p. 225. 

» lar Connaughty p. 324. * Ibid, p. 32. 

* Ildd. p. 189. « Four Masters. 

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Bruce. He was quickly liberated, however, by order of tlie 
king, on giving the Government assurances of his loyalty. 
He joined the king in his invasion of Scotland in 1296, and 
gained for himself and his Irish associates a painful notoriety 
for cruelty and sacrilege.^ When King Edward invaded Scot- 
land in 1303, the Red Earl went to his assistance with a large 
fleet. On the eve of his departure from Dublin, the earl created 
as many as thiiiy-three knights. This expedition seems to 
have been marked with signal success. In consequence of 
these services, the Red Earl was made general of the Irish 
forces in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Gascoigne. He was 
soon after appointed keeper of the castles of Athlone,Rindoun, 
and Roscommon, and also exempted by letters patent from 
the annual tribute of 500 marks, which he was previously 
bound to pay to the crown for his Connaught possessions. 

The year of our Lord 1315 was an eventful one for 
Ireland. In that year Edward Bruce landed in Antrim with 
a fleet of three hundred ships. He immediately proceeded to 
have himself proclaimed king, having first filled the hearts 
of the people of Ulster with a dread of his cruelties.^ 

It should be remembered that Ellen, eldest daughter of 
Walter De Burgo, and aunt of the Red Earl, was wife of 
Edward Bruce. Yet the earl lost no time in marching against 
him, but was defeated. 

Felim O'Connor, King of Connaught, had also marched to 
oppose the invaders. But by promises made by the wily 
Scottish prince, which appealed directly to 0*Connor*s selfish- 
ness, he was induced to return to Connaught, where he found 
that Rory, son of Cathal O'Connor, had usurped the royal 
authority. A battle ensued, in which Felim, supported by De 
Bermingham and the English of the West, was victorious, and 
his rival, with manv of his chief supporters, was slain. 

Jealous of the De Burgo ascendancy, and probably encouraged 
by Bruce, Felim O'Connor now prepared to make a supreme 
effort to destroy his power. Accordingly, mustering a " very 
great army,"^ he marched to Athenry, with a determination 
to destroy if possible the power of his selfish English patronp. 
It was the 10th of August 1316. He was met by the English 
under command of De Burgo and De Benninghan). 

" A fierce and spirited engagement took place between them, 
in which the Irish were at last defeated. Felim O'Connor, 
from whom the Irish expected more than from any Gael then 
living, was slain.'' * That the Irish fought with determination 

* Four Masters. * AwmIb of Clonmacnaiae. 

' Four Masters. ^ lUd. 

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is clear from the record of their losses on that day, which are 
variously estimated from 8000 to ] 1,000 men, with many of 
the provincial chiefs. Though outnumbering the English on 
the occasion (probably), the superior discipline and arms of 
the English secured the victory. On that fatal field perished 
the hopes of supremacy so long cherished by that ill-starred 
family the O'Connors. The victims of their own petty 
jealousies, they dragged down with them in their fall the 
destinies of Connaught and of its chieftains. In recognition of 
their services to the English crown on that occasion, the 
De Berniinghams were created Barons of Athenry. 

Like his predecessors, the Eed Earl erected castles, amongst 
which we may mention those of Ballymote and Castle Connell. 
He founded and endowed monasteries, among which may 
be mentioned the Dominican Abbey of Carlingford, and the 
Carmelite Abbey of Loughrea, A.D. iSOO. He died A.D. 1326, 
and was buried with his ancestor at AthasseL His death is 
thus recorded by the annalists : " Kichard Burke, i.e. the Red 
Earl, Lord of Ulster and of the greater part of Connaught, 
the choicest of all the English in Ireland, died at the close of 
the summer." 

The De Burgos had turned their opportunities to the best 
account, and there can be no doubt that after the battle of 
Athenry they were in reality, as well as in name, repre- 
sentatives of En<;lish authority throughout a great portion of 
Connaught. The dissensions of the O'Connors had done their 
work. No wonder the provincial chieftains should have sunk 
into a lelharey of weariness at the fatal and continuous 
struggles of those unworthy aspirants to kingly power. Dis- 
union was everywhere arounil I hem. They saw their terri- 
tories continuously ravaged by war, and their people perishing 
by the still more awful visitation of famine, by which, accord- 
ing to our annalists, " they were almost reduced to the necessity 
of eating one another." ^ It was not till after their rivalry had 
brought ruin on themselves and on their country, that the 
"O'Connors agreed to settle the conflicting claims of rival 
xiandidates for succession, by dividing what remained of the 
common inheritance." ^ And from this date downwards, we 
have the O'Connor "Dun," and the O'Connor " Eoe." 

Turning from the troubled political history of Kilmacduagh 
in the thirteenth century, to the episcopal succession, there we 
find that we can trace its bishops with tolerable accuracy. 

We have seen that Odo, or Hugh, was elected a.d. 1227. 

Connor O'Murray succeeded. The date of his election is 
* JFour Masters, a.d. 1318. * jyArcy Magee, p. 281. 

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not given. But as his death occurred A,D. 1247,^ there can be 
no reasonable doubt that he was Odo*s immediate successor. 
His death is thus recorded by the Four Masters : " Connor 
O'Murray, Bishop of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, died at Bristol." 

At jSrst sight it appears strange to rejtd of the prelate's death, 
at Bristol. But, with a knowledge of the social disorders that 
prevailed in the diocese at the period, as well as throughout the 
province, it will be understood as a natural or necessary con- 
sequence of those disorders. Hence many of the cler<ry and 
the learned men were obliged to go into exile. O'Murray, 
like many other bishops and ecclesiastics of the period, had to 
bend before the storm, and to seek in exile for the safety of 
which they were for a little deprived at home, through the 
temporary excesses of a misgoverned and starving people. 

Gelasius Mac Scelajg succeeded. He ruled the See but 
for a short period, as we find his death recorded, A.P. 1249. 

Maurice Ileyan died a.d. 1283. Bishop Ileyan may have 
been the immediate successor of Gelasius. Maurice Ileyan 
was a Dominican, and was buried in the Dominican convent ^ 
of Atheniy. About a century later we find two other prelates 
of his name, probably of his family, ruling the diocese, and, like 
him, members of the illustrious order of Friars Preachers. 
The name is probably a corruption of 0*Lane, a family name 
still found in the diocese. It was through him the Canons 
liegular were established at Kilmacduagh. 

The old monastery, which was probably in ruins since the 
sacrilegious raid of William Fitz Adelm in the beginning of 
the century, was rebuilt by him, and he had the happiness of 
liearing the Divine praises chanted there once more by the 
Canons, who took possession of it the year before his death. 
As the O'Heynes were the Herenachs, or lay patrons, of the 
monastery at that period and after, it bears their name even 
still. It is known to the Irish-speaking people as " Teampuill' 
Muinter Heyne." The beautiful chapel and portions of the 
monastery still remain, and have been already described in 
those pages. 

We know that Ireland was indebted to St. Malachy for 
the introduction of the Canons Kegular to Ireland, and in 
their introduction we observe the first deviation from the 
monastic system previously prevailing in the country. That 
system had suffered during the period of the Danish occupa- 
tion. It was but natural that constant strife and national 
disorder should result in the partial decadence of religious 
observances and ecclesiastical discipline. The high esteem in 
^ Four Masters. * Hib. Dominicana, p. 223. 

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which the holy Primate St Malachy was held by his con- 
terapornries, mu«5t have facilitated his religious reforms con- 
siderably. The introduction of the Canons was also facilitated 
by the similarity which existed between their rules and 
observances, and those by which the old Irish monastic 
institutions were rej^ulated. While retaining manv of the 
practices of the old Irish monastic institutions, they 4Js- 
charged the active duties of missionary life.^ Hence, in order 
that they might the more effectually discharge those onerous 
duties, they held themselves exempt from the rigorous 
practices common in our early monasteries. The zeal of the 
new congregations, and the similarity of their observances in 
many respects to those with which the nation was familiar in 
the past, recommended the Canons liegular to the Irish 
bishops as a religious society suited to the exigencies of the 
period. But though introduced to Ireland by St. Malachy, it 
was not till after the English invasion that the number of 
their monasteries became particularly large.^ These remarks 
are intended only to throw a little light on the character of 
the monks established in the thirteenth century at Kilmacduagh 
by Bishop Ileyan. 

David O'Ledaghan succeeded soon after the death of Maurice 
Ileyan. We find him obtaininji restitution of the temporalities 
oF the See, July 13, a.d. 1284. He died a.d. 1290, having 
occupied the See for about six years, and was buried at Athenry. 
The Annals of Clonmacnoise tell us that O'Ledaghan had been 
Abbot of Esroe, then of Boyle, and afterwards of Knoekmoy, 
from which he was transferred to the See of Kilmacduagh. 

Laurence O'Loughlin succeeded. He was previously 
Abbot of Boyle and of Samario. He died A.D. 1307. 

Luke died a.d. 1325. 

A taxation of Irish Sees made by Pope Nicholas, a.d. 1291, 
is of much interest, as it shows the estimated value of the 
Sees at that period It is given in full in the Appendix to this 
volume. Here it may be sufficient to give the taxation of 
Kilmacduagh with the other Connaught diocese : — 

Clonfert Bishop's Revenue, 

„ Benefices, 
Tuam Bishop's Revenue, 
Kilmacduagh Bishop's Revenue, 

„ Only a few of the Benefices given, 
Achondry Bishop's Revenue, . 
Enaghdiine Bishop's Revenue, 

* Carew, Eecles, History of Ireland^ p. 201. 

* Dr. Lanigan, vol. i. p. 185. 



















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The reader will find from this ancient document that the 
bishop's revenue in the small diocese of Kilmacduagh was high 
in comparison with the revenues of many other Irish Sees. 
It exceeded the episcopal revenues of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise 
together. It exceeded the revenue of either Derry or Eaphoe. 
It exceeded the revenue of the See of Waterford, and was far 
in excess of Eoss. And in the province of Connaught the 
revenues of Achondry and Annaghdown united did not even 
equal those of Kilniacduagh. It should be remembered that 
money was much more valuable then than now. Dr. S. Malone,^ 
in his interesting remarks on this taxation, suggests that we 
may suppose that money was then thirty times more valuable 
than it is in our day. 

' Ecdu, Higtory of Ireland. 

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On the death of the Earl of Ulster, the Clanricarde territory is claimed 
by the Connaiight De Burgos— William of Annaghkeen first Mac 
William Oughter— Various branches of the O'Heyne family— The 
O'Cahills and O'Shaughneesys — The episcopal succession. 

The extensive territory claimed in Galway by the Burkes, on 
the death of the Earl of Ulster, was usually known as " Clanri- 
carde." We find that the territory was so designated by our 
annalists as early as the year 1360. It was probably so called 
from Richard, the famous " Ked Earl," though there are those 
who think it received this designation from " Eicard," son of 
Mac William " Oughter," after the De Burgo revolt. 

The territory known as Clanricarde includes the six 
southern baronies of Galway,^ viz. Clare, Athenry, Leitriui, 
Loughreagh, Duukellin, and Kiltartan (Kiltarght). The very 
large baronies of Dunkellin, Kiltartan, and portions of Lough- 
reagh are comprised in the diocese of Kilmacduagh. But though 
extensive portions of the north-eastern districts of Kilmacduagh 
were appropriated by the De Burgos, the chief portions of the 
lands of Aidhne territory remained in the hands Of the terri- 
torial chieftains. In the case of men who claimed to hold by 
royal grant, as did the De Burgos, the somewhat shadowy 
claim to " kni<:ht service," as it was called, was often advanced 
by the English, though seldom respected by the subordinate 
chieftains. Indeed, tlie injustice of the demand was so obvious, 
that it Mas recognised only through necessity. The actual 
possessions of the De Burgos in Aidhne never extended much 
beyond the O'Clery territory, and portions of the territory of 
the O'Cahills in the east of Kinelea. It is only with a know- 
ledge of the foregoing facts that the "exaggerated statement of 
the possessions " ^ of the De Burgos found in the Trinity College 
MSS., and inserted by Mac Firbis in his book of genealogies, 
can be understood : — 

"The Bed Earl was Lord in demayne and sarvice for the 
most part from Bealagh-Lughyd in Tuamona to Balliehany, 
which is an hundred miles, and from the Norbagh (Forbagh) 
* Hy Maine, pp. 18 and 70. * lar Connaughty p. 189. 


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• lUWJJJP" ■". 


by the seaside to Bailie Mac Skanlon by Dundalke, and also from 
Limbricke to Waterford, besides all his lands in four shires, and 
in the county of Kilkenny and Tipperary."^ Mr. Hardiman 
thinks that Mac Firbis merely copied this statement from the 
Trinity College MSS. In any case it is untrue. William De 
Burgo succeeded to the titles and extensive possessions of the 
Ifed Earl, and was therefore third Earl of Ulster.^ Hardiman 
speaks of him as the grandson of the lied Earl. By the 
more accurate De Burgo, he is referred to as the grandson of 
Walter de Burgo. In 1331 he was appointed Lord Justice of 
Ireland, and married the Lady Maud,' daughter of Henry, Earl 
of Lancaster. On the 6th of June, a.d. 1333, he was foully 
murdered at Carrigfergus, in the twenty-first year of his age. 
The murder was perpetrated at the instigation of Eichard 
Mandeville, in revenge for the arrest of his brother. He left 
an only daughter, Elizabeth, to inherit his titles and vast 

Elizabeth, who was educated in England, married Lionel, 
Duke of Clarence, the son of Edward III., a.d. 1359; by this 
marriage he became Earl of Ulster and Lord of Connaught, 
and in 1361 * he was sent to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant. 

His only daughter Philippa was given in marriage, in the 
thirteenth year of her age, to Edmond Mortimer, Earl of March. 
Through him the De Burgo titles and estates passed through 
Kichard Plantagenet to Edward IV. of England. 

But when, on the marriage of the Duke of Clarence, the junior 
branches of the De Burgos saw that their possessions and 'titles 
were about to become crown property, they resolved to hold at 
least their Connaught possessions in defiance of the Govern- 
ment. They accordingly took possession of the Dc Burgo terri- 
tories in Connaught ; but the Government, either through policy 
or weakness, made no effort to resist the usurpation. The Duke 
of Clarence meantime urged his claims to his usurped property 
in Connaught as strongly as he could. His remonstrances only 
led to the appointment of a Commission to inquire into the 
justice of his claims. The Commission did somewhat tardy 
justice to His Grace, by deferring their report till alter his death, 
and declaring then that Galway * and certain other important 
portions of the county belonged to him by right of his wife. 

In the Parliament held at Kilkenny, a.d. 1342, at which the 
Duke of Clarence presided,^ there were several penal enact- 
ments passed against the use of the Irish language and adoption 

* Loc, cit. * Hid, of Galway^ p. 54. • Burke's Peerage, 

•• Ibid, * Hardiman, Galway, p. 57. 

• Dissertatiojis on Irish, History, pp. 105-111. 

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of Irish customs. These enactments, it is thought, were 
aimed directly agaiust the De Burgos, who had not only set 
English law at defiance, but had also adopted the language and 
customs of the Irish. " Eenouncin*,' English laws and language," 
they ostentatiously adopted the laws, language, and dress of 
Irish, in order to conciliate the sympathy aud secure the 
support of the Irish chieftains. These were the circumstances 
under which the De Burgos deemed it expedient to become 
" more Irish than the Irish themselves." 

The leaders under whom this defiant and daring movement 
was carried out, were Sir Edmond de Burgo, surnamed " Alba- 
nach," from the loni; period of twenty-two years which he spent 
in Scotland, and William de Burgo, surnamed of Annaghkeen, 
from his castle in the barony of Clare. They were brothers 
and sons of William Leigh de Burgo, who died 1324, and was 
buried at Galway in the Franciscan monastery of which he was 
founder. William lieigh de Burgo was son of William of 
Athankip,^ a distinguished soldier, who died on the battlefield 
of Athankip, a.d. 1270. William of Athankip was second son 
of Eichard "the Great," and therefore grandson of William, 
first Earl of Ulster. Having succeeded in their ambitious aims, 
they divided their newly-acquired possessions amongst them- 
selves, Edmond retaining the Mayo possessions, and becoming 
the founder of the Mayo family, who in modern times choose 
to designate themselves Bourkes ; while William retained the 
Galway possessions commonly known as Clanriearde. Each in 
his own district affected the style and title of an Irish chief, 
and became known as the Mac William. And as the terms 
Eighter (lower) and Ou^ihter (upper) were supposed to desig- 
nate accurately the relative situations of their territories, 
Edmond de Burgo was tlie Mac William Eighter, and William 
de Burgo became known as the Mac William Oughter. It is 
certain that the Mac William of the period was on his accession 
inaugurated with the usual pomp attendant on the inauguration 
of an Irish chieftain. " Cahir an Earla," the probable inaugura- 
tion stone or mound of the Clanriearde Burkes, is still pointed 
out close to the ruined castle of the De Burgos at Dunkellin, 
near Kiloolgan. It is also close to the place of the 0*Heynes' 
inauguration. The daring proceedings referred to would prob- 
ably have brought on the De Burgos the displeasure of the 
Government, had it occurred at another time. But England 
was then occupied by other and greater troubles. Besides, the 
Government's chief aim was to keep the native Irish in check, 
and as the De Burgos were amongst the most successful 
1 Kih, Dom, p. 224. 

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representatives of English aggression in Ireland, their revolt 
was easily condoned. 

Mac William, ancestor of the Burkes of Cle^nricarde, died 
1337, and was succeeded by his son Eicard, suinamed " Oge." 
We have seen that there are some writers who think it was 
from this " Kicard," and not from the " lied Earl," that Clan- 
ricarde was so designated. He strengthened his position by an 
alliance with one of the chieftains of Hy Maine, Murchadh 
O'Madden, who is designated as ** patron of the liteiati of 
Ireland." ^ He accordingly married the Lady More, daughter 
of Murchadh O'Madden, who died A.D. 1383. It would appear 
that it was by this intermarriage with the O'Maddens that the 
Burkes first acquired their Portumna estates. He died in 1387, 
four years after his wife, leaving three sons, Ulick, Thomas, 
and John. 

John went to Mnnster to reside, and there he was commonly 
known as John Galway. He founded there an influential 
family, who have continued to retain the designation. 

We shall see more clearly in our next chapter the other 
branches of the De Burgo family established in the diocese of 
Kilmacduagh before the close of the fifteenth century. 

After the death of Eoghan O'Heyne, a.d. 1253, the notices 
of his fan)ily which are preserved in our annals are few and 
meagre. They saw, perhaps, in the ifate of their kinsmen, the 
O'Clerys, the danger of ineffectual resistance. But from those 
few notices of them which are extant in the second half of the 
thirteenth century, we can infer that they accommodated them- 
selves to the new order of things. 

The family of Eoghan O'Heyne was continued through bis 
son John, who had a son Hugh, who had a son Donogh, who, 
according to our annalists, was slain a.d. 1340. But the only 
record of those generations preserved by our annalists is that 
of the death of Donogh at the hands of his own kinsmen. 

In A.D. 1261, the Four Masters state that "Mulfavale 
O'Heyne slew Hugh O'Connor, for which O'Heyne was him- 
self slain by the English," a.d. 1263. In the beginning of 
the next century, 1320, the death of Nicholas O'Heyne is 

Donogh, great-grandson of Eoghan 0*Heyne, had two sons 
who were successively "Lords" of Aidhne, Owen and Muir- 
cheartach. Owen was slain by his kinsmen, A.D. 1340. His 
brother survived as chief representative of the family. In 
1377 the three sons of O'Heyne, with many chiefs of Clan- 
ricarde, were slain by MacNamara. In 1407, O'Heyne joined 
1 Hy Maine, -p. 146. 

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Mac William Burke of Clanricarde, and Cathal, son of Rory 
O'Connor, King (str) of Connaught, and fought at the battle 
of Killaghy^ against O'Connor lioe, at which they were 
defeated. The Mac William Sedmond Mac Hubert Burke 
(of Iser Kelly) and O'Heyne were taken prisoners. The 
O'Heyne who was taken prisoner on the occasion was, 
O'Donovan thinks, Aedli Buidhe, son of Muircheartach.* 

We find Aedh Buidhe O'Heyne given as one of the earliest 
representatives of the Lydecane branch of the family. It is 
extremely probable that, alter the capture of the Castle of 
Ardrahan by De Burgo, the chief branch of the family settled 
at Lydecane, situated about two miles and a half south-east of 
the then more historic and ancient residence at Ardrahan. 
The interesting castle which they erected there is still extant, 
and exceedingly well preserved. Even the slight watch-turret 
which crowns the summit is perfect. And when in after 
times an O'Heyne was elected chief of Hy Fiachrach 
Aidhne, as in the case of Eoghan Mautagh O'Heyne in 
1578, we find the appointment from the Lydecane branch of 
the family. 

We find some notable oft shoots of this family, the 
most important of which were those of Dunowen and 

Dunowen is described by O'Doriovan' as "a townland, con- 
taining the ruins of a fort, in which stood a castle, in the 
parish and barony of Kiltartan." In this description the 
learned antiquarian is guilty of a slight error. The townland, 
though situated in the barony of Kiltartan, belongs to the 
parish of Kilmacduagh. The vast fort of Dunowen is in its 
ruins even at the present day interesting and striking. It was 
of great strength. It was built of stone, without mortar, and 
of great thickness. It ran along the verge of a precipitous 
crag, which rises abruptly from the lakes by which it is 
surrounded on the east and west. It enclosed a very exten- 
sive oblong plateau. O'Donovan did not mean that the castle 
of which he speaks stood within the fort. It contains no 
trace of such a structure. There is, however, a ruined castle 
a little westward, though outside the townland, which may be 
the castle to which he refers. The forests of Coole and Garry- 
land, which surround the lakes and rock-fortress of Dunowen, 
constitute a picture of rare sylvan loveliness, in which lake 
and crag and forest glades are beautifully blended. The 
Ibunder of this branch of tlie O'Heyne family was third son of 

* A village in Roscommon, but in the O'Kelly country. — //y Maine, 

* Hif Fiachrach^ p. 403. » Ibid, p. 67. 

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Flan O'Heyne, who was great-grandson of the Eoghan Buidhe 
O'Heyne ^ already referred to. 

His fourth son, Flan, was founder of the Duiiguaire family, 
Describing the residence of this branch of the family, O'Donovan 
speaks of it as a " fortified residence, now Dungorey, a castle 
ill good preservation, situated immediately to tlie east of the 
little seaport town of Kinvara, in the barony of Kiltartan. 
This castle was erected on the site of the palace of Guaire 
Aidhne, King of Connaught, the ancestor of the O'Heynes, 
who erected this and several other castles in its vicinity." ^ 
The situation of the castle is picturesque. Eising from the 
historic Dun, its octagonal fortification runs around the old 
enclosure of the Dun ; it flings its shadows on the placid waters 
of the sheltered bay and on the adjoining holy well of St. 
Colman. It reminds the wiiter, by its outline and position, of 
Bamborough Castle, on the coast of Northumberland. 

I have omitted to refer to Euadhri na Coille O'Heyne, an 
elder brother. Though the particular portion of the district 
in which this family resided is not known, it is certain he was 
chief of his name in 1578.* He is referred to by the Four 
Masters in that year as a man who "from the beginning 
of his career until his death was a man distinguished for 
hospitality and prowess." 

Edmond O'Heyne, lay patron, or " Herenach," of the Church 
lands of Kilmacduagh, was also a member of this family. 

Our references to the O'Shaughnessys, chiefs of the south- 
eastern districts of Aidhne, have been few since we recorded 
the death of the O'Shaughnessy who fell at the battle of Ardee, 
1159. They, with their kinsmen the O'Cahills, were lords of 
the eastern portions of Aidhne, known as Kinel Aodha or 
Kinelea. O'Duggan, in his topographical poem, refers to them 
in the following words : — 

" Two kings of Cinel Aodha there are, 
O'Sliaughncasy whom I will not shun ; 
Of them is O'Catbail of learned men, 
Smooth his fields and his fertile mountains." 

We find from the notices extant in our annals that the 
district of Kinelea consisted of an eastern and western division, 
each of which had its independent chief sometimes; more 
usually the two districts were subject to one chief. The 
rivalry between the O'Cahills and their kinsmen the O'Shaugh- 
nessys, the territorial lords, was often sharp and fierce. In 

* Genealogical Table, Uy Fiachrach. * Hy Fiachrachy p. 67. 

* O'Donovan, Genealogical Table, Hy Ficuhra'h. 

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1197 we find Maoeleachlain Riabach O'Shaugbnessy described 
by our annalists as " lord of half the territory of Cinel Aodha." 

In 1222 we find that Giolla Mochoine O'Cathail was lord 
of Cinel Aodha East and West. This chieftain was slain by 
O'Shaughnessy, at the instigation of his own people. This 
seems to have been the last occasion on which any member 
of the O'Cahill family was recognised as chieftain of Kinelea. 
Accordingly the O'Shaughnessys were afterwards the sole 
recognised aspirants to that honour. 

During the remaining portion of the thirteenth century 
they are frequently referred to by our annalists. 

We have seen that they were the recognised custodians of 
the crozier and cincture of their holy kinsman, St. Colman, to 
which we have already referred. In 1224 the Four Masters 
record the death of " Giolla na Naomb Crom O'Shaughnessy, 
lord of the western part of Cinel Aodha na Echtge." 

In 1240 they tell us that "Hu<;h, son of Giolla na Naomb 
Crom O'Shaughnessy, was slain by Conchobar, son of Aodh, 
son of Cathal Crovedeargj O'Connor." 

In 1403 we find that Mortogh Garve O'Shaughnessy, " Tanist 
of Fiachrach Ayne, was killed by those of Imaine," ^ 

In 1408 we find the death of John Cam O'Shaughnessy 
recorded by the Four Masters. He was slain by 0*Loughlin 
" in a game on the green at Clonrode." 

The chief residence of this ancient family was erected on 
a little island on the site of the palace of Guaire — their royal 
ancestor — at Gort. There the family dispensed for centuries 
a lavish hospitality, " worthy of their great progenitor." 2 But 
though this historic pile escaped the vandalism of Ludlow's 
soldiers, it was levelled to the earth, towards the close of the 
last century, to supply materials for building the present 
military barrack which occupies its site. # 

The castles of Fiddane and Ardameelavane were theirs also. 
They are probably not older than the Tudor period, and are 
perfectly preserved. They shall, however, be referred to more 
in detail hereafter. 

It is not easy to say who was the immediate successor of 
Luke, Bishop of Kilmacduagh, who, as we have seen, died 
A.D. 1325. 

In the list of prelates of the See, we usually find the name 
of a certain JouN, styled " Dean " of Kilmacduagh. He is 
referred to as living in 1347, when it is stated he came into 
trouble by the wicked courses of a bastard son, called " Gilla- 
naneve," and was fined twenty shillings. Such entries afford 
^ Annals of Clonmacnoise. * Vita Kerovani, 

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no real evidence that John was bishop. It should also be 
remembered that laymen frequently held ecclesiastical offices 
with the emoluments attached to iheuL " Herenachs," or lay 
bishops, as we have seen, were not uncommon then, as for 
centuries before then ; and, as might have been expected, their 
influence was prejudicial to the best interests of the Church. 
Holding the revenues of the See, and exercising some of its 
authority, they were free irom its responsibilities, and able to 
discharge the sacred functions of their office only through 
others duly consecrated. Besides, it should not be forgotten 
that at this period English authority was making itself widely 
felt, and was frequently used to make the Church subservient 
to the State. Hence it sometimes happened that persons were 
advanced to high ecclesiastical offices without piety or leamincr, 
to the great prejudice of religion. Dr. Kelly ,^ writing of thi.s 
period, and in this connection, uses the following eloquent and 
impressive words: "To remove Irishmen from all offices of 
tnist, honour, and power, not suddenly but gradually, was 
the fundamental maxim of English policy in Ireland. The 
encroachments on the liberty of the Cliurch very probably 
were of the same character. In 1360 the mask was com- 
pletely thrown off, by that famous mandate issued by James, 
Earl of Ormond, by whom it was enacted that no archbishop, 
bishop, abbot, or prior should promote any mere Irishman 
to any ecclesiastical benefice or cathedral dignity among the 
English, through any motive of consanguinity, affinity, or other 
cause whatsoever." 

At even an earlier period (1317), sinular abuses are referred 
to with pathetic eloquence by Donal O'Neil, in that memorable 
remonstrance which he addressed to the Supreme Pontiff, in 
the name of the clergy and nobility of Ireland. 

If, therefore, John were Bishop of Kiimacduagh, we think 
that his promotion to the See may have its explanation in the 
abuses which have been just referred to. 

Nicholas ruled the diocese of Kiimacduagh from a.d. 1360 
to A.D. 1370. He could have been John's immediate suc- 
cessor. It is, however, probable that the See was vacant for 
some time. 

Gregory Ileyan died a.d. 1395. He was a Dominican.* 
And as he was of the same order, so too we think it probable 
that he was of the same family as his distinguished pre- 
decessor in the See, Maurice Ileyan, who died a.d. 1283. 
However, he was buried in the church of his order at Eos- 
common, and not with his predecessor at Athenry. 

^ Distertaiion on Irish History, p. 127. * Hib, Donu 

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It is impossible to say when the bishops ceased to reside in 
the monastery at Kilmacduagh. But there is amongst the 
ruins there a noteworthy structure of the fourteenth centuiy, 
which very many regard as the episcopal residence. We have 
seen that Dr. Pococke thought so. It is populaily known as 
"Seanclogh," i,e, the old building. Mr. Brash ^ thinks, with 
every intelligent observer, that it must have been built i'or 
purely secular purposes. It stands at a little distance from 
St. John's Oratory, and about 200 yards north-east of the 
cathedral. It is a lar«jfe square pile, without gables, and 
standing two storeys high. With the exception of a portion 
of the southern side wall, the masonry is uninjured. The 
lower storey was but dimly lighted by a few narrow loop- 
holes. But the upper storey must have been well lighted, as 
there are still there a few well-preserved double lancet 
windows. There is also a fireplace there. The floors, which 
must have been of wood, have entirely disappeared. 

The building in its general outline bears a rather striking 
resemblance to the Castle of Ardrahan ; and, from the charact*-r 
of its masonry, there can be little doubt that it belongs to the 
fourteenth century, when the constantly-recurring military 
raids rendered residences of such a character desirable even 
for the bishops. We may therefore assume that Seanclogh 
was the episcopal palace. 

Nicholas Ileyan succeeded to the See in the same year, 
under the pontificate of Boniface IX. He too was a 
Dominican. He died a.d. 1399, having ruled the diocese 
only four years, and was buried in the Dominican convent of 

"Nicholas Ileyan post Gregorium Ileyan in Ccenobio nostro 
Roscommonensi humatum successit Epis Duacensis in Conacia 
sub Arch Tuamensis, a.d. 1395, Bonifacio Nono Pontifice, et e^t 
hac vita migravit, a.d. 1399." 

John Icomaid succeeded, a.d. 1401. He also was a 
Dominican. He died after a short reign, and was buried at 

Eugene OTelan succeeded to the See on the 23rd September, 
A.D. 1409. He is also called O'Strolayn. At the time of- his 
nomination to the See he was under age, but received the 
necessary dispensation from the Holy See, as appears from the 
following extract : " 1409 Sep. die 23 Sep. S. D. N. providit 
ecclesiaj Duacensi in Hibernia vacante per . . . Domini 
Eugenii O'Sholayn et dispensavit cum eo super defectu natali- 
tium." 2 He was translated to Killaloe 1418. 

* Ecclesiaiftkal Architecture^ Ireland^ p. 108. * Vatican, 

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■I P"" " M iP 


Dermot O'Doneihiegu succeeded on the 6th July, a.d. 1418. 
The name is evidently a corruption of the Irish name O'Dono- 
hoe. He was Dean of Kilmacduagh prior to his appointment. 
''Provisum est ecclesise Duacensi vacanti per translationem 
Eugenii ad Laonen ; de persona Dermitii O'Doneihiegu Decani 
Duacensis." * His reign was very brief. 

In A.D. 1419, on the 23rd October, John Jiombarg was 
nominated his successor. He was Abbot of the Cistertian 
monastery of Our Lady de " Petra fertili " at Corcomroe. He 
was nominated to tbQ See of Kilmacduagh by Pope Martin 
III. It would appear that his nomination took place 
at Florence. ''Provisum est Ecclesise St. Golemani Mac- 
duach Duac vacanti de persona fratris Johanis lomburg 
Abbatis roonasterii SUe Marise . . . 'de petra fertili/ Cor- 
comroe Ord. Cisterc. Finab Dive.** * 


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Corcomroe territory coextensive with Kilfenora Diocese — ^The O'Connors 
and O'Loughlins, its chieftains — The Abbey erected, a.d. 1200, 
for Cistercians— A branch house established at Kilahanny — John, 
Abbot of Corcomroe, Bishop of Kilmacduagh — Existing remains at 
Corcomroe — Connor O'Brien killed at the battle of Suidhne, 
A.D. 1267— Battle of Corcomroe, a.d. 1317— Monument of CLoughlin, 
King of Burren — O'Loughlin of Mucinis executed by Captain Braba- 
zon, A.D. 1548 — Grants of the Abbey lands made to O'Brien of 
Ennistymon, with the lands of the O'Connors — The O'Dalys of 
Finievara — Donogh More CDaly, the Ovid of Ireland, and other 
bards of Burren. 

The Abbey of Corcomroe, though not within the diocese 
of Kilmacduagh, is situated on its immediate boundaiy, close to 
St. Colman's monastery at Oughtmama. As we have seen, it 
gave a bishop to the diocese. And we know that it must of 
necessity have exercised a lasting influence on the surrounding 
districts. We therefore think that a brief notice of it must 
prove interesting here. 

The name Corcomroe is said to be derived from "core," 
progeny, and "Moruadh," the third son of Meave, Queen of 
Connaught The territory designated by this name extends 
along the Dorth-westem shores of Clare, and is exactly co- 
extensive with the present diocese of Kilfenora, and is conter- 
minous with the diocese of Kilmacduagh. The territory is 
therefore an extensive one. The scenery of the district is bold 
and striking, and, notwithstanding the lofty limestone hills 
with which the district is studded, it is by no means wanting 
in fertility. The territory was originally governed by one 
chieftain, or petty king, who was inaugurated at " Cam Mic 
Talius," ^ the large stone cairn in the valley of Kilshanny now 
known as " Cairn Connaught." 

It would seem that the blessings of the Christian religion 
were somewhat slow in reaching the tribes of Corcomroe, as 
was the case in some of the islands on the western coast. 
Lauigan attributes their conversion to St. Benignus.* Hence 
for a considerable period after the surrounding territories had 
1 Four Masters, A D, 1673. * Lanigan, vol, i. p, 376. 


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become Christian, Corcomroe was, in part at least, pagan. It is 
in that connection D. F. Mac Carthy, speaking of St. Enda, tells 
ns how 

*' He himself came hither with his flock 
To teach the infidels from Corcomroe." 

In course of time the district was divided into Eastern 
and Western Corcomroe, each of which had its chief. West 
Corcomroe was governed by the O'Connors of the Eudrician 
race, whose castles may still be seen at Lahinch, liscannor, 
and Ballinalackan. East Corcomroe, more usually known 
as Burren, was governed by their kinsmen the 0*Loughlins, 
whose castles may still be seen where the weird valleys 
of Burren open on the inlets of Galway Bay. The fact that 
both septs were of Ulster, and therefore unconnected with 
the Dalcais, may in part account for the frequency with which 
they disregarded the authority of the Princes of Thomond. 

This Cistercian monastery is usually designated by the name 
of the territory, and was the most import^-nt religious establish- 
ment within its limits. It was also called the Abbey of 
Burren. like most Cistercian monasteries, it was dedicated to 
Our Lady, and under the title " de petra fertili." It stands 
within the rugged mountain ranges in the townland of Abbey, 
— a designation which it clearly owes to the construction of the 
monastery within its limits. It is only about four miles from 
Kinvara, and though the armlets of the sea wash the ahore 
close by at Mucinish and Finievara, the venerable pile is 
completely sheltered by hills from the rude storms of the 

The date of the erection of Our Lady's Abbey at Corcomroe 
can be ascertained with considerable certainty. Though its 
erection is attributed by some^ to Donald O'Brien, King of 
Munster,* a.d. 1194, there can be little doubt that it was 
erected in a.d. 1200, by Donogh Cairbreagh O'Brien.' It was 
erected by this munificent prince for Cistercians, and was at 
first a branch of the house of that order on the Suir. It was, 
however, soon after made subject to the celebrated Abbey of 
Furness in Lancashire. We are told by Tongelinus that, soon 
after this annexation was efiected, Abbot Patrick was sent 
from Furness to govern Corcomroe, In the course of a little 
time the good fathers were able to establish a new foundation 
at Kilshanny in East Corcomroe.* Probably the lords of 

* T(yp. Hib. * Seward, also THumphalia S. Cruets, 

* MSS. Materials, Irish History, p. 234. 

* In the Triumphalia S, Orucis it is said to have been "built and 
endowed by Donald O'Brien, 1194," and annexed to Corcomroe. 

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the territory were anxious to secure for themselves and their 
people the religious blessings which the Cistercian fathers 
were already conferring on the warlike tribes of Burren. It 
was near the historic cairn of Mic Talius, and within the fertile 
valley of Kilshanny, that the new foundation was established. 
The church and monastery were dedicated to St. Augustine. 
In the course of a little time the patron of the monastery was 
so revered in the district, that he was also rec(^nised as the 
patron of the parish. Even at the present day may be seen, 
at the south side of the abbey church, a well, reputed holy 
from time immemorial, which is dedicated to St. Augustine. 
The " bell of Kilshanny," now preserved in the Museum of the 
Eoyal Irish Academy, Dublin, was till recently preserved and 
venerated in the district, as a valued and sacred relic of the 
Church. It was, till recently,^ preserved by a poor family in 
the district, who were regarded as its hereditary custodians. 
From them it passed to our National Academy. The monas- 
tery has been completely ruined. It was granted with its 
"appurtenances, mills, and fisheries," says Archdall, to 
one Robert Hickman,* who has passed away with his 
plunder, and left no trace behind. The abbey church alone 
remains in fair preservation, but with evidences of several 

We have seen that John, Abbot of Corcomroe, was elevated 
to the See of Kilmacduagh, a.d. 1419. From the brief notice 
preserved for us which refers to his appointment, we can have 
no doubt that he was regarded as a very distinf^piished man. 
"Sseculo XV. Johanes Abbas inclaruit, a.d. 1419, Episcopus 
Duacensis constituitur." But his history, like that of the few 
others whose names are incidentally mentioned as abbots of 
the monastery, is lost without hope of recovery. It may be said 
of the holy men who for centuries copied the sanctity of their 
great model, St. Bernard, within that mountain solitude, that 
their virtues are known only to God. The records of their holy 
lives have been destroyed with their monastery. And alas! 
for centuries, silence and ruin reign supreme, where piety and 
learning had a home. The ruins there speak forcibly of the 
spoilers' cruelty, and the sighing of the wind through the 
crumbling arches seems, in its sad monotone, to mourn for its 
departed inmates, and for the music that is hushed for ever 
within its walls. 

Little remains, except extensive mounds and fragments of 
shattered masonry, to speak of cells and cloister, and of the 
other usual adjuncts of such an institution. But the church 
^ ArchdaU. * See also Triwmphalia S, Orucii. 

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is well preserved, and remains a splendid monument of the 
piety of the thirteenth century. 

It stands at the north of the monastery, and completed the 
square at that side. like most of our Cistercian churches, it is 
lofty and spacious. But our sense of its spacious proportions 
is in part weakened by the masonry of the belfry, which rises 
from the interior of the church, almost completely separating 
the choir from the body of the church. A low doorway is the 
sole communication between both, though in most other 
churches the belfry, when rising from the interior, rests upon 
comparatively wide and lofty arches. 

The public entrance to the church was by a well-cut Gothic 
doorway in the western gable, which is surmounted by a double 
lancet window of great height Cloisters stood on either side 
of the nave, which seem to have also answered the purpose of 
ordinary aisles, one of which still remains. They opened on 
the nave by an arcade now partially closed ; and they gave 
access to the choir also. In the choir the visitor will be much 
struck by the beautiful groined chancel, and the vaulted side 
chapels, which are well preserved. The vaulted roof of the 
chancel is supported by splendidly-groined arches, ornamented 
with dentals and lozenge. The lighting is by a triple lancet 
in the east gable, which is widely splayed on the inside, show- 
ing some very chaste and well -wrought mouldings. The 
chancel arch, which, like the other arches of the church, is 
pointed, is beautifully moulded, and is supported on clustering 
columns, well executed, with bases and richly-carved capitals. 
It is noteworthy that, though the arches are Gothic, the orna- 
mental details of the capitals throughout the church are 

The side chapels adjoin the chancel on either side. Though 
stone roofed, like the chancel, they are plainly vaulted. These 
arched recesses are fronted by beautifully-cut stone arches, 
which rest on clustering columns, and are similar in most 
respects to those of the chancel arch. 

A small doorway, situated about 10 or 12 feet above the level 
of the floor of the choir, gives access to a narrow stone stair, 
which led to the summit of the belfry. The belfry is, in fact, 
the central tower. Its summit has been injured, and at present 
it rises only some few feet over the gables of the abbey church. 
Within the chancel, the Sedilia on the Epistle side and the 
relic screen on the opposite side are interesting, and show some 
noteworthy specimens of Irish Eomanesque ornament. But 
the tomb of Connor O'Brien, who was slain a.d. 1267, is the 
most interesting object there. It occupies a recess in the north 

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side wall of the chancel, and resembles in most respects an 
ordinary altar-tomb. A recumbent effigy of the young prince 
rests upon the tomb, carved in full relief and of lite size. It is 
to be regretted that the effigy has been injured by time, or by 
the more destructive influence referred to by Button " of the 
giddy young men who amused themselves by mutilating some 
part of this ancient monument." The effigy is 6 ieet 6 inches 
in length. We are assured by a writer in the Saturday 
Magazine, who would disguise himself under the shadow of the 
well-known initials " W. F. W.," that this effigy is regarded by 
archaeologists as one of " the highest interest" He also states 
that it is regarded " as an unexceptional authority for the dress 
and appointments of Irish royalty of the thirteenth or begin- 
ning of the fourteenth century." The head was encircled with 
a crown, and from the portions which still remain, it seems to 
have been ornamented with the conventional "fleur-de-lis." 
" The chin and upper lip are shorn, but, as if to make amends 
for such curtailment, the hair of the head is represented fold 
upon fold in a magnificent * coulin.* He is represented as lying 
in his mantle, his right hand grasps a sceptre terminating in a 
fleur-de-lis, while his left holds a reliquary which is suspended 
by a band from the neck of the figure. A kind of plaited gown 
with sleeves covers the body to below the knees ; the feet, which 
rest upon a dog or some heraldic animal, are encased in shoes 
or brogues exactly like some specimens which may be seen in 
the Museum of the Eoyal Irish Academy. . . * As a monument 
the work is almost unique, but one other effigy of the kind 
being known to exist in Ireland, — the tomb of Phelim 
O'Connor, King of Connaught, in the Dominican Friary of 

Connor O'Brien, better known as Conchobar "na Siudh- 
ainech," from the battlefield on which he died, was son of the 
generous founder of the abbey. His memory was therefore 
entitled to marks of special favour at the hands of the monks 
of Corcoinroe. He was active and intrepid, and had well 
established his claim to the character of a brave and successful 
soldier. He defeated the English under Maurice Fitzgerald at 
Feakle, County Clare. He soon afterwards reduced his refractory 
kinsmen of Ormond to their allegiance. Meantime, the tribes of 
Corcomroe, at the instigation of their chieftains, the O'Connors 
and O'LoughUns, ceased to extend to him the usual recognition 
of his royal authority. In their revolt they received active en- 
couragement from Donal (Conaghtach) O'Brien, uncle of the 
reigning prince. Having led his men through the Burren fast- 
nesses, Connor O'Brien found the army of his rebellious chieftains 

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massed at the wood of Suidhne/ a.d. 1267, north of the abbey, 
and in its immediate vicinity, where the then wooded slopes 
east their shadows on the placid waters of "Poul Doody." 
A fierce engagement ensued, in which O'Brien, with many of his 
best and bravest followers, was slain. It was natural that the 
monks of the abbey should treat with all possible respect the 
deceased young prince, the son and representative of their 
munificent founder. His remains were therefore laid in the 
beautiful altar-tomb within the abbey church, on which his 
recumbent etiigy may still be seen. Like the forests of Burren, 
the wood of Suidhne has disappeared, but local traditions, 
which are in accord with the opinions of antiquarians, remove 
the difficulties which might exist as to its particular site. 

Less than a century later, the quiet solitudes of Corcomroe 
were again disturbed by the thunders of battle. It was the 
year 1317. The combatants engaged on this occasion were rival 
branches of the O'Brien family. Donogh, grandson of Brian 
Eoe, resolved to wrest the crown from the senior branch of the 
family. His pretensions were of course supported by Bichard 
De Clare, and by those of the Dalcais who were devoted to 
English interests. 

The supporters of the claims of the senior branch of the 
O'Briens rallied in large numbers around the standard of 
Derraod, who on the occasion represented Mortogh O'Brien, 
the recognised and legitimate prince. The rival forces met at 
Corcomroe.* The struggle which ensued was fierce and bloody, 
the valour displayed was worthy of a better cause. But the 
defeat of Donogh was decisive. He himself was amongst the 
fallen, slain, it is thought, by O'Connor of Western Corcomroe. 
Nearly all his followers were cut ofi', so that " the whole race of 
Brian Eoe were nearly extirpated." 

The victorious chieftain, however, arranged for the respectful 
interment of his faUen kinsmen in the adjoining abbey, " their 
remains having been interred in separate graves, and having 
distinguishing marks placed over each."^ But of "the dis- 
tinguishing marks " there is unfortunately no trace in our day. 
Indeed, it can be truly said that most of the ancient monuments 
of the abbey have been completely destroyed. 

There is, however, within the chancel, another monument 
which is pretty sure to attract attention. It bears the follow- 
ing rather pretentious epitaph : " 0*Loughlin, King of Burren.'' 
The lettering, however, is modem, and in this respect in accord 
with the style of the tomb. It seems to have been the family 
vault of the O'Loughlins, who, till a late period, styled them- 
^ ArchdalL « Mmxit of the O'Briens, p. 126. » Ibid. 

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selves " Kings of Burren." It may have been restored in the 
seventeenth or opening of the eighteenth century, nor can the 
epitaph be regarded as older than that period. It is well 
known that many petty chieftains assumed the title of " king " 
within their own territory. And we are told by OTlaherty 
that, as recently as the close of the sixteenth century, Charles 
O'Loughlin of Newtown Castle, in the parish of Drumcreachy, 
chief of his name, was commonly called in the district " King 
of Burren." It is probable that the chieftains of Burren may 
have continued to indulge this pitiable affectation of royal 
authority, even after they had been robbed of authority and 
independence* For a long time at least their will was law 
within the Burren highlands. And their castles which still 
remain, speak eloquently of their authority and influence. 

Charles O'Loughlin's castle at Newton is still well preserved, 
and stands within half a mile of the present village of Bally- 
vaughen. Probably the Castle of Ballyvaughen, which was 
taken A.D. 1569, by Lord Justice Sydney, belonged to this 
chieftain also. It is now almost completely ruined. 

Owny O'Loughlin was Lord of Eastern Corcomroe and chief 
of his name, A.D. 1585. He, like many other Catholic gentle- 
men of the period, actuated with a vain hope of being able to 
retain their ancestral possessions, assisted at the Parliament 
convened at Dublin by Sir John Perrot in that year. He 
resided in Gregans Castle, which was one of the most important 
of the O'Loughlins' castles. Indeed, the entire Burren district 
was for a long time known as the Barony of Gregans. It stood 
in the western end of the Ballyvaughen valley, close to where 
the ascent of the hills is made by the modem well-known pass, 
the " Corkscrew " road. In our time, though sadly ruined, it 
forms an attractive feature in that weird and lovely valley. 

But it was not wonderful that the lord of Gregans Castle 
should have felt the desirability of endeavouring to secure 
some share of favour with the authorities of those days. We 
find it recorded by our annalists, that his kinsman, Turlogh 
O'Loughlin of Mucinish Castle, was arrested by Captain 
Brabazon in the precedinj: year, a.d. 1584, and executed at 
Ennis. The sad event is thus recorded by the Four Masters : 
"Turlogh, the son of Owny, son of Melaghlin O'Loughlin, 
(of Burren), was in the beginning of this month of March, in 
this year (1584), taken prisoner at Mucinis by Turlogh, the 
son of Dermott O'Brien, and put to death at Ennis by Captain 
Brabazon at the ensuing summer sessions." But those were 
evil days of carnage and plunder. And though Brabazon was 
then notorious for his injustice and cruelty, he found in the 

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O'firiens of Ennistymon willing instruments to carry out his 
policy in Clare. They had already received from the minions 
of Elizabeth the reward of their recreancy and apostasy. The 
grant originally made was renewed by Her Gracious Majesty to 
Sir Turlogh O'Brien of Ennistymon, a.d. 1685. The plunder 
of the O'Connors, Lords of Western Corcomroe, was part of the 
coveted bribe. But there are also set forth in this royal grant 
both the abbey lands of the ancient abbey, and "the rents 
bonnach bona subsidies and tributary lands in the territory of 
Thomond, and also its church livings." The castles of Mucinish, 
which belonged to the ill-fated Turlogh O'Loughlin, stand on the 
inlets of the sea which are nearest to the Abbey of Corcomroe. 
They are known as Old and New Mucinish. Old Mucinish was 
probably that which was occupied by O'Loughlin on the 
occasion of his arrest. O'Donovan, in a note to the Four 
Masters (1584), states that the castle was then in excellent 
preservation, and that it had been " lately repaired and beauti- 
fully furnished by its present proprietor, Captain Kirwan." 
It stood on the little strait through which the waters of the 
bay flow into the famous oyster-beds of Poul Doody. 

Until about three years ago, the castle, with its enclosure and 
battlements, was perfect, when one side unexpectedly fell to 
the ground. It is much to be regretted that this interesting 
relic of the past is thus hopelessly ruined. 

According to tradition, which O'Donovan seems to accept, it 
was here that the last of the Burren chieftains lived. His 
name was Uaithne Mor 0'I/)ughlin. He lived in the first 
half of the last century. 

The Castle of New Mucinish stands also on the sea, but 
nearer to the abbey. It commands a splendid view of the 
hUls of Finievara, and of the ancient battlefield of Suidhne ; 
but here also one side wall alone remains. 

The fact that in 1598 the O'Loughlins^ had as many as 
twenty castles within the fastnesses of Burren, would strikingly 
suggest their independence and authority. But that independ- 
ence was even then quickly passing away. Even then they 
were sensible that their mountain fastnesses would prove an 
insufficient barrier to protect them against the rising tide of 
legalised plunder, by which the Irish chieftains were being 
deprived of their ancestral possessions. By a legal document 
dated some years previously (1591), they had actually trans- 
ferred to Donogh, Earl of Thomond, the proprietary rights to 
their territory ; so that, to use the words of the agreement, 
"it shall not be in the power of any of us, or of our 
^ SiaXt of Ireland^ p. 26. 

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desoendaats, \x> cause a sod of this country to be pledged or 
sold, except with the consent of the Earl of TJw/nojid, or of his 
heirs." This document is signed by Donogh, Earl of Thomond, 
and the O'Loughlins. Abject fear alone could have caused 
them to subscribe to the terms of such a document They 
must have hoped that, as of old, though not always faithful 
vassals of his lordship's ancestors, they might at a favourable 
crisis expect some protection at his bauds. However, the 
obligations which the earl contracted towards them by the 
terms of this document suggest only patronage that is as 
shadowy as it is ostentatious. "I, the Earl of Thomond, 
acknowledge upon my honour, that I promised that whatever 
portion of the lands or whatever castles belonging to the 
parties hereto may have been occupied or plundered, should be 
submitted to the arbitration of Boetius and John OTierney, 
and Owen O^Daly, such arbitration to be binding on me the 

But whatever rights may have been retained for the 
O'Loughlins by this document, they were lost in the Crom- 
wellian period. 

Amongst the witnesses to the document referred to we 
find the name of Owen O'Daly, an honoured name at that 
period in Burren. They were from an early date the 
hereditary bards of the chieftains of Burren.* Their residence 
was at Finievara in the immediate neighbourhood, where they 
kept a famous Bardic SchooL Our annalists and bards alike 
refer to it in terms of praise. 

" The house of O'Dalaiffh, great is its wealth, 
Bestowing without folly at a white house ; 
It were a sufficiently loud organ to hear the pupils 
Reciting the melodies of the ancient schools." 

It would seem also that amongst the Irish bards there 
were few who sang so sweetly in the language of their 
country. Speaking of Donogh Mor O'Daly,* the annalists tell 
us that he was a poet " who never was, and never will be, 
surpassed."* O'Eiely says of him that he was ctdled the 
"Ovid of Ireland." And O'Donovan thinks that he might 
be so styled, though he adds, " It must be acknowledged that 
he could bear no comparison with the Soman Ovid iu the soft 
luxuriance of his poetic imagery, or the daring flights of his 
genius." ^ And he continues : " His poems are principally of a 
religious or moral character, and possess considerable merit, 

1 Memoir of the O'Briens, p. 499. « Ry Maiiie, p. 125. 

» A.D. 1244. * Four Masters, a.d. 1224. • Ibid, 

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though not so much as to entitle him to the unqualified praise 
bestowed upon his powers by the Four Masters." 

He was Abbot of Boyle, and in 0*Eiely's opinion his 
poems were chiefly remarkable for "gravity, dignity, and 
sweetness." ^ 

Of his extant poems O'Riely notices some thirty-one, 
though there are others attributed to him, the authorship of 
which he considers doubtful. 

1. The first is a poem of forty-eight verses in praise of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary — beginniug, " Nurse of three, Mother of 
the Son of GoA" 

2. A hymn addressed to the Blessed Virgin — beginning, " 
Holy Mary, Mother of God." Sixty verses. 

3. A hymn of one hundred and eighty-four verses, addressed 
to the Gross of Our Lord Jesus Christ — beginning, " Hail to 
you, Cross of the Godhead." 

4. A poem of seventy-six verses on the vanity and instability 
of human life — beginning, " On thee I relied, world." 

5. A poem of one hundred and forty-four verses, on the 
goodness of God and the merits of our Eedeemer — beginniug, 
*' God be my defence against the wrath of God." 

6. A poem of one hundred and forty-four verses on the 
neglect of religion, and the punishment that attends the 
irreligious, and the necessity of penance — beginning, " A cloud 
has come over my faith." 

7. A poem of one hundred and twenty verses on the death 
of a person of the name of Aengus, showing that he was only 
lent for a while from God to the world. It begins, ** On a loan 
1 had Aengus." 

8. A penitential hymn of one hundred and twenty verses- 
beginning, " Eepentance here to thee, Lord." 

9. A poem of one hundred and forty-eight verses in praise 
of the Blessed Virgin — beginning, " Promise of a blessing, the 
womb of Mary." 

10. A prayer to the Deity, forty verses — beginning, **I 
believe in thee, God of Heaven." 

11. A poem of eighty-six verses on the necessity of reflect- 
ing that we must die. It begins, " body, to thee belongs 

12. A poem of sixty-four verses in praise of the Blessed 
Virgin Mary. It begins, " Praise not exhausted, the praise of 

The remaining poems are perfectly similar in character, 
except that which holds the thirtieth place. It is a poem of 
1 Irvlh, JVrUerSj p. 90. 

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one hundred and sixteen lines on Eichard, son of William de 

The poem which O'Riely notices in the last place must be 
regarded as the most important of his works. It consists of 
one thousand two hundred verses on the power, majesty, and 
goodness of God. These poems were in the possession of the 
Celtic Society when O'Riely wrote. This remarkable man 
was great-grandson of O'Daly of the Schools, who died in 1185 
at Clonard. Close to what is still regarded as the site of the 
ancient family residence, a monument ^ to this venerable man 
may still be seen. It stands upon the sea-shore, and is a 
simple hexagonal pillar rising from a double plinth of the 
same form. It leans considerably from the perpendicular, 
and unless the masonry be restored or cemented, it is much 
to be feared that this interesting memorial of a distinguished 
family may soon disappear. It Dears no inscription. On the 
wooded slopes on wUch the residence of the Skerrit family 
now stands, the ruins of the O'Daly residence were pointed out 
in Mr. 0*Donovan's time. There seem to be no remaining 
traces of them at the present day. It was here that the 
great Bardic School was kept. It was here that the voices of 
scholars were heard swelling loudly and sweetly as a pealing 
organ as they recited the songs of their native land ; and here, 
too, that the generous hospitality was dispensed for which 
that celebrated family continued to be so remarkable for 

The poetic reputation of the family was admirably sustained 
in the fourteenth century by Geoffrey O'Daly, "chief pro- 
fessor of poetry in Munster;"^ and in the opening of the 
fifteenth century by Carroll O'Daly, the popular Ollave of 
Corcomroe. O'Eiely tells us that '* several of his poems and 
tales are repeated from memory by the common people of the 
country ; but we are not able to say where any good copies of 
them are to be found in manuscript." Amongst those that 
have come down to us through the centuries is that ever- 
popular melody " Eileen Aroon." 

In the same year died another member of the family, 
Donogh O'Daly, who, from his facility in making verses, was 
called the " Budget of Poetry." In that century, indeed, many 
members of the family attained to eminence as poets. 

There are two poems extant written by Aengus, son of 
Carroll (the Yellow) O'Daly,* who died in 1420. 
. The first consists of one hundred' and thirty-six verses. It 

1 Jar C<mnaugMy p. 246. * Died 1387. 

» O'Biely'fl Irish JFnters. 

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is a description of the Castle of Cam Fraoich, built by Hugh 
O'Connor, King of Connaught. 

The second consists of oae hundred and sixty verses, written 
Trith a view to urge Art O'Maelseachlain to take arms 
against the English. 

Farrel O^Daly was chief poet of Corcomroe till his death 
(1420), though he had been plundered by Sir John Talbot, 
" who gave no protection to either saint or sanctuary while in 

O'Eiely also notices Aengus O'Daly " of the Divinity," who 
died in 1430. He was the author of four extant poems. The 
first is a thanksgiving after communion, in forty verses. The 
second consists of forty-eight verses, referring to the benefits 
arising from the Incarnation of the Son of God, and beginning 
with the line, '' The salutation of Gabriel is the beginning of 
peace." The third is a prayer to St. John the Baptist, con- 
sisting of sixty verses. The fourth is a poem on the death of 
Donald McCarthy, Prince of Desmond. This poem is of con- 
siderable length, consisting of two hundred and eight verses 
And nearly a hundred years later, when the death of Teigue 
O'Daly is recorded (a.d. 1514), he is referred to as a pro- 
fessor of poetry, and one who maintained a house of general 
hospitality. We are also told that he was buried at 
Corcomroa He died at Finievara (Finaigh Bheara). 

Even in more modern times there were vigorous branches 
of this ancient stock by which the time-honoured traditions 
of the family were worthily sustained. The chief branches 
acquired land property in Galway, Eoscommon, and West- 
meath. It is from the Westmeath branch that the Castle 
Daly family near Gort claim to be descended. 

Of the Galway branch in the time of James IL, Denis 
Daly was Lord Justice of Common Fleas ; and at the close 
of last century, Denis Daly, M.P., Galway, was described by 
Grattan^ ''as one of the best and ablest characters Ireland 
ever produced." 

Within the walls of the Burren abbey one seeks with a 
natural interest for the tombs where those distinguished bards 
were laid to rest. But the search is vain. Not even a 
slab remains bearing the honoured names of the bards of 
Corcomroe. The possessions of the abbey and its treasures 
did not satisfy the plunderers. They would even efface every 
trace of its history. 

There can be no doubt that the monastery remained in the 
hands of the religious for some time after its lands were con- 
' Introduction, Tvihti oflrdaixd* 

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fiscated. When O'Donnell effected his successful raid on 
Thomond, A.D. 1599, it was at Corcomroe Abbey he encamped 
on bis return through Burren. Its character as a religious 
house would recommend it to the chivalrous Catholic chieftain, 
as a desirable resting-place, quite as much as its secluded 

In General Ludlow, the next great military leader whose 
name connects itself with the history of Burren/ we find a 
man who presents a complete contrast to the northern leader. 

He had taken possession of Leimeneagh, the strong castle of 
Connor O'Brien, who was married to Mary, eldest daughter of 
Sir Turlogh Mac Mahon, but better known as the cruel 
" Mariagh Euadh " of tradition. The castle consisted of an 
ordinary keep, to which was attached a strongly - built 
residence of the Tudor style, but one which spoke more of 
military requirements than of domestic comfort. Even Ludlow 
admitted that he found it " indifferent strong." He succeeded 
in taking it, however, and established there a strong and well- 
supplied garrison. In the immediate vicinity of such a 
garrison there could be no security for the inmates of the 
surrounding monasteries. There, within the desolate regions 
of Burren, Ludlow and his men were supreme; and their 
supremacy meant the complete ruin of everything Catholic 
As to his methods, they are clearly put in his well-known 
aphorism as regarded Burren, "It did not contain wood 
enough to hang a man," a circumstance which may have 
occasioned him serious inconvenience. We can thus have no 
doubt that the complete ruin of Our Lady's Abbey de Petra 
fertili was the work of his fanatical followers. 

> A.D. 1651. 

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The Mac Williams of Clanricarde—Ulick "the Fair"— Ulick "the Red ** 
— Ulick " of Knockto"— Battle of Knockto— Richard " the Great'* of 
Dunkellin marries Lady Margaret Butler — He builds the castle 
and fort of Dunkellin — The Burkes inaugurated on "Cahir an 
Earla,** near Roveheagh — He makes new grants to Athcnry Abbey — 
Dies 1530 — Ulick "ua g-Ceanp/' unpopular with his kinsmen, is 
plundered by them — His enei^gy — He is raised to the peerage at 
Qreenwich, Ist July 1646^The court pageant — He is presented 
with Brian Boroimhe's haip — Receives a grant of the Church lands 
of Clonfert — Dies 1644 — Litigation between his " wives " — Episcopal 

During the remainder of the fifteenth century we shall see the 
success of the Mac Williams (Oughter) in establishing them- 
selves in Clanricarde, and in rendering their tenure of the 
portions of Aidhne on which they had encroached secure and 
permanent. Indeed, the history of the family constitutes the 
history of the diocese for nearly half that century. The 
native territorial chieftains looked on at an aggressive en- 
croachment which they were powerless to stay. And the 
English Government, sufficiently occupied with its domestic 
wars in England, had but little time to interfere ynth its 
troublesome English settlers in Ireland. 

The ostentatious assumption of Irish customs on the part of 
the De Burgos, did not in the least stay their old spirit of 
aggressiveness. Yet local chieftains, as the O'Heynes and the 
O'Shaughnessys, remained passive spectators, giving them 
neither opposition nor encouragement. Hence, in the extant 
notices of the history of the Clanricarde lords, from Ricard, 
whom we have noticed, to Eichard of Dunkellin, we do not 
find the names of the chieftains of Aidhne occurring even once. 
But the De Burgos did not encroach further upon them during 
that period. And though we shall see that the strong Castle 
of Dunkellin was erected by Eichard in the beginning of the 
next century, we .have no reason to think that its erection 
showed either additional encroachment or new conquest. 

Ulick Burke succeeded his father Eichard as the Mac 
William Oughter. He was commonly known as Ulick *' the 


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Fair," and got married to a daughter of the Prince of 
Thomond. These marriage alliances with the then powerful 
ruling family of Thomond, secured for the De Burgos reliable 
and powerful allies. Annabella, daughter of Mac William 
(Oughter), was mother of Connor O'Brien (na Srona), one of 
the most powerful princes of his time. It was mainly through 
their support that the Clanricarde Burkes were able to establish 
and maintain at least a nominal supremacy over their kinsmen, 
the Bourkes of Mayo. XJlick the Fair did not enjoy the 
chieftainship of Clanricarde for many years. His death is 
recorded by the annalists, A.D. 1424 ; and they add that '' he 
died in his own house, after having vanquished the devil and 
the worid." His remains were laid to rest in the Abbey of 

His son, UUck ''the Bed," became his successor as Mac 
William and chief of Clanricarde. He rendered his alliance 
with the O'Briens ^ still closer by espousing the Lady Slaine, 
daughter of Connor, Prince of Thomond. She was a lady much 
esteemed, not merely for her noble descent, but also for her 
high personal character, to which our. annalists bear most 
flattering testimony when they record her death, a.d. 1481. But 
Ulick the Red, or Ulick " of the Wine/' as he was also called, 
needed all the support that his powerful kinsmen and allies 
could afford him. It appears that he had excited in a special 
manner the jealous hostility of the Mayo or Lower Bourkes, 
who found willing and influential allies in the princes of Hy 
Maine. The hostility of the O'Kellys and the Burkes of 
Claoiricarde at this period was intense and openly avowed. 
Hence we find the old writers recording the fact in the follow- 
ing terse and forcible language: "The Burkes be of Englishe 
nacion, and bereth mortal hatred to the Kellys/'^ We 
accordingly find, in 1467, the combined forces of the O'Kellys 
and of the Mayo Bourkes devastating the country of the 
Burkes of Clanricarde, about the Loughrea district. They were, 
however, promptly met by the united forces of Clanricarde 
and Thomond, and defeated with loss at the Cross of 
" Moighecroin " ^ — now Crossmacron, — a townland in the parish 
of Grange, barony of Athenry, and county of Galway. 

Two years later, a.d. 1469, the O'Donnell came to the aid 
of his friends of Hy Maine, determined to avenge the defeat 
at Crossmacron. After mustering a large force, he marched 
southward, and ravaged by fire and sword the country around 
Clare-Galway. A battle soon after ensued, in which the 

* Memoir of the O^ErienSy p. 148. * lar Cownaughtf p. 149. 

» Four Masters, a.d. 1467. 

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Lower Bourkes and O'Donnells, aiding the O'Kellys, were 
opposed by Mac William of Clanricarde and his allies of 
Thomond. After a spirited struggle, it is said that the troops 
of Clanricarde and Thomond suflfered a defeat at a place called 
Glanog, " a rivulet near the Castle of Cargins in the barony of 
Clare," which ended in an inglorious retreat" ^ 

Ulick an Fhionn, " the Red," of Clanricarde, left three sons, 
— Ulick, sumamed "of Knockto," his successor as chief of 
Clanricarde; Richard of Derryraackloglane, and Edmond na 
Feosage, — all familiar names in the history of the period. Though 
living in a troubled period, he did not forget the claims of 
religion. At least he proved himself a generous patron of the 
Dominican convent at Athenry, to which he made a grant for 
ever of a district known as Ardatruh. He died a.d. 1485, and 
was buried within the convent of Athenry. 

Ulick the third, sumamed of Knockto, who succeeded as 
Mac William, was more successful for a time than his father 
in hiding his hostility to the chieftains of Hy Maine. He 
assumed towards them rather a specious but offensive system 
of patronage. In this spirit, he went so far as to attempt 
to supersede certain arrangements regarding the chieftaincy of 
.Hy Maine, which had been entered into under the sanction of 
the Lord Deputy, the Earl of Kildare. On his interference 
being rejected as unwarrantable, the true spirit of Mac William 
was manifested in overt acts of hostility to the O'Kellys. The 
Four Masters tell us that in 1503 he attacked and defeated 
them. In the following year O'Keliy was again defeated by 
John Burke, his kinsman, and Tanist of Clanricarde. But in 
that year a still more serious blow was struck at the O'Kellys 
by the Mac William of Clanricarde himself. He invaded Hy 
Maine with a strong force, and destroyed the castles of 
Monivea, Gallagh, and Garbally, which had been recently 
erected by O'Kelly. Against this outrage the chief of Hy 
Maine appealed for redress to the Lord Deputy, who, it was 
known, already entertained feelings of resentment against 
Mac William of Clanricarde. Mac William was, indeed, the 
Deputy's son-in-law, and public rumour had it that he treated 
his wife with great harshness and cruelty; and that the 
Deputy was for this reason anxious to punish him, boih for his 
public injustice and for his cruelty as a son-in-law. In any case, 
the Earl of Kildare, aided by the chief families of the North 
and West, marched to the aid of O'Kelly. 

De Burgo, with his Clanricarde troops, aided by the 
chieftains of Thomond, met the invading forces at Knockto.^ 
» Afwik (/Brieni, p. 149. *. ad. 1504. 


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After a struggle, the most fierce and bloody that was fought in 
Ireland for a long period, De Burgo, with his adherents, was 
defeated. An account of this battle, written, says the editor of 
lar Connaught, in the " old historical romance style," ^ may be 
found in the Book of Hott^h, which, he says, was apparently 
"penned by a friend or retainer of the Howth family, who 
flattered his patrons and perverted the truth."* The account 
in the Book of Howth is altogether favourable to the Lord 
Deputy and to his supporters. Yet even there we find the 
following tribute to the valour of the son and successor of 
Ulick de Burgo: "The greatest of the Irish was Eichard 
Burke, father of Ulick na g-Geann." * He was sometimes styled 
'* Richard the Great." As most of those engaged on both sides 
at Knockto were Irish, the result was equivalent to an 
important English victory. Indeed, it was hailed as such by 
the English Government, and the king accordingly marked 
his appreciation of its importance by conferring on the Deputy 
the distinction of Knight of the Garter. The fatal divisions 
which it pointed to amongst the Irish chieftains must have 
been most gratifying to the crown, at a time when the English 
power in Ireland had reached its weakest point since the 
invasion.* The English pale was then confined to " half the 
four counties of Louth, Meiith, Kildare, and Dublin." " But," 
continues the author of the Memoir of the 0*BrienSy "from the 
date of the victory of Knockto, in the beginning of the 
sixteenth century, the tide turned, until, from the English pale, 
confined to portions of four counties around Dublin, the entire 
island in the beginning of the seventeenth century was 
irrevocably cemented with the sister kingdom." 

Notwithstanding Mac William of Clanricarde's serious defeat 
at Knockto, he continued to maintain a position of independ- 
ence, and successfully resisted the exactions of the Northern 
prince. O'Donnell had, indeed, soon after Knockto, obtained 
hostages from the chiefs of his own province, and also " the 
English and Irish of Connaught, except from the Lord of Clan- 
licarde." Ulick of Knockto successfully resisted the exaction, 
though his territory was "ravaged from the Suck to Sliabh 
O'n'Aedha." He did not, however, long survive his memor- 
able defeat After confirming his father's grants to the Abbey 
of Athenry, he died a.d. 1509, and was buried within the abbey 
walls. We find in the annals the following favourable notice 
of his character and death : — 

"Mac William of Clanricarde (Ulick, son of Ulick, son of 

* lar Connaught, p. 154. * Ibid. p. 164. 

» Ibid. p. 153. * Memoir of Uie O'Brient. 

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Rickard Oge), a man kind towards friends, and fierce towards 
enemies, died." 

Ulick of Knockto was succeeded by his son, Eichard of 
JJunkellin, who was suniamed " the Great," as the Clanricarde 
Mac William. This Richard seems to have been the founder of 
the castle and fort of Dunkellin, in the parish of Clarinbridge 
and diocese of Kilmacduagh. The castle and fort are situated 
about a mile north of Kilcolgan, and in the immediate vicinity 
of Roveheagh. They stand on the east bank of the Kilcolgan 
river ; on the opposite side of which there is tlie hill on which, as 
O'Donovan informs us, there is a rude stone seat called " Cahir 
Hn Earla," the " Earl's Chair," which is believed to be the 
place in which the Mac Williams "Oughter" were inaugurated 
before they were raised to the peerage by Henry VIII. 
The place was well selected, as it is immediately adjoining 
Roveheagh, for centuries the place of inauguration of the 
territorial chiefs. And if the " Cahir " was not the actual seat 
of the inauguration of the chieftains of Aidhne, it was at least 
immediately adjoining it, and thus helped to render the new 
methods popular, by which the De Bui-gos were then labouring 
to safeguard their own interests. 

Not content with his victory at Knockto, the Lord Deputy 
sought an early opportunity of punishing the lords of Clanri- 
carde and Thomond for their recent opposition. In 1510 he 
invaded Munster, and in this act of a^i^gression he seems to have 
been supported not only by the English and Irish of Leinster, 
but also by the O'Donnell. However, he was met at Mona- 
brahir,^ near Limerick, with such a spirited resistance from his 
enemies that he was obliged to fly. His defeat there seems to 
liave well-nigh counterbalanced the victory at Knockto. The 
annalists tell us that the army of the O'Briens " returned in 
triumph with great spoils." 

Richard of IJunkellin mairied Margaret Butler, daughter of 
the Earl of Ormond. He contirmed the grants of his ancestors 
to the Abbey of Athenry, and made an additional grant of a 
quarter of land at Carnane to the same abbey. He died a.d. 
1530, and was succeeded in the lordship of Clanricarde by his 
son Ulick, commonly known as Ulick " na g-Ceann." 

Ulick na g-Ceann was a remarkable man. Though he did 
not long survive his father's death, we shall see that he was the 
recipient of remarkable favours from the king, and that, for the 
title of Lord Clanricarde and Baron of Dunkellin conferred upon 
him by Henry VI 11. on the 1st of July 1543, he proved him- 
self a recreant to his religion's and his country's claims alike. 
* Memoir of the O'Briens^ p. 157. 

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The circumstauces under which he received the Burname of 
" Ulick of the Heads " are worthy of notice here ; and, extraor- 
dinary as they are, it is difl&cult to regard them as incredible, 
considering the fact that they are found in the pa<ies of a scholar 
so learned, so conscientious, and so favourably known as the 
author of Cambrensis Eversus} 

De Burgo was confined to his chambers in his castle at Dun- 
kellin for a considerable time by a severe attack of paralysis. 
So severe was the attack, that he was unable to ride or move 
on foot, a result which, in those days of active warfare of an 
offensive and defensive kind, was sure to be attended with 
serious consequences. Accordingly, his possessions were en- 
croached upon or seized by his neighbours, most of whom were 
his own kindred. And, after plundering his extensive territory, 
they attacked Dunkellin fort, with a view of perfecting: their 
aggression by making him a prisoner, and by seizin^; all that 
remained of his property. He seems to have been bedridden 
at the time, and attended only by his foster-brethren, who did 
faithfully all that lay in them to maintain their chief in a 
manner worthy of his dignity. 

When, however, intelligence reached him that he was being 
ruthlessly plundered, and by his own kindred, " that they who 
were bound to him by the closest ties of blood had hearts so 
merciless as to deprive him, a cripple, of the necessaries of 
life," 2 his rage knew no bounds. In his indignation he forgot 
his weakness, and cried out aloud for "A horse I a horse 1" 
" May not," he added, " the great God who took away the life 
of my limb restore it again, and enable me to recover my 
cattle from the fangs of those merciless thieves ? " 

His attendants, awed by the intensity of his anger, yielded to 
his wishes, and placed him with diificulty on horseback. So 
feeble was he that he was unable to remain in the saddle with- 
out assistance. Nothing daunted, however, he persisted in 
attempting to sit upright, '' till at length the bones emitted a 
sound loud enough to be distinctly heard by his attendants ; 
and in the instant the sinews recovered their natural position 
and strength." 8 His enemies were terror-stricken at the 
onslaught and unexpected recovery of their angry chieftain, 
and failed in their attempt to escape his furious onslaught by 
flight ; so that he not only " retook his cattle which they were 
carrying oflf, but also brought back in triumph the heads of 
many of his enemies." Such was the remarkable occurrence 
for which Ulick de Burgo became popularly known as " Ulick 
of the Heads." And though the cowardly conduct of his 

^ CkLwhrenm Evenus, vol. ii. p. 169. * Ibid. ' Loc. cit. 

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kindred in Clanricarde is justly held up to reprobation, yet it 
cannot be forgotten that their chief wa9 a man who for many 
causes was unworthy of their esteem. Though his courage 
may not be open to question, his disregard for the sanctity of 
marriage was notorious. Events proved that with his regard for 
public morality, so his regard for the religion of his ancestors 
had also died out ; so that he soon appeared in the new rdU 
of an apostate and favourite of His Majesty Henry VIII. 
We shall see that he became the recipient of remarkable 
favours from the crown. For the title of Lord Claniicarde 
and Baron of Dunkellin, conferred upon him on the 1st of July 
1543, he sacrificed alike the claims of religion and country. 
But, in order to understand the action of Lord Clanricarde, ^ 
short digression will be useful. 

The Irish princes and petty chiefs, blinded by selfishness and 
weakened by divisions, did not avail themselves of the oppor- 
tunities that were within their reach in the previous reign, 
of destroying alien authority in their country. But the 
opportunity was not to return. Henry VIII.'s first care was 
to strengthen English authority in Ireland, he cared not how, 
by violence or bribes. His powerful Irish chieftains — even 
those of English descent — should be humbled, and forced to 
look to the English throne for protection and security. Accord- 
injrly, false charges were brought against the most powerful 
subject in Ireland, the Earl of Kildara He went to England 
to refute those charges, but from England he was destined 
never to return. Lord Thomas, to whom the sword of state 
was entrusted by his unfortunate father, was goaded into 
rebellion. The story of his unsuccessful revolt is familiar to 
every reader of history. He went to London to sue for mercy, 
and was there cast into prison with his uncles, all of whom 
were executed, a.d. 1537. 

Having succeeded in crushing the most powerful family of 
English extraction then in Ireland, and at a time when the 
native chieftains were thoroughly disunited, it was no wonder 
that Henry VIII. had the title of "King of Ireland and 
Supreme Head of the Irish Church" conferred on him by a 
so-called Irish Parliament. 

Having thus far had recourse to violence as a means of 
establishing his authority, Henry now resolved to try the no 
less efficacious course of securing by favours the allegiance of 
others, who had ample reason to dread his hostility. Accord- 
ingly, we find him conferring on many of the leading chieftains 
the attractive bribe of a peerage or baronetcy. Amongst those 
who accepted the bribe of a peerage, were O'Brien, who was 

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created Eail of Thomond, and Ulick de Burgo, created Earl of 
Clanricarde and Baron of Dunkellin. Nor can there be any 
doubt that in the case of those noblemen their new honours 
M ere procured at the sacrifice not only of patriotic feelings, but 
also of religious convictions. They were invited to London 
for the Ist of July 1543 ; and, in the presence of His Majesty 
and of his English courtiers, were invested with their new 
honours with all the pomp of a court pageant. A few passages 
of the State Papers ^ in which those events are recorded may 
be quoted here : — 

" Firste the Queenes closet at Greenwich was richly hanged 
with cloth of arras, and well strawed with rushes. And after 
the Kings Majestic was come into his closet to heare High Mass, 
these Earles and the Baron aforesayde in company, went to the 
Queenes closet aforesaide, and there after sacring of High 
Masse put on their robes of estate." After a minute narrat- 
ive of the pomp of the king and his attendant courtiers, we are 
informed that the letters patent for the investiture of the 
new "peers" were read. "And when he came to 'investi- 
mus,' he put on his robe. And so the patent read out, the 
Kinges Majestic put about every one of their neckes a cheine 
of goul(l, with a cross hanging at y*, and tooke them their 
patentes, and they gave thankes unto him." 

The event is briefly noticed by our annalists in the following 
words : — 

"Mac William of Clanricarde (Ulick na g-Ceann) and 
O'Brien (Murrough) went to England and were both created 
earls, and they returned home safe, except that Mac William 
had taken a fever in England from which he was not perfectly 
recovered."^ His Majesty also granted to De Bmgo a mansion 
and lands near Dublin, " for keeping their retinues and horses 
whenever they resorted thither to attend Councils or Parlia- 
ment."^ Henry took occasion to confer an additional mark of 
his royal favour on Clanricarde. He presented him with a 
harp which was then regarded as the harp of Brian Boroimhe. 
This interesting relic is fortunately preserved in the Museum of 
Trinity College, Dublin ; and though it is still popularly known 
as Brian's liarp, O'Curry has shown, by much interesting 
historical research, that it more probably belonged to Donogh 
Cairbreagh O'Brien.* 

The conditions on which those royal favours were obtained 
by both peers were most probably the same. Amongst tho>e 

» Vol. iii. p. 473. « Four MasterP, a.d. 1542. 

* J6irf., Ed. notep. 

* Manners (kni Customs of Ancient Erin, vol. iii. p. 267. 

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conditions, still preserved in the State Papers, we find the 
following : ^ — 

" That the laws of England may be executed in Thomoud, 
and the naughty laws and customs of that country be put away 
for ever. 

" Item, That there may be sent into Ireland some well learned 
Irishman brought up in the Universities of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge, not being infected with the poyson of the Bishop of Bomt, 
and they hQ first approved by the King's Majesty, and then be 
sent to preache the Word of God in Ireland." 

Such conditions proclaim alike a betrayal of religion and 
country. But His Majesty was careful that their apostasy 
from the old religion should have an ample reward ; Hardiman 
informs us that Clanricarde received a grant of the third part 
of the first-fruits of the Abbey of Via Nova in Clonfert* It 
is more likely that the grant included the entire property of 
that ancient abbey. This opinion is indeed confirmed by an 
entry on the Patent EoUs of Henry VIIL, bearing date Ist 
July 1543, making a grant to " Willie Boruc, otherwise Mac 
William, of the style and dignity of Earl of Clanricarde and 
Baron of Uunkellyn ; and further, a grant to him of all that 
the monastery of Via Nova Clonfertensis diocesis, with all 
lands, houses, etc., appurtenant thereto." 

But Ulick, first Earl of Clanricarde, was a man much after 
the king's own heart, dead alike to honour, religion, and 
morality. In proof of his utter disregard for momlity and 
public decency, it is suflScient to refer to his unholy nuptials 
with three ladies, whom, though living at the same time, he 
presumed to call his wives.* His first wife was Grace, daughter 
of O'Carroll, Prince of Ely. His son by this marriage, the 
validity of which, however, was questioned, was Kichard 
" Saxonach." During the lifetime of the Lady Grace he next 
married Honora de Burgo, popularly known as Nora na g-Ceann. 
Having parted with Honora d» Burgo, though Grace O'CarroU 
yet lived, he espoused Maria Lynch of Galway, by whom he 
had a son named John, popularly known as John "of the 
Shamrocks.'** We shall see that John disputed the legiti- 
macy of his brother Richard, and consequently his right of 
succession, on the grounds that Grace O'CarroU was actually 
the wife of O'Melaghlin at the time of her marriage with 

* Memoir of ike QBrUns, p. 617. * Hardiman's Galtoayy p. 82. 

* Memoir of the (/Briene, p. 189. 

* It seems he had a thiid son, Edmond, whose death at Ballylee Castle, 
A.D. 1597, is recorded by the Four Masters. This castle is situated in the 
parish of Kiltartan. 

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Ulick of Clanricarde. With the letters patent by which the 
family was "ennobled," Ulick de Burgo transmitted to his 
children a heritage of mutual hatred, which manifested itself 
immediately after his death in 1544, or, according to the 
author of Hibemia Anglicana, 1545. The annalists give the 
following brief but suggestive notice of his death : — 

"The Earl of Clanricarde (Ulick na g-Ceann), the most 
valiant of the English of Connaught, died. This was news 
of great moment, in his country. Great dissensions arose in 
Clanrickarde concerning the lordship." 

Bichard Saxonach claimed the right to succeed to the coveted 
titles and estates of his father ; but the claim of Eichard was 
at once opposed by Maria Lynch in the interests of her son 
John. Aided by her second husband, Pierce Martin of Galway, 
she petitioned the Duke of Somerset on the subject, urging 
that O'Melaghlin, the husband of Lady Grace O'CarroU, was 
living at the time of her so-called marriage with Clanricarde, 
and alleging that she herself was his lawful ^ife. She further- 
more urged that she was of a "civile and English ordre of 
education and manners, inhabiting within the towne of Gal- 
way ; " that prior to his marriage with her Ulick Burke was 
"a man of wylde govemaunce in those parts where he 
dwelled," paying no attention whatever to English law ; that 
through her influence he was brought into "soche civilitie, 
good order, and conversation," that he was regarded worthy 
of the important titles conferred upon him by the crown. 
She also referred to the marriage articles, which she alleged 
were executed between her and Clanricarde on the occasion 
of her marriage. She stated that she had, by virtue of 
those articles, a legal claim on the "manor and castle of 
Kilcolgan,"^ and complained that this, with other important 
stipulations of the agreement, was never observed. By order 
of his Grace of Somerset, dated 23rd January 1547, the 
whole question was referre* to a Commission specially 
selected for its consideration. But the Lord Protector was 
careful to send a letter, in which the members of the Com- 
mission were reminded that " it might be lamentable that so 
noble a man's wyffe, deserving so well towards the King's 
Majestic by conforming her husband, shoulde be lefte without 
livinge for lack of justice." ^ 

On the 13th of November following the Commissioners' 

award was published. It stated "that the late earl was 

first married unto Grace ny Keroill, who was living at the 

time of the marriage between him and the petitioner Mary ; 

^ Hardiman's Galway^ p. 82. < Ibid, 

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and that consequently the latter marriage was void, and sbe 
was not entitled to thirds. But as he bound himself in the 
forfeiture of £200 sterling and £100 worth of plate, to convey 
the castle and manor of Kilcolgan to her at his death, which 
by his will he left unto the present earl, and as he received 
the said Dame Mary in marriage, affirming and swearing there 
was no impediment to the same," they declared the £300 for- 
feited, and awarded that it should be paid to the petitioner 
forthwith, with a special proviso that Dame Mary and her 
children should be at all times at liberty to disprove the mar- 
riage between Grace O'Carroll and the deceased earl. But we 
do not find that the case was afterwards brought before any 
legal tribunal Earl Bichard was therefore permitted to retain 
the title with the Clanricarde possessions. 

The Castle of Kilcolgan to which reference is made stood 
about two miles south of Dunkellin, and on the estuary 
of the river. It has long since disappeared, and the modern 
so-called " Castle of Kilcolgan " was erected on its site by the 
Tyrone family toward the close of the last century. 

The example of such men as the Earl of Clanricarde must 
have strongly influenced the petty chiefs of the country. It 
was a result on which King Henry calculated. His example 
was in part very quickly followed in the immediate neighbour- 
hood by O'Shaughnessy, Lord of Kinel Aedh, whose action we 
shall consider in another chapter. 

But as the chief interest of Henry's reign was more of an 
ecclesiastical than a civil character, we will here refer briefly to 
the episcopal succession during the period under review. His 
anxiety to lead his subjects into schism and heresy, surpassed 
his desire to have his authority regarded as supreme in civil 
affairs. The measures which he adopted for cairying out his 
impious purposes in Ireland, were not very unlike those by 
which he had already succeeded in England. He trampled 
upon ecclesiastical privileges, plundered the Church of her pro- 
perty, and inaugurated that terrible persecution of the Catholic 
religion which was continued by his successors for centuries 

The episcopate of Dr. Jiombarg must have been brief, as we 
find the appointment of his successor, Nicholas, noticed under 
date 20th August 1422. In addition to the date of his appoint- 
ment, we only find the following note regarding his proctors : 
The proctors "Nicolae Electi Duac & obtulerunt 50 florenos 
auri de Camera."* 

We find a certain Cornelius Bishop of Kilmacduagh, a.d. 
> (ySullivan Beare, E\$A, Eccl p. 76. « Obligazioni. 

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1493 ; but we are not in a position to say that that was the date 
of his appointment He resigned his See in a.d. 1502.^ His 
retirement is thus referred to in connection with the appoint- 
ment of his successor : " Eeferente S. Cruce, S. D. N. absolvit 
R P. D. Comelium a vinculo et praefectione quibus Ecclesiaj 
Duacensis praerat." 

Matthew O'Brien was appointed Bishop of Kilroacduagh in 
the following year, 1603. Previous to his appointment he was 
Archdeacon of Killaloe.* The period during which he presided 
over the See is unknown, as also the date of his death ; but 
it seems that he was still Bishop of Kilmacduagh in 1525. His 
death is referred to 1542, when Dr. O'Dea was nominated 

Malachy O'Molony seems to have been Dr. O'Brien's imme- 
diate successor in the See, as appears from the following 
extract: "Provisum fuit per mortem D°* Mathei O'Brien 
Episcopi, de persona Malachise O'Myllioni clerici Duacensis 
Dioc," etc.* His appointment is also noticed in the Barberini 
MSS. quoted by Dr. Brady, and took place on the 8th August 
1533. But, as Dr. Brady says, he seems to have resigned in 
that very year in favour of Dr. Bodkin. He may possibly be 
the same Dr. O'Molony who in 1571 became Bishop of Killaloe, 
and who in 1576 was translated to Kilmacduagh, though it 
seems quite improbable. 

On the resignation of Dr. O'Molony, Christopher Bodklv 
"was appointed Bishop of Kilmacduagh, at the supplication^ 
of the King of England" on the 3rd September 1533. On 
the 4th November following he was consecrated at Marseilles. 
The consecrating prelates on this interesting occasion were 
Gabriel, Archbishop of Durazzo in European Turkey, Mark 
Antony, Bishop of Tivoli, and Hieronymus Arbutius. Bodkin 
was of respectable descent, and received his education at 
Oxford, and spent much of his early years at Rome. Though 
his appointment was secured through royal favour, there can 
be no doubt that it was sanctioned by the Pope. He was 
translated to the archdiocese of Tuam in 1536, though stil^ 
retaining Kilmacduagh. His translation was effected, not by 
the authority of the Pope, but by royal mandate when Henry 
was the declared enemy of the Pope. This circumstance is 
referred to as affording a justification to the charge of admitting 
the king's supremacy, made by some writers against Bodkin. 
He seems also to have taken possession of the See of Tuam at 
a time when it was actually claimed by Dr. O'Frizil, the Pope's 
nominee. It also appears that he was appointed to act ou 
* Brady's Epik. Succestion. * Ibid. • (Japponi ColUcL 

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various royal commissions,^ and had taken the oath of alle- 
giance to Elizabeth.^ Yet we find convincing testimony that 
Ihr. Bodkin continued true to the Catholic religion. Daviil 
Wolfe, a member of the Jesuit Order, thought him much better 
suited to the diocese than his rival claimant, Dr. OTrizil. 
He wrote to this effect to the Cardinal Protector on the 12th 
October 1561 : " I think him much better suited to the diocese 
than Dr. OTrizil, the rival claimant, on account of his being 
skilled in administration, and having great influence with the 
gentry of the district. In fact, the cathedral of Tuam was 
three hundred years used as a fortress by the gentry, without 
the Mass or other divine ofhce, until Bodkin took it out of 
their hands by force, and at great peril of his person ; and 
where horses and other animals were formerly kept, now Mass 
is celebrated, and he himself usually in choir every day, 
although there ore not more than twenty or thirty houses in 

In September 1555 an official inquiry was held at Lambeth 
Palace, by Cardinal Pole, the Pope's legate, into the questions in 
connection with Bodkin's occupation of the See of Tuam. The 
Eev. Peter Wall, Archdeacon of Tuam, was one of the principal 
witnesses at this investigation. This witness testified that 
" Dr. Bodkin was remarkable for the sanctity and morality of 

his life He was, moreover, a stem defender of orthodoxy, and 

an enemy of the heretics, and, more through fear than depravity 
of intention, contracted the guilt of schism." ^ His evidence 
was supported by a priest of Tuam, and by Maurice O'Mul- 
ryan, a priest of Kilmacduagh. The decision arrived at as 
the result of this inquiry seems to be a matter of conjecture. 
But it seems to be certain that he was afterwards treated by 
the Court of Rome as Archbishop. He died a.d. 1572, and 
was buried at Galway. 

Cornelius 0*Dea succeeded Dr. Bodkin as Bishop of Kilmac- 
duagh on the 5th May 1542. His youth was such that he 
was obliged to obtain a dispensation as regarded his age : — 

"Providit eccl. Duacensis in Hibernia vacanti per obitum 
Mathei Ybrien extra Romanam curiam defuncti de persona 
Cornelii Ideay, cum dispensatione super defectu natalitium." * 
This appointment would seem to ignore Dr. Bodkin's episco- 
pate as Bishop of Kilmacduagh. 

^ Burke's Archinshops of Tuam, p. 76. * Ibuf, p. 86. 

• Archbishops of Tuam, p. 81. * Dr. Brady, Ejdec. Succestiott, 

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The Lord of Kinel Aedh is created Baronet, bat remains true to his 
religion — The Lord Deputy encamps at Gort, and is entertained by 
him — His sons, Sir Roger and Dermot " Reagh." — Richard Saxonach, 
second Earl of Clanricarde, obtains a ^ant of the Church lands of 
Kilmacduagh, and of many other religious houses — He is a Catholic 
— He marries the daughters of the first and second Earls of Thomond 
— His sons Ulick and John, "the Mac an Earlas"— Earl Richard 
arrested, a.d. 1672 — His sons rise in revolt— Executions at Galway — 
Earl Richard dies, a.d. 1582— Sir Roger O'Shaughnessy— His brotner 
Dermot betrays the Primate, Dr. Creagh, and receives the thanks and 
support of Queen Elizabeth — He claims the family estates on his 
brother's death, and is opposed by his nephew— They die in mortal 
combat Perrot's " Indentures of Composition " — Their character — 
They are accepted in Clanricarde by most— The O'Heynes of Lyde- 
cane Castle— Episcopal succession. 

Mac Namara, chief of Clan Cuilean, O'Grady of Clan Donghail, 
and O'Shaughnessy of Gortinsiguaire, were the local chiefs who 
were immediately influenced by the example of De Burgo and 
O'Brien. O'Grady's territory adjoined O'Shaughnessy's on the 
south-east; and in the year 1600 comprised the parishes of 
Tomgraney, Moyne, Inis Cealtra, and Clonrush. O'Shaughnessy, 
whose territory, like that of Mac Namara, was much mote 
extensive, is referred to in the State Papers^ as "a goodly 
gentleman dwelling between Thomond and Connaught." He 
was Dermot, son of William, who was the son of John Buidhe, 
son of Eoghan, son of William, son of GioUa na Naomh, son of 
Ruadhri, son of Giolla na Naomh Crom, lord of the western ' 
half of Kinelea, who died a.d. 1224 

His Majesty wrote to the Deputy and Council of Ireland on 
the 9th July 1533, saying, " We have made Mac Namarow, 
O'Shaghness, and Denis Grady knights, and will that by 
virtue and warrant hereof, you, our Chancellor, with the advice 
of our Deputy, Vice-Treasurer, Chief Justice, and Master of 
the Eolles, or the part of them besides yourself in form aifure- 
said, shall make out unto'the said Macnamarow, O'Shaftness, and 
Denis Grady, several patentes of all such lands as they now 
have in possession to them and to their heires masles lawfully 
1 No. 389, vol. iii. p. 453. 

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begotten, willing you our Deputy before the delivery of our 
letters patentes, to cause them to subscribe like articles as the 
others have done, and to have special regard that they ne any 
of them suffer any displeasure nor damage hereafter for their 
submission, but that you ayde them, and see the same revenged 
as the case shall require." 

: It will be noticed, therefore, that one of the conditions rigor- 
ously required of the knights elect by the crown, was a 
repudiation of the old title by which they held their territories ; 
and an acceptance of them from the crown, on the condition of 
knight service, with a clause of "forfeiture in case of con- 
federacy against the crown." 

We accordingly find that the king, by letters patent dated 
3rd December 1543,^ granted to Sir Dermot O'Sheghyn, 
knight, captain of his nation, in consideration of his submission, 
and pursuant to the king's letter, " all the manors, lordships, 
towns, and townlauds of Gortinchegory," and the other numer- 
ous townlands in Kinel Aedh, then in the possession of its chief, 
"which lands," this royal document coolly declares, "the 
said Sir Dermot and tiis ancestors had unjitstly possessed 
against the crown, to hold to him and his heirs male in capite 
by the service of one knight's fee, with a clause of forfeiture in 
case of confederacy against, or disturbance to the crown." 

It is also stated that O'Shaughnessy was promised some 
ecclesiastical dignity for a kinsman of his, Malachy Donohoo, 
and the bishopric of Kilmacduagh for his son, William 
Shaftness (0*Shaughnessy).* 

Such were the circumstances and conditions under which 
the chief of Kinel Aedh bartered his title and authority as 
chief of his tribe, for an English title ; and at the same time 
recognised the authority and supremacy of the British crown 
over the possessions of his tribe. 

The weakness and want of patriotism in which this act of 
political apostasy originated, should have some extenuation in 
the example set by the more powerful neighbouring lords of 
Clanricarde and Thomond. The aggressive encroachments of 
the lords of Clanricarde was a constant menace to the inde- 
pendence of the chieftains of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne. And as 
O'Brien was connected with the O'Shaughnessys by close family 
ties, there can be no doubt that the example of the Earl of 
Thomond must have also strongly influenced the lord of Kinel 
Aedh. Sir Dermot O'Shaughnessy had married the Lady Mor 
O'Brien. She was, from her beauty and love of display, 

* Hy Ftachrachy f. 376. 

' Memoir of the &Briens, p. 523, quoting Patent Rolb. 

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popularly surnamed "Pheaceach," or the Gaudy. She was 
(laughter of Brian, who was youngest son of Taog, who died 
A.D. 1436. She was therefore iirst cousin of the iirst Earl of 
Thomond, and must naturally have represented to her husband 
in the most favourable light the action of her noble and power- 
ful relative. 

But it is certain that 0*Shaughnessy followed his kinsman's 
example only to the extent of accepting a title, and securing 
his hereditary estates by royal grant. He never apostatised, as 
did the first Earls of Clanricarde and Thomond, notwithstand- 
ing the proffered bribe of the bishopric of Kilmacduagh. He 
continued as devoted to the Catholic Church as were his truly 
Catholic ancestors, though his relations with the Government 
were of a character that may be described as temporising 
and time-serving. The Lord Deputy left Dublin, A.r). 1559, 
" on a martial tour," by Limerick and Galway. On his way 
from Limerick he encamped at Gort, and was entertained at 
a sumptuous banquet by Sir Dermot O'Shaughnessy. "On 
the 12th July he encamped near Gort, and dined at O'Shane- 
shin's house so worshipfuUy, that divers wondered at it, for 
such a dinner, or the like of it, was not seen in any Irishman's 
house before." Such lavish hospitality might be worthy of the 
descendants of Guaire the Hospitable. But as expended upon 
the representative of the then reigning English sovereign, it 
was unworthy of the traditions of the family. 

We are not told of the exact date of Sir Dermot's death ; 
V)ut the annalists record the death of the Lady Mor, his wife, in 
the year 1569, in extreme old age. Her death is thus recorded : 
" More Phecagh, daughter of Brian, the son of Teige, son of 
Turlough, son of Brian Catha-an-aenaigh O'Brien, and wife of 
O'Shaughnessy, — i.t. Dermot, the son of William, son of John 
Boy, — a woman distinguished for her beauty and munificence, 

The issue by this marriage were Roger, who succeeded his 
father in the estates and title, and Dermot the Swarthy (Reagh), 
who went to England, and there attached himself to Leicester, 
Elizabeth's favourite.^ 

This notice is taken from the O'Shaughnessy Genealogy as 
given by the learned editor of The Ctcatoms of Hy Fidchrach ; 
and it will be noted that there is no reference to a son named 
William. The " William Shaftness " referred to, as we have 
seen, in the Patent Bolls, to whom, it is stated, the bishopric 
of Kilmacduagh was promised, seems to have been only a myth. 

We shall see presently that the Church propery of Kilmac- 
1 Hy Fiachrach, p. 376. 

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duagh was actually given by royal grant to Eichard, second Earl 
of Clanricarde,* and not to an O'Shaughnessy. The Commission 
appointed by the Lord Protector the Duke of Somerset, to in- 
ciuire into the legitimacy of the marriage of William, the first 
Earl of Clanricarde, with the Lady Grace O'Carroll, though leav- 
ing the validity of the marriage an open question,' decided that 
Kichard, surnamed Saxonach, the issue of this marriage, should 
inherit his father's titles and property, and* the fact is thus 
noticed by our annalists: "a.d. 1551, Richard Saxonach, son 
of Ulick na g-Ceann, was styled Earl of Clanricarde." * 

Bichard was even under age at the time of this decision ; 
and it consequently became necessary that a certain " Ulick 
was made captain of bis country during his good behaviour, and 
during the minority of Eichard."* 

Eichard, second Earl of Clanricarde, obtained grants of 
most of the confiscated Church lands within the territory of 
Clanricarde. It is impossible now to ascertain the number of 
monasteries then suppressed within the territory. But as in 
the little diocese of Annaghdown alone there were as many as 
forty religious houses suppressed, the number must have been 
very considerable throughout the entire territory. Archdall 
gives us the following list of grants of ecclesiastical property 
made to Earl Eichard. They are Anghrim, together with the 
monasteries of Clontuskert, St. John the Baptist in Tuam, 
Kilcruenata, Eosserelly, Loughrea, Kilbought, and Annaghdown. 
We also find, on the same authority, that at the general 
suppression of monasteries Kilmacduagh was also granted to 
Eichard, Earl of Clanricarde. Yet it appears that, unlike his 
father, Earl Eichard remained a Catholic. Dr. Kelly in his 
Dissertations,^ states expressly that Eichard of Clanricarde never 
directly or indirectly conformed to the established creed." Tlie 
acceptance of the Church's confiscated property, he contends, 
aflfords no proof of his acceptance of tlie reformed creed ; as 
churches were frequently plundered by Catholics and in 
Catholic times. In addition, it seems that his name appears on 
no Commission for advancing the reformed religion. And when 
his sons were engaged in burning the church of At henry, in 
which a Protestant minister was established, they were remon- 
strated with, as their mother was buried within the church. 
They answered, " If she were alive, we would rather bum her 
and the church together, than that any English church should 
fortify there." 

^ Archdall, Monasticcm. ' Hardiman, Galicay, p. 82. 

• Four Masters. 

* Ed. Notei to Four Masters, a.d. 1644. » P. 369. 

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We find Richard de Burgo appointed by the Catholic 
sovereigns, Philip and Mary, to act with the Archbishop of 
Tuam and others on a Commission for Catholic purposes. The 
object of the Commission was ''to inquire concerning the 
chalices, crosses, ornaments, bells, and other property belonging 
to the parish churches or chapels in the county of Connaught, 
and of what sales were made thereof to any person or persons 
whatsoever, the prices thereof, in whose hands they remained," 
etc. ; in other words, to make inquiries regarding the Church 
plunder which occurred in the preceding reign. In the action 
of the Grovemraent towards him we see also a convincing proof 
of his adhesion to the old faith. He was imprisoned in 1572. 
In 1579 he was again arrested, and long detained a prisoner. 
He was married twice. His first wife was Margaret, daughter of 
Murrough, first Earl of Thomond. The issue by this marriage 
was Ulick, who succeeded as third Earl of Clanricarda He 
afterwards married Catharine,^ daughter of the second Earl of 
Thomond, whose son John was created Baron of Leitrim, and 
was murdered in 1588 at Ballyfontane. 

Richard de Burgo was admittedly a brave soldier.* In 1558 
he inflicted a crushing defeat on a strong body of Scotch 
mercenaries, who were then in the service of the Earl of 
TirconnelL They invaded Connaught, and had penetrated to 
Tirawley, where the Lower Mac Williams promised to support 
them in their work of plunder. 

In 1570 we find him engaged in supporting the President, 
Sir Richard Fitton, at the siege of Shrule. The Four Masters 
tell us that " most of the chieftains and mighty champions of 
valour and prowess from Magh Aoi to Echtge, and from Galway 
to Athlone," were with them on the occasion. They were 
opposed by the OTlahertys and Lower Bourkes, who also 
secured the services of Irish and Scotch mercenaries. The 
struggle was fierce and fatal on both sides, but as the President 
and Clanricarde retained the field, they also claimed the victory. 
But the friendship between the earl and his English allies was 
not destined to last. 

In 1572, Sir Edward Fitton was appointed President of 
Connaught by Sydney, the Lord Deputy.* He was by nature 
harsh, cruel, and despotic Such, indeed, was his cruelty, that 
it subsequently became the occasion of his removal from that 

The President at once issued a manifesto summoning the 
princes and chieftains of the province to attend at a court 

^ She died 15^, and is styled ^ the most famous woman in Ireland." 
« Four Masters. • Hardiman, Galtoayy p. 86. 

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> I J^ ^ ImKj^'J l-tgl^^K^vaPT^ 


which he opened at Gal way on the 17th March of that 
year.i It was well known that the cruelties enacted by 
him on a like occasion at Ennis in the previous year, 
would be repeated at Galway. The Earl of Clanricarde, 
who attended, was immediately placed under arrest. His 
sons IJlick and John, commonly known as the "Mac an 
Earlas," flew to arms, and were immediately followed by their 
numerous adherents. The action of the Government in send- 
ing the Earl of Clanricarde to prison in Dublin, and in detain- 
ing the most influential chiefs in Clanricarde under arrest 
in Galway, secured for the daring action of the Mac an Earlas 
general sympathy and support. With the discontented, who 
usually rally round the standard of revolt, and with a large 
number of Scotch mercenaries, whose support the Mac an 
Earlas had secured, there were several influential men who 
gave their sympathy and help. Amongst those we must 
mention James Fitz Maurice, Earl of Desmond. With these 
miscellaneous forces, and armed with the energy of despair, 
they proceeded to lay the country waste. Their success was 
calamitous. They took Athenry by assault, destroying its 
castle and fortifications. Indeed, the annalists tell us that 
they " destroyed the towns from Shannon to Burren, except a 
few." They plundered all in terms of friendship with the 
English as far as Athlone. They continued their career 
successful and unopposed as far as Westmeath, plundering and 
ravaging every town. They next proceeded into Tar Connaught, 
" in despite of the people of Galway, and the English soldiers 
left there by the President, . . . committing great plunder and 
depredations " on Murrough OTlaherty, a well-known supporter 
of the English interest. The authorities in Dublin thought it 
wise to bow to the storm, which they seemed powerless to still, 
until they succeeded in securing the aid of the earl in bringing 
the rebellion of his sons to an end. He accordingly received 
his liberty on condition "that he should pacify his sons." 2 
The earl returned to his country in the autunm of that year, 
and succeeded in inducing his sons to lay down their arms and 
dismiss their soldiers. 

But the revolt of the Mac an Earlas was not to have so 
peaceable a termination. Sydney, the Lord Deputy, came 
down to Galway on the restoration of peace, and the earl went to 
offer his submission to His Majesty's representative. Although 
he could not speak English, the Deputy was struck by his ease 
in speaking Latin.^ The earl's sons were slow to come, but 

1 Memoir of the G^BrienSy p. 202. * Four Masters. 

' Hardiman, Galway, p. 86. 

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when they did come, they were immediately arrested and 
brought as prisoners to Dublin. They were not, however, kept 
in close confinement, but were required to pledge themselves 
that they would conform with English usages, and not cross 
the Shannon to their own territory without necessary permis- 
sion. It does not seem that they regarded their pledges as 
binding in honour or conscience. It is certain that *they 
violated them on the very first opportunity, and, it is alleged, 
with their father's approval.^ Having crossed the Shannon, 
they were met by their old adherents. Once more they attacked 
Athenry, which was just then being restored from its ruins. 
The Deputy, indignant on hearing of these occurrences, entered 
Clanricarde with a considerable force, A.D. 1576. The insur- 
gents, conscious of their weakness, fled to the mountains and 
fastnesses. Meantime, the Deputy arrested the earl, and sent 
him again to Dublin, where he was kept in close confinement. 
He seized his castles and territory, leaving "a number of 
English captains in Clanricarde,"* who used the castles as 
fortresses. The castle and town of Loughrea was used as a 
strong English garrison. The earl's sous continued, however, 
to wage a desultory warfare during the autumn and winter of 
the year, in which the annalists tell us that countless numbers 
of English and Irish were slain, and countless herds and flocks 
of cattle were destroyed. 

In 1579 we find that Eichard, Earl of Clanricarde, was taken 
to London by Sir Henry Sydney, where he was detained a 
prisoner till the close of his life. 

In 1580 we find the Mac an Earlas "at strife with one 
another, and both were at peace with England." But John, 
the younger, determined soon at any risk to wrest their 
castles and strong places from the English. There can be little 
doubt that his determination was much influenced by the 
wanton despotism of the Constable of Loughrea, one Master 
Jones, who had then cast into "severe confinement several 
of the influential and respectable inhabitants of Clanricarde." 
He accordingly decided on a night attack on Loughrea, by 
which the captives should be set free, and the garrison put to 
the sword. He made the attack successfully, set the prisoners 
free, and put all others to the sword who were able to bear arms, 
except the Constable, whom he set at liberty. After this he 
sought to detach his brother Ulick from the English interest, 
promising to serve him as a junior should a senior, and also to 
restore to him his son Ulick, whom he then held as a hostage. 
Ulick, accepting the conditions offered, went at once to the 
* hoc, cU. p. 87. * Four Masters. 

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. -5L ..IHT ** 


support of his brother. They first attacked the Castle of 
Loughrea, which was again strongly garrisoned; and, having 
taken and destroyed it, though they regarded it as the 
principal fortress in the territory, we are told by the annalists 
that " they scarcely left a castle from Clonfert Brendan to 
Kilmacduagh, and from Cloondagan to Oran, which they did 
not demolish." 

In this war most of the people of Connaught had joined, and 
it should be remembered that Thoniond or Clare was then 
annexed to Connaught. Though the Earl of Thomond himself 
gave them no assistance, his kinsmen took an active part in 
the revolt. 

The insurrection was suppressed in 1581. Turlogh O'Brien, 
uncle of the Earl of Thomond, was arrested and executed at 
Galway on the 26th of May in that year. Intimidated by 
the failure of the revolt, and by the arrest of O'Brien, 
William Burke repaired to Galway about a month before 
O'Brien's execution, with the view of becoming reconciled 
with the English.^ He was immediately placed under arrest, 
and, after a " summary trial," was also condemned to die. He 
was the earl's youngest son, and, though his pardon was solicited 
and obtained by the Mayor of Galway, he was hurriedly 
executed by William Martin, the marshal, before the pardon 
could arrive.^ Many of his followers also shared the same 

Meantime, Earl Eichard, who was detained a prisoner in 
London, was sinking under a fatal disease. In consideration of 
" his ill-health," he was permitted to return, and was also made 
the bearer of the royal pardon to his surviving sons. He 
reached Galway worn out by fatigue, (Jisappointment, and 
disease, and, unable to travel farther, he died there, in August 
1582, and was buried at Loughrea. 

Though the rebellion in the West was thus successfully 
suppressed, the executive were careful that as many of the 
leaders as possible should suffer the most extreme penalties 
with which the authorities in those days were familiar. 
Donogh O'Brien was accordingly executed at Limerick, a.d. 
1582. Though he souglit pardon for his share in the rebellion, 
" he was put to death in an ignoble manner by Captain Mor- 
daunt, who held the commission of marshal, and by the 
sheriff. Sir George Cusack." 

We have seen that Sir Eoger O'Shaughneasy succeeded to 
the titles and estates of his father. He was a man who was 

^ Hardiman, Galimy, p. 88. * Ibid. 

* Four Masters, 

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held in general esteem.^ The annalists, when recording his 
death in 1569, tell us that, though not skilled in Latin or 
English, he retained the Qsteem of the English without losing 
the confidence of the Irish, We do not find, however, that he 
took any part in the struggles of the period. Probably it was 
because the sacrilegious treachery of his brother Dermot, by 
the betrayal of Dr. Creagh, Primate of Armagh, had cast a dark 
shadow on his honour, his iufluence, and his name. 

Dennot Reagh O'Shaughnessy, by whom this crime was 
perpetrated, went to England in his early years, and there 
became attached to the retinue of the Earl of Leicester, whose 
patronage he also succeeded in securing. His connection with 
Leicester would naturally justify suspicions that he was not 
even then true to his faith. But this suspicion is supported, 
if not justified, by his share in the Primate's arrest, and by his 
subsequent relations with the Queen. 

The venerable Primate Creagh in 1565 was detained in close 
confinement in the Tower of London, for his fidelity to the 
faith. But, having escaped from the Tower in a manner which, 
according to Rothe's narrative, we may well regard as miracul- 
ous, he returned after some short time to Ireland. After his 
return he soon repaired to the 0*Shaughnessy territory, where 
he no doubt expected to find himself safe from his persecutors. 
But, he seems to have been tracked by Leicester's dependent, 
Dermot O'Shaughnessy, to the fastnesses of Kinelea, and was 
there arrested on the 13th of April 1567. It was an evil 
deed, and was regarded with the deepest horror by the people. 
We are told by the venerable David Eothe ^ that the spot on 
which the nefarious deed was perpetrated (now unknown) was 
stricken with barrenness, and that the captor and the captor's 
family were smitten with a curse, under which all except a 
younger brother, who sought the Primate's pardon and blessing, 
were speedily cut off.* The arrest was regarded as an event 
of vely great importance. The Protestant Archbishop of 
Armagh wrote to Cecil on the subject in May 1567, stating 
that " O'Shaughnessy apprehended the fictitious Primate of 
Armagh, that stole out of the Tower of London, who, my lord, 
is ready to send him again, trusting he will be better kept 
hereafter." And O'Shaughnessy was soon rewarded for his 
perfidy by a letter from the Queen. Writing to her Deputy in 
Ireland, on the 6th of July 1567, she mentions this in the 
following words : — 

" Whereas also O'Shaughnessy showed his loyalty in taking 

1 Four Masters, * Analecta, p. 418. 

^ Dissertations, Dr. Kelly, p. 388. 

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of the supposed Primate, who escaped out of the Tower of 
London, we have sent letters of thanks to him, according to 
your request" 

Her letter to O'Shaughnessy, here referred to, was written 
on the day previous. It was as follows : — 

"The Queen to O'Shaughnessy. 

" Ji*/y 5, 1567. 
"Eight trusty and well-beloved, we greet thee well. As 
well by sundry advertisements from our right trusty and well- 
beloved Sir H. Sydney, our Deputy in that our realm of Ireland, 
as also by our own demonstration, we have right well under- 
stood and perceived your good will and disposition to serve 
and obey us. Whereof, as we cannot be unmindful, so among 
other things we will not forget to allow right well of your 
service, staying and bringing to our said Deputy an unloyal 
subject of that land, "beitig a feigned bisJiop, who not long 
before broke out of our Tower of London; all which your 
doings and good services confirming in us more and more 
right good opinion of your loyalty towards us, we do so retain 
in our remembrance, as we will not forget tlie same towards 
you, to your comfort in any reasonable cause to be brought 
before us; and for that we understand and see your service 
meet to be by us allowed. We pray you to continue the 
same, as occasion shall serve, by the direction of our Lord 
Deputy, who both doth make good account of you, and testifieth 
the same from time to time unto us." 

Nor had Dermot O'Shaughnessy occasion to wait very long 
for an opportunity of testing the value of Her Majesty's pro- 
fessions of good will. 

His brother Sir Eoger had made an unfortunate marriage 
long previously, which was destined to prove a fruitful source 
of many troubles. In an evil hour Sir Roger O'Shaughnessy 
married the Lady Honora, daughter of Murrough O'Brien, first 
Earl of Thomond. This lady was a professed nun,^ and 
superioress of the Augustinian monastery of Kilowen, the 
picturesque ruins of which may still be seen a few miles 
south-west of Clare Castle. The property of the monastery 
was confiscated and seized by the lady's father, and we think 
it probable that at the time of her criminal connection with 
O'Shaughnessy the community was dispersed. There were 
six children, of whom three were born before the marriage, 
namely, John, Joan, and Margaret; William, Fergananim, 
1 Hy Fiackrach, p. 376. 

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and Dermot were born after the marriage was recognised 
as valid. From evidence subsequently given by Margaret, 
Countess Dowager of Clanricarde, a.d. 1615, it appears that 
" they were married by a dispensation obtained from Eome." ^ 
There can be no doubt that John was universally regarded as 

On the death of Sir Eo<^er, which occurred in 1569, we are 
told by our annalists that John "assumed his place." His 
assumption was immediately questioned by his brothers. But 
a still more formidable opponent appeared in the person of 
the traitor Dermot Eeagh, his uncle. On hearing of his 
brother's death, he immediately quitted the service of the 
Earl of Leicester, and returned to Ireland with a letter 
from Her Majesty to her Deputy Sydney, in which he is 
ordered to show O'Shaughnessy as "much favour as may 
accord with the good government of the same country." The 
document is of sufficient interest to be given here in full. 

"By the Queen. 
"Elizabeth R 

" Eight trusty and well beloved, we greet you well. Wher 
one Darby O'Shaghness, the youngest son as he saith of 
William O'Shaghness, Lord of Kynally, in that or Ecalme of 
Ireland, hath by the means of his Lord and Master, or Coosen 
the Erie of Leicester, humbly required us not only to give 
him leave to returne to his country, but also to recommend 
his peticion into yow, for some order to be taken with hym 
upon the death of his brother, Eoger O'Shaghness, as being 
next heire unto him, we being duly informed of his honest 
demeaner here, and of his earnest to serve us, have been con- 
tent to accompt him to or service, and do require yow to have 
favorable consideracion of his sute, and as you shall find it 
meet to place and settle him in the foresaid contry, so the 
rather to incurrage him to persever in his fidelitie to showe 
him as much favor as may accord with the good government of 
the same contry, 

" Given under our signet, at or Manner of Otelands, the 23rd 
of June 1570, in the 22°*^ year of our Eeigne." 

The error in this letter, according to which Dermot is 
spoken of as the son of William O'Shauglinessy, is pointed 
out by O'Donovan,^ who states distinctly that he was brother 
of Sir Eoger, and only grandson of William O'Shaughnessy. 
1 hoc, cU, p. 379. . ' Hy Fiachrach, p. 377. 

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Armed with this document, Dermot O'Shaughnessy returned 
to Ireland. We are not surprised to find that in the following 
year he claimed the possessions of the O'Shaughnessys at 
Gort, which were held since the death of Sir Koger by John, 
his illegitimate son. The fact is thus briefly recorded by the 
annalists : — 

" A.D. 1571. John, son of ' Gilla dubh,' who was the son of 
Diarmait O'Shaughnessy, who had been the O'Shaughnessy 
since the time of the death of his father until this year, 
was deprived of that title, and also of Gortinsiguaire, by his 
paternal uncle, Diarmait Eiabhach, the son of Diarmaid, for he 
was virtually the senior." And John was legally disqualified 
by reason of his illegitimacy. But the royal patronage which 
secured for Dermot Reagh 0*Shaughnessy his father's tide, 
with the lordship of the territory of Kinelea, effected an almost 
complete estrangement between him and his clansmen. He 
seems to have stood alone as the "Queen's O'Shaughnessy.V 
Even in the stirring events in connection with the Mac an 
Earlas* revolt, he had little or no share. 

Though in 1573, acting in concert with Ulick, eldest of the 
sons of Kichard, Earl of Clanricarde, he slew Murrough 
O'Brien, third Earl of Thomond, the act seems to have had no 
connection with the Mac an Earlas' revolt. John, brother of 
Ulick de Burgo, avenged the deed immediately by depriving 
O'Shaughnessy of his castle at Gortinsiguaire. Events justify 
the opinion that on this occasion he put William O'Shaugh- 
nessy, the legitimate son and heir of Sir Roger O'Shaughnessy, 
in possession of the ancestral castle at Gort. Meantime, 
however, the Queen's O'Shaughnessy (Sir Dermot), who was 
obliged to retire to Ardameelavane, — a castle picturesquely 
situated near Lough Cutra, in the present parish of Beagh," — 
held considerable sway in the territory till 1579, when he 
laid a snare for his nephew William. Sustained by English 
influence, he resolved to rid himself of a troublesome opponent 
and rival in the person of his nephew, who fell into the snare 
that had been laid for him by his uncle. It was at the 
southern approach to the castle that the uncle awaited his 
nephew to murder him in cold blood. It was a heinous 
purpose, if measured only by the loose standard of ethics 
which such a man as Dermot O'Shaughnessy might be supposed 
to respect. Whether he had arranged that his nephew's 
blood should be shed by the hands of his minions, it is now 
useless to inquire. We only know that uncle and nephew 
met face to face in mortal combat. The uncle had ample 
opportunities of becoming an accomplished and practised 

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swordsman amongst the brawling gentlemen who formed 
Leicester's notorious bodyguard in London. But to his nephew 
he was a perjured oppressor, an unnatural and hated enemy, 
who brought disgrace on an honoured name, and on the 
traditions of a respected family. He fought, therefore, with 
the energy of intense hatred, and with the active vigour of 
youth. But against the more guarded and practised action of 
his antagonist, his vigour did not prevail, and he fell at length 
mortally wounded.^ But though Sir Dermot had murdered 
his victim, the hours of his own life were numbered. He too 
had received a mortal wound in this fierce encounter, and 
survived his nephew only by one short half-hour. The sad 
story is not yet forgotten in popular traditions. The peasantry 
still point out the spot on which the unnatural struggle took 
place. The awful crime still invests the place with imaginary 
terrors, and it is popularly regarded as a haunted spot 
. One would naturally expect that the blood of uncle and 
nephew so criminally and cruelly shed at Ardameelavane, should 
have extinguished the family feuds of the O'Shaughnessys. 
It was not so, however ; for immediately after that unnatural 
and fatal contest, the bastard John came forward once more to 
claim the patrimony and title. The youngest and only surviving 
brother Dermot opposed the claim, for Fei^ananim had died 
unmarried. As on the previous occasions, all the sympathies 
of the tribe were on the side of the legitimate claimant 
Dermot. Neither were the claims of the bastard pretender 
more favourably regarded by English law, as then known in 
Ireland. But in order to evade the authority of the law, and 
to set the action of his clansmen at defiance, John O'Shaugh- 
nessy made a grant of all the lands in his possession to a 
certain Sir Jeoffrey Fenton,^ " on the sole condition that Sir 
Jeoffrey would maintain his title against Dermot, who con- 
tinually disturbed him in his possessions." It does not, how- 
ever, appear that the portion of the O'Shaughnessy territory 
in his actual possession at the time of this deed was very 
extensive. When the validity of this deed of transfer was 
tested subsequently before the Court of Chancery in Ireland 
in 1606, reference is made only to the " town and lands of 
Cappafennell or Capparell," situated near the Castle of 

Meantime a Parliament was summoned to meet at Dublin on 

the 26th of April 1585. The discontented chieftains of the 

nation were encouraged to come for redress for their grievances, 

from the nation's " representatives." They did come ; and the 

* ify Fiackrach, p. 377. * Ibid, p. 378. 

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executive could hardly have adopted a more effective means 
of giving strength to hostile claims and rivalries, which seem 
even then to have grown into painful prominence. The Four 
Masters have preserved a list of those who attended. Eefer- 
ring to the Clanricarde district, the annalists inform us that 
the rival O'Shaughnessyswere present. 

" A.D. 1585. Thither, likewise, went the Earl of Clanricarde 
and the two sons of Gilla Duv O'Shaughnessy, Le„ John and 

But as the object of the Parliament and of its promoters 
was to promote rather than remove dissension amongst Irish 
chieftains, we are not surprised to find that it took no action 
in deciding the cases of the disputants put before it. But 
though the Parliament seems to have taken no action in the 
case, we hear no more of John O'Shaughncssy nor of his 
family after this date ;^ and the title and lordship of the chiefs 
of Kinelea seems to have befen ceded to Dermot subsequently 
till his death in 1606. 

The men associated with the Lord Deputy Perrot at the time, 
both in M unster and Connaught, were well fitted for carrying 
out the aims of the Government without regard for justice or 

" And there came with him," say the annalists, " Sir John 
Norris as president of the province of Munster, and Sir 
Eichard Bingham as governor over* the province of Connaught" ^ 
The Deputy Perrot, who was generally reputed to be an 
illegitimate son of Henry VIIL, came to Ireland with the 
ordinary powers, but with a despotic will to enforce them. 
He also came with a well-defined purpose, which he resolutely 
undertook to carry out. 

Amongst Perrot's daring projects stands his endeavour to 
abolish the old Irish tenure of land, known as the law of 
" Gavelkind," which he boldly represented as " the very root 
and origin of their ruin."* He would have the Irish chiefs 
"surrender all their lands and take them of Her Highness 
again, and yield both rent and sei-vice." By this new tenure 
the Irish chieftains would hold their lands from the crown, 
and bind themselves to pay to the crown " ten shillings upon 
every quarter " (120 acres), with certain provisions for military 
service.* The new forms of tenure are known as " Indentures 
of Composition." He well knew that the acceptance of the 
new arrangement would be revolutionary in its influence. It 
would be incompatible with the old union between the chief 

^ Ey Fiachrach, p. 378. ^ Notes to the Four Masters, a.d. 1584. 

» Memoirs of the O'Briens, p. 218. * Ibid, p. 219. 

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and his tribe. The new arrangement would be, in fact, the 
completion of the putative policy adopted by Henry VIII. 
to some of the leading Irish chiefs of his time, who 
exchanged the privileges and rights of Irish chieftains for 
titles and tenure* at the hands of His Majesty. It would, in 
short, remove the principal obstacle to the abolition of the 
Brehon laws, and to the establishment of English law through- 
out the land. We have in the quaint pages of Dowcra a 
distinct avowal of these and similar purposes in what he 
naively calls the " Plott of this Composition." ^ 

Most of the native chiefs in Clanricarde were induced to 
accept the proposals of Perrot Nor can this be considered 
strange under all the circumstances of the times. The native 
chiefs, divided by local feuds, were powerless. Harassed by the 
ceaseless aggression of the Norman families who were settled 
amongst them, who occupied many of their towns and strong 
castles, they looked with some hope to the new proposals. 
Having been robbed already in a great measure of possessions 
and prestige, they may not unnaturally have hoped that a 
settled form of government would afford them protection. 
And protection even under Elizabeth may have seemed 
preferable to many, to perpetual anarchy and strife. Besides, 
some may have even hoped that through the new arrange- 
ments they might at no distant time be able to recover from 
their aggressive and successful rivals some portions of their 
plundered possessions. There were also before their eyes 
telling instances of the danger of opposing the wishes of Her 
Majesty's representatives, — instances full of a terrible local 
interest to the people of Kilmacduagh and Clanricarde. 

For the achievement of the "Composition," a Commission 
was appointed by the Deputy on the 15t.h July 1585.* 

The Governor of Connfiught, Sir Eichard Bingham, was 
placed at the head of the Commission. The other members of 
the Commission were creatures of the crown. This will be 
more clearly seen by a perusal of the names : — 

The Earl of Thomond. 
The Earl of Clanricarde. 
The Baron of Athenry. 
Sir Turlogh O'Brien of Ennistymon. 
Sir Eichard Bourke Mac William Eighter. 
Sir Donnell O'Connor of Sligo. 
Sir Brian O'Eorke. 

Sir Murrough na Doe OTlaherty, and others. 
1 Dowcra's Narrative, p. 190. * lar Connaiight, p. 304. 

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Speaking of this representative of the Lower Bourkes in 
1576, the Lord Deputy wrote: "The order of knighthoode I 
bestowed upon hym, whereof he seemed very joyous, and some 
other little triffles I gave hym." ^ 

The Commissioners were empowered to summon the lords 
and chieftains of the various districts before them. They 
deprived of " title and tribute " every chief who refused to 
sign the indentures.^ 

Commencing with the county of Clare in the August of that 
year, they immediately proceeded to Galway. And we find 
that the indenture for " that part of Connaught called Clan- 
ricarde" bears dat« the 2nd September following. To this 
document we find affixed the names of the chief proprietors in 
the baronies of Kiltartan, Dunkellin, and remaining districts in 
the diocese of Kilmacduagh. The mere recital of the names and 
addresses found there must be interesting, as representing the 
principal families of the diocese at the period, and as enabling 
us to know the owners and occupiers at that time of many of 
the extant castles in the district. 

** This indenture betwixte the Right Hon. Sir John Pen*ot, 
etc., of the one part, and — 

Ulick, Earl of Clanricarde. 

R. Bourke of Derry Mac laghny, Esquire. 

Sherone Mac Khonge of Killenedyaine. 

Ulick Carraghe Mac Hubert of the Dissharte (Cellaigh) * 

Owen Mautagh O'Heyne of Dungorye * (chief of his name). 

Connor Crone 0*Heine, Taneste to the said 0*Heine. 

Hubert Boy Burke Mac Redmond.^ 

Dermod O'Shaghnes of Gortynchygory, 

John O'Shaghness of Ardmollyvan,^ 

Competitors for the name of O'Shaghness. 

Nehemias Follane of the Newtown, Gen. 

Edmond Ulick Bourke of Ballely,^ Gen. 

Richard Mac William of Rahale,® Gen, 

Shane Oge Bourke of Manyne,® Gen. 

And Brian Reoghe Mac Kilkelly, Cloghballymore,^^ Gen. — 
of the other pail;." 

We omit the divisions of land in the various baronies, as 
likely to prove tedious to the reader. But we consider that 

' lar Connaught^ p. 301. * Memoirs of the (yBriens, p. 221. 

' leer Kelly. * Kin vara Castle, 

* Ballvconnell, Kilbecanty parish. ^ Beagh parish. 

' In the parish of Killartan. ® In the parish of Kilthomas. 

• In the parish of Ardrahan. *^ In the parish of Ballindereen. 

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the following special covenants in the agreement or" Indenture " 
are worthy of attention : — 

" The said chieftains and lords, etc., do covenant to answeare 
and bears 40 good hable horsemen, 200 footmen well armed 
with carriage and victualls to all hostings, roods, and 
journeys within Connaught and Thomond ; and 20 hable 
horsemen and 50 footmen, well armed and furnished with 
arms, garrans, and victuals, to all generall hostings proclaymed 
in this readme." 

We extract the following from the same document also : — 

"There belong to the heires of Sir Darby O'Shaghness, 
Knight, 101 quarters ^ in the barony of Kiltaraghe ; and to 
Nehemias FoUane, 2 quarters adjoining to the New Town. 

" That the Earl of Clanricarde shall enjoy 28 quarters free, 
as a demesne to his castell of Kilcolgan. . . . 

"That the heirs of Sir Darby O'Shaghness shall have 8 
quarters free, adjoining the manor house of Gortynchygorye. . . . 

" William Martine of Galway, Gent, has 2 quarters adjoin- 
ing the town of Cahirforvace. ... 

" That William Martine, in consideration of services diversely 
done to the State, shall have 2 quarters in Cahirforvace, in the 
barony of Dunkellyne, free. 

" That Nehemias FoUane, in respect of his travaile and pains 
taken for Her Majesty in the search of the quantity of land 
within the said Clanricarde, shall have 2 quarters in the New 
Toune, in the barony of Kiltaraghe,^ free." 

As a protection for the "meane freeholders and tenants 
dwelling upon their lands," it was agreed that after the decease 
of the then owners, the rents, duties, and all exactions should 
be extinguished for ever." 

In the light of the history of modern times, in this last 
provision we have the key to the neglect and injustice with 
which the tenantry of Ireland have been treated since the 
ancient tenure under the clan and chief was abolished by 
Perrot. The Earl of Clanricarde, whose name holds such 
prominence as a party to this deed, is Ulick, son of Eichard, 
whose revolt had been attended with such sad consequences to 
the province but a few years previously. 

We can have little doubt that the William Martine of 
Galway, for whom such generous provision is made "in 
consideration of services diversely done to the State," is the 
same who cruelly anticipated the pardon sent for William de 
Burgo, by having him executed before it could have reached 

^ One quarter comprised 120 acres. * Kiltaraglie, modern Kiltartan, 

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As regards Follane, who for his '* pains taken for Her Majesty 
in the search of the quantity of land within the said Clan- 
ricarde," who received 2 quarters, i.e. 240 acres, free, at New- 
town, his family have left no trace behind. They have 
fortunately passed away. But his castle still remains about a 
mile south-west of Gort, Though its internal arrangement is 
quite similar to the ordinary square keeps of the districts, it is 
round on the exterior, and bears on its windows the usual 
features of Elizabethan architecture. 

A partial unwillingness to accept the new tenure of property 
caused some of the local chiefs to submit to the Council an in- 
correct statement of the extent of their possessions or lands. 
A salutary dread of being treated by Bingham as a rebel 
tended to make such cases of just and natural "fraud" com- 
paratively rare. Indeed, the Governor of Connaught used 
suflScient diligence to render such attempts extremely hazard- 
ous ; and with the zeal of such men as Nehemias Follane to guide 
him, deception in Clanicarde became practically impossible. 

We are informed, however, that such "deception" was 
attempted, though fruitlessly, by the lord of Dungory and 
Lydecane Castles, then residing at Lydecane Castle,^ We 
find that the following "Order of Council of Connaught, 1586," 
was issued regarding it : — 

" Whereas it is given us to understand that Owen Mautagh 
0*Heyue of Lydegane, in the barony of Kiltaraght, within the 
county of Galway, chiefe of his name, is seized, amongst other 
land««, of the quarter of land called Cahirkearney, and quarter 
of Cratnagh, which two quarters, by a reason they were not 
presented unto us, are not comprised within tlie Indentures of 
Her Majesty's Composition, and forasmuch as by the said 
Indentures there was no freedom provided for the said Owen, 
and that by his own profession and presentment it is found 
owte the said two quarters to be concealed and not presented as 
aforesaid, whereby he is the better worthie to engage, the same. 
It is therefore condescended,granted,and agreed, in consideration 
of the premises, that the said Owen Mautagh O'Heyne shall 
possess said lands discharged of Her Majesty's composition rent. 

"Given at Dublin, 15th May 1586. 

Richard Bingham. 
Thomas C. Strange. 
NicHO. White. 
Thomas Dillon. 
George Commerford." 
^ Present parish of Ardrahan. 

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The lord of Lydecane and Dungory Castles acted wisely in 
having this act of " deception " and its nature put before the 
Council by "his own profession and presentment." He pro- 
bably felt it was impossible to escape the vigilance of FoUane. 
The lands of Cranna and Cahircarna conferred upon O'Heyne 
as a " freedom " by the foregoing order, were in the immediate 
vicinity of the Castle of Lydecane, and are known to this day 
under the same denominations. 

This Eoghan Mautagh O'Heyne is said to be the " fraternal 
nephew"^ of Rory O'Heyne, who died a.d. 1578. We have 
already referred to that distinguished man in a former chapter, 
and we may give here in full the notice of his character 
and career which the annalists have recorded. "He had 
been distinguished for his hospitality and activity in the use of 
arms from the beginning of his career until he was summoned 
from this world. His fraternal nephew, Eoghan Mautagh, 
son of Edmond, was elected in his place." 

Eoghan Mautagh O'Heyne, who, it would seem, was still 
accorded the empty title of " Lord of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne," 
did not long survive the favours conferred upon him by the 
Council. He died a.d. 1588, leaving a son, Hugh Boy, who was 
elected " in his place." ^ 

Hugh O'Heyne from the time of his accession seems to have 
regarded his own interests as of paramount importance. We 
accordingly find that he surrendered his property to the crown, 
and received a " regrant of an extensive estate," as it is called 
by O'Donovan,* in his ancestral territory. This grant was made 
on the 22nd July 1594, in the " 30 year of her Maj"" raigne," 
In this interesting grant, which is given by the learned editor 
of Ry Fiachrack,^ we find that the denominations of the various 
townlands, with their areas, are carefully set forth ; and most 
may still be identified under their old designations. We can 
also see that the lands thus conferred by " regrant " on Hugh 
O'Heyne included most of the present parish of Kinvara, with 
some important portions of the present parishes of Ardrahan 
and Clarinbridge. The reader may find a copy of this interest- 
ing document in the Appendix to this work. 

The annalists record the death of Hugh Boy O'Heyne in the 
same year: — 

" O'Heyne — Hugh Boy — ^the son of Owen Mautagh, son of 
Edmond, son of Flan — died."* 

On the whole, however, the attitude of the O'Heynes during 

1 Hy Fiachrach, p. 403. ^ -pouv Masters, A.D. 1688. 

' Notes to Four Masters, 1594. 

* Manners and Customs of Hy Fiachrach^ p. 404. * a.d. 1594. 

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the century seems to have been honourable and praiseworthy. 
They appear to have held English patronage in disfavour. 
They seem to have avoided marriage alliances with the sur- 
rounding Anglo-Irish families. And despite the example of 
many leading Irish chieftains of the period, they preferred the 
ancient title of " The O'Heyne " to the proudest titles whicli 
the English sovereign might confer. Tliey were content to 
share the fate of their faithful clansmen, which, if a sad one, 
was not unworthy of heroic Irish Catholics. And if the 
action of Hugh Boy O'Heyne manifests a selfish caution, it 
may perhaps be easily condoned, considering the atrocities 
then recently perpetrated by Sir Richard Bingham, governor 
of the province. 

The following brief extract referring to the episcopal 
succession will suflSce, until Dr. Molony*s career be referred 
to more in detail at the close of the next chapter. 

"Malachy O'Molony, bishop from 1570 to 1610. I 
presume he is the Bishop Muldowny in Connaught to whom 
Langton of Kilkenny went in 1588, to get a dispensation to 
marry his cousin, Lettice Daniel." ^ 

* Description of Ireland^ 1578. 

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Sir Richard Bingham Chief Commissioner of Composition — He destroys 
Clonuane Castle, and executes its lord, who was regarded as the 
Pope's chief champion— O'Donnell lays siege to Athenry, and wastes 
the country to Oranmore and Galway— Ulick, third Earl of Clan- 
ricarde, supports English interests, and opposes O'Donnell in the 
NoiJih — O'Donnell invades Clanricarde, and plunders Iser Kelly and 
Kinvara — In the follo^'ing year he again enters Clanricarde, and 
encamps at Ruaidh Bheitheach, and invades Thomond — Is secretly 
supported by the discontented chiefs— In 1600 he again invades 
Clanricarde, and plunders the eastern districts of Kilmacduagh— He 
enters Thomond, and returns with his booty by Corcomroe and 
Einvara — The Geraldine League — Dermot O'Connor's connection 
with it— Is massacred with his men at Gort — Activity of Redmond 
Burke, nephew of the Earl of Clanricarde — Episcopal succession — 
Valuation of parishes under Elizabeth. 

Sir John Perrot had powerful and willing instruments in 
Norris, President of Munster, and Sir Eichard Bingham, 
President of Connaught. They accompanied him to Galway 
in 1584, whither he had come to receive the submission of the 
territorial chiefs. After a short stay he set out for Limerick ; 
a journey which at that period was necessarily slow. On the 
first day after leaving Galway he reached Kilmacduagh, where 
he stayed for the night. The monastery and ecclesiastical 
establishments there were not yet destroyed; and at that 
period the tendency on the part of the executive to use the 
monasteries for secular purposes was being constantly mani- 
fested. On the following day the Deputy reached the Abbey 
of Quin, where Cruise, the Slierifif of Clare, had been awaiting 
him. Cruise had in his custody Donogh Beg O'Brien, who 
had been an active spirit in the recent Clanricarde troubles. 
But Perrot wished to inaugurate a "vigorous administra- 
tion," and therefore did not hesitate in having O'Brien 
executed there under circumstances of the most revolting 
cruelty. After being "hanged from a car, his bones were 
broken and smashed with the back of a larixe and heavy axe." ^ 
And though life was not yet extinct, his body was then 
fastened with hard and tough hempen ropes to the top of 
^ Four Masters, a.d. 1584. 


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the steeple of Qnin, under the talons of the birds and fowls of 
the air. 

This "vigorous policy" was naturally followed by the 
Deputy's minions. In the summer of that year, Turlogh 
O'Loughlin of Mucinis Castle was, as we have already 
noticed, summarily executed at Ennis. And when Bingham 
came to (Jalway in his official capacity as governor in 1586, 
he marked his appreciation of his master's policy by having as 
many as seventy men and women ^ executed there in the month 
of January of that year. Amongst the victims was another of 
the O'Brien chieftains, — Donald, son of Murtogh Garv, son of 
Brian, son of Teige.* But Bingham was determined that 
the O'Briens should have still more experience of his cruelty, 
and in a manner that would bear still more directly a message 
of terror to the clans of Kilmacduagh. 

The Castle of Cluaindubhain, situated about a mile south- 
west of Kilmacduagh, stood on the boundary between Clare 
and Galway. It was then a magnificent pile, and regarded as 
one of the most impregnable castles in Thomond. Dowcra 
speaks of it in his Narrative as a " strong pyle." And the Four 
Masters have recorded that " upon dry land in Ireland " there 
was no stronger fortress. 

The chief of Cluaindubhain Castle was a staunch supporter 
of Ireland's cause and of her ancient religion. He is referred 
to by Dowcra as " a most dangerous enemy of the State, and 
a chief champion of the Pope, and a greate practyzer with 
fforraigne Powers flfor the Invasion of this Realme of Ireland." * 
On the 1st March following the Galway executions. Sir 
Richard Bingham proceeded, with a strong force of English 
troops and " somme ffew Kearne of the countrye," to besiege 
the castle. For three weeks the siege was prosecuted, with 
** skirmishinge, watchinge, and wardinge ; " and yet during that 
long period of brave defence, the "chief champion of the 
Pope" was left by the. neighbouring chieftains to fight the 
cause of religion and country alone and unaided. 

On the twenty-second day of the siege, Bingham directed an 
assault in full force on the castle, when its gallant lord, who 
bravely directed the defence from the battlements, was shot 
dead. After their chieftain had fallen, it only remained for 
the garrison to surrender. This they did, expecting quarter. 
But Bingham, true to his instincts of cruelty and bloodshed, 
had them all massacred in cold blood. Indeed, the memory 
of this cruel carnage is still preserved in local traditions. 

1 Memoirs of ihe O^Briens, p. 223. « Ibid. 

' Narrative, p. 194. 

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Having put the garrison of Clonuane to the sword,* he "razed 
the western side of the castle to the ground/' and completely 
destroyed the outworks. Only a portion of the eastern side of 
the castle remains to the present The existing ruins, there* 
fore, give no true idea of the original character or extent of the 
fortress. The property was confiscated. The deeds of Bing- 
ham in other parts of Connaught can have no place in these 
pages. It is important, however, to point out that this was the 
man to whom the " Plott of the Composition," already referred 
to at some length, was principally entrusted. Indeed, we are 
distinctly informed by Dowcra that the " Plott *' of Composition 
was devised by him, and that he was its Chief Commissioner.^ 
We have seen his name with that of Nicho. White, Master of 
the Bolls, attached to the grant made to O'Heyne in 1586. His 
cruelty explains the easy acceptance with which those deeds 
of composition were received by the chieftains of Clanricarde. 
He well knew he was detested by the people, by whom he 
was regarded as cruel and bloodthirsty, " and full dearly did 
he make them suffer for the imputation/' ^ So odious did he 
become, however, that the executive were at length obliged to 
yield, and send him back to England. But his name and 
character rendered the settlements effected generally odious, 
" and the successes of Hugh Eoe 0*Donnell, a few years later, 
were regarded by the people of the province as a Heaven-sent 
deliverance." * 

But the "composition" transfer of properties inaugurated 
in Clanricarde and Thomond was regarded both by O'Donnell 
and the Ulster chiefs with strong disfavour. They were able 
to see its purpose and bearing. When, therefore, proposals were 
made to the Ulster chiefs in 1576, that they too would commit 
themselves to the composition scheme, they rejected the pro- 
posals ; and they also determined to invade Clanricarde and 
Thomond, and punish the Southern earls for their selfish- 

Through the representations of De Burgo and O'Brien, a 
large force was sent by the Lord Justice to the North, in order 
to engage the Northern earls at home, and so avert the 
threatened invasion. O'Donnell, who was well aware of the 
object of the expedition, was determined at any hazard to 
"march into the south of the province of Connaught, and 
plunder the districts about Slieve Echtge, in Galway, and 
Thomond in particular." Evading the vigilance of the English 
army under Dowcra, he marched southward, and in the early 

1 Notes to Four Masters, 1686. * Narrative, 190. 

' lar Connaught. ^ TVArcy Magee, voL iL p. 33. 

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part of the year 1597 we find him >^th*a large force laying 
siege to Athenry, and demolishing its '' stone houses and strong 
habitations." After plundering the town, he sent strong detach- 
ments to waste the district On this occasion their course 
was mainly in the direction of Galway and Oranmore. The 
annalists tell us that he had arranged to have entered the 
adjoining districts of Kilmacduagh, and to have proceeded 
on his course to " Gort in Kinel Aedh/' were it not for " the 
multiplicity of his plunder and the vastness of his spoila" 

But the raid on Kinel A^edh, and indeed on the entire 
territory of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, was only deferred for a little 
time. The Earl of Clanricarde was the cause ; for, like his 
kinsmen the Earls of Thomond, his selfishness prevented him 
from countenancing any movement against the Queen, and left 
the local chiefs without either power or sympathy. It is 
certain there were few of the EngUsh of Connaught — perhaps 
none — who gave such valuable support to the English cause as 
did Ulick de Burgo, who succeeded his father, Earl Eichard, 
third Earl of Clanricarde, notwithstanding the character of 
his early career. Ulick married a Burke of TuUyra, near 
Ardrahan; and immediately on the death of his father in 
1582, he repaired to Dublin, and appealed to Sir Nicholas 
Malbay, Governor of Connaught, against the claims of his 
brother John. It was then arranged between them that the 
barony of Leitrim should be given to John, while Ulick was to 
retain his father's titles, and also his claims to the rest of 
Clanricarde. As a result, the brothers were " publicly at peace 
but privately at strife." ^ A year later, and this private strife 
culminated in the revolting crime of fratricide. It was in 
the year 1583 that Ulick de Burgo, Earl of Clanricarde, a 
guest in the Castle of Leitrim, murdered his brother John, the 
Baron of Leitrim. He was even an honoured guest in his 
brother's castle when he perpetrated this foul deed. Eeferring 
to its enormity, the annalists say, " Alas 1 woe to that brother 
who wished to slay his brother for the partition of a territory ! " 
The murdered nobleman was popular. Hence his death 
" weighed upon the hearts of the people of his territory on 
account of his good sense, his personal form, his noble birth, 
his hospitality, his nobleness, and his renowned achievements." 
And when, a decade later, the patriotism of the Northern earls 
was found to be proof against the " Plot of Composition," and 
when their active hostility became a menace to English 
authority, it was found that Ulick, Earl of Clanricarde, went 
with all his forces to join Sir John Norris in " reducing all 
1 Four Masters. 

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who bad risen np in the confederation of the Irish in the 

When, in 1597, the Northern princes were able to drive back 
their English assailants, and were giving new hopes to the West 
and South, it was found that Ulick, Earl of Clanricarde, was one 
of the most trusted supporters of Sir Conyers Cliflford, and that 
he had attended that gentleman in his expedition to the North, 
accompanied by his son Richard, Baron of Dunkellin. Later 
on in the same year, when the Governor of Connaught was 
required by Lord Borough, Lord Justice of Ireland, to proceed 
at once, " with all the forces he could possibly muster, to the 
"western extremity of Ulster against 0*I)onnell," we find that 
he immediately summoned to his assistance his friends the 
Earl of Thomond and the Earl of Clanricarde, with his son 
Richard, Baron of Duukellin. From these events we can 
understand why O'Donnell thought it too long that he had left 
" unattacked the English of Connaught, and those Irish who 
had been in alliance with them," and why he should have 
marked out Clanricarde for signal vengeance. A pretext for 
effecting his purpose was soon afforded him. 

A strong complaint was made to O'Neil by Redmond, son of 
John Burke, the murdered Baron of Leitrim, against the in- 
justice of Lord Clanricarde, who refused to give the son of 
his murdered victim even the smallest share of his father's 
property. This complaint was supported by a party of Red- 
mond Burke's " young kinsmen, all of the first distinction." ^ 
Even the terms of the earl's refusal were as offensive as 
they were unjust " If," said the earl, " Redmond would be 
satisfied with one mantle's breadth of my inheritance from 
Sruthair to Abhain da Loilgheach, I would not give him 
so much as a reward for war or peace." * It would be difficult 
to realise a refusal more ungracious or unjust Sruthair 
is the modem Shrule. The stream which gives it its name 
forms the north-west boundary of Clanricarde. " Abhain da 
Loilgheach" is a river which forms its boundary on the 
extreme south-east This also bounds the diocese of Eilmac- 
duagh, at that side separating it from Killaloe diocese. The 
river flows from Derrybrien in the Clonfert diocese, through 
the valleys of the Echtge Mountains, and into Lough 

O'Neirs reply was a favourable one. He promised the 

deputation to assist them by every means in his power. 

Clanricarde was at the time in England with the Earl of 

Thomond, and the important successes gained in that year by 

1 Four Masters. « iWi., 1698. 

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the Northern princes against Her Majesty's troops must have 
animated O'Donnell's men for new enterprises. 

It was late in December when O'Donnell set out from Bally- 
mote. By one of those silent but rapid marches for which 
he was remarkable, he arrived unobserved in Clanricarde, 
" although the inhabitants of that country were on the alert 
and on their guard, such was their fear and dread of him." ^ 
He had, however, taken the precaution of entering the territory 
in the night-time, " silently and quietly," and thus arrived at 
the gate of Kilcolgan by break of day, without attracting the 
slightest notice. 

At once and without the least delay he proceeded to execute 
his plans for plundering and devastating the territory. They 
were well conceived and boldly carried out, for Clonricarde, 
though absent, had " great numbers of hired soldiers " * quar- 
tered in the country. Though he sent out marauding parties 
" in every direction," the forces were divided mainly into two 
parties, one of which was sent eastwards towards the Echtge 
Mountains, and the other southward to Kinvara. Those sent 
eastwards made William Mac Hubert Burke of Iser Kelly 
Castle prisoner. He was arrested by Manus O'Donnell, brother 
of the Northern chief. 

The other party, sent to Dunguaire in '* CoiU U Fiachrach," 
committed " lamentable deeds," as the annalists tell us. Tur- 
logh Boy and Brian O'Loughlin, sons of Eoss O'Loughlin, were 
slain there ; they seem, however, to have fought bravely. We 
find it recorded that Mac Donnell of the Northern army was 
slain by O'Loughlin before he himself fell There were also 
slain on the occasion two sons of William Burke of Rinville, 
and the eon of Theobald Burke of Derry O'DonnelL It is 
therefore evident that his soldiers were sent into the various 
districts of Southern Clanricarde. Their success must have 
been complete, for he seems to have succeeded in carrying off 
''all the immense spoils, heavy herds, and other booty and 
property which had been collected for him, without battle or 
conflict, until he arrived safe at Ballymote." * 

We can have little doubt that it was the absence of the Earl 
of Clanricarde that suggested to O'Donnell the fitness of 
making Kilcolgan his centre of operations on the occasion. 
It would be inconsistent with the narrative of his success to 
assume that he left the Castles of Kilcolgan and Dunkellin safe 
on the occasion. We think it practically certain that he left 
both dismantled ; and we do not find that Dunkellin had been 
afterwards occupied by the Earls of Clanricarde, though the 
1 Four Masters. > iWA « iWd 

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Marchioness of Clanricarde afterwards resided at Kilcolgan. 
We also find that in the following year, when O'Donnell was 
entering on the invasion of Thomond, he made the locality the 
site of his encampment. 

He mustered a vast force around him at Ballymote early in 
February, preparatory to his descent on Thomond. His forces 
were indeed so numerous, that he was able to send a strong 
detachment to Mayo, while he himself retained command of 
the main army destined for Thomond. 

As in the previous year, his march southward was rapid and 
silent, and hence he entered Clanricarde "unobserved" in 
1599, as in the preceding year. He seems to have pursued the 
same line of march, and, having arrived at Euaidh Bheitheach, 
he pitched his encampment there. The encampment was in 
the immediate vicinity of the Castle of Dunkellin, and only 
about two miles from Kilcolgan. It is. referred to by the 
annalists as an "extensive camp of armed heroes." They 
were clearly in no way apprehensive of assault. They lighted 
fires, and " sat down to take refreshments, and to drink to each 
other in ale and Spanish wine, without fear or dread in the 
territory of their enemy." ^ But the repose was not permitted 
to degenerate into a revel. At midnight they were summoned 
to resume their marcL This they did without delay, so that 
they were able to enter Thomond before dawn. Their line of 
march was "straight onward" by Kilcolgan, Kinvara, and 
Kilmacduagh. As the morning dawned, they had arrived 
at the eastern extremity of O'Flancy's Wood, now better 
known as Kilkeedy Wood, a distance of about twenty miles 
from Euaidh Bhitheach. The wood was then a vast forest, 
which, in the opinion of the learned O'Donovan, extended at 
that time over the present districts of Bonachiopaun town, 
Derryowen, and Clonouane. 

Here he divided his tirmy into three columns, one of which 
he sent southwards by Bally 0*Hogan and Dysart 0*Dea, to 
the Castle of Ballygriffy. He despatched another north into 
Burren. The third, which was a strong body, he sent for- 
ward to Inchiquin. Meantime, O'Donnell himself proceeded 
to Killinaboy with the " flower of his army," where he awaited 
the return of his detachments. It was not, however, till the 
following day that his soldiers were able to return and meet 
their chief at Kilfenora, as their march was much impeded by 
the rich spoils they had captured in the districts through 
which they had passed. 

From Kilfenora he despatched some strong parties to Inagh 
1 O'Clery's Lift of aDonnelL 

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and the confines of Mount Callan, and also to the districts of 
Ennistymon and liscannor, who returned to their chief laden 
" with spoils and booty." It was not till the following day that 
" his troops came up with him, from every quarter in which 
they had been disperaed." His success was complete.^ " When 
O'Donnell saw the surrounding hills covered and darkened with: 
the herds and numerous cattle of the territories through which 
his troops had passed, he proceeded on his way homewards 
over the chain of the rugged-topped mountains of Burren/* 
His route was Noughville, by the Abbey of Corcomroe, over 
the pass of Corker Hill into Rubha, the modern Corainroo. 
This is a small village at the base of the Burren Hills, where a 
castle of the O'Heynes stood close to the sea, till a.d. 1755, 
when it fell at the very moment at which the Lisbon earthquake 
occurred. It was here he pitched liis encampment after his 
long and weary march* 

On the following day he passed through Kinvara, and, con- 
tinuing his march by Kilcolgan, made his return journey safely 
by Athenry to Ballymote. 

In estimating O'Donnell's success on this occasion, his share 
in the great victory of the ** Yellow Ford " in the preceding 
year, over Bagnall, must not be forgotten. The victory made 
his name famous throughout Europe, and secured for. him in 
Ireland almost regal influence. Neither should it be forgotten 
that his advent into the territories of Clanricarde and Thomond 
was hailed with secret pleasure by the discontented local chief- 
tains, who in Thomond were then particularly numerous. 

Amongst the discontented was Teigue, brother of the Earl of 
Thomond. There was also the son of Mahon O'Brien, the 
brave chief of Clonouane murdered by Bingham. When 
that chieftain wajs executed from the battlements of his own 
castle, his lands were handed over to George Cusack, son of Sir 
Thomas Cusack, Lord Chancellor of Ireland. This fortunate 
adventurer got possession of the Castle of Derryowen, and 
made it his residence. Derryowen is situated in the vicinity of 
Clonouane, and was at first, the annalists tell us, " the patri- 
mony of the sons of Aulilfe, the son of Cian O'Shaughnessy." 

Turlogh O'Brien, the plundered representative of Clonouane 
Castle and estates, was obliged to retire into the adjoining 
forest of Kilkeedy, where he anxiously watched every oppor- 
tunity of recovering his patrimony, and of being avenged of 
his plunderers. In 1598, Turlogh O'Brien " took from George 
Cusack, Derryowen, at first the patrimony of the sons of 
Auliffe, the son of Cian O'Shaughnessy." * And in July the 
^ Four Masters, 1599. > /&u2., 1698. 

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following year, the same George Cusack was slain by Turlogh, 
son of Mahon O'Brien. The annalists add : " for Sir Eichard 
Bingham, after he put Mahon O'Brien to death, had given 
up his territory to the aforesaid George. And he, Turlogh, 
persevered in his endeavours to recover his patrimony until he 
slew George on this occasion." 

The Earls of Clanricarde and Thomond, finding themselves 
powerless to resist O'Donnell's devastating raids on their terri- 
tories, succeeded in influencing the Government to send once 
more strong forces northward, who would engage O'Donnell in 
his own territory, and so " keep him away from them,^ for they 
deemed it too often that he went into their territories." It was 
early in 1600 that Dowcra proceeded to Derry, that he might 
engage the attention of the earl's battalions there. O'Donnell, 
however, " making no account of them," and leaving O'Doherty 
and his own kinsman Neal Garv O'Donnell in command, 
mustered his forces privately and marched southward once 
more,* "to plunder the countries that lay on both sides of 
Sliabh Echtge, and especially Thomond." The march was 
executed with the same rapidity as in the preceding year. On 
this occasion his line of march through Clanricarde was farther 
east, and closer to the Echtge ranges, than in the preceding 
year. It was Saturday when he entered the Kiltartan district. 
The annalists do not specify exactly where ; they are content 
with saying it was in the "Oireaght Eedmond," or eastern 
district of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne. Here he pitched his en- 
campment. The scouts, who on this occasion observed his 
coming, naturally thought that he would allow his men to rest 
there on Sunday, after their long and rapid march. But early 
on Sunday morning his men were once more on the msirch 
eastward by Lough Cutra to Tomgraney and the Shannon. 
His marauding parties swept the country southward to Kil- 
murry Ibrickane.* He returned once more by the passes of 
Burren, arriving at the monastery of Corcomroe with his 
plunder on Monday night, and fixing his encampment 

It would seem difficult to acquit O'Donnell's troops of 
inhumanity on this occasion, as they not only plundered the 
districts through which they passed, but also set on flames 
every mansion and habitation worthy of note. " All the country 
behind them," say the annalists, "as far as they could see 
around on every side, was enveloped in one dark cloud of 
vapour and smoke ; and during the entire of that day, the vast- 
ness of the dark clouds of smoke that rose over them aloft in 
1 Four Masters. « IhiL * iWd 

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every place to which they directed their course, was enough to 
set them astray on their route." On the following morning 
O'Donnell continued his march, over the mountain pass at 
Corker Hill, and around the Kinvara Bay, as in the preceding 
year, until on the evening of that day they reached "the mansions 
on the smooth plain of Maedhraighe." He encamped for that 
night on an elevated ground known now as then as '' Knock an 
Gerrain Bhain." It is situated about two miles on the Galway 
side of Kilcolgan, and immediately adjoins the present village 
of Clarinbridge. 

Here O'Donnell dismissed his Connaught allies to their 
territories, laden with spoils, and protected by strong escorts. 
He retained with himself only a body of five hundred chosen 
and devoted men, with a small company of sixty horse. After 
resting at Clarinbridge till midday, he set out with this small 
force for Loughrea, then the Earl of Clanricarde's chief resi- 
dence, resolving to devastate the country that lay under its 
immediate shelter. Arriving at Loughrea by the early dawn of 
that midsunmier's morning, he proceeded at once to carry out 
his purpose of plunder and devastation, and, meeting with no 
opposition, he once more eSected a safe return to Ballymote, 
laden with spoil 

Meantime Dermot O'Connor and his men met with a tragic 
end at Gort, and as it was in connection with the great events 
of the time, it merits a passing notice here. 

The Geraldine league was being completed then, and a close 
union was being afiected between the Northern and Southern 
Irish, under the guidance of the Northern earls. Dermot 
O'Connor, chief of his tribe in Eoscommon, was perhaps the 
most powerful of the Desmonds' supporters in Connaught. He 
was married to the Lady Margaret, daughter of Gerald, the Earl 
of Desmond, who was beheaded by the English in 1583. Her 
brother was detained as an English ward in London, and soon 
sent over to Ireland a Protestant and the " Queen's Earl " of 
Desmond. James, her uncle, was declared by O'Neil the 
Irish earl, and was therefore derisively styled the "Sugane 
Earl " by the Auglo-Irish. Her uncle's pretensions were held 
in disfavour by the Lady Margaret, and she therefore strongly 
urged her husband to betray him. Her purpose was warmly 
supported by Carew, the President of Muuster, who offered a 
bribe of £1000. He also promised to give him "wealth and 
property, and the freedom and profits of an estate for himself 
and every one who should adhere to him." ^ O'Connor, who at 
the time commanded a large force of mercenaries in the service 
1 Four Masters. 

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of the Sugane Earl, accepted the bribe. The plot for the earl's 
arrest was also arranged by Carew. 

The unsuspecting earl was invited by O'Connor to his camp 
in Tipperary, under pretext of consulting him on his military 
movements. Immediately on his arrival, O'Connor ordered his 
arrest, charging him with secret treachery against himself. In 
justification of the charge, he read a forged letter bearing 
Carew*s signature, in which the earl's alleged intentions were 
set forth, of delivering up O'Connor " dead or aUve " to the 
Munster president This letter, which he stated he had him- 
self intercepted, was at once regarded by his soldiers as 
conclusive evidence of guilt, and accordingly the Earl of 
Desmond was hurried away a prisoner to Castleishine, one of 
his own fortresses. As soon as intelligence of his arrest reached 
his followers, they at once stormed the castle, set the earl 
at liberty, and expelled O'Connor and his mercenaries ignomin- 
iously from Desmond. We are assured that the story of his 
treachery brought disgrace upon O'Connor throughout Ireland. 

It was officially announced, in July of that year, that James, 
son of Garret, Dermot O'Connor's brother-in-law, who had 
been detained in London, was sent to Ireland as the Queen's 
EarL It was also known at that time, that he had established 
his claim to this distinction at Her Majesty's hands by betray- 
ing the cause of his Church and country. O'Connor resolved to 
return to Munster to support the pretensions and claims of his 
brother-in-law, the Queen's Earl ; and for this purpose he 
obtained from the President of Munster and of Connaught, a 
safe-conduct on his march. Having proceeded on his journey 
southward as far as Gort in the O'Shaughnessy territory, he 
was there fiercely attacked by Theobald Burke (Teboid na 
Loing), son of the celebrated Grace O'Malley. So fierce was 
the assault, that O'Connor with a number of his men was 
obliged to fly for sanctuary to an adjoining church. But 
though Burke was himself an oflScer in Her Majesty's tirmy, 
and though the principal motive of his hostility to O'Connor 
was simple jealousy, he refused to recognise the right of 
sanctuary.^ They set fire to the church, and forty of O'Connor's 
men either lost their lives in the flames, or were slain in 
attempting to escape. Dermot O'Connor himself was arrested, 
and beheaded on the following day. Burke was immediately 
after deprived of Her Majesty's commission by the Lord 
Deputy. The church referred to probably stood on the north 
side of the present town, at the place known as the " Grove." 
About fifty years ago the then owner of the land excavated 
1 Mac Qeoghegan'fi Hitiory of Ireland, p. 626. 

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large quantities of human remains from a pit or cave beside 
the church. Its site is barely traceable at the present day. 

Meantime, Eedmond Burke, with his followers, continued to 
give active support to the Desmond league. He was supported 
by many of his own kindred, and by John O'Shaughnessy, who, 
as we have seen, was the illegitimate claimant for the title and 
estates of the chiefs of Kinel Aedh. Burke and his friends 
were encamped in O'Meagher's country, on the confines of 
Tipperary and Kilkenny, in the beginning of the year 1601, 
when a raid was unexpectedly made upon the camp, and many 
were slain. The ill-fated John O'Shaughnessy was slain, with 
many others, on the occasion. He was the son of Gilla Duv, 
son of Dermot, who, as we have seen, was, on account of his 
illegitimacy, expelled from his patrimony. It appears that the 
attack on the camp had been secretly arranged by certain 
gentlemen of Tipperary and Kilkenny, chiefly the Butlers and 
Mac Pierces. Aided by spies, they unexpectedly attacked the 
camp in the early morning, leaving most of the soldiers there 
lifeless, " with their flesh lacerated and completely hacked." 

Sedmond Burke, with as many of his followers as were 
fortunate enough to escape on the occasion, proceeded at once 
to Ulster; and there, under the patronage of the Northern 
earls, engaged a force sufSciently strong to attempt a raid on 
Clanricarde. On their march southward they entered Hy 
Maine without opposition. On hearing of their arrival, 
however, the Earl of Clanricarde endeavoured to oppose their 
further progress. 

"But, notwithstanding all his vigDance, Eedmond, on the 
thirteenth night of the month of March,, passed by them into 
Clanricarde," plundering the districts around Tynagh and 
Ballinakill. Pitching his encampment in Woodford district, a 
strong body of reinforcements sent by O'Eourke reached him ; 
and with those combined forces the Earl of Clanricarde was 
obliged to fly to his castle of Loughrea. Meantime, Eedmond 
Burke and his followers " traversed, plundered, and burned the 
country from Leitrim to Ardam'eelavane, and as far as the gate 
of Fedane, in the west of Kinelea."^ These castles were 
O'Shaughnessy castles, and situated on the extreme south of 
their territory. He encamped on the west side of Lough 
Cutra. The site of the encampment, which cannot now be 
identified with accuracy, was situated probably about midway 
between Ardameelavane Castle and the present town of Gort 

The dissensions amongst the O'Shaughnessy family rendered 
them powerless- to resist those recurring ravages of their 
* Four Masters. 

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territory. At Lough Cutra, Redmond Burke was joined by 
Teigue O'Brien and his followers, who, the annalists say, 
were induced to join him "through the advice of bad and 
foolish men " ^ O'Brien is described as a man who was " expert 
at every mQitary weapon, and every battle engine used among 
the-Irish." He, it is said, was also distinguished for " gaiety 
with activity, feats of arms, mildness, comeliness, fame, and 
hospitality." This promising young chief urged the Burkes to 
undertake with him an incursion into Thomond. O'Donneirs 
recent successes probably suggested the idea. A large force, 
under O'Brien's command, entered Clare, by the south-east of 
Lough Cutra, and plundered the MacNamara country around 
the Fergus. On the Fergus they divided their forces, leaving 
considerable numbers to march on either side of its banks. 
They were, meantime, attacked by the Earl of Thomond, and 
were defeated, leaving many of their bravest dead upon the 
field, while many of the troops on the opposite bank were 
forced to remain idle spectators of the engagement. Amongst 
the slain was the unfortuDate but chivalrous Teigue O'Brien. 

Meantime, Lord Clanricarde received reinforcements, who 
were placed under the command of his son Richard, Baron of 
Dunkellin. An auxiliary force was also sent him from Galway. 
Smarting under the shame of recent defeats, he once more took 
the field against his kinsman and his supporters. But Red- 
mond Burke, believing himself unable to meet so large a force, 
retreated cautiously along the Echtge Mountains — ^probably by 
the passes of Derrybrien — into the woods of Leitrim, where 
their entrenchments still remain. They were pursued by 
Clanricarde's forces under the Baron of Dunkellin, who, 
though not attacking the camp, simply cut ofif all possibility of 
supplies. Under the pressure of hunger the camp was soon 
deserted, and Redmond himself obliged to escape to the north 
and seek once more the protection of the earls. 

Meantime, Ulick, Earl of Clanricarde, died at Loughrea, after 
a short illness, and was buried at Athenry. The reference to 
his death which we find in the annals, though seemingly cast 
in a strong tpne of exageration, is sufficiently noteworthy to 
be quoted here: "He was a sedate and justly judging lord; 
of a mild, august, and chief-becoming countenance ; affable in 
conversation, gentle towards the people of his territory, fierce 
to his neighbours, and impartial in all his decisions; a man 
who had never been known to act a feeble part in the field of 
danger, from the day he had first taken up arms to the day of 
his death. His son Richard was appointed in his place ; '• ^ or, 
* Four Mastera. * /Wi. 

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as 0*Donovan more correctly puts it, Eichard succeeded to his 
father according to the English law. 

These events occurred in May 1601. 

"We have seen that Dr. O'Molony was regarded as Bishop of 
Kilmacduagh from 1570 to 1610. This period would of itself 
mark a pretty long episcopate. It seems, therefore, that he is 
not the same as the Dr. O'Molony, Bishop of Kilmacduagh, 
who resigned the See of Kilmacduagh shortly after his con- 
secration in A.D. 1533. There was a Dr. Malachy O'Molony 
who was translated from the See of Killaloe to that of Kil- 
macduagh in the year 1576. It is clear, from Dr. Brady's 
Episcopal Succession, and from other sources, that his connec- 
tion with Killaloe ceased in that year. ''Die 22 Augusti 
1576, referente R Alciato providit ecclesiae Duacensi in 
Hibemia vacanti per obitum Comelii de persona R D. 
Malachise Epis. Laons. absolvendo ipsum a vinculo quo ecclesiae 
Laonensis tenebatur, ipsumque ad ecclesiam Duacen trans- 

The consistorial acts regarding this appointment are also 
recorded in the Corsini records. His episcopal tenure of the 
See of Kilmacduagh from 1570 to 1576 must have been that 
of administrator. 

Serious calumnies against Dr. O'Molony were propagated by 
his enemies. He was accused by a certain Maurice O'Brien, 
one of Elizabeth's minions, with a willingness to apostatise. 
Additional calumnies are found in the correspondence of Sir 
K Malbay with Walsingham. 

In one of those letters it is expressly stated that Dr. 
O'Molony, and a friar, — brother of Mac William Eighter, — " did 
renounce the Pope and swear to the supremacy." 

In another communication, dated from Athlone on the 17th 
November 1580, speaking of Dr. O'Molony in reference to a 
certain union between Ulick and John Burke, supposed to be 
effected by the bishop, he states that " they proclaim hanging 
to all priests that will say Mass." 

Roman Catholic historians, however, give quite a different 
account of Dr. O'Molony's character. They represent him as 
a faithful bishop, and firm upholder of the Catholic faith. 
The State Papers ^ themselves aflford conclusive evidence of Dr. 
O'Molony's fidelity to the faith. He is referred to as 
" MalacMas O'Molone, pretending to be Bishop of Killaloe," 
and is specially referred to as one not to be pardoned.* 

There is a letter of Dr. O'Molony's published in the Pacata 

^ Supposed date, 1582. 
' Benehan's MSS. p. 131. 

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Hibemia} which is dated 1602, and signed "Malachias 
Duacensis Episcopus." The letter is addressed by him to the 
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, and to His Majesty the 
King of Spain, in favour of a certain John Burke, who was • 
desirous of going to Compostella to prepare for the priesthood. 
But Dr. Kefiy, in his Diam'tatiom, adduces still more convin- 
cing evidence of Dr. O'Molony's fidelity as a Catholic bishop 
in an evil period. He gives an extract from a Burgundian . 
manuscript, in which reference is made to him as Bishop of 
Kilmacduagh, and then recently dead. It states that he died 
an old man about the year 1610, after having been subjected 
by the heretics to imprisonment and much persecution. These 
testimonies would mark him out, not merely as a faithful 
bishop, but as a heroic confessor of the faith. 

There seems, however, to have been a certain Canon of 
Kilmacduagh having the same name as the bishop. His life 
was far from beiug beyond reproach ; and the character of his 
crimes was such as to justify the suspicion that his faith was 
not above suspicion. This Malachy O'Molony, Canon of 
Kilmacduagh, is referred to by David Wolf 2 in a letter to the 
Cardinal Protector of Ireland, as a forger of dispensations, and, 
worse still, of apostolic letters. Identity of njame and diocese 
afforded the bishop's enemies a pretext for circulating their 

Even those fragments of the history of our prelates, during the 
period under review, which we have been able to collect, show 
that the fury of the heretics was not unfelt even in the most 
remote West. They also prove, in the face of calumny, that the 
prelates of the period in Kilmacduagh, as in the rest of 
Ireland, were faithful defenders of their sacred trust. Usually 
it was only where the wealth of churches, or the possessions of 
religious houses, excited the cupidity of the fanatics, that the 
fury of persecution was most fiercely felt. 

From the continuous plundering and devastation of Kilmac- 
duagh during the Elizabethan period, it is obvious that the 
Church livings must have been very much reduced in value ; 
and this should apply, though in different degrees, whether 
those livings were in Catholic or Protestant hands. And 
though the cautious diplomacy of the O'Shaughnessys was less 
creditable to their patriotism than to their religious feelings, 
yet we think that neither they nor their kinsmen were able to 
do much to avert the ruin to our churches which was the 
necessary outcome of Elizabeth's penal enactments. 

Many readers will be interested in knowing the estimated 
^ P^e 381. » Archbishops of Dublin, Moran, p. 8a 

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value of the different Connaught Sees made in Elizabeth's 
time ; and I doubt not that many may be still more interested 
in knowing the valuation of the different parishes in the 
-diocese of Kilmacduagh, made at the same period. 

£ «.. d. 
Tuam, in Elizabeth's time, was valued — 

in temporalities, 

in benefices, 
Clonfert, „ „ in temporalities, 

in benefices, 
Achondry, „ „ in temporalities, 

in benefices, 
Killalla, „ „ in temporalities, 

in benefices, 
Kilmacduagh, „ „ in temporalities, 

in benefices. 


104 14 














The following taxation of the various ecclesiastical livings 
of the diocese of Kilmacduagh was made in the twenty-eighth 
year of Elizabeth's reign, and is extracted from the original 

Episcopatus, . 

Decanatus, . 


Prsepositum Duacensis, 

Cantanatus, . 

Praeb. de Dysert Kelly, 
„ Kilcorman, 
„ Kilcryste, 
„ Kynmarra, 
„ Crescornan, 
„ Ballyneddye, 
E. de Kilthomys, 
„ Ardrahan, 
„ Beaghe, 
V. „ Ejusdem, 
„ Dorrisse, 
„ Finevarra, 
„ Dromachowe, 
„ Stradballye, 
„ KiUeyle, 

^ Valor Beneficor Ecclmasticorum in Bibemia, 

£ 8. 


13 6 





1 6 


1 6 











1 10 








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V. de 

£ «. d. 

KUlenheyne,. . . 13 4 



Dysert Kellye, 


Killeynan, . 



16 8 

Killogillyne, . 



16 8 


1 10 

Kilthomas, . 

1 3 4 

The Very Eev. S. Malone, citing a T.C.D. MS., gives the 
estimated value of Corcomroe at the period as 6s. 8d.^ 

Many of the names of those parishes are now lost as 
independent parishes. The poverty of particular parishes has 
in many instances rendered amalgamation necessary ; and in 
the case of Kilcorman at least, the name seems entirely 
obsolete. And as regards the amalgamations, we are able to 
trace the following in the parishes of the dioceses as recognised 
by the Catholic bishop of the present day. 

The present petrish of Kinvara includes Killeyne, Dorrisse, 
and Eynmarra of Elizabeth's time. 

The present parish of Kilchrist includes Dysert Kellye, 
Kilcryste, and part of Killeynan. 

The present parish of Craughwell includes Killogillyne and 
Kilora. Of this parish of Kiloran the annalists record that 
" Floreat Mac Amdglaigh, Archdeacon of Kiloran, died," ^ 1333. 
Connellan believes that the Kiloran mentioned by the 
annalists is the church of that name in the present parish of 
Craughwell and diocese of Kilraacduagh. 

The present parish of Ballindereen includes Dromachowe, 
Killenheyne,' Kilcolgan, and Ballyneddye. 

The present parish of Clarinbridge includes Stradballye, 
Killeyle, Kilcorman, and portion of Killeynan. 

The present parishes of Beagh, of Kilthomas, and of 
Ardrahan have not, as far as we can conjecture, undergone any 

It seems strange that the present important parish of 
Kilbecanty is not mentioned. It seems pretty certain that 
the patron of the parish is St Fechin, whose visit to Lough 
Cutra, which forms the south-eastern boundary of the parish, 
is referred to by Dr. O'Hanlon in his lAves of the Irish Saints, 

Neither do we find the parish of Kiltartan referred to, a 
parish which was very recently united to the parish of Kil- 
^ EccUs, History. * Four Masters. • Modern Killenavara. 

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niacduagh. In old documents we find Eiltartan referred to 
as Kiltaraght. The name is therefore clearly the same as 
Kiltaraght, a parish in the barony of Coolavin, County Sligo, 
of which St. Athacta has been always the recognised patron. 
There can be little doubt, therefore, that the same St Athacta 
who received the veil from St. Patrick, A.D. 470,^ is also the 
patron of Kiltartan. Her memory, however, though still held 
in great veneration in Coolavin, is entirely forgotten in 

> i/y Fiachxiicky p. 41. 


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^tinguislied families in Kilmacduagh Diocese in the opening of the 
seventeenth century — The Marchioness of Cianricarde retained 
Kilcolgan Castle— Edmond Burke, hrother of the Earl of Cian- 
ricarde, resided in Kilcoman Castle — Redmond Burke of Kilcoman — 
The Burkes of Cloghcroke Castle — John Burke of Cloghcroke, Sheriff of 
Cianricarde — Honoria Burke of Cloghcroke, wife of the third Earl of 
Cianricarde — Rev. Thomas de Burgo, O.P., a memher of the family 
— Their estates hecome Lambert property — The Burkes of Cahir- 
forvace— The De Burijos of Mannin Castle— The Mac Huberts of 
Iser Kelly — Rev. William de Burgo, O.P., a member of the family 
— The Mac Redmond Burkes of Ballyconnell — The Burkes of 
Ballylee Castle— The Burkes of TuUyra— The CHeynes of Lydecane 
Castle— The Kilkellys of Cloghballymore Castle— The OShaugh- 
nessys of the period — The O'Fahys — Episcopal succession. 

Until the beginning of the reign of James I., the exten- 
sive territory of Thomond, usually known as Clare, was held 
under the government of Connaught.^ From the letters of 
Carew to Cecil, dated June 1602, it appears that the Earl of 
Thomond had visited England a short time previously, mainly 
for the purpose of annexing Clare permanently to Munster. 
And, speakiug of the earl's anxiety on the subject, Carew says, 
" which if he do not obtain, his heart is broken." 

The Earls of Cianricarde, who were the recognised owners 
of vast areas in the districts of Kilmacduagh and in the 
adjoining territories,^ do not seem to have objected. And as 
Connaught was "ever a rebellious province, but the most 
troublesome of all in A.D. 1588," ^ the annexation was approved 
of by the Governor of Connaught, who wisely felt that the 
fewer counties he had to govern the better. It was aftt* r this 
that the province was divided into five counties, " which ordin- 
ance continues unto this time." 

At that period the state of Galway was particularly sad. 
We are, in fact, told that it was in a manner depopulated. It 
was also famine-stricken, by reason of the recent warfare, " so 
that scarce the hundredth man or house is to be found now 
that was several years ago." * And in Galway there were no 

' State of Ireland, p. 122. « Pfid. 

> lOid, * Ibid, p. 138. 

^2 cW 

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districts so severely stricken by this ruinous warfare as were 
the Clanricarde districts, comprehended within the diocese of 
Kilmacduagh. For the first time English law was enforced 
in the West, and the grand old code of the Brehons,' which 
had come down from the days of St Patrick, was being finally 
abrogated there. 

In the year 1606 it was stated by Sir John Davies that 
there were then more able men of the name of Burke, than of 
any other name in Europe; and we think he might hav6 
added that they were in no district in Ireland more numerous, 
abler, or more influential, than they were in the diocese of 
Kilmacduagh. It is certain that they put forth here so many 
and such vigorous branches, that they far surpassed in number 
and influence the ancient territorial lords. 

The expulsion of the O'Clerys from their territories in the 
thirteenth century, was but the prelude of those successful 
encroachments by which they became masters of nearly half of 
Uy Fiachrach Aidhne in the beginning of the seventeenth 
century. The many strong castles which they erected there, and 
which still remain, though somewhat ruined, to give to the land- 
scape one of its striking features, show that they were deter- 
mined not to yield up without a struggle those possessions which 
they were at so much pains to secure for themselves. It was 
the noonday of their greatness ; and the evidences of decay, 
certain if slow, set in very soon after. 

Ulick, third Earl of Clanricarde, had made his castle of 
Loughrea his principal residence. He seems to have com- 
pletely abandoned the splendid fortress which Richard the 
Oreat had erected at DunkelUn, and with which the name of 
Ulick, the first Lord Clanricarde, is inseparably connected. 
The close proximity of TuUyra, his father-dn-law's residence, 
should have influenced him to return to Dunkellin ; but even 
that motive was powerless. We have seen that Dame Mary 
Lynch claimed, as wife of Ulick de Burgo, first Earl of 
Clanricarde, the castle and manor of Kilcolgan. We shall see 
that, even in the Cromwellian period it was claimed by the 
Lady Anne, widow of the Marquis of Clanricarde, "as her 
only jointure house in Ireland." It is much to be regretted that 
there is only a slight existing trace of the Castle of Kilcolgan. 
It is certain that it stood where the modern castellated resid- 
ence, known by the same name, was erected by Christopher St. 
George of Tyrone, towards the close of last century. Kichard,- 
son of Ulick, succeeded to his father^s titles, but resided, as his 
father had done, at I-oughrea. Richard, fourth Earl of Clan- 
ricarde, w^$ onQof the most remarkable men in Ireland of his 

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time. He contributed more than any other to the great Irish 
defeat at Kiusale. He married the widow of the Earl of 
Essex, and became, through her, Earl of St. Albans.^ He was 
appointed first Lord President of Connaught. In 1616 he was 
appointed Governor of Galway.* His Majesty, when conferring 
those favours, did not hesitate to address him as his " trusty 
and right beloved cousin." 

He died in 1635, leaving his son Ulick to inherit his wealth 
and numerous titles. 

But though Bichard de Burgo had then ceased to occupy 
Eilcolgan or Dunkellin, his brother Edmond resided in the 
immediate neighbourhood, at Kilcoman. The Castle of Eil- 
coman is not more than a mile in a right line from Dunkellin, 
and has been from that period to the present in the hands of 
that ancient and influential family. The present estimable 
representative in the maternal line is the Bight Hon. C. T. 
Bedington, J.P., D.L., whose benevolence and rare abilities are 
well known and widely appreciated. The estimate formed of 
his success as an Oxford student may be inferred from the 
high positions which he holds in connection with education in 
Ireland, as a Senator of our Boyal University, and as a Com- 
missioner of National Education, 

Edmond Burke of Eilcornan, whose connection, through his 
mother, with the TuUyra family may not be forgotten, married 
Eleanor, daughter of Sir Ulick Burke, Knight of Glynsk.' His 
son Bedmond took an active part in the important political 
movements of his time. The character of his influence and 
efforts may be best inferred from the penalties which he 
incurred under the Cromwellians. He was held guilty of 
treason. His property was accordingly confiscated, and his 
name was expressly mentioned amongst those to whom pardon 
was not to be extended.^ 

Cromwell's Act for " settling Ireland " excepted from pardon 
for life and estate " Miles Bourke, Viscount Mayo, Sir Theobald 
Bourke, his son, Edmond of Gloghan, County Mayo, Thomas 
of Anbally, and Bedmond of Kilcoman, both in the county of 

The confiscated lands must have been restored, however, at 
the Bestoration, as we find then in possession Christopher 
Burke, the last of his family in the male line. His daughter 
Sarah married in 1763 Thomas, third son of Thomas Beding- 
ton, Esq. of Cregana, ot whom more hereafter. 

The Castle of Cloghcroke stood about eight miles eastward 

* Bnrke's Peerage, ' Htdarfi of Galwaify p. 99. 

* fiurke'a Peerage, * Dalton's Army Liet^ p. 613. 

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of Kilcoman. It was the seat of an ancient and distinguished 
branch of the samefamily.^ 

We are assured by De Burgo that Cloghcroke, and Cabir- 
forvace, were the seats of two very influential branches of the 
De Burgos. The Cloghcroke branch was certainly ancient as 
well as influential We find from the Carew MSS.* that it 
was occupied by John Burke in the early part of the sixteenth 
century, a gentleman who held the oftice of " Sheriff of Clan- 
ricarde during the King's pleasure," When Dr. Bodkin, Arch- 
bishop of Tuam,* acted as Eoyal Commissioner, he received the 
following instructions regarding the Lord of Cloghcroke : " And 
as John Burke of Cloghroge has well and faithfully executed 
the oflice of sheriff in the county of Clanricarde since the 
death of the first earl, he shall peacefully hold the office 
during the King's pleasure, or until it shall by us be otherwise 
determined. He shall receive the profits of the office, as by 
the Archbishop of Tuam, and others therein mentioned, shall 
be reasonably limited. And for that divers complaints were 
made before us by the said John Burke, the sheriff, and the 
inhabitants of the same country, that since the death of the 
late earl they have been spoiled of their goods, we order and 
arbitrate that the said Archbishop of Tuam shall have full 
power to determine all complaints." 

De Burgo * speaks of a marriage which took place between 
Honoria Burke of Cloghcroke, and Ulick, third Earl of Clan- 
ricarde. Her mother was a daughter of Sir Roger O'Shaugh- 
nessy of Gort. But as Ulick, third Earl of Clanricarde, was 
also married to the daughter of Burke of Tullyra, we are 
lK)und to assume that the earl was married twice, and that the 
Lady Honoria Burke of Cloghcroke became his wife by the 
second marriage. The family remained Catholic. Dr. Thomas 
de Burgo, who holds a distinguished place amongst the dis- 
tinguished members of the Dominican Order of his time, 
belonged to this family. His career shall be referred to at 
greater length in a future chapter. 

The family is now entirely extinct, and it is extremely 
probable that their ruin was effected by the operation of 
the penal laws in the early part of the last century. Their 
estates are a considerable time in the possession of a branch of 
the Lambert family resident at Aggard, near the village of 

As to the residence of the once distinguished family of the 
Burkes of Cahirforvace, it is much to he regretted that no trace 

» EyJb. Ihm, pp. 134, 222. • P. 213. 

* Hitt. Archbishops of Tuam, p. 76. « Bib. Dom. pp. 134, 222. 

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of it exists in our time. The village of Cahirforvace is situated 
in the present parish of Craughwell, and perhaps not more tha^ 
four miles from the Castle of Dunkellin. We are indebted to 
the learned author of the Hihemia Dominicana for the little 
that we know regarding it. He also leaves us a brief notice of 
Edmond de Burgo, a member of the Cahirforvace family, 
vhose career as a member of the Dominican Order shall be 
hereafter noticed. 

The Castle of Mannin is the only other De Burgo residence 
of which we find any notice at the period under review, within 
the barony of Dunkellin, or north-western district of the 
diocese of Eilmacduagh. It stands less than a mile north of 
the Castle of Cloghcroke. It is within the present parish of 
Ardrahan. It is, as it stands at present, but a square keep, 
partially ruined, and bat little interesting. From the '' Inden- 
tures of Composition" already quoted, we find that Mannin 
Castle, at the close of the sixteenth century, was in the posses- 
sion of Shane Oge Burke. <^ 

. The family is long extinct, and the lands of Mannin are part 
of the St. Clerans property, — more correctly Iser or Dysart 
Clerans, — a remnant of the old De Burgo possessions. The 
Burkes of St. Clerans weie its owners within our time, but 
at present the property has passed, through his wife, to Mr. 
Maxwell, the present owner. 

In' the eastern districts of Eilmacduagh, the De Burgo 
possessions do not extend beyond Oireaght Bedmond, or the 
north-eastern districts of the Kiltartan barony, and the portion 
of the barony of Loughrea which the diocese includes. But 
within this comparatively limited district thei*e were several 
important castles in the possession of the De Burgos at the 
period of which we treat 

The Mac Hubert Burkes of Iser Kelly were at once the 
most ancient and influential branch of the family within the 
district We have already seen that it was founded there 
towards the close of the thirteenth century by Hubert, son of 
Walter de Burgo, Earl of Ulster. The representative of the 
Iser Eelly family at the period of which we write ^ was Ulick 
Carraghe Mac Hubert, whose castle, the reader will remember, 
was plundered by O'Donnell on the occasion of his memorable 
raid on the eastern districts of Aidhne. To thq Mac Hubert 
de Burgos also belonged the small Castle of Cloghane opposite 
the present entrance to Castleboy. In 1617, W. Mac Hubert 
Burke was owner of three cartrons at Castleboy.* They were 
represented about a century later by the Burkes of Garden 
^ StaU of IrtUiTidy p. 136. * Inquisition Rolls OMce. 

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Blake, in the parish of Peter's Well, of which place they be- 
came owners in fee by intermarriage with the 0*Fahys, the 
original owners. An inscription on the mantelpiece in one of 
the chambers of the Castle of Iser Kelly, which may still be 
read, seems to indicate clearly the Catholic tone of the family, 
and at a time when indications of Catholic spirit were fraught 
with serious personal danger. The inscription — which is in 
raised letters — is as follows : '' Titulus triumphalis defendat nos 
pericttlo animas et corporis." The date, 1603, is also inscribed 

But in the career of the Eev. William de Buigo, whose piety 
and distinguished abilities cast a lustre on the great Dominican 
Order to which he belonged, we shall find still more unmistake- 
able evidence of the fidelity of this family to the Catholic 
religion. We shall refer briefly in its proper place to his 
career and death. Their extensive estates were, we believe, for 
the most part confiscated early in the seventeenth century. 
Large portions of them have passed by purchase into the 
possession of the Persse family, long residing at Eoxboro 
and Castleboy. 

We have seen that the !Redmond Burke from whom the 
district of " Gireaght Redmond " received its name, was also a 
son of Walter de Burgo, Earl of Ulster. The Mac Redmond 
territory ^ comprised the districts of Lisbrien, Ballyconnell, and 
Ballycahalan. From the inquisition taken at Loughrea be- 
fore Carew on the 16th September 1617, it appears that in tire 
opening of the seventeenth century the Castles of Castletown, 
Ballyconnell, and Bally turrin were their principal residences. 
At that period Hubert Boy Mac Edraond Burke was " seized of 
ffee of Castletown manor. Castle town and lands." * The castle 
is also referred to as Ballinamantane Castle, and was a splendid 
pile, still striking in its massive ruins. 

We also find that Edmond Oge Mac Edmond Burke was then 
seized of Ballyconnell Castle and three cartrons of land. It also 
appears that Ulick Oge Burke and Thomas Leigh Mac Henry 
Bnrke were extensive landowners in the same district 

By the same inquisition we find that Sir William Burke wai 
owner in fee at that date of Ballyturrin Castle town and lands. 
It is much to be regretted that there is but a bare trace of this 
interesting pile in our time. Its materials were utilised for 
erecting stables by a subsequent proprietor. 

From the " Indentures of Composition," dated 1585, we find 
that Edmond Mac Ulick Burke resided at Ballylee. We 
extract from our annalists the following record of his death, 
> loT Cimnaught, p. 324. * Rcdls Office. 

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A.D. 1597 : ''£dinond, son of Ulick na g-CeanD, son of Richard, 
^acL of Ulidc ef Cboc Tui^k of Baile Hilighi» died in the summer 
of this year." O'Donovan coirectly identifies " Baile Hilighi" 
as Bally lee, but inaccurately places it in the barony of 
Loughrea. Though close to the barony of Loughrea, Ballylee is 
situated in the parish and barony of Kiltartan. The castle, 
which is commodious, and provided with well-constructed Tudor 
windows, occupies a somewhat low and singular situation. It 
rises almost from the bed of the Cloon river, which, after its 
leap of about 30 feet at the " Waterfall," rushes rapidly by the 
castle walls to disappear' immediately on its s\ibterraneau 
journey to the sea. Richard, Earl of Clanricarde, was owner 
of this castle in 1617, with the " town and four quarters, Lisua- 
pouna, Skehanagh, and Carrowbane." ^ The Ballylee estates are 
now in the hands of the heir of the late Sir W. H. Gregory of 
Coole Park. 

The Castle of Rahealy, situated in the present parish of 
Peter's Well (Kilthomas), was the residence of Richard Mac 
William Burke * at the close of the sixteenth century. In 1617 
it was the property of Richard Burke, with 120 aci'es. Its 
chief architectural features are similar to those of Ballylee 
Castle, with the exception of some unimportant ornamental 
detail. On the eastern angle, and on the second storey, a well- 
sculptured cherub surmounts a narrow loop window which 
lights the stairway. There is on the northern angle also a 
corresponding figure, which is much more rudely carved. 
Attached to the castle is a ruined residence, large, and much 
more suited to modem requirements than the strong keep with 
which it is connected. Like the similar structure at Clogh- 
croke, it probably belongs to the early part of the last century. 
And here, too, there are, as at Cloghcroke, walled enclosures 
which speak of comparatively recent occupation. The gateway 
of the courtyard still remains, and has clearly inscribed on the 
keystone the date, 1737. There can be little doubt that the 
castle was still occupied by the Burkes at that period. 

Local tradition has it that the estates passed soon after from 
their hands, owing to the claims of a married sister. They were 
purchased, it is said, by the Lambert family, from which they 
have passed into the possession of the Martynns of Tullyra 

Tullyra Castle, which has been already referred to, is in the 

immediate vicinity, and was in the possession of the De Burgos 

long before the close of the sixteenth century. We have seen 

that Ulick, third Earl of Clanricarde, married a daughter of 

' Loughrea Inquisition. ' StaU of Irddi^ p. 136. 

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Burke of TuUyxa. We find, however, in the State of Ireland, 
1598. that Martynn was then the owner of TuUyra Castle ; and 
there can be little doubt that it was by intermarriage that the 
castle and estates passed into his possession. We are, how- 
ever, unable to fix the particular date at which this occurred. 
Though we find the date 1614 sculptured in one of the upper 
chambers of the castle, and with it the initials S. B., we cannot 
assume that it throws any light upon the matter. 

A stone shield bearing the arms of the Martynn family 
surmounts the somewhat modem doorway that looks into 
the courtyard. Their armorial bearings were, it is stated, 
given by Richard III. to Oliver Martynn,^ who accom- 
panied the king on his expedition to the Holy- Land, and 
distinguished himself there by his valour. They consist of a 
cross on an elevated plinth, over the right arm of which is 
represented the "sun in splendour," and over the left the 
" moon in crescent." It is surmounted by an object resembling 
a star, described in the language of heraldry as an "etoile 
wavy of six points or." Underneath the shield on the right 
side are the letters B. M., and G. M. on the left. 

Whatever diflSculty there may be in connecting the family with 
the remote and chivalrous days of Bichard, and with England, 
there is none in connecting them, from an early period, with 
the successful and prominent merchant families of Galway 
" citie," who are commonly designated " tribes." The Martynn 
family held positions of distinction there. We find that from 
the year 1590 to 1609* there were three mayors and four 
bailiffs of the name in the town of Galway. The senior branch 
of the family was that of Ballinahinch. With the Ballina- 
hinch that of Boss and TuUyra are enumerated by Hardiman as 
'* amongst the most respectable in the province." 

In 1642 we find Bichard Martynn, who was then elected 
Mayor of Galway, residing in the Castle of Dunguaire at 
Kinvara. This Bichard Martynn, who was by profession a 
" councellor-at-law," and is described as a " rank Papist," was 
married to the grand-daughter of James Darcy, who at the close 
of Elizabeth's reign held the oflBce of " Vice-President " of Con- 
naught. We are informed by Hardiman that he was " by her, 
ancestors to the Martynns of TuUyra." * The Castle of TuUyra 
has remained in the possession of the famUy to the present 
day, and forms an interesting feature in connection with the 
beautiful mansion recently erected by the present representa- 
tive of the famUy, Edward Martynn, Esq. 

* Hardiman's Galway, p. 18. • StaJte of Ireland, p. 132. 

• UitAory of GdLvxiy, p. 11. 

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.' In the beginning of the seventeenth century the once 
Strongly-fortified Castle of Ballinamantane, — commonly called 
Castletown, — ^in the parish of Kiltartan, was also in the 
possession of the De Burgos, and is one of the most striking 
ruins in the district. A vague tradition would connect it for 
a period with the history and cruelties of Nora, one of the 
so-called wives of Ulick na g-Ceann. It is supposed to have 
remained in possession of the De Burgos till the Cromwellian 
period, when it is thought a strong force was sent to seize 
it by the notorious Ludlow, who took possession of the 
Castle of Gort The expedition was but too successful, as 
the fortifications and castle were shattered by the artillery 
of the Parliamentarians, and the inmates were put to the 
sword. It is still a picturesque ruin. It stands a few miles 
north-east of Gort, close to a deep whirlpool, where the Gort 
river sinks to continue its subterraneous journey to the sea. 
Vast masses of masonry lie around, which speak still of the 
former strength of the ruined fortifications and dismantled 
castle, but which speak with equal clearness of the character 
and of the result of the siege. 

The remaining well-known and recognised divisions of the 
Kilmacduagh territories towards the close of the sixteenth 
century were Einelea and Eiloveragh.^ 

Kiloveragh was the O'Heynes' country, and comprised 
45 quarters* of land, most of which, if not all, still re- 
mained in the hands of the territorial chiefs. They still 
retained considerable influenca Even towards the close of 
the sixteenth century, we find the O'Heyne still accorded the 
somewhat valueless title of " Lord of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne." 
The Castles of Lydecane and Dunguaire were their 'principal 
residences, both of which are well preserved to our time. 

The Castle of Lydecane is situated in the present parish of 
Ardrahan, about two miles south of TuUyra. It was occupied 
towards the close of the sixteenth century by Owen Mautagh 
O'Heyne, who in 1578 succeeded Ruadhri na Coille as chief of 
his name. The annalists record his death in 1588 : — 

"£oghan Mautagh, son of Edmond, son of Flan, son of 
Conchobar O'Heyne, Lord of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, died, and 
his son Aodh Buidhe (the Yellow) was elected in his stead." 

This Aodh or Hugh Buidhe, who succeeded as chief of his 
name to his father's possessions, surrendered his property to 
the crown, and received a royal grant of the same on the 
usual conditions of military service. This "Graunte unto 
Hughe Boy O'Heine, son an heire of One Owen O'Heine 

' Note, Four Masters, a.d. 1698. ' Every quarter was 120 acres. 

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pf Lydecane in the Coy. of Galway," bears date "the 23 
July in the 30 yeare of Her Majesties raigne." ^ 

The document enumerates the various townlands which the 
property included ; and as the names of the townlands are 
but little changed in our time, we can see that they comprised 
most of the present parish of Kinvara, and also considerable 
portions of Clarinbridge, Ardrahan, and XilmacduagL 

The death of this Hugh Boy O'Heyne is recorfed by the 
Four Masters in 1594. An inquisition talcen in Galway, 1608^ 
shows that the O'Heynes' territory then consisted of 8640 acres. 

From Mac Firbis' Oenealogy it would appear that he left a 
5on Hugh Boy, who had a son Hugh Boy, tljat represented the 
family in the middle of the seventeenth century (1645-1666). 

It appears, however, that Hugh Boy did not succeed to the 
estates on his father's death in 1594. , A certain Connor 
Crone O'Heyne had possession of Lydecane and its lands in 
1612. He may have been the brother of the late lord. We 
find that this Connor, who had then attained the patriarchal 
age of about one hundred years, executed a deed of " Enfeoff- 
ment," by which he wished to transmit with special security 
certain portions of his property to his son Bryan O'Heyne. 
This deed of " Enfeoffment " is fortunately published by Mr. 
O'Donovan in his valuable notes to the Irish Annals, and is, 
we think, so quaint and interesting that it may be transcribed 
into our pap:es. It runs &s follows : — 

" To all Chresten people to whome these presents shall come, 
Connor Crone O'Heyn of the Ledigan in the county of Galway, 
Gent, send greeting to our Lord God Everlasting. Knowe yee, 
that I the said Connor, for sundry good and lawful considera- 
tions me moving, and in especial for and in the regard and 
consideration both of my ffatherly care and affection, as well 
toward my sonne Bryan O'Heyn, as toward the establishment, 
continuance, and succession of myn inheritance and living in 
myn owne kindred and family, and the better insuring and 
supportation of the same from ingerous chalenges, suits and 
vexations, thereunto to be at any time pretended, wherin the 
impotencie of age and state and declining years disabling me 
to imploy the mindful pains and travails thereunto behoofeful, 
the defence and upholding of my said inheritance in nature 
and right belonging unto my said sonne Bryan O'Heyne, have 
given granted enfeoffed and confirmed like as to those presents." 

He here sets forth the grants, which seem comparatively 
insignificant when compared with the extent of the O'Heyne 
possessions but a little earlier. They consisted of a third 
^ Hy Fiachrach. 

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part of a cartron of Gortenshine, the fourth part of a cartron 
ia the tearmon known as Ballymolfargie and PoUantljnte, 
and half a cartron in Corroboye. And for this rather 
limited grant he exacts a yearly rent from his son. The deed 
continues : — 

"And further knowe yee, that I the said Connor Crone 
O'Hey ne have covenanted and agreed that my said sonne Bryan 
shall pay unto me some reasonable rent yeerlie during myn 
owne litfe out of the before mentioned parcels, and after my 
decease to be to the use of him the said Bryan, his heires and 
assigns as aforesaid for ever," etc 

" In witness whereof I the said Connor Crone O'Heyn have 
herunto put my hand and scale the 20 February 1612." 

The action of Connor Crone O'Heyne seems to indicate 
that the O'Heyne estates were being divided among various 
members of the family. We find a certain Donnell O'Heyne 
mentioned as a freeholder of Eiloveragh in 1615, and in the 
year 1641 there were over thirteen families of the name, 
chiefly in the parish of Durus-Kinvara. 

Though references to the Eilkellys in our annals are very 
rare after the expulsion of the O'Clerys, still they continued to 
liold a position of respectability and influence under their 
kinsmen the O'Heynes. Their chief seat was the strong 
Castle of Cloghballymore in the present parish of Ballindereen. 
It is even still well preserved, and its lofty battlements may 
be seen far above the extensive plantings which surround it 
It is not more than three miles from Kinvara. It is stated 
that the ruined castle which adjoins Dunguaire also belonged 
to the family. But O'Donovan thinks that this opinion is not 
supported by any historical evidence. 

There can be no doubt that in Elizabeth's time they still 
held the Cloghballymore estates. By reference to the " Inden- 
tures of Composition" signed by the landed proprietors of 
Clanricarde in a.d. 1585, we find there the name of Brian 
Reagh Mac Kilkelly, Lord of Cloghballymore. 

We shall find that the Most Kev. Peter XakcUy, Bishop of 
Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora in 1744, was a member of this 
ancient family. 

O'Donovan, in his interesting notes to Tht Manners and 
Customs of Hy Machraeh, adds that the name of Kilkelly or 
Killikilkelly, as it is sometimes written, " is still very respect- 
able in the county of Galway." 

The territory of the O'Shaughnessys, lords of the territory of 
Kinelea, at one time comprised 105 quarters of land.^ lieir 
* Note, Four Masters, A.D. 1598. 

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chief resideDces were the Castles of Gortinsiguaire and 
Ardameelavane, near Lough Cutra. 

Sir Dermot O'Shaughnessy, whose death occurred, as we have 
seen, in the year 1606, was succeeded by his son, Sir Roger 
P*Shaughnessy. At the time of his father's death Sir Boger was 
twenty -three years old, and married to Elis Lynch, by whom he 
had a son, Sir Dermot, his heir and successor, and one daughter, 
who married Daniel Donovan of Castle Donovan, chief of 
Clancahill, County Cork. In an ode addressed to her husband 
in 1639, by one of the bards of the period, her beauty and 
virtues are referred to in the following laudatory strain : — 

'* The palm for beauty of her sedate aspect, O'Shaughnessy's daughter has 

Meekness without narrowness of heart, humility, ffcnerosity, firmne<»s. 
A fruitful palm tree of the race of Dathy, the kina-hearted daughter of 

Who inherits the attributes of the sires she sprang from in longing to 

indulge the flame of hospitality. 
The undying character of the kings before her, she has not suffered to 

pass away. 
But has reflected on the name of Guaire that lasting lustre she had 

derived from him." 

This Sir Boger O'Shaughnessy was most probably the builder 
of the Castle of Fiddane, which may be seen at the present day, 
in excellent preservation, about two miles south-west of Arda- 
meelavane. We find no mention of it before his time. But 
we do find that he resided there in the middle of the century. 
There is a letter still extant which he addressed from Fiddane 
Castle to his " verie lovinge daughter," Mrs. Giles Donovan of 
Castle Donovan. It is dated 14th March 1647. 

His second wife, by whom there was no issue, was Julia, 
second daughter of Cormac Mac Carthy, lord of Muskerry. 

Though the litigation between the contending O'Shaughnessy 
claimants had ceased, still Sir Boger was not allowed to take 
quiet possession of all the lands of Kinelea. We find that a 
suit was lodged before the Irish Court of Chancery in the year 
1615, by which a certain Fulk Comerford, son of Gerald 
Comerford, Baron of Exchequer in 1603, claimed from Sir 
Boger O'Shaughnessy of Gortinshigory in Galway county, the 
town and lands of Cappafennell or Capparell. We are not told 
the grounds on which this claim was founded. But it is said 
that it rested on the will of Fenton already referred to, made in 
his favour. Apart from the grounds and results of this claim, 
the depositions of the witnesses in the trial, which are fortun- 
ately preserved, are interesting, as they help to cast additional 

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light on the families of note in the district at that period. They 
show that the defendant's father '' enjoyed the greatest part of 
the lands of which Sir Roger had died seized," ^ also that the 
lands of Cappafennell were in his grandfather's possession, and 
that he was known to have as many as 280 men engaged 
there together at harvest-cutting. 

Amongst the distinguished witnesses was Margaret, Countess 
Dowager of Clanricarde, who was sister-in-law of Sir Eoger 
O'Shaughnessy, and had then attained the venerable age of 
6^g^ty years. But older and still more venerable was the lord of 
Lydecane Castle, " Knougher Crone O'Heyne, Gent." Richard 
Burke of Rahealy, " sixty-four years old or thereabouts," and 
Sir Tirrelach O'Brien of Dowgh in Clare county, nephew of Sir 
Roger, were also amongst the witnesses, and so was Manus Wanl, 
Dean of Eilmacduagh, then " eighty years old or thereabouts." 

Sir Roger's son. Sir Dermot, took an active part in the great 
movement of the Confederates, though he was himself probably 
prevented by years from taking any part in that momentous 
movement. He died, according to the O'Clcry manuscripts, in 
the year A.D. 1650. It would appear that there is a portrait of 
him still preserved at Ormond Castle, Elilkenny, in which he is 
represented as wearing a suit of armour. His arms may be 
seen on the seal of the letter addressed to his daughter from 
Fiddane Castle, and consist of "a tower crenelled in pale 
between two lions combatant." The crest is "an arm em- 
bowed holding a spear." 

On the extreme eastern side of the territory of Hy Fiachrach 
Aidhne there lay a very extensive district, which extended 
through the Echtge Mountains to the dioceses of Clonfert and 
Killaloe. Its most fruitful districts lay along the bases of the 
Echtge range, from the Mac Hubert districts of Roxboro to the 
Mac Redmond territory in Kilbecanty. It therefore included 
the Castle Daly and Cappard districts, with most of the fertile 
valleys and wild moorlands which extend to "Abain da' 
Loilgheach," the Derrybrien river which flows by Chevy Chase 
into Lough Cutra lake. These districts, comprising consider- 
able portions of the baronies of Loughrea and Kiltartan, were 
in the possession of the OTahy sept at the beginning of the 
seventeenth century. 

We find that in A.D. 16l7 "eight gentlemen of the name 
had fee-simple property in the harony of Loughrea." ^ ' 

From the returns of an inquisition made at Loughrea on the 
16th of September of that year, we find the names of those' 

'. Fy FwhracK^ p. 378. 
'' ' '*• SlUiU of Ireland, A.D. 1698, 

p. 138. 

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gentlemen, with their possessions, mentioned more or less in 
detail. The inquisition referred to, and yet preserved in the 
IloUs Office, gives the names of more than ten of the family, 
then owners in fee. 

" Teigue (Antlevy, ie, of the Mountain) OTahy was seized 
in fee of portions of lishadoile, Kealuragh, and Cappard/'^^ 
This Teigue or Timothy OTahy also held conjointly with his 
son Edmond "a portion of the quarter Knocanteigue and 

" Edmond Uny O'Fahy, Edmond Oge Mac Edmond OTahy, 
Kichard Mac Edmond OTahy, and Teigue Mac Edmond 
O'Fahy, were seized of fee of portions of Keluragh, Lishadoile, 
and Cappaghard ; and that John Mac Uny OTahy was seized 
of fee of portions of the townlands of Lishadoile, Cahercranilly, 
Garryblaken, and Balliurowan." 

Teigue OTahy (Antlevy), who was evidently the chief of his 
sept, resided in the Castle of Dunally. The village of Dunally 
occupies a picturesque situation at the base of the Echtge Hills, 
nnd about four miles from Gort and one mile from the 
village of Peter's Well. The castle, which was extant and in a 
state of fair preservation within the memory of living men>, 
has been unfortunately entirely destroyed, for the purposes of 
utilising its materials for the erection of a residence in its 
immediate vicinity, which, however, has not been completed. 

The following additional records r^arding the lands occupied 
by the OTahys in the Kilmacduajjh diocese in 1617, are 
transcribed by the author from the Loughrea Inquisition pre- 
served in the Eolls Office, Dublin : — 

"John Loughlin O'ffahie, Edmond Mac Eichard O'ffahio, 
nnd Edmond Oge O'ffahie, were seized in ffee of (cartron) 

" Mahone O'Hickey and John Logba O'ffahie were seized of 
tree of Bellaghtempaue (cartron). 

" Owen O'ffahie was seized of ffee of Cloinmoingan, \ quarter; 
I>allyichoilan (J of) two quarters. 

**Donagh O'ffahie, Hugh O'ffahie, and Loughlin O'ffahie 
were seized of ffee of Clonimonigan (\ quarter), Ballyichoilan 
i\ quarter). 

'.* Bory O'ffahie, Loughlin Mac Shane O'ffahie, and Murto^h 
O'ffahie were seized in ffee of Ballycoighlane (cartron), Lisi- 
brien {\ cartron)." 

The next entry records the possessions in fee of William^ 
O'ffahie, John O'ffahiei David O'Duill, Murtagh Mac Shane 
f)'ffahie, and Donagh O'ffahie. But though the author found; 
W/y ilfa«i«, p* 37. . 

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the record somewhat illegible, the names of four other land- 
owners of the name are given there. 

It may be interesting to our readers to know that the lands 
of Ballycoighlane referred to, are the fertile districts now 
known as Ballycahalan. The lands of Glonimonigan are the 
lands now known under the general name of Cloon. 

Lishadoyle and Grarryblaken, the other chief residences of 
the OTahy septs of that period, are situated about a quarter of 
a mile respectively north and south of Peter's Well. We shall 
hereafter see that the OTahys were the owners of another 
important district in the adjoining parish of Kilbecanty. In 
that parish they were owners of Cloon and its estates. We 
shall see how the Cloon estates passed from their hands to 
the Burkes of Eyre, and are now the property of the Lahiffs of 
Gort House. 

Though some historians class the OTahys amongst the tribes 
of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, we think it more probable that they 
belong to the Cinel Fathaith of Hy Maine, in which territory 
many of the name may still be found. Assuming the accuracy 
of this opinion, they are of the race of Heremon, and claim the 
celebrated Maine Mor as their ancestor. 
Hence their descent would be through 

Fathadh, son of 

Usadhrain, son of 

Aengus, son of 

Flan, son of 

Colman, son of 

Richlamhail, son of 

Colman, son of 

Ailibar, son of 

Maenach, son of 

Cormack, thirteenth in descent from Maine Mor. 
The present parish of Peter's Well, correctly Kilthomas, 
seems to have represented in a broad sense the chief portion of 
the tribe lands. It was therefore generally known as " Pubbell 
Muntir-Fachie." ^ Designations of districts were at that period 
often taken from the tribe or sept by which they were occupied. 
Hence we find the adjoining districts of Iser Kelly,* then in the 
possession of the Mac Hubert Burkes, referred to in the 
" Indentures of Composition " as " Pubbell Mac Hubert." 

The O'Fahys seem to have regarded the aggressive claims of 

the De Burgos over their tribe and district with contempt 

This fact is supported by the traditions of the district, and is 

also referred to by Mr. O'Donovan in his valuable notes to tlie 

^ /or Gonwxyk/gW^ p. 324 ' /6tcii 

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Book of Hy Maine.^ He writes: "There is a tradition in the 
barony of Louglirea that the Earl of Clanricarde found it very 
difficult to get the OTahys to pay him tribute, their chief 
always telling the earl that the lands he possessed were his 
own, and that the earl had no claim to them." An instance of 
the determination with which they enforced this refusal haa^ 
reached the present writer from a gentleman, who, though 
living in America, is an ofiFshoot of the family.* His ancestors, 
for perhaps a century, kept a written record of local occurrences 
of interest in that district. 

At the period of Somerset's protectorate, Clanricarde made 
an attempt to enforce his demands through one of. his illegiti- 
mate sons. The mountain chief, who had been assisting at 
Mass with his clansmen and dependents in the old church of 
Kilthomas, was just leaving the sacred edifice when he met 
this deputy. Though in a position to treat the demand as of 
little importance, he regarded it as a personal insult to be asked 
to treat with such a man. A duel was the immediate Conse- 
quence, as both were well armed, according to the usage of the 
period. They fought on the rising ground south of the cemetery, 
and immediately outside the present entrance. As both were 
practised swordsmen, the fight was well contested, but at length 
Burke, who had inflicted some severe wounds on his adversary, 
fell mortally wounded. 

It may be well to repeat that it was only towards the close 
of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century 
that English law began to make itself felt amongst the Irish of 
the West. As this applied especially to land tenure, it is certain 
that the agrarian relations between the native chiefs and their 
septs were until then regulated by ancient Brehon statutes. 
" The English families remained under the rule of the Burkes, 
and the Irishry under the Cheelfes of every particular sept." ® 

It may be noted also that the ancient forests, which had 
hitherto formed an interesting feature in the districts of Hy 
Fiachrach Aidhne, seem to have been in some instances — as 
in thiat of the Burren forests — entirely destroyed. We are 
informed by tlie editor of lar Connaugkt that "incredible 
quantities" of timber were consumed in the iron works erected 
before that time, and by the exportation of pipe staves in 
" whole shiploads." * And we also find that a charter to cut 
and export Irish timber for a period of twenty-one years was 
granted by King James I. in 1616 to a certain Richard Milton. 

Towards the close of the sixteenth century, we for the first 

* Hy Maine, p. 37. * M. Mullins, Esq., Nashville. 

• State oflrelandy p. 122. * lar Connaught^ p. 8. 


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time hear of a Protestant Bishop of Kilraacduagh. But, con- 
sidering the small number of Protestants in the diocese, it 
was united to Clonfert The united Sees were governed by 
Stephen Kerrovan. 

EoLAND Lynch was next Protestant bishop, having 
succeeded Kirwan in 1602. 

From an inquisition^ taken under Lynch in the reign of 
Charles L, we find the following recognised as vicarages : — 

Ardrahan. Killila. 

Kiltbomas. Killchyne. 

Kinvara. Kiloragh. 

Dromacoo. Ki Ichrist. 

Killinvarra. Killogillynn. 

Kilcolgan. - Killyna. 

Strad bally. Beagh and Isserkelly. 

The revenues of the See must have been considerable ; but 
such as they were, they were sold by Lynch to Robert Blake 
of Galway for £5.^ From an inquisition made at Portumna,^ 
we find that the Church lands of Kilmacduagh were sold to 
John Eyre for twenty-one years, beginning from the 20th May 

It is certain that Lynch's alienation of the Church lands of 
Kilmacduagh was regarded as fraudulent. 

He was charged by the Royal Commission, then held, with 
having alienated considerable portions of the Church property 
of Clonfert and Kilmacduagh. And we are told that the 
" Royal Visitation," having considered that he had dealt with 
them " fraudulently and perversely," refused to set any reliance 
on his statements. 

"We have undeniable evidence," say the members of the 
Commission, "that upon his first promotion Clonfert was 
estimated worth £160 per annum, and Kilmacduagh £100.^ 
But now the bishop hath returned us a roll in writing, in 
which he makes the value of Clonfert only £40, and Kilmac- 
duagh only £24, but gives us no account how this happened." * 

The Catholic succession in the See was through Dr. Oliver 
DE BuRGO, who was appointed Vicar-Apostolic of Kilmac- 
duagh, A.D. 1626. He was a native of Galway, and member of 
a family that was destined to exercise a powerful influence on 
the history of the province. John, Archbishop of Tuam, and 
Hugh, Bishop of Kilmacduagh, were his brothers. 

He prepared himself early in life for the Dominican Order. 

> Rolls Office, Dublin. • Office Rolls. 

« Rolls Office. * Ware ; Harris. 

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Having made his preparatory studies in Spain,^ he travelled 
to Louvain. Such was the esteem in which his piety and 
learning were held by his brethren, that he was appointed 
first rector of their college in that city. He was considered 
profoundly versed in profane and ecclesiastical history, and 
combined with his varied knowledge much prudence and 
practical judgment. 

From Louvain he returned to Ireland, and was vested with 
the dignity of Vicar-Apostolic of Kilmacdua^h. And when, 
yielding to the representations made to the Holy See by the 
Council of the Confederates, a bishop was nominated for Kil- 
macduagh by Rome, that bishop was Hugh, brother of Oliver 
de Burgo. But as Hugh was at the time engaged in the im- 
portant work of pleading Ireland's cause before the chief 
courts of Europe, some few years passed before he came to 
take possession of his See. During those years, however, 
Oliver de Burgo was permitted to retain the administration 
of the diocese. 

The opposition to the Nuncio's authority shown by both 
John and Hugh de Burgo, is a part of the history of the 
period.* But Oliver de Burgo did not share the opinions 
or feelings of his brothers on the matter; on the contrary, 
we are assured that he 8tctively supported the Legate in 
opposition to his brothers.* 

On the death of Dr. Lynch, Bishop of Clonfert, he was 
about to be appointed to that See ; but he declined the honour 
and the responsibility, feeling that, owing to the prevalent 
disorder and the severity of the persecution, he would be 
unable to discharge the duties of his onerous office. He was 
soon after compelled to fly to France, where he led an edifying 
life, till the Restoration of Charles II. afforded him an oppor- 
tunity of returning to Ireland. On his return he made a 
stay at London, where His Majesty, who knew him at Paris,' 
promptly recognised him. After a kindly and cordial inter- 
view, he received from His Majesty, with ample means for 
prosecuting his journey, guarantees of protection for life in 
any part of Ireland in which he might travel or sojourn. 

On his arrival in Dublin, his kinsman, Lord Clanricarde, 
had a splendid retinue awaiting him, to conduct him to his 
lordship's residence, and Clanricarde Castle continued to be 
his home for the remaining years of his life. Occasionally, 
indeed, he would visit his dear friends of the Dominican 
convent of Galway, and show himself in spirit and sympathy 
a true member of the great order of the Friars Preachers. 
1 O'Heyne, p. 23. * /Wei. « JWrf. 

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After a life full of labours and fruitful of merits, he died in 
the year 1671, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. The 
monumental slab placed in the cathedral church of Kilmac* 
duagh, to the memory of Donatus O'Shaughnessy as priest, 
and of Eoger O'Shaughnessy, vicar of Eossane, was, it is 
stated, erected there in the lifetime of Father Oliver de 
Burgo, Apostolic Administrator of Kilmacduagh, and by the 
assistance of Sir Dermot O'Shaughnessy, Anno Dom. 1646: 
" In honorem Sanctissimi Colomani alias Cathedralis Ecclesiae 
Duacensis Patroni, Donatus O'Shaughnessy et Bogerius 
Shaughnessy, Presbyter et Vicarius perpetuus de Rossane pro 
ipsis et ipsorum heredibus. Omnipotens Deus propitius sit 
Amen. Hoc conditum erat Patre fratris Oliverii de Burgo ex 
ordine Dominico Administratoris Apostolici Duacensis in vita 
per assistentiam illustrissimi Derniitii Shaughnessy Kationis 
Capitaneii. Anno Domini 1646. 

" Jucundum habitare f ratres. 
" Memento Mori." 

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Sir Roger O'Sbaughnessy and the Gal way juroi-s — His son, Sir Dermot, 
a member of the Confederate Council. 

With the opening of the seventeenth century, many important 
and eventful changes set in, which materially aflected the 
nation's future and the destinies of her people. It was under 
their influences that many old and historic names sank into 
obscurity, and in the diocese of Kilmacduagh we find that the 
O'Heynes, Elilkellys, and many leading branches of the De 
Burgos practically disappear from the pages of its history. 
These changes were in part the result of crushing penal enact- 
ments, and of the frequently recurring wars by which the 
country was devastated. Yet, despite those influences, others 
of the old tribe families struggled on, retaining with their 
religion at least a portion of their estates and influence. This 
is especially true of the chief of Kinel Aedh, whose support of 
the Confederate movement, and of the Catholic interests under 
James II., terminated in the loss of his property by confisca- 
tion. As early in the seventeenth century as 1635, we find 
Rog€}r O'Shaughnessy honourably associated with the Galway 
jurors who oSered effective opposition to Wentworth's daring 
scheme of confiscation in the West 

The falsehood and injustice of the Stuarts was already 
filling the land with dismay. But amongst the many oppress- 
ive measures with which that ill-starred house oppressed their 
Irish subjects, there was hardly one more unjust and tyrannical 
than Wentworth's measure of confiscation, usually known as 
the " Commission of Inquiry into Defective Titles." Though 
this measure of plunder had been legalised towards the close 
of the reign of James I., it was not till 1635 that the "Com- 
mission was let loose on this devoted province." ^ 

The title of each land proprietor was to be questioned by 
the executive, and regarded as defective, unless they were 
supported by deeds preserved and duly registered in the Record 
Office, Dublin. But though the sum of £3000 had been paid 
in the late reign by the proprietary of the province for the 
* D'Arcy Magee. 


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legal re;»istratioii of their title-deeds, the registration was 
ne*»lected, and the necessary entries were never made. Of 
this Wentworth was well aware. But it suited him, as his 
nefarious purpose was to confiscate to the crown the principal 
portions of the province, and to transfer the confiscated estates 
to English Protestant planters; in a word, to effect in the 
West what had been already effected in the North. This 
measure, which was so unjust, so arbitrary, so unconstitutional, 
was declared by Wentworth to be a powerful means of 
" civilising the people and of planting religion." In order to 
give his action some semblance of legality, the claims of the 
crown were to be submitted to the consideration of a jury. 
But the jury was to be carefully selected, and the judges were 
bribed. And when coercion was necessary, he did not shrink 
from having recourse to it in its most revolting form. Verdicts 
were accordingly found without difficulty at Boyle, Sligo, and 
Ballinrobe. Leitrim yielded to the claims of the crown without 
even a trial. 

The Deputy next proceeded to Galway county. 

Though Lord Clanricarde, the largest proprietor, and a 
Catholic, was the person liable to suffer most, he retired to 
England. Not deeming it wise to oppose the Deputy openly 
and in person, he recommended his nephew to oppose the 
project as strongly as prudence would permit. 

But the Galway jurors were not prepared to copy the 
example set them by the other counties of the provinca 
They obstinately refused to find for His Majesty. Wentworth, 
enraged at their independence, had both jurors and sheriff' 
arrested, and sent as prisoners to Dublin. He then "bethought 
himself of a course to vindicate His Majesty's honour and 
justice, not only against the jurors, but also against the sheriff" 
for returning so packed a jury." "And therefore," he adds, 
" we fined the sheriff" £1000 to His Majesty ; the jurors £4000 
each, to be imprisoned until the fine should be paid, and 
until they should acknowledge their offence in Court on bended 
knees," ^ Meantime the sheriff* died in prison, and the jurors 
were subjected to excruciating torture. Some were *' pilloried 
with loss of ears, and bored through the tongue, and some- 
times marked on the forehead with an iron." 

As a last resource, they appealed to His Majesty for a 
mitigation, if not a total commutation of their sentence. It 
was a delicate undertaking to lay their giievances before the 
King without Wentworth's knowledge, if possible. The agents 
to whom this delicate mission was entrusted were Sir Eoger 
^ Hardimau's Oalway, p. 105. 

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0*Shauglmes8y of Gort, Martin, and Darcy. Their mission 
was not merely a delicate one, but it was one fraught with 
considerable danger, as Charles was already solemnly pledged 
to his Irish Minister to receive no appeals from his judgments. 

Wentworth, however, became aware of their departure, 
and of the purpose of their mission, fiegarding it as an act 
of contempt against his authority, he immediately wrote to 
London, requesting that the ** priestly agents" should be 
arrested and sent back to Dublin, to be dealt with as he 
and his "Commissioners should think proper." They were 
accordingly arrested, though a day had been actually fixed 
by King Charles for giving them an audience. Martin suc- 
ceeded in being permitted to remain in London; but Darcy 
and O'Shaughnessy were sent back to Dublin to present 
themselves before the enraged Deputy. Wentworth resolved 
that the agents as well as the jurors should be fined. He had 
them cast into prison also, and detained there until, through 
the interposition of Lord Clanricarde,^ they were liberated, 
and their fines reduced. 

Though Wentworth was soon recalled to answer for his 
tyranny, the bitter recollection of his oppression operated 
strongly in inducing the Western province to take part in the 
great national Confederation, which has invested the old city 
of Kilkenny with so deep and enduring an interest. And 
amongst the Confederates, who for a period held their sessions 
within its walls, and extorted concessions of the first import- 
ance from King and Parliament, we find the name of Dermot 

Dermot O'Shaughnessy was heir and representative of Sir 
Roger, who was then advanced in years, and probably enfeebled 
after his recent imprisonment. And though we shall see that 
he was able to offer the hospitality of his castle at Gort to the 
Confederate Bishops who sought to meet the Nuncio at Gtdway, 
yet we do not find him taking any fuither active part in the 
public movements of the period, — indeed, he must have felt that 
he was well represented by his son. 

On that memorable Sunday evening, 17th October 1645, 
when the venerable Archbishop O'Queely was surprised and 
slain by Coote, we find that W. O'Shaughnessy, a kinsman, 
and Eichard Burke, who held the rank of majors in the arch- 
bi3hop's forces, were made prisoners, together with Lieutenant 
O'Heyne. Indeed, so high did Sir Dermot O'Shaughnessy 
stand in the estimation of the Confederate Council,^ that we 

^ Hardiman's Galway^ p. 105. 

* Gilbert's Hist. Ctmfed. voL v. p. 311. 

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iiDd his name mentioned by that body amongst those selected 
to act as the Privy Councillors of the kingdom. We also 
find that amongst the distinguished ecclesiastics who advanced 
the Confederate cause, there were few who laboured for it 
more assiduously and successfully than did Father Hugh de 
Burgo, who succeeded Dr. Oliver de Bui^o as Bishop of 

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Dr. Hugh de Bargo, Bishop of Eilmacdoagb, and the Confederate 

The commission with which Father Hugh de Burgo was 
entrusted by the Irish Confederates on the 29th of November 
1642, was one of great political importance. He was appointed 
to represent to the Most August Emperor Ferdinand III. of 
Germany the interests and aims of the Irish Catholics at 
that period. The despatches which he received conjointly with 
Count William Gall, authorised him to represent to His Ira- 
perial Majesty that the Irish were driven to arms by the 
ferocity of the Puritans, who sought to destroy at once his 
religion and his nation, and they added, '' to be patient longer 
were to desert the cause of the Almightye and the interests of 
our Kinge and countrye." ^ He was to solicit, in the name of 
the Supreme Council of the Confederate Irish Catholics, the 
Emperor's approval and support of the struggle in which they 
were engaged for " religion, country, liberty, and justice." And 
he was to remind him of the feelings with which Ireland was 
regarded by the late Emperor. Irish blood had been freely 
shed in the service of Austria. The valour and fidelity of Irish 
soldiers in defending the interests of Austria had been proved 
in many well-contested fields ; and in return for such heroic 
services, the richest emoluments and highest honours in the 
gift of the crown were conferred upon them. Father Burke 
and his lay associate. Count Gall, were to represent these facts 
as at once the motive and justification of their appeal. 

The young Franciscan's hopes must have been high as he set 
out from the peaceful cloisters of St Anthony at Louvain to 
support and advance the cause of his fellow-countrymen. It 
was the cause of faith and fatherland ; and in the sanctity of 
such a cause he saw an element of strength and a hopeful 
augury of success. The steps already taken were in truth 
equally energetic and resolute. A national Parliament had 
assembled at Kilkenny, which placed Preston and O'Neil at 
1 GQbert's Higt. Confed. 

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the head of the Irish troops in the East and North ; and well 
might De Burgo and his countrymen regard their prestige as a 
guarantee of future military success. There were six thousand 
men of his native province, under the command of his kinsman, 
John Burke, an experienced officer who had served thirty- 
eight years under the King of Spain, and who had now returned 
to place his good sword at the service of his Catholic com- 
patriots. In that Parliament sat the Catholic Lords spiritual 
and temporal, O'Queely and Mountgarrett, Darcy and De 
Burgo; the representatives of Irish tribes whose ancestors 
were honoured before Brian drove the invaders into the sea at 
Clontarf, as well as of the Anglo-Irish whose forefathers fought 
by Earl Strongbow's side, and shared his triumphs and his 
plunders. Already the Holy Father's approval and support of 
the movement was foreshadowed by the active support of his 
nephew, Antonio Barberini, the Cardinal Protector of Ireland* 
The wrongs of Ireland were then put before the world, as they 
had seldom been before, by lips rendered eloquent by an 
unselfish love of country ; by men whose devotion to Ireland 
was intensified by the cruelty of the persecutions to which 
Ireland was subjected. From Gibraltar to the Baltic, from the 
German Ocean to the Adriatic, there was not a Catholic court 
or a Catholic people who were not made familiar with the 
cause and sufferings of the Irish. It was a new crusade, in 
the preaching of which Father Hugh Burke had a large share 
of the labour and the success. He had, however, in Fathers 
Hartigan and O'Shea, able and successful fellow-labourers; 
while Father Luke Wadding far surpassed them all in his zeal 
for Fatherland. Nothing could be more encouraging than the 
result The sympathies of Catholic Europe became centred on 
Catholic Ireland, and practical support was quickly and cor- 
dially given. To Irish Catholic hearts it was the call of duty ; 
even those of Ireland's children who heard the summons in 
their exiled homes, at once yielded to it prompt and willing 

Those who would be selected at such a critical moment by 
their countrymen to discharge the duties of ambassadors to 
some of the most powerful courts in Europe, must have been 
men of known abilities, recognised prudence, and undoubted 
patriotism. But there can be no doubt that Father Burke had 
already established for himself a reputation for these and other 
high qualities. His name was even then associated in Flanders, 
with those of Colgan and O'Clery. His position as superior of 
their house at Louvain was the willing tribute of his Franciscan 
brethren at this period to his piety and worth. 

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Hugh de Burgo was born in a remote village called Clon- 
tuskert, in the diocese of Clonfert His father was a gentleman 
of considerable influence, and connected by close ties of kindred 
with the ancient and noble house of Clanricarde. It may be 
added that this was virtually the period to which Sir John 
Davies referred, when he stated that " there were more able 
men of the name of Burke than pf any other name in Europe." 
Being intended for the Church, like his elder brothers, John 
and Oliver, Hugh was educated with care by his pious parents 
from his earliest childhood. He made his elementary classical 
studies in his father's house, under the guidance of a man 
named O'Malley, the family tutor, whose classical attainments 
were in those days widely known and favourably recognised. 
But O'Malley certainly had pupils worthy of his attention and 
abilities, in the subject of our sketch, and in his more famous 
brother John, afterwards celebrated as Archbishop of Tuam. 
The pathways in life of the brothers seemed to diverge widely 
for a period in early life. But it was only for a period, as they 
were destined to struggle together through one of the most 
troubled periods of our history. And as the character of Hugh 
de Burgo was much influenced by the career of his brother 
John, some of the leading events in the life of the latter must 
occupy some portion of our attention. 

In his twentieth year John left home for the Irish College 
at Lisbon, where, after a satisfactory examination, he was 
received as a student. Hugh, having decided to become a 
religious, proceeded to Lou vain, where he prosecuted his 
studies as a humble monk of the Order of St. Francis. He 
arrived at Lou vain in 1714, and was in due course promoted 
to holy orders, after the completion of a very distinguished 
course of studies. 

At the close of a distinguished collegiate course at Lisbon, 
John was selected to defend a public thesis against a chosen 
disputant selected by the College of Evora. The disputation 
was continued for three days, when the laurels were awarded 
to John de Burgo. His fame had reached Salamanca, and 
that ancient university did him the honour of inviting him to 
take part, within its halls, in a similar friendly academic 
contest. Here, too, he was victorious, and had the degree of 
Doctor of Theology confen-ed upon him, in recognition of his 
remarkable abilities. After those noteworthy triumphs he 
returned to his native diocese, to engage in the laborious and 
then perilous duties of a secular priest Such were the evi- 
dences of ability and zeal which he displayed in the discharge 
of his sacred duties, that he was appointed to the episcopal 

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charge of the See of Clonfert, A.D. 1641. The ceremony of hia 
consecration in the folio winc^ year, was celebrated as an event 
of great importance. Fires blazed on the slopes of the Echtge 
Mountain ranges in manifestation of popular joy. Even the 
aristocracy shared in the rejoicing ; and the Earl of Clanricarde, 
with many of his distinguished friends, journeyed to the remote 
church of Kinalahan to be present at the ceremony of his 

O'Queely, the saintly and patriotic Archbishop of Tuam, was 
the consecrating prelate. He fondly hoped tlie influence of 
the newly-consecrated would secure many powerful friends for 
his country's cause. He was not destined to live and expe- 
rience the sadness of disappointment. Immediately after his 
consecration, Dr. de Burgo was appointed one of tiie Eepre- 
sentative Spiritual Peers in the national Parliament of Kil- 
kenny. His connection with the Marquis of Clanricarde 
caused his accession to be regarded as a marked gain to the 
cause of the Confederates ; and it was expected that the active 
support of Clanricarde was then practically secured. But 
that expectation was not to be realised, for Clanricarde 
never joined the Confederates; and from the moment of the 
bishop's consecration he seems to have laboured to utilise his 
influence to weaken the national cause. 

Such was the position which John de Burgo held in Ireland 
when his brother Hugh was associated with Count Gall in the 
Irish Embassy to the German court In the letters and de- 
spatches which they carried with them to that court, very special 
and just emphasis was laid on the oppression practised by the 
Irish Puritans, " as well as in their hostility to the religious 
and national feelings of the people." ^ Tiiey were also sent, as 
the trusted agents of the Confederates, to Maximilian, Duke 
of Bavaria, before whom they were commissioned to place a 
similar statement of their grievances. 

But Father Burke's labours were not limited to Germany. 
He was also required to visit Flanders and Spain. The extent 
of his labours in Flanders may be inferred in part from the 
numerous credentials with which he was furnished by the 
Confederates to the various personages of influence in that 
country. Amongst those may be mentioned the Papal Nuncio, 
the Nuncio at Liege, the Archbishop of Mechlin, and the 
Governor of Dunkirk. The Nuncios are informed how the 
Irish " are engaged in a just and necessary war against the 
Puritans, the malignant enemies of the Roman Catholic Church, 
of true religion, and of Christian princes. . . . We could, as 
1 Qabert'8 Bid. Gonfed. voL ii. p. 116. 

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hitherto, endure loss of property, imprisonment, and exile, if 
the Puritans had not determined to abolish our religion. God 
has, however, decreed against them, and is favourable to our 
cause." The Archbishop of Mechlin had already evinced his 
sympathy with the Confederates. But the occasion was a 
suitable one for giving him formal assurance of their gratitude. 
" The Council, in behalf of their nation, thank the Archbishop 
and their friends, and also inform His Grace that they have 
commissioned Father Burke and his associate, Father Nicholas 
Shee, to lay the state of their affairs before him." 

They were also made the bearers of a similar message to the 
Prince of Liege. In this despatch to His Highness the Supreme 
Council speaks in more explicit language of the pride which they 
experienced in being engaged in so holy a cause. They regarded 
their struggle for God, and for the rights of His Church, as a 
glorious one ; they felt that it was more glorious still to suffer for 
it : and that to die for it, as they were prepared, was the chiefest 
object of their ambition. The bondage which they had com- 
bined to shake off was worse than that of Israel under Pharaoh. 
Indeed, so conscious were they that *' their cause was the cause 
of God," that they rose, though unarmed, against their enemies. 
So they assured the Holy Father himself, when, with the heroic 
confidence of soldiers of the cross, they appealed to him for his 
blessing and support. The rich and poor were united by fellow- 
ship in common calamities. Indeed, the condition of the 
Catholic gentry was extremely sad. Eobbed of their estates, 
they were in many instances forced to eke out an existence as 
tillers of the soil. Many of them died broken-hearted, many 
left their native land, and many became raving maniacs under 
the consciousness of their wrongs. The Confederate movement, 
however, induced several experienced Irish oflicers who were 
engaged in military service abroad to return to Ireland. Of those 
exiled patriots we have already referred to Colonel John Burke, 
who was appointed Lieutenant- General of the Confederate 
Forces in the West. O'Neil also, who had served in Spain, and 
enjoyed there a position worthy of the representative of the 
royal house of Ulster, had returned to take charge of the Irish 
Forces in the North. He was accompanied by many other Irish 
officers, who, like him, had returned to take part in the struggle 
then inaugurated for faith and fatherland. 

Several distinguished foreigners also volunteered their 
services, amongst whom we may mention the names of Count 
Overmere, Captain Oliver, and Antonio Vanderhipp. 

Francis Oliver was a naval officer, highly esteemed by the 
Irish, and a man in whom Father Burke took a special interest. 

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We find that it was mainly owing to Father Burke's recotnmenda- 
tions that he was appointed to the important office of Vice- 
Admiral of the Confederates, and commander of a vessel named 
St, Michael the Archangel. Writing to Father Burke under date 
28th November 1642,i the Confederate Council refer to the 
subject in the following words : " Wee have taken notice of the 
good testimony you have given of the zeal and forwardness 
wherewith Captain Francis Olivers hath embraced our cause, 
that we have not only approved of the authority you have given 
him on our behalfe, but as a further mark of our favour we 
have appointed him superintendent of all such shippings that 
shall desire to serve under his command, giving him power to 
set up the flagg of Vice- Admirall of his own squadron." He had 
already captured some vessels from the enemy. These, as well as 
those which he might afterwards seize, he was free to convey into 
any ports in the kingdom which might be in possession of the 
Confederates. The terms of the commission conferred upon him 
by the Coni'ederate Council were flattering as well as favourable. 
Foreign States and potentates were asked to " defend, assist, 
and favour the said captain." It is clear, therefore, that much 
was expected from him ; but those high hopes were not destined 
to be realised. He was soon after capturcl in Holland with 
his vessels and men, and detained a prisoner there. His capture 
and imprisonment was a source of deep concern and anxiety in 
our country. Writing to Father Burke on the 8th August 1 643, 
the Confederate Council gay : "Wee have a great sense of the 
sufferings of Captain Frank Oliver, and doe give you many 
thanks for your care of him, and of the kingdome's honnor in 
him." 2 

Without a well-manned fleet they could not calculate with 
any degree of certainty on the importation of food supplies 
and war material Uneasiness on this head was natural and 
inevitable. They held possession of the seaports on the South 
and West. But though their vessels in Wexford harbour were 
all manned by experienced Wexford seamen, it was felt that few 
other ports were equally fortunate. Hence Father Burke was 
urged to procure as many experienced foreign seamen as 
possible for the Irish navy. The inducements held out to those 
foreigners were set forth in a form of proclamation which was 
forwarded to Father Burke, with directions to have it circulated 
as widely as possible. He was also instructed to publish amongst 
Flemish merchants and traders, that all supplies which they 
might forward to Irish ports would be received entirely free of 
" duties." We can have no doubt that his efforts in this direc- 

1 Gilherl'8 Hist. Confed, vol. ii. p. 112. * IHd. vol ii. p. 336. 

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tion were eminently successful. They were gratefully acknow- 
ledged by his " loving friends " of the Supreme Council by 
letters dated 8th August 1643 : " Wee finde the benefitt of 
your Industrie by the resort of frigatts into us, and the en- 
couradgement which is given to adventurers to come upon our 
coastes, who are soe well satisfied with their usage heere that 
they now heartily affect the service." 

A vessel from Dunkirk, " of good strength," had arrived to 
aid them, and had captured as many as five or six of the 
Parliamentary cruisers. Many other vessels were daily ex- 

They authorised Father Burke to engage the services of a 
certain Count d'Overmere, who seemed anxious to accept the re- 
sponsible position of Admiral of their fleet^ On the 1st February 
1642 they wrote to authorise him to have the articles of agree- 
ment signed by the count, and to confer the commission upon 
him with the authority and sanction of their seal "Wee 
have," they wrote, "sent unto you a commission under our 
scale for Monsieur Overmeere, the articles of our agreement 
with him, and our answers to some questions of his ; all which 
are left to your dispose eyther to bee detayned from the said 
Monsieur d'Overmeere, or given unto him at your ellection, as 
your own judgment and conscience shall directe you." The 
count, who was " near allyde to General Preston," and also a 
man of " quality " in Flanders, was prepared to furnish a small 
squadron at his own expense in case he was placed in supreme 
command of the " forraijrne ships." But it soon became clear to 
Father Burke aud his friends, that such an appointment might 
lead to many diflBculties ; for Overmere was an ofiBcer of the 
King of Spain, and both France and the United Provinces, 
which were well disposed to the Irish cause, were then at war 
with Spain. The Supreme Council intimated to Father Burke 
their fears that the appointment would induce both France and 
the Low Countries to withold their eissistance ; and added, " The 
management of all we have left to your discretion, on which we 
doe much relie." ^ It is clear that Father Burke shared their 
sentiments, as the appointment was abandoned. 

War matierialSjSuch as guns and gunpowder, were much needed 
by the Confederates, and to this want Father Burke's atten- 
tion was urgently directed, though he had already forwarded 
considerable quantities to Galway through General Burke. He 
was urged to send experienced men of that trade to Ireland, 
" and of any other that hath relacion to warr." There were 
also other influential agencies operative at the time for the 

i Gilbert's Ei^, Covfed. vol. il. p. 20a « Ilnd, vol. ii. p. 205. 

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attainment of those objects. We find the "Lord General of 
Leinster's Ladye " had been giving the matter her anxious atten- 
tion at Namur, and succeeded in inducing the powder manu- 
facturers M.M. Le Fevre and Goure to come to Ireland to 
" worcke for the publique use at 6s. le peice per diem." The 
Council had occasion to point out, however, that some of the 
artisans who had arrived, though " vast in their promises," were 
able to execute but little. 

The continued acts of oppression, exaction, and extortion on 
the part of the governing party, had caused a widespread 
scarcity of money, which was particularly felt by the Confeder- 
ates. Accordingly, the Supreme Council issued an order in 
November 1642 for a new coinage. And in the December 
following. Father Burke was instructed by the Council to 
hasten to them a printer, and " coyners of money.'* A quantity 
of copper coin to the value of £4000 was issued. "Silver 
half-crown pieces were also issued to the value and goodness of 
English money then current." The designs adopted for this 
new currency represented on one side a crowned king in a 
kneeling posture, and playing on a crowned Irish harp, with 
the motto " Floreat Rex." On the opposite side was represented 
St. Patrick with a shamrock, explaining to a gi*oup of persons 
the mystery of the Holy Trinity. On the Saint's left was a 
shield with the arms of Dublin, bearing the legend "Ecce 
Grex." As this looked like an unlawful encroachment on the 
prerogatives of the crown, the Supreme Council was careful to 
publish that the step was taken by them in the interests of His 
Majesty and of the country. 

Belgian sympathy with Ireland seemed to have undergone a 
change by July in the following year. On the 6th of July an 
edict was published at Dunkirk, by which all Belgian subjects 
in the service of the Confederates were required to return 
immediately to their country. Such an edict was calculated 
to prejudice the cause of Ireland in the face of Europe, and 
consequently the feelings with which the unexpected intelli- 
gence of its publication was received in Ireland, were those of 
indignant surprise. And when it is remembered tliat the 
number of Belgians then engaged in the service of the Con- 
federates was few, it will be obvious that the publication of the 
edict was dictated neither by a sense of national necessity nor 
utility. The Supreme Council lost no time in addressing a 
letter of remonstrance through Father Burke to the Governor 
of Flanders, Don Francisco de Melos, in which they express 
their surprise at the publication of such an edict, at a time 
when Ireland had received such marked professions of friendship 

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from Spain and Austria.^ But as the execution of the decree 
rested with His Excellency, they gave expression to their con- 
fidence that it would not be permitted to injure their cause. 
And finally, they informed him that they had authorised 
Father Burke to give him a detailed account of their afTairs. 

For his own guidance Father Burke received special "in- 
structions concerning His Excellency." He was instructed to 
inform the governor that the publication of the edict, or of the 
" placarr," * as the quaint language of the letter expresses it, was 
the occasion of general astonishment in Ireland. He was to 
remind him of the services rendered by Ireland to the houses 
of Austria and Spain, — signal services which would not be 
easily forgotten. Those services were important, and com- 
paratively recent, for even within the preceding half century, 
whole regiments of Irishmen had been engaged in Spain, 
Flanders, Germany, Italy, and even the remote Indies. He 
was to be reminded, too, of Ireland's devotion to Spanish 
interests in the evil days of Elizabeth, which entailed upon 
many noble Irish families the loss of estates and fortune. Nor 
had that fidelity grown weaker. Even in the all-absorbing 
struggle in which Ireland was then engaged, she had equipped 
two vessels to convey one thousand men to Spain to engage in 
His Majesty's service. They had written on the subject to 
the Spanish Secretary of State ; but as De Melos might have 
known nothing of the matter. Father Burke was authorised to 
show him the copy of their correspondence on the matter, as he 
should " see needful" 

Indeed, the Belgian edict had soon an injurious efTect on Irish 
interests. This is evident from a letter addressed to Father 
Burke by the Council, and dated from Galway on the 27th 
March 1644 :— 

" By the enclosed peticion preferred to us by some merchants 
of this towns, you may observe how hardly they are dealt with 
by those of Dunkerke. These manner of proceedings were not 
expected, and especially from them, which gives our merchants 
very great discouragement," etc. 

Those commissions to which we have briefly referred were 
of much importance; nor can it be easy to exaggerate the 
labour and anxiety attaching to their execution. Yet an un- 
selfish patriotism was the chief influence by which Father Burke 
was sustained in prosecuting his great mission. Emoluments 
there were none. Even the means of defraying necessary 
expenses seem, in his case, to have been both uncertain and 
insufiicient. The Council, though satisfied that the expenses 
^ Gilbert's Kid. C(mfed, vol. ii. p. 339. * Ibid. 


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which he incurred as their agent were necessarily great, could 
adopt no more satisfactory means of aiding him in defraying 
them, than to recommend him to borrow £100 from Sichard 
Everard, or "any other merchant." ^ Should that rather 
precarious means fail, then — and only then — ^was he authorised 
to deduct that small sum " out of any moneys which, for the 
use of this kingdom, should come into his hands." This was, 
at best, but a precarious and poor provision for such a man. 
But those were days of heroic self-sacrifice. 

Considering the action of Belgium, the attitude which the 
States of Holland might assume towards the Confederates was 
regarded by the Supreme Council as a matter of very great 
importance. As a naval power, the States held a high place 
at that period. It was therefore deemed extremely desirable 
to secure their support and sympathy, as the Irish seaports 
were in a measure unprotected, and the coast much infested 
by the hostile cruisers of the Puritans. His commission, 
which was dated from Wexford, on the 7th August 1643, was 
calculated to flatter its illustrious ('* perillustri vero ") recipient, 
and also to conciliate the (rovemment to whom he was 
accredited. The " Most Potent States " were assured that Father 
Burke was a man on whose integrity and prudence the most 
Implicit reliance might be placed. As regarded the objects of 
his mission, he received very minute instructions. The views 
of the Council regarding them were urged at some length. He 
was to remind them of the ancient friendship which existed 
between Ireland and their "nacion;" and to urge forcibly 
that the States should not permit that time-honoured friend- 
ship to be destroyed by the machinations of enemies. For the 
purpose of prejudicing the Irish cause in Holland, the Con- 
federates were represented by the English Dissenters as in 
revolt against their King. Father Burke was directed to 
remove this impression, by pointing out that the Irish were 
driven to arms only by the oppression of the Puritans, who 
were also His Majesty s open and active enemies ; that they 
had taken up arms only after they had ascertained that a war 
of extermination had been undertaken agaii^^t them ; that, in 
fact, they had already addressed a "Remonstrance of Griev- 
ances " ^ to His Majesty, soliciting his protection and support 

And as to their Dutch friends, they wrote, " We are sure 
that to this day we continue our good affections to them." And 
they add, " Since those troubles we did their men right and 
courtesies; the particulars you have by our letters; and we 
are ready to doe more." The particulars of some of those 
» Gilbert's //irf. ConJtL p, 263. « /Wd voL ii. p. 338. 

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♦* courtesies *' are given with considerable minuteness of detail 
in a letter addressed to him from Wexford on the 8th 
August 1643,^ and are of sufl&cient interest to be briefly 
referred to here. 

A Dutch merchant vessel, under command of a Captain 
Both, had, a short time previously, been forced to put in at 
Berebaven, owing to the illness of its crew. The men were 
eared for on shore till convalescent ; and the vessel, which was 
laden with a valuable cargo, was " preserved safe by their Irish 

A Dutch frigate, under the command of a certain John 
Classye, having seventy-six men on board, experienced at 
Bantry, in the preceding year, a reception very similar in its 
kindness. But another case, which occurred about Christmas 
of the same year, showed still more clearly the regard in which 
the Dutchmen of those days were held by the Irish. The 
vessel was from Fandanbouke, and was wrecked at Dungarvan. 
As soon as it was ascertained that she belonged to a " Hol- 
lander," care was taken to have the men and cargo saved. 
Amongst the valuables which it contained, there was a sum of 
1500 pistoles of gold, which was scrupulously preserved for the 
States by the Mayor of Waterford. They add, "These have 
been some of our expressions of reddye will to persevere in that 
constant intercourse of good offices which have passed between 
them and our nacion, and some light unto them, how useful it 
will be to have us continue the same desires. . . . Free com- 
merce and trafficke with us will be much more useful to those 
powerful States, than any harm that can be done us will 
advantage them." * 

The success of the mission to Holland was a result to 
which the Confederates looked forward with much anxious 
interest. But they did so without misgiving, as they 
seemed to have implicit confidence in the active zeal of their 

In the same letter from which we have' quoted, they add, 
" We pray you endeavour to restore us to the place we held in 
theire good opinion, and prevaile with them not to give faith 
to any thinge which of malice shall be suggested unto them, 
in prejudice of the amity and firme correspondence wee much 
desire to hold with them." * 

It is gratifying to find that they were not disappointed. A 
treaty with Holland was the result of Father Burke's mission 
to that country. Writing in January 1643, the Council 
acknowledge his services in the following words : — 

Qilbert'8 fTtie. Con/ed voL IL p. 336. * I\Ad. * lUL 

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" Eevekend Father, — Wee have received your severall letters 
concerninge your employment into Holleind, . . . wherein we 
find you have acquitt the trust reposed in you, with that care 
and judgment that meritts thankes at our hands, which wee 
heartily return unto you," etc. 

It was thought desirable to publish this treaty throughout 
Ireland by formal proclamation. And from the terms of the 
proclamation, it seems clear that strenuous efforts had been 
made by malicious and designing parties to have it appear 
that the Confederates were regarded as enemies by the people 
of Holland. The proclamation, which was issued at Galway on 
the 20th April 1644, was issued "against such as would 
breake the league between the Hollander and the Confederate 

It continues: "To prevent, therefore, the mischiefes which 
might arise from the want of a right understandinge of sence 
hereof, wee thought fitt to establish and declare, and by these 
presents doe publish and declare, that the State of HoUand are 
now in league and amity with our Sovereign Lord the Kinge, 
and us his most faithful subjects," etc. It was also declared 
that such as might presume to violate that treaty with " the 
Hollander," rendered themselves liable to the penalties in- 
curred by the ordinary disturbers of the " publicke peace." 

Father Burke's successes in Holland were attained only 
under very great difficulties. Communication with Ireland had 
been for a time rendered uncertain and difficult ; and conse- 
quently many important despatches, which were forwarded by 
the Council, never reached their agent's hands. On the 8th 
August 1643 they wrote to him expressing their natural 
astonishment that so many of their letters should have mis- 
carried, and said: "Wee wonder 'of nothinge soe much as to 
heare from you that soe many of our letters should have 
miscarried, as that you should not receive one from us since 
January last." ^ 

But in this painful uncertainty he was sustained by the con- 
sciousness of unselfish zeal in his country's interests, until at 
length the assurance of his country's gratitude reached him. 
The Council continued to approve of his endeavours, and to 
assure him that they felt satisfied he had omitted nothing con- 
sistent with prudence or foresight. 

The march of events at home and abroad had been so far 
fiwourable for Catholic Ireland. It was much to have secured 
the sympathy of Imperial Austria, with that of Bavaria and 
1 Gilbert's Hi^. Confed, vol. ii. p. 334. 

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Belgium. The treaty concluded with Holland, through Father 
Burke's agency, was also very important. The Ambassadors 
of France and Spain had been then formally received at 
Kilkenny by the Council of the Confederates ; and the simi of 
20,000 crowns, presented on the occasion in the name of 
the Spanish nation, went to prove that the presence of their 
Excellencies in Solkenny was no mere empty pageant. 

The Papal Legate, Father Scarampi, had also arrived there, 
to encourage the Confederates with a public and formal assur- 
ance of His Holiness's blessing. He was also the bearer of 
30,000 dollars and valuable military supplies from His Holiness. 
Much of the Catholic and confiscated Church property 
alienated in the preceding reigns in the West and South, was 
once more in Catholic hands; and very many of the grand old 
cathedrals, long desecrated by the heretics, were again glorified 
by the pomp of Catholic ceremonial. Such awivantages gained 
within a short period pointed encouragingly to ultimate 
success. Yet, strange to say, it was at this juncture that a 
" cessation of hostilities" began to be discussed. 

Father Burke hears of the ''cessation" for the first time in 
the letter of the 26th January just quoted. In this document 
they inform him that they had, " in the meantime, while you 
are expecting of answers to particulars of your letters, sent 
you those to let you know the motives which did induce us to 
treat of a cessacion of arms." What opinions he may have 
entertained on this important but ill-advised arrangement, it 
is now difScult to ascertain. But, considering his zeal in 
promoting his country's cause, it is difiBcult to think that he 
could have regarded it with other than feelings of strong dis- 
approval It may have originated with the weak and temporis- 
ing Eling. It is certain that Lord Ormond received private 
instructions from His Majesty, to urge it with all his influence. 
As might have been expected, it had therefore ardent 
advocates in such men as Clanricarde, and many other of the 
Anglo-Irish aristocracy, who, though Catholic, regarded with a 
jealous eye the claims then advanced by the Catholic Church for 
the restoration of her confiscated property. 

The reasons against the cessation were strong and obvious, 
and forcibly put before the public by Father Scarampi, the 
Papal Legate. The needs of the Confederates for military 
supplies should not, he urged, be regarded as a justification of 
the proposed armistice. Though needing many things, their 
needs were far less urgent then than in the preceding year 
when they entered on the war. They had since then gained 
many important advantages, and secured for themselves the 

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sympathy of most of their co-religionists throughout Europe. 
Were the Irish to rest satisfied with the advantages already 
gained, and not to follow up their successes bravely, they would 
forfeit the support of the European countries then favour- 
ably disposed towards them. Constitutional liberty and the 
free exercise of faith should be obtained, he urged, " by arms 
and intrepidity, — not by cessations and indolence." 

It is impossible to read the Legate's protest against the 
cessation without being struck by his political foresight 

To those who urged that a cessation of hostilities in Ireland 
would facilitate the establishment of peace between His 
Majesty and his Parliament, he replied, "That peace will 
ever be made between King and Parliament is exceedingly 
improbable ; nor would it be to our advantage, for if they 
combined, we would be necessitated to surrender. ... If the 
Parliament prevail, — which God forbid, — all Ireland wUl fall 
under their arbitrary power ; the swords of the Puritans will 
be at our throats, and we shall lose everything except ourfailhr ^ 
Events soon proved how literally those prophetic words were 
realised ! 

Should the Irish, on the other band, vigorously prosecute 
the war, they would be found by the party victorious in 
England, whether Boyalists or Parliamentarians, "well provided 
with increased territories, stronger in foreign succours ; " in a 
word, in a position to have their grievances fully redressed. 
He urged also that the war was a religious war, and as such 
had received the support of princes not otherwise hostile 
either to the King or Parliament A treaty of peace which 
should secure to Irish Catholics no permanent gain, would 
alienate the sympathy of those princes. "This," he added, 
*' and the fact that we shall gain nothing by a cessation which 
we do not possess now, in time of war, will cause the zeal of 
those princes to cool towards our cause, and they will refuse 
or postpone further aid till they have ascertained how affairs 
will eventuate on the close of the year." And he indignantly 
added, " It should not be supposed that he had been accredited 
by the Holy See merely to obtain an uncertain peace for a 
single year, in which brief period no foimdation could be laid 
for the security of the faith and the kingdom." 

But notwithstanding those and similar representations, the 
intrigues of Ormond and his party prevailed, and in an evil 
hour the treaty was accepted by the Confederates. The 
armistice was accordingly proclaimed in Dublin by the Lords 
Justices, " for one whole year, beginning with the 15th day 
^ QUberf 8 HitA. Ckmfed. vol. il p. 321. 

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of September Anno Domini 1645, at the hour of twelve of the 
clock of the same day." 

The culvocates of the armistice asserted that one of their 
objects in accepting it was that they might be able to send 
troops to England to support the Boyalists ; and also that they 
might be free to discharge in part their obligations to the King 
of Spain. But the Treaty of Cessation was no sooner signed 
than it was shamelessly violated by the Puritans in the South 
and North. General Munroe had taken the field in the North, 
and the Supreme Council found it necessary to despatch a 
strong force, under the command of Castlehaven, to that 
province. It was not only necessary to send a force of six 
thousand foot and six thousand horse on that expedition, but 
it was also felt that a " great reserve of men for their supply " 
was also desirable. Under those circumstances no forces 
could be despatched to Spain ; and Father Burke was accord- 
ingly required to represent the foregoing events to the Spanish 
Viceroy, as a justification for the unexpected inability of the 
Confederates to fulfil their engagements to Sis Catholic Majesty 
of Spain. He was, however, to assure him that the Con- 
federates by no means repudiated their obligations to him. 
But as they could not then part with their troops without 
exposing the kingdom to imminent danger, they would defer 
the fulfilment of their obligations to a more favourable time. 
The Ulster Puritans had, as a matter of fact, received just 
then, large reinforcements in men from Scotland, and large 
grants of money from the English Parliament 

Had they measured their duties to King Charles by the 
same equitable and cautious standard by which they estimated 
their obligations to Spain, it would have been profitable for 
Ireland. Here, however, they i)ermitted their loyalty to a 
worthless king to blind them to their country's needs. They 
arranged with "all cheerfulness *' to present His Majesty with 
£30,000 in consideration of " his royal intentions." For his 
recognition of their position and claims at the time of the 
treaty they were mainly indebted to their own valour. 

However grievously mistaken the advocates and supporters 
of the treaty were, its terms indicated a d^ee of success on 
the part of the Confederates to justify to some extent the 
tone of self-congratulation noticeable in a letter of the 14th 
June 1644, addressed to Pope Urban VIII. by the Supreme 
Council. After recounting to His Holiness the various benefits 
secured for Irish Catholics, they add, "And those great benefits 
for our nation were reserved, most Holy Father, for your 
pontificate, under whose auspices the Catholic religion, so long 

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oppressed in this island, now lifts its head with dignity, and 
is seen once more arrayed in a manner becoming the Spouse of 
Christ ; and our people are confident that they shall eventually 
win the reward of their courage and patience." And there 
can be no doubt that Urban entertained a very favourable 
idea of their ardour and successes. As proof of this, it should 
be remembered that he gave to the Supreme Council the 
privilege of nominating to benefices and vacants Sees in 
Ireland. For this privilege they express their, acknowledg- 
ments, in a letter dated 13th June 1644, and addressed to 
their friend Father Luke Wadding, Eome : ** It hath pleased His 
Holiness, at your instance on our behalfe, to suspend the 
grant of any spiritual promocion or benefice within this 
kingdom other than to such persons as should be returned 
unto him with the marke of our recommendation. This 
was a resolucion very avayleable for us, and of great quiet 
to His Holiness, to whom doubtless many supplications would 
be presented for graunts of benefices, which yet are to be 
fought for, and on behalfe of such as had little other meritt 
than some powerful patronage." As might have been expected, 
there were many Irish Sees then vacant. Amongst those for 
which the Council desired to make immediate provision were 
those of Achondry, Ferns, Limerick, Kilmacduagh, and Boss. 
As the period was fruitful of ecclesiastics eminent for learning, 
piety, and patriotism, men who reflected honour on Church 
and country alike, they availed themselves of the Papal 
privilege just referred to ; and amongst the names forwarded, 
that of " Father Hugo de Burgo, of the Order of St. Francis," 
had the first place. " For the present wee have thought fitt, 
out of the certain knowledge wee have of the good life and 
abilityes well befittinge a pastorall charge of the under-named 
persons, to recommend them by you to His Holiness, that they 
be prefered respectively to the ensuinge miters and benefices : 
Fr. Hugo de Burgo, of the Order of St. Francis, now in 
Flanders, to the See of Achondry." Though De Burgo was 
recommended for the See of Achondry, we shall see that 
his appointment was to the See of Kilmacduagh in 1647. 

Even before the close of the year 1644, memorable for "the 
cessation of hostilities," Father Scarampi's political foresight 
was being amply verified. In Ulster, the Scotch Covenanters, 
under the command of Munroe, were largely reinforced. In 
Connaught, the troops commanded by Sir Charles Coote had 
perpetrated cruel massacres. O'Queely, the patriotic Arch- 
bishop of Tuam, was sent with a strong force to suppress those 
outrages. But the venerated prelate was surprised at Sligo, 

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after some slight successes, and slain, with many of the noblest 
and bravest of the West By his sad death, which was a source 
of sorrow throughout Ireland, the See of St. larlath was 
rendered vacant. But the anticipated elevation of John de 
Burgo to the Archiepiscopal See helped to console O'Queely's 
sorrowing flock. His " translation '' to Tuam, which seems to 
have been popular, was recommended by Rinuncini, a prelate 
remarkable alike for courage, energy, and ability, who had 
been just sent as Nuncio to Ireland by the new Pontiff, 
Innocent X. In a letter to the Holy See on the subject 
of his appointment, the Nuncio referred to him as '' a person 
of mature judgment and upright intentions, but a little 
slow in expressing himself, and has now a flux in his eye 
which may damage his sight." If this recommendation, which 
was written on the Ist of March 1646, may appear cautious, it 
should be remembered that in a subsequent report, written in 
August of the same year, the Nuncio's recommendation is 
more decided. *' I have," he says, '' nothing to add respecting 
Tuam, because the Bishop of Clonfert, from the six months' 
experience I have of him, seems every way worthy of pro- 
motion therein." 

The Nuncio had, however, on the same occasion expressed an 
opinion of Hugh de Burgo, which must be regarded as equally 
complimentary. He urged on the Holy See the desirability of 
his advancement to the episcopal dignity. And if he did not 
recommend his actual elevation to the Metropolitan See, it 
seems it was because he wished that a certain deference should 
be paid to the years of the elder brother. '' I knew in Paris 
his brother, Hugh de Burgo," writes the Nuncio, " who seemed 
to me, a person more active and decided. And I believe I 
recommended him in a case of a change of bishops, but not 
directly for Tuam, not to throw slight on his elder brother. 
Hugh has merits of his own, but they are materially aided by 
the merits of his brother John," etc. 

In another letter Hugh is directly referred to as a man of 
greater energy and activity than his brother. But that enerOT 
and activity was still employed in his coimtry's service on the 
Continent. Though his mission in the Low Countries had 
terminated, he was asked by the Supreme Council to accept 
the still more important mission of their representative at the 
court of Spain, and ascertain what his countrymen "had to 
trust to and what aid they had to expect from His Most 
Catholic Majesty Philip the Fourth." The Council felt deeply 
the labour and responsibilities which the new appointment 
involved, and they give clear expression to their consciousness 

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of those facts in a letter which they addressed to him from 
Kilkenny on the 12th January 1645. 

We think the letter of such importance that it may be 
quoted here in full : ^ — 

''Letter to Father Hugh Burke in Flanders and Spain, 
from Supreme Council. 

" Reverend Father, — Had wee not been assured, by almost a 
three years' constant testimony, how much you doe undervalue 
all particular respects, when the establishment of the Catholic 
religion and the freedome of our nation comes in question, 
wee should not now (when you have obliged us rather to looke 
after a rewarde for your merits, and to admit a man who 
enjoys but an uncertaine health to repose and quiet) have 
thrust you on new troubles; but when the occasions of the 
publick may not be manadged to the best advantage without 
you did attend them, wee have thought fitt to make use both 
of your tellent and fervor, and to entrust you with the manadge^ 
ment of our affaires in the Courts of Spaine, and to that end wee 
have sent you our commission, and letters of credence to His 
Catholic Majestic. 

" The motives are many that have induced us to take this 

" First, layinge aside the fitness of the person in his care and 
abilityes, wee have observed that the mocions of the Court 
wherein you reside are wholy governed by the influence of 
Spaine, and that you who knowe what may best be spared for 
our releefe in Flanders can sooner procure it by command from 
thence than by application to those ministers who doe regulate 
themselves by the direction they receive from Spaine. 

" Next, the ill success they have had in Flanders, and the 
destruction the taking of Gravelinge hath wrought upon their 
affairs there, make us hopeless of any present assistance from 
thence, and wee stand in such a condicion that wee may not be 
fedd with expectation; besides that we have not found any 
man that could make the right use of His Catholick Majesties 
good inclinacions towards us expressed in those wordes to his 
Majesties Secretary, who, upon delivery of the twenty thousand 
crownes unto Father James Talbot, said that his Catholic 
Majestic having commanded his Threasurer for the payment 
of that summe to our use, and the Threasurer makinge knowne 
unto him that His Majestic had little more left for his journey, 
said that he had rather himselfe his Queene and Children did 
» Gilbert's Hid, Ckmfed, vol. iv. p. 123. 

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want at that present than the Confederate Catholicks of Ire- 

" Thirdly, wee are given to understand that Father James 
Talbot, who formerly was employed by us in that Courte, is 
lately gone into Flanders without our consent or privitie, and 
may from thence repaire into Spaine, and make use of that 
authoritie wherewith he was once intrusted, notwithstandinge 
that it is our intencion he should no further intermeddle in our 

** Fourthly, wee doe not know howe it may be taken in the 
Court of Spaine, that wee have not a constant resident there. 

" These and many other motives highly conceminge the good 
of our cause have induced us to signify our pleasure unto you 
in this behalfe, and to send you our commission, and instruc- 
tions for the negotiacion. 

" Wee rest, etc. 

"Kilkenny, 12 Jan. 1645." 

The date of the commission referred to would show that it 
was issued at Kilkenny on the next day after the date of the 
foregoing letter. It empowers him to nominate his successors 
in Flanders and Germany, who were to be recognised as the 
only duly accredited agents of the Confederates in those 

" We doe therefore authorise the said Father Hugo, for us 
and in our name, to depute one or more discreet person or 
persons in his absence to solicitt and advance our affaires in 
Flanders and Germanic aforesaid, and to keepe correspondence 
with us, untill the said Father Hugo shall retoume, or that we 
authorise such person or persons, or any other by our express 
and immediate commission." ^ 

He also received a letter of detailed instructions set forth at 
considerable length under as many as seventeen headings, 
which were to guide his action, and which suggested the sub- 
jects which in the estimation of the Council were best calculated 
to enlist Spanish sympathy and support. 

At the very outset he was wisely cautioned to make himself 
perfectly familiar with court usages, and to ascertain the 
dominating influences there, before taking any steps whatever 
in promoting the objects of his mission. His first care should 
then be to put before His Majesty of Spain, as he had done at 
other courts, a detailed account of the cruel laws by which the 
Catholics of Ireland had been persecuted. He was also to 
represent the heroic fidelity with which they clung to their 
» Gilbert's KiA, Ckmfed. voL iv. p. 126. 

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faith, notwithstanding the severitj of their sufferings. Their 
churches were plundered, appropriated, or destroyed; their 
Church lands confiscated; and an unarmed and defenceless 
people subjected to barbarous cruelties without regard either 
to age or sex. 

His Majesty, they thought, should know that the recent 
uprising of the Irish Catholics against this organised injustice 
and oppression was marked with signal success, — so much so, 
that throughout the greater portion of the kingdom religion 
was once more perfectly free, and practised with the old 
accustomed pomp of a better past. He should also be in- 
formed that they were determined to accept no settlement as 
a final one which did not secure for the Church complete and 
lasting freedom. 

The advantages already secured were but the fruits of this 
uprising of the people. But those advantages could be made 
permanent and secure only by a successful resistance and a 
continuation of the war. But the country, exhausted by its 
struggle with its powerful enemies, was obliged to look abroad 
for resources to continue the fight. If, however, they were 
assured of the support of His Majesty of Spain, they were pre- 
pared to sacrifice all, even life itself, in the noble struggle in 
which they were engaged. 

Father Burke was to account for the armistice, as the 
Supreme Council feared it had created an unfavourable im- 
pression in Spain; and many reasons are assigned which he 
might urge in explanation. But there was one which he was 
specially charged '' not to omit^" and this special reason was 
" that they might gain tyme for obtaininge His Catholic 
Majestys ayde.'* 

He was also to refer to the then prevailing " Union of the 
Heretics in France, Germany, and Holland," whose anxiety 
for the defeat of the Irish Catholics was a matter of notoriety. 
So large a sum as £100,000 was recently given by a few private 
persons in Holland to support the " Scotch rebels of Ulster." 
And as the English Parliamentarians were iri sympathy with 
the Low Countries in their ambition and aims to cast off the 
Spanish yoke, their defeat in Ireland would prove a gain to 
Spanish interests. The Spanish navy would find safe harbours 
in Ireland, and Spanish merchants would find our country an 
inviting field for profitable commerce. 

Amongst some additional concluding instructions, he was 
advised to be " circumspecti and not to dishonour the nation in 
anything that may reflect thereon by way of craveinge or 

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' And, referring to the letters of iutroduction and credence 
which he received from the Council to the leading personages 
.of Spain, they add in conclusion : — 

" You are to peruse those letters, being for the most parte 
open, and by them you may finde out our purpose and the way 
wee take in our proceedings with those to whom the letters are 
directed." These letters were numerous, and addressed to 
princes and prelates of the highest rank and greatest influence, 
amongst whom we may mention **the Confessor of the 
King," the King's "Favourit," the "Secretary of State," the 
"Nuncio in Spain," the Cardinal de Borja, the "Chapter 
of Toledo," the clergy of Spain, the Duke of Newburg, 
Octavio Piccolomini, and others, " Commander of the Spanish 
army in Beloium." ^ 

Hugh de Burgo was on his way to Madrid, to enter on his 
onerous duties as Irish envoy there, when he met the Nuncio 
liinuncini at Paris, and left on His Eminence's mind those 
favourable impressions which have been recorded by the 
Nuncio himself. 

The recommendations for the vacant Irish Sees made by the 
Supreme Council were duly considered at Home. There were 
some appointments made, though the death of the Supreme 
Pontiff and the election of his successor occasioned a necessary 
interval of delay. Dr. Kirvan was consecrated Bishop of 
Killala, though Father Hugh de Burgo had been recommended 
for appointment to that See ; but the Confederates could but ill 
afford to lose his help on the new and important mission to 
which he was appointed as their delegate to Spain. Clonfert 
was vacant by the translation of his brother to the Archi- 
episcopal See of Tuam; and Kilmacduagh, rendered vacant 
by the death of Oliver de Burgo, was still unprovided for. 
But it was the Archbishop's wish that his brother should be 
appointed to Clonfert, and it would seem that he used all his 
great influence to attain this end. Father Hugh shared the 
Archbishop's views as to the greater desirability «of the Clon- 
fert appointment, but the opinion was not favourably enter- 
tained at Eome. The project was actively opposed by the 
Nuncio. He had in the previous year recommended Walter 
Lynch, Warden of Galway, for the See of Clonfert, and added 
that his elevation to that See " would tend to the good of the 
province." And as Dr. Lynch was highly esteemed, and 
regarded as a "good preadher and judge," it would be diflScult 
to object to the Nuncio's selection. Yet Dr. Lynch's appoint- 
ment to Clonfert proved a fruitful source of disappointment to 
» Gilbert's UiA, Confed. 

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the Archbishop. And though Hugh de Burgo was immediately 
appointed to Kilmacduagh,he too is charged, even by the Nuncio, 
with sharing his distinguished brother's opinion on the subject 
Indeed, the matter was made a subject of complaint in a letter 
addressed by Rinuncini to the Cardinal Protector of Ireland in 
1647. From this letter it is clear that the favourable estimate 
in which he had held their lordships but twelve months before 
was materially changed. He speaks of them as "represented 
to be haughty, and inclined to govern after their own fashion." 
It was perhaps premature to form such an estimate of Hugh 
de Burgo's character as the ruler of a diocese ; and as there then 
existed a complete estrangement between his brother and the 
Nuncio, unfavourable representations regarding him should be 
received with extreme caution. 

The new Archbishop's duties as " Chancellor " of the Con- 
federate Council brought him into daily contact with the 
Nuncio ; and the differences of opinion between them on the 
great subjects which then engrossed the attention of the 
country became daily more sharply accentuated. In the letter 
just quoted he is referred to as " one whom I have found, 
whenever an occasion arose, the stiffest and most obdurate of 
all the bishops in opposing my authority." The Archbishop 
was supported by his kinsman Clanricarde, whonow abandoned 
his " neutrality," as well as by the Anglo-Irish generally, who 
were unwilling to part with the Church plunder which recent 
legislation placed in their hands. The extent and the value of 
those possessions will be easily understood by the reader, when 
he remembers that the Earl of Clanricarde alone held the lands 
of the monasteries of Aughrim, Clontuskert, St. John's atTuani. 
Bosserelly, Kilcruenata, Loughrea, Kilbought, Annaghdown, 
Clonfert, and Meelick. He and the party which he represented 
would rest satisfied with the toleration of their religion. His 
estates in England were also extensive ; and his political influ- 
ence there must have been considerable, considering his close 
family connection with the Earl of Essex. He was a Koman 
Catholic, and the only Irish Soman Catholic who was per- 
mitted to hold any office of honour or trust from the crown. 
His influence with his Catholic fellow-countrymen was not 
much, though it could have been considerable. But Irishmen 
might not hope for much sympathy or active support from the 
son of the man to whom the defeat at Kinsale, but a generation 
before, was mainly attributable. Indeed, the Catholics feared 
his duplicity and selfishness. They sought him more through 
feelings of distrust than regard. 

As early as 1642, Lucas Dillon and the O'Connor Don waited 

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on his lordship at the Castle of Loughrea, aud formally invited 
him, on behalf of the Confederates, to aid in promoting the 
cause for which his co-rcligionists had taken up arms. They 
took occasion to remind hiui of what they represented as his 
Irish birth, meaning probably his connection with Ireland and 
his consequent duty to the country. Though his lordship was 
careful to " keep them in temper" and not " to contradict their 
opinion," the interview was fruitless. Referring to that inter- 
view in his note-book, he cynically remarks, "I was bom 
in Clanricarde House, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London." Lord 
Fingall and others appealed to him on the same subject, and 
explained to him their position and their prospects. And the 
writers add, though with probable insincerity, " There wantetli 
in this action no more but that your lordship will declare 
yourself for us, to make it happy and successful in the end." 
There was a special letter addressed to him by Lord Gormans- 
town, assuring him that the Confederates " will value beyond 
all respects the name of a zealous Catholic." On the 28th of 
November of the same yeitr he was appealed to by the Supreme 
Council. The letter was signed by Lord Mountgarrett, the 
Primate, his kinsman the Bishop of Clonfert, and many others. 
In this appeal he is asked '' to resist the injuries offered to 
religion and to God, and the indignities to which His Majesty 
the King was exposed." He received a copy of the circular 
addressed to all the gentlemen of Connaught, by which they 
were invited to join in the endeavour " to assure the liberty 
of their consciences and preserve the freedom of the kingdom." 
He was also appealed to by General Preston in a letter cha- 
racterised by the frankness of a soldier and the sentiments of 
a Catholic. Preston's concluding words M'ere well calculated 
to influence any less callous than the selfish Clanricarde. 
" Let it not be said in after ages that your lordship should so 
far degenerate from the worth of your ancestors, as to further 
the designs of the Parliament against God, your kindred, and 
your country ; but remember you are an Irishman, and if that 
the Irish be extirpated you must not expect to escape scot 
frea" But those appeals to Clanricarde on behalf of religion 
and country were made in vain. He continued to observe a 
neutrality which is mildly characterised by the Confederate 
Council as " stupide." But it was plainly insinuated that his 
neutrality was attributable to the dangerous influence of his 
country's enemies. He was in truth aistrusted by the Con- 
federates. Though addressing him in language that might 
please his self-esteem, they gave private orders to the military 
commander of the province to " have a wary eye " upon his 

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actions. The consequence was, a gradual decay of influence 
with the people, until he had " scarce men enough left whom 
he might trust with the defence of Loughreagh or Portumna." 
He sometimes pleaded his loyalty to the King, and sometimes 
also conscientious scruples regarding the oath of '' association/' 
as a justification of his neutrality. It was probably with a 
view to influence others that he issued a " monition " to the 
gentlemen residing in the several baronies of the diocese of 
Clonfert, requiring them to consult Oliver Burke, the then Vicar- 
General, concerning the proposed doubts. 

Amongst the stipulations of the oath, the following may be 
regarded aa specially important : — 

1. No peace should be accepted by the Confederate 
Catholics until its conditions had received t;he approval of a 
majority of the General Assembly. 

2. It should guarantee to Irish Catholics the same freedom 
as regarded the practice of their religion which their ancestors 
enjoyed under Henry VII. 

3. It should guarantee to the bishops and secular clergy 
the possession of all the churches and church livings, in as 
large and ample a manner as the Protestant clergy enjoyed the 
same on the 1st of October 1641, together with all the profits, 
etc., and rights of their respective Sees and churches belonging . 
as well in all places now in possession of the Confederate 
Catholics," etc. 

As was natural, the case of conscience was submitted by the 
Vicar-General to his then bishop. Dr. John de Burgo, who 
was also his brother. The following reply, authenticated by 
his lordship's signature, was immediately published : — 

'' I answer that the said gentlemen, etc., are bound, under 
pain of mortal sin, to take the oath of association thereunto 
required by their ordinary ; and are in their default liable to 
the censure of excommunication fulminated against obstinate 
refusers of such oath of association." 

The significance of this declaration, publi.<^hed by John de 
Burgo, must appear in a startling light, when, a few years 
subsequently, we find the severest censures of the Church 
hurled by the Nuncio against De Burgo, as Archbishop of 
Tuam, and his noble cousin, for an alleged violation of the 
stipulations of the oath. 

It was only when the growth of distinct parties appeared, 
and threatened to destroy the unity and strength of the 
Confederates, that Clanricarde abandoned his neutrality. He 
noted with satisfaction the growing estrangement between the 
Archbishop and the Nuncio. It was an opportunity which 

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developed, his activity and energies. And when at length the 
estrangement had developed into hostility, the Archbishop was 
supported by Clanricarde, who, in common with the Anglo- 
Irish generally, would not part with the Church plunder wMch 
they had secured. 

On the other side, with the Papal Nuncio, were the great 
majority of the bishops, secular priests, and people of Ireland, 
with their great and famous General O'Neil, determined to 
struggle on bravely till the ends proposed by the oath of 
association were attained. 

When, therefore, Hugh de Burgo returned to Ireland to 
take possession of the See of Kilmacduagh in 1647, it was to 
find the cause of his country, for which he had laboured so 
successfully, imperilled by divisions. Though yielding to his 
brother the Archbishop, it would seem that he understood 
the sad significance of those dissensions, and regarded with 
patient sorrow a state of things which he was powerless to 

After his consecration, the duties of his diocese seem to have 
almost exclusively engaged his attention. He found his cathe- 
dral church at Kilmacduagh much wrecked on the occasion of 
his accession. like many of the Irish cathedrals in the reigns 
of Elizabeth and James, which were not appropriated or 
entirely ruined, it had been long deserted and permitted to 
sink into decay. Under the stem enactments of the penal 
code, the Holy Sacrifice had ceased to be offered on the altars 
of St. Colman's Cathedral for a generation or more, and the 
Divine praises had ceased to echo through its aisles. But the 
deserted and decaying cathedral had the new bishop's earliest 
attention. So energetically, indeed, did he labour in the 
matter, that in 1649 the roof was nearly completed; and it 
was once more dedicated to Divine service. He had, indeed, 
many influential friends to aid in the good work. The 
O'Shaughnessys were still faithful to the old faith, and still 
regarded as the lay patrons of the cathedral. The Cromwellian 
despotism had not yet robbed the O'Heynes of all their estates 
at Lydecane and Kinvara ; and they, too, were devoted clients 
of their holy patron. But there resided in the diocese with 
these many of his lordship's influential Catholic relatives, whose 
castles remain to our time. But even with such powerful 
friends he could hardly have laboured without the most 
serious misgivings. The boom of Cromwell's cannon, already 
echoing ominously from east and south, must probably have 
sounded in his oars as the deathrknell of Catholic hopes. 
It was in. 1649. that the two Irish parties referred to, openly 

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ikianifested their hostility to each other. The Ormondists 
entered into a treaty of peace with Inchiquin, whose hands 
were yet reeking with the blood of his countrymen massacred 
at Cashel; but they did so in direct opposition to the Nuncio's 
authority. He regarded this " peace " as a gross betrayal of 
Irish Catholic interests, and as a violation of the oath of 
association. He was justly indignant at a course of action 
which he knew would be condemned by the Catholic nations 
6f Europe; a^id he therefore published sentence of excom- 
munication against those by whom the treaty was accepted. 
The publication of the interdict excited the active hostility of 
some of the most influential of -those against whom it was 
directed. Tlie -Kuiicio had to fly to Galway. Clanricarde was 
quick to avail himself of the opportunity. He accordingly 
assumed command of the ConnaXight. forces, and laid siege to 
the town, preventing the admissib'n of provisions either by sea 
or land. The Archbishop of Tuam also disregarded the inter- 
dict, and in supporting Clanricarde proved himself then, at 
least, " the most obdurate " in opposing the Nuncio. It was in 
vain that Einuncini had summoned the bishops to Galway. 
They were driven back by the Clanricarde and Inchiquin 
soldiera Dr. French and Dr. Plunket had indeed come close 
to the city ; but, finding with dismay that the Nuncio, opposed 
and deserted, had set sail from Galway, leaving the country to 
its impending doom, they repaired for hospitality to the castle 
of Sir Eoger O'Shaughnessy of Gort, a member of the Council. 
Well indeed might the prelates have assured their sympathetic 
host that " no greater misfortune could have befallen them " or 
their country. 

With terrible rapidity evidences of that misfortune appeared. 
Disasters of an appalling magnitude followed fast upon each 

A Synod was convened at Jamestown in 1650, for the 
purpose of devising some remedy for their sadly altered 

Ormond's policy was now condemned by the Synod. He was 
charged with being the cause of " losing the whole kingdom to 
God, the King, and the natives." He was asked to resign his 
position as Viceroy. And, finally, sentence of excommunica- 
tion was issued against him and his adherents. The acts of 
this Synod had the signature of John, Archbishop of Tuam. 
Considering the disregard of the Nuncio's censures manifested 
at Galway and elsewhere by Clanricarde and the Archbishop, 
we may assume that those of the Synod of Jamestown were 
lightly regarded by Lord Ormond. It was too late. A peace 

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with Cromwell, which was possible at one time, might have 
saved the country from carnage. But even that was rendered 
impossible by Ormond's duplicity. 

In less than a month after, another Synod was convened at 
Clonmacnoise. It was attended by the four archbishops, and 
by sixteen bishops, amongst whom was Dr. Hugh de Burgo. 
Appalled by the magnitude of the calamities by which the . 
nation was stricken, they would have their people appease the 
anger of Heaven by penance. The solemnity of their appeal, as 
shown by the official acts of the Synod, almost recalls the 
solemn and pathetic appeals of Jeremias to the Jews of old. 

The people were urged to engage in prayer and fasting to 
appease the wrath of Heaven, and to seek remission of their sius 
through the sacrament of reconciliation. The retirement of 
Ormond from Ireland in that year was " a gleam of sunshine 
breaking in on the gloom of despondency which hung over the 
nation." ^ The appointment of Clanricarde as Lord Deputy of 
Ireland, inspired some of the prelates and people with new 
hopes. But Clanricarde was neither a patriot nor a military 
leader. He had no sympathy with the people, nor with 
the bishops as a body. The hopes, therefore, inspired by 
his appointment were never to be realised. Writing of the 
event, Cardinal Moran says : * " There was great rejoicing at 
Loiighrea on the feast of the Purification, 1651, when the 
Lord Deputy ' in viceregal state assisted at High Mass in the 
Church of the Blessed Virgin. The sword of State was borne 
before him, the chief military officers accompanied him. The 
Archbishop of Tuam, with the Bishops of Killala, Kilmac- 
duagh, Limerick, Cork, Emly, Kilfenora, Down, and Clonfert, 
were there to do him honour; banners were displayed, con- 
jjratulatory addresses were presented, and the humiliations of a 
hundred years appeared to be forgotten in the tardy tribute 
to Catholic devotedness and loyalty. Those expressions of 
congratulation and joy were repeated in Galway on the 17th 
March, where he assisted with the same viceregal pomp at 
solemn Mass in the presence of the above-mentioned prelates. 
. . . But Clanricarde was found to pursue the same course as 
Ormond, . . . and disaster and ruin soon began to follow in his 
train." Even his negotiations with the Duke of Lorraine, 
which might have proved a source of protection to Irish 
Catholics, were marred by his arrogance and all-absorbing 

AH was. lost. In 1652 the Lord Protector's soldiers were in 

» Peraecviioru of Iruh CaihMcSy p. 199. « Ibid. 

* He had been created Marquis of Clauricaidc in 1645. 

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possession of the' chief Irish strongholds, and free to indulge 
without restraint their hatred of Ireland's creed and race: 
The churches were plundered, and the monasteries were 
wrecked, and the grossest barbarities of other days surpassed. 
Over three hundred priests were put to death ; and more than 
a thousand were driven into exila Hugh de Burgo was 
amongst those who had to fly. At the request of the bishops 
of his native province, he wrote from London to Eome, to make 
known the state of Ireland to His Holiness through the Cardinal 
Prefect of the Propaganda* The letter is quoted by Dr. Brady 
in his Ilpiscopal Succession, It is also published by Dr. Moran 
in his Specilegium. The light which it throws on the state 
of Ireland at that period may entitle it to be regarded as 
an interesting and appropriate conclusion to this somewhat 
lengthy sketch of Dr. Hugh de Burgo's chequered career. 

**0f the twenty-six bishops who, previous to the recent 
persecutions of the Church, resided with their flocks, four 
only, or at most six, now survive. As the rigours of persecu- 
tion allow no intercourse by means of letters between Ireland 
and parts beyond sea, I was sent hither to (London) by my 
colleagues in the province of Connaught, that I might from 
hence make known to His Holiness and to your Eminence 
the state of that province and the neighbouring parts. Also, 
before I departed from Ireland, Thomas, Archbishop of Cashel, 
was still then bedridden from old age, and the heretics, as I 
understand, dragged him from his bed, hurried him from 
Clonmel to Waterford, and put him on board a ship bound 
for Spain, without the food and commodities necessary for so 
old a man. By this cruelty the heretics sought to acconiplish 
the bishop's death, a penalty they were unwilling to inflict on 
him publicly within the kingdom, lest his martyrdom might 
prove a solace to the Catholics. After a most rigid inquisi- 
tion concerning all priests and ecclesiastics throughout the 
entire kingdom, a very great number of them fell into the 
hands of the heretics. They were all banished, and shipped 
on board of vessels bound for various parts, — Spain, France; 
Belgium, or the Indies, just as the opportunity of the vessels 
offered; and that without food or the necessary stores, after 
the heretics had taken all their goods and possessions for 
themselvea Not even a tenth part of the ecclesiastics 
escaped this inquisition, and they who did escape it lead 
now a life full of extreme misery in hiding-places in moun^ 
tains and forests. For the Catholics cannot aid themselves 
with loss of their chattels and farms. And lest this should 
happen, the goodoeclesiastics prefer to continue in the woods^ 

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and to suflfer every hardship rather than put Catholics to 
such risks. They lie concealed by day in caves, and in the 
mountains, and at night sally forth to watch for a few hours 
over the spiritual needs of Catholics. They are in great want 
of faculties, ordinary and extraordinary, which they humbly 
and earnestly request may be speedily sent to me by way of 
the Papal Nuncio, Paris, who will easUy sepd them on to me. 
Without those faculties many things happen which bring 
heavy discouragement to the people, and to the workmen of 
.the Lord's vineyard. In times of such most cruel persecutions 
of the Church, the spiritual consolations ought to be abundant. 
It would be hard to suffer extremes for the Church, if the 
Church refused to compassionate the sufferers. This hardship 
.will be removed by your Eminence, by your zeal for the 
salvation of so many souls." 

The terrible events which followed the Nuncio's departure 
from Galway came with appalling rapidity. Clanricarde 
opened the gates of Galway to the victorious Puritans on the 
12th May 1652. The city was then stricken with famine. 
Pestilence as well as famine spread over the surrounding 
districts, carrying away vast numbers of the population, '' so 
that the severest vengeance of Heaven seemed to have been 
poured out on town and country." * When we add to this 
the furious persecutions to which the unfortunate Catholics 
were subjected, we have a picture probably without a parallel 
in history. 

Dr. Hugh de Burgo had sought refuge in the city of Galway 
with his brother the Archbishop and other prelates, and bore 
the hardships of the siege " with heroism."^ It was only when 
the city was about to capitulate that he effected his escape. In 
1656 he passed over to England, leaving his native land for . 
ever. Cardinal Moran tells us that there, '^ under the protection 
of some powerful friends, he administered confirmation, and 
promoted piety among the scattered children of the Church 
till his death, which took place about the year 1656." And, 
speaking of his character. His Eminence adds: "He was 
remarkable for his ability in administration, and skill in 
languages, and had held with distinction high parts among 
his Franciscan brethren in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Bohemia, 
and other countries of Europe." 

* Hardiman, Oalway, * Penecutums of Irish Cathdia. 

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Dr. Kirwan'8 tribute to the cliaracter of Sir Rooer CShaugbnessj— 
He supports the Confederates as Lieutenant-Colonel — His son raises 
a troop of fifty men — Gal way betrayed— Dominick Bodkin, Nichola9 
French, and Kichaid Kirwan rewarded for their "good services" — 
The Castle of Gozt besiesed by Ludlow->He shoots forty inmates 
and bums the casUe — OrShanshnessy's property confiscated — Red- 
mond Burke of Kilcoman ana Edmond Meyler Burke of Moyode 
deprived of their lands — The Taylors get possession of the castle 
and lands of Castle MacGrath— Lady Clanricarde, restored to Kilcolgan 
Castle by Charles, is again expelled— The castle given to Captain 
Moimi — Clanricarde and O'Shanghnessy restored— How Dnnkellin 
and Kiltartan were transplanted — Sir Itoger O'Shaughnessy's will — 
Exile of Rev. J. Fahy, O.P., and Rev. Wilham de Burgo,0.f.— Their 
character and career. 

Clankicarde's position after the Cromwellians became masters 
of Gal way may help to illustrate the extent to which the old 
chieftains and proprietors were affected by the defeat of the 
Royalists. And we shall see hereafter that treason to the King 
had a large share in that surrender. 

The Lord Deputy's residence at Tirellan, near Galway, was 
taken possession of by Sir Charles Coote. Henry Cromwell 
took possession of Clanricarde's castle at Portumna, with 6000 
acres of his estates there. In 1658, Richard Cromwell was 
proclaimed Lord Deputy of Galway,* and all Papists were 
soon banished from the town; "for that noe Irish were 
permitted to live in the city, or within three miles thereof." * 

Many leading Royalists fled, as did Clanricarde. to share the 
fortunes of their royal master abroad. O'Shaughnessy, for a 
period at least, stood high in Clanricarde's favour, but after- 
wards co-operated bravely with the Confederates at Kilkenny, 
and with the Royalists who rallied to the defence of the 
capital of the West. ^ How high he stood in general esteem, 
may be best inferred from the following quotation from 
Lynch.' Refening to the visit paid by the saintly Dr. 
Kirwan to the castle at Gort, he tells us that Sir Roger 
O'Shaughnessy presented the prelate on the occasion with a 

> Hardiman, Galway^ p. 139. * Cromurellian Settlement, p. 153L 

• Vita Kiwvani, 

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large sum of money, which he declined to accept, however. 
He also forbade his chaplain to accept the baronet's generous 
gift. " Nor did he accept the munificence of a similar character 
exhibited to him bj fioger O'Shaughnessy, a most noble 
knight, and second to no one in the whole Province of 
Connaught for hospitality and liberality, — second, I say^ to no 
one save the Marquis of Clanricarda This Eoger O'Shaugh*- 
nessy was most lavish of hospitality and gifts, — so much so, 
that that well-known epigraph, * Let this door be ever open, 
and never closed to an honest man,' might be aptly inscribed 
on his gate. He was well worthy of his great progenitor, 
Guaire, King of Connaught, who was so famed for hospitality, 
that when we would describe great liberality, we are wont 
to say, ' Such a man is more munificent than Guaire.' " 

The Bishop of Eillala's reason for declining the gifts offered 
to him was, that he pitied him in con^mou with other nobles 
''whose fortunes and reverses had sustained considerable 
diminution, and he knew right well they could not afford to 
indulge in the customs of other times." 

From the letter referred to in a preceding page, addressed 
from Fiddane Castle to his daughter, Mrs. Donovan of Castle 
Donovan, it is evident that Sir Koger anticipated the dangers 
that were then imminent. Addressing his "verie lovinge 
daughter " on the subject of her troubles, he writes : " As for 
your troubles, you must be patient as well as others ; and for 
mv part I taste enough of that fruit. God mend it amongst us 
all, and send us a more happye tyme." But the more "happye 
tyme " was slow to come. 

In combating those troubles in the early part of the Con- 
federate movement, we find the Marquis of Clanricarde bearing 
high testimony to his character and worth. 

"I could not let so much worth," he writes, "pass from me 
without giving your lordship notice that in his person (Sir R 
O'Shaughnessy), his son and his followers, he hath constantly, 
and with much constant affection, been present and assisting 
to me in all my proceedings and endeavours for His Majesty's 
service." He held a captain's commission in the royal troops.^ 
His brother William was likewise a captain in Clanricarde's 
levy; and his character and loyalty obtained from the 
Corporation of Galway, in 1648, a vote that "Lieutenant- 
Colonel William O'Shaughnessy, in consideration of his 
alliance in blood to the whole town, and for the consideration 
and affection that he and his whole family do bear to it, and his 
posterity, shall be hereafter free of their guild." In 1650, Sir 
^ KiMj Jameit Army Lid^ p. 328. 

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Soger died, transmitting to his son the same strong attachment 
to the cause of King and country. 

We find that his son and representative, Sir Dennot 
0*Shaughnessy, had raised a troop of fifty men in Clanricarde's 
regiment He married the lady Joan, daughter of Lord 
Barrymore, and had two sons, Soger and Cormac 

The siege of Gal way lasted "forty weeks," when it sur- 
rendered to the Cromwellian troops on the 12th of April 1652.^ 
And whatever may be said by Hardiman and others of the 
heroism of its defence, it is undeniable that the surrender was 
owing in a great measure to the treason of some of its 

" That there were traitors within the walls," writes Hardi- 
man in Iwr Connaught? " appears from a State letter." The 
** State letter " referred to was addressed to the " Commissioners 
for adjusting the claymes of the Irish at Athlone," and is as 
follows : — 

'' Dublin Castle, lOth May 1656. 

"The Council having of late received testimony of 
singular good services performed by Mr. Dominick Bodkin, 
Mr. Nicholas Oge French, and Bichard Kirwan, inhabitants of 
the town of Galway, for and in behalfe of the English interest 
during the late rebellion, not a little conducinge, as we are 
informed, to the advantage of the State, though 'tis probable 
they had by such ample testifying of their affections to the 
English, prejudiced their private interests, and contracted a 
malice from those of their own nacion, among whom they are 
now to live, which may prove dangerous to them," etc. 

The editor adds, " These men were accordingly recompensed 
for their singviar good services** 

The Gort Castle was situated on the highway between 
Galway and Limerick. It could not, therefore, easily escape 
the Cromwellian leaders, who knew its owner's high character. 

The defence of Galway required O'Sh^ughnessy's presence 
in 1651, with his most experienced men. On his departure, 
however, he left his castle in charge of some tenants and a few 
soldiers under command of an Englishman named Foliot. 
Ludlow in that year appeared before the castle. The little 
garrison refused to capitulate, and bravely awaited the assault. 

The castle, as is well known, occupied the site of the 

* Hardiman's Galtcay, p. 133. 

* P. 4^,. and Appendix, p. 244. 

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present military barracks at Gort. The officers' quarters on the 
island occupy the site of the castle, while the mansion stood 
where the men's quarters now stand. On the eastern side it 
was protected by the river, the current of which is sometimes 
deep and strong there. On the other sides it was surroimded 
by a fortification about 12 feet high, with a trench on the 
outside. The Parliamentarians, who, it would seem, had no 
artillery on the occasion, rushed for the fortifications, and 
with their scaling-ladders easily gained the castle courtyard. 
Under a well-directed fire they drove the inmates from the 
lower apartments of the castle, and succeeded in forcing an 
entrance through a window, which stood close to the ground. 
Foliot rushed sword in hand to meet the enemy. But, while 
bravely struggling with his adversary, he was overpowered by 
numbers and slain. Meantime the victors set fire to every- 
thing inflammable in the castle, so that the unfortunate inmates, 
many of them women and children, were obliged to sue for 
mercy. It is said there were eighty in all, together with 
women and children. Ludlow admits that, " being pressed by 
his officers that some of the principal of them might be 
punished with death for their obstinacy, he consented to their 

In Mr. Gilbert's valuable publications regarding the Crom- 
wellian period, we find in voL vi. p. 239, a shorter narrative 
of the siege of Gort Castle, which may be quoted here : — 

" The Lieutenant-General taking leave of the Lord President, 
he was in his turn affronted by those in the Castle of Gortinsi, 
belonging to Sir Boger Shaghnus, trusting to the strength of 
the place. Our horse and dragoons, notwithstanding their not 
having anything but their armes convenient for a storm, yet 
fired the place. After long and great dispute, about forty of 
the rebels were slain in the storm, and after forty were shot, 
the castle was burnt, but the house preserved." 

This narrative differs in nothing important from the pre- 
ceding and more lengthened account, taken from the 
Appendix of Mr. Blake Foster's Struggle for the Crown. The 
]ord of Gortinsiguaire was soon after obliged to fly from the 
country and share his master's fortunes abroad, while his 
property was declared confiscated to the Covenanters. 

Local tradition has it that the wreck of the fine old De 
Burgo castle at Ballinamantane was also the work of Ludlow's 
troops, and probably at the same time that Gort Castle was 
seized. The picturesque ruins of the shattered battlements and 
ruined keep of this fine old De Burgo fortress may still be 
seen casting its shadow upon the waters of the Gort river, where 

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it sinks to pursue its undeiground course to Goola It be- 
longed to Captain William Mac Redmond Burke, whose fidelity 
to the royal cause seems to have been equally ruinous to his 
family, as to his kinsmen the Mac Sedmonds of Kilbecanty 
and the Mac Huberts of Iser Kelly. 

We also find that '' Bedmond Burke of Kilcornan, in the 
county of Galway," was specially mentioned amongst those 
who, in Crom weirs Act for " settling Ireland," were " excepted 
from pardon for life and estate."^ We can have no doubt that 
the fidelity of the family of Kilcoman to the Confederate cause 
was the cause of this specially severe enactment 

Nor were the few proprietors who were permitted to retain 
nominal possession of their estates much more fortunate. 

Mr. Prendergast, in his Crormvellian Settlement,^ tells us of 
the case of Edmond Meyler Burke of Moyode, in the county of 
Galway, which shows clearly the character of the tenure by 
which property was held at the time. This gentleman, who 
was owner of "Moyode and other lands in the county of 
Galway, within four miles of Loughrea, gave way to Philip 
Fitzgerald, a transplanter from Munster, and became tenant 
to hiuL for a part of his inheritance." The recklessness with 
which properties exchanged hands at this period, speaks 
strongly of a sense of insecurity of tenure ; and sometimes also, 
perhaps, of a sense of the injustice of the title by which they 
were acquired. We read of a "considerable property which 
was purchased for a silver tobacco-stopper and broadsword." • 
In another instance, a Cromwellian trooper accepted for the 
lands conferred on him for his services to the Lord Protector, 
" five Jacobuses (£5) and a white horsa" 

Even in the early part of the seventeenth centuiy, we have 
record of a curious case of the sale of property possessing a 
local interest In 1612 a deed of sale was efi'ected by Donogh 
O'Daly of Finievara. By this deed he transferred "certain 
premises in Finievara, with royalties over and under ground," 
as his proportion of the estate of Finievara held by the O'Daly 
family from the. Earl of Thomond, to Anthony, a Galway 
merchant, for f* six pounds of pure crown stamped money of 
England." Those Galway merchants soon after became the 
owners of. a considerable portion of the lands of Eilmacduagh 
and of the County Galway. During the Cromwellian period 
there was but little to control the rapacity of the dominant 

We take from the pages of Mr. Cronnoly the following 

* Dalton's King Javuifft Army Lid^ p. 513. * P. 163. 

• Croker's Notes to MacaruB Excid, p. 126. 

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interesting instance of local transfer of property at the period : 
" Another branch of the Mac Graths had some possessions in the 
vicinity of Kinvara, in the district of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, 
County Galway. Of this branch the chnrch of Kinvara was 
the burial-place, and until late years this sacred edifice, the 
foundation of St. Coman, of whom mention is made in the 
ancient tale known as the * Imramh,' or expedition of the 
sons of Ua Carra, was exclusively the place of interment 
of the Mac Graths and O'Heynes. * The possessions of the Hy 
Fiachrian Mac Graths lay around Ballymagrath,near Ardrahan. 
But the proprietors thereof having taken an active part in 
the disturbances of 1641-49, the lands of Ballymagrath and 
Eilteman were granted by Cromwell to the family of Taylour 
or Taylor."! 

The castle still remains, annexed to the comparatively modem 
residence which is noW known as " Castle Taylor." The castle 
and property remained in possession of the family to our time. 
Albinia Hester, daughter and heiress of Sir John Taylor, 
married in 1825 Francis Manly Shaw, who took the name of 
Taylor in compliance with the will of his father-in-law. His 
son is present owner of the family estates. 
• The family is noticed by Dr. Pococke in his T(mT in Irdand, 
1752. Referring to his journey from Galway to Gort, he says : 
" On my way to this place ... I had a view of the house of Mr. 
Walter Taylor, whom I had seen in Galway. He is above four- 
score years old, and told me he had seen about 460 descended 
from his father, and several great-grandchildren. He rode lately 
irom Dublin to Turloghmore in one day, which cannot be less 
than 60 English measured miles. As his passion has been to 
encourage a good breed of horses, so . at this time he is a 
constant attender of all diversions in this country relating to 
the improvement of that noble animal." 

This Walter Taylor held under lease from the Bishop of 
Clonfert three quarters of land, or 360 acres, around Balmac- 
duagh. This appears from a certain deed dated February 1780, 
which is still preserved in the Deeds Office, Dublin. The 
Kilmacduagh Church lands have, however, become Taylor 
property since then. And as Walter Taylor was eighty years old, 
or more, in 1752, the purchase was not made by him. But as 
it is certain that his son, John Taylor, was owner in fee of those 
lands, it may be assumed that he was the purchaser. 

But even when the Restoration cam6, it brought but little 
redress to Catholic proprietors. As Mr. Prendergast forcibly 
puts it : " At the Restoration the Protestants were restored at 
* Hiitonf of the Daleas, p. 394. 

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once." Catholics might have also hoped for some recognition 
of their loyalty. They too might have justly expected to be 
restored to the properties of which they were plundered for 
their fidelity to the crown. Yet the recognition of those claims 
which His Majesty was pleased to show, was contained in a 
declaration to the effect that '' while the Protestants should be 
allowed to retain all they gained, the Catholics would be 
restored to all they had lost" ^ This oracular pronouncement 
might bring some comfort to any Catholic who did not know 
the extent to which Catholic estates had passed to Protestant 
owners during the recent confiscations. 

As an instance of such restorations as did take place under 
royal favour, I may refer to the restoration of the Marchioness 
of Clanricarde " to the castle and bawn of Kilcolgan, her only 
jointure house in Ireland." ^ She was widow of the late Lord 
Deputy, the fifth Earl of Clanricarde, and daughter of William, 
Earl of Northampton. 

Her estates and castle at Kilcolgan had been in the posses- 
sion of Patrick French of Monivea. But, as we are informed 
by Mr. Prendergast, "Patrick French was forced from his 
ancestral castle at Monivea, in the county of Galway, to an 
assignment on part of the Clanricarde estate, in order to make 
way for Lord Tiimleston, banished from his manor near Trim. 
... In 1660, Patrick French lost his lands on the Clanricarde 
estate by the Marchioness's restoration ; yet he could not regain 
Monivea; for, though Lord Trimleston got a decree to be 
reinstated in his castle at Trimleston, the adventurer in pos- 
session could not be compelled to resign it till he was given a 
reprise of lands as good as he had got; and Patrick French 
and his wife and daughters wandered about houseless, until 
Lord Trimleston died at Monivea on the 17th September 1667." 

When the Marchioness of Clanricarde was restored to the 
castle and estates at Kilcolgan, she might naturally expect such 
protection in possession as the Lords Justices of Ireland could 
give ; yet we find that after a short tenure she was dispossessed 
by force. " Five soldiers, under command of Captain Brice of 
the garrison of Galway, on the night of the 7th August 1662, 
got over the wall of the bawn, and burst into a house Where 
two of the servants slept, in charge of the castle for the 
Marchioness, and drove them out, and carried away the doors, 
and broke the angles, making it uninhabitable, and forcibly 
detained it, in contempt of the order in Council" Such an 
instance, historically authenticated as this is, is sufficient to 

- * OroTMoeUian Settlement^ p. 16. 

* Prendergasts Irela^ulfrom 1660 to 1690. 

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sih'ow the effect of the Cromwellian triumph in the district. 
And when, a few years after, Captain Morgan became the 
owner of the castle and lands, it maj well be assumed that 
the transfer was effected on exceedingly favourable terms. 

" But there were thirty-four of the Irish nobility and gentry 
whom King Charles, on his restoration, regarded as worthy of 
his particular favour. He therefore directed that they should, 
without the trouble of further proof, be restored to their formei^ 
estates, according to the rules and directions given in the case 
of such as had faithfully served under His Majesty's ensigns 
abroad." ^ On this list the name of the Marquis of Clanricarde 
had the first place, while we find that of Sir Dermot O'Shaugh- 
nessy occupy the twenty-sixth placa He was therefore imme- 
diately reinstated to the possession of his castle at Gort, but 
only to two thousand acres of his ancestral property. We also 
find on the list the name Captain William Mac Redmond Bourke. 
It can therefore be fairly inferred that the Cromwellian settle** 
ment in the diocese of Kilmacduagh was in character with its 
terrible history through the country generally. 

Though many of the O'Heyne family still occupied positions 
of some prominence in 1641, most of their territory had even 
then passed to other hands. 

Mr. Prendergast throws some additional light on the extent 
to which the depopulated district was affect^ by the " settle- 
ment " projected by the Cromwellians. As far as the official 
arrangement for the settlement was concerned, the half baronies 
of Leitrim and Loughrea were set aside for the inhabitants of 
Waterford and limerick. The reader will remember that the 
diocese of Kilmacduagh includes a portion of the Loughrea 

" The inhabitants of the counties of Cork and Wexford were 
to be transplanted into the baronies of Dunkellyn and Kil^ 
tartan."^ And though Burren belongs to Kilfenora, it will 
not be out of keeping with our narrative to add that they were 
the people of Kerry who were to be transplanted thither. 

The descendants of many of the transplanted Irish in Kil- 
tartan and Dunkellin may, we think, be still identified by their 
family names. The following, which we have no difficulty 
in recognising as Cork tribe names, are very numerous:' 
O'Mahony, Murphy, O'liCary, Collins, Coppinger, Duggan, 
Coleman, Mac Carthy, G'Began, Roche, Halloran, O'Shea, 
O'Herin (Duhallow), O'Hely (Muskerry), Mac Sweeny (Mus- 
kerry), Carew (West Carbery). The following Wexford tribe 

» Bam of the FaUh in Ireland, p. 435. 
? Cromtcillian Settlmenif p. 100. 

* Connellan'8 Four Masters 

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names are also frequently met with in both baronies : Doyle, 
Garry, Prendergast, Walsh, Cavanagh, Larkin,- Nolan. It 
should, however, be remembered that " care was taken " by the 
Government, '^ that the several septs^ clans, or families of one 
name removing should be as far as possible dispersed into 
several placea" * Like other garrison towns,* so in the case of 
Gort one hundred acres around the town were " still reserved " 
by the Government. 

The penalty of transplantation, sternly enforced against all 
the Irish septs, was rendered by circumstances dreadful in the 
last degree. Scourged all through the few preceding years 
almost simultaneously by war, famine, and pestilence, the 
country was little better than a desolate waste. So hard were 
the wretched natives pressed, that they were known not only 
to have eaten horse-flesh eagerly, but to have fed even on 
human flesh. Even the agents who should have helped to 
place the transplanted in possession of their assignments, 
delayed doing so until their co-operation was purchased by 
large bribes. But in the many cases in which the unfortunate 
transplanted were unable to ofier a bribe, they were obliged to 
give those agents part of their lands as remuneration. After 
robbing the transplanted in this way of a portion of their lands, 
they frequently purchased the remainder of their allotments 
'' at two and sixpence per acre, and, at the utmost, five shil- 
lings." ^ Those who profited chiefly by those nefarious trans- 
actions were the Cootes, the Kings, the Binghams, the Coles, 
the St Georges, the Ormsbys, the Lloyds, and the Gores. The 
Connaught proprietors were of course plundered to make room 
for their plundered fellow-countrymen of the other provinces 
who were transplanted ; while the transplanted, plundered of 
all they possessed at home, were, on their arrival in Connaught, 
again plundered by the Government officials of money, and often 
even of their assignments of land. 

But though O'Shaughnessy was restored, he did not long 
survive his good fortune. He died in the year 1673. His 
will, which is dated the 29th January 1671,* is a curious 
document. Its provisions throw some light on the customs 
and tone of the period, and may therefore be referred to here. 
It will be seen that they also reflect in a striking manner the 
truly Catholic and religious spirit of the testator. 

Its first provision is a direction that his remains be laid with 
those of his ancestors in the family vault of the cathedral 
church of " Kill M*Duagh." The ancestral tomb, with the family 

* OromtoeUian Settlement, p. 148. * Ibid. 

» Ibid. p. 167, < Hy Fiachraek, p. 382. 

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. WRier still well preserved, in the O'Shaughnessy chapel there, 
has been already described in those pages. The next provision 
of the will is for the immediate celebration of Masses for his 
soul's repose : 

" I doe order that my son and heir shall cause fyve hundred 
and fewer skore Masses to be said or celebrated for my soule 
immediately after my death." 

While bequeathing to his younger son some stock, with a 
certain mortgage, he betrays a little of the pride of the old 
chieftain in bequeathing ''all his plate and household stuff" to 
his eldest son and heir," charging both to live ** in brotherly 
affection amongst themselves, without animosity or contention." 

To his youngest son he also bequeathed ''his stuffe coat 
with gold buttons and his rapier." A piece of grey frieze is 
bequeathed to Edmond O'Heyne ; while a piece of grey broad- 
cloth is bequeathed to Father J. Molony, on condition that he 
celebrate some Masses for his repose. 

An additional singular provision of this will is the bequest 
of a gold diamond ring to James Devenisse for himself, on 
condition that he say " one hundred rosaries for his soule." 

With these there were additional legacies " left for his soule 
for some of the clergy." There are twelve priests named 
for those specific l^acies. The Dominicans in Galway, the 
Augustines in Galway, and the convent of "Inish," were 
similarly favoured. 

In November 1655, Goote issued a proclamation at Galway 
regarding priests and " fryars." By this proclamation he 
required "that the priests or fryars now imprisoned within 
the town that are above the age of forty years be forthwith 
banished into France, Portugal, and other neighbouring king- 
doms in amity with this Commonwealth ; and that the rest of 
the priests that are under the age of forty years be forthwith 
shipped away for Barbadoes or other the American plantations." 
Should any of the exiles presume to return, they exposed them- 
selves to capital punishment. 

This proclamation cannot be regarded as at all exceptional 
as regards Galway. Its provisions were being rigorously 
enforced against the priests and religious of the country. 
Everywhere the churches and religious houses were plundered 
and wrecked, and the priests obliged to choose between exile, 
imprisonment, or death. Amongst the exiled fathers were Rev. 
J. O'Fahy and Kev. William de Burgo, who deserve to receive 
a passing notice here. 

William de Burgo was a member of the family of the ancient 
Mac Hubert Burkes of Iser Kelly, in the diocese of Eilmacduagh. 

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Referring to his lineage, the author of Hibernia Dofninioanek 
speaks of him as " Clams familia." ^ But, distinguished as he 
was hy parentage, he was still more distinguished as a membef 
of the Dominican Order, for which he prepared himself in early 
life. Having made his studies in Spain, he returned to Ireland. 
The ancient convent at Athenry stood close to his native 
diocese, and here he constantly edified his brethren by the 
fervour and austerity of his life. He wore sackcloth, and 
habitually used the discipline. In 1650 he was driven forth 
from his beloved convent, and obliged to seek refuge in a 
foreign country. He went to France, and spent the remainder 
of his life in a convent of his order at Yienne, where he died 
A.D. 1665. The Acts of a Provincial Council of his Order, held 
at '' Castell^e," bear testimony to his remarkable sanctity. 

Father John OTahy was another distinguished member of 
the Dominican Order at Athenry, and a man who, in that evil 
period, proved himself a brave and holy confessor of his faith. 
As it 13 extremely probable that he was by parentage or kindred 
of the sept by whom the Kilthomas districts of Xilmacduagh 
were then held as owners in fee, he may be fittingly referred 
to here. 

He made his early studies in Italy, and with marked success. 
On his return to Ireland, he was appointed professor of 
philosophy at Athenry. Soon afterwards he was entrusted 
with the important duties of prefect of studies and professor 
of theology there, and won for himself general approval by the 
manner in which he discharged the duties of those important 

He was also an eloquent preacher, and on Sundays and holi- 
days multitudes flocked from the surrounding districts to hear 
his fervid and powerful addresses. The fame of his sanctity 
was as widely known as his eloquence and learning, for his life 
was not only a life of labour, but idso a life of severe mortifica- 
tion. He loved to wear the poorest habit, and usually travelled 
on foot wherever his duties called him. 

In estimating the importance of the position of professor 
and prefect of studies discharged at Athenry by OTahy, it 
should be remembered that it had been a short time previously 
constituted a University College by a General Chapter of the 
Dominican Order held at Rome, A.D. 1644. The other convents 
of the order sharing the same privileges were at Dublin, 
Limerick, Cashel, and Culrahane. 

Father O'Fahy did not shrink from taking part in the con- 
troversies of that, troubled period. He proved himself to be a 
* Hib. Dom. pp. 276, 576. 

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consistent advocate of the Nuncio's views, as he was a sup^ 
porter of his wise policy. Yet he never forfeited the esteem 
and respect of any section of his countrymen. 

The storm of Cromwellian persecution raged fiercely against 
the Dominicans of Athenry. In 1651, Vincent Gerald Dillon 
was imprisoned for his faith, and, after protracted sufferings, he 
gained the crown of martyrdom. 

In 1652, John O'Cullen, a man eminent for eloquence and 
exemplary piety, was also beheaded for the faith. Such were 
glorious examples to encourage and sustain. When at length 
it became necessary for the subject of this notice to make his 
choice, he, like De Burgo, went into exile. He returned to 
Italy, and at Viterbo he spent the remaining years of his life. 
He died there, A.D. 1665. 

As regards the episcopal succession, it only remains to be 
noticed that from the death of Hugh de Burgo in 1663, the 
see of Kilmacduagh was governed by Vicars for some years. In 
our next chapter we shall be able to notice the appointment 
of a Vicar-Apostolic in the year 1677, though nominated in 


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Bj the ^^Appldtment" of Sir Roger (yShaughnessj and others, Qalway 
contributes £2410j 15b. dd. monthly toward the maintenance of King 
James — Sir Roger dies at Gort ten dars after the Kin^s defeat at the 
BoTne — Oalway besieged — De Oinkjie places Captain Morgan at 
Kilcolgan — He intercepts Luttrell's supplies for Galway^Captain 
Marcos French and Arthur French betray the town — They acquire 
property in Kilmacduagh — Roebuck French of Dunis— Patrick French 
of Ologh — James French — His daughter marries De Basterot, 
President of Bordeaux Parliament, 1770 — Their family at Durus-^ 
The Frenches of Tyrone and Rahasane — Lamberts of Aggard and 
Oreg Clare acquire property — Royal grants to Dean Dudley Persse — 
The Martins of Tullvra permitted to retain their property — Rev. 

' Thomas-deBuiso of Cloghcroke exiled — His career— Ke v. Edward de 
BuTgo of Cahitiorvace, O.P. — His career and writings — The Registra- 
tion Act — Episcopal succession. 

The eflforts made to destroy our people during the Crom- 
wellian occupation, exceed in cruelty and atrocity anything 
recorded in the history of civilised nations. Yet 500,000 Irish 
Catholics survived it all, who in less than two hundred years 
were destined to number millions. The Restoration brought 
them new hopes and filled them with a new enthusiasm. It was 
indeed an enthusiasm but little justified bj their experience 
of the faithless house of Stuart And when James, a Catholic 
king, threw himself on the loyalty of his Irish Catholic subjects, 
this enthusiasm nerved the remnant of our Catholic people to 
new eflforts, seldom equalled, never perhaps surpassed, in the 
history of our country. As soon as the royal fugitive unfurled 
his standard upon our shores, the Irish Catholics, who owed 
their ruin maiidy to the falsehood of his fathers, rallied round 
it with a promptitude that was marvellous, considering the 
sufferings they had so recently endured. It was at Aughrini 
that the West put forth all its powers for a supreme effort for 
the country, and for a king, then a convicted coward and a 
fugitive. Though the power of the Irish chieftains had passed 
away for ever, yet their names still retained much of the old 
influence, and so the remnant of the clans rallied round them 
once more for a supreme effort for freedom. 

French battalions, who were Celts like themselves, and, like 


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them, haters of England, had come to help them to shake M)ff 
the galling yoke of their plunderers and persecutors. With iha 
rojal assent, arrangements were made to raise the large revenue 
of £20,000 per month, '' according to the ancient custom of this 
kingdom in time of danger." ^ Amongst those appointed to aid 
tlie High Sheriff of Galwaj, Sir Ulick Bourke, to fix the pro- 
portionate amount for Galway, we find Sir Soger O'Shaughnessy 
holding first place. We also find that their " applotment " waa 
fixed at the high figure of £2410, 15s. 3d. for three months.' 
O'Shaughnessy had married in 1688 the Lady Helena, daughter 
of Lord Clare (Connor O'Brien), by whom he had a son, after- 
igrards celebrated on the Continent as Colonel William O'Shaugh- 

Sir Roger took his place at the Boyne in the regiment of Lord; 
Clare, his father-in-law, to support his King. Though not 
wounded in that memorable engagement, he returned to Gort 
in failing health,' and died on the 11th of July 1690, ten daya 
after his return, some said of a broken hefirt ; and when, soon; 
after, the clansmen of Kinel Aedh followed their leaders to 
Aughrim, we find it said that they carried with them to the 
battlefield from Kilmacduagh the relics of their holy patron, 
St Colman Mac Duagh. 

Dr. Pococke is responsible for this statement, and, writing 
aA he did so soon after the event as 1752, and from informatioa 
got in person at Kilmacduagh, there may not be great reason, 
to doubt his testimony. 

' Beferring to the position of the Kilmacduagh cathedral, he 
observes, in the narrative of his visit there : " To the west is a 
small cell,^ where they say the patron was buried, and that the 
l)ody was afterwards carried to Agherrim." We find the state- 
ment repeated in the notes to the Monastiwn Hibemicon. It 
ia not our purpose to refer to the result at Aughrim, where all 
was lost save the nation's honour. , 

The victorious De Ginkle lost no time in following up hi? 
triumph. He prepared to march at once against Galway, the 
capital of the West, anticipating the resistance that could be 
offered to his forces there. To cut off supplies from the city 
in the meantime was a matter of supreme importance, as Si 
prolonged defence of Galway would have given time to the 
Scattered forces of the country to rally once more for action^ 
(ind might have brought strong reinforcements from abroad, 
Xhe activity of De Ginkle, apd the falsehood of some of the 
leading Jacobites, rendered this impossible. , . 

' Dalton*8 Army Litt., p. 29. * 7Wrf,.p, 30,. ., 

* Hy Ftaichrachy p^303.^ * The »mall cell dop8,not np^ •zist. 

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In order to cut 'iM- such supplies as might be sent from 
Limerick or the South, a Captain Morgan was posted at' 
Kilcolgan with a troop of cavalry. The expected reinforce- 
ments were sent from Limerick for the Galway garrison, but 
under command of the notorious Colonel Luttrell. We are 
informed that Luttrell and the cavalry under his command 
were driven back by Morgan, and seemingly with little blood- 
shed.^ Morgan was equally successful in preventing the Irish 
commanders from sending any reinforcements by sea from the 
opposite shores of Clare. Here, too, one is struck by the 
comparatively small loss of life resulting from the effort. 
The losses on the part of the Jacobites were four men killed 
and eight taken prisoners. But Luttrell's treason very soon: 
after acquired unenviable notoriety. 

The antecedents of Captain Morgan, who commanded at 
. Kilcolgan, are not clear. He was soon after in possession of 
the Castle of Kilcolgan, with the lands which were a short 
time previously in the possession of the Marchioness of Clan- 
ricarde. The family soon after settled at Monksfield, near 
the castle at Cloghcroke, having sold the castle and lands at 
Kilcolgan to the Frenches of Tyrone. Their estates have 
long since passed from them. Treason to the Irish cause in 
Galway, and amongst Galway men, also rendered Morgan's 
successes easy. A letter of Morgan's, dated 20th July 1691, 
contains the following statement : " They say that the Mayor 
and some more of the townsmen are imprisoned for endeavour- 
ing to surrender the town to us." * Arthur French of Tyrone 
was the Mayor, and, as O'Kelly • tells us, " likely would sufifer 
had the enemy not come so suddenly to attack the town." 

This unexpected attack was accelerated by the desertion of 
Captain FrencL O'Kelly thinks that his desertion may have 
taken place even with the connivance of ''his namesake, if 
not relative, the Mayor."* Marcus French had been a 
lieutenant in Clanricarde's infantry. His gallantry at Augh- 
rim was such that he was promoted to the rank of captain. 
He immediately after surrendered himself to De Ginkle. 
Captain Morgan, writing from Kilcolgan on the 19th of July 
regarding him and others, states: ''The man I sent to 
Galway has come back, and one Captain French, of L^ Clan- 
ricarde's reg* with him, who surrendered himself to me." 
He goes on to specify the information which he received 
from the renegades regarding the condition of the Galway 

1 Hardiman, Galway^ p. 169. * Afoc. Excid, p. 464. 

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■'• De Ginkle also obtained from a certain Captaiii Burke,^ who 
deserted from the town, accurate information as to where the 
ramparts were weakest and most exposed. He guided Colonel 
Nassau in making the attack the following morning success'^ 
fully, and in setting Arthur French at liberty. 

The Captain Marcus French referred to seems to have 
been the founder of the Frenches of Rahasane. He married 
Cath, daughter of Anthony Darcy, third son of James Darcy, 
Vice-President of Connaught under Elizabeth. Loyalty to 
the Irish cause did not seem a trait for which this family 
was remarkable. 

The force of this remark will appear more clearly from 
certain noteworthy circumstances iu connection with the 
capitulation of Galway to the Cromwellians, April 1652. 
Then, too, "there were traitors within the walls,"* and the 
learned editor of lar Conrumgkt shows that Nicholas Oge 
French was prominent amongst them. He had, we have 
seen, associates in his treachery, in the persons of Dominick 
Bodkin and Hichard Kirwan, who were all recompensed for 
their " singular good services." * We have quoted the original 
document by which those gentlemen were recommended by 
the Privy Council in 1656 to the care of the " Commissioners 
for adjusting the claymes of the Irish at Athlone." 

The land was everywhere rapidly passing from the territorial 
owners to new proprietors ; and iu the diocese of Kilmacduagh 
we find that many of the new owners were members of certain 
wealthy merchant families of Galway, generally known as the 

There were fourteen of those families who accepted this 
designation, and who for the most part claim an English 
descent. The exact time at which the founders of those 
families settled at Galway is naturally involved in some 
obscurity. But, without desiring to consider such traditions 
regarding them as Mr. Dutton refers to,^ there is no doubt 
that they established for themselves, at a comparatively remote 
period, a high character for commercial enterprise. The 
relations which they cultivated with the native Irish were 
unfriendly, and sometimes aggressive. Even such families as 
the Burkes, the Mac Williams, the 0' Kellys, and others, were 
not to share the hospitality of the Galway citizen ; and it was 
made a matter of statutory regulation that "neither O nor 
Mac should strutt nor swagger through the streets of Galway." 
Even the bonds of a common religion failed to harmonise the 

^ Hardiman, Galvsayy p. 160. ' lar Connain^ p. 42. 

» Ibid. p. 244. ♦ ^rvey, p. 214. 

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Galway "Tribes" with their Celtic neighbours. Such facts 
were calculated to recommend them strongly to the favour of 
the executive. Hence they obtained a mural charter for 
their town in the reign of Eichard II. They soon after 
secured other chartered privileges, which were only confirmed 
and enlarged as time went on, and which placed Galway 
amongst the foremost cities in Ireland. 

Mr. Hardiman pertinently states that after this Galway 
''entirely fulfilled all the expectations of Government, and 
henceforth became the principal support of English interest 
in this part of Ireland." ^ 

When, therefore, a new order of things was in process of 
development around them in the eighteenth century, much of 
the old sympathy with English interests remained. Unencum- 
bered with a sympathy with the Irish masses, unembarrassed 
by the ties which bound the old chiefs to their tribes, they 
were quick to see that ownership of land could be commer- 
cially and socially beneficial to themselves. Dr. Pococke, 
speaking of them, says that they purchased " all the land in 
the county which did belong to the Church and the Earl of 
Clanricarde." ^ This was certainly an exaggeration, though 
•their descendants were possessed of property in 1752 to the 
value of £100,000 a year; and others had theirs forfeited or 
sold " to a much greater value." 

Amongst the new owners in the diocese of Kilmacduagh we 
find Frenches, Blakes, and Eirwans, who are recognised as 
** Tribes." We have seen that the Martynns were connected 
with the district for a century earlier. We also find the 
Lamberts and Persses, whose connection with the territory 
must have begun soon after the Cromwellian troubles. 
' Early in the eighteenth century we find the Blakes at 
Corbally. Earlier still we find the Persse family at ** Crega- 
K>9ta," afterwards known as Eoxboro. And in the reign of 
James II., influential branches of the French family settled 
at Durus, Tyrone, Rahasane, and Aggard, all in the diocese 
of Kilmacduagh. 

The Frenches of Galway claim descent, through Patrick, son 
of Humphrey French, from Sir Theophilus French, one of the 
brave adventurers who accompanied William the Conqueror 
to England. This Patrick French married the daughter and 
heiress of John Athy of Galway, who, according to Hardiman, 
is to be regarded as the ancestor of the Galway families of the 
name. The principal branches of the family in Galway were 

' Hittory of Qalway, p. 62. 
' Tour in Ireland^ 1762. 

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those of Castle French, raised to the peerage in 1798, with 
these of Durus, Tyrone, and Bahasane. 

Their arms, which may still be seetr oculptured on their 
ruined family mansion at Gal way, are : — 

Anns : Ermine a chevron sable. 

Crest : A dolphin embowed upon rocks proper. 

Motto : One heart one mind 

The motto as given is from Hardiman. Sir Bernard Burkb 
gives " Malo mori quam fsedari" 

Durus is situated in the present parish of Kinvara. Its 
picturesque woodlands may be seen extending far along the 
south-western coast of the bay. 

The founder of the French family at Durus was a Boebuck 
French, who married a Miss Martin of Boss, and in the time 
of Charles II. was owner of considerable land property in the 
l>aronies of Dunkellin and Kiltartan. We find that his son, 
Patrick French, inherited his father's large estates, and that 
he was also owner of a town house at Gal way. 

The great extent of his property may be ascertained with 
accuracy from his will, dated 1708, which is still preserved in 
the Deeds Office, Dublin.^ It shows that he was owner of most 
of the present parish of Kinvara, of Cloghballymore Castle, 
and some adjoining districts in Ballindereen, of Dromharsna, 
and some districts in the parish of Ardrahan. He had three 
sons, Boebuck, Hyacinth, and Patrick. To Boebuck, his heir, 
he bequeathed the lands of Durus, Corboy, Kinturlagh, lissin- 
duif, Knockellan, MuUagharde, Gturmonagh, Monnscreibagh, 
Croswoly, Kinvara, lisengerby, Loughcora, Clonassee, Movah, 
Trelick, Funchanbeg, Gortenclough, Cappaghmore, ' Cappagh- 
beg, Gortmore, Carrowkellian, Cahircunna, and Pollevallee. 
He also bequeathed to him the cartron of land at Balligileen, 
which contained 45 acres of profitable land, and was then in 
possession of a certain Bobert Shaw of New Ford, County 
Gal way, in consideration of a sum of £90. 

He had exchanged with Oliver Martynn of TuUyra, for 
certain lands at Cappaghmore and other places, some 13 acres 
wliich he held in Ballylara, in the parish of Ardrahan. 

To his second son, Hyacinth, he bequeathed the castle and 
lands of Cloghballymore, which till Elizabeth's time belonged 
to the Mac Kilkellys, and also the lands of Mongane. 

To his youngest son, Patrick, he left Dromharsna Castle, 
with an annuity of £100 until he should marry. It does not, 
however^ appear that he did get married. We are able to say 
^ The writer has seen it 

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with authority that he died without leaving male legitimate 

The Castle of Dromharsna is still well preserved. It is 
situated about a mile north of the Castle of Lydecane, and 
nearly three miles from Cloghballymore. The castle and 
surrounding lands are for some time past in the possession of 
Lord Ashtown, — ^the Trench family of Woodlawn. 

We are assured that the youngest son, Patrick French, was 
the prodigal of his family, and that this feature in his 
character accounts for the somewhat slender provision which 
had been made for him in his father's will 

This will was dated on the 15th of May 1708, at Durus, and 
was witnessed by " Turlogh Heyne " and " Michael Heyne." 
This fact alone would indicate the existence of friendly 
relations between the new proprietors and the representatives 
of the old chiefs. A tradition, which is, however, unauthen- 
ticated, states that the first of the new owners was connected 
by marriage with the O'Heynes. But it is certain that this 
family were still treated with much of the consideration due 
to their character, integrity, and descent. We have seen that 
their property W6is practically confiscated under Bingham. 
In 1612 they were said to be "utterly banished." ^ We find 
Dominick D'Arcy of Clonouane bequeathing a life interest to 
Farragh O'Heyne in the lands of Kilboren, which were situated 
in the ancient territory of Hy Fiachrach. 

This Patrick French of Durus, who was married to Miss 
Blake of Ardfry, was a Catholic, and one who marked his 
Catholic spirit by gifts to the churches of the district* A 
chalice is still used in the parish of Kinvara which was pre- 
sented by him. Though a Catholic, he obtained from General 
de Ginkle the guarantee to retain his property, as his new 
kinsman, Martynn of Tullyra, and some others obtained from 
the Government about the same period. The original deed 
of protection, signed by De Ginkle himself, is still preserved 
amongst the family papers of the present esteemed represent- 
ative of the family. Count de Basterot of Durus. 

Patrick French died about 1710. His eldest son, Boebuck, 

' Hy Fiachrack, p. 373. 

* Father Gregory French, a member of the family, was then parish 
priest of Durus. He is referred to as a very learned man, who was 
ordained at Madrid. Having placed himself under the protection of 
(yHogan and his rapparees, he was arrested. Bellas^se, before whom he 
was brought on his arrest, wrote to Ginkle regarding him as follows : 
^' There was a priest at their meeting, but he was not condemned, because 
the executing of a priest would have made a mighty noise at the same 

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mairiied a Mias Darcy of New Forrest — or Clonouane. Eoebuck 
died before his only son, James, was of age. He also left two 
daughters, one of whom, Sibilla, married Mark Lynch of Barna, 
whose family subsequently became proprietors of Clogh. His 
descendant and representative, and present owner of Clogh- 
ballymore, is Colonel Llewellyn Blake, J.P. His second 
daughter, Mary French, married Martin Kirwan, whose second 
son, Bichard, shall be noticed hereafter. 

James French married Miss Mabel Donnellan of Bally- 
donnellan, and thus became the brother-in-law of Oliver 
Martynn of Tullyra, who had married her sister, Frances 

He lived much in France, dreading the possible enforcement 
of the penal, enactments of the period against Catholic pro- 
prietors. The tendency of his children to delicate health may 
also account for his stay abroad. During his residence at 
Bordeaux, his daughter Frances married a gentleman of 
eminence at Bordeaux, Bartholomew de Basterot, who, owing 
to the early death of all his brothers and sisters in law, except 
an idiot, became the heir to the Durus estates. 

Bartholomew de Basterot, born in 1742, was a member 
of an old Bernese family. Under Louis XIL a De 
Basterot was governor of the town of Saint Macaire. Under 
Henry IIL, in 1574 and 1589, Louis de Basterot was a 
leader of the Catholic party at Bordeaux. In 1589 and 1610 
he submitted to that monarch, and by his submission also 
secured his favour. 

His second son, Francis, was appointed by Henry member 
of Parliament for Bordeaux. It should be remembered that 
the position was not then elective. 

Bartholomew de Basterot, to whom we have referred above, 
held the position of President of the Parliament of Bordeaux iu 
1770. His wife died soon, leaving him an only son, James. 

Both father and son emigrated to Ireland to assert their 
claims to the extensive properties to which they had become 
the rightful heirs. 

But, as aliens and Catholics, the laws of the period in Ireland 
made it a matter of extreme difficulty for them to establish that 
claim. Undeterred by those difficulties, they succeeded, after a 
lengthened suit, extending over the years 1793, 1794, and 1795, 
in obtaining all the legal and statutory protection necessary, 
but after an enormous expenditura Such, indeed, were the 
crushing costs incurred, that another considerable portion of the 
estate, had to be sold. The purchasers were Bobert Gregory 
of Cooli Parkj and a Galway gentleman, Mark Lynch, who 

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Erected a pretty summer riBsidence 'oh the sea-coast on his new 
property, and also erected the present Doras Chapel for the 
.convenience of his tenantry. It was under pressure of 
these law costs that a debt was incurred, through which, 
in 1850, another considerable portion of the property was 
sold to a successful Galway artisan, named Comerford, whose 
exactions as a landlord have become memorable in the 

James de Basterot, soon after settling in the country, 
married an Irish lady, a Miss O'Brien of Fairfield, near 
•Aughrim. The difficulties which he had to contend with did 
not prevent him indulging his artistic tastes. The residence 
•which he erected at Durus, and the plantings with which he 
clothed the undulations of the surrounding parks, must have 
reminded him a little of picturesque France. Apd, at a time 
When art was little known in Ireland, it is interesting to know 
that his leisure hours at Durus were fruitful of several paint- 
ings of no small merit. Of those some still hang in the parish 
church at Kinvara, and others are preserved in the residence 
of his grandson, the present Count De Basterot, at Neptune 
Yale. His relations with his tenantry were paternal and kindly ; 
and these relations continued to be carefully cultivated by his 
son and heir, Bartholomew, afterwards Baron and Comte de 
Basterot, who was bom in 1800. 

As his father distinguished himself in art, so Bartholomew, 
Baron de Basterot, distinguished himself in literature. He 
lived much abroad, and married a French lady of noble birth, 
Pauline de la Tour Maubourg, one of the ancient iEuid 
historic families of France, whose only son and heir, Comte de 
Basterot, is now the only living representative of both families, 
a gentleman whose culture and abilities are well and widely 
known. The published narrative of his American travels. 
From New York to Limay proves him to be a man of high 
literary taste and keen powers of observation. Though he 
resides much abroad, he manifests a kindly sympathy with the 
people of this district in Galway, and seldom fails to make a 
*short summer stay in his Durus residence. 

Tyrone House and its picturesque surroundings are situated 
on the opposite shore of Durus Bay, and on the estuary of the 
.Kilcolgan river. It is stated in the private records of the 
.Tyrone family, that the castle and lands of Tyrone were 
purchased by Christopher French about A.D. 1650. This 
Christopher French is said to have been the eon of Jeofrey 
\French of Mnlpit.^ He married Jane, daughter of Peter Blake 
* ' ^ ^ Deiorijfiion ifflrehndi 1698/ p/ 275. 

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of Corbaliy, by whom he had a soti, Arthur French, aub- 
sequently remarkable as the Mayor of Galway. 

We are. not in a position to state the exact extent of 
the Tyrone property at tlutt period. It seems to have been 
extensive, however, and included certain portions of Ardrahan 
at the townland of Ballymaquifil It is certain that the 
property was settled upon Arthur by his father by virtue of a 
deed dated, 20th May 1675. In that year Arthur French 
married Mary, only daughter of John Kirwan of Castle Lacket, 
in the county of Galway, by whom he had four sons and 
three daughters. On the death of his wife in the year of his 
mayoralty in 1689, he married his second wife, Sarah, widow 
of Joel Irael O'Farrell of Roscommon, a Protestant, by whom 
he had no issue. 

The Mayor of Galway added considerably to his estates, 
but whether before or after his betrayal of Galway, it is now 
difficult to say. We cannot doubt, however, that he and the 
others by whom the capital of the West was surrendered, were 
generously rewarded. The Connemara estates, parts of which 
remain to this day in the hands of the Tyrone family, were 
acquired by liim. 

His ehlest son, Christopher, inherited the property on hib 
father's death in 1712. 

Christopher French married Margaret, daughter of Irael 
O'Farrell of Roscommon. He professed himself a Protestant iti 
the beginning of the eighteenth century, though his son was 
a Roman Catholic priest, and died in 1798. It is extremely 
probable that it was about this period that the remains of 
the adjoining monastery of St Colga were destroyed, in order 
to erect on its site the unsightly Protestant church which is 
now dismantled there. 

His son Arthur inherited the property, and married Olivia, 
daughter and heiress of John Usher of Carrick, Esq., and the 
Hon. Mary St. George, daughter and sole heiress of George, 
Lord St. George of Hatly St. George, through whom the 
Frenches of Tyrone became subsequently known by the name 
St. George. This change of name was legally effected by 
Christopher, heir of Arthur French, and only surviving son, on 
the death of Lord St George, and in compliance with the testa>- 
mentary settlement, a.d. 1774. 

Christopher St George, bom in 1754, married, in 1778, Anne, 
the eldest daughter of Henry Bingham of Newbrook, County 
Mayo. His son by this n^arridge, Arthur French, inherited the 
Tyrone estates. He was father of the late Christopher St 
George, who for a period represented his native county in the 

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Conservative interest The late Christopher St. George wki 
an authority in sporting and racing circles. His stud at the 
Carragh was well known throughout the country. But though 
the extensive estates which he inherited had at least a nominal 
rental of £13,000, the encumbrances were enormous. The 
administration of the Tyrone estates has not unnaturally, 
therefore, for some time past been entrusted by the creditors 
to the Court of Chancery. 

Eahasane Park, another well-known seat of the French 
family, was situated about four miles north-east of Tyrone 
House. As seen in the early part of this century, it was a 
splendid residence. The mansion had then been but recently 
erected, and was more in the style of an eighteenth century 
English manor, than of an ordinary Irish country seat It 
derived an additional feature of interest from the pretty chapel 
which was built in connection with it Though the district 
is rather monotonous and unattractive, it was relieved by the 
extensive plantations within which the house was imbedded. 

Marcus French is mentioned by Hardiman as the ancestor 
of the Saliasane Frenches.^ 

Dalton, as we have seen, informs us that John French of 
Bahasane was an ensign in the Earl of Clanricarde's infantry 
at Aughrim. He also tells us that there was a Marcus French, 
a lieutenant in the same corps, who was promoted after the 
battle to the rank of captain, but immediately after " surren- 
dered himself to De Ginkle."* We find from O'Callaghan the 
following suggestive note on the subject already quoted : " The 
desertion of Captain French of Lord Clanricarde's regiment to 
Ginkell may have been by the connivance of his namesake 
if not relative, the Mayor." It is now, perhaps, impossible 
to throw additional light on the connection, were it even 
desirable or interesting to do so. 

He was the same Marcus French who married Catharine, 
daughter of Anthony D'Arcy, a descendant of James D'Arcy, 
who was Vice-President of Connaught under Elizabeth.* After 
this we are unable to find many references of general inter- 
est to the family. They remained Catholic during the troubles 
of the eighteenth century. Towards the close of that century, 
we find that Robert French, the proprietor of Rahasane, was a 
popular man and widely esteemed. He added much to the 
value and beauty of his property by planting extensively, and 
by completing the beautiful mansion and domestic chapel which 
had been begun by his father. The plantings are referred to b^ 

* Kvnjg Jame^s Army Lid^ p. 860. • Ibid 

• ' Hai^iman's (ra/vYiy, p. 11. 

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Dutton at page 441 of his Statistical Survey. " At Bahasane/' 
he says, " also poncasters are growing vigorously, exposed to the 
westerly winds, and in some plantations Scotch firs are only 
lingering out their lives. The largest oak probably in this 
province may be seen here. It is a noble tree, and spread with 
a charming canopy upwards of seventy feet." His plantations 
covered ten acres, and his name is mentioned amongst the gentle- 
men of Galway who received bounties for the plantings effected 
between the years 1768 and 1795 from the Irish Parliament 

But these for many of the Galway gentry were days of 
reckless expenditure ; and Robert French, who died early in 
this century, and without issue, left his property so embarrassed 
that it was immediately sold. But these were days when the 
prestige which the " rights " of property conferred was invested 
with an irresistible charm. 

. The Eahasane property was purchased by a Mr. Power 
about 1825 for £20,000, and was soon after sold at a profit of 
£7000 to Thomas Joyce, Esq., of Galway, who, it was said, was 
indebted to creditors for £20,000 of the purchase-money. The 
debt, such as it was, proved a ruinous one, and so at about 
1870 the property passed from his hands to the late unfortunate 
Mr. Burke, who died a victim to the agrarian troubles of the 
district in 1871. 

Aggard is situated in the present parish of Craughwell, and in 
the vicinity of the village of that name. We are told by Dalton 
that " John French and Jane his wife claimed and were allowed 
an estate for life " ^ in 1691 on the estate of Charles Lambert of 
Aggard, county of Galway, who was at the time a forfeiting 

From documents preserved in the Deeds OflSce, Dublin, we 
find that a certain Gregory French lived at Aggard in the 
beginning of the eighteenth century, but was so deeply in debt 
that he was obliged to sell his estates there. His name is 
preserved in the Convert £oll, amongst those who renounced 
Popery in 1785. The purchaser was Walter Lambert of Greg 
Glare, in the parish of Ardrahan, who advanced moneys on the 
security of the estate. The deed of purchase, which was dated 
2nd December 1729, was for one hundred years ; but in case 
all the debts and encumbrances were not paid in the interval, 
with costs and interest, the property was to be the purchaser's 
for ever. The estate thus conveyed to Lambert in considera- 
tion of the debts contained 299 acres of profitable land. 

The deed of sale, which is still preserved in the Deeds Office, 
Dublin, sets forth the sums of money advanced by Lambert to 
^ King Jameii Army Lid^ p. 69a 

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French on various occasions. These sums must be regarded aa 
very considerable, especially when we consider the value of 
money at that period. It may be instructive as well as inter- 
esting to quote the entries here! The document sets forth 
that the "said Walter Lambert became bound for said Gregory 
French for the following sums : — 

" To John French, late Agart, father of Gregory French, £800. 
^ " To John Blake of Ballimanagh for Gregory French, £20a 
stg. each bond. 

" To Dominick Burke and John Cuflfe three several bonds, 
£200 each. 

" To Alexander Leonard for Gregory French, £200. 

" To Evas French, alias Skeret, Gal way. widow, £100. 
• " To P. MuUinix and Michael Lynch, both of Galway town, 

The accumulation of encumbrances in the case referred to, 
shows how many properties chsLnged hands in the eighteenth 
century. We shall have an opportunity of seeing another 
Very similar instance, the records of which are still fortunately 
preserved in the Deeds Office. 

The Aggard estates, considerably increased since then, are 
still in possession of the Lambert family^ The present owner 
is John Lambert, Esq. The residence, though commodious, is 
uninteresting. The plantations which surround it are young, 
but well and effectively arranged. 

Walter Lambert, the purchaser of Aggard, had been then* 
residing at Greg Clare, in the present parish of Ardrahan, 
which he h«ld by lease from Dominick Bourke .pf Ballamana, 
County Mayo. ; 

In 1726 he acquired possession of the lands of Creg Clare 
" for himself and his heirs male for ever," by a deed of sale, of 
which John Taylor of Castle Taylor and a certain Waller Taylor 
of Ballamana were witnesses. The property was small, consist- 
ing only of 837 acres, all situated in Creg Clare and its im- 
mediate vicinity. 

The family residence there,' a spacious one, was built in the 
early part of this century, and presents no special feature* 
which would connect it with any recognised style of architec- 
ture. But it is interesting as a good example of the style of 
residence which the Galway' landed gentry seemed to ambition 
in the present and preceding century. They are usually 
square or oblong structures, without gables, well lighted and 
commodious, but wanting in every feature that is light or 
graeefuHn domestic architecture. v • . : ; . I 

The property r^^ained in^possemon qf tfa^ family till about 

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thirty years ago, when it was purchased from James Lambert 
by Lord Cianmorris about 1855. 

About the period of which we write, we find a branch of the 
Blake family holding property in the diocese of Xilmacduagh. 
They resided at Corbally, now known as Castle Daly, and ar^ 
referred to by Hardiman amongst the representative families 
of the name.^ Hardiman had written when the castle and 
estates of Corbaliy were about to pass by purchase into the 
possession of Peter Daly, Esq. Mr. P. Daly was the younger 
son of Dermot Daly of Daly's Grove, a Catholic whose ancestor 
was deprived of his property in Westmeath in a.d. 1652, and 
transplanted to Cloonbonise — Daly's Grove. Peter Daly acquired 
property in the West Indies, still in the possession of his family. 
He married Miss MacEvoy of Wimbledon, England. His son 
James Peter by this marriage was father of the present owner. 
Corbally Castle stood at the base of the Echtge Hills, about four, 
miles north-east of Gort. But the old castle has been replaced 
by the present imposing and beautiful residence built by Peter. 
Daly, Esq. The planting of the surrounding hill slopes and the 
erection of the adjoining pretty Catholic church were the im- 
mediate evidences of the taste and spirit of the new proprietors. 

Tradition states that Corbally and the adjoining lands were 
portions of the estates of the OTahys. The inquisitions quoted< 
eive authoritative support to this tradition. Of the Blake 
mmily we merely find, by incidental notices,'that they were in 
possession in the beginning of the eighteenth century, and con- 
nected by intermarriage with some of the leading families in 
the county. Early in the last century we find that Eichard 
D'Arcy of Clonouane, a descendant of James D!Arcy, one of 
the Galway jurors who sufiTered under Wentworth, married 
Catherine, daughter of Major Peter Blake of Corbally. We- 
find by an original document still extant, and bearing date 16 th: 
January 1720, that this Peter Blake of Corbally was '' holden 
a,nd firmly bound to Hyacinth French of Cloghballymore in the 
said county, Gent., in the sum of two hundred pounds stg. good 
and lawful money of Great Britain, to be paid to the said 
Hyacinth French or his lawful attorney." It seems that this 
Peter Blake was married to a daughter of Hyacinth French. 
The same document also records a debt contracted by the same 
Peter Blake of Corbally with Peter Martynn of Cappavarna to. 
the amoimt of £100 ''of good and lawful money of Great: 
Britain.^' This document is worth quoting here, as the only 
Qviden,c0 within the writer's reach which shows who were the; 
former' owners of Cappavarna Castle, for some years a ruin. 
* ^ History of Galwxy. 

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We have little doubt that the Blakes of Corbally, like their 
kinsmen of Ardfry, secured their property after Aughrim by 
royal patronage. 

The Blake family is an ancient one, and claims descent from 
Richard Caddell, alias Blake, who was High Sheriff of Con- 
naught in 1306.^ His eldest son, Walter, obtained a grant of the 
customs of Galway. Walter had five sons, the youngest of 
whom, William Fitz Walter Fitz Richard, was ancestor of the 
Blakes of Ardfry and of Ballinafad, to be noticed hereafter. 
The motto of the familly is a beautiful one, «a/. "Virtus 
sola nobilitat." 

Adjoining Corbally, and extending northwards around Iser 
Kelly, were the fertile districts over which the Mac Hubert 
Burkes held sway for centuries. These were in truth the most 
fertile and picturesque districts of the diocese. The ruined 
castles, which may still be seen there, speak eloquently of the 
former power of this branch of the great Earl of Ulster's de- 
scendants. And whatever weakness may have been theirs in 
their support of the aspirations or aims of the Irish nation, they 
proved themselves ever zealous and faithful supporters of the 
fixed and unchangeable claims of the unchangeable Catholic 
Church. Hence they naturally disappeared when the fanatics 
of the seventeenth century were in the ascendant We cannot 
fix the exact date in the eighteenth century when the Mac 
Huberts' estates in and around Iser Kelly passed into the pos- 
session of the Persses. We can fix the dates when important 
grants of land there, and in other districts of Galway and Bos- 
common, were made by the crown to Dudley Persse, " Dean of 

By the first of those grants,' made by Charles II. to the 
" Dean," under date 15th August 1677, he received 64 acres in 
the County Roscommon, and 404 in the County Galway. 

On the 3rd of August 1678 an additional grant ^ of 66 acres 
in the barony of Leitrim, County Galway, was made to Dudley 
Persse by letters patent from the same prince. 

We find that a still more extensive and important grant of 
lands was made by James II. by letters patent, dated t£e 10th 
February 1686, to the same Dudley Persse. This grant com- 
prised 2590 acres, profitable and unprofitable, in the baronies 
of Longford, Clonmacknowen, Leitrim, Loughrea, Dunkellin, 
and Kiltartan. 

This does not include certain other grants made in the Gal* 
way liberties and certain portions of Boscommon county. Of 

^ Burke's Landed Oentry; Hardiman'e Giilway, 

« Rollfl Office. •Ibid. 

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those extensive grants enumerated, 1100 acres were situated in 
the baronies of Loughrea, Dunkellin, and Eiltartan. They in- 
cluded " the mansion-house at Cregarosta," which Dean Persse 
used as his residence. It has since continued to be the family 
residence, but under the altered name of Soxboro, under which 
designation the place was known when Henry Persse extended 
the family estates by purchases in the baronies of Loughrea and 
Dunkellin in June 1703. It is picturesque, as it retains all 
its old-fashioned features, which were never marked with any 
architectural regularity. The park and demesne are extensive, 
and amongst the most picturesque in the West. Though much 
of the heavy timber there has been recently cut down, the 
plantations are still extensive and well arranged. 

There are in and around the demesne the three ruined 
castles which speak still of the departed power of the > De 
Burgos of Iser Kelly. With the Echtge Mountains as a back- 
ground rising boldly in the immediate east, the scehe is pleasing 
and picturesque. 

Those hills, at the base of which the Roxboro residence 
nestles, extend to the Shannon, and rise in the immediate 
neighbourhood to over 1000 feet.^ Their principal rock forma- 
tionsare silex.* There are, however, various other interesting 
geological formations. On the Soxboro Mountain, coal, slate, 
and other indications of coal beds were found '' after small 
trial." * Red heavy limestone, with fine clear pebbles, is very 
frequently seen. Along the summits there are deep boggy 
wastes, but along the slopes and valleys the land is capable of 
a high degree of cultivation. And along the Roxboro district 
those slopes show rich plantings of pine and birch, which 
almost recall their picturesque beauty when Mac Lonan sang 
their praises. But while copse and clumps and spreading 
woods make the hill slopes gay and pleasing, we look in vain 
for farmhouse or village there. Among the valleys within 
the folds of the mountains, and on the hillsides, there are 
lowly ruins which were once the homes of the industrious 
poor. They were, and they are not, for the exterminator was 

The special merits which recommended Dean Persse to the 
favour of the Stuarts and the Irish Executive are not set forth 
in history. We are assured by a well-known tradition that 
his father, John Persse, had come over from England in the 
time of the Cromwellian troubles. Having renounced the old 
faith, he embraced with the reformed religion the favours 
which the executive conferred. It seems to have been under 
1 Scalp ; Philip's Ai]M. « Dutton, iJujiwy. « Ibid. ' 


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those circumstances that his son Dudley became a fortunate, if 
not a distinguished, Dean and land proprietor. 

It is noteworthy that of the old Catholic proprietors the 
Martynns of Tullyra also passed through the social changes and 
bitter persecutions of the period under review without loss of 
property. In a preceding chapter we have referred to their 
lineage and soci^ position. In the period of which we treat, 
we find that Oliver Martynn of Tullyra sat in King James's 
Parliament, A.D. 1689, as member for the city of Gal way. 
Though attainted ^ after William's triumphs, he escaped all its 
penalties through the benevolent interference of the executive. 
And when, a few years later, a hostile Parliament devised and 
passed the most complete and ingenious measures to plunder 
Catholics of their lands, to deprive them of all the privileges 
of citizens, and to destroy their religion, we find that the 
Martynn family of Tullyra were by special enactment exempted 
from their operation, and secured in all their rights as citizens, 
proprietors, and Catholics. 

Under Queen Anne there was an Act passed for '* explaining 
and amending the Act to prevent the further growth of 
Popery." * In this Act, described by Hardiman as " memor- 
able," there is reference made to Oliver Martynn of Tullyra, 
County Galway, Esquire, as a " person who, during the rebel- 
lion, behaved himself with great moderation, and was remark- 
ably kind to numbers of Protestants in distress, many of whom 
he supported in his family, and by his charity and goodness 
saved their lives." It was therefore enacted " that he might 
enjoy his estate to him and his heirs, and settle and dispose of 
the same on his eldest son and his heirs males," eta 

His eldest sou and heir seems to have received his father's 
name, as he inherited his privilegea His name was Oliver 
Martynn. He married Miss Browne of Castle Mac Garrett, 
County Mayo. He had a son, Oliver,' who married, 1748, 
Frances, daughter of John Donnellan of Ballydonnellan, Esq., 
by Mary, daughter of Charles Daly of Calla. She was there- 
fore niece of the Bight Hon. Denis Daly of Dunsandle, Lord 
Justice of Common Pleas in Ireland. Uer sister Mabel had 
married James French of Durua 

There can be no doubt that the Tullyra property at this 
period was extensive. We know that it extended over a por- 
tion of Kiltartan ; as we shall see by the deed by which Robert 
Gregory, of London, gentleman, purchased the Coole property 
from Oliver Martynn in the middle of that century. From 

* Kif^ James's Army List, p. 861. ■ 8 Anne, c 3, sec. 39. 

« Ey Maine^ pp. 172, 173. 

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Certain deeds of " lease and release/' records of lii^hich are still 
preserved in the Deeds Office, Dublin, we are able to have a 
more accurate idea of the extent of his property. We find 
one bearing date 10th September 1761, between Oliver Martynn 
of TuUyra and Charles Daly of Calla, and John Kelly of Fid- 
dane Castle. By this deed we find that he was the proprietor 
of Eaheen ; of Ballymaquiff and Dromharsna, in Ardrahan ; of 
Dungory, Ballybuck, Poulnaveigh, and Tullick, in Kinvara 
parish ; of Bussane, Ballycahalan, Ballyconnell, and portions of 
Cloon, in Kilbecanty parish; of Kilomoran, in Kilmacduagh. 

A few years later we find a record of a similar deed. It was 
executed by Oliver Martynn and his wife Frances Martynn, 
in favour of Anthony Daly of Calla and Walter Taylor of 
Castle Taylor. It is dated 27th May 1786. It is pretty clear 
from the nature of those deeds that this extensive property, 
which had then the special protection of the State, was passing 
fast into the grasp of creditors. 

Thomas de Burgo, O.P., Cloghckoke. 

Amongst the distinguished clerical exiles who were obliged 
to seek an asylum abroad at this period, I may mention Thomas 
de Burgo of Cloghcroke, and Edmond de Burgo of Cahirforvace. 
They were distinguished members of the Dominican Order, 
and children of the diocese of Kilmacduagh. 

We have seen that the De Burgos of Cloc(hcroke ^ were one of 
the leading branches of the Clanricarde family. John Burke 
of Cloghcroke * was sheriff of the county in the time of Henry 
VIII. In the opening of the seventeenth century we find 
them still closely connected with the noble and influential 
families of the county. Ulick, third Earl of Clanricarde, 
married the Lady Honoria Burke of Cloghcroke ; and we find 
that her mother was a daughter of Sir Eoger O'Shaughnessy 
of Gort. 

We find that Myles Burke of Cloghcroke was one of the 
Commissioners appointed by James II. in 1690 for fixing the 
taxation of Galway county. 

This ancient family produced few more distinguished men 
than Thomas de Burgo, the subject of this notice. He was 
bom in the middle of the seventeenth century. From his early 
years he prepared himself for the ecclesiastical state. Having 
resolved to enter the Order of Preachers, he made his early 
studies at Louvain.^ He proceeded from thence to Paris, where 

> Eih. Dom, pp. 134, 222. « Arch. Tuaniy p. 76- 

» Ibid. p. 583. 

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he spent some time in the convent of St. James. From Paris 
he travelled to Eome, and completed his studies at the convent 
of St. Sixtus. Such was the esteem in yrhich he was held at 
St Sixtus, that he was appointed to take charge of the important 
chairs of philosophy and theology. In 1683 he was appointed 
Prior of St. Sixtus, which ofl&ce he held for three years. 

Setuming to Ireland in 1686, he was appointed to the 
important but dangerous office of Prior of the Dominican 
convent at Athenry. To the great joy and benefit of the 
faithful, that ancient institute was open once more, for the 
last of the Stuarts had restored freedom to the persecuted 
Irish Church. But the days of its freedom were numbered. 
In 1697 the Prior of Athenry was compelled to fly to Eome, 
where he once more assumed his former duties as Prior of St 
Sixtus. But new honours awaited hinL He received the 
degree of Master of Theology in 1707. He was also raised 
to the office of Apostolic Penitentiary in connection with the 
Basilica of St Mary Majors, which office he retained till his 
death in 1724 

Edmond de Burgo, O.P. 

Cahirforvace^ is situated in the present parish of Craugh- 
welL It was the seat of an old though somewhat obscure 
branch of the De Burgos, and was the birthplace of the subject 
of this sketch in the middle of the seventeenth century, pro- 
bably in 1661. It was at the old Dominican convent of 
Athenry, in the immediate vicinity of his native place, that 
the future distinguished writer received Ms early ecclesiastical 
training. It was there also that he was prepared for the 
priesthood. He made his religious profession there on the 
8th May 1683. He then travelled to Spain, and prosecuted 
his studies at Pampeluna, and also at Salamanca, where he 
made the acquaintance of a young Italian named Louis Gotti 
Young Gotti was destined for high ecclesiastical preferment 
He was afterwards Cardinal of St. Sixtus at Home. His 
friendship for the distinguished young Irish priest deepened 
into a lifelong affectionate regard. De Burgo subsequently 
travelled to Louvain, where he made a considerable stay in 
the monastery of his order. He remained here for sixteen 
years. Meantime he experienced at the hands of his brethren 
the highest proofs of their respect for his virtue and learning. 
He was appointed prefect of studies. Soon after he was 
appointed professor of Sacred Scriptures, and in 1706 he was 
appointed prior of his convent At a general meeting of the 
1 Hi^femia D<m, p. 222. 

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order held at Bonn in that year, it was decided that he should 
have the degree of " Master " conferred upon him. 

In 1710 he returned to Ireland, undeterred by the dangers 
which should threaten him in that hour of the Church's 
trials. For nineteen years he laboured in his native land with 
marked success, by sustaining the faithful in their trials, by his 
teaching and holy life, and by refuting the tenets of heretics. 

He wrote many works, which, according to the author of the 
ffibeiiiia Dominicana, prove his extensive and accurate know- 
ledge of the writings of St. Thomas. While engaged in his 
dangerous and laborious missionary labours in Ireland, he 
wrote an English treatise on the Rosary of Jesus, and of the 
Blessed Virgin. This work contains replies to certain letters 
recently published. Of these letters there were three. The 
tirst referred to the Pope's Infallibility ; the second treated of 
the Easter Confession and Communion; the third regarded 
the obligation of hearing Mass on Sundays and holidays. 
This work, though written in Ireland, was first published at 
Louvain in 1725. 

As might have been anticipated, De Burgo's book elicited a 
reply from an anonymous writer, who signed himself Phila- 
lethes. It was published at Home in 1729, and condemned 
by the Sacred Congregation on the 29th of August the following 

De Burgo was summoned to Rome by Thomas Rampoli, the 
General of his order, in 1729 ; and on bis arrival in Rome in 
that year he was appointed Theologian of the Casanatensian 
College, an office just vacated by Thomas Plunkett. 

His next work was written at Rome. It was entitled 
LaqueuB ContrUus, and was a vindication of the teachings of 
St Augustine and St. Thomas on grace against the errors of 
the Calvinists. This work was published at Lyons in octavo, 
in the year 1736. 

He wrote another work, which was not published through 
want of funds. The death of the lamented author soon after 
its completion may have also accounted for its remaining un- 
published. It was a Latin treatise in defence of the teachings 
of the Council of Trent regarding the sufficiency of attrition 
with the sacrament of penance. The original copy of this 
work. Be Sufficientia Attritiones Tridentinw in Sacramenio 
Fenitentice, was preserved in the monastery of St. Clement's. 
It was still preserved there when the learned author of 
Hibemia Dominicana left Rome in 1742. 

This learned and holy priest passed to his reward on the 
23rd May 1739, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. 

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The EEGiSTRATioy Act. 

Before referring to the episcopal succession in the diocese, 
during the period under review, it will not be out of place to 
refer to a certain enactment passed in the beginning of the 
eighteenth century for the " Registration of the Popish 
Clergy." By this Act of the Legislature a supreme efifort was 
made to render impossible the succession of bishops in their 
dioceses, or of priests in their parishes. Its aim and purpose 
was to give effect to the statutes previously passed for 
" banishing aU regular and Popish clergy out of the kingdom," 
and to prevent Popish priests from coming into the same. 
All priests in Ireland in the year 1704 were accordingly 
required to give their names and places of abode to the clerks 
of the peace in the several counties. They were forbidden 
to have any assistants. They were to give securities bound 
in large penal sums that they were '' not to remove out of the 
counties where their place of abode lies, etc." All who 
neglected to be registered were to be imprisoned or exiled. 

With a knowledge of their abodes, they could be closely 
watched for any infraction of the law. And as no priests 
were to be permitted to come to Ireland, the few who 
remained would soon die out, and the Government difficulties 
with Irish priests would be at rest for ever. 

In compliance with this enactment, a list of priests in 
Ireland was made in 1704, and is dated the 12th July. In that 
document we find the following interesting entries regarding the 
diocese of Kilmacduagh. The reader will note the recurrence 
of the old local names, the descendants of the old families guard- 
ing the spiritual interests of their plundered clansmen : ^ — 

Namet of Priests. 




Place and Date of 

Thomas Burke, . 




1672 Clonbur. 

John Hyne, . . 



inane, and 
Iser Kelly. 

1688 Kilkenny. 

James Hyne, . . 




1673 Athleague. 

Bryan Langhlin, . 
John TuUy, . . 




1687 Kilkenny. 



Kilora, Kiler- 

1677 Cregaclara. 

neen, and 


Tonach Mooney, . 



1697 Kilrickell. 

Doran Molan, . . 




1680 Ballylodge. 

Denis Hyne, . . 




1691 Galway. 
1700 Waterford. 

Anthony Hyne, . 




John M'Kinine, . 




1681 Oalway. 

Turlogh Hyne, . 




1674 Cong. 

1 BaXtU of the Faithy p. 664. 

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Episcopal Succession. 

We shall see that the operation of this enactment was the 
cause of at least considerable delay to the appointment of a 
successor to Dr. Hugh de Burgo in the See of Kilmacduagh. 
From that prelate's death in 1653 to 1695 the See was governed 
by Vicars. 

We find that Michael Lynch was selected by the Propa- 
ganda on the 12th May 1671 to be Vicar-Apostolic of Kilmac- 
duagh. This was not the Michael Lynch who was then 
Vicar-General of the diocese. He was of the Tuam diocese, 
and probably a kinsman, if not a relative, of the Archbishop 
of Tuam, John Lynch, who strongly recommended his appoint- 
ment The few bishops who at that time were able to meet 
at Dublin, also recommended his appointment, and referred to 
him as a man remarkable for learning and zeal for souls. 

The exact date of his appointment does not appear. But 
we find him in 1677 recognised as Vicar-Apostolic of the 
diocese. The date of his death is not given. As Martin 
Burke was Vicar- Capitular in 1692, the opinion may be 
hazarded that his death occurred about that date. An un- 
published epitaph of this prelate, preserved in the archives 
of the Galway College house, shows that he had been at one 
period one of the Vicara of that city. It records his virtues 
in the musical measures of hexameter and pentameter, and 
gives eloquent expression to the writer's appreciation of the 
deceased prelate's character. It is too interesting to be omitted 
here : — 


Eximii admodum praesulis Domini 

Michaelis Lynchaei 

Sacrae Theologise Doctoris nee non Duacensis 

Simul Diocesis pariterque Galviensis 

CoUegiatae Divi Nicholai Ecclesiad Vicarii 

Humanissimi musitata quadam hisce 

Pnesertim tempoiibus charitate aliisque 

Egregiis pastoris virtutibus insigniter 


Hie inopum gaza hie prsesul gratissimuB urbi 
Norma sticerdotiim, luzque decueque gregis, 

Hie jaoet heu Divi Nicholai vera propago 
Cujus virtutum fidus alumnus erat 

Virgmibus viduiB puerisque parentibus orbis 
Pauperibusque suae suppeoitavit opes 

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Inque pios nsoB proyentus transtulit omnea 
Scilicet hie alter nam Fatexdas erat 

Utaue sepulture patuenmt oetia templi 
Per tot lustra sacris baud ref erata viriB 

Illi tantarum parturo preemia rerum 
Oatia ooelorum sic paruisse reor. 

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The CySbaughneeBy estates are declared confiscated, and conferred on 
Thomas Trendergast for '* acceptable services "—His " discovery of the 
assassination plot"— William CShaughnessy senses in the French 
Army — His splendid career — Colman (yshaughnessy, Bishop of 
Ossorr, claims the family estates — The suit against John Prendergast 
Smyth continued by Roebuck O'Shaughnessy and by his son Joseph, 
who takes possession of the family mansion at Gort — (yShaughnessy's 
defeat and ruin — Episcopal succession — Dr. CMadden — Dr. F. de 
Buigo— Dr. KUkelly, BiBliop of Kilmacdui^h and Kilfenora. 

Turning now to the south-eastern districts of the diocese, we 
shall witness a more arbitrary transfer of property to ''the 
new men." 

On the 11th of May 1697, the O'Shaughnessy estates were 
declared confiscated, and a formal Act of attainder and forfeiture 
was issued against Sir Soger O'Shaughnessy, lately deceased, 
and his son William. The official document is still preserved 
in the EoUs Office, Dublin, from which, through the courtesy 
of the officials there, I have been able to transcribe an outline 
which appears in the Appendix.^ It is drawn up in abbreviated 
Latin. Though from this reason it is somewhat obscure, it 
shows clearly the vast extent of property of which those men 
were robbed in the name of law. Its extent was ascertained 
by an " Inquisition " held at Galway, under one Morley Sanders, 
on the 5th September, in the eighth year of William the 
Third's reign. The residences of which he was deprived are 
mentioned as well as the lands. We also find the names of 
the various mortgagees: — Walter Taylor of Bally MacGrath 
(Castle Taylor), Bryen O'Brien, Dermot TuUy, Turlogh O'Heyne, 
Charles O'Shaughnessy, and Dermot Cloran. 

This Dermot Cloran resided at Lissine, about two miles south 
of Gort, and was the family lawyer. Fortunately, some of his 
papers, which refer to the mortgages on the O'Shaughnessy 
estates of the period, are preserved in the appendices to Mr. 
Blake Forster's work* 

O'Brien was son of Lord Clare, Sir Boger's brother-in-law. 

We are also able to find that the Walter Taylor mentioned was 

1 See Appendix. * Irish Chieftain, p. 582. 


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the then representative of the family at Castle Taylor. The 
author of the Irxsk Chieftain ^ gives the following acconnt of 
the nature and character of his mortgage : '' Among the bonds 
in his possession (t.e. Gloran's) was one from a Protestant 
William I te named Walter Taylor. Captain Roger O'Shaugh- 
nessy had purchased land called Carubesida from Taylor, who 
had bought it from a patentee. Taylor gave his bond to execute 
a conveyance of those lands to O'Shaughnessy, but, however, 
he did not do so, as Dermot Oge did not attend to the affair at 
the time or afterwards, being in a depressed state of mind on 
account of the loss of Aughrim and the fall of Limerick. The 
Williamites being victorious, Taylor dishonourably took posses- 
sion of Carubesida. Dermot Oge feared to question his right 
to do so, lest Taylor might injure him in his endeavours to 
keep Lissine. Therefore Taylor got back the bond, and kept 
the land, without returning to O'Shaughnessy the purchase- 
money which he had received from his father. This dishonour- 
able transaction on the part of Taylor is fully explained by 
Dermot Oge in the notes and memorandums he left on his 
death to his son, for O'Shaiighnessy's use." This transaction is 
referred to more in detail by Dermot Cloran in his memoran- 
dum drawn up for the guidance of William O'Shaughnessy. 

The confiscated estates were conferred by royal grant on 
Gustavus, first Baron Hamilton, in custodiam. But Baron 
Hamilton had better things in store for him. He was after- 
wards created Viscount Boyne, and received also a military 

The Gort estates were therefore soon conferred on another 
favourite. On the 10th June 1697, the Gort estates were 
conferred on Thom&s Prendergast during the lifetime of 
William O'Shaughnessy, "in consideration of his good and 
acceptable services." This grant included all O'Shaugbnessy's 
real and personal estate. It was supplemented by others in 
Tipperary, Roscommon, and Westmeath. In 1699, Prender- 
gast received a baronetcy also for his "acceptable services." 
His great " service " to the crown consisted in his " discovery 
of the assassination plot." 

It was the golden age of " informers." Gates and Danger- 
field had their day of inglorious success ; though their degrada- 
tion, which followed, was hailed by the nation as a national 

Prendergast's information, if true, was far more important 
than that of preceding informers. He was himself indeed a 
leading member of the "assassination plot," which, it was said, 

1 P. 639. 

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was composed in a large measure of his co-religionists, the 
Boman Catholica It was only when all the arrangements for 
efiecting their bloody purpose were completed, that he resolved 
to betray them. It would be hazardous to conjecture how far 
Prendergast himself may have been responsible for the real or 
assumed guilt of his associates. It may be idle and unprofit- 
able to inquire if he too were actuated by the sordid selfishness 
of Titus Oates and others. Some may urge that he felt him- 
self bound by feelings of loyalty to a king who was an alien in 
race and religion, and who, in the eyes of a large number of 
Englishmen, sat as a usurper on the throne of the Stuarts. 
However this may be, it is pretty certain that he, like other 
wretches of the class who are devoid alike of honour and 
conscience, " thought much of the danger he would incur by 
being true to his associates, and the rewards he might obtain by 
betraying them." Assisted by two other informers, named 
Fisher and De la Eue, Prendergast placed the King's ministers 
in possession of the purpose and character of the supposed 
conspirators. He soon had an interview with the King. This 
interview between His Majesty and the informer is detailed by 
Lord Macaulay at some length, and may be quoted here in the 
words of that celebrated writer: "Very late on Friday the 
21st, Prendergast, who had as yet disclosed much less than 
either of the other informers, but whose single word was worth 
much more than their joint oath, was sent for to the royal 
closet. The faithful Portland and the gallant Cutts were the only 
persons who witnessed the singular interview between the King 
and his generous enemy. WilUam, with courtesy and animation 
which he rarely showed, but which he never showed without 
making a deep impression, urged Prendergast to speak out. 
'You are a man of true probity and honour, I am deeply 
obliged to you, but you must feel that the same considerations 
which have induced you to tell us so much, ought to induce 
you to tell us something more. The cautions which you have 
as yet given, can only make us suspect everybody that comes 
near us. They are sufficient to embitter my life, but not 
sufficient to preserve it. You must let me know the names of 
those men.' " 

During more than half an hour, the King, we are told, con- 
tinued to entreat, and Prendergast to refusa At last, Prender- 
gast said that he would give the information which was 
required, if he could be assured that it would be used only for 
the prevention of the crime, and not for the destruction of the 
criminals. "I give you my word of honour," said WiUiam, 
''that your evidence shall not be used against any person 

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without your own free consent" It was lon^ past midnight 
before I^ndergast wrote down the names of the chief con- 
spirators. But the chief conspirators were quickly placed 
under arrest Before the dawn of Sunday, twenty were im- 
prisoned, and other arrests followed quickly. Prendergast's 
scruples about having his evidence used "against the criminals " 
must therefore have quickly disappeared under the subtle 
influence of royal favour. Assuming that His Majesty's plighted 
•' word of honour " was religiously observed, it follows that the 
informer must have consented, and without delay, that his 
evidence might be used against his fellow conspirators. Char- 
nock, King, and Keyes were the first victims who were executed 
on the informer's testimony. Two other gentlemen, named 
Friend and Parkins, quickly followed them to the scaflbld, and 
their execution seems to have been ordered mainly on the 
evidence of Prendergast, which Macaulay speaks of as " respect- 
able." Such was the nature of the services which secured for 
Sir Thomas Prendergast a special claim on royal favour, and 
for which he received a grant of the Lough Cutra and Gortinsi- 
guaire estates. 

In 1690 he was created baronet For some few years he 
was member of Parliament for Monaghan. He held the high 
position of Brigadier-General in the army, prior to the battle 
of Malplaquet in 1709. But at that celebrated eng^ement he 
was appointed to succeed Marlborough as Commander-in-Chief 
of the Forces. 

He married Penelope, sister of the Earl of Cadogan, and had 
by her a son, Thomas, who inherited his title and estates, and 
two daughters, Juliana and Elizabeth. 

Meantime Colonel William O'Shaughnessy, better known as 
the Chevalier O'Shaughnessy, succeeding to his father's ruined 
fortunes, like many other of his plundered countrymen, elected 
to leave his native land for ever. 

We will allow Mr. O'Callaghan to tell us the story of his 
singular career in his History of the Irish Brigades : ^ — 

" In 1689, or in the commencement of the War in Ireland, 
William O'Shaughnessy, then only about fifteen, was captain 
of a company of 100 men, with which he served there till 
sent to France in the spring of 1690 in the regiment of the 
Hon. Daniel O'Brien (Lord Clare), and on July the 10th, 1691. 
was commissioned by Louis XIV. as a captain in that corps. 
In this grade he was the same year at the siege of Montmelian ; 
in 1692 with the army of Italy; in 1693 at the victory of 
Marsaglia at Piedmont; in 1696 witnessed the conclusion of 

» P. 336. 

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military operations beyond the Alps, by the siege of Valenza, at 
liirhich he became commandant of the 3rd battalion of his 
regiment; and in 1697 was attached to the army of the 

" On the reform in 1698 of the 2nd and 3rd battalions of his 
regiment, he was made, April Ist, captain of Grenadiers in the 
battalion which was kept on foot. After the breaking out of 
the war of the Spanish Succession, or in 1701 and in 1702, he 
was employed with the army of Germany ; in 1703 he was at 
the reduction of £ehl, the combat of Munderkingen, the first 
battle of Hochstedt; and in 1704 was at the second battle 
there, otherwise known as that of Blenheim. In 1705 he was 
with the army of the Moselle ; and in 1706 at the battle of 
Bamillies. By the death from wounds there of his major, John 
O'Carroll, he became, July the 4th, successor to that gallant 
officer ; and September 12th, lieutenant-colonel. He was with 
the army of Flanders in 1707 ; and at the battle of Gudenarde 
in 1708 ; at that of Malplaquet in 1709 ; at the attack of 
Arleux in 1711 ; at the action of Denain, Douay, Quesnay, and 
Bouchain in 1712 ; and in Germany the following campaign, at 
those of Landau and Friburg. Brigadier by brevet, April 3rd, 
1721, he was in 1733 employed with the army of the Ehine, 
and at the successful siege of Eehl in October. In the same 
army, by letters of April 1st, 1734, he was at the attack of the 
lines of Ellingen, and at the siege of Philipsburg was made 
roar^chal de camp by brevet, August 1st, and finished the 
campaign in that capacity. Continued as mardchal de camp 
with the army of the Rhine by letters of May 1st, 1735, he 
was present at the affair of Clausen. 

"Attached to the army of Flanders by letters of August 21st, 
1742, he commanded at Cambray during the winter, remained 
there during the campaign of 1743 ; and, having been appointed, 
November 1st, to command at Gravelines, died without issue 
January 2nd, 1744, aged seventy." 

Thus did the representative of an ancient, a noble, and 
honourable house die in exile, stripped of his estates by 
"revolutionary vengeance and rapacity,"^ not, however, with- 
out adding lustre to his family prestige ; while a man, depicted 
by Swift as " a sordid betrayer of his friends and a relentless 
persecutor of the Established Church," had held his possessions. 

But William's Act of attainder was issued only against the 

persons of Sir lioger O'Shaughnessy and his son William, and 

their property was alienated and conferred on Prendergast 

only during the lives of both. Consequently we find that, 

* CCallaghan'fl IritSk Brigades, p. 337. 

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on the death of William O'Shaughnessy, a suit at law was 
instituted for the recovery of the property. 

Chevalier William O'Shaughneasy died, as we have seen, 
without issua His uncle, Charles O'Shaughnessy of .Arda- 
meelavane Castle, succeeded as representative of the family.' 
He married Eleanor Lynch of Eafiladown, County Galway,and 
had three sons, Joseph, Coleman, and Soebuck. Joseph dying 
without issue in 1732, his brother Coleman, afterwards Bishop 
of Ossory, succeeded to the representation of the family. 

Coleman O'Shaughnessy made his early studies with the 
Dominican fathers at Athenry. Having, like many of his 
countrymen, gone abroad, he was for a time attracted by the 
glitter and adventures of a military life. But he soon laid aside 
the soldier's gay uniform for the cassock and cowl of the religious. 
Placing himself under the care of his old friends, the Domini- 
cans at Louvain,' he completed his studies there in 1706, and 
was received amongst the fathers of the convent. The high 
estimate formed of his abilities may be inferred from the fact 
that he was immediately charged with the onerous duties of 
teaching there. 

He soon after returned to Ireland, to minister to the spiritual 
needs of his persecuted fellow-countrymen. His labours, which 
were of extreme danger, as well as of importance, were confined 
to his native province, and were marked with signal success. 
His contemporary and friend, De Burgo, refers to his persua- 
sive eloquence, and also to a certain charming frankness of 
manner, as amongst the striking traits in his character at 
this period, to which his success may be in part attributable. 

He was elected Provincial of his order on the 30th April 
1726, in succession to Dr. Mac i^an, Bishop of Clonmacnoise. 
In 1736 he was created Bishop of Ossory by Pope Clement 
XII. ; and consecrated by the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. 
I^nergan, assisted by Drs. Mac Egan of Meath and Mac 
Donough of Kilmore. 

On his brother's death in 1744 he became the legal claimant 
for the family estates. The suit was formally instituted in the 
Court of Common Pleas, Dublin, against Sir Thomas Prender- 
gast, the son and representative of Sir Thomas on whom the 
estates were confered by the Prince of Orange. 

It was a bold, perhaps a hopeless proceeding, for a Catholic 
bishop in those days, especially when we see the hostility of 
the laws to Catholic proprietors, and the influence of the family 
in possession. But, pending the hearing of the case. Bishop 

" Ky Fiachrach, p. 383. 

* Epia, Succemon, Brady, vol. i. p. 368. 

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Coleman was summoned before that higher tribunal before 
which all mortals must appear. His death occurred in the year 
1748, at Gowran, a parish of his diocese, of which Father John 
O'Heyne had then pastoral charge. On the bishop's death the 
responsibility of supporting the family claims devolved on his 
brother and legal representative, Boebuck O'Sbaughnessy. 

When the suit at law was instituted, Sir Thomas Prender- 
gast (second) was long in possession of the Gortinsiguaire 
estates. He was also a man of wide influence and high personal 
character. He represented Chichester in the English, and 
Clonmel in the Irish Parliaments. He was also Postmaster- 
General for Ireland. He was about to be raised to the peerage 
under the title of Viscount Clonmel, when he died on the 22nd 
August 1760, leaving no issue. 

On the death of Sir Thomas Prendergast, his estates passed 
to his nephew, John Smyth, Esq. His sister Elizabeth had 
married Charles Smyth, son of Thomas Smyth, Bishop of 
Limerick. His nephew by this marriage, on inheriting the 
Gort estates, took the name of Prendergast, and was usually 
known as John Prendergast Smyth.^ 

Considering the connection of his family with Limerick, we 
cannot be surprised at finding him holding positions of import- 
ance in connection with that city and county. Accordingly we 
find him holding the position of " Lieutenant-Colonel of the 
Limerick Independents, and afterwards that of Colonel of the 
Limerick City Militia." ^ He was also for a time parliamentary 
representative of the borough of Carlow. He was raised to the 
peerage on the 15th May 1810 as Baron of Kiltartan, obtaining 
for his nephew and successor, the Eight Hon. Charles Vereker, 
the succession of the title. On the 23rd January 1816 he was 
made Viscount (Jort, with reversion also to his nephew. 

Boebuck O'Shaughnessy, who continued the litigation after 
the death of his brother, the Bishop of Ossory, married Eleanor, 
eldest daughter of Ulick Burke of Ower. He died in 1754, 
before any decision was arrived at by the courts, leaving a son, 
Joseph. But Sir Joseph O'Shaughnessy, probably tired of the 
law's proverbial delay, perhaps still more of the ruinous expenses 
which such a suit necessarily entailed, was foolishly induced to 
change the character of the case by taking forcible possession 
of the family mansion at Gort There can be no doubt that he 
was encouraged to take this fatal step by many of the gentry 
of the county, as weU as by the representatives and followers 
of the tribe with which this family had been long and 
honourably connected. O'Donovan refers to this, on what he 
^ History of Limerick, p. 225. * Ibid. 

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and others justly regard as the authority of a well-founded 
tradition. He writes: ''Tradition states that this Joseph 
O'Shaughnessy, assisted by his relatives and the gentry of tiie 
county of Galway, took forcible possession of the mansion^ 
house of Gort, on which occasion they caused the bells of 
Athenry and Galway to be rung for joy." ^ 

The enterprise, ill-advised as it was, was also a dangerous 
one, as for a considerable time past a troop of His Majesty's 
forces held possession of the old mansion and Gort Castle for the 
Prendergast family. When visited by Dr. Pococke in 1749, it 
is thus referred to in his memorable narrative : " I was at Gort 
in 1749 in our tour through Munster and Connaught It was 
the estate of the O'Shaghnusses, and was forfeited ; and now 
there is a barrack in an old 'mansion-house of that family, 
built within the walls of the (in the) castle." ' Overawed by 
the numbers and enthusiasm of O'Shaughnessy's followers, the 
soldiers in possession of the mansion wisely fled, leaving^ 
O'Shaughnessy for a time master of his ancestors' hospitable 
halla The enthusiasm was bouadless with which his followers 
gave welcome to the representative of the chiefs of Banel 
Aedh to the castle of his ancestors. They recalled the 
memories of the past, celebrated alike in history and song, 
which spoke of the lavish hospitality of the chiefs of Kinel 
Aedh. And though the voices of the bards were then silent 
in the West, local poets' did not fail to give expression to their 
joy in no ignoble stanzas. O'Donovan tells us that a very 
curious song of exultation was composed on the occasion by 
a poor man of the family named James O'Shaughnessy, the 
first quatrain of which runs as follows : — 

" Mayst thou meet neither peril nor danger, 

O hero without fault, 
As thou hast won the goal, 

The tribe that is in power will be the better of it. 
The poets shall spread thy fame, 

And the ollaves shall speak of thee, 
And from the nobles of Innisfail 

Thou wilt receive at Gort the palm of hospitality." 

But the triumph was short-lived. A case was immediately 
filed in the Court of Chancery by Prendergast Smyth, which 
afforded the executive the long-desired pretext for an adverse 
decision against O'Shaughnessy. As the case now appeared, it 
was that of " Smyth and others, against O'Shaughnessy and 
others, in the Court of Chancery here in October 1760," etc 
Prendergast Smyth had therefore assumed the position of 

1 fly Fiaxhmchy p. 385. « Toxlt in Ireland^ 1752, p. 108. 

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plaintiff. And his case seems to have been based on a 
"petition to the Lords Commissioners — the Lord Chancellor 
being then in England — on a pecuniary bill and affidavits. An 
injunction was granted to the Sheriff to restore the plaintiff, 
as devisee of the estate in question, to the possession of the 
inansion-house, out of which, it had been sworn, he had been 
forced by the defendant O'Shaughnessy, who claimed under 
some old dormant title, not as heir-at-law; and an injunction 
was also granted to the party, as to the demesne, unless cause 
could be shown as to the contrary in the time prescribed by 
the order." 

It would seem that the money resources of the litigants were 
by this time on both sides exhausted. It is stated that Mans- 
field, the Lord Chancellor, procured for Prendergast a consider- 
able sum to enable him to prosecute the suit. Some say the 
, amount was £20,000. But O'Donovan, mentioning this tradition, 
gives it at £8000, which sum was a mortgage on the property. 
It has been said, though we think not conclusively, that Lord 
Brougham was the real owner of the mortgage ; and that he 
sold his claim to Vicesimus Knox,^ who subsequently lent 
additional sums for the erection of the beautiful castle at 
Lough Cutra. These, it is said, were the debts for which the 
property passed from the hands of the representatives -of 
Prendergast Smyth in 1852. 

We find that Sir Joseph O'Shaughnessy received willing help 
from his impoverished relatives. But his case was hopeless. 
As De Burgo, the learned author of Hiberma Dominicana, boldly 
puts it, money and influence^ not juatioe, decided the case in 
favour of John Prendergast Smyth. 

" The defendant (O'Shaughnessy) came to show cause against 
the injunction to the party, and to set aside the injunction to 
the Sheriff upon a notice for that puirpose ; but as to the first 
point the Court disallowed the cause, and as to the second 
point the Court refused to set aside the injunction, for that it 
is an order of course, and usually granted at the first instance, 
as the party is turned out of his place of residence, and may not 
have a place to go to ; and on these motions the following 
points were determined : — 

" That the defendant should not read any affidavits, or show 
any other cause than appeared on the face of the plaintiff's 
affidavits," etc. 

In Howard's treatise, in which the case is recorded, it is 
fittingly referred to as one of very " great importance." 

Of the defeated litigant, O'Donovan records that ** he was 
^ Lord Mansiield*8 nephew. 


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the last claimant of the Gort estate, and died without issue iif 
1785 ; and there is no one now living that has yet traced his 
pedigree with certainty to the first Sir Dermot who was 
knighted by Henry VIII. Some think that this race is 
totally extinct in the male line." ^ 

The executive, profiting by its experience, immediately 
removed every trace of the old castle and mansion at Gort, by 
erecting on its site the existing military barrack. And John 
Prendergast Smyth, who was soon to be known as Lord 
Eiltartan, erected, a short way up the river, a commodious 
residence of the modem style, in which he resided till the 
castle at Lough Cutra was completed by his heir and nephew, 
Vereker, Viscount Gort. Lord Kiltartan's house and grounds 
at Gort are long in the possession of the Sisters of Mercy in 
that town. 

Episcopal Succession. 

We have seen that Martin Burke was Vicar-Capitular of 
Kilmacduagh in 1692. As the difficulties in the way of the 
Catholic episcopal succession in Ireland were then as formid- 
able as penal enactments could make them, we are not 
surprised to find that for some time there was no appointment 
to the See vacated by the death of Dr. Lynch. 

Dr. Ambrose O'Madden of Clonfert was his successor.* 
We find that he was nominated Bishop of Killala and Adminis- 
trator of Kilmacduagh on the 13th of August 1695. And we 
also find that subsequently, on the 15th of November 1708, he 
was appointed Bishop of Kilmacduagh ; but the issue of the 
brief had been delayed. 

Dr. O'Madden, who belonged to the adjoining diocese of 
Clonfert, had been for twenty years parish priest of Loughrea. 
He had his name " registered " there, in accordance with the 
provisions of the Act for the "Registration of the Popish 

Dr. O'Madden did not wish, however, to leave Loughrea. In 
a letter addressed to the Holy Fatlier, dated 24th December 
1703, and in another still more lengthy communication 
addressed by him to the Propaganda on the 24th December 
1703,' he adduces many reasons in justification of his wishes. 
On those representations he was permitted to retain the 
parish of Loughrea, while charged with the episcopal adminis- 
tration of Kilmacduagh. This arrangement had Papal sanction 

1 Hy Fiachrach, p. 386. • Brady's Episcopal Succesnon. 

^ Both letters are preserved in the SpeciUgium Osaorienae. 

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by brief, dated 15th March 1707. He was, however, traus- 
ferred to Clonfeit, his native diocese, in 1713. 

From 1713 till 1720 the See was governed by Vicars. 

On the 5th of January 1720, Francis de Burgo was 
nominated Bishop of Eilmacduagh. On the 1st of I^Iay 
following, he was consecrated at Dublin by the Archbishop, 
assisted by the Bi>hops of Meath and Kildare. In the 
consecration returns he is styled " Francis Burke of Palece." 

The reign of Dr. Burke must have been short, as we find 
that Bernard 0*Hara — a regular — was appointed his suc- 
cessor as Bishop of Eilmacduagh in December 1723. 

Dr. Martin Burke was next bishop. He was appointed 
Bishop of Eilmacduagh by brief, dated 22nd November 1732. 
And on the 8th of March 1733, the " Electus Duacensis " was 
consecrated at Paris, with the observance of all the usual 
formalities. The Archbishop of Paris countersigned his certifi- 
cate on the 26th of March 1733. 

This Dr. Martin Burke is referred to in the Hibernia 
Dominieana^ as Milo de Burgo, under date 1744. But the 
date 1744 is the date of his death. 

Dr. Eilkelly succeeded. The brief of his appointment is 
dated 22nd June, a.d. 1744, and was issued by Pope Benedict 
XIV, By this brief His Holiness conferred upon "his 
beloved son, Peter Eilkelly, Master of S. Theology," the 
singular privilege of selecting, as the consecrating prelate, any 
Wshop in communion with the Holy See. He was also free to 
select the two or three assisting prelates; and in case he 
should find it inconvenient to secure their presence, he was 
authorised to select instead two or three priests, who were, 
however, to be " ecclesiastica dignitate conspicui." 

He was consecrated, however, in the Dominican Convent of 
Nuns in Dublin, by the Archbishop, assisted by the Bishops of 
Eildare and Meath, on the 14th October 1744.*^ 

In 1750 the See of Eilfenora became vacant by the death of 
Dr. James O'Daly, an Augustinian. Being conterminous, a 
union was effected between both dioceses, and Dr. Eilkelly 
appointed Administrator of Eilfenora, while retaining the See 
of Eilnoacduagh. Though this was to be the designation of the 
first bishop under the union, his successor was to be " Bishop 
of Eilfenora and Administrator of Eilmacduagh;" and the 
titles were to alternate similarly in the case of each succeeding 

The union thus auspiciously begun under this distinguished 
prelate, was a union welcome to both dioc€ses, and one which, 
* P. 509. * Brady's Episcopal Succesnon. 

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initiated under the guidance of so distinguished a prelate, has 
been hitherto fruitful of the happiest results. 

Dr. Kilkelly was, as De Burgo ^ informs us, a representative 
of the ancient and noble family of the name, who were owners 
of the Cloghballymore estates and castle to Elizabeth's time. 
He became a member of the great Order of Friars Preachers, and 
early in life was made Director of their college at Galway. It 
was in the university city of Lpuvain, however, that he com- 
pleted his studies. In the year 1740 he went to Eome, and 
was there chosen one of the Theologians at the Casanaten- 
sian library.^ In 1742 he was appointed to the i-ank of 
Provincial of his Order in Ireland, and promoted from this 
high position, as we have seen, to be bishop of his native 
diocese two years after. We have not been able to find a 
record of the date of his death. 

* Kih, Dom, p. 222. * Brady's Epucopal Succession, 

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The Kirwan family — KirwanA owners of Ballyturrin— Richard Kirwan, 
LL.D., etc., born at Cloghballymore — His eminence as a writer — Hie 
<Ieath — Sibilla French marries BUke of Ballinafad, who becomes 
owner of Clogh — Redingtons of KUcoman — Thomas Redington files 
bills of discovery against his Catholic brother of Kilcoman— Richard 
Gregory of London purchases the Coole and Kinvara estates— Burke 
Eyre acquires the Cloon estates — Stafford Eyre's Inquisition — Dean 
Isethercoat gives his returns of tiie Papists in 1766 — Episcopal 

The Kirwan family were prominent amongst the so-called 
Tribe families of Galway, and might fairly rest their claim for 
distinction on the merited reputation of Eichard Kirwan, 
LL.D., of Gregg Castle, a scholar of European fame. 

The name and family are admittedly Irish, the former being 
originally written Ciorrovan or Kirrovan, the name of the 
ancient founder of the family. Whatever difficulty there may 
be in showing that Ciorrovan or Kirrovan was second son of 
Milesius, there is none in showing that some families of the 
name settled in Galway as early as the reign of Henry VI., 
at " which time," says Hardiman, "the name first occurs in its- 
present form." 

William Kirwan settled in Galway in 1488. He was the 
common ancestor of the various influential families of the 
name in the county, among which we must name the families 
of Castle Hacket, Dalgin, and Gregg! Mr. Hardiman thinks 
that Sir John Kirwan, of Castle Hacket, has established a claim 
on favourable remembrance, for having preserved the first herd of 
racing cattle in the empire, and also for being the first who, 
in 1689, introduced glass windows in the modem form in 

Andrew Kirwan, who married Margaret French, was founder 
of the Cregg family. In their motto they proudly professed a 
love of God, of king, and country. 

We also find a family of the name settled at Ballyturrin, a 
picturesque district on the northern shore of I^ugh Cutra. 
From an original document preserved in the archives of the 
College House library at Galway, we find that a certain Peter 


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Kirwan resided at Ballyturrin in 1681, and was thea owser of 
some property iu the district. 

Ballyturrin was part of the extensive possessions of the 
Mac Bedmond Burkes, then recently confiscated. And one of 
their many castles, which rose over the waters of the 
Ballyturrin lake, may still be seen, sadly wrecked, near the site 
of the old residence of the Kirwans. Blake Forster informs us 
that Ballyturrin Castle was thrown down by Edmond Kirwan, 
Esq. of Dalgan, who resided at Ballyturrin about the year 
1780. Though holding only the position of obscure proprietors, 
they retained their property there till the early part of this 
century. In 1843, Anna Greorgina, only daughter and heiress 
of Richard Kirwan, Ballyturrin Castle, County Gal way, married 
John lloyd Baggot of Ballymoe. The beautifully-situated 
residence which now crowns the summit of the hill, and com- 
mands a superb view of Lough Cutra and the surrounding 
districts, was erected by that gentleman, and is now iu posses- 
sion of his heir and representative. 

We find the French family of Cloghballymore and Durus 
closely connected with the Kirwans of Cregg Castle. About the 
middle of the last century, Martin Kirwan, the then represent- 
Htive of Cregg Castle,^ married Mary French, daughter of 
Hyacinth French of Clogh. By this marriage there were four 
sous. Patrick, the eldest, died unmarried ; and Kichard, the 
second son, became proprietor of the family estates. But the 
acquisition of the family property could confer no distinction 
on Kirwan, the distinguished scientist. Amongst the literary 
men of his age he held a high place. He held a leading place 
amongst the first philosophers of Europe in his time, and 
was even better and more widely known on the Continent than 
in his native country. Hardiman pertinently remarks that 
" it has been pointedly observed as a reflection on Ireland, that 
the abilities of Mr. Kirwan were more appreciated, and that his 
reputation was greater, in every country in Europe than in 
his own." However, it will be inferred from the fact that he 
occupied the position of President of the Royal Irish Academy, 
and also of the Royal Dublin Society, for many years befoi-e 
his death, that his eminence as a scholar was not entirely 
ignored in Ireland. 

Richard Kirwan was born at Cloghballymore in 1733. Tlie 
Rev. Nicholas Mac Nally, who was family chaplain at Clogh, 
was young Kirwan's first tutor. The extraordinary abilities 

' He was descended from Richard Kirwan, who built Cregg Castle in 
1648, *' the last edifice of that description erected for purposes of defence'' 
in the West.— Dalton, p. 767. 

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of his young pupil seem to have loanifested themselves at a 
very early age. While yet a child of five years of age, he is 
paid to have been able to conjugate a French verb. We hear 
of a compendium of history which he drew up at the age of 
seven. His love of chemistry and of experimental science 
developed itself very early, and proved a source of uneasiness 
to his mother. A letter of hers remonstrating with her gifted 
son on the subject, shows her to be a lady of sense and culture, 
and may be reproduced here from Mr. OTlanagan's interesting 
sketch.^ It was written soon after Bichard had left home to 
pursue his studies at Poictiers : — 

" 11«A Ma)i 1750. 
"My dear Dickey, 

I would write to you a good deal about your 
studies, if I thought it to much purpose; but I am pretty 
much of opinion that experience alone must effect what advice 
will not at present. I apprehend that chemistry or some such 
abstruse study takes up your time and attention too much^ 
for I believe philosophy, rhetoric, or any such study which you 
are to go through regularly after one another won't require such 
a number of books at once. The consequences will convince 
you, I fear, when it is too late, of the (folly) of studying anything 
but as you are directed ; doing any more is but a childish 
curiosity that would not be approved by persons of sense here, 
whom I have sounded on this head ; and I am sure it is so 
there. They say that beginning with chemistry before one 
has studied philosophy is beginning at the wrong end. How 
confounding must that be and pernicious to body and mind. 
The faculties of the one, and the strength and growth of the 
other, cannot but be hurt and weakened by it extremely, neither 
being come to perfection yet in you that are so young. There- 
fore let me tell you that if you go beyond the dictation of your 
masters, you are ruined. I write this early enough to prevent 
your doing yourself any harm ; and, my dear child, you can't 
imagine what comfort it would give me to hear that you take 
my advice in this particular. . . . There are several instances of 
people that were turned, or ' touched,' as they call it, by study, 
which make me insist so long upon your not falling into the 
dangerous practice, which I suspect you do as you were so 
fond of it here, and not to be easily put off of what you would 
be inclined to. Your brother Patrick, if he had the greatest 
passion for anything, I would require but just to let him know 
my reasons to disapprove on it, and he would be sure in a letter 
* Proc^ings of the Royal Irish Academy^ vol. iv. 

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or two to answer my desire to the full, and seem ashamed to 
be the occasion of giving me so much trouble. He would let 
me know immediately that he would comply, and even without 
reluctance. What dangers has he not escaped with God's 
blessing by this happy temper ! I read somewhere in a French 
book what I would have my children often consider. It runs 
thus: 'La plupart des hommes employent la premiere partie 
de leur vie a rendre I'autre miserable.' This, you see, was a 
very just observation of the author. 

"I am so uneasy to satisfy you, I leave £6 in Mr. Usher's 
hands to buy anything for you that you will have a mind to, 
but it frightens me to think you could buy books with it. 
Write to me again about what books you want. If they be 
of chemistry, 111 never desire to hear more of them. Adieu, 
dear Dickey ; mind your health even for my sake, and take care 
of your immortal soul, that it may enter into the joys of our 
Lord, when you leave this valley of tears. Your Grandmamma 
French, who loves you greatly, often thinks of you, and gives 
you her blessing. 

" I am, my dear Dickey, your loving mother, 

"Mary F. Kirwan." 

This beautiful letter, which shows Mrs. Kirwan to have been 
a lady of culture, of true religious feeling, and of sound sense, 
does not appear to have had the desired effect on her dear child 
" Dickey." ^ He seems to have continued his chemical studies 
according to the bent of his own "sweet will," though their 
pursuit seems to have been then unattended with the results 
anticipated by his fond mother. It does not appear that he 
was " touchei" And as he was engaged by the Jesuits to pro- 
fess humanity for a period, we cannot assume that he neglected 
his classical studies. 

His brother Patrick's untimely death, which was brought 
about by a duel with Mr. Brereton, the Usher of the Irish 
House of Commons, brought Eichard Kirwan from his studies 
abroad, and made him heir to the estates of Gregg Castle. 
But though the residences of our Galway gentry of the 
eighteenth century were not so suited to the cultivation of 
learning as were the halls of St. Omer, Kirwan seemed on his 
return to have continued his studies with unabated zeal. His 
favourite studies seem to have been chemistry, geology, and 

^ Dalton, writing of him, says : " Richard Kirwan was pre-eminently the 
chemist — accounted one of the greatest philosophers of the day — and a 
member of most of the literary institutions in Europe." — Attmi List, p. 76K. 

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He made the daughter of Sir Valentine Blake, of Meulo 
Castle, his wile. She brought him, with an ancient name, con- 
siderable debts, and witnessed his studies with anything but a 
sense of enthusiasm or strong approval. Her opinions were 
shared by Lady Blake, her mother, who seems to have had less 
reluctance in giving Mr. Kirwan the benefit of her unfavour- 
able opinions. Under pressure of those domestic troubles, 
Kirwan changed his residence for a time, his studies, and, it 
is said, his religion. He studied law. Under such circum- 
stances it may have proved an agreeable relaxation. In 1766 
he was called to the bar, at which he practised a little for two 
years. His wife having died meantime, he once more devoted 
himself to his favourite studies. His publications, which show 
the extent of his extraordinary and varied knowledge, are 
almost too numerous to be referred to. 

His Elements of Mineralogy was published in London in 1784 
in two volumes, and was so valued on the Continent that it 
uas translated into French, German, and Bussian. His geo- 
logical essays were published in London in 1799, and in the 
same year he published his Analysis of Mineral Waters, a 
work much valued at the period. His work on Logic appeared 
in 1807 in octavo, and was published also in London. In 
1809 followed his work on Metaphysics. We are assured by 
Mr. O'Flanagan that he had written a treatise on Music, but 
did not publish it. 

In addition to those important treatises, he wrote several 
essays on subjects the most varied and abstruse. In one he 
treats of "Magnetism," in another of "Space and Duration," 
now on " The State of the Weather," again on " Coal Mines." 
He investigates the "Primeval Language of Mankind," and 
the " Origin of Polytheism, Idolatry, and Grecian Mytholog)'." 

In London he was the friend of the leading literary men of 
his time ; so too in Dublin he was the friend and associate of 
the most distinguished and eminent 

On the death of the Earl of Charlemont, he was elected 
President of the Eoyal Irish Academy. He was also elected 
President of the Boyal Dublin Society. Trinity College con- 
ferred on him the honorary distinction of Doctor of Laws. He 
was Fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh. 
He was member of many foreign academies ; amongst others, 
Stockholm, Berlin, Upsal, and Philadelphia. 

It is singular that the works of this remarkable man are now 
practically unknown to literary and scientific men. They are 
sought for only by the curious, who are obliged to search for 
them on the upper shelves of our public libraries. 

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Certain opinions, which he is said to have held towards the 
close of his life, would seem to show that his mother's appre- 
hensions as to the dangerous results of ill-regulated studies were 
realised even in his case. Hardiman tells us that " he conceived 
that mankind is indebted for a large portion of knowledge, 
particularly astronomy, to the antediluvians, and that Greek was 
the first language spoken by man." ^ There seems also to be a 
niarked disposition on the part of some writers to question the 
orthodox character of his religious opinions in his declining 
years. An " Octogenarian " states that he became a Protestant, 
but adds it was reported he reverted to his early faith. He 
seems to have been a man of fine presence and of engaging 

His portrait, painted by Hamilton, and presented to himself 
in life, bangs in the board room of the Boyal Dublin Society to 
the present day. 

He died on the Ist June 1812, in the seventy-eighth year of 
his age, and is buried in the churchyard of St George, Lower 
Temple Street, Dublin. 

Thirty years after his death. Dr. Pukrell of Cork delivered 
an eloquent eulogium on his character and writings before 
the members of the Society, Dr. Lloyd in the chair. It is 
published in the Proceedings of the Academy ,* and is, we 
think, of sufficient interest to be quoted here : — 

" Mr. Kirwan had been educated for the Bar, and practised for 
some time this honourable profession, but, having unexpectedly 
succeeded to an ample patrimonial income by the death of his 
elder brother, who was killed in a rencontre while in the act 
of entering the House of Commons, a new direction was given 
to his views and energies. Thenceforth he devoted himself in 
dignified retirement to the pursuits of science. 

" The sciences to which Mr. Kirwan more particularly applied 
himself were chemistry, mineralogy, including geology and 
meteorology. And that his contributions to each of those de- 
partments of natural knowledge were of the highest importance 
cannot be doubted, although his name is not connected with 
any of those transcendent or dazzling discoveries which secure 
immortality for their authors, and mark, as it were, an era in 
the intellectual progress of the human race. 

" In chemistry his researches were numerous and valuable in 
a high degree. By him, for the first time, the phenomenon 
naturally referred to as ' double elective affinity ' was studied 
with accuracy and success, and the attention of cliemists 
fixed upon the antagonist forces, which he distinguished by 
» GoXvmi, p. 318. « VoL iv. p. 481. 

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the terms 'quiescent and divellent/ He even attempted 
to assign measures of the degree of the affinity between acids 
and bases, an efibrt which, had it been successful, would have 
raised chemistry to the rank of the more exact physical 
sciences, and have brought its results within the domain of 
mathematical calculations. 

" In an early communication to this Academy, he explained 
very accurate methods of determining the strength of mineral 
acids, so much employed in medicine and the arts. 

*' In his essays on Alkaline Substances used in Bleaching, he 
pointed out the nature of the colouring matter of linen yam, 
and established, as he conceived, the fact, important in a 
national point of view, that the linen manufacture of Ireland 
is altogether independent of foreign salts or ashes for the 
purpose of bleaching. 

" Next follow his experiments on the proportions of carbon 
in bitumen and mineral coal, and his essays on the Analyses 
of Soils, and the Nature and Manner of Action of the Manures 
.best suited to each locality. From this enumeration of his 
chemical labours, they would appear to have been chiefly 
directed to objects of immediate practical utility. This, how- 
ever, was not always the case, for he turned special attention 
to one of the most difficult departments of the doctrine of 
Caloric, and communicated a table of specific heats, which 
was published by Magellan, and had some celebrity. 

" Chemists of the present time, who know in what a chaotic 
state their science was in the days of Kirwan, will not hesitate 
to award to him the merit of having been an acute reasoner 
and a laborious experimenter, and will not, looking at the 
period in which he lived, consider it any serious reproach to 
him that he was a strenuous supporter to the last of the 
philogistic theory, which, however, he continued to maintain 
long after any satisfactory evidence could be adduced in 
support of it. 

"In the department of mineralogy, the exertions of Mr. 
Kirwan may be said to have had 'a national importance. To 
him is undoubtedly due the merit of having introduced the 
study to this country. The celebrated liskean Collection, in 
the possession of the Dublin Society, was acquired through 
Mr. Kirwan, who passed over to Germany for the purpose of 
purchasing it. 

" And as Inspector-General of Irish Mines, he addressed an 
able memorial to the Irish Government, pointinj^ out the 
economic importance of mineralc^ical science, and bespeaking 
for it support and encouragement," 

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In conclusion, Dr. Pukrell said: "With every disposition 
to celebrate his worth, it would after all be presumptuous to 
deny that the task of rendering full justice to merit so varied 
and transcendent will still await and solicit the execution of a 
more competent hand. 

"Meantime, departed genius will not disdain this humble 
tribute at its tomb. Thirty years have now elapsed since 
that tomb closed upon the remains of the illustrious Kirwan, 
but his memory cannot fade with the lapse of time. The 
gratitude of mankind will attest his sei-vices, and history, in 
tracing the progress of those sciences which he cultivated, and 
to the prosecution of which by others he gave so powerful an 
impulse, will perpetuate to late posterity the honours of his 

Miss French, second daughter of Eoebnck French of Durus, 
married Maurice Blake of Ballinafad, County Mayo. He was 
the owner of large estates in Mayo, and the representative of 
an ancient family. His grandfather, Maunce Oge Blake, was 
deprived of his Mayo estates under Cromwell, which his 
great-grandfather, Walter Blake, had purchased from David 
O'Kelly of Dunamona. 

Maurice Blake had by his marriage with Miss French three 
sons and four daughters. 

Mark, his heir, married Christian, daughter of Martin 
Kirwan of Blindwell. His eldest son by this marriage was 
Maurice Blake, who was High Sheriff of his native county. 
In 1838 he married Anne, daughter and heiress of Arthur 
Lynch of Cloghballymore, whose grandfather, Marcus Lynch of 
Kama, secured the Clogh estates by his marriage with Sourna, 
daughter and heiress of James French. 

The present proprietor of Clogh is Llewellyn Blake, Esq., 
youngest son of Maurice Blake and Anne Lynch. 

This family, as well as their relatives, the Blakes of Ardfry, 
are descended from William, youngest son of William Blake, 
who obtained a grant of the customs of Galway. 

Andrew Blake, his descendant, had two sons, Robert and 
Walter, from whom the families of Ardfry and Cloghballymoi-e 
are respectively descended. 

The eldest son, Robert, married Anne, daughter of Richard 
Drury, Esq. His son and successor by this marriage. Sir 
Richard Blake, holds a prominent place in the interesting 
history of his time. He was M.P. for Galway in 1639, 
and one of the Privy Council of Charles I. He is perhaps 
still more celebrated as the Speaker of the Representative 
Assembly of the Irish at Kilkenny during the Confederation. 

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Though attainted in 1C91, he subsequently obtained permis- 
sion to retain possession of his property. His neutrality 
during the Williamite wars made him unpopular with the 
national party, who, it is said, destroyed his property.^ In 
consequence of this, ho secured the support of Baron de 
Ginkle, who finally secured for him the privilege of holding 
his estates without renouncing his religion. 

His descendant, Joseph Henry Blake, represented the 
county of Galway for many years, and was raised to the 
peerage in 1800, under the title of Lord Baron Wallscourt, 

Eobert Blake was grandfather of Walter Blake, who pur- 
chased the Mayo estates of David O'Kelly, and was therefore 
the ancestor of the Blakes of Ballinafad and Cloghbally- 

Apart from associations, the Clogh residence is uninterest- 
ing. It shows the severe simplicity of the residences which 
country gentlemen usually erected in the West of Ireland over 
one hundred years ago. It stands close to the fine old castle 
of the Kilkellys, which rises high above the surrounding 
woods, and commands an extensive view of the district. But 
the district is neither productive nor picturesque, and the 
several ruined homesteads to be noticed there speak pathetic- 
ally of a banished peasantry, and add to the dreariness of the 

Cloghballymore is now incoi'porated in the modern parish 
of Ballindereen, though in the older ecclesiastical divisions it 
was part of the parish of Killenavara. 

The church of Killenavara is situated about a mile east- 
ward, and has been used for a considerable time as the place 
of interment of the Blake family. The church is sadly ruined. 
Its northern side wall is nearly completely destroyed. The 
eastern gable contains a double lancet window of the Tudor 

In connection with the church on the south side, we find a 
commodious building evidently intended for the accommoda- 
tion of a small community. This biulding, which is two- 
storey, and well preserved, is flanked by a square tower, which 
seems to speak more of purposes of defence than of the 
ordinary requirements of monastic life. But we do know 
that such towers are found in connection with many of our 
religious edifices, and were erected for the proteclion of the 

Kilcoman, to which reference has been made in a preceding 
chapter, is not more than about five miles from Cloghbally- 
* Dalton, Kinq Jam^ffs Army Liit, 

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more. At the period of which we treat, Thomas Redington 
had become the representative of that ancient Catholic house, 
\fj his marriage with Sarah, daughter and heiress of Christopher 
Burke. He was fourth son of Thomas Redington of Crej?ana, 
a family which had come to Ireland in the beginning of the 
eighteenth century. Thomas Redington had married Margaret, 
daughter of Captain Lynch of Lydecane, County Galway. Miss 
Lynch was a Catholic. 

By this marriage of Thomas Redington and Miss Lynch 
there were four sons and four daughters. 

Nicholas, the eldest, a Protestant, died without issue. 

Gregory emigrated to America, and was not afterwards 
heard of. 

Michael married, in 1763, Margaret French of Cork. 

Thomas, who married Miss Burke of Ealcornan, was the 
fourth and youngest son. 

Margaret, his eldest dau<jhter, married in 1785, Sir Thomas 
French,^ who was afterwards raised to the peerage as Barou 

Honoria married Mr. Daly of Raford. 

Mary married a certain Mr. Kutledge, and was grandmother 
of Mary, Countess of Nathaniel. 

Eliza married a Mr. Archdekone, whose only son, Nicholas, 
became Bishop of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora. Her only 
daughter, Mary, married Walter Blake of Ballyglunin. 

Michael, who had married Miss French of Cork, and professed 
liimself a Protestant, filed the necessary bills for the purpose 
of depriving his brother Thomas of the Kilcornan estates. 
He accordingly had the necessary deeds prepared by a certain 
Newton Bradford of Dublin. But in the prosecution of his 
dishonourable purpose, and in the lengthened litigation of 
twenty years to which it led, he had neither sympathy nor 
support from any branch of his family, except from one, 
the Redingtons of Rye Hill. So indignant did his brother 
Nicholas, himself a Protestant, feel at this base action, that 
he bequeathed to his brother Thomas the substantial fortune 
of £60,000, to protect him against the injustice of the law. 

Those " bills of discovery," as they were called, were fre- 
quently filed against Catholic proprietors in those days. We 
find that, in 1755, Heder Foster, George Clancy, and others, 
were deprived of the lands of " Tarmon More " and " Tarmon 
Beg," in the diocese of Kilmacduagh, by means of such bills 
filed against them in the Court of Exchequer by one William 
M'Grath, then residing in Dublin.* 

1 Burke's Ft^agt. « Rolls Office. 

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Id the present instance, the result was unfavourable to the 
" discoverer," mainly, it may be assumed, through the prolonga- 
tion of the suit and the active influence of powerful friends. 
The preservation of the Xilcornan estates for the rightful 
owner must have been a source of joy in the district, as Mr. 
Kedington was benevolent and deservedly popular, a man who 
took a practical interest in the well-being of his tenantry. 
Consequently, the relations which seem to have existed between 
them were of the most cordial kind. There was kindliness on 
the one side, and on the other genuine feelings of attachment 
and respect. He sympathised with his tenantry. He spoke 
to them in their own language, and never failed to give wise 
counsel as well as practical assistance when asked. In a word, 
he was a model landlord, at a time when landlords abused their 
power, and the peasantry of the West were the helots of a 
blinded ascendancy. 

Thomas Eedington had by his marriage three sons and two 

Thomas, his eldest son, was born in 1769, and died un- 

Nicholas, his second son, also died unmarried. 

Christopher, his third and youngest son, was bom in 1780. 
In early life he entered the army, and held the rank of captain. 
In 1812 he married Frances, only child of Henry Dowell, 
Esq., of Cadiz, a. merchant of great wealth. By this marriage 
he had an only son, Thomas Nicholas Eedington, K.C.B., bom 
October 1815, and an only daughter, Anne, who died unmarried 
in 1829. 

The brief notice of this Sir Thomas N. Eedington which we 
find in Burke's Landed Oentry may be quoted hero: "He 
succeeded his father on 26th May 1825, and his grandfather, 
28th Febmary 1827. He was member of Parliament for 
Dundalk from 1837 to 1846. In 1842 he married Anna Eliza 
Mary, eldest daughter of John Hyacinth Talbot of Talbot Hall, 
County Wexford. He was appointed Under Secretary for 
Ireland in 1846, and received the Order of the Bath in 1849. 
In 1852 he was appointed Secretary of the Board of Control, 
which position he retained for four years, having resigned it in 
1856." His only son and heir is the present well-known and 
accomplished Eight Hon. C. T. Eedington, to whom we have 
already referred. 

The purchase of a large portion of the Kinvara estates from 
James French of Dums, about 1769, by Eobert Gregory, indi- 
cated the presence of a new and wealthy family in the district. 
The purchase included, with the ancient seaport of Kinvara, a 

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considerable portion of the surrounding districts. The con- 
tinuation of the erection of the pier and quay at Kinvara, com- 
menced by James French in 1773, was a more convincing 
evidence of the enterprise of the new proprietor, than of his 
veneration for the historic monuments of the district. Where 
the pier now stands, there was, at the period of which we 
write, a fine old castle of the chiefs of Kiloveragh. It guarded 
the bay at the south side, as the splendid Castle of Dunguaire 
was its sentinel on the opposite shore. Indeed, its interest 
was unquestionable; and yet this picturesque monument of the 
feudal past was destroyed to supply materials for the sea-wall 
and pier. However, while we regret its destruction, we feel 
bound to add that the new landlord's desire to promote tlie 
well-being of the district may in part excuse his want of 
interest in local monuments of which he could know nothing. 

Richard Gregory had a short time previously, 18th June 
1768, purchased from Oliver Martynn of Tullyra the extensive 
estates of Coole and Kiltartan. The record of the purchase is 
preserved in the Deeds OflBce, Dublin. From the record there 
preserved, it would appear that those lands had been mortgaged 
to Walter Taylor of Castle Taylor, and also to Anthony Daly 
of Calla. Hence they were parties to the sale, " at the request, 
and with the said Oliver Martynn." 

The following townlands situated in Kiltartan parish are 
mentioned in the deed, and may be easily identified at the 
present day : " Ballinamantane and the mill thereon, Drumeen, 
Kiltartan with its subdenominations. Coble, Inshee, Carrowna- 
cross. Corker, lisatunna, Shragh." The tolls and customs of 
Kiltartan fair were also mentioned in the deed of sale. It 
included also Annagh in the parish of Kilbecanty, with some 
portions of Ardrahan and Kinvara. 

The Irish ancestor of the purchaser of the Coole and Kiltartan 
estates is, according to Burke's Landed Gentry y " stated to have 
been a cadet of the Gregory family of Styvechale Hall, near 
Coventry, who went over to Ireland, it is thought, with Oliver 
CromwelL" " The Gregory family of Styvechale Hall is a very 
old and remarkable one, which acquired its property in the 
reign of Stephen in 1162, and in which there is the dormant 
peerage of MarmioiL" And the writer continues : "The pedigree 
from 1162 to 1681 was compiled by Glover, and continued in 
the College of Arms from 1581 to the present generation."* 

The interval of a century from the founder of the Irish 
branch of the family in Cromwell's time and the purchaser of 
Coole, does not seem to be clearly filled up. But the family 
* Burke's Landed Gentry, 

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genealogy has it, as the late Sir W. H. Gregory assured the 
writer, that Henry Gregory lived at Galway. He was son of 
Robert Gregory, a clergyman of the Established Church, and had 
one son, who is believed to be the ancestor of the Coole family. 

In early life he ran away from home, embarking for India 
on a vessel commanded by a Captain O'Hara, to whose memory 
there is a tablet erected in the Galway Cathedral. In India 
Robert Gregory secured a position under the East India 
Company, and realised a large fortune. He must have 
married in India. He had three sons there, Robert, Richard, 
and William. 

On leaving India finally, accompanied by his two youngest 
sons, he placed such funds as he had not remitted to England 
at the disposal of his eldest son, Robert, who remained in India, 
and who would have been his heir had matters gone smoothly, 
but they did not. 

This Robert Gregory, junior, was passionately addicted to 
cockfighting, which in his time was as seductive as horse- 
racing in ours. 

On leaving India, Mr. Gregory made strong representations 
to his son against the dangerous consequences of a continuation 
of such a career. He informed his son that if he ever heard of 
his being again engaged in cockfighting, he would disinherit 
him. He naturally hoped that his salutary parental advice, 
enforced by such strong admonitions, should have had the 
desired effect, and so returned to London with few mis- 
givings on the subject. 

Passing down the Strand some time after his return, his 
attention was attracted by a painting which represented a 
great cockfight between the Nabob of Oude and Colonel Mor- 
daunt, whom Mr. Gregory recognised as his Indian friends. 
There was, however, another portrait amongst the sporting 
group whom the old gentleman had less difficulty in recognising. 
It was the portrait of his son Robert, holding a white cock 
under his arm, in a very prominent position, impatiently await- 
ing his time for the momentous encounter of the feathered 
heroes, on which so much of his interest and money was centred. 
He entered the artist's shop, examined the picture closely, and 
found that his impressions were correct. He purchased the 
picture, of which there is still a good steel engraving preserved 
at the family residence at Coole. He lost no time in making 
further inquiries in India, with the result that he found his 
worst fears verified. Not only was Robert Gregory engaged in 
the celebrated fight, but he was also a partner of Colonel 

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Finding hia admonitions fruitless, therefore Bobert Gregory, 
senior, bequeathed his Irish landed property to his second son, 
Kichard, who was the direct ancestor of the late estimable 
and accomplished owner, the Right Hon. Sir W. H. Gregory. 

On his return to England, Bobert Gregory took an active 
part in politics. He was a Liberal, and the friend and supporter 
of Lord Rockingham. In 1774 he was elected as member for 
Rochester, against Admiral Sir Thomas Pye and George Finds 
Hatten, Esq. of Eastwell. He became a popular representative, 
and was again triumphantly returned after the dissolution of 
Parliament in 1780. 

Hia connection with India was not severed, for he remained 
a member of the East India Company's Board ; and was even 
chairman for a period, at a time when that position was one of 
the most powerful and influential in the kingdom. He 
resigned this position in the year 178«H, on the ground that the 
work was too heavy for his healtL 

In addition to his Irish property, he purchased an estate in 
Essex and another in Cheshire. He had also a town house in 
Bemers Street, then a fashionable quarter of London. These 
interesting facts the writer has from his great-grandson, the 
late Sir William Gregory. The residence at Coole is situated 
in a valley sheltered on every side by extensive woodlands. 
However, it commands, through some open glades, some pleasing 
views of the adjoining lakes and the remote hills of Burren. It 
seems that the erection of the residence and the planting of 
those extensive woods were carried out by Eichard Gregory. 
He was succeeded by his son, the Bight Hon. William Gregory, 
who was for many years Under Secretary for Ireland. He 
mairied, in 1789, Lady Anne Trench, daughter of the first Earl 
of Clancarty. 

His eldest son, Bobert, who inherited the Coole estates, 
married, in 1815, Elizabeth O'Hara of Baheen, County Galway, 
leaving by her an only son, William Henry Gregory. He was 
M.P. for Dublin from 1842 to 1847 in the Conservative interest. 
From 1857 to 1872 he represented his native county as an 
advanced Liberal. He was High Sheriff for Galway in 1849. 
In 1871 he was appointed Governor of Ceylon, which position 
he retained for five years, during which period he was created 
baronet. In 1872 he married Elizabeth, third daughter of 
Sir William Clay. This lady having died the following year, 
he married, in 1880, Augusta, youngest daughter of Dudley 
Persse, Esq., J.P., of Boxboro, a lady of rare accomplishments 
and amiability, by whom there is one son, Bobert He died in 
March 1892, leaving his heir and representative a minor. 

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r • 
!. V 

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'*■ > 

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Amongst the old Tribe families of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne, the 
OTahys alone remained in actual possession of portions of 
their ancient territory in the beginning of the eighteenth 

A Scotch soldier named Galbraith, who held a commission 
in William's army, and who allied himself closely to the 
Persse family, then in possession of Boxboro, was able to ap- 
propriate the Cappard districts, hitherto the OTahy property. 
It is pretty certain that Garden blake was still their property. 
They also retained the Cloon estates in the parish of Kilbe- 
canty, now Lahiflf property, who hold it by purchase from a 
Mr. Eyre. 

In the Deeds Office, Dublin, we find a document dated 1st 
May 1711, which throws some curious light on certain money 
transactions between a certain Mr. Burke of Dublin and " Thady 
Fahy of Clooningane, Co. Galway, gentleman." It was a 
deed of lease and re-lease of a considerable portion of OTahy's 
estate to Dominick Burke of the city of Dublin, and Joseph 
Burke, late of Ballylee, County Galway. This deed seems to 
have been perfected mainly to enable OTahy to obtain from, 
Burke a loan of £147, for which he was to pay the exorbitant 
interest of £11, 18s. yearly "in pure silver and gold of the 
same weight and value that silver and gold now are in the 
kinirdom of Ireland." 

The deed was practically a mortgage at a ruinous interest on 
the townlands of Cloon and Cloonaningane, containing 105 
acres profitable land, in the barony of Kiltartan. 

This mortgage was taken up the following year by Edward 
Eyre of Galway. The deed of transfer to this gentleman is 
dated 6th December 1712. Meantime, Burke pressed his 
claim for the payment of the amount of the original mortgage. 
And he seems to have done so with a knowledge of the 
O'Fahy's inability to meet it then. He felt himself obliged to 
confirm to the " said Edward Eyre, his heirs and assigns, the 
said townlands of Cloon, containing 114 acres profitable land, 
lying in the parish of Kilbecanty," etc., on condition that Eyre 
should satisfy the claim and give in addition £50. 

In the new settlement there was a provision made for 
redemption of the lands. It was that the entire principal 
should be refunded within six months, together with £50 

A further loan of £50 advanced to the owner by Eyre 
within the following year showed that the last remnant of his 
paternal estates had passed away from his hands without hope 
of redemption. 

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Very soon after we find Cloon House occupied by the Bufkc- 
Eyre family, by whom it was held till the beginning of the 
present century. 

The Eyres were Cromwell ian adventurers. We find that a 
Colonel Eyre, a native of Wiltshire, accompanied Ludlow to 
Ireland. He obtained a grant from the crown in 1662 of the 
manor of Eyre Court and other lands, and represented the 
county of Galway under Charles II. in the Irish House of 
Parliament. We have seen a document preserved in the Bolls 
Ofiice which casts a curious light on what Mr. Eyre regarded as 
" his privileges " as member, and on the irresponsible manner 
in which he was permitted to assert them, to the ruin of a 
member of the OTahy family. It is dated 12th August 1697. 
This Eyre reuted some lands from a Colonel Burke, which be 
sublet to under tenants. The land agent, Patrick Fahy, being 
obliged to seize some cattle for rents unpaid, seized by mistake 
some that belonged to Eyre, the county representative. The 
cattle were immediately restored, but the unfortunate agent 
was at once placed under arrest, at the instance of Eyre, by the 
Serpeant-at-Arms for "breach of privilege." ^ And Colonel 
Burke, instead of endeavouring to protect his faithful serv^ant 
in the discharge of his official duties, marked his sympathy 
with the aggrieved "representative" by dismissing OTahy 
summarily and promptly from his service. 

We find the Eyre family amongst the zealous supporters of 
"law and order" in the county during the last century. 
Stafford Eyre was Governor of Galway. At the request of the 
"Lords spiritual and temporal in Parliament assembled," he 
furnished returns of the number of " Popish priests, monks, and 
friars, and of public mass-houses," etc., in the county of Galway, 
for the avowed purpose of entering on a " more vigorous execu- 
tion of the laws against Popery," as their lordships considered 
that "the insolence of the Papists throughout the nation is 
very great." ^ 

The zeal of this official " in search injr the reputed friaries, 
nunneries, and seminaries in that country,"^ and in transmitting 
to His Grace the Primate the papers which he purloined from 
them, was regarded as a pleasing proof of his respect for the 
orders of their lordships, and of his zeal for the service of His 
Majesty and the Protestant religion of the kingdom. 

It was accordingly resolved that Eyre should be fittingly 
protected from molestation of any kind to which his aggression 
and plunder of the religious might expose him. No protest 

' See Appendix. * Hard. Galway, p. 175. 

» Rolls Office. 

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could be raised against the injustice of his acts in any instance. 
It was even forbidden to invoke the standard of the then 
existing law against any act of his, no matter how unjust To 
do so would be regarded by the " Lords spiritual and temporal " 
as a " breach of the privilege of their House." 

According to this gentleman's returns presented to Parlia- 
ment "Die Jovis, 9 Mart. 1731," we find that in the diocese of 
Kilmacduagh there were then "thirteen mass-houses, fifteen 
priests, four Popish schools," while there were but four clergy- 
men of the Established Church to perform divine service in 
that diocese. 

Similar returns were procured by the then Mayor of Galway, 
Walter Taylor.^ He may have been the same who, in 1764, 
was one of the members of the Common Council, and resided 
at Castle Taylor ; the same, probably, who was referred to by 
Bishop Pococke in 1752. But this was "the last and most 
violent gasp of expiring bigotry " in the West.^ 

Considering the character of the period, it must be admitted 
that in a diocese in which there are now only ten parishes, 
thirteen " mass houses," the Puritanical expression for Catholic 
chapels, was fairly good. It must be also admitted that fifteen 
priests in those days of persecution was also a goodly number 
to administer the consolations of religion to their persecuted 
brethren, especially if we remember that in the present time 
of religious liberty the number of priests in Kilmacduagh is 
exactly fifteen. 

It would be interesting to be able to point out the sites of 
those thirteen "mass-houses" referred to by Mr. Eyre as 
dangers to the State and to the Protestant religion. They 
were humble structures, which have disappeared, to be replaced 
by those striking and beautiful structures which the piety of 
our people have, since raised to the glory of God and the 
honour of their religion. Yet, humble though they were, they 
were eloquent evidences of the unconquerable faith of a 
faithful people. And we think that in our day the faintest 
relic of those venerable structures, which had been the silent 
witnesses of the patient piety of our oppressed ancestors, could 
now awake only thoughts that were sacred, if not " divine." 
But though every trace of most of the " mass - houses " of 
Kilmacduagh, which existed when Stafford Eyre was official 
informer, have disappeared, we can trace the sites of many 
with tolerable accuracy. 

The "mass-house" for Kilmacduagh parish was then at 
JNewtown, about a mile west of the town of Gort. Scarcely a 
* Rolls Office ; Hard. Galicay. « Hard. Oalrmy, p. 176. 

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vestige of it remains. Some mounds indicate the site of the 
ruined walls, which are surrounded by a little cemetery 
sheltered by hawthorns. But there are men still living in the 
parish who conversed with those who heard Mass there in the 
past. The growth of the town of Grort towards the close of the 
last century necessitated the erection of a chapel there, and 
another near the ruins of Kilmacduagh, in the village of 
Tiernevan, which was much more convenient for the country 

Another of those " mass-houses " referred to by Stafford Eyre 
was situated close to the residence of Mr. Lambert at Creg 
Clare. It stood within the ancient and massive stone fort of 
Cahir Cre, and is at present well preserved. Its rude stone 
altar still remains, overshadowed now by the sheltering branches 
of a splendid yew tree. This interesting spot was selected by 
the late Lord Clanmorris as his burial-place ; and his mausoleum 
opens from the chapel enclosure. 

For the parish of Beagh the " mass-house " stood close to the 
present commodious parish church, and within the enclosure of 
the existing cemetery there. 

In the parish of Kilthomas, a chapel, dating from the last 
century, stood upon the site of the piesent national school at 
Peter's Well A small portion of the walls remains to the 
present day. We are certain it was one of the " mass-houses " 
referred to in the report of Stafford Eyre. 

In Kinvara there is a cemetery known as the " old church," 
about a mile south-east of the present church, in which a 
modem ruin stands, which was used as the parish church 
about one hundred years ago. It cannot be questioned that 
this ruin dates so far back as 1730, as an inscribed slab taken 
from the old ruin and inserted in the belfry of the present 
parish church bears the following inscription : — 

" Ora pro conserve tuo Patrico Neilan, 1735." 

Father Neilan was parish priest there. 

We think it probable that there may have been another "mass- 
house " of Kinvara in the beginning of the last century, situated 
at Durus. The French family then resident at Durus were 
truly Catholic in spirit, A silver chalice, still used in the 
Kinvara parish, is a gift of the family at the period, as appears 
by an inscription still legible on it. And we know that Father 
Gregory French, a member of the Durus family, and a 
distinguished scholar, was then parish priest of Durus.^ He 
made his studies in Spain, and received holy orders from the 
* Irisk Chieftain, p. 626. 

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Archbishop of Toledo. He was at one time arrested by 
Bellasyse, and escaped execution then only *' because the 
execution of a priest would have made a mighty noise at the 
same time/'^ Having pastoral charge of Durus, then a distinct 
parish, he may have used the church which stands on a rising 
ground near the old family residence of the Frenches for 
divine service. And considering the active zeal of this good 
priest, and also the influence and Catholic character of the 
Durus family then, it is, we think, probable that the little 
church had been used there for Holy Mass. In any case, the 
church bears upon it clear evidence of comparatively modem 

In the parish of Eiltartan there was a little chapel situated 
on the site of the present Eiltartan church, and close to tlie 
cemetery and old church. We have no doubt that it was the 
same of which Dean Cahill was parish priest in 1757» and the 
same of which Dean Nethercoat wrote in 1766. 

The Kilcornan parish church, which now stands an interesting 
ruin on the grounds before Kilcornan House, must have been 
closed earlier than the opening of the eighteenth century. 
Wlien sentence of attainder with deprivation of his property 
was issued against Bedmond Burke of Kilcornan, we cannot 
doubt that the parish church which stood close to Kilcornan 
Castle was closed to his co-religionists. 

In the opening of the eighteenth century, if not earlier, a 
chapel was erected close to the village of Koveheagh, at about 
one mile distant from Kilcornan. It was spacious for the time. 
Its ruins stand there to the present day, and measure about 
72 feet long by 15 feet wide. The eastern gable was lighted 
by a square-headed window measuring about 6 feet high by 
3 feet in width. 

The southern side wall, in which the entrance stood, is nearly 
entirely destroyed. The northern side waU, however, is very 
complete, and shows no trace of a window. It stands about 
10 feet high ; and as the western gable is perfect, there can be 
no doubt that this was about its original height. The masonry 
was of a rude character, but was pretty strongly built. 

This old church h€td been enclosed by a strong wall, most of 
which remains to our day. A large square doorway, which is 
still well preserved, gave 'admission to the enclosiire, in the, 
lintel of which the date 1763 is legibly inscribed. Immediately 
above the inscription is placed a rudely carved cross, with the 
monogram I.H.S. 

On the left hand side of the entrance there is a slab fixed in 
^ Iri^ Chieftainy Appendix. 

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the masonrj, bearing the following inscription in raised ami 
•legible letters — 





At Craughwell the old chapel used at the close of the last 
century stood close to the site of the spacious parish church 
now existing there. Like the others of the diocese at the period, 
it was poor, with a low thatched roof. There is no reason to 
doubt that this poor chapel was in being when Dean Nether- 
coat wrote to the Government of the " mass-houses " of the 

At Ballindereen we find that there had been at the close of 
last century a humble Catholic chapel about 400 yards north 
of the present spacious church. It stood near the entrance to 
the Tyrone grounds ; and scarcely a trace of the venerable ruin 
can be pointed out at the present day. 

In the remaining parishes of Kilchrist and Kilbecanty, we 
are credibly informed that the old mass-houses of last century 
occupied the site of the present parish churches. There can be 
no doubt that the Catholic population was comparatively large, 
despite the repressive anti-Catholic laws. We have evidence 
of this in the Rolls Office, Dublin, in the returns made to the 
House of Lords, Dublin, by the Dean of Gort, J. W. Nether- 
coat. The character of the returns may be best understood 
from the Dean's own letter, which accompanied the returns. 
He writes : — 

"Gort, \Uh A'prilVim, 

" Sir, 

" I send you enclosed a list of the inhabitants of my 
four parishes here, and have distinguished the Protestants from 
the Papists, according to the instructions I got from the Bishop 
of Clonfert, to whom I have wrote by this post, to acquaint him 
that I have sent you my list so directed. 
" I am, sir, y' most ob* ser., 

" W. Nethebcoat." 

" All the Protestants are heads of families, as are the Papists 

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' The Dean's "four parishes " were Kilmacduagh, Kil tartan, 
Beagh, and Kilbecanty. 

He informs us that in Kilmacduagh parish there were then 
eighteen -Protestant families, amongst whom we find such 
tiames as Nelsons, Delahoy, and Prendergast, while there were 
then two hundred and twenty-seven Catholic families resident 
there. He is pleased to add, "Dean Nethercoat is parish 
minister here, and Mr. Thomas Ward is parish priest there." 

In Kiltartan there were fifteen Protestant families, and one 
hundred and fifty-one Catholic families ; and while the Dean 
informs us that he was himself parish minister there, he is 
pleased to add that "Mr. Edmond Cahill" was parish priest. 
This distinguished priest, to whom the Dean refers as " Mr. 
Edmond Cahill," was a Doctor in Divinity, and Dean of the 
diocese of Kilmacduagh. A little chalice which he used is now 
in the author's possession, and bears upon it in legible 
characters the following inscription in Latin, translated: — 

" Pray for the soul of 

Edmond O'Cahill, 

Doctor of Theology, and Dean of Kilmacduagh, 

who presented me for the use of Kiltartan Chapel 

in the year 1757." 

As a descendant of the ancient chiefs of Kinel Aedh, it 
must have been a source of much consolation to this good 
priest to find that Providence had sustained his kindred and 
parishioners in their adhesion to the faith of their fathers. 

In Kilbecanty there were seven Protestant and one hundred 
and fifty-seven Catholic families ; and we are furthermore in- 
formed that Dean Nethercoat was parish minister, and that Mr. 
Patrick M'Hugo was parish priest there. 

In the parish of Beagh there were ten Protestant and three 
hundred and thirteen Catholic families. Here, too, we are 
informed that Dean Nethercoat was parish minister, and 
" Mr. James Adams was parish priest." As regards each of the 
parishes referred to, the writer informed the House of Lords 
that " no friars " were resident in them. 

From the foregoing evidence, it is clear that the Catholic 
population of the diocese of Kilmacduagh may be estimated in 
Dr. Kilkelly's and Dr. Nihil's time as not much less than its 
Catholic population at the present day. 

The successor of Dr. Kilkelly as Bishop of the united dicoeses 
of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora was Dr. Laurence Nihil. 

He was a native of Cork, and descended of an ancient family 
of Tirconnell, who settled in the South after their chief had 

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been defeated at Kinsale. Mr. Lenihan tells us, in his History 
of Limerick, that " they took a district near Killaloe, but, being 
dispossessed several years after, they got considerable lands, and 
formed alliances with respectable families in the west of Clare 
and Limerick. Amongst the chief families in the diocese of 
Kilfenora with whom Dr. Kihil was thus connected, he 
mentions those of the Mac Namaras of Ennistymon, and Mr. 
Calcutt, M.P., St. Catharine's, Touclea. He also mentions the 
Butlers of Ballyline, a branch of the Ormond family, who 
live near Crusheen, County Clare, 

Dr. Nihil's brother James was an eminent physician, who 
studied medicine in Paris and other continental cities. His 
uncle. Sir John Hip^ns, held the important position of first 
physician to Philip V. of Spain. Towards the close of his 
uncle's life. Dr. James Nihil received an invitation from his 
uncle to Spain with the view to have him succeed to the office 
which he held in the Spanish royal household.^ " He went, and 
found his uncle dead, and the post filled up. He showed a 
medical manuscript to Dr. Solano of Cadiz, who highly approved 
of it. He published it in London in 1742, and on accoimt of 
its singular merit was elected Fellow of the Boyal Society 
without his own knowledge. He was the author of other 
medical and scientific works." 

Dr. Laurence Nihil was born in 1727. Though unable to 
collect details regarding his early studies, we can have no doubt 
of their success. Even the Protestant historian Farrar bears testi- 
mony to his " piety and learning," and states that it was to those 
qualities he owed his elevation to the episcopate. He was in- 
ducted parish priest of Bathkeale in 1762, but was subsequently 
transferred from that parish to the parish of St. Nicholas, within 
the city of Limerick, where he continued to labour till pro- 
moted to the See of Kilmacduagh. At this time he found 
leisure for the composition of a work, which was favourably 
received. It was entitled Rational Sdf-Lovty and published in 
Limerick in the year 1770. This work was much admired, not 
merely in Ireland, but also in England and France. He was 
also engaged with his brother on another important work, the 
History of the Redemption of Man, which unfortunately was not 

Dr. NihiFs selection for the See of Kilmacduagh and 
Kilfenora was sanctioned by the Pope on the 7th of December, 
and decreed on the 13th of December 1783. The Papal brief 
was dated 16th July 1784. 

One of the assistant prelates on the occasion of his consecra- 
' History of Limerick^ Lenihan, p. 673. 

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tion was the unfortunate Bishop of Cork, afterwards Lord 
Dunboyne. The preacher was Father Kirwan, O.S.F., even then 
a distinguished preacher. He was a Galway man, and nephew 
of Dr. Blake, Primate of Ireland. He completed his ecclesi- 
astical studies at Louvain, where he held for a time the 
important chair of Natural and Moral Philosophy. He held 
for a time the position of chaplain to the Neapolitan Ambassador 
to the English court, in which i)osition it is said his faith was 
weakened. The subject on which he preached on the occasion 
of the consecration was Apostasy. The fact subsequently 
assumed a melancholy significance in the eyes of many, 
from his own apostasy a few years afterwards, and that of the 
bishop referred to. His uncle, the Primate, on being informed 
by a friend that he had changed his religion, replied, "Tut, 
man I he had no religion to change." 

Dr. Nihil's health does not seem to have been robust. From 
April 1792 he was unable to discharge any episcopal function. 
In July 1793 he postulated for a coadjutor in the person of 
the President of the Irish College, Douay, the Very Eev. Dr. 
Edward Dillon. His death occurred two years afterwards, on 
the 29th of June 1795, at the comparatively early age of sixty- 
nine years. He is buried in the chancel of the old cathedral 
of Kilfenora, at the Gospel side. A simple slab with the 
following inscription marks the good prelate's grave : — 

Hie reconditur in spem 

resureo'd ad vitam quod 

Mortale fuit illimi ac Bevedmi 

Laukc Arthur Nihilli, 


Unitarum Ecclesiarum 

Finab Duac renunciati 

R C. Ep. 

Viri optimi 

In sacris et profanis literis baud 

mediocriter eruditi 

Qui cum viveret opuscula 

quaedam edidit in causa 

Fidei et morum eximia 

et MSS. edenda in dulci et utili 

oe punctum 

1 a t u r a 

obiit in Domo die Junii 29 1795 

iEtatis SU8B 69. 

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John Prendergast Smyth inherita bis uncle's estates— He is raised to 
the peen^e as Baron Kiltartan and Viscount Qort — He adopts 
Colonel Vereker, his nephew, as his heir — Lough Cutra Castle built 
— Beauty and historic interest of the surroundings— Mineral produc- 
tions of the district — Episcopal succession — Dr. Dillon's pastoral — 
Declaration of the Clergy of the united diocese— Dr. Concannon — 
Dr. Archdeacon— Dr. French. 

John Prendergast Smyth inherited the O'Shaughnessy estates, 
as we have seen, through his uncle. He was son of Elizabeth 
Prendergast and Charles Smyth, who represented Limerick in 
Parliament for forty-five years. He was raised to the Irish 
peerage as Baron Kiltartan on the 15th of May 1810, and 
created Viscount Gort on the 2nd of January 1816. 

Men still living remember him. His residence was the 
Bridf^e House at Gort, and is now the Mercy Convent. They 
speak of Colonel Smyth as a kindly man, who won the good- 
will of his tenantry by kindness and generosity. On the " gale 
day" the tenantry attended in their numbers at the Bridge 
House ; and whether they had their rents or not, they shared 
the lavish hospitality provided for them; and the Baron was 
there, like a chieftain amongst his retainers, to see that all 
enjoyed the good cheer. And so the Castle of Gort and its 
ruined chief were soon forgotten ; and the memory of the old 
baronets of Gort passed away more quickly than might have 
been expected. But Colonel Smyth was enterprising as well 
as kind. Under his patronage industries were established for 
Gort, and flourished at least for a time, amongst which were a 
successful tanyard and brew^ery; and facilities for building 
were also afiforded by him. The rapid growth of a pretty town 
and suburb was the result. Dutton, writing in 1824, speaks 
of Gort in the following words : " It has a considerable share 
of inland trade ; it possesses an excellent weekly market and 
several fairs ; there are extensive barracks.^ 

" The appearance of this town, naturally very cheerful, has 
been lately much improved by the erection of a beautiful church 
* Statistical Survey, p. 334. 


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by Mr. Paine. . . . Lord Gort's residence in this town, accom- 
panied by a very picturesque reach of river, gives a favourable 
impression on entering it from Loughrea ; and with the spacious- 
ness of the streets, and the new houses that have been lately 
erected, has changed its former gloomy and neglected appear- 
ance into cheerfulness, and a promise of increasing trade. 

" The environs are very beautiful, containing many natural 
curiosities. ... I do not know any part of this country that will 
so amply repay the picturesque traveller a day's stay as Gort; 
where there is a good inn, especially when a view of Lord Gort's 
highly picturesque demesne is included." 

The natural beauties of Lough Cutra and its surroundings 
had then been recently mucli improved. The picturesque 
shores of that beautiful lake oflFered the most charming sites 
to the builder, where, while the eye could feast on the loveli- 
ness of nature, the mind could recall with interest the varied 
reminiscences of the past which the surroundings could suggest. 
Colonel Smyth was quick to see this ; and therefore, though 
his Gort residence was interesting and well situated, he deter- 
mined to erect a mansion on the shores of the lake that should 
be the most beautiful in the West. He selected the southern 
shore of the lake for the site of his future mansion, which 
stands an enduring monument to the genius of its architect, 
Mr. Paine. But he did not live to see the completion of his 
noble undertaking. 

Having no male issue, Lord Kiltartan adopted his nephew, 
Colonel Vereker, to succeed to his title and estates. "The 
Kight Honourable Charles Vereker, afterwards second Viscount 
(Jort," writes Lenihan, "was the son of Thomas Vereker of 
Roxboro, by Julia, daughter of Thomas Smyth, and grand- 
daughter of Sir Thomas Prendergast, the last baronet of his 
illustrious line."* He was born in Limerick, a.d. 1768, and 
proved himself at an early age a brave soldier. His action at 
Coloony is a matter of history. We transcribe the following 
account of the engagement at Coloony from Mr. Lenihan's 
history : — 

" On the 5th September, Colonel Vereker, who commanded 
here, received information that part of the French and rebel 
army had advanced to Coloony, and purposed attacking this 
town that night in two columns. Considering it would be 
advisable to dispossess them immediately from that post, he 
ordered Captain Vincent and 100 men, as an advanced guard, 
to march and watch their motions, while he moved on witii 
20 of the 24th Dragoons, 30 Yeoman Cavalry, 200 Limerick 
yRid. Limerxcky p. 408' 

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City Militia, 20 Essex Fencibles, and 30 .Yeoman Infantry. 
On the advanced guard coming near the enemy, they sustained 
a smart fire, which checked them a little, when Colonel Yereker 
ordered Captain Waller and the limerick light company to 
advance and support them, whilst he formed his line and 
arranged his plan of attack upon the main body, which duty 
Captain Waller executed with great steadiness. 

" On his line being formed, he ordered Major Ormsby and 
one company to take post on a hill which covered his right, 
and prevent the enemy from turning that flank, whilst the 
colonel advanced on the right of the line with two curricle 
guns. Lieutenant -Colonel Gough was ordered to the charge 
of the left. In a few minutes the whole c^me into action, and 
supported on both sides an unremitting fire of musketry and 
grape-shot for near an hour and a half. Never was a more 
obstinate contest. At last superior numbers prevailed. Major 
Ormsby's detachment was obliged to retreat from the hill, and 
that post being given up, the enemy began to press round in 
numbers to the rear of the line. 

"A retreat was then absolutely necessary to save those 
gallant fellows, who even then maintained their post, although 
their ammunition was nearly expended. Never did any man 
show greater gallantry and coolness than Colonel Yereker at 
this trying moment ; he never quitted his post whilst a man 
could stand by him; and when his artillery horses were so 
badly wounded that they could not bring away his guns, he 
attempted to have them brought off with ropes, and not until 

nearly surrounded on all sides did he leave them The entire 

loss on the side of the King's troops was six killed and twenty- 
one wounded. The enemy had fifty killed and wounded ; many 
of the latter have since died in hospital here. The French 
fought with great bravery, and acted with humanity to the 
wounded officers and men who fell into their hands. 

" It is singular that the three field-officers of the Limerick 
City Eegiment were slightly wounded. Even the French 
general allows he never met a more gallant resistance, or a 
better served fire, than from the Limerick Bec^iment that day." ^ 

The writer continues : " The thanks of Parliament were voted 
to Colonel Yereker and the gallant men who, under his com- 
mand, had saved this country. Medals were struck with the 
word 'Coloony.' On Colonel Yereker and his heirs a royal 
grant conferred the privilege, one exclusively peculiar to peers, 
of bearing supporters to the family arms, and adopting as the 
family molto the word ' Coloony.' " 

* UiA, Limericky p. 411. 

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He was member of Parliament before the Union, nnd as a 
member of Parliament he holds a high place amongst the few 
who to the last fought for the rights of their native land. *' In 
every debate Colonel Vereker raised his voice against the 
Union, and his name is recorded in every division." But 
corruption did its work, and " Ireland was ruined." ^ 

The terror of an invasion of the country by the French at 
that period was more than can be easily realised in our time. 
From a printed document in our possession, bearing the name 
of Eyre Coote, " Major-General commanding the Western Dis- 
trict," and dated Loughrea, December 13, 1803, we find 
ample evidence that the governing body were actuated by this 
feeling, even after the causes which could afford it justification 
had passed away. The document is an exposition on the part 
of the major-general, from a military standpoint, of the cha- 
racter of the crisis, and of the military measures which should 
be adopted. He states : — 

" At a crisis like the present, when we momentarily expect 
the appearance of an implacable and ferocious enemy on our 
shores, and when every passing day renders the probability of 
his arrival the greater, it becomes of the utmost importance that 
efficacious means should be adopted, without loss of time, for 
removing from the coast, and out of his reach, such objects the 
want of which will render his subsistence in the country pre- 
carious, and his advance into the interior hazardous and diffi- 
cult. To effect a measure so beneficial in its consequences, 
nothing can contribute more effectually than a well-regulated 
arrangement for driving the country, and proper steps taken 
for securing its complete execution." 

Indeed, the captains of yeomanry had already received in- 
structions as to the approved mode of effecting the execution 
of the " driving " process. 

And then the "Major-General commanding the Western 
District " proceeds : — 

" Should the appearance of the enemy be, or should he have 
effected a landing within Galway Bay, the baronies of Burren 
and Inchiquin are to drive by O'Brien's Bridge and Killaloe 
across the Shannon ; the barony of Kiltartan and that part of 
the barony of Dunkellin south of the Carnamart river behind 
Portumna, by Derrybrien and Marble Hill ; as also the half 
barony of Loughrea between Roxboro and Kiltartan, by the 
same route ; and that part of the barony of Dunkellin north of 
thp Carnamart river, with the liberties of Galway and the 
baronies of Clare and Moycullen, behind Tuam. The yeomanry 
> IlxA. Limerick, p. 413. 

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corps allotted for this service are therefore immediately, as 
their commanding officers are ascertained that the landing will 
be attempted, or has already taken place, within the Bay of 
Galway, to proceed to drive the coast accordingly. On this 
service they will form as many detachments, commanded by 
steady officers, as the nature of their respective corps will 
admit, iii order that as much of the country as can so be 
ettectually done may be driven at the same time. - They will 
commence their operations in that part of the country allotted 
to each which is nearest the sea-coast, and proceed to their 
destination by such roads as may appear to them least likely 
to interfere with other corps employed upon the same service : 
always, however, avoiding the roads from Galway to Ennis by 
Oranmore and Gort; . . . the road from Loughrea to Gort 
by Kilchrist and Roxboro ; the road from Gort to Kinvara by 
Kiltartan," etc. 

Farther on, the document explains with clearness the 
meaning which Eyre Coote attached to the "driving" 

It states : '* All horses and carriages are to be the first object 
in driving the country, next the black cattle, then the sheep, 
goats, and pigs, after which, would time permit, the dead 
stock would be to be removed. Such horses as may be in 
danger of falling into the hands of the enemy should be shot 
or hamstrung ; and the axletrees and wheels of all carriages in 
the same predicament should be broken to pieces or damaged 
as much as possible. 

" All domestic concerns must become subordinate to public 

" All strangers and people of suspicious conduct are to be 
strictly watched and reported. 

"As an important measure of defence, I most earnestly 
recommend the levying of bodies of pioneers, a class of men 
so essentially requisite for breaking up roads, destroying bridges, 
and opening communications." 

Bodies of men were to be enrolled for carrying out those 
})rovisions in the vicinity of their own homes. 

Such is a mere abstract of Sir Eyre Coote's provisions for 
repelling a French invasion, fully four years after the memor- 
able events at Colooney. 

But there is no evidence that Colonel Vereker shared his 
fears, or approved of his scheme of martial law. High-handed 
measures, even on the part of the irresponsible military 
officials pf the period, did not recommend themselves to 
Colonel Vereker. 

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The following anecdote, given by Mr. Lenihan, shows that 
Lord Gort was* as humane as he was brave : — 

" On one occasion, while crossing Bank Place in Limerick, 
he saw a crowd, and heard 'the human groan assailing the 
wearied ear of humanity.' On approaching the crowd, he 
recognised the servant of Mrs. Eoss Lewin fastened to a cart, 
and cruelly scourged by the direction of an officer who was by ; 
the city being then under martial law. Colonel Vereker, 
who was also in uniform, remonstrated with the officer, who 
instantly ordered an additional measure of punishment to be 
administered to the wretch, in consequence of his patron's 
interference on his behalf. Colonel Vereker, already disgusted 
with the brutal conduct of the officer, was not the man to 
brook such an insult Desiring him to defend himself, he 
drew his sword. A terrible battle ensued, but it was not of 
long duration. Li a few moments the officer lay weltering in 
his blood, run through the body by Vereker's sword." ^ 

Fortunately there were no such scenes enacted around Gort, 
and existing needs did not justify the adoption of the military 
precautions offered for adoption by the " Major-General com- 
manding the Western District." 

The completion of Lough Cutra Castle was therefore pushed 
on vigorously, and quickly completed. The plantings were 
extended, and the approaches to the lake and castle arranged 
with picturesque effect by Mr. Sutherland, who had acquired 
for himself eminence as a landscape-gardener. 

Mr. Sullivan 2 refers to Lough Cutra Castle as " one of the 
show places of the western counties." It is a castellated 
structure of the Tudor style. The massive walls are all of 
finely chiselled limestone. Towers and terraces alike com- 
mand a fine view of the islands and water and wooded shore, 
and of the undulating line of the neighbouring hills. The 
grounds are extensive, and aglow with varied flowers. And 
along the water's edge, where the sunlight struggles through 
the overhanging trees into grottoes and sheltered nooks, the 
rich bloom of the rhododendrons and laburnums flashes 
brightly through the gloom of the foliage. The site is in 
keeping with the beautiful structure erected there, at a cost of 

The waters of the lake, which covers an area of about eight 
square miles, sleep in the shelter of undulating hills, and of 
the rich plantings which extend around its shores. The 
wooded islands with which it is studded contain some interest- 
ing ruins. A ruined castle stands upon one, and on another 
^ History of Limerick, p. 413. * New Ireland. 


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we find the ruins of an ancient church, the history of which 
is unknown. We only know that those lovely island solitudes 
were hallowed by some of our primitive Irish saints. St. 
Fechin was not deterred from ^dsiting them by his painful 
experiences of some of the islands of Galway Bay. And his 
visit to Lough Cutra was rendered memorable by certain 
miracles, the memory of which he himself would perpetuate 
by the erection of a suitable memorial there. The present 
ruin may perhaps occupy its site. 

In the pagan period the lake and its shores were selected 
by Cutra, son of Omor, as a site for a fortress and Belgic 
settlement. This powerful chief was brother of Aengus, 
whose fort at Aranmore still proclaims the ingenuity of its 
builders, and is justly pronounced to be one of the most 
magnificent monuments of that remote period now extant in 

The natural richness of the district in mineral products 
may also receive a passing notice. On the eastern shore of 
the lake rise the hills of Gortacamane. Mr. Dutton notices 
there " red heavy limestone with fine clear pebbles in it" 

"Purple-coloured concretion of limestone from near the 
wood on the same estate." 

" A remarkable concretion of limestone from near the wood 
on the same estate." 

"A remarkable heavy reddish limestone in the land of 
Gortacamane aforesaid ; in the woods are many strong spas." 

" Manganese from a large bed of it on the bank of the river 
in the lands of Gortacarnane." 

" Ironstone from Upper Killeen estate of Lord Gort." 

"Blue -black lamellar slaty stone from a vein of it in 
Gortacarnane wood, the estate of Lord Gort." 

"Heavy red earth, with small shining particles, from the 
large river, from the lands of Gortacamane." 

The third Viscount Gort succeeded to an estate laden with 
debt and cmshing encumbrances. Mr. Sullivan describes the 
position of that nobleman when the approach of the famine of 
1848 heralded the ruin of his family at Lough Cutra. 

"The Gort unsettled estates lay under a debt in all of 
about £60,000. 1847 found Lord Gort a resident landlord, 
bravely doing his duty, refusing to fly, scoming to abandon 
his tenantry. Bents could not be raised, and Lord Gort 
would not resort to heartless means of attempting to extort 
them. The interest of the mortgage fell in arrear. ... A 
petition for sale was lodged in Chancery, whence the pro- 
ceedings were transferred to the new Court created by the 

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Encumbered Estates Act Thirteen years' purchase was, I 
believe, the highest given at this sale. Lough Cooter Castle, 
worth £50,000 or £60,000, was sold for £17,000. The fortunate 
purchaser was Mrs. Ball, Superioress of the Religious Order 
of Loretto, Dublin, who intended converting it into a novitiate 
house for the order." 

Immediately after the sale was perfected, Mrs. Ball estab- 
lished there a branch of her order, and opened schools, not 
merely for the education of young ladies of the middle and 
upper classes, but for the education of the poor as well. The 
complete seclusion of the place, and its extensive woodland 
solitudes, seemed entirely suited to the lives of the religious, 
and to their pursuita And so for some years the musical 
peals of the convent bell borne over the waters of the lake 
proclaimed their daily messajies of prayer to the peasants 
toiling on the hillsides and in the remote hamlets. 

But, from causes unknown, the community was soon re- 
called, and once more Lough Cutra had a change of owners. 
Lord Goiigh, a soldier who won his coronet under the burning 
suns of India, became the purchaser, for the moderate sum of 
£24,000. Its beauty and seclusion gave promise of that 
repose, to which the hardships of his long and successful 
campaigns gave the brave veteran so just a claim. Two well- 
mounted pieces of artillery, which he captured in India, are 
still preserved on either side of the entrance, as trophies of his 
prowess. And though he retired from Lough Cutra to St. 
Helen's near Dublin, he still continued to love it well, and 
returned to it frequently. In the hands of the present noble 
owner, all has been done for the beauty of the place which a 
generous expenditure and a cultivated taste could effect. 

Edmond Dillon, D.D., who was appointed Coadjutor Bishop 
of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora in the year 1793, under the 
title of Bishop of " Germanica " in partihtSy succeeded, on the 
death of Dr. Nihil, as Bishop of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora. 
This distinguished prelate, who was destined to play an im- 
portant part in the history of his time, was bom at Cama, 
near Ballinasloe, in the year a.d. 1739.^ Though we are 
unable to say where he made his preparatory studies for 
the priesthood, there can be little doubt that those studies 
were completed at Douay. The high position which he held 
as president of that college, before he was raised to the 
See of Kilmacduagh, was a guarantee of high scholastic 
attainments, as well as of his fitness to found a successful 
Catholic Ecclesiastical College at Tuam, as he did in after years. 
* Burke's Archbishops of Twam, p. 206. 

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Though a better and a brighter day had broken on the 
country, the Bishop of Kilmacduagh, Hke many more of his 
brother prelates in Ireland, had but little of the world's good 
things to remunerate him for his labours. The revenues of his 
diocese were then but £100 sterling ; hence he obtained the 
parish of Kin vara from the Holy See, on the 11th of December 
1796, in commendam. This parish of Kinvara was then populous, 
notwithstanding the repressive character of the anti-Catholic 
legislation of the period. From information supplied to the 
author by men who had it from their fathers, it would appear 
that the number of families resident there then was nearly 
two thousand. It may be assumed that in the other parishes 
of the diocese there was also a goodly number of the pre- 
scribed race and religion who had survived the cruel penal 
enactments of the century. It may be fairly assumed that the 
Catholic population in Dr. Dillon's time was not much less 
than its Catholic population at the present day. It is important 
to bear this in mind, when we come to estimate the delicacy 
and difiBculty of the labours which his lordship had to deal 
with in regard to the secret societies existing then, which were 
leading the vast majority of our poor and credulous country- 
men astray. Speaking of this matter,^ Mr. Oliver Burke 
writes : " Whilst he ruled those dioceses, he laboured strenu- 
ously in support of law and order, amongst a people whom 
the emissaries of the French Government had laboured to 
poison with their poisonous doctrines. Secret societies, under 
whatever name they may be banded together, he denounced." 
The ignorance of the Irish people, at the period, of the hostility 
of the French Government to religion and social order, would 
at once explain the fault of the poor peasantry, and show in 
its true light the paternal character of the bishop's action. 
His pastoral address to the Catholic people of Kilmacduagh 
and Kilfenora on the occasion, was dated from Kilcornan on 
the 6th April 1798, and is preserved by Cardinal Moran in his 
Specilegium. It may be read with interest and profit in our 
day :— 

" Kilcornan, Qik April 1798. 
"Health and Benediction. 

"A father who looks on with silent indiffer- 
ence whilst danger and ruin in a thousand shapes threaten 
his family, may be considered as guilty of high treason against 
human nature. The emotions of paternal affection have never 
vibrated in his heart. Studious of his own ease, attentive to 
* Burke's Archhiafwps of Tuam, p. 207. 

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himself alone, wholly occupied in gratifying his inclinations, or 
consulting his own safety, he feels no alarm on seeing the 
snares that are laid for his children, and suffers them without 
a pang to rush to unavoidable destruction. Such exactly 
would be my case should I omit at this time to warn you of 
the danger with which you are surrounded- If feeling the 
most tender solicitude for your temporal as well as eternal 
welfare would entitle me to be considered by you in the light 
of a father, I conceive myself to have an undoubted claim to 
that endearing appellation ; but I am called upon by a tie of 
superior nature, that bond which unites the pastor to his flock, 
that sacred and awful obligation which I contracted on being 
entrusted with the care of this portion of the Church of Christ, 
to address you on the present calamitous occasion. 

" There is no one amongst you who has not heard of the oaths 
and associations which have entailed misfortunes on various 
districts of the kingdom. How many atrocities have you heard 
committed by persons belonging to societies of a dangerous 
tendency? Suffice it here to observe that these oaths and 
associations have been proscribed by the Legislature under the 
severest penalties. And it would be doing an injury to the 
opinion 1 entertain of your principles, to suppose that any of 
you could be so little acquainted with the obligations which 
he owes to society, as not to know that you are bound by the 
law of God to obey the ordinances of the State in all temporal 
and civil concerns. What could be more deplorable than the 
state of that country in which it would be permitted to each 
individual to contradict the laws, to withdraw his allegiance, 
to oppose the Legislature? The law of God in the gospel 
commands us to obey our rulers. St. Paul is clear on the 

" But, waiving those considerations, your own interest, and the 
happiness of the district in which you reside, call upon you to 
avoid with the utmost caution all illegal oaths and combinations ; 
thrice happy people, if, while the thunder of anarchy growls at 
a distance, you are allowed to quietly partake of your frugal 
fare, and compose yourself to rest without dread of the assassin 
or the midnight robber. There are amongst us men who tell 
us, with an ill-dissembled satisfaction, that we must not flatter 
ourselves with the hopes of escaping a visit from the French ; 
and that we shall be at length compelled to bend under the 
iron rod of tyrants more desperate than any kings who swayed 
the sceptre of their nation. 

" In the meantime, let me conjure you to reject with horror 
all clandestine oaths which may be proposed to you. As for my 

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part, it will be the pride of my life and the greatest consolation 
I can enjoy here below, should I be in any degree instrumental 
in preserving you from the machinations of dangerous and 
designing men. I may surely say without presumption, that I 
have a juster claim to your confidence than those workers of 
iniquity who delight in darkness. The God of all truth knows 
that I am a stranger to political parties, and that in this 
address I am influenced merely by the desire of promoting 
your happiness and by the imperious call of sacred duty. 

" Indeed, when I reflect on the happy days I have spent with 
you at your respective chapels each succeeding year since I 
have been appointed to preside over these dioceses; when I 
call to mind that reverence and veneration which you mani- 
fested for the episcopal character ; the avidity with which yoii 
received the great and consoling truths of the gospel; the 
warm expressions of gratitude and tender affection with which 
you repaid any exertions that might have been employed to 
influence you with a love of the morality of religion, — I am 
filled with the most sanguine expectations that I do not 
address you in vain. But should I have the misfortune to find 
myself disappointed in the opinion which I entertain of you, I 
shall at least have the consolation to reflect that I have dis- 
charged my duty, that I have not slept at my post, or failed to 
give you due notice of the impending danger. Immediately 
after the approaching festival of Easter, I shall meet you on 
stated days at your respective chapels, and trace out to you 
the plan of conduct wliich appears to me the most desirable 
for you to pursue in the emergency. I shall conclude in the 
meantime with the words of the Apostle St. Paul : ' May the 
peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, fill your 
hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.' 

"Edward Dillon." 

It was a time of extreme danger for the Irish people, most of 
whom knew nothing of the reign of irreligion in France at the 
time, or of the ghastly murders perpetrated there in the name 
of " Liberty." They only knew it as the country in which 
their exiled brothers had found a home in the past, before 
atheism had desecrated that fair land. But most of the Irish 
bishops, conscious of the danger, appealed to their flocks on the 
subject ; and so the danger was reduced to a minimum. 

In the clergy of the united diocese of Kilmacduagh and 
Kilfenora, Dr. Dillon found men anxious to aid their bishop 
with all their influence in guarding their flocks. They mani- 
fested the willingness of their co-operation by publishing the 

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following document, with their signatures.^ It is of sufficient 
interest to be laid before our readers in full : — 

" Declaration op the Clergy of the United Diocese of 


lOeA September 1798. 

" Alarmed at the artful contrivances which are every day 
employed to influence the minds of the people and seduce them 
from their allegiance, we, the clerjgy of Blilmacduagh and Kil- 
fenora, deem it our duty, in those days of peril and general 
alarm, to make the following declarations, and to counteract as 
far as lies in our power the dangerous falsehoods which are 
industriously propagated with a view to irritate the public 

" We declare, then, in the name of that holy religion, the pre- 
cepts of which we are bound to inculcate both by word and 
example, the association oath of persons styling themselves 
* United Irishmen/ tending to introduce a system of rapine and 
a subversion of all order, to be a blasphemous outrage against 
a God of truth. Nor do we conceive the capacity of any 
individual in whom the light of reason is not totally ex- 
tinguished, to be so limited as not to perceive the nullity of 
such damnable engagements. 

" We declare our obedience and adhesion to the admonitions 
which our Bishop addressed to his flock. We also, as far as 
is consistent with our rank in the hierarchy, beg leave to 
express our approbation of the pastoral instructions of the 
Roman Catholic Bishops of the kingdom, on the occasion of 
the present troubles ; and we are prepared with God's grace 
to walk in their footsteps, even to martyrdom should it be 
necessary, in maintaining those gospel truths which they 
have announced with an energy worthy of the apostolic ages. 

" We declare it to be a most atrocious falsehood, circulated 
with fatal industry, that the army of any king is entirely 
composed of Orangemen, who have sworn to exterminate the 
lower classes of Catholics at their return from the expedition 
in which they are now engg^ed. Blessed be God, those troops 
are commanded by a Comwallis, who is the protector of the 
poor as well as of the rich, who holds the scale of justice with 
an impartial hand, and at whose councils the genius of humanity 
and benevolence presides. 

"We declare the pretended prophecies which are handed 
about by the agents of sedition to be a rhapsody of falsehood 
^ Spec, Ossor. vol. liL 

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and extravagant folly, calculated to alarm the weak, the 
ignorant, and the timorous. 

" We declare that we should treat with contempt the incessant 
efforts of anti-Christian conspirators to vilify the Catholic 
clergy, did we not apprehend the evil impression which their 
calumnies might make on the minds of the unreflecting 
multitude. Alas, how could we be insensible to the situation 
of the poor? Can a father be insensible to the wants of 
his children ? Is it not from them that we receive a sub- 
sistence? Would to God it were in our power to make 
them all happy and comfortable. In the present convulsed 
state of the kingdom, we have no wish to separate our fate 
from theirs. While they adhere to the precepts of religion, 
we are determined to share in every danger which they may 
have to encounter. But how much soever we may displease 
the friends of liberty and equality, we cannot cease to announce 
to the poor and to the rich the doctrine of our Divine Master. 
We must tell them not to covet their neighbour's goods ; that 
they must do as they would be done by ; that they must obey 
their rulers for conscience sake ; that they must never swear 
but in truth and justice and in judgment. 

" We declare that we have hitherto every reason to applaud 
the conduct of the people committed to our care, and we flatter 
ourselves that, should they not happen to be overpowered by 
foreign invaders or domestic traitors, they will never swerve 
from that allegiance to which thousands of them, at the awful 
moment of receiving the sacred pledge of our redemption, 
promised to adhere with invariable fidelity. 

"We declare it to be our well-founded opinion, that the 
clergy of the neighbouring dioceses are not less zealous than 
we can possibly be in opposing the plans of irreligious and 
rebellious agitators ; nor do they entertain less abhorrence of 
a system of complicated wickedness, which, if not immedi- 
ately counteracted, threatens us with the annihilation of 
religion, and a total dissolution of the bonds of society. But 
should it so happen that any idle clergyman be hereafter 
found amongst us, who, a stranger to the duties of his sacred 
profession, would unblushingly dare to hawk about French 
politics, and annoy every company with seditious language, 
we call on the gentlemen of those dioceses, and on every 
person who sets a value on peace, social order, and religion, 
to exclude such clergyman from their society, and to hold him 
in the light of an outcast and an apostate. 

"We conjure our fellow -subjects who differ from us in 
sentiments of religion, to put a stop to all fanatical and 

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ungenerous representations, and cease to attribute to Catholics, 
or to their religion, the misfortunes of their country. The 
most superficial observer may perceive that the present con- 
test is a war of profligacy against property, of licentiousness 
against subordination, of iniquity against all religion, — in a 
word, of vice against virtue." 

The signatures to this interesting document are as follows, 
and include probably all names of the clergy of the united 
diocese at that period : — 

James Burke, P.P., Gort. 
Terrence Hynes, P.P., CraughwelL 
Edmond O'Heyne, P.P., Kilcolgan. 
Patrick O'Shaughnessy, P.P., Kilbecanty. 
John Nagle, P.P., Ardrahan. 
Thomas Talmon, P.P., Beagh. 
John Burke, P.P., Kilcornan. 
John Duffy, P.P., Kilthomas. 
Mich^ Neilan, P.P., Kiltartan. 
Nicholas J. Archdeacon, P.P., Kinvara. 
James Duffy, P.P., Kilchrist. 
Peter Lennon, P.P., Eathtorney. 
Patrick O'Loughlin, P.P., Ennistymon. 
Patrick Eoche, P.P., Kilmacrichy. 
Laurence Campbell, P.P., Kilshanny. 
Charles Carrigg, P.P., Kilfenora. 
MicW O'Loughlin, P.P., Carron. 
Bernard Mac Dermott, P.P., Glanamana. 
Timothy Davoren, P.P., Kilmoon. 
Constance Curtin, P.P., Kilaspuglinane. 
Patrick Flanagan, P.P., Clooney. 

The declaration was dated from Ardrahan, on the 10th of 
September 1798, and gives the names of some priests whose 
memory is still held in reverence by the people. 

John Duffy and James Duffy were brothers of Michael 
Duffy, who was Vicar-General of the diocese, and founder of 
the present church of Gort. They were men of energy, of 
earnest piety, and of untiring zeal. 

Patrick Eoche, a holy priest, was drowned as he endea- 
voured to pass the Liscannor ferry, to say his second Mass at 
Lahinch (there was no bridge in his day). His beads were 
preserved as a valued relic by his grand-nephew, the Very Eev. 
T. Shannon, V.G., Gort. 

Patrick O'Loughlin was the founder of the existing church 
at Ennistymon, the founder also of the Christian JBrothers 

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schools in that town ; and, after the completion of those import^ 
ant undertakings, he resigned his parish, to devote himself in 
retirement, without interruption, to his own sanctification. 

Father Carrigg of Kilfenora was a man who became practically 
a martyr to his sense of duty, and whose heroism is chronicled 
in verse by the Bard of Thomoiid. 

Nicholas J. Archdeacon, then a young priest, was destined 
soon to attain high rank as the bishop of the diocese. 

On the death of Dr. Egau, Archbishop of Tuam, Dr. Dilloa 
was advanced to that See by a vote of the clergy in 1798. He 
died on the 30th of August 1809. 

EiCHARD Luke Concannon, a member of the Order of 
Preachers, was appointed to succeed Dr. Dillon, by brief 
dated 19th November 1798. He was consecrated by Dr. 
Bray, Archbishop of Cashel. He was a distinguished man,, 
and had acted for a time as agent in Home for Irish eccle- 
siastics. Without, however, taking possession of his See, he- 
resigned it, and his resignation was accepted by the Pope in 
audience at Venice on the 15th of May 1800. 

Dr. Concannon soon after received charge of the See of 
New York, and was in truth its first bishop. But on his way 
to take possession of his See, he died at Naples. His portrait 
is preserved at the Casanatensian libiary at Eome, and bears, 
the following inscription : — 

" Fr. Eicardus Lucas Concanen Hibernen ex Theologo Cassa-- 
naten. Primus Episcopus Neoboracen in Foederatis Ai^aericse 
Provinciis. Obiit Neopoli in Campania, 13 Kalend Sextet 

Provision was soon made for the vacant See, by the appoint- 
ment of Nicholas Joseph Arhdeacon, Dean of Kilfenora. He 
was the same who signed the declaration of the clergy of the 
united diocese in 1798 ; and, though holding the position of 
" Dean " at the time of his nomination for the vacant See, he 
was only thirty years of age. 

Though a native of Cork, it was not wonderful that he- 
should have recognised the claims which the diocese of Kil- 
macduagh had upon him. 

He was son of Eliza, youngest daughter of Thomas Eeding- 
ton, Esq., and Sarah Burke of Kilcornan.^ Miss Eedington 
married a Mr. Archdeacon of Cork, who left one son, Nicholas. 
Joseph, the subject of this notice, and one daughter, Mary, 
who married Mr. Blake of Ballyglunin, and was mother of 
Martin Joseph Blake, who was many years M.P. for Galway. 
^ Bnrke's Landed Gentry, vol. ii. p. 1341. 

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Mra Archdeacon was left a widow when her only son and 
daughter were yet infants. She emigrated to France, and 
resided there till her son was two years old. We have from 
the pen of the Archbishop of Cashel the following interesting 
notice of young Archdeacon's education and ecclesiastical 
career, before entering on his labours in the diocese of Kil- 
macduagh. He writes : — 

" She returned to her native country, and sent her son to 
school in the great island near Cove, where he studied until 
he declared for the ecclesiastical state, and went to the Irish 
College, Douay. He there pursued the studies of philosophy 
and divinity, under my inspection, during the space of five 
years. And when I found it necessary to quit that unhappy 
country, he still remained in the college for upwards of twelve 
months, till he was thrown into prison, together with the 
masters and students of the English house who happened to 
remain. After some studies at Liege College, the French 
entered Brabant, when he returned to Ireland. He received 
the orders of sub-deacon and deaconship, during my stay at 
Douay, from the Bishop of Bruges, and was ordained priest by 
the Nuncio at Brussels, in virtue of dimissorials granted by 
Dr. Moylan. He laboured for a little time in Cashel before 
seeking a mission in Kilmacduagh. 

"The brief for raising him to the episcopal dignity was 
issued on the 12th of October 1800, and, as he wanted some 
weeks of the thirtieth year of his age, a Papal brief had been 
previously obtained, dispensing him for defect of age. The 
clergy of the diocese had strongly recommended his appoint- 
ment, and it was also powerfully urged at Eome by Dr. Bray, 
Archbishop of Cashel. 

" It was Cardinal Borgia who promptly sent the notification 
of his appointment to the Archbishop, by letter dated — 

"'Venice, 17 JIfaulSOO. 

" ' Ill°>» et Eev"»« Dom^— 

" * Illustrissimus Dominus noster Pius Papa Sep"* Fene- 
borensi at Duacensi Eclesiis quibus E. L. Concannon sese 
abdicavit Pastorem dedit E. D. Nicola?um Archdeacon virum 
sufifragiis tuis mirifice commendatum Dum Sacra hsec con- 
gregatio dominationem tuam de hoc ipso redit certiorem fausta 
interim in Domino tibi apprecamur.' " 

The new bishop fixed his residence in Kinvara on the De 
Basteiot property. His residence was known as " Hermitage," 
and is well known to the present day as Dr. Archdeacon's house. 

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It was a simple two-storey high house- near the bay. The 
plantings which now beautify the district at Durus and New 
Town Lynch were not tlien in existence. But the bishop was 
a man who aimed only to live with and for his people. He 
was quite satisfied with his iMace; and in the same spirit 
of apostolic zeal, he journeyed on horseback to the most 
remote parishes of his diocese when engaged in making his 
episcopal visitations ; and as he passed he would speak to the 
humblest and poorest in the vernacular which they loved so 

He avoided the well-meant attentions of his aristocratic 
relatives. Even the kind efforts of his relatives at Kilcornan 
to consult for his material comforts, were seldom received with 
more than qualified approval, and were not unfrequently 
rejected altogether. 

On one occasion he became unconsciously the cause of a 
duel which proved fatal in its effects. But those were the 
lialcyon days of such encounters in the West, and his lordship 
knew nothing of the hostile encounter. His lordship had been 
invited to dine on either a Friday or fast day with a party of 
lay gentlemen. A person named O'Malley, who resided at Gal- 
way, and possessed some property in the parish of Kilmacduagh, 
happened to sit next the bishop, and, wishing to indulge a 
coarse practical joke, poured some gravy on the fish of which his 
lordship was partaking. The bishop, observing this, simply put 
the dish aside as if nothing had happened. Though no further 
notice was taken of the matter that evening, it was talked 
about, and reached the ears of his nephew. Lord French. He at 
once sent a hostile message to O'Malley. They met by appoint- 
ment near Galway, at a place then memorable for such meet- 
ings. O'Malley was shot dead on the field. It is doubtful as 
to whether Dr. Archdeacon ever knew anything of the un- 
fortunate occurrence. 

There were some occurrences in Tuam during his episcopate 
which led to some differences of opinion amongst the hierarchy. 
The value of the controversy is of little interest now. But 
reference to it is relevant here, as we find by a published record 
of the matter, that Dr. Archdeacon's position in reference to it 
was one of importance and tnist. A letter, which he received 
from Dr. Bellew, senior suffragan of Connaught, contains the 
following. It is dated Galway, 2nd May 1810 : — 

" My Lord, — I have read, in common with our conprovincial 
colleagues, your defence of our proceedings. ... I return your 
lordship, in the name of all, many thanks for the faithful and 

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able discharge of the commission M'e engaged you to trouble 
yourself with. ... I have the honour to be, etc., 

"boMiNiCK Bellew." 

It will be sufficient for our purpose to quote the following 
paragraph from the scholarly manifesto issued in connection 
with the matter by the Bishop of Kilmacduagh : — 

" It is generally known that a commission was undertaken 
by Dr. Archdeacon, at the unanimous desire of the said Con- 
naught prelates, expressed in their circular letter of the 13th 
November last, to transact the business of said province. No 
person can feel more strongly than himself the inefficiency of 
the advocate they have called upon, but, as he has most reluct- 
antly been placed in such unpleasant circumstances, he is 
convinced that sentiments of generosity and honour are so 
predominant in the minds of every prelate in Ireland, that, far 
from apprehending unkindness from even those with whom he 
is compelled to argue, he will only be considered by them 
worthy of a trust, for exerting the feeble resources of his puny 
talent in the support of a cause confided to his vigilance. 

"If the arguments and authorities he offers produce the 
happy effect of contributing in any degree to the restoration of 
ecclesiastical peace, the event will create a source of comfort 
to his mind which will amply compensate for the fatigue and 
personal inconvenience he has hitherto experienced, or any 
trials he may yet encounter for the conspicuous and painful 
part that he has submitted to his lot in the course of this 
lamentable business." 

The published document from which we give the foregoing 
extract was discovered by the author in the Galway archives, 
and is now in his possession. 

But the work of attending to the immediate needs of his 
diocese was more in harmony with the good bishop's wishes than 
public controversy. He soon had the consolation of seeing, in 
three of the most important parishes of his diocese, the founda- 
tions laid of spacious churches that were to supersede the 
miserable structures of the preceding century, to which Stafford 
Eyre contemptuously referred as the " mass-houses " of a per- 
secuted people. As Father O'Loughlin founded the fine church 
of Ennistymon, so Father Michael Duffy raised the church 
of Gort from its foundations. It has since the time of that 
venerable priest undergone important changes and extensions ; 
but for that time it was a splendid proof of the faith of the 
people. The church of Kinvara, to which De Basterot had 
granted a convenient site, was also founded at the same period. 

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But Dr. Archdeacon's episcopate was destined to be a short 
one. He died at Kinvara in the year 1824. 

The Most Eev. Edmond French, Bishop of 


Dr. French was a native of Galway, and born of Protestant 
parents. His father, Edmond French, was Mayor of the city in 
1774 ; he also held the office of Protestant Warden for a period. 
That he shared the then prevailing feeling of hostility to Catho- 
lics, is evident from the fact that he was one of the signatories 
of the " Black Petition." The petition was drawn up in 1761, 
when a certain Charles Eivett was Mayor, and was presented 
to Parliament "to prevent Catholic shopkeepers in Galway 
from manufacturing or selling their goods, oi: employing 
journeymen for this purpose."^ It is curious and interesting 
to find the sons of this gentleman, Charles and Edmond, 
adopting the proscribed faith early in life. Soon after their 
conversion, they both prepared for the ecclesiastical state, and, 
having made their elementary studies and novitiate at Esker, 
County Galway, they entered the Irish Dominican Convent at 
Lisbon. From the extant certificate of the rector and the 
collegiate authorities, we find that Edmond French had com- 
pleted the full course of philosophy and theology on the 12th 
of May 1804. We find that his piety, modesty of demeanour, 
and devotedness to study are referred to in this document with 
approval. He was then ordained a member of the order, and, 
after the usual examination, described in the certificate as 
" rifjorous," his fitness to receive faculties to preach and hear 
confessions is formally attested. 

Dr. French must have returned immediately to Galway. He 
was stationed in the ancient convent of his order there. In the 
year 1805 we find his name mentioned amongst those con- 
sidered eligible for the position of Catholic Warden. This was 
at a time when disputes and dissensions in connection with 
this peculiar ecclesiastical office were sources of continuous 
trouble at Rome, and of disedification at home. The lay 
patrons possessed the right of election to the office; and as 
the patronage was claimed exclusively by the so-called " Tribes," 
a member of the privileged families was usually selected. At 
this period the Vicars from whom the election should be made 
were of non-Tribe families.* As the lay patrons were unwilling 
to elect any of tb em, they obtained through the Eev. Valentine 

* Dutton'a Survey; Hardiman's Galvxiy, p. 184. 
2 Hardiman, Galway, p. 263. 

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Blake a dis|)en8ation by virtue of which the Eev. Edmond 
French, a Regular, might be appointed Vicar ; and also that he, 
with his brother, Eev. Charles French, and Father Fallon, a 
Dominican also, would be eligible for the oflfice of Warden. 

On the death of the Eev. Warden Bodkin in 1812, Dr. 
French was elected Warden. "But," writes Mr. Hardiman, 
*' the Chapter declared the proceedings invalid, and refused to 
confer institution on the newly-elected Warden ; " and finally 
•appealed to the Pope, complaining against tlie innovation of a 
Eegular intruding on a Secular Chapter. But the appeal was 
fruitless, and the election was confirmed by His Holiness on the 
18th of June 1813. 

After the Papal sanction had been obtained in support of 
the appointment, the spirit of disaffection began to subside. 
Besides, the affable and engaging manner of the young Warden, 
together with his social connection, were well calculated to 

Meantime, Warden French quickly utilised the influence 
which he possessed even with his Protestant fellow-townsmen 
for the benefit of religion. The need of a suitable Catholic 
church was long and widely felt in the city. He resolved to 
engage at once in the great work. The undertaking elicited 
the* enthusiasm of the Catholics, but, contrary to what must 
have been expected by men in whose memories the " Black 
Petition" was yet fresh, it received the support of the 
Protestants of the town as well It was the opening of a 
new and better time, and the local paper of the time gave 
fitting prominence to its importance : ^ "On the 1st of July 
1814 the first stone was laid in the foundation of a new 
parish chapel on the site where the old one stood in Middle 
Street in this town. About one o'clock the popular Eoman 
Catholic Warden — the Very Eeverend Dr. French — and the 
other Catholic clergy of the town, attired in their sacerdotal 
habits, assembled at the old County Courthouse, which is now 
temporarily converted into a parish chapel. They were there 
met by Hyacinth Daly, Esq., our respected Mayor, attended by 
the sheriffs and other magistrates and officers of the Corpora- 
tion, clothed in their official costume (wc), and bearing the 
insignia of their municipal character, together with a great con- 
course comprising almost the entire body of the respectable 
gentry of Galway. This collected assemblage moved from the 
Courthouse in regular procession, preceded by a band of music, 
through High Street, Shop Street, and Abbeygate Street, to 
where the new chapel is to stand. Here the usual form was 
^ Hardiman, Galvxiy^ p. 273. 

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gone through of laying the foundation-stone, which was de- 
posited by the Mayor, in front of whose house the populace 
lighted in the evening an amazingly large bonfire." 

In the following year Dr. French was able to establish a 
community of Presentation Nuns in the town. For a few 
years the good nuns were obliged to rest contented with such 
accommodation as was provided for them at Kirwan's Lane, 
and after at Meyrick Square. But in 1819 they succeeded 
in obtaining a lease of a building formerly used as a charter 
school, and well situated in the suburbs, at a rent of £80 

On the death of Dr. Archdeacon, Dr. French was appointed 
Bishop of the United Diocese of Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, 
and was also permitted to retain for a time the ofl&ce and 
jurisdiction of Warden of Galway. 

The rescript of His Holiness Leo XIL, in virtue of which 
he was appointed, is dated 24th August 1824. He was 
consecrated in March following by Dr. Oliver Kelly, Arch- 
bishop of Tuam, assisted by Dr. Coen of Clonfert, and Dr. 
Mac Nicholas, Bishop of Achondry. 

He transacted the business of his united diocese from his 
residence in Galway. Even as late as 1826* we find him 
dating his correspondence from Galway. We find him, on the 
26th of October of that year, addressing an interesting letter to 
the Bishop of Norwich, thanking his lordship, in the name of 
the Catholic people of Galway, for his lordship's "unceasing 
devotion to the cause of Ireland," etc. 

The letter is interesting also, inasmuch ,as it shows the nature 
of the struggle in which Irish Catholics were at the period 
engaged : — 

" My Lord, — I have the honour to transmit the copy of a 
resolution agreed to at an aggregate meeting of the inhabit- 
ants of the town and county of the town of Galway, held 
on Wednesday last, for the purpose of promoting education 
amongst the poorer cleisses of the community. 

" In tendering to your Lordship this expression of our thanks, 
I feel unfeigned difficulty in conveying the sense of gratitude 
which is universally felt throughout the country, for the generous 
sympathy you have at all times evinced in the suflTerings of the 
people of Ireland. Your Lordship will feel that your exertions 
are not wholly unrequited in the grateful affection of an entire 
people, who are anxious to testify their homage for your cha- 
racter, and who regard with undissembled admiration those 
talents which have been uniformly exerted with such lustre 

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in promoting their political weal in common with the cause of 
constitutional liberty all over the civilised world. 

" I may perhaps be permitted to congratulate your Lordship, 
as one of its oldest friends, on the steady advance which that 
cause has of late years made in the public mind among the 
people of these countries. The clang of intolerance has in a 
great measure ceased, and the arguments of our opponents are 
reduced to the single pretext of a divided allegiance ; but our 
loyalty has been proved by the efiusion of our blood, and our 
allegiance is evinced by the attachment with which we cling 
to the religion of our ancestors. Their sworn fidelity can 
surely be relied upon by the State, whom the sanctity of .an 
oath has exposed to so much privation. 

"If we did not justly estimate the value of the connection, we 
should not seek with so much fervour to share in its benefits. 
We look for emancipation on the same grounds on which your 
lordship advocates it, that religious belief affords no reason for 
civil disabilities. Deeply appreciating its blessings, we should 
regard that emancipation as valueless if restricted or less than 
universal. Stretching forth the hand of fellowship and good- 
will to all religious persuasions, we would invoke the spirit of 
toleration expanded as the mercy of Heaven, to control the 
unnatural ascendancy by which this country is distracted and 
the people divided. We would invoke the genius of British 
dominion to unite us all as one body, to obliterate the 
vestiges of that system of exclusion, which, invading the 
sacred rights of conscience, is an anomaly in European legis- 
lation and a foul blot on the constitution of England. 

" Your Lordship will forgive, I hope, the earnestness of my 
feelings upon this subject, and will believe that no one in this 
country entertains a higher veneration for your sacred person 
and character than myself. 

" I have the hon'. to remain, my Lord, with the most profound 
respect, your Lordship's most obedient and assured Ser*., 
" Edmond French, RC. Bishop of Kilfenora 

and Kilmacdoo, and Warden of Galway." 

The troubles in connection with the wardenship in 1782 and 
after caused a widespread conviction to exist, that a change or 
modification in connection with the lay patronage at GaJway 
was necessary in the interests of religion. 

The then Archbishop of Tuam proposed the total abolition 
of the wardenship and the annexation of Galway to Tuam. 
Hardiman speaks of this project as being '' totally unexpected ; " 
and though Dr. MacEgan made every effort at Bome to have 


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this union effected, his efforts were defeated by the vigilance of 
Warden Joyce and the lay patrons. But Eome, proverbially 
slow to act, did not lose sight of the difficulty. To some in 
high authority it appeared that the office of Warden should be 
for life in the case of each appointment, and that appointment 
to parishes should be according to merit 

From a letter on this subject, addressed by Dr. 0*Kelly to 
Dr. French in 1829, it appears that this rational arrangement 
was advocated by His Grace. 

" Would to God," he says, " you could prevail on a certain 
portion of the lay patrons to put forth a memorial praying 
that the Warden may be for life, and the parishes given, not 
by rotation, but merit. If a respectable portion of the lay 
patrons were to make such application, it would be directly 
attended to." 

It was then and previously under consideration that an 
"Apostolic Visitor" should be appointed to inquire officially 
into abuses and their causes. " But," writes His Grace, " they 
are really staggered to know how to act. It puzzles them 
what plan to adopt which would be least likely to give oflfence 
to all parties." 

In the year 1830 the solution was found, in the abolition of 
the form of government by Wardens, and in the erection of 
Galway into an episcopal See, and suffragan to the Archbishop 
of Tuam. The letter of the Cardinal Prefect of the Propa- 
ganda, Cardinal CappeUari, on this subject, dated 4th December 
1830, is addressed to Dr. Oliver Kelly. It was immediately 
communicated to Dr. French. As to the selection of the new 
bishop, it was entrusted "pro hoc vice to the bishops of the 
province, with the Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr. Crolly, and 
the Bishop of Dromore, Dr. Kelly. The election was to be 
proceeded with without delay. 

The following extract from the Archbishop's letter to Dr. 
French must be interesting to the reader : — 

«TUAM, Dec. 28, 1830. 

" My dear Lord, 

"By the annexed extract from Cardinal Cappelari's 
letter, which I received at a late hour on the 25th, your 
Lordship will perceive that the S*. Congre^, on the 20th Nov., 
had decreed that the Wardenship of Galway is to be erected 
into an episcopal See ; and that the privilege of recommending 
those candidates is conceded pro hoc vice to the bishops of this 
province conjointly with the Eight Rev. Doctor Kelly of 
Dromore, and Dr. Crolly of Down and Connor. Your Lordship 

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will also observe that it is the ardent wish of the Cardinal 
that the recommendation do take place with as little delay as 

On Wednesday the 12th January following, the meeting of 
the prelates was held at Tuam, which resulted in gi\'ing 
Gal way its first bishop in the person of Dr. Browne. 

With that appointment in 1831 the connection of Dr. French 
with the Galway diocese ceased. We find him soon after 
residing in Kinvara. Just at that period the work of church- 
building inaugurated at Kinvara under his predecessor was 
being urged with singular energy throughout the diocese. He 
had the gratification of seeing eight or nine churches, to which 
we shall refer more in detail, practically completed in the 
diocese during his episcopate. It was an arduous efTort for 
bishop and priests alike ; and its success reflects credit upon 
them, but still more on their faithful flocks. 

It is interesting to find that Dr. French, in the midst of 
those arduous duties, manifested his love for the Blessed Virgin 
by asking for the privilege of honouring her Immaculate Con- 
ception in the Mass, and of adding in her litany the title, 
"Mary conceived without sin." His lordship's request was 
entrusted to his agent, the Rev. F. J. Nicholson, and duly 
submitted by him to the Eoman authorities. In a letter 
dated Paris, Feb. 15, 1845, Father Nicholson wrote to Dr. 
French, assuring him that "both the Pope and the Cardinal 
have with great satisfaction gratified you ; and I now have the 
happiness of enclosing to your Lordship the papal rescript." 

The rescript referred to is dated 26th January 1845. Tlie 
shadow of famine was soon upon the land. It was a terrible 
time for all, but especially for those broken down in health, by 
age, labours, and infirmities, as was Dr. French at the period. 
But the struggle for corporeal life was not so terrible to the 
good pastor as was the struggle then necessary to guard the 
faithful from spiritual dangers. To undo the scheme so 
astutely devised by Whately and others for the ruin of the 
faith of Irish children — to expose the true character of the 
Queen's Colleges, and secure their authoritative condemnation, 
— these were the great labours of the bishops at the time, 
in which Dr. French was powerless from failing health to take 
an active part. 

From a letter of Dr. Mac Hale's, addressed to him from 
Tivoli, under date 12th October 1848, we can see that he was 
in exact accord on the great question with his episcopal 
brethren. The letter will be read with interest: — 

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" I send your Lordship the annexed rescript, which will 
speak for itself. It is only in compliance with the duty 
prescribed to me by the Sacred Congregation that I have 
annexed the letter addressed to me by the Cardinal Prefect. 
This, I am sure, will be exhortation enough, as I am well 
aware of the unceasing vigilance and zeal of all the bishops 
of the province. 

"Your Lordship will rejoice, your flock will rejoice, all 
Ireland and the Christian world will rejoice, at the utter 
solemn and final condemnation of the impious system of the 
godless colleges. Amidst all their misery, this will call forth 
many an Allel