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Considine, Mac Consaidín

Considine Family Crest

Per pale sable and gules,
three lions passant guardant
in pale per pale or
and argent armed azure.

There were several families of high standing who by reason of their achievements have contributed much to cultural life and activities within the Kingdom of Thomond. There were other families, no less talented perhaps, but not so well known, whose accomplishments need further research before due recognition comes their way.

MacConsaidín may be considered as a rare example of a Gaelic surname formed from a foreign Christian name, which means "son of Constantine". Many bearers of this name today are to be found in counties Clare and Limerick. In the MSS. List of the early Bishops of Killaloe, Consaidin O'Briain (1164-1194) figures as a prominent ruler of the Diocese for some thirty years. He was the younger son of Toirdelbach O'Briain, King of Thomond, and he did his utmost to advance peace among the provincial rulers who were then in contention for the High Kingship of Ireland.

Bishop Consaidin also attended a great assembly of princes and prelates at which resolutions were passed in 1167 concerning "The veneration of churches, the control of tribes and territories so that women were able to traverse Ireland unaccompanied." He may well have been accountable for this name coming into more popular usage in later years. In any event the MacConsaidíns have since been described as being of illustrious Dalcassian origin but are only briefly mentioned in early Irish history and literature. James Frost in "The History and Topography of the County of Clare" lists several members of the family as people of property and substance in the 17th century, who held land in the townlands of Drumadrehig, Leitrim and Lack, near the village of Kildysart.

Manuscript of Ossianic poems by Micheál MacConsaidín
Manuscript of Ossianic poems
by Micheál MacConsaidín
(Click image for more details)

It is, however, in the field of scribal activity and poetic endeavor that members of the family in latter years earned the esteem of the people of Clare. Seamus MacConsaidín, who was also a medical pratictioner, composed a fine lament on the death of his friend and fellow-poet Sean de h-Ora whom he described as "a man without deceit, of noble speech." Also a humorous conversation piece entitled Dearbhu written about the year 1780. Domhnall MacConsaidin, another fine Irish scholar, is remembered for his two love-poems "Maire Beag na Gruaige Báine" (Little Mary of the Fair Hair) and "Bean Dubh an Ghleanna" (The Dark Woman of the Valley) which were transcribed by Doughlas de h-Ide and also received favourable comment in his book "Love Songs of Connacht". Micheál MacConsaidin is also known for his wide knowledge of Irish and as a first class scribe. He copied in neat lettering a complete replica of "Cúirt an Mhean Óiche" and Sean O'Conaills "Tuireamh na hÉireann". He is also credited with having written down much Ossianic verse, several local poems and romantic tales from the old Irish.

Further Reading:
Frost, James. "The history and topography of the county of Clare : from the earliest times". Dublin, 1893.

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Learned Families of Thomond