|Clare County Library||
|Survey of the McInerney Sept of Thomond by Luke McInerney, M.A.|
| Dispossession, Emigration
and Famine: 1640-1850
McInerneys and the 1641 Rebellion
The 1640-1650s saw upheaval for the McInerneys as most
of the clann lands were confiscated and land-holding McInerneys
transplanted to the less fertile areas such as the Burren. This section
will look at McInerney involvement in the 1641 rebellion and the subsequent
Cromwellian settlement which displaced many of the leading McInerneys
and reduced their position as significant landowners and people of influence
in Tradaree. The upheavals prompted some McInerneys to go abroad and fight
in the armies of Spain and others to move into Limerick and Tipperary
in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The depositions of English Protestants mention “Lochlainn MacInerney of Ballykilty” and “James MacInernia, gent” as among the principal Irish gentry accused of crimes during 1642-1654. James MacInernia was implicated in the robbing and killing of the mother-in-law and sister of English settler, William Culliver. Interestingly, this note mentions that James MacInernia’s wife was a Protestant but since the rebellion had turned ‘papist’. Unfortunately, no other details remain of James or his wife and it is possible that they were not alive by the time of the transplantations in 1654-1658 as they are not listed there.
In terms of the Cromwellian occupation of Clare, an account has come down to us which reveals the fate of Jeremy Nerhinny, a Franciscan friar from Tradaree. According to Fr Anthony Broudin, author of Propugnaculum Catholicæ Veritatis:
Edward MacLysaght also writes of Fr Laurence McInerheny who was martyred by the Cromwellians in 1642, however this reference remains obscure.
Cromwellian Confiscations and Settlement
The 1650s resulted in the confiscation of the McInerney estates and the transplantation of the leading members of the sept. The lands in Ballysallagh and Carrigoran passed to the Cromwellian planter, Sir Henry Ingoldsby and to Lord Clare. The transplantation lists record “Laughlin McEnerhiny” as being reallocated 324 acres in Dysert parish in 1656. Edmond McEvereny’s (or Nerhiny) widow Any (alias Mahon) and their daughters Honora, Ellinor, Mary and Catelin were allocated 14 acres in Killinaboy parish in 1656. In 1641 Edmond had joint ownership of the clann lands at Ballysallagh and Carrigoran and his own freehold at Clonconnell in Kilnasoolagh parish and at Ardbraghan in Kilmaleery parish. In the same year “John McConnor McIneherny of Tullavarrin” was transplanted and allocated 5 acres, while “Daniel McDonnogh McEnereny” was allocated 30 acres and previously held land at Caherteige. It would also appear that several McInerneys living outside of their traditional patrimony of Clare also faced transplantation. These included “Teige McInerenogh” and “Mahone Roe McInerheny” from Limerick, though it is uncertain as to where they were transplanted.
While it is hard to discern whether these individuals were transplanted solely because of involvement in the 1640s rebellion, the fact that they occupied some of the most fertile lands in Clare should not be discounted either. At any rate, in their own eyes they wanted redress for their excessive punishment and after King Charles II was restored they appealed for the restoration of their estates in 1664. While the outcome is not known, their conduct during the rebellion was recorded as having “early repentance” and “adhered to the peace”. The 1664 appeals list “Loghlin McInereheny”, “Edmond McInereheny of Killanasulagh”, “Mahone McInerheny of Ballisallagh” and “Daniel McInereheny of Cahirteige” as claiming restitution for their confiscated estates. Mahone McInerney claimed the largest share of 150 acres. This list is a useful survey of the leading landholding members of the sept in 1664. The absence of John McInerney of Ballykilty may have been because he was deceased by this time or that his heirs did not pursue the restoration of his estate
The 1659 ‘census’ allows us to plot the movements of the leading McInerneys following the upheavals of the transplantations. Only “Mahon McInerny gent” in Kilnasoolagh, and “John McInerhidny gent” of Killraghtish parish, having 19 and 9 tenants respectively, were recorded as ‘tituladoes’ – or landholds of some merit – in the barony of Bunratty. This suggests that while Mahon and John managed to hold onto a fraction of their former estates, they still had the wherewithal to have tenant farmers who, in turn, had labourers under them. Between themselves, Mahon and John would have controlled upward of 140 persons, undoubtedly some of which were kinsmen. The 1659 census also lists 29 McInerney heads-of-households that are returned in the population totals for Uppper and Lower Bunratty. Further afield, “Teige McInerny, gent” occupied land in Ibrickan barony, “Covara McInerny, gent” and his 13 tenants held land in Burren barony, and “Loughlen McInerny gent” and his 13 tenants held land in Inchiquin Barony. It would seem that Teige was transplanted from Clonloghan and Covara may have been the son of Mahon McInerney of Ballysallagh and was recorded in a land transaction there in 1655, before being transplanted to the Burren. Covera left a will in 1677 which read: “Will of Cavera McInerheny of Knocknanard, Co. Clare, gr[anted] 1st May 1677. I owe 3/- to Constance Donovan, for my [holding?]”. Covera’s descendents were still residing in Killeany parish in the 1820s as a Murty and John McInerheny were recorded at Ballyconnoo South at the time of the Tithe Applotment Survey.After Cromwell: 1650-1800
The upheavals of the 1650s saw changes in the fortunes of dispossessed young men and former soldiers of the wars of the 1640s. It is during this period that we can expect some of the dispossessed McInerneys serving abroad in the armies of France and Spain. Their experience in the continental armies may have provided the fertile stories behind Michael Hogan’s poem, Warrior Exiles: A Legend of the Clan MacInnerney. One such McInerney émigré serving abroad was Juan Francisco MacInerheny, a cadet in the service of the Spanish Regiment de Irlanda, who was recorded in 1776 as receiving a promotion to 2nd Lieutenant.
The period of the mid-seventeenth century saw the emergence of an intermediate type of gentleman/yeoman who directly farmed property on the estates of the Earls of Thomond and Inchiquin. These new gentleman were often the younger sons in the lesser branches of the dominant families who, earlier in the century, would have held the position of a ‘dependent freeholder’ in a household that revolved around the clann chief. By the mid seventeenth century these men began to emerge as a landed tenant who directly managed their lands.
During the second half of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries we can see numerous examples of McInerneys among the intermediate class of gentlemen/yeoman farmers in the Earl of Thomond’s Manor Courts (1666-1686), Rent Rolls of 1656, 1685 and 1699 and in the Corporation Book of Ennis. McInerney connections to the native nobility of Thomond can still be found at this time. Máire Rua, bequeathed 3 cows “to [her] nephew Mahon McInerhenyes daughter” in 1686 and left £5 pounds to Fr Morish McInerhiny her parish priest and £1.10 to Fr James McInerheny in that same year. Similarly, there are sporadic references to the family in the Inchiquin Manuscripts right up until 1785 when Thomas McInerhiny procured a lease from Sir Lucius O’Brien of a holding at Sixmilebridge. Thomas McInerhiny appears in several leases in the 1780s and it is likely that he was the “Thomas McInerheny of Dromoland, yeoman” who conformed to the Church of Ireland in 1782. A notable reference exists in relation to “Jos. MccInerheny” who was one of three witnesses to the will of Sir Edward O’Brien of Dromoland, Bart., in 1765. In Limerick several McInerneys achieved prominence in the eighteenth century, including Michael McInerheny, a merchant of Limerick, who left a will in 1732 and Nicholas McInerheny, Esq., formerly of Coonagh, who died on 22 March, 1791.
By the early 1800s the McInerneys had spread from Clare into Limerick, Galway and Tipperary. Most of the Tipperary McInerney settled nearby the Shannon in the western part of the county. A cluster of the Tipperary McInerneys settled in the uplands and slate quarries of Castletownarra parish where the author’s forebears originated. Nonetheless, McInerneys were still represented in their traditional lands of Kilnasoolagh, with George McEnerny growing flax there in 1796. Andrew and Patrick McInerney held lands in Ballynacragga, Ballconneely and Ballygirreen in 1850, and Patrick McInerney owned 99 acres at Clenagh in 1876. By 1855 there were over 400 McInerney heads-of-household in Ireland, 300 of these in Clare, around 80 in Limerick and about 3 in Tipperary. Needless to say, this figure would have been much reduced from 1845 due to famine and emigration.
Richard Cronnelly, writing in 1864, suggested that two senior branches of the family were then extant; the Tulla branch represented by M. McInerney, Esq., of Newhall near Ennis and a poor blacksmith living at Torloghnafranka near Ardrahan in Galway who was the representative of “Mac an Airchinnidh of Echtge”. Neither of these notable reference can be verified though it is certain that there were numerous McInerneys living in the Newhall/Killone parish in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with Morgan McInerney recorded at Ballyea in Killone in 1855. Needless to say, whoever was then acknowledged as the ‘chief’ of the McInerneys has now been forgotten and further research is unlikely to yield fruitful information.
Several members of the family achieved a measure of prominence in the nineteenth century such as Rev. Thomas McInerney, Parish Priest at Feakle and supporter of Daniel O’Connell in the 1828 Clare election and whom the Marquis of Anglesey presented a silver chalice to in appreciation of his efforts at quelling a rioting crowd at Feakle in 1831. Another was Rev. Patrick McInerney who, according to tradition, drilled volunteers near Doonbeg after the landing of a French force in support of the 1798 rebellion in County Mayo. Other prominent McInerneys were Thomas McInerhiny of Feakle, gent., who married Susana Bourke in 1831, Michael McInerny, gent., of Castleconnell in Limerick in 1846 and William McInerheny of Middlesex, London, whose will is dated August 1825 and who acted as a Royal Navy Agent and had a residence at Adelphi Terrace, Hanover Square.
This survey intended to shed some light on the McInerney family of Thomond. While little has been written about the McInerneys in the histories of County Clare, recent research indicates that the McInerneys were an ancient family who held significant estates in the old Tradree district of Newmarket-on-Fergus. The original progenitor of the McInerneys was Donnchadha Mac Con Mara, reputed to have been an airchinneach at Killaloe and brother to Cú Mara Beg, the twelfth century Lord of Uí Caisin. Indeed it is from the Irish word airchinneach that the surname McInerney is derived. The McInerneys held an important position among the offshoot septs of the McNamaras, holding sway in the Tradaree lands down to the confiscations of the 1650s. This survey set out to place the McInerneys in their historical context and to give insight into the dynamics of land tenure at the local level in Thomond. In this endeavour I hope that this survey has enriched our understanding of County Clare’s Gaelic history and, in particular, highlighted the history of the popular Clare surname ‘McInerney’.