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Genealogy of the O’Cormacain Family of Thomond by John P. McCormack

“The triumphs of Turlough” & Clan Ui mBloid.

From "The triumphs of Turlough" by John Mac Rory Magrath, translated by Standish Hayes O'Grady:

(NOTE: This book was written in Irish about the year 1459 by Magrath for the chief of Clancullen, the MacNamaras. It contains a blood-thirsty, melodramatic, largely one-sided version of the history of Thomond and the Dalcassian clans from 1172 to 1364. It also contains the story of how the senior Dalcassian clan, Clan Ui mBloid (or Ui Blod, or Hy Blod, or Hy Blood, or O'Blod), to which our family belonged, was bested in a series of battles with a coalition led by Clancullen, and was largely driven from its ancient territories in East Clare. The following extract from "The triumphs of Turlough" relates the beginning of the trouble in the year 1307. The final battle of the war was fought in North Clare in 1318.)

"[A.D.1307] By and by it came to pass that, Sheeda mac Cumea Mac Conmara's people visiting Kilsarnat's pleasant borough-town, betwixt them and the sour constable of the place there was a falling out. Unhesitatingly either party faced the other, and the constable very expeditiously was slain. In across the marches Sheeda's men brought back a forcible prey of the stout Earl's beeves (The Earl of Clanrickard); but for fear of him, and due regard had to his great consequence, on O'Brien (Donnough) and on their own chief, Donough Mac Conmara (Sheeda's brother), they durst not presume so far as openly to frequent the tuatha through whom on their homeward journey they would have to pass. Therefore, together with some households that they picked up as they came along, they proceeded to Moynoe of pious fame, intending there to refuge; and some of Sheeda's people went so far as to stay in the great church itself. These considering that their wants were not met with becoming zeal, and in requital dispensing some rough usage, their highhanded dealing made the cry to be raised. Maelruana O'Cormacan's sons responded to the alarm and in their rush slew a dear fosterer to Sheeda, whose designation was O'Kinnergan.

"When Sheeda was apprised that one so dear to him thus was lost, his wrath fairly boiled over; Maccon his brother, he himself, with Hugh, son of Donough their chief and brother, followed up the outrage by charging right in on Moynoe's termonland, and its tuatha with their domiciles they enveloped in universal arson. The venerable church only was excepted, nor, but for Maccon, had that same been spared; the termon's broad expanse they cleared of flocks and herds, and then withdrew into their own borders.

"[A.D. 1308] Rapidly the tidings overspread Thomond. Among Hy-Blood now passion ran high and stormy for their brethren despoiled, their patrimonial termon burnt; and the confederated gentlemen that conspired to utterly harry Clancullen, to defeat them and to run them out of their own country, were these: Turlough O'Brien's mailclad sons and Dermot Finn O'Brien's, with their followers, who by descent formed a branch of Clan-Brian-Rua; The O'Kennedys, O'Gunnings, O'Shanachans, O'Hogans, O'Ahiarns, O'Muldoons and O'Duracks. From outside of the country's limits they mustered to Coalition: Ormond, marshalled by gentlemen of the O'Kennedys; the vigorous men of Forgavale; Brian's brave sons and, in shield-wearing companies, the O'Lonargans. All were to penetrate to the heart of Clancullen's country to possess it, in order to recoup their people, of their enemies to take vengence for their losses, and to banish away Clancullen altogether."

NOTE: A termon was the hereditary and sacred territory of a clan. The church and lands of the parish of Moynoe were the heart of the ancient Tuatha Tearmoinn Mhuighe No (the Country of the Termon of Moynoe) of Clan Ui mBloid.

Most termon lands fell either into the hands of the church or the invading Normans. Those lands, such as Moynoe, which fell to the church were still jealously guarded by the clans and, more especially, by the particular families who had special rights of stewardship over the land. These families were called "Erenaghs", and paid nominal rents to the bishops for their land. The O'Cormacains were the Erenagh family for the parish of Moynoe. They stayed with the land through all the changes of the centuries, yet they never owned it. It was common in Ireland, as elsewhere, for a family to ensure its occupation of church lands by "keeping it in the family"; by making certain that the local priests, abbots and bishops were from their own family. But it turned out to be a poor form of insurance, for, when the crunch came, they were tossed out on their ears by Catholic and Protestant landlords and bishops alike, and they finished up owning nothing. Such was the fate of the O'Cormacains of Thomond.

Clan Ui mBloid.

First, a little explanation of the various spellings of the clan name, etc. As you have seen, "Ua Cormacain" = "O Cormacain". In the Irish, "Ua" is used to designate a single individual or family, while "Ui" is plural and designates a group of families with the same name or a clan name for several different families. Hence we have Ua Cormacains who are part of Clan Ui mBloid.

Ui Bloid (or Ui Blod) is the name of the clan, and is pronounced "Eee Blod". Ui mBloid is the possessive case of the name. For example, you could say "Ui Bloid live in East Clare." or "Clan Ui mBloid (the clan of Ui mBloid) live in East Clare." Ui mBloid is pronounced "Eee Muh-lod", with the "muh" slid over quickly and the "lod" stressed.

Within Clan Ui mBloid there were quite a few sub-clans, each one based on a particular family. Some of the sub-clans were quite large and held extensive tracts of land. As far as I could determine, the following families were sub-clans of Clan Ui mBloid:

O'BRIEN RUA, also known as "Mac Ui Brien Ara", a branch of the ruling Dalcassian family of the O'Briens. Their territory, Ui toirdhealbhagh, the royal patrimony of the O'Briens, comprised the present parishes of Killalaoe, O'Briensbridge and Kiltenanlea (Clonlara). After 1318 they were driven across the Shannon into the territory of Ara in North Tipperary.

O'KENNEDY, whose ancient patrimony was Glen Omra, the present parish of Killokennedy, but they had largely migrated across the shannon into Ormond before 1318.

O'SHANAHAN, chiefs of Ui Ronghaile. After 1318, they went to South Tipperary and Wateford.

O'DURACK, chiefs of Ui Conghaile (O'gonnelloe). After 1318 they went to Tipperary and Offaly.

O'AHERN, chiefs of Ui Cearnaigh, the area around the present town of Six-Mile-Bridge. After 1318, they went mainly to Limerick and Cork.

O'GUNNING (O'Conaing), originally from the Castleconnell area. They were dispossessed in the 13th century by the de Burgos (Burkes).

O'HOGAN, an ecclesiastical family like the O'Cormacains. They were seated at Ardcroney, on Loch Derg, 4 miles North of Nenagh in Tipperary.



O'LONARGAN, an ecclesiastical family like the O'Cormacains. After 1318, they went into Tipperary.,.

Clann-Gillamochanna. I can't find their family name anywhere.

O'KEATY (Keating), from the area around Limerick City.

O'LIDDY. A branch of this family settled in later years in Co. Antrim.

After the year 1318, Clan Ui mBloid no longer held their ancient clan lands in East clare, although many clan members remained on the land. It was fortunate for the clan that they had expanded their territories into North Tipperary, East Limerick, South Galway, and West Offaly during the years prior to 1318, and thus were able to accommodate the refugees from East Clare. Their former homeland in East Clare, the TRIOCHA..UI..mBLOID, was henceforth owned by the MacNamaras, Moloneys, O'Gradys, O'Hallorans, etc.

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