|Clare County Library||
|O'Cleary, Ó Cleirigh, Clery, MacCleary|
The Ó Cleirigh continued as one of the principal septs to reside in that part of South Galway which encompassed a good deal of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh.
In the 13th century, however, following Anglo-Norman conquests, they became dispersed and forced to settle in different parts of the country, but it was in County Donegal that they later achieved distinction as scribes and bards to the northern chieftains, O'Neills and O'Donnells.
Edward O'Reilly in his compendium of Irish writers cites no fewer than 10 bearers of the name who from the 16th to the 18th century made their mark on the poetic history of Ireland. An early aspirant, Goffrey O'Cleary left a number of poems on religious subjects still preserved on original parchment; one dwelt "with the respect Christians should have for Friday above other days of the week." Another associate who is named as Chief of the Clan put together some 100 verses in praise of St. Francis, founder of the Franciscan Order.
John O'Cleary treats of the long list of heroes and heroines who graced the pages of our annals and of the exploits of the fabled Macha Mongruadh, the only lady in Irish history to attain high chieftainship and who has a historic town called after her, namely - Ard Macha, Armagh, i.e., the Height of Macha.
O'Reilly, Edward. "A chronological account of
nearly four hundred Irish writers". Shannon, Irish University Press,