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The History and Topography of the County of Clare by James Frost


Part II. History of Thomond
Chapter 12. History of Thomond before it was formed into an English county: From the earliest times, to the death of De Clare, and expulsion of the English in 1318.

Conor-na-Catharac and Turlogh, successive kings of Thomond; Defeat of Turlogh at Moinmore, near Emly; Names of various chieftains of the Dalcais who perished in the battle

Conor-na-Catharach was inaugurated King of Munster in succession to his father, and at the same time his brother Turlogh became King of Thomond. During Conor’s reign of twenty-two years he led his forces successively into Meath, Connaught, and Leinster. Joined by MacMurrogh, King of Leinster, he laid siege to Waterford, then held by the Danes, who were the owners of 200 ships. The foreigners surrendered the town and gave hostages for their future good behaviour. In 1141, just two years afterwards, he compelled the Danes of Dublin to submit to him as their king, and he likewise reduced to subjection the MacCarthy’s of South Munster. In the course of his reign, Thomond was the scene of two raids by the people of Connaught. The first was in 1119, when they possessed themselves of Killaloe, and the next, five years later, when Turlogh O’Connor conveyed a fleet of boats over Eas Danaire, now called the falls of Doonass, and plundered the shores of the lower Shannon, as far as Faing (Foynes Island). The death of Conor-na-Catharach occurred at Killaloe, in the year 1142. He was succeeded in the government of Munster by his brother Turlogh, who, up to that time, had been King of Thomond. [26]

No time was lost by Turlogh on his accession to power in showing his prowess to his neighbours. He plundered Leinster forthwith but brought away no booty. His next exploit was to cut down the Ruidh Bheithagh (the red birch tree), under which the O’Hynes were inaugurated chiefs, at Roevehagh, in the county of Galway. Next he ravaged the O’Kelly’s country in Galway, and made a prisoner of Teige O’Kelly, their chief. Then he invaded Leinster a second time, with more success than attended his first expedition. Lastly he harried Meath and Dublin; but whilst he was employed on that work his own dominions of Thomond were plundered by Turlogh O’Connor, with his Connaughtmen. This was not his only misfortune, for O’Connor joined his brother, Teige Glae O’Brien, in deposing him from his sovereignty and driving him as a fugitive into Kerry. He was determined, however, not to give up his power without a struggle. He assembled his forces, and prepared to do battle against O’Connor and MacMurrogh, of Leinster, both of whom had united their men in a plundering expedition into Munster. The armies met at Moinmore, near Emly. A sanguinary engagement ensued, in which the Munstermen were utterly routed, with the loss [27] of seven thousand men slain. Among these were the following chief men belonging to Thomond: Murtagh, the nephew of Turlogh, and his heir-apparent; Lughaid and Conor, his cousins; Cumara Beg, Lord of Ui Caisin; two of the O’Kennedys, of Gleann Omra; eight of the O’Deas; nine of the O’Shanahans; five of the O’Quins; five of the O’Gradys; twenty-four of the O’Hogans; four of the O’Hehirs; four of the O’Neills (buidhe), of Clann Delbhaithe in Tradraighe; and five of the O’Aherns. Only one shattered battalion of the Dalcais survived the dreadful slaughter. Turlogh was obliged to fly, and O’Connor assumed full power over Munster, ravaging the country in all directions according to his good pleasure. Loss of life by famine followed his proceedings, as a natural consequence. He divided Munster into two parts, assigning to MacCarthy the southern division, and the northern to the O’Briens, namely to the two brothers, Turlogh and Teige Glae. Shortly afterwards he banished Turlogh to the north of Ireland, and left Teige sole ruler of North Munster. Teige’s authority, so conferred, was not left long uncontested, for O’Neill led an army of northerns to Thomond, and by their means defeated his forces, and restored Turlogh to the sovereignty. This man appears to have been a sort of shuttle-cock between O’Neill, of Ulster, and O’Connor, of Connaught, who deposed and again restored him at will. At length, in 1165, he resigned in favour of his eldest son, Murtagh, but he resumed his authority in the following year. His death happened in 1167, presumably at Killaloe. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Murtagh-na-dun-na-sgiath, who, having been killed by his cousin, Conor O’Brien, in the year following, was succeeded by his brother, Donald More.

 

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