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

Part III. History of the County of Clare
Chapter 14. History of the County of Clare from 1580 to 1641

Donogh, Earl of Thomond, attacks Teige Caech MacMahon; Death of Teige Caech, and extinction of the line of the chiefs of West Corcabaskin

Donogh Earl of Thomond, who had been for a year in England, and on his way home, had remained for some months with the Earl of Ormond, appears to have been indignant, that his youngest brother Daniel should, like a common malefactor, be cast into a prison at Doonbeg. When he came to Clare he summoned his retainers to his assistance to chastise Teige Caech MacMahon’s presumption. In April, 1599, he approached and laid siege to that chieftain’s castle of Carrigholt. It was surrendered in the course of four days. Doonbeg, another stronghold of Teige’s, yet remained to be taken. In order to reduce it the Earl sent for cannon from Limerick. The defenders did not wait for a shot to be fired; they surrendered the castle at discretion. He gave them no quarter, and had them hung in couples, face to face. The neighbouring castle of Dunmore-mic-an-Fermacaigh was at once handed over to him. During his stay in the west country, his camp was filled with food and cattle from the surrounding district, extending from Cnoc-Daire, (Knockerry), to Leim-Conchulain, (Loop head). [16] Teige Caech fled from the Earl’s wrath and took refuge in Berehaven, with O’Sullivan. That chieftain, having occasion for a ship to send to Spain for reinforcements to help him against the English, applied to Teige Caech for a loan of the vessel he had seized two years previously. The request was refused, and Teige sent his son Turlogh, with some men, on board to defend his vessel. O’Sullivan determined to seize her by force, and approached her in a boat, having Teige in his company, for some strange reason not explained. As they came near, Teige called out to his son and to his crew to fire. They did fire accordingly, and Teige received a bullet in his breast, shot by Turlogh. He lived only for eight days after, and the young man, struck with remorse, fled to Spain. [17] He was declared an outlaw, and his estates reverting to the Earl of Thomond, as Lord Paramount, were given to Sir Daniel O’Brien of Dough, who subsequently became Viscount Clare. Thus ended the MacMahons, Lords of West Corcabaskin. [18] In the Annals of the Four Masters, the character of Teige is given in very flattering terms. He is described as a man qualified, in every respect, to rule over any district in the country; that he was bounteous, and a purchaser of wine, horses, and literary works.

After the flight of Teige Caech’s son, the Earl of Thomond exhibited the greatest activity in his support of English authority. During his absence in England, several castles and lands had been forcibly taken from those who were owners, by virtue of English law. These he restored to the proper legal inheritors. Among them is enumerated Doire Eoghain (Derryowen), Clooney, and Lisofin (Lis-Aodh-Finn, so called from Aodh Finn the ancestor of the MacNamara Finn). On the 15th of August, 1599, he was appointed Governor-General of Clare, and in that capacity he co-operated with the Earl of Essex in an invasion of the county of Limerick. He joined the Earl of Ormond in the following year in harassing Hugh O’Neill’s retreat towards the north. They pillaged the country of the White Knight, and thence proceeded, by way of Kilkenny, to Dublin, there to pay their respects to Lord Mountjoy, the newly-appointed Lord Deputy. From Dublin they accompanied Sir George Carew in making a circuit of his province of Munster. After visiting, in succession, Kilkenny, Waterford, Cork, and Limerick, they, in the beginning of July, set out from Limerick with a large muster of soldiers, and marching along the county of Clare, on the north side of the Shannon, reached Baile-vic-Colmain (Colemanstown). There they crossed the river to Cloch-Gleanna (Glin Castle), owned by the Knight of Glin, and laid siege to that stronghold. It was surrendered in two days. After its capture they overran the county of Kerry. Then, returning to Limerick, they received the submission of many of the followers of the Earl of Desmond. [19]