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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

Expedition of the Earls of Thomond and Inchiquin to the North; Death of Inchiquin; Attempt of the Bourkes of Castleconnell to dispossess his widow of the lands of Portcrusha; Disputes as to the exclusive right of the eldest son to succeed to the whole of his father’s estate; Teige Caech MacMahon captures a derelict ship

For some years peace prevailed in the county, a most unusual circumstance. The Burkes of Galway, broke out into rebellion, and the Earl of Thomond was summoned by Sir Richard Bingham to aid him in bringing them into submission [1590]. Again, in 1593, in 1596, and in 1597, the Earl’s services were called into requisition to help the English. He left Ireland for England, in January, 1598, and remained there the whole of that year. Before his departure, he had been solicited by the Lord Justice to co-operate against O’Donnell who had revolted in Ulster. Murrogh, fourth Baron of Inchiquin, also was required to give his assistance. They promptly responded to the call, and marched their forces, under command of the Governor of Connaught, towards the North. In attempting to cross the river Erne, they were met by the army of O’Donnell, and the Baron of Inchiquin received a bullet in the arm pit, through an opening in his coat of mail. His body was carried to Assaroe, and buried in the abbey of that place. The Franciscan friars of the monastery of Donegal laid claim to the privilege of having his remains repose in their cemetery, and appealed to the bishops of Derry and Raphoe. Their demand was acceded to, and the Baron’s body was re-interred in Donegal. [7]

During his absence in Tirconnel, the Burkes of Castleconnell attempted to dispossess his wife (Margaret Cusack, daughter of Sir Thomas Cusack, Lord Chancellor of Ireland), of the lands of Portcrusha, an ancient inheritance of his family, situated at the Limerick side of the Shannon. Lady Inchiquin’s reapers were driven off by the Burkes. She immediately despatched a number of men from Clare to sustain her servants at Castleconnell. The Burkes met them, and a fierce combat took place, the result of which is not given by the Annalists. They only say, that Ulick Burke and four other gentlemen were slain on one side, while on the other, Hugh O’Hogan, Murrogh O’Brien, and Thomas, the son of Christopher Cruise, lost their lives.

The Four Masters further set down that, in this year, [1598], “there existed strife and dissensions among some of the gentlemen of Thomond, concerning the division and joint tenure (‘im comhroinn agus im comhaighteas a crice’) of their territory lands, which it would be tedious to describe.” No doubt, these quarrels were occasioned by the new tenure, giving all the lands of each principal chief to his eldest son. The Annalists go on to describe the strife, but as it is impossible, from their narrative, to understand the subject, we give the story substantially in their own words: “Among these gentlemen was Teige, the brother of Donogh, fourth Earl of Thomond, by whom the bridge of Portcrusha was taken from Margaret Cusack, after the Burkes had failed in depriving her of it. He also took the castle of Clooney, in Ui Caisin, and the castle of Scariff, from the attorney of the bishop of Meath’s son (Brady). Among these also, was Conor, son of Donald, son of Mahone, son of Brien O’Brien, who took Baile-an-Caislain (Castletown, in Upper Clan-Culein), from John MacNamara Finn. Among them likewise was Turlogh, son of Mahone, from Coill O’Flannchadha, who took Derryowen from George Cusack. Among the same gentlemen, was Turlogh, son of Murrogh, son of Conor O’Brien of Cathair Mionain (near Kilfenora), and his kinsman Dermot Roe, who joined in the war of the Irish. Among them, moreover, was Teige Caech (purblind), the son of Turlogh, son of Brian, son of Donagh MacMahon, who, about Christmas of this year, captured an English ship which had been going astray for a long time before. It happened to put in at a harbour at West Corcabaskin, in the neighbourhood of Carraig-an-Cobhlaigh (Carrigholt). Teige took away the ship from the crew, and all the valuable things it contained. It was not long afterwards till Teige found the profit very trivial and the punishment severe. The same Teige took Doonbeg from a Limerick merchant who had it in his possession in lieu of debt. Subsequently, having a quarrel with Daniel O’Brien (afterwards the first Viscount Clare), he repaired to the Earl of Desmond for aid. He returned across the Shannon, and in the night made an assault upon young O’Brien, at Kilmurry Ibrickan. He made a prisoner of the young man, and killed many of his people. He then conveyed him to Doonbeg castle, but after a week’s detention he was set at liberty.” [8]