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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 19. Rising of the Catholics, 1641; — Siege of Ballyallia Castle

The Earl of Thomond convenes a meeting of the principal gentry of the County at Ennis;
Organises a force for the protection of the property of the English settlers

The Earl of Thomond, being Governor of Clare, sent precepts, requiring the attendance of all the gentry and freeholders of the county at a meeting to be held at Ennis, on the 24th of November, to consult as to the preservation of the public peace. He invested with the power of marshal law, his steward Mr. Kerther, [3] Dermot O’Brien, Esq. (his first cousin), Daniel O’Brien of Dough, Esq., and some others. He appointed as captains over his forces, Dermot O’Brien, Conor O’Brien, Esq. of Leamaneh John, son of Teige MacNamara, Donogh his brother, and Turlogh MacMahon of Clenagh, with some other Irish gentlemen. Accompanied by these, at the head of his troops, he proceeded to Castlebank and Killaloe. Thence he sent Captain Dermot O’Brien across the Shannon to demand restitution of the cattle which Murtagh had driven out of Thomond, and to summon that chieftain to appear before him and apologise for his ill conduct. His commands were disobeyed. Thereupon, he ordered a party of his forces to enter Duharra and to gather thence all the plunder they could lay hands upon. With this booty he returned to his castle of Bunratty. Soon afterwards he learned that Turlogh O’Brien of Turlaghmore, had plundered the English, residing on the borders of the counties of Clare and Galway, of their cattle and other property. John Burke, in particular, was loud in his complaints. The Earl despatched a party of troops to bring before him, as prisoners, Turlogh and his associates. When they arrived at the place, they found that Burke’s statement was correct, yet, Turlogh contrived to persuade them that the fault lay, in reality, with the English themselves, and he excused himself from immediately obeying the Earl’s mandate, alleging that he would take an early opportunity of coming before him and vindicating his conduct. With this answer and a letter from Turlogh, they returned homewards. On their way to Bunratty, they found certain Irish peasants stealing Englishmen’s cows. These people they seized and brought before the Earl. Judgement was given against them that they be hanged forthwith. Notwithstanding this sentence, some of the Irish commanders prevailed upon him to take bail for the appearance of the prisoners at the next Assizes, to answer for their misdeeds. He accepted the proposed securities, but in the case of two strangers who could find no bail, he ordered the culprits to be hanged from the battlements of the castle. From that time till January, the same system of plunder of the goods of the English was carried on, but bail was always offered and accepted for the appearance of the accused at the approaching Assizes. The Earl now raised the several companies following:—Conor O’Brien of Ballymacooda, Esq., Donogh MacNamara of Cratloe, John, son of Teige MacNamara, Donogh MacNamara, his Lordship’s captain lieutenant, and divers others. The various companies being raised, and their garrisons appointed, he levied money on each townland for their maintenance, being . . of each plowland of which I paid . . . Now, the companies were billeted in their garrisons upon the housekeepers, and the money fully collected and paid unto Robert Coppinger, Esq., according to his Lordship’s order, but how disposed of is not known to me, but paid it was, with a second collection of twelve pence per plowland to make pikes and other arms.

 

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