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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 O’Gradys expel the foreigners

About the 9th of January, 1642, the Earl sent precepts through the country, requiring the country to give him a meeting at Inish to hold a quarter sessions, at which sessions he earnestly intreated the gentry and commonalty to remain loyal to his Majesty, and persuaded them to take the oath of allegiance. He wept before them on the bench, to show the sorrow he had conceived for the rebellion which was begun.

While the Earl was at the quarter sessions, which was four days, complaints were made unto him, by Robert Hibart, and his son Richard, of Sranagaloon, against Hugh Grady of the same place, being landlord thereof, that the said Grady had committed several outrages against them by taking away their cattle, some 160 English cattle, besides horses and sheep; and that he, being assisted by the rest of his kindred of the Gradys, had wounded their servants in the night, who were left by the said Hibarts to oversee their house in their absence, and had likewise robbed them of their household stuff which they had left in their house, their wives being gone before, for their safety, with part of their goods and money to Clare castle; the Gradys taking possession likewise of their houses. Which the Earl understanding, sent a band of soldiers, with one Robert Freestone, son-in-law to Hibart, to apprehend the said Grady, who, hearing of their coming, forsook his dwelling, and with his kinsmen, went into Connaught, where they remained till the Earl returned home from Inish, which, when the Gradys heard, they returned to their former employment and habitations.

Immediately after the Earl returned to Bunratty from Inish, the soldiers which he had garrisoned with intent for the safety of the English throughout the county, began to oppress and abuse the English that remained in their dwellings, but the most part of the English had betaken themselves to castles before the 25th of December. Of which abuses, when the parties thus abused, complained to the captains, instead of giving redress, they went to the Earl of Thomond, and informed him that the English, on whom their soldiers were quartered, were forsaking their houses; whereupon his Lordship gave orders, under his hand, to the said captains to seize the goods of any English that should offer to forsake their dwellings, which command being obtained, they then made use of it to the full.

About the 10th of December, the Earl’s Irish army being raised, and most of them being unarmed, the captains informed him that the English had more arms than they had occasion to use. Upon hearing this, he gave warrants to the said captains to seize such arms for the use of the soldiers. No delay was given to the execution of this order, but Dermot O’Brien, Esq., chief commander of the Earl’s forces, with two constables attending him, came to the castle of Ballyalley, then in the possession of Elizabeth and Maurice Cuffe, of Inish, merchant, and by him fortified, and a ward by him and his mother and brother put therein, at much charge to themselves.