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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 20. Depositions of Protestant Settlers, 1642

John Ward of Tromroe Castle

Edmond O’Flaherty of Connemara came, in April 1642 with a fleet of boats to the coast of Clare, having for his object the expulsion of Peter Ward, an Englishman, from the castle of Tromroe near Miltown-Malbay. He was joined by the following, viz:—Donogh O’Brien of Newtown; Turlogh, Conor, and Mahone, sons of Dermot O’Brien of Tromroe; Richard Fitz Patrick, Seneschal and Receiver of the Earl of Thomond in the barony of Ibricken; Hugh McCurtin; Daniel, son of Scanlane MacGorman; Teige Fitz Patrick of Fintrabeg; Teige Roe O’Brien, son of Sir Daniel O’Brien; Mahone and Donogh McEncarriga of Cloghaneinshy and Fanore; James and Teige, sons of Donald Mergagh Gallery of Poulawillin; Daniel and Mahone MacGorman of Cahermurphy; Hugh Hogan of Ballyhehan; Edmond Oge O’Hogan of Moyhill; Dermot MacGorman of Knockanalban; Gillabreeda MacBrody of Knockanalban; and Loghlen MacCahane of Doonbeg. They laid siege to the castle, and in a few days compelled the garrison to surrender. In the progress of the contest, Peter Ward, his wife Alison, and his son George, were killed. Their bodies were removed for burial to the grave-yard of Kilmurry by order of Daniel O’Brien of Dough, but they were disinterred by direction of Daniel, son of Scanlane MacGorman of Drumsallagh, “a mass priest,” and again buried outside the churchyard, for the reason that no heretical corpse of a Protestant should be allowed to repose in consecrated ground. All this is stated in the Deposition of John Ward, son of Peter, who swears that his father’s property, worth £871 was plundered. The younger Ward then repaired to Bunratty, to complain to the Earl of Thomond, whose tenant his father had been, that in the act of spoliation, the Earl’s confidential agent, Richard FitzPatick had been a prime mover. All the redress he got was a cell in the prison of the castle. Having expostulated with the Earl on the hardship of this treatment, he was threatened with a box on the ear. He goes to declare that, at Newmarket-on-Fergus, he met Teige Roe, son of Sir Daniel O’Brien. That young gentleman, in presence of Cormack Hickey, of Bunratty, surgeon, and of several others, imprecated the curse of God upon any one who did not join the rebellion. He mentions that, after the surrender of the castle of Limerick, on the 23rd of June, 1642, part of the garrison repaired to Bunratty to offer their services to the Earl, and that they were refused. He intimates that, with the connivance of the Earl, a brass gun was sent from Limerick, by water, to Clare, and that the piece of ordnance in question was mainly instrumental in capturing that castle as well as Ballyallia. Nothing was easier than to intercept this gun, seeing that a Dutch ship, well armed and laden with rape seed from Limerick to London, then lay in the Shannon, and might have been used for that purpose. Ward was present one day, when the Earl exclaimed to Dermot O’Brien, “By the Lord of Heaven, Cousin Dermot, if I be not paid my rents, I will retake the castle of Clare, in despite of all your forces. I shall bring Forbes’ ships to the place.” Another day, he said to John MacNamara, that his countrymen did mightily slight him in not paying him his rents. “By G— were it not for me Lord Forbes would have spoiled the whole country, and I am nothing the better for it, and nothing the nearer to receive my rents.” His Lordship entertained at Bunratty, with eating and drinking, the most notorious rebels of the county, every one being freely welcome. Ward adds, that Matthew Hicks, who held the castle of Tomgraney, surrendered it on quarter, and on his way to Bunratty would have been robbed, only for the intervention of the English garrison at Cappagh, near Sixmilebridge.