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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 21. Catholic Confederation

Declaration of the Confederated Catholics at Kilkenny signed by several Clare men; Ruin and depopulation of the County consequent on the Cromwellian conquest

It does not fall within the scope of this history to narrate the events of the struggle between the power of England and the Roman Catholics of Ireland as represented by the Confederation of Kilkenny. The contest lasted for nine years, and during its existence the gentry and people of the county of Clare were largely involved in it. In the Depositions given in former pages, we see how several of the principal men of the county had repaired to Limerick to give their aid to the besieged in that city. We find, among the names of persons who, in 1646, signed the Declaration of Catholic Demands, addressed to Charles I., those of Bartholomew Stacpoole of Limerick, Christopher O’Brien of Inchiquin, Conor O’Brien of Ballymacooda, Daniel MacNamara of Doon, Dermot O’Brien of Dromore, Fineen FitzPatrick of Lisdoonvarna, and John MacNamara of Moyriesk. [9] During the progress of the strife, Clare, in common with all the rest of Ireland, suffered severely. The lives of its people were sacrificed in the many battles that took place in the period between 1642 and 1651, in the latter of which years the Lieutenants of Cromwell completed the ruin of the county. A contemporary account of its condition in 1653 is here given:—“The difficulties of the Government were increased by the reports arriving from Connaught, from the earliest transplanters to the families they left behind preparing to follow, who were thereby discouraged. They found the country a waste. In the summer of this year, the famine was so sore that the natives had eaten up all the horses they could get, and were feeding upon one another, the living eating the dead. [10] The county of Clare was totally ruined, and almost destitute of inhabitants. Out of nine baronies, comprising 1,300 townlands, not above forty townlands at the most, lying in the barony of Bunratty, were inhabited in the month of June, 1653, except some few persons living for safety in garrisons. Scarce a place to shelter in. The castles, either sleighted by gunpowder, as dangerous to be left in the hands of the Irish, or occupied by the English soldiery, or by the ancient Irish proprietors, who looked on the Transplanters as enemies liable to supplant them, and therefore encouraged their followers to give them rough reception. Besides this, the Loughrea Commissioners gave some of the earliest Transplanters assignments in the barony of Burren, one of the barrenest, where it was commonly said there was not wood enough to hang a man, water enough to drown him, or earth enough to bury him. Edmond Dogherty, mason, presented a petition, certified by the Commissioners at Loughrea, containing a demand on the Commissioners for the Settlement of the affairs of Ireland, for the sum of £32 10s. “for demolishing thirteen castles in ye county of Clare at £2 10s. each castle,” which was allowed accordingly.” [11]