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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

Murrogh, Earl of Inchiquin; sketch of his character; his death

During those disastrous times, it was to be lamented that the heads of the great family of O’Brien lent their support to the cause of the English invader. Barnabas, Earl of Thomond, retired to England and resided there till his death in 1657. In a previous chapter, some reference has been made to Murrogh, Earl of Inchiquin, and to his tergiversations. He, without doubt, was a prime cause of the misfortunes of his native land. Born in a high rank, with great natural endowments, and educated as a soldier, in the best military school of Europe in those days, namely, the wars of Spain, his history reads like a romance. Early in the Civil War of Ireland he came to the front, and his whole conduct during its progress, proved him to be an unscrupulous politician, and at the same time an able general. After his final defeat by Cromwell’s Independents, he retired to France; there his well known ability was soon recognised, and he was successively appointed Governor of Majorca, Viceroy of Catalonia, and Commander of the Auxiliary Force destined by France to aid the Portuguese against Spain. In his progress by sea to Catalonia, the ship in which he sailed was attacked by Moorish pirates and the whole crew carried into captivity. By some influence, unknown to us, the Council which governed England, immediately after the death of Cromwell, made a demand upon the Dey of Algiers for the release of Inchiquin and his son, and their requisition was at once complied with. In 1662 “the famous soldier in Ireland” was named commander of the expedition fitted out at Dunkirk to co-operate with Portugal against Spain. Afterwards, he returned home and was for some years President of Munster. His death occurred in 1674, and he died in the Catholic religion, as was testified by the bequests his will contained, among others, of twenty pounds to the friars of Ennis for masses for his soul. He also directed that his remains should be privately buried in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick. It appears he married a second wife after the death of the daughter of St. Leger. [15] A tradition exists in Limerick, that his body was taken out of the coffin by the Catholics and thrown into the Shannon. A few years since, in making some alterations in the floor of St. Mary’s, a coffin containing a quantity of shrouding, but no body, was dug up. It was supposed to have been the coffin of Murrogh-an-Tothaine.