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The History and Topography of the County of Clare by James Frost

Part I. Topography of Thomond Chapter 2. Ui Ainmire

Ancient Irish Deeds relating to lands situate in Kilfintinan

Amongst the ancient Irish Deeds published by Hardiman in the fifteenth volume of the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy are the following, which have reference to lands in this territory:

“Deed of Agreement and Award.”
“This is the covenant of MacNamara, son of Donald, i.e., Donogh MacNamara and Donald oge O’Kearney with each other concerning the quartermeer of Gurtinaith-cailey (Guirtín aith Cailedh), [2] viz., Donald oge to give him this consideration for it, with its woods, underwoods, and barren tracts, viz., eleven marks which were due unto Dominick White [3] upon it, and which Donald oge should pay to said Dominick for said Donogh, on account of said quarter. Further demands of said Donald oge upon said MacNamara, son of Donald, are for many securities entered into for him, and many debts paid, and many loans given to and for his use. The said Donald oge and Donogh agree to abide by the award of Maurice O’Maoelconary and Teige MacPhilip Fionn (the fair), and Donald Dearg (the red), and Richard O’Kearney between them. The award made is as follows: Donogh MacNamara to receive fifteen marks, for which he was to give the said quartermeer of Gurtinaith-cailey as security. More of said Donogh’s debts due to Donald oge are three marks given to him upon the security of Sheaneen (little John), son of Mahone MacNamara, which said Donogh was to leave him as a charge on the said quartermeer. The amount of these debts is twenty-nine marks, either in cows or in money, according to its value, when said land should be redeemed, which redemption shall not take place for eight years from the present Michaelmas; and it is to be redeemed on Michaelmas day, and if not on that day, then not to be redeemed for three years afterwards from that Michaelmas. The witnesses present to this covenant are Maurice O’Mulconary, Teige MacPhilip, Richard O’Kearney, Donald Dearg, the two priests, Hugh O’Dallan and Mahone, son of William; Ferdorogh O’Mulquin, Conor O’Conery, Teige Oge, Teige O’Sheil, and the two sons of Mahone MacNamara. It is not to be in said Donald oge’s power to disposses him of any part of said land except for his own brothers; and if he does, he is to obtain as good in Cratloe (Creatlach), and is not to have power of dispossessing him without giving him an equivalent for his lease and place within the townland. The securities for the performance of this contract are God in the first place, Seangan MacCuillain in the presence of O’Brien; and Maurice O’Mulconary, with the learned of Thomond, and the Bailiff of the Mayor of the city of Limerick, and Donald O’Brien.”

“Mortgage of Land.”

“This is the covenant of Donald oge O’Kearney and Donogh MacNamara respecting the half quartermeer of Killfintinan (Cill Fín-tinain), [4] viz., the said Donald to give eight marks unto said Donogh in consideration of or for that half quartermeer; and same is not to be redeemed for three years from the present Michaelmas, and if not redeemed on that day same cannot be redeemed for three years afterwards. The witnesses to this covenant are Maurice O’Maelconary, the two sons of Mahone (MacNamara), Fardoragh O’Maoelchaine, Teige MacPhilip, Morrogh O’Brien, and Donald O’Brien, and they are the sureties and guarantees for the performance of said covenant between them.” [5]

From a perusal of these deeds two or three things can be deduced: first, the conciseness and accuracy with which the terms of the agreement are set forth; next, that the value of money was measured by the value of cattle; and lastly, the knowledge of writing possessed by the people, for all the parties concerned signed their names in Irish letters in the original documents.