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

Part I. Topography of Thomond Chapter 5. Ui Cearnaigh; Ui Conghaile; East Corcabaskin

Ui Cearnaigh

Kilfinaghta Parish; Irish Deeds relating to lands in Kilfinaghta parish

In the Martyrol[o]gy of Donegal, at the 14th of November, the O’Clerys state that St. Finnachta was a king of Ireland as well as a saint. “It was he that remitted the Boroimhe for St. Molong Luachra the holy bishop.” Finnachta was of the race of Conall Creamthain, son of Niall.[1] His church, situate in the townland of Ballysheen, is very much injured by time, but certain parts of the walls, as well as several of the windows show that it is of a date almost coeval with the founding of Christianity in Ireland. The burial ground adjoining is much used as a place of sepulture. Two of the tombs are of some antiquity; we here give the inscriptions upon them, but without adhering to the spelling or contractions:

“Orate pro animabus Georgii Cruice generosi, Johannæ Duffy uxoris ejus, et Jacobi filii et heredis eorum, qui me fieri fecerunt; quorum animarum propitietur Deus: et obiit iste Jacobus tertia die Decembris, Anno Domini 1600, aetatis suae XII. Quisquis es qui transis, sta prope me diu. Sum quod eris, fueram quod es, pro me precor ora.”[2]

The second flagstone has the following epitaph in raised letters similar to the other, and with a crucifixion besides in low relief:

“Conditur hoc tumulo, Thadeus, cognomine Rodan, Cor sibi, dum vixit, criminis insons erat: Anno milemo, sex cento, junge quibus octo (viii.), ter quinis Junio, pocula nigra bibit. Hanc fieri tumbam fecit post funera, conjux ejus, Anina, gente Machon, ano. di. 1619.”[3]

A monastery, or rather chapel, stood near Sixmilebridge, but its site is no longer known. It was an offshoot from the church of the Dominicans at Limerick, and it existed till 1641.[4] In 1754 the place was visited by De Burgo, author of the Hibernia Dominicana, but he found no vestige of the old building remaining.[5]

Only one holy well is found in this parish, namely, Tober-neev-oge, at Castlecrine. Its castles on the other hand are numerous. At Mount Ievers, formerly called Ballyarrilla, stood a castle now wholly demolished, but which appears to have been inhabited in 1680.[6] A hundred years previously it was the property of Bryan, son of Daniel Roe MacNamara. Cappagh castle was inhabited in 1580 by John MacNamara. After the MacNamaras were deprived of their patrimony the castle of Cappa became the inheritance of the Earl of Thomond. During the siege of Bunratty in 1646, it was garrisoned by Colonel MacAdam with a company of musketeers under Serjeant Morgan. These were captured by the Confederate Catholics on the 13th of May. The castle was afterwards converted into a windmill, at which the Earl’s tenants were bound to get their corn ground. The structure has wholly disappeared, but some old millstones are yet to be seen near the place. Ballycullen castle belonged in 1580 to Shane, son of Daniel Roe MacNamara, while that at Ballymulcashel was the property of Teige Oultagh O’Brien.

Amongst the Irish Deeds published by Hardiman are the following relating to lands believed to be in this parish:[7]

“This writing declares that Donald, son of Donogh, son of Donald MacNamara of Ballycullen, and John O’Mulconry of Ardkyle, do convenant with one another concerning the quatermeer of Magherainchloigin, the half quartermeer of Magherabealnabha, viz., said Donald conveys said three half quartermeers to said John for twenty-seven in-calf cows; and it is agreed that if said lands be redeemed between May and the feast of St. John (24th of June), the consideration to be repaid shall be in barren cows; and if redeemed after St. John’s day, it shall be in in-calf cows; and said John is to have the crop of said lands free for the year they shall be redeemed. The said Donald and his heirs are bound to keep the lands free from tribute (O’Brien’s rent), and none shall have power to redeem them except the lawful heirs of the said Donald, and that with their own proper cattle. I. Murtagh, son of Conor Oge MacClancy, wrote this by the consent of both parties, at Rossmuincher (Rossmanagher), in the year of our Lord 1548. The witnesses are Donogh, son of John, son of Mahone (MacNamara), of Rossmuincher; Donald Roe, son of Conor Uaihne (Green); John, son of Donogh, son of Donald (MacNamara); Flattery (Flaithri) son of Donald MacClancy; Loghlen O’Carmody; Loghlen Reagh MacCusack (Mac Isog). Dated the 9th of June.”

“Assignment of Mortgage of Land, A.D. 1548, upon the quartermeer of the field of the Marle pit (Puill-an-Mharla).

“The intent of this writing is that we, Loghlen son of John O’Carmody, and Daniel son of Loghlen, do transfer our right, possession, and security unto John O’Mulconry and his heirs, in consideration of ten cows and twenty shillings in money; and we do acknowledge to have received full payment and satisfaction from him for the same, and that we have no further claim upon him, and have given our own security and possession into his hands. Written at Rossmuinciar, in the year of our Lord 1548, on the 11th day of December. The witnesses present are, Donald, son of Donogh, son of Donald (MacNamara); Donogh, son of John, son of Mahone, son of Con, son of Sheeda, son of Donald (MacNamara); Teige Ultagh O’Brien. I. Flattery MacClancy wrote this by the consent of both parties. The hand of Loghlen O’Carmody; Daniel MacLoghlen.”