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The Annals of Kilfenora or Ye Citie of the Crosses by Charles Ffrench Blake-Forster


The Annals: 1434-1599

1434-Felim (son of Mahon) O’Loughlin, Bishop of this diocese died. This bishop who is omitted in the list given by Sir James Ware, is called in the Annals of the Four Masters, “Bishop of Kilfinabra” or Kilfenora. He is omitted in the Catholic Registry.

1491- Denis O’Cane resigned this Bishopric. The Rev Maurice O’Brien, a canon of the church of Limerick and a member of the royal House of Thomond, was appointed his successor on the 31st of Decmeber by Pope Innocent VIII.

1492-Some writers incorrectly state that Maurice O’Brien succeeded to this Bishopric 7th Kal., September, this year.

1510-Murtagh O’Brien (son of Murtagh son of Torlagh), Bishop of this diocese died. He is omitted in the list of bishops of this diocese given by Sir James Ware. He is also omitted in the Catholic Registry, and the Reverend Sylvester Malone, in his church History of Ireland, mistakes him for Maurice O’Brien, who was consecrated Bishop of Fenabore, who according to him, died this year; but the Annals of the Four Masters puts the matters beyond doubt.

1523-Maurice O’Brien was Bishop of Kilfenora. He is called by some writers simply “Maurice”. Sir James Ware writes of Maurice O’Brien who was Bishop of Fenabore in 1523, perhaps the same person, as Maurice who was Bishop of this See in 1491. As this implies a doubt, it is necessary to remark that there were three O’Brien’s Bishops of Kilfenora, two of them bore this Christian name, though the surname of the latter prelate was unknown to some writers thus,

I - Maurice O’Brien who was consecrated in 1491.
II - Murtogh O’Brien who died in 1510
III - Maurice O’Brien who was bishop in 1523

1539-Conor O’Brien, the last King of Thomond, died this year and was interred in the O’Brien Chapel at Kilfenora with great magnificence. He married twice. By his second wife, Lady Ellis Fitzgerald, daughter of the right Honourable Maurice, Earl of Thomand, surnamed “Baccagh”, he became ancestor to the O’Briens of Ennistymon, who were so long very powerful in the county of Clare.

1552-John O’Hinalan is returned in ancient records as being Bishop of this See on the 16th of May, of this year. This Bishop is the last given by the Reverend Sylvester Malone in his list, who also called him “Neylon”.

1557-Torlogh O’Brien, second son of Conor, last King of Thomond, by his second marriage, died without issue, and was interred in the O’Brien Chapel at Kilfenora.

1559-Teige O’Brien, surnamed An-tSuaissan, of the Uncombed Locks, died in exile in Fermanagh, but his remains were conveyed to Kilfenora, where they were interred. He was second son of Sir Donald More O’Brien, Knight of Dough Castle, county of Clare.

1570-Sir James Ware, speaking of John O’Hinalan, who was Bishop in 1552 says; “I find one John was Bishop in 1570, perhaps the same with John O’Hinalan”. Though the learned Sir James was not certain of the matter, it so happens that it was the same Bishop, as will be shown in the next paragraph.

1572- John O’Hinalan died. His death is thus recorded in the Annals of the Four Maters; “The bishop of Kilfenora, i.e., John Oge, the son of John, son of Auliff O’Niallain, a preacher of the Word of God, died and was interred at Kilfenora.

1585-On the 17th of August “Daniel, Elect of Fenabore”, who was the first Protestant Bishop of this diocese, signed the Indenture of Composition for the county of “Clare and Thomond”, which “was made betwixt the Right Honourable Sir John Perrott, Knight, etc, of the one part, and the Lords spiritual and temporal, chieftains, gentlemen, etc, of that part of the province of Connaught called Thomond”, of which a full account is given in my yet unpublished Historical Description of the County of Clare, anciently known as the Kingdom of Thomond, etc. He signed as “Daniel, Elect Bishop of Kylfinoraghe”.

1591-On the 25th of February this year Murrough O’Brien fourth son of Conor, last King of Thomond, died and was interred at Kilfenora. He was ancestor of the O’Briens of Cahermenane, in the county of Clare, which family is now extinct, His death is thus recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters; “Murrough, the son of Conor, son of Torlogh, son of Teige, son of Torlogh, son of Bryan of the battle of Nenagh, O’Brien died at Cathair Mionain on the 25th of February, and was buried at Kilfenora (Clare).

1593-Murtogh O’Brien of Drumline, fifth son of Conor, last King of Thomond, died this year, and was interred with his ancestors in the O’Brien Chapel at Kilfenora. This year also his nephew Sir Murtogh O’Brien, Knt., died and was interred at Kilfenora. Sir Murtogh, who was third son of Sir Donald More O’Brien of Duach Castle, had been married to Mary, daughter of Jasper Ffrench of Galway.

1599-This year the celebrated young hero, Red Hugh O’Donnell, who had already won over to his cause all rebels of the province of Connaught except those in Thomond, resolved for the part taken by the Earl of Thomond and his Kinsman Lord Inchiquin, in the siege of Ballyshannon Castle, to lay waste their territory. For this purpose , shortly after the Feast of St Bridget, he organised a large army, the command of which he gave to Hugh Oge (the young), Nial Garv (the rough) O’Donnell, his kinsmen John Oge O’Doherty, Teige Oge O’Boyle, Donal MacSweeney Fanad, Donal MacSweeney Banagh, (who were to command the troops of Tyrconnell, these Chieftains being O’Donnells tributaries), Hugh Maguire of Fermanagh , Teige O’Ruarc of Breifney, and Theobald Burke, “MacWilliam”, who were respectively to command their own followers and kinsmen. When all arrangements were completed, MacWilliams and Nial Garv O’Donnell were left as a reserve by Red Hugh to occupy and plunder the entire of Mayo from the borders of Roscommon to the sea. O’Donnell then marched at the head of the main body of his forces to the South, and proceeded through the district of Clanrickard, in the province of Connaught. He encamped on the first night at the village of Rovebagh, situated between Kilcolgan and the town of Ardrahan. At Coill-O’Flanchada (the wood of O’Flanchada) in the parish of Kilkeedy, and barony of Inchiquin; he arrived at daybreak, and formed his army into marauding parties for the purpose of plundering Thomond. One of these he despatched under Teige O’Ruarc and MacSweeney Banagh, to the barony of the Burren; another to Ballyhogac of Coillmore (this was a great wood but since cut down); to Tullyodea, and the gates of Ballygriffy Castle in the parish of Dysert, and barony of Inchiquin; a third under Maguire of Fermanagh, to Inchiquin Castle, which fortification was occupied by Conor O’Brien, who having been wounded in the defence, the castle was taken, and its defenders made prisoners; a fourth comprising the main body of his army and commanded by himself, marched through Rockforest, and arrived at Kilnaboy about twelve o’clock in the day, where he was joined by the party who had been dispatched southward, and had marched by Fidane Lough and Corofin. They laid waste all the country through which they had passed with fire and sword, and secured great booty. Although the soldiers were in excellent spirits, in anticipation of more plunder, some of them were fatigued, and O’Donnell ordered the tents to be pitched at Kilnaboy during the night.

Early next day he marched to the town of Kilfenora. Having taken up his head-quarters here, he despatched parties to Inagh (the western portion of the parish of Dysert, in the Barony of Inchiquin); Brentir (the fetid country) of Ui-Fermaic (barony of Inchiquin) and Ui-Cormaic (barony of Islands), on the borders of both of which it is situated; the town of Ennistymon (the seat of a branch of the house of Thomond); Killeaspugtanane and Ballyphaidin (the two latter townlands are in the barony of Corcomore). The day after Red Hugh took up his quarters at Kilfenora, the different marauding parties of his army who had been plundering Thomond joined him here, and finding the spoils were so great, he resolved to return to Tyrconnell without further delay. However before his departure, his troops plundered Kilfenora, but spared the cathedral. On his return, he marched through Nuaghaval, Tarlach-na-gCoilean, the Abbey of Corcomroe, Caircar-na-Glerach, and Rubha (Comaurne) where he spent the night. After having spent three days in plundering Thomond, this valiant young chieftain reached his castle at Ballymote, County Sligo, in perfect safety, and with the most valuable treasure ever carried off from the O’Briens. It is necessary to remark that while Red Hugh plundered Thomond so unmercifully, he spared all those portions of the territory inhabited by those in arms against the English authority.

The real cause of his having undertaken this expedition was on account of Donogh O’Brien, fourth Earl of Thomond, Lord Inchiquin and Sir Torlogh O’Brien, of Ennistymon, being in alliance with the English.


The Annals: 1055-1394


The Annals: 1602-1657