|Lloyd's Tour of Clare, 1780|
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Clare County Library
The Centre of this County is, for the most Part, Arable, good, Limy Ground; nor is it free from a Share of Bog and Mountain, gradually Interfering, which generally abound with Game; The Buildings and Improvements are truely Commendable, and the Country Populous; more so, for it’s Extent, than any of the Neighbouring Counties.
To Enumerate the many grand Edifices, Castles, Abbies, Natural Curiosities and other remaining Traces of Antiquity, in this Country, is a matter of Investigation, more suitably calculated for a future History than a Short Narrative; however, it may be taken for granted that no other County can produce more noble Rarities than this.
The Warlike MAC NAMARAS, of the Eastern Baronies of this County, have built 91 Castles.——The Great MAC MAHONS, of the Western Baronies of MOYFEARTA and CLONDERLA, a good many, the Hospitable (9) O’CONNORS and O’LOGHLENS of the Upper Parts (with several other antient and respectable Proprietors) (10) have, also, built Numbers of Castles.
According to the Learned Sir JAMES WARE, and other Antiquarians of Eminence, the great DONALD O’BRIEN, (Sirnam’d King of LIMERICK and CASHELL) Founded and Endowed, in his Time, 18 Monasteries in this, and the Counties of LIMERICK and TIPPERARY——the principal whereof in this Country, is the great Abby of CORCAMROE, where Multitudes, from divers Parts, come Yearly to see it’s Artificial Curiosity and excellence of Stone Work; particularly, the Statue of CONNOR O’BRIEN, (commonly called CONCHURE NA SIUDINNE) elegantly Engrav’d in the Chapel of that amazing Pile of Building: The same CONCHURE fought six Battles against the Prince of CONNAUGHT, in the last of which he was lost the Thursday before Whitsun, in the Year 1260.
It was this (11) CONCHURE NA SIUDDINE, had the great Abby of RATISBON, in GERMANY, built at his own Expence, for Irish Monks of the Augustinian Order—the Chronicles of which, stile him King of IRELAND.
The afore-mention’d DANIEL MORE O’BRIEN, King of LIMERICK, NORTH MUNSTER, &c. was a Prince of exalted Virtues; he voluntarily submitted in the Year 1172, to King Henry the 2d of ENGLAND; he was provok’d to this tame Submission by the unnatural Conduct of RODERICK O’CONNOR, King of IRELAND, who, instead of marching against the English Adventurers, headed by Earl STRONGBOW, enter’d MUNSTER with a powerful Army, but was repuls’d, with considerable Loss, by this Enterprizing Prince and his brave Dalgassians.
It was his Son, DONOGH CARBREACH, a very Religious and Devout Prince, that built 80 Churches, Abbeys and Chapels (See MacBrody’s Chronicles) the Abbey of ENNIS for Franciscans, was one of the first he built in the Year, 1208.—He, also, erected an Academy or Seminary for Learning at CLONROAD, near ENNIS, where, according to many authentic Writers, 600 Scholars and a great Number of Monks were frequently Supported at the proper Expences of the O’Brien Family; untill the Reign of Henry the 8th of England. When the Dissolution of Abbies, Seminaries, &c. &c. commenc’d—It was he, also, built and Fortifyed CLARE Castle as afore-related.
The Abbey of QUIN, (another great and consummate Model of Old, Irish, Masonry) was built in the Year 1434, by MAC-CON MAC NAMARA, Prince of CLANCULLANE, and Ancestor to the present FRANCIS MAC NAMARA, of MORIESK, Esq; Member of the Irsh Parliament, and Chief of that Antient, Warlike, Sept.
Note, that all these noble Families, and Proprietors in this County, were Subordinate to the O’BRIENS, Chiefs of the Dalgassian, Heroic, Race, and Sovereigns of THOMOND or NORTH-MUNSTER for a Succession of Centuries.
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