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Clare History
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Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Clare Abbey (b)

The Following references to Clare are taken from the Four Masters:-

A.D. 1558. Clonroade, Bunratty and Clar-Mor (Clare) were then the chief Towns of the Country (Thomond). See original.

A.D. 1570. The Earl of Thomond (Conor the son of Donogh, who was son of Conor O’Brien) who was then at Clar, refused to attend a Court in the Monastery of Ennis called by the proclamation of the President of the Province of Connaught.

A.D. 1571. The Earl of Thomond (Conor the son of Donogh O’Brien) gave up his country and his Lordship to the President as an atonement for the wrong which he had formerly done him, and also gave up to him Magh O’mBracain, the only Town then belonging to him so that the President on his departure from the Country was in possession of the Towns of Magh, Bunratty, Clar-mor and Cluain-Ramhfhoda and he carried hostages with him to Athlone from every Chief in Thomond.

A.D. 1576. The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Henry Sidney, proceeded, about the Festival of St. Bridget, from Cork to Limerick, and the Chiefs of Munster, as well English as Irish and also the Dalcassians, went along with him in his train. On this occasion he established peace in the two Provinces of Munster, and abolished the taxes thitherto paid to the Kerns Bonnaghts and every other description of hired soldiers. He afterwards took his leave of the Momonians and proceeded accompanied by the O’Briens to Galway. Here the inhabitants of upper Connaught came to meet him, viz., the Earl of Clanrickard with his two sons Ulick and John, Mac William Iochtar (John the son of Oliverus who was son of John) Morogh of the Battle-axes, son of Teige, who was son of Morogh, who was son of Rory O’Flaherty and the O’Kellys with their followers. The result of this meeting at Galway was that the Dalcassians were detained as hostages for the maintainance of their agreement, and that they might make due restitution to those who had complained of them.

From the number however, was exempted Donall O’Brien, whom the Lord Justice selected, took into his service and placed over the Co. of Clare for the purpose of keeping it in subjection.

Up to this time the Annalists did not give the name of County to ancient Thomond, and it is likely that it was in the preceding year it was first made into shire ground as that was the year in which the Dalcassian Chiefs agreed to hold their lands of the Crown of England (one of the Macnamaras excepted). There is a copy of the Deed of Settlement in the possession of Michael Finucane Esq., of Ennistimon House in this County.

A.D. 1589. The Countess of Clare, viz., Una, the daughter of Torlogh (who was son of Mortogh, who was son of Donall, who was son of Teige, who was son of Torlogh, who was son of Morogh na Raithnighe) and wife of the Earl of Thomond, viz., of Conor, who was son of Donogh, who was son of Conor, who was son of Torlogh, who was son of Teige O’Brien, died at Clare-mor” (now the Town of Clare).

A.D. 1600. O’Donnell permitted Mac William and those who had come from Iar-Connaght to return home, and he set out himself in a directly eastern direction along the common roads of the Country, and arrived in the evening in Conmaicne Cuile-Tolaigh in the very centre of the Province, where he remained for that night. On the next day O’Donnell ordered his people to send all their cattle and their spoils home to their houses under the care of their servants, and the unarmed and wounded among them.

Among the wounded of the Chiefs at this time, were Teige Oge, the son of Niall, who was son of Torlogh Bearnach O’Boyle, and Duibhgionn, the son of Maccon, who was son of Cucogry O’Clery, who was wounded by another party of O’Donnell’s people as they were attacking Clar-mor on the Earl of Thomond. This is the place which gives name to the County of Clare. These two died on the road returning home, but their bodies were conveyed to Donegall and interred there.

From all that has been said above, but more especially from the last paragraph from the Annals, it will be very clearly seen that the County of Clare was so called from the Town of Clare or Clar-mor, then the most important Town in Thomond and the residence of its Earl, and not after Sir Richard de Clare, who was killed in the Battle of Disert O’Dea by Conor More O’Hiomhair 257 years before the name was given to it.