Clare County Library
Clare History
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | Search this Website | Copyright Notice

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

Parish of Kilmurry Ibrickan (b)

About half a furlong to the north of it there is a Holy Well dedicated to our Blessed Lady, but no Stations are now performed at it, to the great shame of the Dalcassians.

In this Parish is situated the celebrated Castle of Tromra, which belonged to the Clan Teige O’Brien of Aran, as we learn from a document in the MS. Library of Trinity College, and from Dr. O’Brien’s Dictionary under the word Tromra:-

Tromra or Tromrath, a land or Territory in Thomond, which was a part of the ancient patrimonial estate of the O’Briens of Aran, descended from Taig Gle (recte Glae) the third son of Dermod, King of Munster, An. 1120, etc., etc., etc. The O’Briens of Aran and Troma are the third in rank, being descended from Dermod’s third son; they were always sovereign lords of the Isles of Aran in the Bay of Galway, and of Tromra in the Co. Clare until the reign of Queen Elizabeth, as appears by an address which the Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of Galway wrote in their favour to that Queen, wherein it is mentioned that the Corporation of that City paid them an annual tribute of a certain number of pipes of wine in consideration of their protection and expenses in guarding the Bay and Harbour of Galway against pirates and coast-plunderers. An authentic copy of that address is possessed by John O’Brien of Clontis in the County of Limerick Esq., who is now the worthy direct Chief of that Princely family.

See also my observations on the Islands of Aran, where I give a full copy of the address above referred to and the pedigree of the Clan Teige of Aran as given in the College MS. See also the Annals of Innisfallen at the year 1277 and the Wars of Torlogh, where it is mentioned that Tromra then belonged to Donnell, the son of Teige Aluinn O’Brien.

Belonging to this Parish and lying in the Atlantic opposite the Townland of Tromra is the Island of Inis Caerach or Mutton Island, on which the great St. Senanus founded an Oratory, as Colgan gathers from the Lives of that Saint:-

St. Senanus, leaving some holy men of his disciples in the Monastery of Inis Mor [1] and among others St. Liberius and three Bishops, Dallan, Sedonius and Ercus, he set off to another island called Inis Caorach, where he left in an oratory built by himself, some of his disciples etc. - Acta S.S. p.534, C.27.

On the situation and meaning of Inis Caorach, Colgan writes:-

Inis Caorach, i.e., insula ovis in Momonia. - Index Topographicus ad Acta S.S
Inis Caorach. The site of St.Senan’s Church on this island is still pointed out, but no part of it remains. - J.O’D.
The island called Inis Caorach lies in that tract of Tuamonia which is called Hy-Brecain. - Acta S.S. note 20 to C.27 vitae Senani, p.534 etc.

The following passage in the Annals of the Four Masters at the year 799, is believed to have references to this Island and two others in its vicinity.

A.D. 799. Tárla gaéth anbhfoill, tóirneach, agus teindteach, is in ló ria (ante) Feil Pàdraice na bliadhna so go ro marbhadh deichnebhar ar mhíle ri gcrích Chorca Bhaiscind, agus co ro rand an mhuir Oileán Fítae i tríbh randaibh.

A.D. 799. A great storm of wind, thunder and lightning happened this day before St.Patrick’s festival this year, and it killed ten and one thousand persons in the Territory of Corca-Baskin, and the sea divided the island of Inis Fithae into three parts.

The more intelligent of the natives are acquainted with this passage, and believe that it could have reference to no other place than Mutton Island.

If I am not mistaken, Connell Mageoghegan in his translation of the Annals of Clonmacnoise points out the very situation of this island which was divided into three parts by an earthquake. I hope Mr. Smyth of College Green, who has a copy of Mageoghegan’s translation of the Annals of Clonmacnoise will send me this passage.