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

Parish of Rath (c)

They shew the site of a Castle in the Townland of Carhooduff. There is an old ruin in the Townland of Maothail called Cuirt Mhaothail, formerly the residence of a family named Hogan. There is a ruin of a castelated house or Court in the Townland of - - called Cuirt-Bhoch Neill, and said to have been formerly the residence of a family of the O’Neill’s, from whom it took its name.

This derivation of the name is much to be doubted as, in the first place, if it was called after a family of the O’Neills it should be written and called Both-Ui-Neill, and not Both-Neill, which means nothing more than Niall’s Hut or Tent, and were I to venture an opinion I would say that although the place might have inhabited by a man of the name of O’Neill, yet that the name Both-Neill or Niall’s Hut existed before any person of the name could have had any notable residence in this district, and that the place is more likely to have been called after Niall O’Quin, the henchman of Morogh Mac Brian Boru in the Battle of Clontarf, where he fell at the side of his royal chief while fighting bravely for his hut and his mountain district. (Bath Neill is mentioned in the list of Castles in MS. Trinity College Dublin E. 2. 14., as belonging Teige Mc Morough (O’Brien).

The place is in or on the border of O’Quin’s country. This place is marked on Petty’s Map under the name of Both Neill, and the following reference to it from the Annals of the Four Masters proves sufficiently its identity and the antiquity of the name. This notice of it occurs in the account of O’Donnell’s second hostile descent on Thomond.

A.D. 1600. On that night, O’Donnell pitched his camp on the banks of the Fergus to the west of Cluain Ramhfhada, after having plundered all Ennis with the exception of the Monastery. He sent forth parties to plunder the surrounding districts, and far and wide did these parties scatter themselves about the country, for they traversed, burned and plundered and ravaged the district extending from Craig-Ui-Chiardhubhain in the lower part of the frontiers of the territory of the islands to Cathair Murchadha in West Corca-Bhaiscinn as far as the gates of Kilmurry and the Town of Rush (Kilrush) as far as Magha in Hy-Brachain as far as the gates of Baile-Eoin-Gabhann in Corcomroe and Both Neill in Conel-Fearmaic.

This, as well as all the other hostile routes mentioned in the Annals and Wars of Torlogh, will be laid down in their proper place, and all, or the greater number of the places mentioned, pointed out.