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The O'Davorens of Cahermacnaughten, Burren, Co. Clare by Dr. George U. Macnamara

Part I: Historical: Translation of O’Davoren Deed

Let everyone who hears, reads, and. understands this writing know, that it was in this way the children of Giolla na naomh óg ó Duibhdabhoireann, of Cathair mic Neachtain, in the parish of Nuaconghabhail[29], in the barony of Boirinn, in the county of Clare[30], to wit: Aodh, son of Giolla na naomh, and the Cosnui, son of Giolla na naomh, of the said cathair, agreed and devised, and made a perpetual division, and a perpetual mutual covenant between themselves and between their descendants for ever, regarding the two ploughland homesteads of the land of their father and grandfather. They entered into covenant as regards the half-ploughland of Cathair mic Neachtain in the parish of Nuachonghabhail; and the half-ploughland of Lios mic Taidhg[31], and the half-ploughland of Lios Dubháin and of Lios na luachrainne[32] in the parish of Druim criche; and of the half-ploughland of Cill Cholmain báire[33] in the parish of Cill Coirne, and all of these in the same barony and county.

And in the first place, this is the division, to wit: the most western quarter of Cathair mic Neachtain, according as the Sruthán dubh[34] goes up the mountain, and by the fence from the Sruthán dubh straight downwards to the front of the Buaile legana[35] and by the western fence of the Buaile legana down to the Urla mór[36], and by the fence of the the Urla mór itself, around on the west side down to the side of the cathair; and the half-ploughland of Lios mic Taidhg and a quarter[37] of the half-ploughland of Cill Colmain bháire, belong to Aodh, son of Giolla na naomh.

And the most western [recte ‘eastern’][38] quarter of Cathair mic Neachtain as defined by the same meaning; and the half-ploughland of Lios Dubháin and of Lios na luachrainne; and the other quarter of the half-ploughland Cill Colmain Bháire, are the share of the Cosnui, son of Giolla na naomh, out of that same land.

And this is the partition of the ‘home division’[39] of Cathair mic Neachtain, likewise: -the place of the big house of the cathair within,[40] together with the place of the kitchen house to the said big house of the cathair within, and the place of the churchyard house[41] on the western side of the cathair, and all there is of gardens from the road of the garden of Tadhg ruadh, son of Giolla feichin[42] westwards, upon the outside of the garden of Tadhg ruadh itself [are] to belong to Aodh out of that home division.

And the house which is between the front of the big house and the door of the cathair[43] and another house-site at the north-western side of the cathair within; and the big house which is at the eastern side of the door of the cathair; and all there is from the gap of Fána an Tadhaill[44] on the eastern side to the road of the garden of Tadhg ruadh on the west, and that same garden itself, are the Cosnui's portion of that said home division.

Furthermore, the lawn of the ‘booley’[45] and the road from the lawn westwards as far as Mothar dtortanach[46], and the water of the the ‘homestead’[47], that is to say, the Struthán dubh above, and the well of the ‘homestead’ within, are equally free to each in the said ‘home division.’

Furthermore, this is the covenant of the aforementioned Aodh and the Cosnui, between
themselves in the first place, and between their legitimate heirs after them in the second place, concerning the two ‘ploughlands’ which we have mentioned above, and concerning every other land besides, regarding which the right of their father and grandfather speaks, as evidenced by their indentures, viz.: that they are both bound to equal labour, equal defence, equal security and costs of pleading, and maintenance of possession of that land, both themselves and their heirs after them for ever, against any person who has troubled or who shall happen to trouble them concerning all those lands or any part of them.

Furthermore, if there should arise from trouble concerning those lands, or from any pleading or redemption of land, any circumstance whatever through which any portion of those lands should be lost, the Aodh and the Cosnui before mentioned are bound to make a redistribution of the land or of the redemption with each other as regards whatever shall be left to them; and their heirs after them are bound to make similar redistribution with each other likewise.

Furthermore, the aforementioned Aodh and the Cosnui are bound and have covenanted with each other to this effect: - That if one of them should mortgage or alienate from himself to any other person for ever his own share of these lands, he shall not be empowered to exclude the other from possessing it, if he is able to redeem it, as anyone might do; but if he cannot do so he shall not impose a sdainc[48] upon him who redeems it, until the next term of redemption comes round.

Furthermore, there is a covenant and obligation between the aforementioned parties, the Aodh and the Cosnui, and between their heirs after them: whatsoever portion of the kinds we have mentioned, or of any other land besides, that shall be mortgaged from them both or from one of them, whichever of them shall first happen to redeem that pledge, the other is bound to give over to him his own place and security for the purpose of redeeming that, until such term as it shall be redeemed from him again by payment of what he shall have lost by it.

Furthermore, there is a covenant and mutual agreement between the said Aodh and the self same Cosnui, that whichever of them shall happen to be without legitimate heirs of his body, the other and his heirs are to be for heirs, executors, and assigns to him regarding those lands which we have mentioned above, according to what the descent from their father and grandfather assigns to them.

Furthermore, whatsoever part of the share of the said Aodh shall not be occupied by himself, if the Cosnui can occupy it, the said Aodh is bound to impose no hindrance or rent for himself upon it; but for what of it he shall occupy, the ‘freedom’ of Sláine ni Gráda shall accompany that occupation and burden him, that is to say: a free cow and a free day in quittance for the ‘quarter’ that shall be occupied of the land which belonged to Sláine.

And as a proof and a testimony that everything written herein above has been tied and bonded for ever upon the said Aodh and the said Cosnui, upon themselves upon their heirs, upon their executors, and upon their assigns irremovably, I, the said Aodh, am putting my hand and my seal upon the portion of this writing which the Cosuni has, of my own free will, and after the Cosnui. [And I, the Cosnui, aforementioned] according to my own will and consent am putting my hand and my seal upon the portion of this writing which the said Aodh has, according to the feoffment which is therein above.

Today is the eleventh day of the month of April, in Cathair mic Neachtain, in the presence of the witnesses who shall put their hands here below after us. And that ‘freedom’ which we mentioned that belonged to Sláine ni Gráda does not descend to any one of her heirs after her.

Anno Domini 1606, and in the third year[49] of the reign of our gracious Prince James, by the Grace of God, King of Saxonland, France, and Eire, and in the thirty-ninth year of his reign in Alba, etc.

Aodh ó Dabhoireand.

Giolla na naomh ó Dabhoirean.
Giollaphadraig mac Aodhagain.
Rudhri ó Conchubair.
Feidlim mac Conchubhair.

Symon fitz Patrick.
Morogh ó Brien.

Copia vera concordans cum originali.


O’Davoren Deed (1601)


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