Notes on the Sheriffs of County Clare, 1570-1700
Clare County Library
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By Thomas Johnson Westropp, M.A., Member

1570-71 Teige Mac Murrough O’Brien

1570-71.[1] Teige Mac Murrough O’Brien was “the first sheriff of Thomond”—say the Four Masters—in face of which fact, Lenihan’s “History of Limerick,” p. 99, makes Sir Donnell O’Brien sheriff the previous year, and the “Sheriffs’ Entries” in Dublin Castle give, under 1376, Clement Laragh, of Athenry—the latter, doubtless, a mere nominal honour, as the king’s writ did not run in Clare in the days of Brien “of the Battle of Enagh,” the burner of Limerick. Teige prepared provisions for the President of Connaught, who purposed holding a session in Ennis Abbey, and sent to Clare Castle for the Earl of Thomond; the latter, finding that his uncle Donnell was coming to the session, attempted to capture him; a riot ensued, and the President, escorted by the sheriff, fled to Gort. In 1573 the same Donnell urged Teige MacMurrough against the earl and his brother Turlough; the former was absent, but Teige McConor, aided by the Fitzgeralds and Butlers, marched against Teige MacMurrough and the northern tribes. They mustered near Clare Castle, and thence ravaged Kinel Fermaic, “along the stone road of Corofin and Boher-na-mic-righ, and some of the people carried the utensils and spoils out of the church of Kill Inghine Baoith (Kilnaboy), but this profanation of the saint (Inniwë) boded no good to the arms of the Dalgais;” they marched with standards flying past Teige MacMurrough’s Castle of Ballingown, and found the northern army on Balanchip Hill. The southerners toiled up its steep sides, getting into worse confusion every minute, seeing which the marshals lost their presence of mind, and all fled in disorder to Inagh. Turlough and twelve men barely escaped to Caherrush (whose foundations, almost washed by the sea, are visible south of Miltown Malbay); Teige McConor was captured with much arms, horses, and cattle, “and the wolves of the forest, the ravens and carrion crows, and ravenous birds were noisy over the bodies of the nobles slain in battle.”[2] Teige MacMurrough seems to have spent the remaining four years of his life in peace. He died at Inchiquin, Dec. 12th, 1577;[3] his son, Turlough, being then aged seven. The latter died at Ballingowe, 12th July, 1584;[4] being in wardship of Elizabeth, he was succeeded by his three sisters, Honora,[5] Any,[6] and Slany ni Brien.

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