The Churches of County Clare
By T. J. Westropp, M.A.
 Home | Search Library Catalogue | Search this Website | Copyright Notice
Clare County Library

Rural Deaneries and Tribal Divisions

The rural deaneries in the diocese of Killaloe are important as representing and showing the principal tribal divisions of the thirteenth century. These were, so far as we can combine the visitations of the seventeenth century:—

I. The deanery of KILFENORA, covering the ancient Corcomroes.

II. OGORMUCK, Ui gCormaic, or Dromcliff, [80] covering the ancient Ui gCormaic, the land of the O’Hehirs, the “Cantredum Insularum,” now Kilmaley, Dromcliff, and Killone, with Kinel Fermaic, “the upper cantred of the Dalcassians”—Kilmaley, Dromcliff, Rath, Dysert, Kilkeedy, Kilnaboy and Kilnamona.

III. OGASHIN, Ui gCaisin, the Macnamara’s land—Quin, Tulla, Clooney, Kilraughtis, Kiltoolagh, Templemaley, Inchicronan, Kilmurrynegall and Doora.

IV. OMULLED, Ui mBloid, the land of the O’Kennedys, &c., annexed by the Macnamaras after 1318—Clonlea, Kilfinaghta, Kilteely (Kilseily), and Killokennedy, and Ogonilloe. Ui Ronghaile, the land of O’Shanaghan, [81] Kilnoe and Feakle, Killuran. Kinel Donghaile, the land of O’Grady, Moynoe, Clonrush, Iniscaltra, and Tomgraney. Ui Thoirdhealbhaigh, Killaloe and Dunassy (Kiltinanlea).

V. TRADREE, Tradraighe, [82] the mensal land of the early Dalcassian kings and site of De Clare’s Colony. This was assigned to Limerick in 1110, and given to Killaloe before 1302—Tomfinlough, “Killinafintaghe” (Kilfintinan), Kilmaleery, Kilconry, Clonloghan, Dromline, Kilnasoola, [83] “Killonie or Killughe” (Killoe, Killuga, in 1302), Inishdadrum.

VI. CORCOVASKIN, the land of the race of Cairbre Bhaiscoinn, Clondegad, Kilchrist, Desert Murhuly (Killadysert), Kilfeddan, Killoffin, Kilmurry, Clonderlaw, “Killamure” (Killimer), Kilmihil, Kilmacduane, Kilrush, Moyfertagh, Kilferagh and Kilballyone, Ibrickan, Kilmurry-Ibrickan, and Kilfarboy. [84]

As to most of the lay divisions, the earliest information we have, which marks their limits with any degree of distinctness, is derived from the rentals of O’Brien and Macnamara, [85] evidently contemporaneous, and the latter is stated to have been compiled (about 1390) for Maccon Macnamara, chief of Clancuilen, grandson of that Lochlan who was executed at Lough Colmin in 1313, by Sir Richard De Clare’s allies of the Hy mbloid.

TUATHGALE covered the parishes of Clooney, Kilfenora, and Killaspuglonane in Corcomroe.

GLAE, corresponded to Killilagh parish.

CARRAICLEBOIRNE contained the parishes of Kilmoon, Killeany, [86] Killonaghan, Gleninagh, Dromcreehy, Rathborney, Nuoghaval and Carran, with a portion of the northern edge of Kilfenora parish, thus comprising the greater part of Burren.

A nameless division on the Shannon, included Kilmurry-MacMahon, Killoffin, and Kilfeddan in Clonderlaw.

In Eastern Clare, TUATHMOR the great possession of the Macnamaras, included the parishes of Inchicronan, Doora, Kilraghtis, Clooney, and Tulla, practically upper Bunratty with Tulla parish, corresponding to the rural deanery of Ogashin.

TUATH O BFLOIN lay in Kilseily and Clonlea.


UI RONGHAILE lay in Kilnoe and Killuran, with a portion (Ross) of the southern edge of Feakle.

TUATH NA HAMHAN was comprised in Kilfinaghta parish. [87]

UI CONGALACH exactly corresponded to its modern namesake Ogonnelloe parish.

CIL O GCINNEDI also covered the modern Killokennedy, with a portion of the later parishes of Kiltinanlea and O’Brien’s Bridge, where they adjoined its eastern border. These with the addition of the O’Grady’s land of Cinel Donghaile (which for obvious reasons does not appear in the rental)—Tomgraney, Moynoe, Iniscaltra, and Clonrush—still form the rural deanery of Omulled.

UI GCORMAIC was once only Drumcliff, Kilmaley, and Killone, but in church topography, Ogormuck included both Ui gCormaic, and Ui Fermaic.

From other sources it is evident that the remaining divisions were—

UI FERMAIC, the parishes of Kilkeedy, Kilnaboy, Rath, Dysert, and Ruan.

CINEL CUALLACHTACH, Kilnamona, and a portion of Inagh.

BREINTIR FERMACACH, the larger part of Inagh Parish.

UI AINMIRE lay in Kilfintinan, Killely, and the parishes given to the churches of Limerick.

TUATH NA FEARNA was in Killadysert.

TUATH NA MBUILC, round Dangan Castle, in Kilchrist Parish.

TRADRAIGHE, the O’Brien’s mensal land, is well defined by the inquisition taken in 1287 on the death of Sir Thomas de Clare. It comprised ten parishes and churches, and its lands are mentioned in those of Quin, Kilmaleery, Tomfinlough, Kilfinaghta, Kilmurrynegall, Kilconry, Clonloghan, Kilnasoola, Feenagh, and Bunratty. Quin has been since assigned to Ogashin, otherwise, in De Clare’s Tradree, the rural deanery of 1617 stands confessed.

We have no old authority for the extent of CORCOVASKIN and IBRICKAN, but their exclusion from the other early districts shows that they are included in the rural deanery of Corcovaskin, and some isolated hints imply that eastern Corcovaskin comprised Clonderlaw and the parish of Clondagad.

Back to The Churches of County Clare