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The History and Topography of the County of Clare by James Frost

Part I. Topography of Thomond Chapter 11. Tradraighe; Tuath Echtghe

Tradraighe. Ancient Irish Deeds relating to lands situate in Tradraighe

An ancient story quoted by O’Curry [1] gives the origin of the name of this district. It is to the effect that Cas, from whom the Dal Cais derive their distinctive race name, was the son of Conall of “the swift steeds” who was contemporary with the monarch Crimthann, A.D. 379. Cas had twelve sons, and from these were descended the various Dalcassian tribes. The twelfth son was Lugaidh Delbaeth, or Lugaidh “the fire producer.” He had six sons, and one daughter whose name was Aeifé. The “fire producer” had received a large territory from his father, and in time gave his daughter in marriage to Trad, son of Tassach, who was a kingly chief and Druid, but one who owned little land. After some time Trad found himself the father of a numerous family and possessing only a small provision for their support. He prompted his wife to ask more land from her father. Lugaidh acceded to her request, and bestowed upon her husband the territory that he himself had got from his own father. From the name of the new owner the district was designated Tradraighe, a name which it has preserved ever since. This is the legend, but how far it is deserving of credit Professor O’Curry does not say. The territory of Tradraighe comprised some of the richest land in Ireland. In very early times it appears to have belonged to a branch of the O’Neills from the north. Their place of residence cannot be identified.[2] The name of these O’Neills wholly disappears from history, and the next thing we find in connection with Tradraighe is its occupation, under a pretended grant from Brian Roe O’Brien, and from King Edward I., by the Englishman de Clare, who built the castle of Bunratty, at the south-eastern point of the district, in the year 1277. [3] His son was driven out by the O’Briens and Mac Namaras, and Tradraighe fell to the share of the latter named family, certain portions of it being also occupied by the Mac Clancys, Mac Inerneys, Mulconerys, and others. Its chieftain was Mac Namara, Lord of West Clanculein, but O’Brien, as king of Thomond, was its Lord paramount.

Some ancient Deeds of Mortgage of lands situated in Tradraighe have come down to our time; I shall here transcribe them for the information of the reader. The first is published in O’Halloran’s History of Ireland, and purports to be of the date of the years 1251. [4]

“In the name of God. Amen. This is the agreement of Dermot and John Oge, sons of David Cregan, relative to a mortgage they have from the heirs of Donogh, son of Aodh Boy Mac Namara. [5] They assign to John, son of Aodh Mac Namara and his heirs, their right of pasturage for thirteen milch cows, on the lands of Leacan (now Corlack) and on half the lands of Corca-an-Cluy (part of the townland of Clonmoney), and the said John, son of Aodh, gave the said Dermot Cregan one sow on condition of getting possession of said lands. It shall not be in the power of Dermot to redeem said lands without the consent of John, son of Aodh, and that redemption is to be on the feast of St. John the Baptist in any year after the first year. Said Dermot doth also assign to said John, son of Aodh, his title to Lisbroc, [6] and to one-half of Smith’s island at whatever time he redeems this mortgage, nor shall any other person have power to mortgage it for any other sum. The witnesses to this contract are God in the first place, and Conor Neylan; Conor, son of John Mac Namara; Ruan, son of Teige, son of John Mac Namara; and Conor Mac Clancy. Moreover, the said John, son of Aodh, has paid to Murtagh Considine twenty ounces of refined gold to release the mortgage he had on John Oge Cregan’s inheritance in the lands of Tullyvarraga, to say three months’ liberty of ploughing in each year on that part called Tullaporein, one day and a half ditto ditto in Corlack, half the lea ground of Smith’s island, and two-thirds of its pasturage liberty to build a house with bog and commonage, etc. It shall not be in the power of any one to redeem said lands from John, son of Aodh, but John Oge Cregan himself, and the payment thereof is to be made in coined silver or dry stock, and the said John, son of Aodh, shall possess the said lands an entire year after such payment, said lands to pay two bons (groats) crown rent, and a reserved rent of one ounce of refined gold and two pennies to John Oge himself, and two groats to Dermot, son of John his brother, beside an ounce of refined gold given him for joining in this deed. The witnesses are, God in the first place, Conor Nealon, Conor son of John; the two sons of Teige, son of John, son of Mahone; to wit, Donogh and John (Mac Namara), and Conor Mac Clancy. I, Thomas M’Clancy of Cluain-mac Diarmot, wrote this at Tullyvarraga, on the eve of St. Martin, in the year of our Lord 1251.”

Subjoined is a translation of a Deed in the Irish language relating to the sale of lands in the same neighbourhood. It is taken from the fifteenth volume of the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy.

“This is the covenant between William son of John O’Farrell, and Conor son of John, son of Donald, son of Cumeadh Mac Namara of Aylebeg (near Bunratty), concerning the lower half quarter of Aylebeg; and thus has said William acquired the fee simple of said land from Conor, viz.:—Said land being in pledge for a noble mulct with the Rodán family the stewards of the Earl of Thomond, and Mac Con requested of said William to release the same and to give him (Mac Con) the crop, which he accordingly did. In consideration whereof the said Mac Con made over unto the said William and his descendants his right to said land. The premises are situate in the north-west part of the parish of Bunratty. These are the boundaries of said land, viz., from the road of Clashquilin to the road of Clonmoney, and from Toberincaca to the road of Ballybane. The proportion of the corcass of said land, namely in Corcagh-an-cloide and Rineleacan, and the chargeable lands of Machair-na-sgeihe, Gurtnakilly, Gurt-na-leaghta, Gurt-an-tubber, the old orchard, and all the land that lies between them though not here named. The witnesses to said covenant are Siacus O’Connellan, Vicar of Bunratty; Teige, son of Mahone, son of John O’Carmody; Teige, son of Flaithertach O’Lidén; Conor, son of David O’Rodán; Mahone Finn, son of John O’Rodán; Donogh Oge O’Rodán; John son of Conor O’Rodán; Morogh O’Rodán, and Donogh, son of Donald O’Tornea, the clerk of Patrick. The bailiffs who gave possession of said lands, are the said Vicar of Bunratty, and Teige, the son of Mahone (O’Carmody), in the year of our Lord 1573. This is the hanwriting of Conor Mac Shane, on his giving the fee-simple of said lands to said William Mac Shane; and I, Conor, do declare this to be my will, consent and intention, and do affirm same with my seal. I, Conry, son of Maurice son of Tornea (O’Mulconery) wrote this by consent of both parties on the green of Bunratty.”

Misi, Conaire. (I. Conaire.)

I. Torney O’Mulconry.

Murray O’Daly.”