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

Part II. History of Thomond
Chapter 13. History of Thomond before it was formed into an English county: From the Death of De Clare in 1318 to the Formation of Thomond into an English County in 1580

[Turlogh Donn] is succeeded by his son Conor, from the sons of whom were descended the Earls of Thomond and Inchiquin; Conor, the last O’Brien who ruled as King of Thomond; His death

By his wife Raghnailt, daughter of John MacNamara, Lord of Clanculein, Turlogh left several sons, but this history is concerned with two of them only, Conor, his successor, and Murrogh, called par excellence the Tanist. From the elder of these two men descended the Earls of Thomond; from the younger, the Barons of Inchiquin, the O’Briens of Dromoland, those of Blatherwycke, Glencolumbkille, and others. Conor, now King of Thomond, was married a second time. His first wife had been Arabella de Burgh, daughter of the MacWilliam, of Clanrickard, and by her he had one son, Donogh, surnamed The Fat. By his second wife, sister of the Earl of Desmond, he was father of Sir Daniel O’Brien of Ennistymon, and of Sir Turlogh, who died childless. Desmond was desirous to promote the interests of his nephews at the expense of their elder brother, while he, to preserve his rights, allied himself in marriage with the house of Ormond, a connexion which, in the subsequent reign of Elizabeth, tended very powerfully to the support of his family and the maintenance of their ancient power in Thomond. [13] He proposed that a piece of ordnance, with one hundred men of the king’s army should be placed under his command, that with these he might become master of the castle of Carrigoguinniol and of the country round, and that, after the acquisition of these, he might hold them from Henry VIII., and conform to such English usages as that monarch should prescribe. Donogh thus set the first example of an O’Brien prepared to surrender his ancient kingly title, and willing to become a vassal of a foreign ruler. [14]

Conor O’Brien had rendered every support in his power to Silken Thomas FitzGerald in his rebellion against Henry VIII. After his defeat, FitzGerald repaired to Thomond, and got protection from its king, while a ship could be put in preparation to carry him off to Spain. To punish the refractory conduct of O’Brien, Lord Leonard Gray, the Lord Deputy, was ordered to bring him into submission. He was directed to compel Conor to bind himself, by indenture, to renounce the Pope’s supremacy, to acknowledge in its stead that of Henry, to agree to contribute to the expenses of the Government, and to send a certain quota of men to every hosting of the royal troops. Conor allowed the Lord Deputy to proceed no further on his way than Limerick. There he met him in July, 1537, and came into all his terms. He further undertook to aid the English in the work of subduing his brother Murrogh, the Tanist, and breaking down his bridge at O’Brien’s bridge. Both these objects being accomplished, a peace for one year was made between the King of England and O’Brien. From the terms of this league it is obvious that the provincial ruler was treated on a footing of perfect independence of British power. [15] He did not long survive the visit of the Lord Deputy, his death occurring in two years afterwards (1539). He was the last of the descendants of Brian Boroimhe, who to the end of his life exercised supreme rule as king over Thomond.