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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

[Conor O’Brien] repents of his promise, and attacks the Queen’s President of the Province of Connaught; Ormond comes to chastise his duplicity; He flies to France; From thence he appeals to Elizabeth for pardon; is received into favour, and invited to the Court of England

A.D. 1570. It now became necessary that the English should publicly exhibit their newly-acquired authority in Thomond. Sir Edward Fitton, President of the Province of Connaught, issued a proclamation for holding an assizes at Ennis in February of this year. A supply of provisions and liquors was sent into the monastery of that town by the high sheriff, Teige O’Brien of Smithstown, the first man who ever held that office in the county. When Fitton arrived, he expected that the Earl of Thomond should be among the first to receive him, but that nobleman, disdaining to acknowledge the authority of the President, remained at his castle of Clare, two miles distant. A message was sent to him, carried by a party of cavalry, headed by his uncle, Sir Donald of Ennistymon. Instead of obeying, he attacked the messengers and made them prisoners. Fitton, on the following day, apprehensive for his own safety, retired towards the county of Galway, being conducted thither by the high sheriff, and by his brother Donogh of Leamaneh. They were pursued as far as Gort-insi-Guaire (Gort), by the Earl. Such conduct as this, after all the favours bestowed upon him, excited the anger of the Lord Deputy, and it was resolved to chastise the rebellious O’Brien. The Earl of Ormond was deputed to perform that duty, but when he arrived in Thomond, instead of meeting opposition, he was met by Conor, and received at his hands full submission. It was agreed that he should give up to Ormond the Castles of Bunratty, Clonroad, and Clare, reserving to himself only one stronghold, that of Moy, near Lahinch. No sooner had he surrendered these than he repented of his facility, but it was too late. Finding that he could not make head against the new powers, he fled to Kerry and afterwards to France. Ormond took advantage of his flight and seized his other castles of Castlebank, Dysert, Moynoe, and Moy. He also received the submission of the O’Loghlens, MacMahons, and many other principal people of the county. In the course of his operations, he had occasion to make a demand upon the Mayor of Limerick for the conveyance of ordnance to the Castle of Bunratty, and he complains to the Lord Deputy that he had been refused all aid by that magistrate. He also refers to a good road which he had got made through the long pass to Bunratty. [26]

Thomond, from his place of exile at Paris, wrote to the Queen expressing contrition for his rebellion, and asking to be restored to his possessions. Elizabeth, knowing how essential it was to secure the allegiance of so important a personage, readily granted the pardon asked for, and gave permission that he should present himself at her court in England. [27] After his return home, he adhered strictly to his engagements, and in the following year, when Fitton held another assizes at Ennis, he gave every assistance to the President in his endeavour to bring the country under the rule of English law. [28]