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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

Power of the MacNamaras in the Eastern parts of Thomond; Number of their castles in 1578; Successive kings of Thomond; Brian-Catha-an-Aonaigh fights a battle at Manister, near Croom, and gains the victory

During the long interval between the expulsion of the English and their re-appearance in the affairs of Thomond (1318-1543), its story is shortly told. The Annalists give only concise and scattered accounts of its inhabitants and their history. Their references have relation mainly to intestine disorders, or to invasions made upon neighbouring regions for the purposes of plunder. Such matters are so uninteresting in themselves, and afford so little information as to the history of the times, or the manners of the people, that we shall treat them as deserving of comparatively slight notice. [1]

After the fall of de Clare, Brian Bane, accompanied by what remained of his followers, betook themselves to that part of the kingdom of Thomond which lay at the east side of the Shannon, and settled themselves there. The MacNamaras, as before related, having expelled the inhabitants of most parts of the present baronies of Lower Bunratty and Lower Tulla, who, for the greater part, had been partisans of de Clare, took possession of their country, and continued to hold it until Cromwell put them out in turn. They became so powerful that, in the year 1578, they owned no less than forty-two castles, scattered over Upper and Lower Bunratty, and Upper and Lower Tulla, and in 1641, according to the Book of Distributions, they numbered no less than one hundred and ninety-one proprietors of land in what would now be called fee-simple.

Brian Bane O’Brien was distinguished for his turbulence. Amongst his many enemies, he had for antagonists, his own relations, who had expelled him from Clare. These were ruled successively, in his life time, by Murtagh, by Dermot, and by Murtagh’s son, Mahone Moinmoy, who by violence, had deprived his uncle Dermot, and his first cousin Brian, son of Donogh, of their right to reign. His own tenure of power lasted for twelve years, and at his death he was succeded, in accordance with the laws of Tanistry, by his brother Turlogh Maoel (1367). After a rule of three years, Turlogh was dispossessed by his nephew, Brian Catha-an-Aonaigh.

Being thus driven out, he betook himself for aid to Garrett, Earl of Desmond, and was cordially received by that nobleman. They raised an army, and proceeded towards Thomond to reinstate Turlogh Maoel, but before they could cross the Shannon they were met at Manister an-Aonaigh, near Croom, by Brian, and utterly routed. Great numbers were slain in this battle, and amongst the prisoners were Garrett, together with many chiefs of the English army. The victors took possession of the city of Limerick, and Sheeda Cam MacNamara was placed in the town as warden (1369). [2] Turlogh Maoel finding it now useless to protract the struggle, gave it up, and having obtained from Desmond a grant of extensive tracts of land in Waterford, he went to reside there. Very little information touching the actions of Brian-Catha-an-Aonaigh is given by the Annalists. We gather from them that being joined by the MacWilliam Burkes of Galway, he suffered a defeat in 1386, from the O’Connor Roe, and that, in 1395, he went to Waterford to pay nominal homage to Richard II. by whom he was honourably received. His death is recorded, in the Annals of the Four Masters, under the year 1399. [3] His successor was his brother Conor, of whom nothing is handed down to us deserving of mention, and Conor was succeeded, in 1426, by his nephew Teige-na-Glemore. Of this ruler’s history nothing remains on record, save that he was deposed by his brother Mahone Dall (the blind) in 1438. Mahone Dall was not permitted to enjoy his power long without molestation. He was attacked, in 1446, by MacWilliam Burke and deposed, his brother, Turlogh Bog (the soft), the son-in-law of MacWilliam, being placed in his stead. [4] Turlogh Bog enjoyed the sovereignty till his death in 1459, when he was succeded by his nephew Donogh, the son of Mahone Dall. Donogh had to give way, in two years after his accession, to his cousin Teige-an-Chomhaid (of Coad on the lake of Inchiquin).