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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

Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy, visits Thomond; Sir William Drury, Lord President of Munster, holds an assizes at Ennis; Death of Conor O’Brien

Quarrel of the O’Briens.
In 1573, for some reason not known to us, a war broke out between the O’Briens themselves. It is needless to say that the quarrel was taken up by their partizans on all sides, and that a general plunder of the country was the consequence. What the dispute was about is of very little importance, but in their description of the fighting, the Four Masters give the names of several places in the county, according to their original spelling, which we here reproduce as illustrative of its topography. One of the belligerent parties assembled at Ard-na-cabóg, near Clare Castle. Thence they marched through Dromcliff, Kilnamona, and Dysert, and “over the stone road of Coradh-Finné (Corofin), by the gate of the Castle of Inchiquin, and by Bothar-na-mac Riogh” (the road from Corofin to Killinaboy, called the road of the king’s sons, for some reason with which we are unacquainted). They despoiled the church of Cill-inghine-Baoith (Killinaboy), and proceeded in a north-westerly direction, by the confines of Corcomroe and Burren; spreading themselves about, they plundered the country in all directions. Their opponents mustered their forces at Carn-mic-Tail, now Carn-Connachtach, but they had to retire from that place early the next morning, their invaders approaching by Sliabh-na-ngroigheadh, [29] keeping Bel-atha-an Ghobhain (Smithstown), on their left. Both armies—one in pursuit of the other, then marched by Cill Mainchin to Bél-an-chip. [30] There a skirmish took place, and one party retreating before their antagonists, by way of Beann Formaile, [31] both arrived at Caherush (Cathair Ruis).

Another Assizes at Ennis.
Having in view the final subjugation of the Irish of Munster, the Lord Deputy, Sir Henry Sidney, made a progress through that province in 1576. He abolished the ancient customs of “Coigny, Kernetty, and Bonaght,” and ordered that the rules of English law should be substituted for them. He made Donald O’Brien of Ennistymon, Governor of the County of Clare, and the new ruler signalised his accession to the office by hanging refractory rebels and malefactors. In this year, Thomond was separated from Connaught and joined to Munster, at the solicitation of the Earl of Thomond. In the following year, Sir William Drury, who had been recently appointed President of Munster, and who had, at Limerick, hanged several of the gentlemen and common people of the O’Briens, held an assizes at Ennis which lasted for eight days. He left the county, after he had appointed a marshal to compel the inhabitants to pay a tribute of ten pounds for each barony to the Queen, an impost wholly unknown to the Dal Cais up to that time. The lands of the Earl of Thomond were not exempted from payment, although he had proceeded to England to obtain that favour, as well as to complain of the injury and injustice done to him by his kinsmen. His journey, however, was not quite unproductive of advantage. He obtained from Elizabeth a renewed grant of all his lands, pardon for his people, and a patent conveying to him most of the Church lands and livings of the county. [32] He did not long survive his return home, for his death occurred in 1580, his age being forty-five years, during twenty-two of which he enjoyed the chieftainship of his race. He was buried in the abbey of Ennis, and his eldest son Donogh succeeded, as fourth Earl of Thomond.