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

Part I. Topography of Thomond Chapter 9. Ui Fearmaic; Gleann Omra; Ui Bracain; Ui Floinn; Ui Ronghaile

Ui Bracain

Kilmurry Ibrickan Parish; O’Briens of Tromroe Castle; Andrew Buidh MacCurtin

In Thomond we find no less than three parishes dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The one we are now considering is called Kilmurry Ibrickan, to distinguish it from the others. Its church is in a ruinous condition, although like all churches dedicated in Ireland to the Holy Virgin, it of comparatively modern date. At a little distance is a well under the patronage of our Blessed Lady, no longer the resort of devotees. In the parish of Kilmurry stands the castle of Tromroe, long the residence of the clan Teige O’Brien of Arran, as we learn from a document in the MS. library of Trinity College, and from Dr. O’Brien’s Dictionary under the word Tromra. “Tromra or Tromrath, a land or territory in Thomond which was a part of the patrimonial estate of the O’Briens of Arran, descended from Teige Glae, the third son of Dermot, King of Munster in 1120, etc. The O’Briens of Arran and Tromroe are the third in rank, being descended from Dermot’s third son. They were always sovereign Lords of the Isles of Arran in the bay of Galway and of Tromroe in the county of Clare until the reign of Queen Elizabeth, as appears by an address dated 30th March, 1588, which the mayor and sheriffs of the city of Galway wrote in their favour to that Queen, wherein it is mentioned that the corporation of that city paid to Dermot More O’Brien, grandson of Soan Teige or Teige Aluinn, who resided at Tromroe in 1277, twelve tuns of wine yearly for protecting their harbour from pirates.” An authentic copy of that address was possessed in the time of Bishop O’Brien by John O’Brien, Esq., of Clontis, in the county of Limerick, the then worthy direct chief of that princely family. The address further adverted to the protection afforded to Galway by Murrogh, son of Turlogh, then living, as well as by his ancestors, the MacTeiges of Arran, and to the deprivation by the O’Flahertys of the ownership, up to that time held by him.[35] In the townlands of Finnor, Doonogan, Caherrush, and Knocknalban are ruins of castles, not one of which is mentioned in the list prepared in the year 1580 for Sir John Perrot. What has been the occasion of this omission it is impossible to say. Several lioses and holy wells exist in Kilmurry parish, the latter dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and to the Saints Bridget, Inghinebaoith, Lachtain, Clairthan, and Ernan. At Moyglass lived Andrew MacCurtin about the year 1730. He was one of the greatest Irish scholars of his time. In a poem addressed to the “Fairy Chief of the Sand hills” he beseeches Don to take him into her service, even in the capacity of a gilly or hrse boy, to save him from starvation:

Glac asteach me air acht (although) gur daoirse
Ag giollaidheact each do marcraídhe síoda
’S na fág fa chéas me ag teacht an t-saoíre
Air sceird Múíghe ghlais am spreas ’s am spionlach.