Mason's Parochial Survey, 1814-19

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Clare County Library


Union of Kilrush, Killard, Kilfieragh, Moyferta, and Kilballyhone

Appendix No. 4.

Memorable Occurrences, including Extracts from a Parish Registry kept at Kilrush for Ten Years.

A. M. 2736. In the Milesian Invasion, a storm arising, amongst other losses, the gallery of Doun,* the son of Milesius, was driven into the Shannon, and dashed to pieces at the mouth of the Cashen. All on board perished, viz. Doun, the commander, twenty-four common soldiers, twelve women, four galley slaves, fifty select warriors, and five captains.
* Near the mouth of the Shannon, and in the centre of the bed of it, a tradition of the boatmen records the singular situation of an ancient city called Kilstapheen, which many ages ago was overwhelmed by an irruption of the sea. Ptolemy mentions a city on the Shannon called Regia, but it seems to have been in a more central situation than this; perhaps near Athlone or Ballymahon, on that opening of this great river called Loughree (Lactus Regis.) The legendary historians of Corkavaskin tell us that the towers and other splendid edifices of this submarine city are sometimes visible to those who sail over it; and they have peopled its watery palaces with enchanted inhabitants, who are often said to raise a destructive hurricane within their magical precincts, when the surrounding water is perfectly quiet and smooth. For further information on this curious subject, enquire of the Behanes, Theig, Frank, or Donough a Lauder of Kilrush, or the Contis and Coonerties of Carrigaholt; and see Baxter’s observations on the words “Regius” and “Senus” in his “Glossarium Antiquitatum Britannicarum, sive Syllabus Etymologicus Antiquitatum Veteris Britanniae atque Iberniae, temporibus Romanorum.” Lond. 1619.

A. C. 193. Lived Baisean, or Bhascin, the son of Conaire, of the line of Heremon. From him this tract of country obtained its ancient denomination of Corkabhaiscin, which is still the name of the rural deanery.

A. D. 538. Saint Kieran, who was called the son of the carpenter, having left the island of Arran, went into Scattery Island, and was made providore for the strangers by Saint Senanus.

A. D. 544, March 1st. Saint Senanus died, and was buried in his own abbey, where a superb monument was erected to his memory.—We find in the ancient life of this saint, that “he being in his island of Cathay, a ship arrived there bringing 50 Roman monks to it, who were drawn into Ireland by the desire of a stricter life, or skilfulness in the scriptures, which then much flourished there.’’ In reality, says the author of the Monasticon Hibernicum, Ireland could at that time boast of being to the rest of Europe, as it were a seminary of sanctity, to which the Christians of other nations resorted in crouds, to learn to be saints, and whence an infinite number of holy men went abroad to disperse the knowledge of the gospel throughout all Europe; so that Ireland was then like another Thebaida in those primitive days of the spreading of the faith. In better times, when we shall be blessed with a general revival of the primitive spirit of Christianity, and the fatal errors which unfortunately prevail amongst us at present shall have been utterly renounced and forgotten, the ancient character of Ireland will revive. Kilrush in common with all its maritine towns, will have its bible and missionary societies, and the words of eternal life, with able and authorised preachers of it, shall be once more among the number of exports from the harbour of Inniscattery.

A. D. 580. Saint Aidan, bishop of Inniscattery, flourished. This prelate is mentioned in the Martyrology of Manan O’Gorman, and his feast is held on the 27th of October.
A. D. 792. Olchobar the son of Flan died. He was Arienagh or Athnarch, (archdeacon) of this abbey.

816. The Danes plundered the island of Inniscattery, put the clergy in it to the sword, and defaced the monument of Saint Senanus.

835. About this time the same barbarians again sailed into the Shannon and destroyed the monastery of Inniscattery.

861. Another Aidan abbot of Inniscattery died in this year.

908. Cormac Mac Cuilenan, the learned and pious archbishop of Cashell, and king of Munster, was slain in the battle of Moyalbe, not far from Leighlin. Flaithbeartach, the son of Ionmuinein, was then abbot of Inniscattery, and was a great fomenter of this war. In his will Cormac bequeathed to this abbey three ounces of gold, and to the abbot his choicest sacred vestments. The abbot, for his concern in Cormac’s melancholy fate, was closely imprisoned for two years, and then ordered to a severe penance in his monastery. He afterwards so far recovered his power and influence, that on the death of Dubblachtra, who had succeeded king Cormac, he was elected to fill the throne of Munster.

914. Some Danes landed at Waterford, but were defeated by king Flaithbeartach, who in the annals is called prince of Idrona.

934. Numerous signal posts were erected here, to communicate with others in Lower Ormond and the interior parts of the country. Among these Carncroghen and Querin were the most conspicuous.

940. Flaithbeartach, king of Munster, and abbot of Inniscattery, died.

944. Twenty ships manned and equipped in Corkabhaiscin joined the Irish expedition to Dundalk. This territory says O’Halloran, (Hist. of Ireland, vol. III. page 409.) bordering on the Shannon, in the county of Clare, though confined, was powerful in commerce, riches, and inhabitants.

950. The Danes becoming very powerful about this time, made the island of Inniscattery a depot for their arms.

958. Noyman of Inniscattery died in this year.

969. Brien Boroihme or Boru, ancestor to the illustrious houses of O’Brien and Bryen, routed the Danes in the island of Scattery, killing 800 of them, and expelling the rest. The victorious monarch rebuilt the churches on this lovely island, which these barbarous infidels had destroyed.

972. A Danish chieftain, Mark, the son of Harold, sailed round Ireland, and committed great devastations on the island of Scattery, taking much treasure out of it.

975. Brien Boru again recovered the island of Scattery from the Danes, who had repossessed themselves of it. Iomar the Norman, and his two sons Ambarbb and Dhuibheheann, with five hundred of the Danes were slain in this battle. The chief well at Kilrush, from having once been a watering place for these invaders, is called “Tubber na Dhana,” the Danes’ well. The common people believe that those who once taste the water of it will ever after wish to live in Kilrush.

994. Colla, abbot, or doctor, master of the abbey of Inniscattery died.

1050. Hua Schula, the ethnarch of Inniscattery died.

1057. Diarmuid Mac Mavilnambo, with the Danes of Dublin, plundered Inniscattery, but in their retreat they were overtaken by Donogh the son of Brien.

1101. The abbot O’Burgos died.

1176. The abbey of Inniscattery was again plundered by the Danes of Limerick.

1179. William Hoel, an English knight, wasted the whole island, not sparing even the churches.

1188. And. O’Beachain, bishop of Inniscathay or Inniscattery died.

1195. Inniscathay was at this time a bishop’s see; it was afterwards united to Limerick, and soon after that to Killaloe. In this year Charles O’Heney was bishop of Inniscattery.

1290. Thomas de Chapelin was guardian immediately succeeding Richard de London, in the care of the abbey of Inniscattery. The parish of Kilrush was always united to this abbey, with the exception of one townland, which was separated from it some centuries ago, and attached to the neighbouring vicarage of Kilmurry MacMahon. This townland is called Granathua: it is on Mr. Hickman’s estate, entirely surrounded by the parish of Kilmurry. The cause of this unusual separation is said to have been this, that the abbot of Inniscattery, and his vicar at Kilrush, refused to venture into this townland to administer the rites of the church to the inhabitants of it, at a time when many of them were dying of a plague, which deficiency was supplied by the zeal and intrepidity of the vicar of Kilmurry.

1507. About this time the Spaniards took great quantities of fish on this part of the Irish coast. Traces of the original Milesian colony, and the subsequent intercourse of the Spanish mariners and traders with the inhabitants of this tract of country, may still be found in the complexion, eyes, countenance, and grave deportment of many families here; so that it is not unfrequent for navy officers and others arriving here occasionally, to exclaim “Espagnol” on seeing one of our peasants. It is a singular fact in corroboration of the foregoing conjecture, that the cut of the boatmen’s coat is precisely the same on the river Shannon and on the Spanish coast of South America. This was observed with astonishment by an officer of the 37th regiment, who had been long quartered at Kilrush, and in Trinidad.

In the 20th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and on the 24th of April, the abbey with the church yard, twenty-four acres of land, a house, a castle, and three cottages in the island of Inniscattery were granted to the mayor and citizens of Limerick, together with a church in ruins, twenty acres of wood and stoney ground, in that part of the island called Beechwood, and all the tythes of it, and the following customs:—from every boat of oysters coming to the city of Limerick, once a year 1000 of oysters; and from every herring boat, 500 of herring once a year. This grant was for ever, in free soccage, not in capite, at the annual rent of £3. 12s. 8d.

1588. This country was invaded by O’Donnel of Donegall, who was repulsed by the Earl of Thomond.

In the month of July this year, the Spanish Armada being driven by a south-west wind round Scotland and Ireland, some of their large vessels were driven into Malbay, and were lost with their crews on the coast of Ibrickan, near the north-east boundary of this union.

1600. July 28th. Sir George Carew marched with his army from Limerick to Kilrush in Thomond. The forces he carried with him were 1050 foot, and 75 horse. After a stay of three or four days here, the Lord Deputy and his forces passed over the river, and landing safely at Carrigafoyle. “The speedy dispatch of this army across the Shannon,” says Stafford, (Pacata Hibernia, page 69.) “was in a great degree attributed, and that worthily, to the Earl of Thomond, who provided boats and such other necessaries as his country could afford.”

The importance of Kilrush in a military point of view, is marked by this transaction; for the Lord Deputy acting from this point, overawed all Desmond, subdued Lord Lixnaw, and reduced the rebels of Munster to the lowest extremities, before the arrival of Don Juan De Aquila, and the Spanish army at Kinsale, in the month of September afterwards. The sufferings of the Irish rebels on this occasion could only be paralleled by what they had undergone about thirty years before in the same unhappy cause, as we are told by Spencer in his view of Ireland, page 72.—“notwithstanding Munster was a most rich and plentiful country, full of corn and cattle, that one would have thought that the rebels would have been able to stand long; yet before one year and a half, they were brought to such wretchedness, as that any stoney heart would have rued the same. Out of every corner of the woods and glyns, they came out, creeping forth on their hands and feet, for their legs could not bear them; they looked like anatomies of death; they spoke like ghosts crying out of their graves; they did eat the dead carrions;—happy were they that could find them: yea, and one another soon after, insomuch as the very carcases they spared not to scrape out of their graves; and if they found a plot of water-cresses or shamrocks, there they flocked as to a feast for a time, yet not being able to continue there withal, in a short space of time there were none almost left; and a most populous and plentiful country suddenly left void both of man and beast: yet in that war there perished not many by the sword, but all by the extremity of famine, which they themselves had wrought.” A light specimen of similar results from similar causes, was felt all over Ireland in the severe scarcity of 1800. These are statistical facts of practical use and importance. Faelix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum.

1601. In the month of December this year, Tirlough, son of Teig Keigh Mac Mahon, of Carrigaholt, fled into Spain, on account of his having murdered his unhappy father during the siege of Dunboy.

1615. Marcus Linch was deprived of the rectory or prebend of Kilrush, which was sequestered to Robert Tuesden.

1642. November. Sir Daniel O’Brien of Carrigaholt, who had been for many years member of Parliament for the county of Clare, was appointed to the office of commissioner in the supreme council of Kilkenny.

1649. In the winter of this year General Ludlow besieged the castle of Carrigaholt, which was surrendered to him.

1662. Sir Daniel O’Brien was restored to his estates which he had forfeited in 1641, and was at the same time created Baron of Moyarta, and Viscount Clare.

1670. Connor O’Brien the second Lord Clare died.

1684. Feb. 28. Lord Clare was sworn a member of King James’s privy council, and soon afterwards raised a regiment of dragoons.

1685. Feb. 25. The Rev. John Patterson was instituted to the prebend of Inniscathay, alias Inniscathrie, alias Kilrush; value four pounds, and on the same day was instituted to the vicarage of Killard, Kilfieragh, Kilballyhone and Moyarta, in the county of Clare.

1687. March 6. The Rev. John Vandeleur, M. A. was collated to the prebend of Inniscathrie, alias Kilrush, value four pounds; to the vicarages of Moyarta and Killard, worth each 10s; to the vicarage of Kilfieragh, worth one pound; and to the vicarage of Kilballyhone, value 13s. 4d. per annum in the King’s books.

1689. Lord Clare’s regiment, on July 26th, was defeated near Lisnaskea, in the county of Fermanagh, by Captain Armstrong.

1691. May 11. Lord Clare was outlawed for his adherence to the abdicated monarch.

July 13. The remnant of Lord Clare’s dragoons arrived from Aghrim.

Nov 1. The Irish army embarked on board French vessels at Limerick, and coming down the river, one of them, which carried 400 men and several valuable goods, ran upon a rock, and about 100 of the passengers were drowned.

1701. Lord Clare’s estates sold by the commissioners of forfeited lands.

1703. Mr. Vandeleur purchased the Earl of Thomond’s Kilrush estates.

1706. May 11. Charles, the fifth Viscount Clare was killed at the battle of Ramillies.

1719. The house of Ballykett was built in this parish, by Anthony Hickman, Esq.

1742. May 20. The eldest son of the fifth and Last Lord Viscount Clare, a colonel of one of the Irish regiments in the French service, died at Prague in Bohemia. He was commonly called Lord Clare. In this year the Rev. Dean Coote inducted to the living of Kilrush.

1752. The Rev. Richard Buller instituted to the rectory of Kilrush.

1753. June 4. The Rev. William Lewis was instituted to the rectory of Kilrush.

1767. The Rev. Wm. Watson instituted to the rectory of Kilrush.

1777. The Rev. Irvine Whitty, the present incumbent, was instituted to the prebend and union of Kilrush, in the room of the Rev. Mr. Armstrong resigned.

1779. A large East India fleet lay in the river for some weeks this summer, which drew a great concourse of people here.

1796. The Rev. George Gustavus Baker was instituted to the rectory of Kilrush.

1797. A squadron of gunboats was sent here to guard the mouth of the river. Lieutenant Augustus Markett had the command of them: Mr. Paterson, now a merchant in Kilrush, was one of the lieutenants.

1798. In the winter of this year, after the rebellion had been suppressed in all other parts of Ireland, it broke out here; but the insurgents were utterly discomfited by the active exertions of the Kilrush yeomanry, the officers and seamen of his Majesty’s gunboats, and some strong detachments of dragoons. On this trying occasion, the value of a resident Protestant clergyman, discharging the arduous and unpopular office of a justice of the peace, appeared in a striking point of view.

1799. May 12. The British fleet, under the command of Lord Bridport, passed the mouth of the river, and steering northward, proceeded round Malbay towards the Island of Arran. Considerable alarm was spread through the country on this occasion; for it was for some time supposed that this was a French fleet carrying an invading army. Multitudes collected on the cliffs in the west to view it.

1800. Great scarcity of provisions. Oats 2s. a stone; whiskey a guinea a gallon.—Cow-pock was introduced here.—Communicants in the churches of Kilrush and Kilfieragh at Christmas, 200.

1801. March 27. A large rectangular platform of very fine paving discovered in an open field near the castle of Carrigaholt. It is said to have been the floor of a mud-wall stabling, built here by Lord Clare for the accommodation of his dragoons.

1802. July 4. The Lord Bishop of Killaloe confirmed 200 persons in the church of Kilrush.—The Princess Charlotte, East Indiaman, came into the harbour.

1803. Jan 20. A census made of the population of Kilrush on this and a few succeeding days, by the writer of this report, for which see the fifth section of this account.

July 25. The Verona and Sir William Bensly, East Indiamen came into Scattery Road.

October. Serious apprehensions of an invasion.

Nov. 4. The Castle of Clahansevan was blown down by a storm.

Dec. 2nd. A meeting of the inhabitants of the barony of Moyarta was held at Kilrush for the purpose of putting into execution an act of Parliament, for the defence of the country in case of invasion.

13th. The superintendents and leaders of parishes in this barony assembled at Kilrush to meet General MacFarlane, who issued instructions as to the driving of cattle, and destroying mills, &c. in case of invasion. The returns of stock made out at this time would be a valuable statistical document.

March 29th. General Payne and the Navy officers of this station established signal posts in the different parts of the west, where telegraphs were immediately afterwards erected.

1805. March 1. The Protestants of this union amounted to 518.—In December 1813, their number exceeded 800: an increase to be ascribed not only to the great influx of settlers within that period, but also to the constant residence of the incumbent, and his unremitting zeal to discharge his duty, particularly an unpopular and unfashionable department of it,—the defence of his flock from the influence of erroneous and fatal opinions.

June 22nd. The Rev. Standish O’Grady was inducted to the sinecure rectory of Kilrush, value about £200. a year.

October 3. Eight sail of East Indiamen come into our harbour.

1806. Feb. 1. Severe snowy weather.—A West Indiaman ashore on Hog Island.

April 6. Mr. Considine, the Roman Catholic priest of Kilrush, died of a paralytic stroke. He had been blind of both his eyes for ten years of cataracts, which he had couched in London the year before his death, contrary to the advice of an eminent physician in Limerick, who foresaw the consequence of a man beyond the age of 60 submitting to such an operation.?

April 28. An ancient brass lamp or censer was found in a field near the church of Kilrush.

Nov. 26. Mr. Hely Dutton came into this part of the country in search of statistical information.—The winter of this year was remarkable for the continued severity of the weather, with vivid lightning at night.

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