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Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Disert (g)

The Church of Killcross lies in ruins in the Townland of that name; the west gable and small bits of the side walls only remain, the gable having a pointed doorway in it, five feet ten inches high and two feet two inches wide, built up with cut stone. The foundations of the building measure twenty one feet in length and twelve in breadth. There is a large carn on the same Townland about sixty yards in circumference and about ten feet in height, called after the name of the Townland.

There is a reputed Holy Well in the Townland of Derraharrin called after the Townland name. There is a small burying ground in the townland of Killeen, hence the Townland name. There is a Holy Well in the Townland of Mucanais and a small burial place for children. Another burial place for children and a Holy Well in the Townland of Drumanoor. Another burial place for children in the Townland of Garryvohill (Garbh-Eochaill).

There is a small lake between Baile na gConnachtach and Ballyashee Townlands called Loch Iona into which the peasantry drive sick cattle on Mondays and Thursdays for the recovery of their health. There is a thorn-tree growing on its bank of which the bark is bitten to cure the toothache, while a Station is performed at the Little Well (Tobar Iona) under it. There is a small burial place for children in Knocknakille in the Townland of Ballyen. There is a Holy Well in the Townland of Mogowna called after the Patron of Kilnaboy. There is a cromleac partly prostrated in the Townland of Cnockaleassa. There is a burial place in the Townland of Killeacan, from which the Townland derives its name. There is a small burial place in the Townland of Tirnea called after the Saint Mac Duach. There is a small burial place for children in the Townland of Rannahan. There is a Well on the Townland of Clontohill called Tobar-na-bFhiana, but not considered by any person that I enquired from, a Holy Well. A small burial place for children in Killcrossfadda, in the Townland of Drumanoor, according to Name Book 673, page 26.

There is a small burial place for children in the Townland of Kilkee, from which the Townland takes its name. There is a holy well in the Townland of Soheen, called Tobar a tSagairt, or Priest’s Well. There is a burying ground in the Village of Eidhneach, in the Townland of Carrow-keele, called Teampall-duv-na-h-Eidhnighe.

The Castles of Dysert and Ballygriffy in this Parish, both in good preservation, are mentioned in the list of Castles in the Barony of Tully O’Dea, evidently made out in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and now preserved in the MS. Library of Trinity College Dublin, E. 2, 14, the former inhabited by Donell Mael O’Dea, and the latter by O’Griobhtha.

Part of the walls of an old castle remain in the Townland of Kilkee, another of the same description in the Townland of Dromore, another of the same description in the Townland of Cahermacrea, and another in like condition in the Townland of Mogowna.

The following notices of Tully O’Dea, which is situated about three miles north of Disert O’Dea, occurs in the Annals of the Four Masters:-

A.D. 1114. Donnell O’Loughlin led an army to Rath Ceannaoith (Rathkenny) and Eochaidh O’Mahony came (McMahon of Oriel) with the Ulidians, to his camp, and Donogh O’Loingsigh with the Dalcassians, and Hugh O’Rourke with the men of Breifny, and Morogh O’Melaghlin with the men of Meath, and they marched then, all parties over Athlone to Dun-Leodha (Ballinasloe) where Torlogh O’Conor with the Connacians and Niall Meg Loghlin (Donnell’s own son) with the nobles of Kenel Connell, came to his Assembly. They all went after that to Tealach nDeadhaidh (Tully O’Dea) in Dalcais, where they made a twelve months’ armistice with the men of Munster, after which Donnell O’Loghlin passed through Connaught to his own house.

Other notices of this district shall come when we have investigated more of the neighbouring territories.

                                                                                     I remain, Sir,
                                                                                                 Your obedient servant
                                                                                                              Eugene O’Curry


There is an old Church in the Townland of Aughrim, in the Parish of Disert, called in Irish Teampall Aodha Mic Conaill, i.e., the Church of Hugh, son of Connell, but why so called nobody now remembers.

The western gable and about nine feet of the northern wall attached to it are level with the ground, the other parts remain in good preservation. It is fifty feet long and fourteen and a half feet broad. At the distance of seven feet from the west end, on the south side, is placed a doorway, which is angular and half closed up with mason work and rubbish rendering it difficult to be measured. It would appear however to have been wider at the bottom than at the top. Three feet seven inches from this to the east is a pointed doorway of cut limestone, seven feet eight inches high and five feet wide on the inside, and six and a half feet high and three feet three inches wide on the outside. At the distance of four feet nine inches from the east gable, in the south side, is a broken topped window which appears to have been round at top. It was about three feet ten inches high and six and a half inches wide on the outside. The window in the east gable appears to be round topped, but it is so covered with ivy that it cannot be closely examined. The walls of the Church are about twelve feet high and two feet nine inches thick, built of large irregularly shaped field stones.

Strangers and children only are buried here now.

                                                                                                               Eugene Curry.

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Miltown Malbay,
October 25th 1839.

Dear Sir,
We have arrived here and find that we can finish the district within reach of this village in about three days. We are determined to be constantly in the field as long as the weather remains fine, and to write every night, and on wet days when we cannot venture out. I am very much afraid that the snow will overtake us in the mountains of Sliabh Echtghe as it did last winter at Glendalough, but I trust we will not be lost now till all is finished.

It is with the greatest difficulty that we could get a single dirty room here to write in, and I am glad to find that our delay will not be long. To-morrow we shall visit the tomb of Conan on the summit of the Callan mountain, and move to Kilkee on Sunday or Monday.

Please to direct all letters etc., for us thither, until we give further notice of our proceedings.

                                                                                                 Your obedient servant,
                                                                                                              John O’Donovan