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

Parish of Ogonnelloe (a)

This Parish is bounded on the east by Loch Dergdheirc, on the north by Scarriff Bay; on the west by the Parish of Tomgraney and on the south by the Parish of Killaloe.

The name of this Parish is usually Tuath O’gCoinghialla, which was the name of an ancient Territory of which the Chief was O’Durack according to O’Heerin’s Topographical Poem. The ecclesiastical name of this Territory or Parish was, however, Eaglais Sinchill, as appears from the list of the Parishes of Clare, preserved in the College List often already referred to.

The old Church of this Parish, which is nearly level with the earth is still called Teampull na h-Eaglisha or the Church of Aglish, the latter part of the name being now forgotton. It is situated in the Townland of Islandcosgry, but nothing remains to shew its age or importance, but an extensive burial ground. To the south east of the site of this Church there is a holy well called Tobar Sraithin, over which there is a white thorn tree ornamented with votive rags. Delicate children are brought to this well that they may be cured by its sacred powers.

There is another burial ground in the Townland of Ballylaghnaun called Cill na Bearnan, where children and strangers are interred, but it is not remembered that it is dedicated to any Saint.

In the Townland of Caher Island in this Parish, and close to Scarriff Bay are the ruins of a Castle, which is set down in the College List aforesaid as “Iland Cahir, belonging to Rory Mac Nemara’s sons.” Its external dimensions were about one hundred feet by sixty feet. It was an important fortress.

In the Bay of Scarriff and belonging to the Townland of Carrow-Eana in this Parish is a very strong Castle called Caislean Ban. This Castle was in excellent preservation until about twelve (twenty) years ago, when it was taken possession of by some illicit (unlawful) Distillers, who defied the assaults of several soldiers and two pieces of artillery. In 1827 it was blown up by gunpower by order of the Government to prevent those Anti-Matthusian mountaineers from lessening the revenue. It is about twenty four feet square and about thirty six feet high from the surface of the water. It appears as if built on the water, there being no island now visible, but I believe that it stands on a solid rock, parts of which can be seen in summer, when the floods subside. I find no reference to this Castle in any of the documents before me, unless it be the Cathair Conchubhair* mentioned in the Pedigree of Mac-y-Brien Ara, which is to be doubted, but I cannot settle this point till I come to examine the Tipperary side of Lough Dergdheric.

* I have since examined the Tipperary side of this lake, and found that Cathair Conchubhair lies in the lake close to the Tipperary side, and belongs to the Barony of Arra. See my letters on that Barony. - J.O’D. December 11th 1840.