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|Ring-Forts in the Barony of Moyarta, Co.
Clare, and Their Legends
by Thomas Johnson Westropp
1. “Todd Lecture Series,” R[oyal].I[rish].A[cademy]., vol. xiii., p. 7 (ed. Kuno Meyer), about 860.
2. “Wars of the Gaedhil with the Gaill” (ed. Dr. Todd, pp. lxxv, 2, 7), circa 869.
3. A Dun Mechair lay near the ford of Moyasta in the early sixth century. See Lives of St. Senan.
4. Trans[actions]. R[oyal].I[rish].A[cademy]., vol. xix. (1843). Dr. Todd, in “Wars of the Gaedhil with the Gaill,” p. lxxv (citing the “Landnamabok,” p. 5), identifies Iöldulaup, Mare’s Leap, of the Sagas, as Loop Head.
5. Keating’s “History of Ireland” (ed. Rev. P. S. Dinneen, Ir. Texts Society, vol. ix.), vol. iii., chap. xxviii., pp. 304, 305.
6. Journal [of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland], vol. xxii., p. 79.
7. See Hardiman’s Maps (2 and 63, Trinity College Library, Dublin), and Carew MSS., vol. i., p. 472.
8. Lady Chatterton (“Rambles in the South of Ireland,” 1838, vol. ii., page 220) makes the hero a Dane.
9. This Eugene O’Curry noted as the legend given in 1820 (Ordnance Survey Letters, R.I.A. MSS. 14B, 24, pp. 71-81); he collects the legends of the Head and its forts at some length.
10. Revue Celtique (1894-5), p. 57.
11. Supra, p. 45.
12. Journal, vol. v. of N.S. (viii. Consecutive), p. 189. It will be noted how nearly all the folk-lore of this promontory relates to love.
13. Ordered to be built, July 1st, 1711 (Warrant Books P.R.O.I., vol. xiii., p. 42). The “heads-of-bay-roads” to Loop Head were made in 1822, and were so out of repair as to be nearly impassable in 1835 (“Two Months at Kilkee,” p. 144).
14. “Impartial Tour in Clare” (1779). I have to thank Mr. Charles R. Armstrong MacDonnell, of New-Hall, for letting me take abundant notes from his father’s manuscripts, including a copy of this scarce book. At that time one imperfect printed copy remained. It has recently been republished by Mr. Henn, with the matter of the lacunæ supplied by me from the MacDonnell MSS.
15. “Note on Tale of Deirdre,” Gaelic Society, 1808.
16. We have possible records of this place—Cahercrogan, Cahercrokan; and in 1577 (misprinted 1511 in Proc[eedings]. R.I.A., ser. III., vol. vi., p. 435); but caution must be used, as the spelling may be intended for Cahercorcaun near Dysert, especially where connected with the O’Hehirs. However, even in this case, we cannot always deny the identity, as in the pardon of Owen Lyloye, of Donleky, and Knogher Duffe O’Herrere, Kaherkroken. It is, perhaps the Cahercrocane of the inventory of Mary O’Brien, 1741. Mason calls it Carncrohane in 1816 (Paroch. Survey, vol. ii., p. 424), and Mrs. Knott, “the conical hill of Cahircroghaune” (“Two Months,” p. 144).
17. The view has even attracted a French writer, Mme. de Bovet (“Trois Mois en Irlande,” 1891, pp. 272-3):—“Pas un arbre ni un buisson . . . à ses pieds une succession de coupures énormes, de brèches formidables, arches naturelles, failles, crevasses, couloirs et cavernes où s’engouffre la mer montante avec un bruit de tonnerre, au milieu de panaches d’écume.”
18. Journal, vol. xxxviii., p. 228.
19. Perhaps it was the nearest stone enclosure to the spot, where they knew the fort should be marked. Similarly, in the new survey, the name “Moghernaglas” (itself wrongly given) is attached to a wrong enclosure near Teeskagh waterfall, owing to the actual Moher not having been given by the 1839 map.
20. Catalogue of Irish MSS., British Museum, No. 112 (ed. S. H. O’Grady).
21. The Irish text has been published in the “Garland of Gaelic Selections” (ed. P. O’Brien, Dublin, 1894). A copy will be found, made in 1780, by Anthony O’Brien, a schoolmaster of Doonaha, in the R.I.A. MSS. 23 LII. For O’Curry’s abstract, which we follow, see ibid. 14 B, 24, p. 74.
22. Iniscaerach, or Mutton Island; Inismatail, or Mattle Island; and the Seal Rock.
23. “Erris and Tyrawley,” Rev. Cæsar Otway, p. 65.
24. Ulster Journal of Archæology, vol. i. (1853), p. 140.
25. There was a Staraidh or Stairn, to whose tribe belonged the Firdomnan, the Firbolg, and Gaillinin (Lebor na h-Uidhre).
26. Apart from the low hill we find one of the Tuatha De Dannan, named Crochaun, of Sliabh Echtghe, in the Dindseanchas (Revue Celtique (1894), p. 458, No. 60).
27. The names Temple Daithlionn or Dahalain, and Glendahalin, occur in Kerry, near Ballyheige, and are said to embody the name of a sainted lady (Ordnance Survey Letters, Kerry, p. 284).
28. The King of Connaught is said also to have raided Loop Head before his disastrous defeat by the Dalcassians at Cairnconnaughtagh. This probably corresponds to the battle in 1086.
29. Another “sunken island” of identical name occurs in the Shannon, not far from Loop Head. It will be remembered that Sinid, the heroine, who gave her name to this great river, was drowned in it while visiting a submerged well (Dindseanchas, section 59).
30. Evidently the “Cloghanmulvore” of “Hiberniæ Delineatio,” 1683.
31. Dr. Joyce has collected some suggestive piast legends in “Irish Names of Places,” vol. i., chap. v. (ed. 1895). John Windele, in “Iar Mumhan,” p. 709, alludes to dragon-worship in remote and lonely places, and speculates as to a vestige of a Fomorian “dracontium” at Loop Head and others at Scattery and Dun Farvagh in Aran. Fearbach was a dragon begotten by the Porter of Hell of the all-devouring sow, and reared at Dubhloch, near Mount Callan, according to the Romance of Comyn.
32. Journal, vol. iv., p. 110.
33. Two small earthworks beside Kilfieragh graveyard.
34. Supposed to be called from a ‘horned ghost’; the ring is half levelled.
35. “Macadau” (Mac Deaghaidh), like Dahlin (Daithlionn), gives name to a church on Kerry Head.
36. The Termon lay in Moyarta parish, but included lands at Kilcredaun, near Carrigaholt, probably as the church of Senan’s disciple Caritain or Credaun (Inq. 1604, No. 4: Fiant, 1590, and Inq. 1616).
37. A Dunganville or Donganeile is given between Dunbeg and Kilballyone in the Patent of 1622.
38. Rathonnach. Mr. James Frost (Clare Local Names, p. 60) takes this as from “Sonnach,” a palisade or abattis of stakes. It is the “two Raahaneghes” (Patent 1622), Rahone 1675 (Edendale Survey), and Rathona in same year (confirmation in Act of Settlement).
40. The dates indicate these authorities:—1615 and 1624, Inquisitions; 1655, Book of Distribution, vol. ii., p. 436; 1675, Edenvale Survey; 1688, Inquisition on attainder of Daniel Lord Clare.
41. Journal, xxx., p. 237, Robert Keane, of Ballyvoe (son of Owen Keane, of Londonderry, 1690), settled in Clare, and married (circa 1730) a daughter of Robert Keane, of Ross.
42. It has been hitherto considered of the same age as the MacNamara rental. Hardiman at least placed it about 1350, but it is probably of later date.
43. This is shown by Morland’s [recte Moland’s] excellent series of maps of the Earl of Thomond’s estates in 1702. I had some difficulty in discovering this identification when passing the title in the Land Courts in 1903.
44. Book of Distribution, vol. ii., p. 434, &c. Other Caher names (outside the “Irrus” proper) are Caheraghcullin in Kilmacduan; Caherfeenick; Caheroughtis, in Dromellihy, 1655; Cahernaholey (probably in Carronacalla in Kilrush), 1641; and Cahernagat, near Kilrush.
45. Kilbehagh. See Hardiman Deeds, Trans. R.I.A., vol. xv., p. 37 (Antiq.); Book of Distribution, vol. ii., p. 406; and Edenvale Survey, p. 32.
47. Silva Gadelica, vol. ii., p. 11, and its Abbess called Cuinche.
48. Proc. R.I.A., ser. 3. vol. vi., pp. 165-168, for the churches of the Irrus.
49. Ceathramhadh na bhfaeiléan (Irish Names of Places, vol. i., p. 466); Carrowfoelen, 1622; Carrownawillane, 1655 map (Vallancey Series, from Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris).
50. Not marked on the maps, but parts of the ring remain, almost adjoining the back gate; it is to the left, as you enter, partly cut away by the road.
51. Wills, Killaloe Registry, proved June 6th, 1696. It gives curious and plainspoken directions about horses, and the interesting note that two of the cows bore the Irish names “Dufheane” and “Cronedovagha.”