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"I have made dilligent inquiry about Ratts in this Country: and find, that it is certain (there being no reason why the whole country should deceive me in an affair of this nature, wherein they can have no interest to tell a lye) that there is a considerable tract of Land about Donegall wherein there is not one Ratt, tho' Ballyshannon on the one hand, and Killybeggs on the other, the first ten, and the latter 12 miles distant from it, have enough to send Colonies to the adjacent Countries. This is the more strange, because Donegall is a sea port town, as well as the other two, tho' not near so much frequented by ships: but such as ships come to, even sometimes now, tho formerly (as I am told) it had greater trade. I have seen one or two ships there, which might easily have left some ratts for breed, for they say generally ships have enough of that Cargo to spare. So that notwithstanding Donegall is not so much frequented with Shipping, yet there has not been opportunities wanting for rats to come thither from ships, for tis well known, that in the time of the wars, the Gray hound Man-of-War, which wanted not rats (as is probable) lay sometimes in the river not above halfe a mile from Donegall, which place they might safely goe to from the ship, which is customary to these animals. But it is not only the town of Donegall that is blessed with the absence of that vermin, the whole Parish of Drumholm, and two or three more of the adjacent Parishes, pertake of the same happiness, tho' they have this in common with other places, that they are alike pestered with mice. I was at first doubtfull whither or no Ballyshannon and Killybeggs had Rats, but now I have gott a perticular account from Henry Caldwell Esqr, a considerable merchant who is eldest son to Sr James Caldwell, that he has had damage done him by rats in his store-house at Killybeggs, and an intelligent person told me, that about a fortnight before this, at Killybeggs, he was disturbed all night by ratts, and saw severall in the morning, for they were so bold, that they ran about the Bed, and for demonstration that there are many at Ballyshannon Mr. Caldwell told me a very odd story, viz. that the men who take care of a considerable salmon fishing, which he farms from the Lord Folliott, do Prophesie whither there will be few or many salmon catcht that year, by the number of rats they see upon a little Island in the river, where they make up their fish. So if they see many rats, they expect many salmon, if few Rats they Conclude they will take but a few fish. I do not mention this as if there was any thing to be depended on as to the observation of the persons concerned in the fishing, tho they build much upon it, but I give it as an instance that there are Rats in abundance at Ballyshannon, tho they do not come within 2 or 3 miles of my house, which is not above five or six at furthest from Ballyshannon.
"As to the other Story which you have heard, concerning some part of the Barony of Boylogh and Bannogh viz, that Cattle cannot live there in summer, I can find no great matter in it. It is sandy ground, as I am told, and I believe little grass grows
there there in a dry summer, and perhaps there may be unwholesome herbs amongst it, this makes the people drive off their cattle in summer, and by that means they have top grass in the winter. I am apt to believe that all sandy ground is much of the same nature, for I observe that my own cattle do not much love to stay upon a sandy warren that is near their pasture. I suppose it is for the same reason that the cattle do not thrive in the Rosses (that is the name of the place) in summer, so I apprehend no great matter in the relation, but if you think it worth a more exact scrutiny, at any time, I shall be ready to obey your commands.
"This, sir, is a tedious letter, but I choose rather to be impertinent than defective. Could I be so happie as to be able to serve you, you should always find how ready I would be to show how much I am, sir, your most affec'' humble servant,
"Tho. W Adman."
NOTEW. See page 84. note m. "Athenry." This town was founded by a colony of Anglo-Norman settlers, who were brought thither shortly before the middle of the thirteenth century, by the De Burgos; and from that time until towards the close of the sixteenth century, it was a place of considerable importance in the west of Ireland. In A. D. 1249, a battle was fought here between the Irish and English, of which the following account is given in the Annals of Clonmacnois, as translated by Conly Mac Geoghegan, and preserved in the MS. Library of Trinity College, Dublin, F. 3. 19.
"A. D. 1249. The [7m^] nobility of Connaught went to Athenrie to prey and spoile that towne, on the day of our Lady the blessed Virgin Mary, in the middest of harvest. There were a great armye, with Terlaugh mac Hugh. The sheriff of Connoght with many Englishmen were in the said towne before them. The sheriff and Englishmen desired them, in honnor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose day then was, to forbeare with them that day, which the said Irish nobility refused to give any respect, either in honor of the Blessed Virgin or holly roode. They assaulted the town against the will of the said Terlaugh, which Jordan de Exetra the sheriffe and Englishmen seeing, they rushed forthe to meet with the said Irishmen, where the Virgin Mary wrought miraculouslye against the said nobillity. When the Irish nobility saw the Englishmen, and horsemen well appoynted with harnish, armes and shirts of mail, make towards them, they were daunted and affrighted at theire sight, and presently discomfitted. Hugh mac Hugh O'Connor was killed in that presence. Dermott Roe mac Cormach O'Melaghlen, the two sonnes of O'Kellie, Bryen and Dery mac Manus, Carick an Tivall mac Neale O'Connor, Brithgalagh mac Keigan, the sons of Dermott Backagh O'Connor, the two sones of Loghlyn O'Connor, Daniel mac Cormack mac DerIeish Arch. soc. 15. 2 M moda moda, Finanagh mac Braunan, Cowmowan mac Cassurley, with many more, were killed in that place." See also the Annals of the Four Masters, at the same year.
This victory gave confidence to the new settlers, and the town consequently increased. On 14th October, 1310, a murage charter was granted to the bailiffs and good men of Athnery (Athenry) empowering them, for three years from the then feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, to levy and take the customs therein specified, for the purpose of enclosing the town with a stone wall.—Rot. Pat. 3, 4 Edw. II. m. 3. This is one of the earliest Anglo-Norman documents of the kind now remaining on record in Ireland. The commodities specified in it, and the customs chargeable on them, are here extracted:
"De quolibet crannoco cujuscunque generis bladi venali, unum obulum—de quolibet crannoco salts, unum quadrantem; de quolibet eqtto vel equa, hobino, bove vel vacca venali, unum obulum; de quolibet carcasio bovis vel vacce venali, unum obulum; de quolibet corio bovis vel vacce, hobbini, equi vel eque, frisco, salsato, aut tannato, unum quadrantem; de quinque baconibus, unum denarium; de decem ovibus vel capris, unum denarium; de quinque porcis unum denarium; de decem agnis unum obulum; de qualibet centena pellium ovium tanatarum vel schorlingorum, duos denarios; de qualibet centenapellium agnorum, caprarum, leporum, cuniculorum, vulpium, cattorum seu squirrellorum unum obulum; de qualibet centena pellium cervorum, bmarum, damorum vel damarum, unum denarium; de qualibet centena Panni hibernici, quatuor denarios; de qualibet centena linee tele, duos denarios; de quolibet Panno integro anglicano cujuscunque coloris, duos denarios; de quolibet Panno hibernico integro, unum obulum ; de qualibet folynga, unum quadrantem; de quolibet dolio vini, quatuor denarios; de qualibet centena ferri, quatuor denarios; de qualibet centena de canabo, quatuor denarios; de quolibet salmone, unum quadrantem, de qualibet lampreda, unum quadrantem; de qualibet pita uncti, cepi, butiri et casei, unum denarium; de qualibet carrectata de tandust, unum denarium; de qualibet carrectata maeremii, unum obulum; de qualibet carrectata bosci, unum quadrantem; de de qualibet centena cere, quatuor denarios; de quolibet sumagio mellis, unum denarium; de ;de qualibet centena de
Verdegris, vel alterius cujuscunque coloris, duos denarios; de duobus millibus ceparum, unum obulum; de qualibet meysia allecum, unum denarium; de quolibet summagio piscis maris, frisci vel salsati, unum obulum; de duobus miliarum quorumcunque clavorum, unum denarium; de qualibet centena ferrorum equorum et clicorum ad carrec
tas, unum denarium; de qualibet centena , unum obulum; de qualibet centena
piscis sicci, unum denarium; de qualibet centena anguillarum, unum quadrantem; de decem petris canabi, unum quadrantem; de qualibet centena de teslis, unum denarium; de qualibet centena cujuscunque eris vel cupri operata vel non operata, quatuor tuor denarios; de qualibet pari rotarum ad carectas, unum obulum; de duabus solidatis cujuscunque mercimonii quod non nominator in litteris istis, unum obulum."—Rot. Pat. ni supra.
In A. D. 1316, another battle was fought near Athenry between the natives and the settlers, in which the former were again signally defeated. This battle is described in the unpublished Annals of Clonmacnoise before referred to, as follows. "A. D. 1316. Ffelym O'Connor heareing of the returne of William Burke to Conaught from Scotland, he proclaimed that all his people from all parts where they were, with such as would joyn with them, wou'd gather together, to banish William Burke from out of Conaught, at whose command all the Irishrie of Conaught from Easroe to Sliew Veghty or Eighty were obedient to him, and came to that place of meeting. Donnogh O'Bryan, prince of Thomond, O'Melaghlen king of Meath, O'Roirk of the Breifnie, O'Fferall chieftaine of the Annalie called the Convackne, Teige O'Kelly king of Imanie, with many others of the nobility of Ireland, came to this assembly, and marched towards Athenrie to meet with William Burk, the lord Bremingham and others, the English of the province of Conaught, where they mett, and gave battle in a place neare the said towne, in which battle the Irish men were discomfitted and quite overthrone.
"Ffelym O'Connor king of Conaught was therein killed, alsoe Teige O'Kelly, king of Imanie, and eight and twenty of the chiefest of that familie, Magnus mc Donell O'Connor tanist of all Conaught, Art O'Hara prince of Swynie, Melaghlen Carragh O'Dowdye, Conor oge O'Dowdye, Mortagh Mc Connor O'Dowdye, Dermott mc Dermott tanist of Moylorge, Mortagh me Tachleagh mc Dermoda, Mortagh me Dermoda me Fferall, Mullronye oge me Magnussa, John mc Murogh O'Madden, Donnell O'Boylle, Donnell me Hugh mc Conchenan prince of the O'Dermotts, and his brother Mortagh, Donnogh O'Moylloye of Ferkeall with his people, the sone of Murrogh O'Manon and a hundred of his people, Neale Ffox, prince of Teaffa men with his people, Ferall me John Galda O'Ferall, Wm. Mc Hugh oge 0'Fferall . Thomas me Awley O'Fferall, five of the familie of the Mc Donoughes, viz. Tomaltagh, Murrogh Murtagh, Connor Mortagh, and Melaughlen me Donnough, John mac Kiegan, O'Connor's chiefe judge, Conor and Gillernew, the sons of Dalere-docker O'Develen, the men called fear-imchar-nehonchon, Thomas O'Connolan of the kings guard, all which persons with many others of Mounster, Meath and Conaught (which were tedious to resite) were slaine in that battle, as a certaine Irish poet pittifully in an Irish verse said—
"mop mac pij nac abpaim a ainm, Do mapBa ip an rh6p maioin, Do pluaj rhioe lp muman, cpuaj lem cpioi in cacujao. "This battle was given upon the day of Saint Lawrence the Martyre, Felym O'Connor then being but of the age of 23 years; in the fifth year of whose reign, Rowrye
2 M 2 m'Cahall
me Cahall roe O'Connor (before mentioned) deposed him for one half yeare who being killed as before is declared, Ffelym succeeded for another half yeare, untill he was slaine at Athenrye aforesaid." See also the Annals of the Four Masters at A. D. 1316.
For more than two centuries after this decisive engagement, Athenry continued to increase in wealth and population; but about the middle of the sixteenth century it began to decline. The causes of its decay are well described in the following extract of a letter from Sir Henry Sydney, Lord Deputy of Ireland, to Queen Elizabeth, 20,K Aprill, A. D. 1567, which appears in vol . i. p. 90, of " Letters and Memorials of State," published by Arthur Collins, Lond. Fo. 1747: "From thence I went to your Highnes towne of Galowaye, the state whereof I found rather to resemble a Towne of War re, fronteringe upon an Enemye, then a civill Towne in a Countrie under one Soveraigne. They watche their Walls nightelie, and gard their Gates daielie with armed Men. They complayned much of the Warres of Mac William Ewter and Oflartye againste the Erle of danryeardes two Sonnes which he hath by two Wives and both alive, and theis two yonge Boyes in the Lief of ther Father, yet likelie long to live, doe strive who shalbe their Father's Heire, and, in the same Strife comitte no small spoiles and damage to the Countrie. From thense I travelled thoroughe a greate and an auncienie Towne in
Connoghte called Anrye. (Athenry) The Towne is large and well walled, and it ap
perith by Matter of Record there hath be in it three hundred good Howseholders, and, since I knewe this Land there was twentie, and now I finde but fower, and they poor, and as I write readie to leave the Place. The Crye and Lamentation of the poor People was greate and pityefull, and nothinge but thus, Succor, Succor, Succor. The Erie of Clanricarde could not denye but that he helde a hevie Hande over them. For which I ordered him to make them some Recompence, and bounde him not to exacte upon them hereafter."
This "pityefull" appeal does not appear to have had any effect, for the "greate and auncient Towne" of Athenry still continued to decay. Sir Henry Sydney, after a lapse of nine years, again visited the place; and, in a dispatch to the lords of the Council in England, dated 28th April, 1576, contained, vol. 1., p. 102, of the "Letters and Memorials of State" before referred to, he writes as follows: "After I had remayned in Galway three whole Weeks, I departed from thence the xxiith of Marche, and passed thorough Athenrie, the most wofal l Spectacle that ever I looked on in anyofthe Queen's Dominions, totally burned, Colledge, Parishe Churche, and all that was there, by the Earles Sonnes; yet the Mother of one of theim was buried in the Churche. I toke Order for the Reedifinge of the Towne, and the Woorke is begonne; and I have taxed for the Satisfienge of the old Inhabitants indifferently upon that Countrie, weyenge the Abilities of eche Person, and the Qualitie of their Fawlte, as I thought most reasonable;