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sonable; which shalbe confirmed and ratified by Order of Commissioners authorized under the greate Seale, accordinge to the Meaninge of her Majesties Lettre graunted to theim of Athenrie, and the Somme of this Taxation amounteth to twoe Thowsand Pounde: and I doubt not to levye it, and the rather, for that the Earle is entred into band of v. M. L. [£5000] to see as well this performed, as the first Order taken at Lymericke agaynst his Sonnes in my Predicessors Tyme. I have cut the Towne almost into two equal Partes, it beinge before full as bigge, with a faier high Wall, as the Towne of Callyce. I tooke from the Earle, the better to answere the Expectation of the People, twoe principall Castells and Keys of strength; the one called the Castle of Bellaneslowe, which standeth betwixt Galway and Athenrie; the other called Clare, and seated betwixt Galway and Mac William Ewghters Countrie; and by this Kind of Proceedinge, having greatlye satisfied the old Inhabitaunts of Athenrie."
The works directed by the Lord Deputy "for the reedifinge of the towne," had scarcely commenced, before it was again attacked by the "Earle's Sonnes." "They took and sacked it, destroyed the few houses w*h were lately built there, set the new gates on fire, dispersed the masons and labourers who were working, and broke down and defaced the queen's arms."—Hist. Galway, p. 87. See also the same work, p. 94, for further proceedings taken in A. D. 1584, "to rebuild and improve" Athenry. But this ill-fated town was yet to experience further vicissitudes. In A. D. 1596, the celebrated Irish chieftain of Tirconnell, Hugh Ruadh (or the Red) O'Donnell, made a predatory incursion into Connaught, where he committed much devastation, and in his progress took and destroyed Athenry. The following translated extract from the "Life" of that extraordinary man, preserved in MS. in the library of the Royal Irish Academy, details the particulars of that transaction:
"O Donel appointed Mac William Burke (Theobald*) to meet him at Athenry, and he came accordingly. That town lies a short distance to the East of Ath-cliath Meadhruidheh. It was a powerful fortress and difficult of attack. On that occasion the (Irish) soldiers assaulted the fort, and cast fire and firebrands at the gates on all sides, and burned all the wooden defences of that strong fortress on the outside. They then took scaling ladders, and, placing them against the walls and battlements of the fort, ascended to the top of the high, thick, strong, fortress. Some of them leaped from the battlements down on the streets, and maintained their ground, though many of
* This was Theobald, first Viscount Mayo, better h A place now called Maaree, about six miles
known to his countrymen by the name of "Tibbott S. E. of Galway. na long," Theobald of the Ships.
their best heroes were wounded in a sharp conflict. The gates were instantly forced open by the host, who pressed forward to the centre of the castle; and proceeded to break open the stores, the well-guarded apartments, and strongly secured bed-chambers. They remained in the castle until they stripped it of all the riches and treasures which it contained. They destroyed the entire fortress; but the people of the Queen made great havoc of those who attacked that royal castle. Numerous and invaluable were the spoils of every kind taken in that fortress, of riches and treasures of brass and iron, of armour and cloathing, and of every thing necessary and useful to the people therein, which they had previously collected. O'Donel and his host remained in the town that night, and evacuated it in the morning, after stripping it of every thing valuable. And they then sent their scouts and scouring parties to prey Clanrickard, on both sides of the river." See also the Annals of the Four Masters at the same year.
The day after O'Donnel had thus stormed and plundered Athenry, the Earl of Clanricarde dispatched the following report to the Lord Deputy:
"Lough Reogh, Jane. 16" 1596.
"My Very Good Lord,
"May it please your lordship to be advertised, that this i5th of January Hugh Roe O'Donnell, Tibbott Bourke Mc Walter Kyttagh, with many others of their adherents of Ulster, and of this province, came into this countrie of Clanricard, with 3000 foot and 200 horse, and burned and spoyled thone half of the country, and assaulted divers castles therein, but wone none of any account as yet, and divers of their men were killed and hurt about the castles ; they have entered Athenree, where they encamped the last night, whether they got the castle or not, is more than I yet heard. They report that they will remain in Clanricard until after shrafetyde, which they may well perform if forces be not sent presently by your lordship to resist their violence. The poor country is so ruinated and brought to such desolation that they no not how to live for want of releife. The enemy's do bragge that they will laie seidge to my owne howses, which I hope shal be to little effect; although I doubt divers other holds in the country maie be lost for want of reliefe. Doubtless they will not leave any corn or cottage unburnt in three days within the whole country, the which we beare, and God willing will most contentedly, in respect that we sustain the same for our daily service and due obedience to our natural and most gracious prince's, from whom we will never swerve, for any losses or afflictions whatsoever. I have sent to my Lord Thomond for his ayde, whose coming I expect daily, although not yet come; but God knoweth our forces both are nothing in respect to theirs, but God willing our best endeavours shall not want, and still as occasion shall be ministered your lordship shall be advertised thereof; within the meane time I leave to your lord
ship careful and most honourable consideration; and humbly take leave from Lough Reogh the xvi.th of January, 1596.
"Your Lordship's most humble
"Clanricarde." [From the original in the British Museum, Cotton. Lib. Titus B. xiii.] The Mayor of Galway also made the following communication: "My most humble duty remembered, may it please your lordship, Hugh Roe O'Donell, and other the rebells of Tyrconell, coming of late to this province of Connaght, assembleth with them, Tibbott McWalter Kittagh Bourke, whom he made Mc.William, with all the rebells and renagates of Connaght, wasted, burned, and destroyed this last week, almost this whole countie of Galway; wherein, on Saturday last, they sallied Athanrie, burnt the gates thereof, and having entered the same, after continuing there one night, in the morning sallying the castle there, and being withstood, took all the wall-towers, and as manie of the inhabitants as waited them they withhould prisoners, and put to ashes all the rest of the towne, besides the said castell that resisted them, and the bodies of the abbey and churche; and thence afterwards upon Sunday last at twilight, came to our subburbs, and sent a priest and another layman to our gates, then being shut, offering that they would do no harm, if we will relieve them with wine and other necessaries, to which we answered for that night, that we mistrusted, O'Donnell himself was so nigh, and if so was, our auncient custome hath been not to open our gates at night for any affairs, with which the messengers departed. The next morrowe O'Donnell sent a line under his own hand, praying to send him victuals and other necessaries for his money, except powder and ammunition, otherwise he should annoy us the best he could: whome wee aunsweareth he did pick a quarrell for himself and the rest of his associates, breaking their allegiance to their natural prince, destroying townes, contrie and goods, of her mat'** loyall subjects; that unless they would revert to goodness, to God, their prince, and neighbours, we could not afford them no relief. Upon return of which answer he staid our messanger till he caused divers houses of our subjects to be fired; and the wind being at east north-east, right against that side of our town, hindered us much in not discovering the enemies till the flame was up, and then O'Donell, Tibott Bourke McWilliam, M'Dermoud, and all the chieftaines that were with them, being in the Abbey-hill, began to retire, and sent some loose shott to play upon our town, and being confrunted with like loose shott, as the inimies thronged on this side of the hill, a greate piece of ordinance was by us discharged, which scattered them, and clustering again another greater peece was let flie, which utterly daunted them, that they retired so farr that
our our loose shott gained the hight of the ridg of the hill, and saved the houses that were not burnt, and we heare the rebells had then wounded and killed some vi. persons, and that night camping in the farther part of our (franchises, sent some bands to fire the houses that before were rescued from them; but before that afternoon we discovered them, so that saving one house, lying beyond the greene, they missed of their purpose, and the day following they burnt every vilage down to the county of
Mayo, and very well even to the poole of Loghcoirbe to leave nothing undes
turbed, amongst which about twenty villages appertaining to us were not pretermitted. Their speeches, as wee understand, are very blasphemous against us and all the rest of her majesties constant subjects, threatening they shall shortly be worse used by the Spaniards, then the poor inhabitants of Athenry hath been used by them, whom they left mother naked without anie whitt in the world to live on. And thus, &c. Galway the xix" of Januarie. Your L. most humble at command,
"Oliver Oge French, Maior." [From the original in the British Museum, ut supra.a]
Athenry never recovered from the effects of these repeated outrages. After this time it was that the " blind prophesie" noticed by our author, p. 84, ante, was applied to it. In A. D. 1634, the following petition (now first printed from the original draft in the Editor's possession) was presented to the Parliament then sitting in Dublin.
"To the honorable the Knights, Cittizens and Burgesses in Parliament assembled. "The humble petition of the Portriffe, Burgesses and Comonaltie of Athenry.
"Shewinge, that wheras the Towne of Athenry, being scituated in themidest of the countie of Galway, was built and fortified for defence in the very beginning of the conquest of this kingdome, by the first plantators of the said county, and continued in greate wealth and power, untill that in y' tyme of the late Rebellion, ye same was by the Rebells taken by suddayne assalte, and was then burned and sacked, and soon after was infested with the contagious sicknes of the Plague which then visited most partes of this Kingdome, since wch tyme the said Towne decayed in trade and was dispeopled, untill yt by direction-of y* state and by the consent of all yc inhabitantes of the sd county, both for the convenience of the scituation, for the ease of the people, and for the restoringe of that Towne to its former state and condicion, it was appoynted that the comon Gaole of the shire should bee built and kept there; and that the Assizes, Quarter Sessions and County courts should be alsoe houlden and kept there, which accordingely for awhile continued therein, in wch tyme though very short that Towne recovered soe much of its former beauty y' without doubt it would by this have
beene beene in a fayer and florishing estate, but by reason y* the sheriffs, for gratuities or some privat consideration, hould theire countie courts in divers obscure villages, where neyther lodginges nor entertaynments can bee expected; and that, by the favor of the Custos Rotulorum and of the Justices of the peace, the quarter sessions are kept at other places in the said countie, and y* generall Assizes are alsoe removed to Gallway, and yet the said Gaole and prisoners being still left in the said Towne of Athenry, the poore inhabitants thereof, bearinge the charge and danger of the prisoners, and havinge noe benefitt by the courte, the said towne is fallen againe into its fformer misery and desolation, out of w*1 there is but smale hope of rayseinge it, unles yor honnors favor bee expended towards it. For as much, therefore, as it is equall and just that they that feele the burthen of the Gaole, should tast of the bennefitt of som of the said courts; and for that by the statute the county courts should be kept in some one certeyne place; and for that the said towne is well waled and fortified, and seated in the most convenient place of the said county; and for that it would much conduce to the weale publique of the whole county aforesaid, for encresinge of trade and comerce, to have the said towne well peopled and frequented; your petitioners most humbly pray that the said quarter Sessions, Assizes and county courts, by your honors comaund, may bee continually kepte in the said Towne of Athenry, or els that the said Gaole may bee removed to some of the townes where the said Courtes are kepte, And youre petitioners will ever pray," &c.—Orig.
See p. 196, ante, for a deed of feoffment by Philip, the son of William Erla, of premisses in Athenry, in A. D. 1391. A coeval indorsement on this deed, states that the grantor was called Bermingham, "Carta de Bremigham dicto Phillipo Erla." This indorsement seems to prove the truth of an old tradition that the sept of "Erla" was a branch of the Berminghams, formerly barons of Athenry, and the most ancient Anglo-Norman barons of Ireland. The title is now extinct, or perhaps only in abeyance. Mr. Kilroy of Galway, the respectable proprietor of the hotel there, is maternally descended from the Erla family. Some individuals of the name Erla, may still be traced in the vicinity of Athenry, but sunk in poverty. The old "Cittie" itself, once the bulwark of the Anglo-Normans in Connaught, is now reduced to the state of an insignificant village.
NOTE X. See page 105. "Abbey of Tombeola."
O'Heyn and De Burgo have collected all the information,, probably extant in Ireland, respecting this old foundation; but it is also probable that further particulars may yet be discovered in the Irish Monastic Records preserved in Rome, and other parts of the Continent of Europe. Belonging to the same order as Tombeola,
IrI8h arCH. SOC. NO. 15. 2 N viz.