Page images

forcibly expelled from Iar-Connaught', but his expulsion was only temporary; for he found, by experience, that it was safer to rely on the battle-axes of his bold Galloglas, than on appeals to the sovereign against Anglo-Norman outrage in Ireland. In his time the Joyces, a family of British extraction, settled in the northern part of the territory, by the permission and under the protection of the O'Flaherties.

Before the close of the thirteenth century, the O'Flaherties became masters of the entire territory of Iar-Connaught, extending from the western banks of Lough Orbsen, to the shores of the Atlantic. Separated from the rest of the kingdom, in that peninsulated*, and then almost inaccessible district, they interfered but little in the external transactions of the province, and are, therefore, but seldom noticed in our Annals for the two succeeding centuries. With their neighbours, the ancient ClanMailly, or O'Mailleys of Umhaill (<7»ja#«a) or "the Owles,'' they lived on terms of amity and mutual defence. But this friendly, and for both "nationsc" necessary alliance, was interrupted by an untoward occurrence. In A. D. 1314, at a meeting or conference between the chiefs of both clans, a dispute took place, in which Owen O'Mailly, Cormac Cruim O'Mailly, and several others, were slain by the people of O'Flaherty*. In some time after, Connor, the son of Owen O'Mailly, made a descent on Iar-Connaught, which he plundered, and loaded his vessel with the spoils and riches he had taken. But on his return home, his ship was cast away "between Ireland and Aran," and all the crew, except one man, perished6. Amongst the O'Flaherties themselves, feuds were frequent and violent during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Many of these will be found detailed in our Annals, where the reader will be enabled to identify several individuals named in the annexed Genealogical Tables0.


were at anchor. An engagement took place, in which the sheriff and one of his knights were slain; and Mac Sorry returned home in triumph with his booty.

» Id. A. D. 1273. On the RoU of the Pipe, 13, 15, Edw. I. the following entry occurs: "Rothery O'Flaverty reddit x. marcas de fine, pro pace habenda."—Berm. Tower\ Dublin.

I Vide ante, p. 1, note h, and p. 67, note P.

» This term was usually applied by the settlers to express the Irish clan, tribe, or family. "Chief of his nation," which occurs so often in the Anglo-Norman records, meant chief of his clan. It was sometimes applied to the settlers themselves. Thus, "William Blake and the rest of his nation."—Ante,

p. 216.

a Four Masters.

h Id. A. D. 1396. Our author, RodericO'Flaherty, in his MS. notes to the Annals of the Four Masters, preserved in Trin. Col. Lib. Dublin, states, that on this occasion, the son of Cathal buidhc O'Flaherty was killed; and that thirty-three of the O'Malleys were drowned. It would appear that the strife did not end with this, for the same Annals further relate, that in A. D. 1418, "Roderic, son of MoroghO'Flaherty (Gen. Table, II. No. 32). Roderic, son of Dermott duff O'Flaherty (Id. No. 31), and sixteen others of the O'Flaherties were drowned in the bay of Umallia," probably when on a similar plundering excursion.

c Sec the Annalsof the Four Masters, ad an. 1410,

Until late in the sixteenth century, the English knew as little of Iar-Connaught or its people, as did their forefathers, in the days of Sir John Maundevyle, of "the land of Prestre John or the men of Inde." Leonard Lord Gray, towards the end of the reign of Henry VIII., was the first Deputy of Ireland who deigned, or rather ventured, to approach these western regions. Thus he wrote to the King in A. D. 1538, "to the same towne (ficdteey) cam to me Hugh Oflart chieff capitayne of his countre called Oyled, and submittydc." This submission was expressed in the following curious indenture, between His Majesty and the "Chieff," to which the latter affixed his seal, for he could not subscribe his name:—

"Hec Indenture, facta xiii° die Julii, apud villam Regis de Galwey, a? xxxmo Illustrissimi Regis Henrici VIII. inter dictum potentissimum Dominum nostrum, Henricum VIII. ex parte una, et Hugonem O'Flarte capitaneum patrie sue, ex parte altera; Testatum, concordatum, concessum, et conventum fore, inter dictum illustrissimum dominum Regem nostrum et prefatum O'Flarte, per presentes, et prefatus O'Flarte concedit pro se heredibus et successoribus suis, quod ipsi et eorum quilibet qui erunt capitanei patrie sue, solvant aut faciant predicto Domino Regi, heredibus et successoribus suis Regibus Anglie, per annum c'. ster. et eosdem denarios, solvend. esse sub-thesaurario dicti domini Regis, regni sui Hibernise, ad usum dicti domini Regis, semel in anno, ad festum sancti Michaelis archangeli: Et preterea, prefatus Hugo O'Flarte concedit, pro se, heredibus et successoribus suis, quod ipsi et quilibet eorum qui erunt capitanei, invenire debent Regis deputato, pro tempore existente, ad omne commune viagium, quod erit constitutum per Regis deputatum, xl. turbarios bene ordinatos, secundum formam belli, sumptibus suis propriis. In cujus rei testimonium, prefatus capitaneus presentibus sigillum suum apposuit, die, loco, et anno supradictis."

Irrot. in offic. Vice-thesaurar. Dub.


1415, 1422, 1439, 1503. One of our author's MS. notes to the Four Masters (see last note, h) is as follows: "Brianus 0j O'Flaherty, (.1. Brian na noinseach) occidentals Connacise heres, a Rickardo 6j de Burgo captus.—MS. L. Mac Firb. 68." Hugh Afor O'Flaherty nach glacadh airgead, who would not take money (supposed to have been so called per antiprarim; see Sir Henry Piers' description of West Meath, in Vallanccy's Collect, vol. I. p. 114, Ed. 1770), who was the chief of the name in A. D. 1400, ia stated in the Book of Pedigrees, Office of Anns, Dublin, to have in that year built the church

of Enachduin. But this is doubtful, for I have not found it verified by any other authority. This chief is No. 30 in Gen. Table, II. Morogh (31), son of Brien (30), died A. D. 1419 Four Masters. Gilduff, his brother (31), died A. D. 1442 Id.

d From this it is evident that the Lord Deputy did not know even the name of Hugh O'Flaherty's country; but finding that a river called Aille, ran through it (which river is now called the Ally, aBain na h-Ctllle, see map, et ante p. 62, note»), he gave the name of the river to the district .

■ State Papers, Lond. 1834, Vol. iii. p. iii p. 61.

At this time a young chief was growing up in the west, who was destined to perform a conspicuous part in the affairs of Iar-Connaught, for nearly the remainder of the sixteenth century. This was the celebrated and still remembered Morogh na d-tuadh [Murrough of the battle-axes'] O'Flaherty*, who was hereditary chieftain of the territory of Gnomore, which formed the northern portion of the present barony of Moycullen in the county of Galway. This individual became the most distinguished and powerful of his name, having been appointed by Queen Elizabeth chieftain or head of all the O'Flaherties, although he was not of the senior branch. On succeeding to his inheritance, he made the castle of Fuathaidhh (Fough) his principal residence; and from thence he made frequent incursions on the territory of Thomond, and on the possessions of the English in the vicinity of Lough Orbsen. At length, Conor O'Brien, the third Earl of Thomond, provoked by his aggressions, marched against him, in A. D. 1560, with an army. The Earl proceeded from Thomond through the territory of Clanrickard, until he came to the ford of Tir-oilean (Tirellari), now corruptly (Terryland), near Galway. Here he was opposed by some of the citizens, who endeavoured to prevent his passage, but, having been supported by others, he crossed the ford, and continued his course through the country of the Joyces, by the castle of Fuathaidh, and Bonbonan mountain. Morrough retreated before him towards the western mountains, and the Earl, unable to come up with him, was forced to return, without having achieved any action worthy of so perilous an expedition1.

Soon after this, the Earl of Clanrickard undertook an expedition against Morrough, as well to prevent his incursions on the Earl's territory of Muintir Murchadha, (now the barony of Clare) as to put the country of Iar-Connaught under contribution. He accordingly, in A. D. 1564, dispatched a considerable body of troops to Iar-Connaught. Morrough, as before, retired to his fastnesses; whereupon the Earl took the prey of the whole country, consisting of numerous herds of cattle, which his people drove on towards the pass at Galway, on their way to Clanrickard. These were pursued by Morrough with a chosen party, who overtook them at Trabane (the white strand), about two miles west of Galway; and an engagement took place, in which the Earl's troops were entirely defeated. An account of this occurence, written at the time, states, that "the Earl's people were forced to turn their backs, and the most part of them


1 According to tradition, he was Bo called from having obtained a great victory over a superior force, with a small body of galloglasses, armed only with battle-axes.—See Ware's Antiq. by Harris, ch. xxi., for the use of this formidable weapon amongst

the ancient Irish.

t Gen. Table, II. No. 36.

h This castle was situate near the present town of Oughterard—See ante, p. 63, note h. 1 Four Masters.

were drowned in the sea and river of Gal way;" derisively adding, that "some got over the river, but such was their apprehension of death, that they knew not how. Timor pedibus addidit alas1." This affair was of too serious a nature to be overlooked by the Government. It was debated whether the turbulent chieftain should be overcome by force, which, considering the difficulty of access to his country, would be attended with considerable trouble; or whether he ought not to be gained over by conciliation, and be thereby made a fitting instrument to keep the remainder of his name and kindred in subjection. Happily for Morrough and his descendants, the latter course was determined on. He was proffered a free and general pardon for all his offences; and that he should, moreover, be appointed by the Queen to the rule or chieftainship of the whole country of Iar-Connaught. He accepted the terms; and, accordingly, a pardon issued under the great seal, to "Morgho ne doo O'Flarte of Mogh (Fough) in the province of Connaght, gent., for all murders, homicides, killings, &c by him at any time heretofore committed;" in consideration whereof, he promised to "observe the Queen's peace, to appear and answer at all sessions within the province whenever called upon, and to satisfy the demands of all the Queen's subjects, according to justice and equity*." This pardon was accompanied by letters patent, constituting him chieftain of Iar-Connaught. The curious instrument by which that mere Irish jurisdiction was, through necessity, countenanced and legalized by the Queen, is here given from the original:—

"Elisabeths Dei gratia, Anglie, Francie et Hibernie Regina, fidei defensor, &c. omnibus ad quos presentes littere pervenerint, salutem. Sciatis quod nos, de vera obe


1 See p. 6U, ante; also Dutton's Statistical Survey co. Galway, p. 241. About this time a horrible scene of outrage occurred in Iar-Connaught among the O'Flahertiea. Hugh og (Gen. Table, II. No 33), chief of the territory of Gnobeg, which comprised the southern portion of the present barony of Moycullen), being old and infirm, his son, Mortagh (Id. No. 34), assumed the chieftainship. Some differences having arisen between him and Donall Crone (Id. No. 34), then chief of all the O'Klahcrties, and the septs of Edmond O'Flaherty (Id. No. 34), and of Moriertagh reagh; these all conspired against Mortagh of Gnobeg, and murdered him and four of his children. They then took the old chief, Hugh, and him they Imprisoned in his castle of Moycullen, where they "detained him without meat or IRISH arch. 80C. 15.

drinke until he died by famyn." These malefactors were at the time branded with the name of "murderers." Their avowed object was to wrest the territory of Gnobeg from the descendants of Gilduff, (Id. No. 31), by cutting off the entire race; but in that they failed, for an infant child of Mortagh, viz. Rory or Roderic (Id. No. 35), was preserved, and succeeded to the inheritance. It will be seen in the Geneaological Table, that this Rory was grandfather of our author (Id. No. 37). It does not appear that Morrough of the battle-axes had any hand in this transaction; but that he had formed designs on Gnobeg will appear in the sequel.

k Original Fiant of Queen Elizabeth, preserved in the Rolls' Office, Dublm, File xvii. No. 1134.

3 D

diencia Moroghe ne do Mc Teige O'Flariye erga nos et succe3sores nostros, qui se ad capitaneatum patrie de Ehyrconaght humiliter petiit per nos admitti; propterea quod Donaldus Crone CPFlarty, nunc capitaneus patrie predicte, non est sufficiens nec idoneus ad officium illud exercendum, nec in ullo regimine et gubernatione expertus, ad illam patriam gubernandam, minusque habilis ad capitaneatum illud exequendum, tum etiam propter disobedienciam suam: nos igitur plurimum confidentes, eundem Morogh ne do M° Teige O'Fflartie, de gratia nostra speciali, ac ex certa scientia et mero motu nostris, ex assensu predilecti et fidelis consiliarii nostri Henrici Sidney, &c. deputati nostri generalis regni nostri Hibernie, capitaneum patrie predicte nominamus, ordinamus, preficimus et deputamus, per presentes; habendum, tenendum et occupandum dictum officium capitaneatus patrie predicte, cum omnibus et singulis commoditatibus, proficuis, advantagiis, pertinenciis, et emolumentis quibuscunque eidem officio quomodolibet spectantibus, eidem Moroghe ne do Ml Teige O'Fflartie, quamdiu se bene gesserit ut noster fidelis subditus, ac patriam predictam et nostros bonos subditos in eadem rite tuerit et gubernaverit; accedatque ad nostrum deputatum, seu alium vel alios dicti regni nostri gubernatorem sive gubernatores pro tempore existentes, et ad concilium regni nostri predicti, quandocunque et quotiescunque sic ad eos accedere habuerit in mandatis. Ac insuper volumus et concedimus, quod predictus Morogh ne do M° Teig O'Fflartie solvet prefato deputato nostro, pro fine nominationis ejusdem Morogh ne do Mc. Teig O'Fflartie, ac admissions sua ad capitaneatum predictum, quadraginta pingues vaccas, et eas liberet apud Galwey, secundum placitum et voluntatem deputati nostri predicti; reservatis semper nobis et successoribus nostris, omnibus et singulis talibus juribus, servitiis, oneribus et demandis, que extra patriam predictam, de antiquo, exeunt et nobis sunt debita; et idem Morogh ne do Mc. Teig O'Fflartie, ratione capitaneatus sui predicti, prestare et solvere tenetur. Eo quod expressa mentio, &c. In cujus rei, &c. Teste &c Datum 20° die Octobris, anno regni undecimo1," A. D. 1569.

In the interesting account of the battle of Shruel, given by the Four Masters, A. D. 1570, it is stated, that Morrough of the battle-axes was present with the Bourkes of Mayo, and fought in that battle against the Queen's forces. This appears somewhat unaccountable, particularly after his recent adhesion and appointment. But it may be possible that he was mistaken by the Annalists for some other chief of the namem.


1 Rot. Pat. de anno 12° Eliz. fac.

m This is merely conjectural. The Four Masters are seldom wrong. It is a singular fact, that there are on record, no less than five general pardons, for

treasons, murders, &c., granted under the great seal to Murrough of the battle-axes, by Queen Elizabeth. But these political indulgences were encouraged as sources of revenue, from the fines which they produced.

« PreviousContinue »