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The History and Topography of the County of Clare by James Frost

Part II. History of Thomond
Chapter 12. History of Thomond before it was formed into an English county: From the earliest times, to the death of De Clare, and expulsion of the English in 1318.

Further struggles of the O’Briens with de Clare for supremacy

A.D. 1311. Accompanied by Dermot, the grandson of Brian Roe, de Clare, made an incursion into Burren. They marched in two separate divisions. The first night, Dermot encamped at Criothmaill (Crughwill) and de Clare at Cnoc Dloghain. [42] Donogh, son of Turlogh O’Brien, prepared to oppose them, and that night he lay at Sliabh Cairin. On the following day, advancing towards the enemy, he arrived at Glean Caoin (Glenquin). There, he was treacherously slain by Murrogh, son of Mahone O’Brien, a man distantly related to him by blood. De Clare, whose policy it was always to depress the power of the lawful king, resolved to supply the vacancy thus created in the chieftaincy, by the appointment, as king over Thomond, of his ally Dermot, the grandson of Brian Roe. With that design, he summoned the adherents of Dermot to assemble at Magh Adhar, and they named him king accordingly. He was installed by Loghlen, son of Cuvea MacNamara. But an opponent soon appeared in the person of Murtogh, brother of the late king. Supported by the de Burgos, he marched into Thomond, by Bealach-an-Fhiodhfail, [43] where he was joined by Loghlen Reagh O’Dea, and by the sons of Donogh O’Dea, at the head of the forces of Cineal Fearmaic. Thus reinforced, he placed himself to guard the entrance of the wood. Dermot instantly arrived, fully determined to contest the pass. A fierce fight followed, in which Dermot was worsted. An assembly of the partisans of Murtogh was convoked at Magh Adhar, and at this meeting, he was chosen king of Thomond, and Loghlen MacNamara nominated as its hereditary Lord Marshall.

In the interval between the years 1311 and 1316, scarcely anything deserving of description happened in Thomond. It is stated in the work from which we have been quoting, that the struggle for supremacy between the O’Briens went on without cessation. It is mentioned that a fruitless attempt was made to seduce Loghlen Reagh O’Dea and his clan from their allegiance to Murtogh O’Brien; that Sheeda MacNamara plundered Burren, and while carrying his prey home by way of Connaught was seized by an illness of which he died, “bequeathing his body to St. Brendan of Birr.” It is further recorded that Murtogh O’Brien plundered Ui Dobharcan, [44] and immediately afterwards the district of Cille-o-na-Suileach (Klinasoolagh near Newmarket-on-Fergus); that Loghlen MacNamara was made prisoner by de Clare, at Bunratty; that the adherents of Brian Roe, of Ara, killed Loghlen and Maoelsaghlen MacNamara, beheading them and casting their bodies into Coolmeen Lake, near Sixmilebridge. Mahone MacNamara, being elected chief of the tribe, and called the MacNamara, lost no time in taking steps to avenge the death of his kinsmen. He summoned to his aid the O’Kellys, de Burgos, O’Madigans, and Butlers of Galway; M’Crath O’Dea, and Donald O’Dea, of Inchiquin; the O’Loghlens, and Comyns, of Burren. Joined by these, he marched to a place called Ballyiconway, where he was apprised by O’Shanny, that his enemies waited for him at Tulla O’Dea. He immediately attacked and defeated them. In 1314, Donogh, grandson of Brien Roe, was elected king at Magh Adhar, in opposition to his cousin Murtagh, who was the legitimate ruler. The MacNamaras, in this year, invaded Ui Rongaile (Kilnoe and Killuran), and subdued the O’Shanahans and O’Kennedys. Being reinforced by the O’Kellys and the O’Madigans of Galway, they proceeded on their marauding expedition to Inis-na-mona and Dangan-i-Grada (in the parish of Tomgraney). After burning the last named place they encamped next night at Magh Maolain. There they defeated the grandsons of Brian Roe, and made them flee westwards by Bealach-an-Fhiodhfail, in the parish of Kilkeedy. About this time Edward Bruce, with his Scots, invaded Ireland. The principal men of Munster being assembled at Limerick, selected Murrogh O’Brien as their chief to oppose him. Murrogh shortly afterwards went to Dublin to attend the Parliament held there, his main business being to take care that de Clare should not traduce him before the assembly. In the following year (1317), he resolved to make a decisive effort to overmaster his rival and cousin, and at the same time to crush the power of the English strangers. He got his brother Dermot to call together his partisans at Rath Laithín (Rathlaheen), to consult with them as to the best mode of attaining those objects.