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

Part I. Topography of Thomond Chapter 3. Burren, or Corcomroe East

Carran Parish; Ancient church of St. Cronan, remarkable window; Valley and church of St. Columbkille

The old parish church of Carran is in a good state of preservation, but it presents no features of interest requiring description. Its date is of the fifteenth century. It is otherwise, however, with the very ancient church which stands on the lands of Termon, in this parish, and which is dedicated to St. Cronan (probably St. Cronan of Roscrea and Tomgraney [24]). This interesting structure, notwithstanding that it is almost coeval with christianity in Ireland, is still in nearly perfect preservation. It is photographed in the great work of Lord Dunraven, [25] under its Irish name of Teampul Chronain. It is a small oratory, measuring in length inside 21 feet and in breadth 12 feet 9 inches. The masonry is cyclopean and not built in courses, thus indicating its very great antiquity. The doorway, as in all the very early Christian buildings in Ireland, is in the west wall, and inclines inwards towards the top. On the east gable is a very remarkable window, a drawing of which is given in Petrie’s work on the Irish Round Towers. [26] It is quadrangular on the inside, and round on top outside. About one hundred yards distant from this church is a holy well dedicated to St. Cronan, and at an equal distance in another direction stand a pedestal and a shaft of a cross of considerable height, which, with others no longer existing, are supposed to mark the Termon of St. Cronan. In this parish is situated the beautiful valley of Glencolumbkill, in which there is a church dedicated to St. Columbkill, five centuries old, and in all likelihood, occupying the site of one of still higher antiquity. Near at hand was the residence of Murtagh, son of Mr. Turlogh O’Brien; supposed by O’Donovan, when he visited the place in 1839 to be the next heir to the Marquisate of Thomond. A tomb of his family stands in the church, with the following inscription:—“Here lieth the body of Captain Cornelius O’Brien, who departed this life A.D. 1753, who was grandson of General Murtagh O’Brien, that was brother to Murrogh, first Earl of Inchiquin. This monument was erected by Murtagh O’Brien, in memory of his wife Bridget O’Brien, alias MacNamara, who died July 24th, 1800, aged 66 years.” The remains of four castles exist in this parish, namely, Castletown, Cappagh, Crughwill, and Glencolumbkill, all belonging in 1580 to members of the family of O’Loghlen. The name of only one of them is given, that of Ross O’Loghlen, proprietor of the castle of Glencolumbkill. [27]