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

Part I. Topography of Thomond Chapter 8. Ui Cormaic; Ui Donghaile

Ui Donghaile

Tomgraney Parish; Church and Round Tower

There is much obscurity about the history of the origin of the church of Tuaim Gréine. That the name of the founder was Cronán is proved by the fact that the Abbots of the place are termed Coarbs of Cronán; but to which of the many saints who bore that name the erection of the church is due, it is difficult to decide. No life of Cronán of Tuaim Gréine is given by Colgan, and until some life of the saint is discovered, no correct opinion can be formed touching the date of the building of his church. In the Martyrology of Donegal we read at October 19th, “Cronán of Tuaim Gréine.” Dr. Lanigan is inclined to believe that he is identical with Cronán, founder of Roscrea, who flourished in the latter part of the sixth century. It is certain that Cronán of Roscrea had been on the west side of the Shannon, and had formed some religious establishments there before he settled at Roscrea. Inchicronain, and Tempul Chronain in Carron parish, are probably of his foundation. His memory is venerated on the 28th of April. The notices in the annals relating to this place are as follows:—

A.D. 735. Maincheine of Tuaim Gréine, died.—Four Mast.
A.D. 744. Connall, Abbot of Tuaim Gréine, died.—Ibid.
A.D. 747. Reachtabhrat Ua Guaire, Abbot of Tuaim Gréine, died.—Ibid.
A.D. 789. Cathnia Ua Guaire, Abbot of Tuaim Gréine, died.—Ibid.
A.D. 886. The Abbey of Tuaim Gréine was plundered.—Trias Thaum., p. 634.
A.D. 949. The Abbey of Tuaim Gréine was plundered.—Ibid.
A.D. 964. Cormac Ua Cillín, of the Ui Fiachrach Aidhne (Kilmaaduagh), Comarb of Ciaran and Comán, and Comarb of Tuaim Gréine, by whom the great church of Tuaim Gréine and its Cloictech were constructed, “Sapiens et Senex, et Episcopus, quievit in Christo”—A.D. 965. [30]
A.D. 1002. Donnghal, son of Beon, Abbot of Tuaim Gréine, died.—Four Mast.
A.D. 1012. Brian Boroimhe repaired the steeple (Cloigteach) at this time.—Four Mast.
A.D. 1026. Conall Ua Cillén, successor of Cronán of Tuaim Gréine, died.
A.D. 1031. MacDealbhaeth, successor of Cronán of Tuaim Gréine, died.
A.D. 1078. Cormac Ua Beain, successor of Cronán of Tuaim Gréine, died.
A.D. 1084. O’Rourke of Breifné reduced the Abbey to ashes. [31]
A.D. 1093. The successor of Cronán of Tuaim Gréine died.
A.D. 1100. Macraith Ua Flaithen, successor of Ciaran and Cronán of Tuaim Gréine, died on his pilgrimage to Achadhbo.
A.D. 1164. The Abbey was again reduced to ashes this year. [32]
A.D. 1170. It was plundered again about this time. [33]
A.D. 1185. Cenfaela O’Grady, successor of Cronán of Tuaim Gréine, died.
A.D. 1485. Nicholas O’Grady, Abbot of Tuaim Gréine, a charitable and truly hospitable man, who was free in Limerick, died. [34]

In the passage quoted above from the Chronicon Scotorum, the earliest record of the erection of an Irish round tower is to be found, and Keating informs us that this of Tomgraney was repaired about forty-three years afterwards by Brian Boroimhe. It no longer exists, but Dr. Petrie, writing in 1842, states that, according to the tradition of the older natives of the place, some remains were to be seen forty years previously. Tomgraney Church is now used as a Protestant place of worship. [35]

In the parish of Tomgraney stood the castles of Tomgraney and Scariff, both belonging in 1560 to Edmond O’Grady. Only one holy well, that of St. Cronan, exists in the parish. It is situate in the townland of Currakyle.