Clare County Library
Clare History
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | Search this Website | Copyright Notice

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

Part I. Topography of Thomond Chapter 9. Ui Fearmaic; Gleann Omra; Ui Bracain; Ui Floinn; Ui Ronghaile

Ui Fearmaic

Ruan parish; Family of MacBrody hereditary poets of Thomond; Certificate of Conor MacBrody, prefixed to the Annals of the Four Masters authenticating that work

The ruined church of Ruan contains a votive chapel with a tomb exhibiting the following inscription:

“This chapel and tomb were erected by Dermot O’Kerine of Owan, for him and his posterities’ use, 1688. En mors ante fores, mundi si quæris honores, crimina deplores, pro me te deprecor ores.”

The O’Griffys of Cloon-na-clochane have a monumental stone within the church. In the townlands of Kilkee East and of Portlecka in the parish, are burial grounds. On Bealnalicka are found the remains of a castle which belonged to Mahone O’Dea; at Portlecka stood another castle, but we have no account of the name of the owner; and at Dromore is a castle in excellent preservation, with this inscription:

“This castle was built by Teige, second son to Connor, Third Earle of Thomond, and by Slaney O’Brien, wife to the said Teige. Anno. D.”

In the parish of Ruan is situate Tullaghodea, a place frequently mentioned by the Annalists, and by Magrath in his History of the Wars of Thomond. Ballybrody, Kilkee, and Littermoylan, long the property of the family of Mac Brody, are situated in the parish. The MacBrodys were hereditary poets and historians of the O’Briens of Thomond, and the references to members of their family are very numerous in the records of Ireland. Prefixed to the Annals of the Four Masters and to the Martyrology of Donegal, both works of great erudition, are certificates of various learned men, among which are two from Conor MacBrody, son of Maolín Oge, setting forth that they had been submitted to him for perusal, and that he found them erudite and accurate in every respect. The documents expressing these opinions are the dated 11th of November, 1636, not many years before MacBrody and his kindred were deprived for ever of the hereditary lands that had belonged to them for so many centuries; these were held by them, free from all tribute, by virtue of their office of chroniclers of the kings and people of Thomond. Deprived of education, their descendants quickly sunk from the position of gentlemen and scholars to the condition of unlettered peasants. Under the year 1595, the Annals of the Four Masters record the death, at Lettermoylan, of an eminent literary man, who, no doubt, at the time was on a visit to his brother historian. His name was Maccon O’Clery, Ollav in history of O’Donnell of Tyrconnell, and a member of the honourable family of that name, to whom, as transcribers of the records of Ireland, so much credit is due. It is scarcely necessary to add that the Annals of the Four Masters, one of the most perfect historical records possessed by any country, has been the compilation mainly of the brothers O’Clery, relations of the man whose death is here recorded. Subjoined we give such other references to the family of MacBrody as are found in these Annals:

“A.D. 1654. Dermot, son of Conor, son of Dermot, son of John MacBrody, Ollav of Ui Brecain and Ui Fearmaic, died, and his brother Maolín succeeded him.
“A.D. 1582. Máolín MacBrody, son of Conor, son of Dermot, son of John, Ollav to O’Brien in history, died, and his kinsman Gilla Brighdé, was elected in his place.
“A.D. 1601. MacBrody, i.e., Maolín Oge, son of Maolín, son of Conor, died. There was not in Ireland a better historian, poet, and rhymer than he.”