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

Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Kilshanny (b)

There is a holy well about half a furlong south east of it dedicated to Saint Augustine, where a Patron is still held on Saint Augustine’s Day, the 28th of August.

There is a large cairn called Carn-Connactach or the Cairn of the Connachtmen in the Townland of Ballygheely in this Parish, measuring one hundred paces in circumference, tapering to the top, and about twenty five feet in height. The tradition in the neighbourhood is that a multitude of Connachtmen on one occasion followed a large serpent from their own country to this place, where they succeeded in killing it, and each having carried a stone in his hand in the pursuit, they all threw them into one heap here on the death of their prey, and hence the name. This is very unsatisfactory, and must, of course, be a fabulous account of the origin of the cairn in question, which is more likely to have been raised by the inhabitants to commemorate some victory over the people whose name it bears, or raised by the Connacians to commemorate a loss; nor would I be surprised if the following translation, taken from the Annals of the Four Masters, was the cause or origin of the Carn Connachtach.

A.D. 1088. Corcomroe was plundered by Roderick (O’Conor) thrice, and it is a wonder if either cattle or people were left without being killed on that occasion, and there were three of the nobles of Connaught treacherously killed on that occasion, viz., Giolla-Coirpthe, the son of Cathal O’Mughroin, Chief of the Clan-Cathail, and Cu-Sionna, son of Murchadh-Odhar, Chief of the Clan-Tomaltaigh, and the son of Giolla-Chriost, son of Echtighearn, Chief of Corca-Achlann.

There is a holy well in the Townland of Cachoomannagh, dedicated to Saint Seanan, but it is now entirely neglected.

There is a another holy well in the Townland of Cahirlooscan dedicated to Inghean-Bhaoith, Patroness of Kilnaboy. It lies north east of Kilshanny Chapel some distance, and is now seldom frequented, though its water is still believed to be good for the cure of sore eyes.

There is another holy well in the Townland of Ballymacravan called Tobar-na-Crabhain or Mac Cravan’s Well at which Stations are still continued to be performed and cures expected.

The Castle of Baile-an-Ghabhan i.e., Smithstown, stands in good preservation in the Townland of Baile-an-Ghobhan, and was inhabited within the last forty years. This Castle is mentioned in O’Donnell’s plundering excursion into Thomond in the year 1600, as given in the Annals of the Four Masters, and already quoted in treating of other Parishes of this Barony. This castle is also enumerated in the List of Castles in Tuathmore-Ui-Conor i.e., the great Lordship of O’Conor, preserved in MS. in Trinity College class E.2.14, so often referred to while treating of this part of Clare, and said to be possessed by Teige McMurrogh (O’Brien). There are three Cahirs in this Parish, but not deserving of any particular notice.