Kilbrin Parish

Sheet 23, 6 inch O.S. Sheet 164, 1 inch O.S.

Kilbrin is the Irish for "St. Bran’s Church" (O’Donovan).

Also see Canon J .F. Lynch’s remarks. (These "Notes" I., 256).

Kilbrin probably belonged to the Sept of the O’Callaghan, for the Book of Dist. and Survey gives:-

Island and Gortenbagh (Kilbrin Parish). The property of Donogh O’Callaghan, an Irish Papist, consisted of 343a. 2r. 16p. It was granted on forfeiture after the rebellion of 1641-2 to Dame Eliz. Fenton” (P.R.O. Irld.).

The Field Book of 1840 informs us that Kilbrin is a large parish, nearly all arable, rest rough pasture, rocks, and a piece of bog. It contains about 40 Danish fort sites, an old abbey, one holy well, site of an old castle, part of the townland of Kanturk, a mound, fox covert, a small Protestant church in a graveyard. It is in ruins. One old church and graveyard, one R.C. chapel. About nine gentlemen’s houses, and eight demesnes, an old cave, several wells, portions of rivers and streams, limestone quarries and lime kilns.

Tubber Eamon. - In the townland of Knockballymartin, the name of a well which has got its name from the builder, Edward Freeman, Esq., over which he got the words, "Tubber Eamon" inscribed (or Edward’s Well) from the circumstance of his own name being Edward.

Kylerue Graveyard. - a Danish fort, lately made a graveyard for strangers.

River View House.. - John Philpot, Esq., name of a house lately built. Not in good repair in consequence of the proprietor not living in it.

Corbally House. - A good thatched house, with fir plantations around it. Patrick Shine, Esq., occupant.

Corbally Cottage. - A neat thatched cottage with some wood around it, the resident of Mr. Denis O’Connor.

Springfield Cottage. - At western boundary of the townland of Drummin, Alex, Terinane, Esq., proprietor. The name of a gentleman’s house without a demesne. A good large house.

Ballymacpierce Cottage. - Rev. Corn. Scully, P.P., occupant. A good house have a demesne attached.

Kilbrin. - Name of a poor hamlet.

The Black Well. - A good spring well in Mr. Shine’s lawn, Corbally House.

Knockaunawinna. - “Hillock of the brake or briery,” name of a mound or knock. An eminence in townland of Lackaleigh. `

Sheehan’s Mill. - On townland of Greenaun. A small thatched oat meal mill and tuck mill, nearly a ruin.

Lougheel House. - A good house and residence of Charles O’Daly, Esq.

Chieftain’s Ford (Rathmaher). - On the boundary of Lachleigh in Kilbrin and Rathmaher in Castlemagner, about 20 chains S.E. of Rathmaher House. A ford so called from a chieftain of the Irish army, who was killed here on his retreat from the battle of Knocknanuss, by a man named “Samuells". Some of the latter’s offspring are still inhabitants convenient to this plant (Ord. Sur. Off`., Dub.).

The larger houses will be treated under separate articles.

Castle Cor is the post office in the parish of Kilbrin. In 1889 the population of the parish was 1,675.

Mr. Patrick Herlihy, National schoolmaster at Ballygrady, informs me that during the tithe war, circa 1830-38, the people of the Kilbrin district resisted more actively the attempts at the tithe collection than those of the surrounding districts, and a detachment of soldiers were stationed here until peace reigned again. They were under the command of Sir Hugh Gough, who subsequently distinguished himself in India. They were camped in a field adjoining the village, which,ever since, has been called the “camp field".

The old people claim that the ceremony of “burying the tithes” (compare the modern burning in effigy) begun at Kilbrin.

According to the Directory of Noted Places in Ireland, Robert Crofts, Esq., resided at Kilbrin in 1814 (p. 228).

Dr. George Bolster, R. N., J. P., adds:-

Mr. Robert Crofts resided at Clonribbon, Kilbrin. He was a younger son of Crofts of Velvetstown. He married a Miss Nash of Ballyheen (B.L. G.), and had issue one son and two daughters. The son was the late Dr. Crofts of Cork. The elder daughter married J. Purcel of Ballygrady, and Eliza, the younger, married Richard Bolster of Summerville, Mall (see Bolster Pedigree under Curraghbower).


1291. "Ecca de Kylbryn IImr. unde decia IIs. VIIId.” — “Capella Rogi Calin XXs. unde decia IIs.” (Tax P. Nic.) Brady, II. 245).

The Rectory and tithes of Kilbrine was granted to Sir John Jephson, Kt., 12th Dec., 10 James I. (P.R.O., Irld.).

The Rev. William Sheehan was P.P. in 1704 (see these "notes,” I. 139).

An abstract of the "state of Popery in the Diocese of Cloyne,” 6 Nov., 1731, shows Kilbrin, one new Mass-house, one Popish priest, with two Coadjutors, no Fryary, no Nunnery, no Popish School (“Journal" for 1893, p. 50).

Lewis (pub. 1837) gives: - In the R.C. Divisions this parish is the head of a union or district, which also comprises the parishes of Ballyclough, Drumdowney and Kilmaclenan; the principal chapel, at the cross of Kilbrin, is a large and handsome slated building of recent erection, lighted with pointed windows; there is also a chapel at Ballyclough. A school is supported by Major Freeman, who allows £20 per annum and a house and garden for the master, in this and in two private schools, about 70 children are educated (II. 56, under Kilbrin).

Mathew Horgan, writing in 1839, states: - “It was on the 12th June I happened to pass through the fine demesne of Castlecor, near which I passed by the old cemetery of Kilbrin, which was walled on the south side, and an earthen fence protected it on the north. There were a great many headstones with inscriptions facing the east, and some vestiges of the ancient building as yet existing, and, for the time it appeared to be built, was rather extensive, which was about the beginning of the 15th century. The walls were three and a half feet thick, and about ten feet high, but the ground was much raised about it from the long accumulation of earth and bones. One side door remains as yet perfect, the jambs are well carved, and the arch equilateral, protected or relieved by a counter one. The entire graveyard is overspread with wrought stones, probably taken from this ruin, so that it appeared to be long since a place of some note, and took its name from the founder, who was called O’Byrne.” (Joumal for 1897, p. 81).

Kilmaco Church. - The site of this church is on the Townland of Curraheen, about 250 yards south of Tubberkilmaco Holy Well.

The Field Book of 1840 records: - Kylerue Graveyard. - a Danish Fort lately made a graveyard for strangers.

Tubberkilmaco Holy Well, "well of the church of Mochua.” - A Holy Well in townland of Curraheen. A good ancient well with a few trees around it. It is said to cure many diseases.

The Kyle, "the church or burial place." - An ancient graveyard not used now. In townland of Ballyheen Middle (Ord. Sur. Off, Dub.).

I visited Kilbrin Graveyard in 1905, and the only remains of the old church that I could see was a masonry backing to a tombstone, bearing the following inscriptions-

Erected by Mary and Johanna O’Keeff`e of (?Keilluterah), in memory of their beloved husbands, Mich. O’Keeffe, who died Decr. 25, 1843, aged 61 yrs., and Coms. O’Keeffe, died May 17, 1836, aged 74 years, also Margt. O’Keeffe daughter to said Mary and Michl., dept. this life Jany. 15, 1827, aged 18 years.”

(There is some more writing underground.)

On an upright stone next to above I read: - “Here lies ye body of Darby Savage of Knockalohert, who dies Xber ye 26th, 1784, aged 30 years.”

This churchyard is still used as a burial place. It has apparently been enlarged. I again visited this graveyard in company of Mr. James Buckley (Chairman Irish Text Society) and Mr. Patrick Herlihy, National Schoolmaster of Ballygrady. We noticed a carved female head inserted in the wall to the right of the gate entrance to the graveyard. According to local tradition it was removed from a monastery in the vicinity. Rounds are paid here, and small stones are placed over the figure.

The following is the inscription on Dr. Rowland Kerby’s tombstone:-


"Here lies ye body of ye Revd. Doctr. Rowland Kerby, who departed this life the 8th day of April, 1764.

Aged 61 years.

I am informed that Dr. Kerby was a Franciscan Friar and came from Wexford. He was probably a tutor at the Freemans of Castle Cor. He is said to have converted one of the young Freemans to Roman Catholicism, who lived a daily life with the Friar, and although he long survived his priest-friend,tradition has it, that he was buried immediately behind the Doctor’s grave. Dr. Kerby’s tombstone faces the opposite way to the other tombstones, being a priest he faces his flock.

On a tombstone we deciphered:-

"Here lies the body of Danl. Sheehane of Clash, who deceased April ye 10th, 1726, who begs mercy of ye Almighty and intreats ye prayers of all good Christians. Also the body of his wife, Ioan Sheehan, deceased Aprl. ye 10th, 1730, aged 60 years. Dane Sheehan of Glouncomaune renewed and regifted his tomb and ground in memy of his ...ily, may their souls rest in peace. Amen. July ye 10th 1838.”

The following inscriptions on tombstones in Kilbrin graveyard were kindly copied for me by a friend in 1908:-

"The burying place of the family of ye Revd. Ty. Wm. Roche, July 17th, 1742.


The Rev. Mauc. Hallahan erects this stone over his burial place intending to rest amongst his people.

May he and They rest in eternal peace. Amen".

It seems he was Parish Priest of the Parish. Though he intended to be buried amongst his own flock, we know not for certain, that Kilbrin graveyard is the “place of his resurrection," a phrase the Irish saints were in the habit of using, with regard to the place of their death. The date of his death is not given, probably he expected that would be added after his demise.

Half a mile south of Kilbrin, in the townland of Currough, in farm of Daniel Nugent, J .P., was a white thorn tree which fell about 1887, Sceach na Graig is the name of the field. Mass was said in Penal times under this tree, and while it stood it was held in extreme veneration. No person passed it without touching his hat.

According to local tradition, the old burial place was at Ballyhast. In ancient times a man was conveying the remains of his child on a foggy morning to Ballyhast churchyard. He lost his way and deposited the corpse by mistake at Kilbrin, which was afterwards used as a burial ground.

Kilbrin Church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

In the townland of Knockballymartin is a field about 25 yards south of the road, which bears the name of "Martin’s field,” after a jester to the Freeman Family. According to tradition, a large rock in the field was thrown there by Finn Mac Coul from the Mushera Mountain, near Millstreet.

As previously mentioned, Kilbrin was joined to Ballyclough Parish, and information will be found garding the former parish under Ballyclough Parish (R.C.), Vol. I., p. 139, of these “Notes”.

Mr. James Byrne, J .P., Wallstown Castle, adds: - In the Catholic Church at Kilbrin, there are tablets to the memory of the Rev. Thaddeus Leader, P.P., and Father Scully, C.C. The latter took a leading part in the anti-tithe agitation.

Translated from Pipe Roll of Cloyne, by Caulfield’s Ed.

Commenced A.D. 1364. Referring to some Jurors-

These jurors say that David Myagh, son of Philip holds Kilbryne, Killoyne, and Kyllinery; which Kylbryne is held of HL the Bishop of Clone, by service of 40 pence yearly; and Thomas Kyrry holds Kylcornan from the same Bishop by service of 40 pence. And they say that Richard de Myd, senior, and his predecessors paid the said lord Bishop yearly out of Kylbryn 16 3 /4 pence.

P . 26 Kylbryne, which Richard son of Thomas de Med and Philip son of de Med, contains iiii. (xx.) iiii. acres and a half paying...“


Brady gives the following roll of clergy, etc., of Kilbrin Parish. He also gives their family history in most cases. I have omitted this.

1591. Dermicius Sehully (?Scully) is Vicar. Rectoria de Kilbrin spectat Prior Bothon (Buttevant).

1615. Peter Betesworth is Vicar and Emanuel Phaire is Curate. Vale. 4 Impropriator, Johes Jephson, miles.

1616. Patrick Coyne, V.

1693. Edward Sayers, 1694, Kilbrin, als. Roger Calvi, val.10 pounds.

1730. Peter Bunworth, A.M.

1735. William Lewis, A.M.

1742. Robert Brereton, A.M. 1762, Brereton, non—resident, yearly income, £200.

1764. Charles Bunworth, A.M.

1773. Thomas Hewitson. 1774, value £10O per an. Church in ruins. Pat. the Bp. Glebe, 4r. Plant. Proxy 9s. Taxed in the King’s books, £1 ster. John Longfield, Esq., Imp. 1782. Francis L Clement, A.M. In 1782, Aug. 9, Edward Syng appears to have been instituted to V. Kilbrin, but he probably resigned immediately, as in 1787, Aug. 30, Francis Clement is instituted to Kilbrin V. per cess. ejusden Clement and to V. Liscarroll, per cess. Of Jeremiah King. 1785, Protestant pop. of Kilbrin, 22; of Rogeri Calvi, o.

1789. Ap. 8. An order in Counsil changes the site of the parish church of Kilbrin.

1802. The new church of Kilbrin was consecrated.

1805. The old parish register begins. 13 protestant families in Kilbrin and Cooliney.

1809. Sackville Robert Hamilton.

1828. Nicholas Wrixon. The new parish register begins.

1834. Prot. pop. of Kilbrin, 53.

1837. Kilbrin union with cure consisting of Kilbrin and Liscarroll. Kilbrin vicarage, 4 and a half miles long, by three and a half broad. The union contains 18,300 a. Gross pop. 6,338. One curate employed at a stipend of £75 per an. Composition for the vicarial tithes of Kilbrin par., £420. 8a. or. 15 3/4 p. of glebe let for £10. No glebe house. One church, situated in Kilbrin parish, capable of accommodating 130 persons, built about the year 1790.

1860. N. Wrixon, V. William Stewart, Curate. Church in order. No glebe house. Incumbent resides at Ballygiblin, within half a mile of the parish, and the curate resides also within the same distance of the boundary. No school. Prot. pop., 45. Rent charge of Kilbrin, £315. (II., 245). Cole (pub. 1903) adds:- Kilbrin and Liscarroll. These parishes were united from remote times.

1869. Edward George Jones. The church pop. is about 30. There is no glebe house or land. Rev. E.G. Jones resigned and retired in 1899, and the parishes of Kilbrin and Liscarroll were then added to Castlemagner (p. 216). Rev. E.G. Jones resided at Cecilstown Lodge near the village of Cecilstown. His widow and family still live there. Cole gives the family history of the last Vicar.

In 1694, the Vicaria de Kilbrin als. Rogeri Calvi. formed one of the parishes of the union, consisting of Castlemagner, Ballyclough, Subolter, Kilmaclenyn, Roskeen, sitque ecclia de Castelmagner p’alis. In the Diocese of Cloyne (Brady, I., XXXVII.).

Townsend (pub. 1819) states that a new church was built at Kilbrin in 1794 (Addenda, p. 154).

Lewis (pub. 1837) gives: - The rectory is impropriate in Col. Longfield, and the vicarage forms part of the union of Liscarroll. The church, situated at Ballygrady, on the border of the parish, is a plain building with a square tower surmounted by a small spire; it was erected in 1788. There are no remains of the ancient church, but its extensive burial-ground is still used (II., 56, under Kilbrin).

The Field Book of 1840 states: - Ballygrady Church. Name of a small Protestant Church in the townland of Lougheel.

Kilbrin church. - The name of a Portestant Church in ruins, of which only a small portion of one of its walls now remain, and to which is attached a graveyard (Ord. Sur. Off, Dub.).

It appears by a pamphlet issued in 1879, that the Church of Kilbrin and its burial ground was vested in the Representative Body of the Church of Ireland. The Parochial Records, which consist of two volumes, are in the custody of the Rector of Castlemagner.

Baptisms, 1805 to 1875.

Marriages, 1805 to 1845.

Burials, 1805 to 1875.

(Corrected to 1st May, 1896 at P.R.O., Irld.)

There is an altar tomb in Kilbrin (or Ballygrady) churchyard belonging to the “Purcel Family of Altamira." It is the only one there.

The following tablets are in the church:-

"Erected by Edward Deane Freeman, Esq., to the memory of his affectionate brother, Lieut. Mathew Deane Freeman, late of Her Majesty’s 80th Regt., who died off the Cape of Good Hope, Augt. 13Th, 1846, from the effects of a wound received in action at Ferozebad, on the night of the 21st Deer., 1845. Aged 23 years. Also to his brother Richard Deane Freeman, R.N., who died on board H.M.S. Iris, 13th day of June, 1843. Aged 18 years. "

In memory of William Norton Barry, Esq. Born July 9th, 1814. Died January 23rd, 1871. This tablet is erected by his widow and son" (scriptural verses).

The church was repaired about 1900, at the expense of £20. The Communion Plate consists of a Chalice and Paten. The cup is of silver, and bears the following inscription, above which is a coat of arms, with a bishop’s mitre:- “Gulielmus Bennet, Episcopus Clonensis Ecclesiae de Kilbrin in usem mensae sacre D D D A.D. 1809.” The silver Paten bears the same inscription.

The coat of arms is probably those of the See of Cloyne, with those of the Family of Bennet, viz.: - on the dexter side, azure, between three crosses pateé, fitched at the foot, argent, a mitre of the second on the sinister side, gules, between three demi lions rampant, argent, a bezant. No motto. A mitre for crest.

In 1908, the Church Plate was in the custody of Mrs. O’Connor - a Protestant - living near the church of Kilbrin.

Extract from the "Pipe Roll of Cloyne”, Caulfield’s Edition:-

Qui jurati dicunt quod David Myagh filius Philippi tenet Kylbryne, Killoyne, et Kyllinery: quae Kylbryne tenetur de domino Episcopo Clone, per servitum Hd. per annum: et Thomas Kyrry tenet Kylcornan ab eodem Episcopo per servitium XLd.

Et dicunt quod Ricardus de Myd senior et antecessores sui solverunt dicto domino Episcopo annuatim de Kylbryn XVI.d. ob. quad (p. 16).

Kylbryne quam tenent Richardus filius Thomae de Med et Philippus filius Johannis de Med continet [III. (XX) IIII. acras terrae et dimidiam reddendo... (p. 26).

The Rectory of Kilbrin (with others) was granted to Sir John Jephson, Knt., Privy Councillor (Pat. 8, Jac. I. A.D. 1610).


Sheet 23, 6 inch O.S.; and Sheet 175, 1 inch O.S.

Ballyheen is the Irish for “ a little road or pass", “Finstown” (O’Donovan).

Parish of Kilbrin. Barony of Duhallow.

Rockfield House is in townland of Ballyheen Middle. It lies 3 miles east of Kanturk, which is the post town.

Smith’s Cork (pub. 1750) states: - “To the south of this (i.e. Assolas) is Ballyheen, alias Rockfield, a good improvement, belonging to Mrs. Thornhill. (Vol. I., p. 285). (Journal, p. 41, 1895). Mr. C. M. Tenison’s article on Cork M.P.’s: - “Brettridge Badham, Esq., of Ballyheene, was M.P. For Charleville, 1713-14, Rathcormac 1743-44. He was the son of Alderman Thomas Badham, of Cork, who m. (1677) Jane, daughter of Roger Brettridge, of Castlecope. He married first, 1709, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Henry Boyle, M.P., of Castlemartyr, but by her had no issue; secondly, 28th April, 1715, Hon. Sophia King, daughter of the third Lord Kingston, and had two sons (who both died young and unmarried), and one daughter, who married, first, R. Thornhill, and, secondly Lord Desart. Mr. Badham presented the address of the ‘Sovereign, Bailiff`, Freemen,’ &c., of Charleville to King George I. on his accession in 1714. He died July, 1744.”

By an indenture dated 6 Oct., 1774, between Edward Badham Thomhill, of Castlekevin, Co. Cork, Esq. (landlord), and Henry Wrixon, of Ballygibbin, same County, Esq., and John Wrixon, containing 87a. 17p., Irish plantation measure.

The tenure was for the lives of William Wrixon, only son of said Henry Wrixon, aged 18, Richard Harris, 4th son of Richard Harris, of Lisgriffin, aged 22, and said John Wrixon, aged 30, at a yearly rent of£60 19s. 6d.

This indenture appears to have been drafted by Daniel Bastable, of 4 Gloucester Street, Dublin. Marriage licence bonds in Dublin Record Office. John Nash, of Rockfield, gent., and Thomas Nash, of Ballynar, in Co. Cork, gent., to Mary Egan, of Parish of Clonfert. Applied for on 2nd Sept., 1780. A correspondent supplied me with the following: — Lease dated May 6th, 1788. John Nash, then of Rockfield, demised unto Michael Nash, therein described as of Rosacon, which were then in possession of John and Michael Nash lives of said John Nash, son of Thomas Nash, of Clonribbon, in the Co. of Cork, gentleman.

Lease of Rockfield for three lives, rent £100. Edward Badham Thornhill, Esq., to John Nash, Esq. Indenture made 23rd February, 1795, between Edward Badham Thornhill, Esq., City of Dublin, one part, and John Nash, Esq., of Ballymagooly, the County of Corke, of the second part, the lands about 88 acres of Ballyhen, called Rockfield, now and for some time past in the possession of the said John Nash and his under—tenants, during the natural life and lives of John Nash, Thomas Nash, and Patrick Nash, first and second and third sons of Thomas Nash, of Rockfield, aforesaid, gentleman. Witnessed by Henry Badham Thornhill, Cha. Croker, and Michael Nash.

It will be noted this has to do with extra lands, not house of Ballyheen, which was then and for some time past in possession of said John Nash.

The following is the inscription on the Nash vault, Kilbrin Graveyard:

"The burial place 0fNashes, of Rockfield. 1801 .”

The burials in the Nash family vault in Kilbrin graveyard are given in the Kilbrin Parish Register at the Public Record Office, Dublin.

Indenture of fee farm grant, dated 13th October, 1859, and registered 1st November, 1859, made between Christopher Crofts Nash, then of Ballyheen, Co. Cork, Esq., 1st part, and Caroline Margaret Nash, of Bath, England .... quotes from a certain grant perpetuity, dated 4 April, 1859, from Richard Aldworth to Christopher Crofts Nash. Probate of the last will and testament of John Nash, late of Rockfield in Co. Cork, gentleman, deceased. Will dated 10th May, 1832. Probate 15 Dec., 1832.

In the name of God. Amen.

I, John Nash, of Rockfield, in the Co. of Cork, gentleman, being of sound mind .... "

Lease of Rossacon by Peter Bunworth, of Newmarket, to John Nash, of Rockfield, dated 2nd July, 1772. In Record Office, Dublin. 28 September, 1809. Settlement on the marriage of John Nash, Esq., and Miss Crofts.

Indenture made on 28 September, 1809, between Thomas Nash, of Rockfield, Esq., 1st part, Thomas Nash, junior, of Rockfield, Esq., 4th part, and it is further agreed by the said parties to those presents that in case Barbara Nash, now the wife of the said Thomas Nash, party hereto, should outlive the said Thomas Nash, that then and in such case she, the said Barbara, shall and will use, occupy, possess and enjoy the dwelling house and offices and kitchen garden on the demesne lands of Rockfield, aforesaid, so settled by the said Thomas Nash on the said John Nash, party hereto, together with the grass and hay for one horse and two cows, rent free, on said lands for and during the term of her natural life, and no longer ....

By this document it will be seen that John Nash, on his marriage with Miss Crofts, was to get Rockfield and lands on the death of his father, Thomas Nash, subject to the provision made for his mother, Barbara Nash, wife of said Thomas Nash. In a codicil written on the cover of deed it states that in it is included also "that part of the lands of Ballyheen called the west garden, held by the said Thomas Nash under a certain article or agreement bearing date 27 April, 1800, to him executed by John Purcell, Esq., for lives renewable for ever ...”

In 1814, Thomas Nash, Esq., lived at Rockfield. The post town as Kanturk. (Directory of Noted Places, Ireland, 1814). Thomas Nash, Esq., resided at Ballyheen in 1824. (Pigott.) Lewis (pub. 1837) gives: — Ballyheene, the deserted mansion of the Thornhill family (under Kilbrin). In 1893, Mr. Christopher Sherlock was living at Ballyheen House. He still resides there.

Mr. James Byrne, J.P., of Wallstown Castle, writes: — “There is a magnificent pair of outer or sweep piers built here. The inner or gate piers were never erected, and it is a question if they were ever intended, because if they were to be in proportion to those built for the sweep, they would be fit for a Royal Palace."

Mananaan Mac Lir states: - “I was informed that the pillars at Ballyheen were the entrance piers to the old and celebrated Fair Green of Ballyheen. The fair, which was an annual one, was held in October - Lewis, Top. Dict., says Oct. 2. In an old “Gazetteer of the World,” now by me, I find: - Ballyheen, a fair town in Co. Cork, Province of Munster. Fair held from 2 to 9 October. I saw an Irish MS. vol. of Ossianic poetry compiled by the eminent scribe, Willy Hayes, of Coolticormic old Barracks (Kilbolane parish), in 1826, and in a footnote at the end he says he finished it ‘la Aonach Ballichin,’ i.e., ‘the fair day of Ballyheen."’

There is also a local tradition that these piers were built by the English to celebrate their victory at Knocknanus, which is close by.

There are some interesting old arches in the yard at Rockfield House. The occupier, Mr. C.C. Sherlock, wrote in 1906:- "All the old arches and large stones you saw here belonged to the old castle (Ballyheen Castle). The mound that it stood on is about 300 yards from this house to the west, and the field is now taken with Rathmaher House, where the Walpoles lived (Mr. Smith resides there now). The mound is still called the old castle, and daffodils grow there. An old "passage” leads from it.”

The Field Book of 1840 gives:-

Ballyheen North - This is a small townland, all arable, contains a fair green, and is crossed by a stream.

Ballyheen Middle Townland - All demesne, contains a gentleman’s house, an old tannery in ruins, an orchard, and some ornamental fences, and nothing else remarkable.

Ballyheen South - This is a small townland, all demesne. It contains the site of an old castle in a planting. Is considerably ornamented by clumps of trees and ornamental fences.

Ballyheen North contains 142a 1r. 28p.

Ballyheen Middle contains 142a. 3r. 30p.

Ballyheen South contains 154a. 2r. 1p.

"Rockfield House: - A good house, in a ruinous state in 1838, unoccupied apparently.

The Kyle, ‘The Church or Burial Place.’ - An ancient graveyard not used now (1840), in townland of Ballyheen Middle.

Ballyheen White Piers. — The name of two stone piers, about 20 feet high and four chains apart, intended as the outer piers of an entrance gate to Rockfield House, never finished.

Ballyheen Old Castle. - The name of an old castle in ruins, only a part of the east wall standing, in townland of Ballyheen South.

Ballyheen Fair Field. - In townland of Ballyheen North. The name of a field on north side of the road leading from Kanturk to Buttevant, for which there is a patent for holding fairs from 1st to 9th October, generally held on the 5th. The fair held here is often changed from field to field as the proprietor wishes.” (Ord. Sur., Dub.)


Sheet 16, six-inch O.S.; Sheet 164, one-inch O.S.

Barony of Orrery and Kilmore. Parish of Kilbrin. It is situated 2 1/2 miles south of Liscarroll. Ballygrady is the Irish for "O’Grady’s townland.” Ballygrady North consists of 354a. 1r. 18p.; Ballygrady South of 298a. Or. 18p. statute.

In the Egmont MSS. (Hist. MSS. Pub. Com.) there is the following summary of a letter relating to Ballygrady: "Cnogher O’Callaghan to Philip Percivall. 1635 (-6), January 16. Beallabalagh. Asking him to have a special care of Sir James Craig’s business, and advising him to secure a lease of Ballingradie, Rathnegard and Ballibane for a park, as they will keep more deer, mares, and horses than any park in the country” (p. 83).

In 1837 Lewis writes: "Ballygrady, the neat cottage residence of J. Purcell, Esq., also that a school is supported by Major Freeman, who allows £20 per annum and a house and garden for the Master; in this and in two private schools about 70 children are educated” (under Kilbrin). I am informed that the cottage mentioned by Lewis has been demolished, and that Mr. Garrett Watson has built a new house there. It was erected in 1874.

The Mr. Garrett Watson, who occupies Fort William, writes: "My father became tenant of Fort William (Ballygrady) about 60 years ago. He became head landlord about 35 years ago, when he bought Lord Lisle’s title. The Purcell family are middlemen on the estate, so I occupy the curious position of head landlord and tenant - that is, the Purcells pay me the head rent for my portion of Ballygrady and Lakheel, and I pay them rent as tenant.

"A Protestant church was erected here about 100 years ago. Legend has it that an effort was made to build the church in Kilbrin Cemetery, but what was built each day would be found tumbled down next morning. The work of destruction was attributed to the "good people" (fairies), and so the site was changed.

"There is a fine coal deposit in Ballygrady. The company who worked Mr. Leader’s mine at Dromagh a few years ago, had entered into an agreement with me regarding the working of the coal beds here. The matter fell through owing to their failing to make Dromagh mine pay, and they were unable in consequence to start new works. Lumps of coal as large as a good-sized turnip can be dug up with a common spade."

The national schools built in 1834 (*error on the part of Grove White), which succeeded those mentioned in ‘Lewis’ are famous for the cultivation of the Irish language, Irish singing and dancing. The pupils have gained prizes in such large Feifeanna as Killarney, Mallow, Newcastle West, and Ballyvonare, &c., and their principal teacher, Mr. Patrick O’Herlihy, is a member of the Cork H. & A. Society. The field Book of 1840 gives: "Ballygrady North. This townland is of considerable extent, all arable; contains a Danish fort and a Trigonometrical station. Ballygrady south. This is a middle-sized townland, all arable; contains a Danish fort, a cluster of houses; nothing else remarkable. Ballygrady village. A village consisting of a few houses" (Ord. Sur. Off Dub.)

Mr. James Buckley and I visited this place on 1st August, 1907, and from information acquired on the spot it appears that John Purcell inhabited the cottage mentioned by Lewis and Mr. Garrett Watson. It was a large T-shaped thatched two-storied building. Mr. Dan Watson, father of present owner, came here about 1840. His son, Mr. Garrett Watson, informed me that he himself built the present house and extensive out-offices about 1882.

In the second field, north of Mr. Watson’s house, is an old burial place, unenclosed, called the “Keel”. There is quite a number of stones cropping up. Mr. Watson informed us that some of these stood 3 ½ feet in height within his memory. The existing remains of some old foundations can still be traced. This graveyard is marked by two whitethorn trees, which are said to possess the peculiar property of growing anew where the present stock has decayed. The old trees have been utilised for fuel, and although dry they never light up like ordinary wood, but smoulder gently away. A small stream flows south about 100 yards to the west of the trees. Between the stream and the trees can be seen the remains of an unfinished road. The site of the old "Keel” is not identified on the new Ord. Sheet. The farmers on the townlands of Ballygrady North and South in 1907 were Garrett Watson, John Coughlan, James Field, Cornelius Hannan, Mrs. Sheahan, Thomas Twomey (Guy).


Name of a small Protestant Church in townland of Lougheel.


Sheet 23, 6-inch O.S. Sheet 175, 1-inch O.S.

Barony of Duhallow. Parish of Subulter.

The battlefield of Knocknanuss lies about four miles (by road) east of Kanturk. Knocknanuss is the Irish for "the hill of the fawns" (Cnoc-na—nos). (Joyce).


Mr. James Buckley contributed to the Cork Hist. and Arch. Journal for 1899 a copy of a Tract in the Brit. Mus., Cat E: 418, “set downe by an Officer of the Parliament’s Army present and acting at the fight.” Mr. Buckley also added an interesting Introduction. With his permission I have copied the following from the article;-


Six years had now elapsed since the outbreak of the civil war in Ireland, but to follow the course of events during that stirring period would be outside the scope of this introduction. A few words in explanation of our position are, however, necessary. The underhand treaty concluded between Ormond, on behalf of the King, and the Catholic Confederates, and proclaimed in August, 1646, opened a new chapter in this great struggle. It was brought about by the Ormondists in the Confederation, and was displeasing and unsatisfactory to all except those who were prime movers in it. to Rinuccini, the Papal Nuncio, as there was no security given for the exercise of religion, and to the ancient Irish, as their interests were left totally unprovided for. Under its terms the Confederate Army was, moreover, to become subservient to Ormond; so that in reality there was nothing more than a bartering away of rights and the means to enfore them, without obtaining in return an adequate compensation for all parties whose interests were involved. When the terms of the treaty were made known to the Nuncio, who had hitherto worked conjointly with the Confederates - their aims and objects being generally understood to be somewhat in common - he became indignant at his betrayal, and issued a decree enjoining all civil and military officers to withdraw allegiance from the late Supreme Council. In this course he was ardently supported by Limerick, Waterford, Clonmel, &c., and he succeeded in establishing a “Grand Council” in the place of the old Council, which was declared to be dissolved on account of its breach of trust. Aided by Owen Roe O’Neill, he vigorously renewed his political mission, but Kilkenny was a most inconvenient centre for his council, as the representatives from Ulster, Connaught, and a part of Munster were unable to attend with regularity. The Ormondists, in spite of the unfavourable constitution of the Council, availed themselves of the absence of the other members, and came again into power, and by their very dextrous management completely undid the Nuncio’s late revolution. The spirit of intrigue that prevailed so strongly in the old assembly soon pervaded the new. Preferment to the more important positions in the army was principally for party purposes, while merit was completely disregarded. Preston and Taaffe were appointed to command the Leinster and Munster armies, respectively. Neither of them performed such military services in the past as could warrant such distinction being conferred upon him; while O’Neill, the defender of Arras and the hero of Benburb, was ordered off to employ his arms in Connaught, lest his presence should interfere with the designs of the new council, which had now grown quite Ormondian.

With the old conflicting interests revived at the time when the most perfect unity was essential, the Confederates presented disunited forces to those by which they were soon to be confronted and eventually overwhelmed. Ormond evacuated Dublin towards the end of July, 1647, and the Parliament became possessed of that important centre, and on the 6th August made their presence felt by completely wiping out the formidable army of the Confederates in Leinster at the battle of Dungan’s Hill. Clonmel and Kilkenny were exposed on the north to the attacks of Jones, the Parliamentary general. O’Neill was, therefore, advised of the destruction of the Leinster army, and recalled from his campaign in Connaught. “It is impossible to describe the glee of O’Neill on receiving this news,” observes Rinuccini (“The Embassy in Ireland of Monsignor G.B. Rinuccini”); "he made instantly a descent into Leinster, amid the acclamations of the frightened inhabitants, placed himself not far from Trim, and there, never moving for four months, he hindered every attempt of the enemy to advance. This mode of acting was believed to be, by those who understood warfare, the saving of the kingdom under the circumstances, because the English, victorious and daring, would have advanced in security to Kilkenny, if this Fabius, by taking up his position amongst the bogs and dykes, had not demonstrated how often patient endurance triumphs over the sword." O’Neill’s movement furthermore left the Confederate army in Munster to hold Inchiquin in check, if Taaffe, its general, was so disposed.

Inchiquin had for months previously laid the counties Clare, Limerick, and latterly Tipperary, under contribution without receiving any opposition from Taaffe. This passiveness could not continue. "The clamour," says Carte in his "life of Ormond," "which the slaughter of near twenty priests in the Cathedral of Cashel raised among the Irish, and the Nuncio’s jealousies, forced this General (Taaffe) to assemble his army at a time when the season of the year seemed to forbid any further action. Inchiquin, drawing his forces out of their garrisons to oppose him, both armies came to an engagement on November 13, at a place called Knocknoness".

The Confederate army would appear to have assembled near Kanturk with a view to commence an attack on Inchiquin, but this intrepid General had private information of Taaffe’s designs, and was accordingly prepared to confront him in his own quarters. Inchiquin marched from Mallow on the morning of the 12th November, holding his course rather northward, and passed along through the townland of Ballyheen and reached Knocknanuss from the north. The Confederate army marched from Kanturk on the same morning, and took up its position on the north and west sides of the hill. The angle of the hill, which is the most precipitous part of it, was left unguarded by the Confederates, as it present a natural barrier to the advance of the enemy.

Knocknanuss is situated between Mallow and Kanturk, about three miles to the east of the latter town. The hill from which the townland partly derives its name, is a very curious one. It rises very abruptly on the north-west to a great height, and very gradually declines towards the ancient church of Subulter on the other side.

The following tract describes the battle in an apparently excellent manner, at least as far as the action of the Parliamentary army is concerned.


(Brit. Mus. Cat. E. 418.)

On 12th November, 1647, the Parliamentary army, under command of Lord Inchiquin, marched from Mallow to Gariduff, and found the Irish under Lord Taaffe encamped in a good position at Knocknanuss, two miles distant. Next day the Lord President, wishing to draw the Irish from their position, offered to advance, if Taaffe would do likewise. This offer was naturally declined, not alone on tactical grounds, but also on account of an old prophecy, which Lord Taaffe applied to himself, for the hill whereon he stood was called Knocknanus, and his ancestors had the lands of MacDonagh given them by the Kings of England.

MacDonogh future age shall see,

A man of thy prosperity,

By whom the English Lord shall fall;

Blood shall ascend to the legges small,

the place wee Knocknones doe call.

The English wore new broom in their hats as a distinguishing mark, while the Irish had a straw rope around theirs. Taaffe estimated his force at 9,000 foot and 1,000 horse, but by a list found afterwards in the pocket of Sir Alexander MacDonnell, the Irish Lieut.-general, their army only mustered 7,464 foot, 1076 horse, besides officers.

The Parliamentary forces were 4,000 foot and 1,200 horse. “'I‘he enimie ranging their battell in a plain front all along the hill, that so they might engage all their force together; their foot were drawn into nine divisions, of which the greater part by much was pike, wing'd with three bodies of horse on each side, besides reserves. Our foot, whose number was by half the lesse, were marchalled into three divisions, whereof two parts of three were muskets, the right and left wing of horse were made of thirteen bodies of horse, seven on the right wing and six on the left (with their reserves). Both armies thus drawn up".

Lord Inchiquin decided to try and entice the Irish from their strong position; with this object in view, he made a feint on their right flank, which caused Lord Taaffe to reinforce that part. The Lord President also directed the guns to play on the right wing. The right wing of the English, which had moved a little to the left, now resumed their original position, and made an attempt to tum the Irish left. To prevent this the Irish advanced with their horse in front of their infantry. The English met this movement with a hot fire. The advancing horse were shattered, and in their hurried retreat routed their own foot. The whole being pursued by the English cavalry.

On the English left wing Lord Inchiquin had placed his foot under cover of some ditches and enclosures. The Irish right wing under Sir Alexander MacDonnell (Colkitto or Alasdrum More, the ancestor of the MacDonnells of the Glens of Antrim) advanced with horse and foot. The Irish horse was charged by that of the English, driven back and pursued. The Parliamentary infantry, seeing the enemy’s horse defeated, left their cover and advanced, but were in their turn routed by the Redshanks (Highlanders) under MacDonnell, who captured two guns and plundered the English wagons. The English lost 50 soldiers and several officers.

The Lord President was at this time with his successful right wing. Looking towards his left, he saw “the rufull spectable of his men’s slaughter and the rebels overturning all before them, even to our wagons". He immediately despatched some regiments of foot and a troop or two of horse from the reserve, who drove back the Highlanders with heavy loss, Sir Alexander MacDonnell anfd his Lieut.- Colonel being amongst the slaim. The Irish were now in full retreat, and were followed up until nightfall by horse and foot. The pursuit was carried out the following day. The Irish lost 4,000 to 5,000 men, 6,000 arms, 38 infantry colours, and some “cornets of horse", also all their transport and ammunition, event to Lord Taaffe’s tent, bed and cabinet of papers.

The full Parliamentary loss is not stated, but their left wing suffered heavily. Many traces of the battle still exist. At the S.S.W. of the hill are the remains of entrenchments. They are crescent shaped, with the ends pointwestwards, and measure about 200 yards in length. They were probably nine feet wide and four or five deep. These are partially levelled many years ago, when a great quantity of skulls, coins, spurs, bullets, etc., were discovered. This part is known as “the hollow glen of battle". Another field north, “the Cavalry Field". Inchiquin is said to have encamped after the battle about 1/4 mile S.E. of the village of Kilbrin, at a place called the “camp field". Here follows an account of the career of MacDonnell and his immediate progenitors.

There seems to be some uncertainty as to the manner in which MacDonnell met his death. One version is that he was shot in the head by Major Purdon, while in the custody of a cornet. Rinuccini states he was intercepted by a party of 14 horse, and after killing four of them, he was stabbed by a soldier and fell dead. According to local tradition, he was captured by five horsemen and led off a prisoner. On crossing a little stream at a place now known as “the Chieftain’s Ford”, he allowed his horse to drink; leaning forward in his saddle, he exposed an opening in his armour; one of the guard, taking advantage of this, drove his sword through Alasdrum’s back and killed him. Thus perished by the bloody hand of an assassin one of the greatest and bravest warriors of his time.

An account is here given of the descendants of the assassin.

Alastrom’s body was buried at the S.W. corner of a kitchen garden then belonging to Purcell of Rathmaher; a large ash tree grows over the place of burial (see photo of the Chieftain’s Tree). After three days the body was removed to Clonmeen churchyard.

MacDonnell’s sword, which was a very heavy one, had a ball of 10lbs weight which ran along the back from the hilt to the point in an indented groove, so that when he raised his hand the ball glided to the hilt; when he made a stroke it rushed to the point, causing the weapon to strike with irrestable force. It was preserved for a long time by the Egmont family at Lohort Castle, but was removed to Dublin Castle or Phoenix Park Depot about 1850, when arms were collected throughout the country.

He is locally remembered in connection with a favourite tune called "Alastromp’s March" (given on page 116 Crofton Croker’s Researches in the South of Ireland). Two versions of the March are also given in Bunting’s Collection of Irish Music (1840), and in the Dublin Magazine for 1843.

The Egmont MSS i. xlix., give the English loss at Knocknanuss as eighty killed and many wounded.

Dr. Geo. Bolster, R.N., adds: - Mr. James O’Connell, Mr. Timothy Cronin, and Mrs. Mackesy occupy farms in Knocknanuss. They are tenants of Sir Eustace W. Becher, Bart. (1914).


Sheet 24, six-inch O.S.; Sheet 164, one-inch O.S.

Barony of Duhallow. Parish of Kilbrin It lies about five miles north-east of Kanturk.

Castle Cor means “Castle of the Weir", Castella de Corra. Ing. temp. Elix. Castle Carra, Ing. Temp. Car. I. (O’Donovan).

Castle Cor Demesne contains 548a. 3r. 24p. statute mile. In 1881 the pop. was 60, val. £516 (Guy).

Archdall’s "Monasticon Hibernicum” (pub. 1786) gives; "In Barony of Duhallow, and two miles north of Loghort. It appears from a plea roll 30th King Edward I. That there was an abbey at Castle Corith (King, p. 133), but we have no other account of it" (p. 60).

When I visited the site of the Abbey at Castle Cor in 1905, there was very little of the masonry work remaining.

The site is situated in the park, about 480 yards north-east of Castle Cork House; the mouth of the cave is about 20 yards east of the site of the Abbey. It is shown on the six inch O.S. map and is named "Poulnagat Cave".

The Rev. J. F. Lynch writes: "In Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland", are the following three


Cork, A.D. 1285. — John Korker for not having John Fitz Richard, whom he pledges, 40d.

Cork, AD. 1286. - John le Corkere, because he did not have John Fitz Richard, whom he pledged, 40d.

Cork, A.D. 1292. - John Fitz Richard, of Castle Koruth (Castle Cor), for pledge of the same Robert (de Stableton, Sheriff of Cork), 1/2 mark.

Fiants of Elizabeth, 2261 (1856) - Pardon to Donogh O’Kormick, of Castlecur, yeoman; John McCormick, of same; and Fynyn O’Swilliwan, of Castlenacurra, yeoman. 6th May xv., A.D. 1573. P.R.O. Dub.)

The Book of Dist. and Sur. (circa 1657) gives: Castle Cor, 115a. 1r. Op. The owner before 1641 Rebellion was Dermod McCarthy. He was attainted and Castle Cor granted to Quartermaster John Chinnery, P.R.O., Irld.).

The Subsidy Rolls Records, 1663: Barony of Duhallow. John Chinnery, of Castle Curre, value in goods, E9 7s. 6d.; in 1665, his valuation in goods was £11 19s. 7 1/2d., and later £12 5s. 6d. (P.R.O., Irld.).

A Patent of James I. gives: "King’s letter to accept a surrender of the lands of Loyert (Lohort), Kantorke, Castlenecurry (Castle Cor), Dromsane, and other lands in Dowhallie (Duhallow) Bar., Cork Co., from Dermod McCarthie, otherwise called McDonogh of Dowhallie, and to regrant the same to him and his son and heir, Dermod McCarthie the younger. 16 June, 1614, Pat. 12 (P.R.O., Irld.).

The townland of Castle Cor is mentioned in the will of John, first Lord Lisle, dated 1781, as having been purchased from W. Taylor, Esq., as well as BallymcPierce, North and South Ballygradda, Ardtemple, Knock, Ballymartin, Rathnagard, Megano, Lackile, Coolmehian, Drimangore, Bullintubber, Ballyphilipeen, and Drumsickeane (Lisle Papers). Castle Cor was in the possession of the Chinnery Family in 1666 (see Chinnery, of Flintfield, Co. Cork, B.L.G.). This is a branch of an ancient family settled in Essex. The Visitation of that County mentions John Chinnery, a gentleman entitled to bear Arms in the reign of Edward III.

George Chinnery, Esq., settled in Cork prior to 1642. His son, John Chinnery, Esq., of Mallow, was an undertaker for the plantation of Munster, and obtained a grant of Castle Corr, in Co. Cork, by Patent, dated 16 August, 1666. He married Katherine, daughter of Robt. Terry, Esq., of Castle Terry. His eldest son, George, of Castle Cork, born at Ballindore, 1653, attainted by James II., 1689, married, first Margaret, daughter of John Lysaght, Esq., of Mount North, Co. Cork, ancestor of the Lords Lisle, by whom he had issue. His eldest son, John, succeeded to Castle Cork, which he sold to William Freeman, Esq., of Kilbarry, He died unmarried.

Smith, in 1750, writes about Castle Cor as follows: Castlecorith, now Castle Cor, two miles north of Loghort, the seat of William Freeman, Esq., is a handsome house, fronted with hewn stone, and flanked at each angle with turrets, and near it is a pleasant park, where are the remains of an ancient fortification, in the midst of which stood a castle of the Barrys. (Smith, Vol. I., p. 284).

Croker has the following anecdote which he contributed to the Gentleman’s Magazine, in October, 1842: "Last summer tom Power, who holds a few acres of ground in the townland of Kilbarry, immediately outside the deer-park of Castlecor, dreamed that there was a large quantity of gold and other treasure burried in the old rath which lies upon the ground. After he awoke he lay musing for some time until again overcome by sleep, when the same dream occurred to him the second time, as also a third time on the same night. On getting up he called one of his sons and both proceeded to the spot. The pit is situated on the top of a small glen, along which a small stream runs, which divides the lands of Kilbarry from Drummin. Upon digging they discovered a bed of rich manure, which they were raising and drawing away for a fortnight. They took up 300 horse-loads, making an opening towards the fort thirty feet in length and eleven feet deep. Their work was at length impeded by a large piece of timber, from which they cleared the manure with great labour, and discovered a perfect tank, twelve feet square, and three feet deep, made of black oak, each plank four inches thick, it resting upon four pillars or legs, two feet high and one foot square. Into the tank was a shoot as if to convey water, one foot wide at the mouth, and made of the same description of timber." Croker hazards no conjecture as to what use the old fort dwellers applied this tank, and recites this story because of its quaint fulfilment of a dream (Smith, vol. i., p. 301).

Townsend writing in 1810 about the coal pits near Kanturk, states: An attempt to commence a new and improved mode of working these collieries has been reserved for the enlightened and liberal mind of Edward Deane Freeman, Esq., and it could not be confided to better hands. Some of the best pits are upon his estate, to the south-west of Kanturk, and about eight miles from his residence, Castlecor. Under the direction of an experienced artist, he has just erected, at considerable expense, a large water- wheel, to work the pumps necessary for discharging the water of the pits. The shaft now sinking at the south side of the coal vein will, it is calculated, meet it, supposing that it descends with an uniform declination, at the depth of about an hundred feet. In this case the miners will have the advantage of working upwards, as well as laterally, the difficulty lessening as they proceed, the reverse of which has hitherto attended the more unskilful labours of preceding operators (vol. i., p. 419).

Again he writes: A little further to the north (i.e. from Ballygiblin), is Castle Cor, the seat of Edward Dean Freeman, Esq., to whom I am indebted for much information relative to this and the neighbouring barony. The house, now one of the best in the country, has been lately much enlarged, and the junction of the new part with the old effected with more felicity of contrivance than usually accompanies alterations of this nature. The offices are no less remarkable for compact and convenient arrangement. A copious supply of water, conducted from the commanding grounds of a neighbouring hill, furnishes by means of pipes this most necessary article to every place that requires it, with a degree of facility few situations admit of and still fewer attain. The demesne is not less indebted to Mr. Freeman for judicious alteration and tasteful embellishment.

A deer-park, formerly severed by a public road crossing the house, has been thrown into the pleasure grounds, without any inconvenience to the public, and with infinite advantage to the place. In this are many very old and large trees, chiefly oaks, some of which measure fifteen or sixteen feet in girth. They are, for the most part, of a mushroom shape, with short stems and a wide spreading head. From the fertility of the soil and the lowness of the situatuion, one could have expected greater height, but the oaks of this country, except where thickly planted, generally grow in this form. Other trees planted by himself, particularly larch, not more than twenty years old, are very tall and vigorous for their age.

A large brook runs through the demesne, of which Mr. Freeman has availed himself for the purpose of irrigation with great effect. His style of farming, as may be expected, is on the best plan of` modern practice. Potatoes are considered by him as superior to turnips for feeding cattle, and in many respects better suited to the husbandry of this country; an opinion which I certainly feel myself very much inclined to approve. Without undervaluing the turnip, it will hardly be disputed that the potato is a much more nutritive root, and possesses an import advantage in keeping so long. It is also a more certain crop, and in the drill husbandry may be raised with little labour, and a much smaller consumption of dung than the common method requires. The Swedish turnip produces largely, and keps well for spring use, but it is objectionable for the strong taste it gives both to the milk and to flesh (vol. i., p. 427).

Lewis writes in 1837: - "Castle Cor, the ancient family mansion of J. Deane Freeman, Esq., situated in a richly wooded demesne, which is particularly remarkable for its fine oaks." (Under Kilbrin).

O’Flanagan, in his "Munster Circuit," pub. 1880, gives the following story:- "It is very pleasant to have to record many acts of kindness evinced by Protestants towards Catholic friends and neighbours during the penal days, such as the following. A Catholic gentleman of the county of Kerry, named Duggan, having noticed that a Discoverer (Popish Discoveres) was about taking proceedings to deprive him of his estate, was informed by a Protestant friend of high position in the County of Cork - Mr. Freeman, of Castle Cor — that he (Mr. Freeman) was willing to take the initiative in such proceedings, and thus save the property for Mr. Duggan, which that gentleman heard with gratitude.

Judge Mr. Freeman’s surprise when he was visited by the Discoverer in a chaise, going post to Dublin, and, as there were few inns on the road at the time, it was customary to halt each evening at some house of hospitable repute. The Discoverer made no secret of the purpose of his errand, being unaware of the great intimacy subsisting between his host and his intended victim. Mr. Freeman asked ‘if it was convenient for the traveller to give him a seat in the chaise, as he found he had pressing business in Dublin, and was willing to share the expense of the joumey.’ The traveller was only too glad to have the company of so reputable a country gentleman, and also to have the travelling expenses lessened, and away they drove.

That night they halted near Clonmel at the house of a hard-drinking, fox-hunting squire — a mutual friend of both Mr. Duggan and Mr. Freeman. The latter no sooner informed the Tipperary squire of the object of the journey, both of himself and his companion, that the jovial squire proposed to keep the Discoverer in such a state of inebriety he would be able to leave the house until Mr. Freeman had made all safe for their mutual friend Duggan. Accordingly, next morning, the Discoverer had such a splitting headache he was quite unfit for prosecuting his journey, and, as Mr. Freeman was pressed for time, he was compelled to travel along. The result was that when, about a week later the Discoverer reached Dublin, he was rather taken back on finding that the various denominations of land - heretofore in the possession of the Papist Duggan - were then owned by that staunch Protestant gentleman, Deane Freeman, of Castle Cor, and to this day some nominal rent-charge is paid by the Duggan family to the representatives of Deane Freeman for the lands thus protected.

Many similar acts are recorded, but this must suffice as an example". (p. 47).

Matthew Deane Freeman was a member of the Duhallow Hunt in 1808 (Minute Book of Duhallow Hunt, 1800 to 1808. "Journal”, p. 51, 1896).

John D. Freeman and Edward D. Freeman were original members of the Duhallow Cavalry, formed 23rd March, 1822 (J0urnal" for 1899, p. 181).

O’Flanagan writes in 1844:- The Freemans have been in possession of Castle Cor for a period exceeding 200 years. The mansion was built on the site of an ancient castle, some distance from the ruins of a monastery, yet traceable in the deer-park. The monastery is considered to have been fortified.

By intermarriage of William Freeman with Jane, daughter of Sir Matthew Deane, Bart., they became connected with the Deanes of Dromore. Sir Matthew was created a baronet in 1700, and his descendant is now Lord Muskerry. The Freemans are nearly allied to the houses of Lord Lismore, Lord Carew and Lord Muskerry (p. 151).

At the end of the 18th century a Mr. John Bowles, a great friend of the Freemans, came with his own horse and trap to stop for one night at Castle Cor and actually remained forthy years, and probably would have remained for life, only that the wife of Edward Deane Freeman (formerly a Miss Allen, of Erroll Park in Scotland) disliked him, and had his portrait removed to a bedroom from among the family portraits where it had always been; this naturaly so enraged him that he left Castle Cor the following morning.

His love, however, for the Freemans was so great that he gave instructions in his will that he should be buried with them in Kilbrin churchyard, and that at his funeral his coffin should be removed from the hearse and left at Castle Cor gate for half an hour. These instructions were carried out. He was very wealthy, and but for Mrs. Freeman’s injudicious act, he would have left his entire fortune to the Deane-Freemans, which would have saved them their property. The famine, non—payment of rents in those bad years, coupled with lavish hospitality to the poor in those bad times, and the greatest hospitality to everyone coming their way, at all times, were the causes of the downfall of the Deane-Freemans, and Castle Cor and their vast estates in seven counties were sold in that merciless Court, "The Encumbered Estate Court”.

At the Union, Mr. E. Deane-Freeman was offered an Earldom, but he declined it, making the remark that "he preferred being an old Country Gentleman to a new Peer". This was another mistake, as the title would probably have kept the family in being.

A large number of the famous miniatures on ivory of the Deane Freemans are now in the possession of Major William Deane-Freeman-Thompson, of Drumholm, Ballintra, Co. Donegal. In St. Mary’s Church, Crumlin, Dublin, as a Deane-Freeman monument, surmounted by their armorial bearings: - "In memory of William Deane Freeman, Esquire, Queen’s Counsel, and Assistant Barrister for the County of Galway (fifth son of the late Edward Deane Freeman, Esquire, of Castle Cor, in the County of Cork, and of Terenure, in the County of Dublin), who, at Galway, on the 20th day of October, 1852, died suddenly on the Bench, in the discharge of his public duty, in the 60th year of his age. His remains lie interred in this churchyard in the grave of his ancestors. This tablet is erected by his borthers, the Reverend John Deane Freeman, of Yeoland Conyers, in the County of Lancaster, England and Edward Deane Freeman, Esqr., of Sandfield, near Mallow, in the County of Cork".

"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners". - 1 Timothy, 1st Chap., 15th verse (M.D.I. vol. iii., p. 264).

The Field Book of 1840 gives:- “Castle Cor Demesne. This is a townland of great extent. All a wooded and ornamental demesne, in the midst of which stands a gentleman’s seat, called Castle Cor House. It contains three Danish forts, a mined church, a graveyard, constructed by Protestants or for Protestant use. An old cave called Paulnacoth, near the side of old abbey".

Castle Cor House: - Edward Deane-Freeman, Proprietor. It is a most beautiful house built in an extensive demesne, and the residence of Edward Deane-Freeman, Esq. (Ord. Sur. Office, Dublin).

In the townland of Kilgilky, near Castle Cor, is a curious flat rock. It is situated in Mr. L. Curtin’s farm, one field north of Thomas Flynn’s house. On the east side of this rock a square hole is visible..

Buttons of the “Castle Cor Chace" (prior to 1800), are in possession of Mr. William Norton Barry, M.F.H., of Castle Cor. Mr. Robert Day, J .P., describes them as follows:- “Both are of solid silver and are parcel gilt. One has engraved upon a ribbon, which is gold, upon a silver ground, ‘The Castlecor Chace’. Its companion has a stag in full chase, with antlered head thrown back, with a wreath inscribed ‘The Castlecor Chace’, all gilt, upon a silver groundwork”. (“Journal” for 1896, p.59).

Mr. D. Franklin, hon. secretary of C.H. and A.S., in 1897, writes: - The following legend is from an old manuscript, which I do not think was ever printed. It is dedicated - To Keefe O’Keefe, esq., the representative of that illustrious Sept, the following fairy legend is most respectfully inscribed by Matthew Horgan, 1839". At a future date I hope to give the southern legend, or Rosscarbery one, as the present is in the northern, or Mallow one, and to add some details as to the probably mythological character of Cleena, and who she really represented in Irish folk-lore; but I have the present paper almost as it came from the pen of the writer, very trifling, mostly verbal, alterations being made.


It was on the twelfth of June I happened to pass through the fine demesne of Castle Cor, near which I passed by the old cemetery of Kilbrin, which was walled on the south side, and an earthen, fence protected it on the north. There were a great many headstones with incriptions, facing east, and some vestiges of the ancient building as yet existing, and for the time it appeared to be built, was rather extensive, which was about the beginning of the fifteenth century. The walls were three and a half feet thick and about ten feet high, but the ground was much raised abut it from the long accumulation of earth and bones. One side door remains as yet perfect; the jambs are well carved, and the arch equilateral, protected or relieved by a counter one. The entire graveyard is overspread with wrought stones, probably taken from this ruin, so that it appeared to be long since a place of some note, and took its name from the founder, who was called O’Byrne.

I proceeded in a westerly direction, to see the side of the demesne, which is only remarkable for extent, broad fences with old trees, and some covers for hares and foxes. In some time I arrived at the flower garden, the site of which is well chosen. The great oak is near this, which is about six feet in diameter, with twelve limbs; each may be considered a reasonably large tree, and in the best state of preservation. This part of the demesne is frequented by herds of deer, and the oak trees, from sheer antiquity, are falling to decay. I soon approached the old avenue, which is extensive, with a double row of very fine limes. The quantity of timber is very great, and there are mounds of earth raised round them for their better preservation. In summer they afford an agreeable shade, and in winter the rain can scarcely penetrate through them, their boughs are so thickly matted together. From this I had a good view of the house, which is spacious, with projecting flankers and rusticated coynes, and in the centre it finishes with a pediment decorated with figures.

At some distance from this, in an easterly direction, I perceived an elevated spot, which I ascended. It was covered with ancient oak and ash coeval with time, spreading their immense arms, and forming a deep and cool shade. The fragments of an ancient building appeared scattered on the entire of this eminence — jambs, plinths, pedestals (the cutting of which was very good), and solid masses of masonry, with the cement of lime and gravel as adhesive as ever.

After examining the place, and making observations on the all—destructive hand of time, which levels the proudest work of manas well as the simply thatched cottage, I was accosted by the shepherd of this part of the demesne. He was old and hoary, leaning on his long staff, which was quite polished from the friction of his touch hands. Knowing that I was a stranger and that it was likely I came to see the demesne, he saluted me in his native language, with which I happened to be well acquainted, and which, pleased, or rather encouraged him so much, that he was very communicative of what he supposed me ignorant of particularly the legend of the spot on which I stood. It may be wrong of me to relate everything told me by this old man, yet it may be acknowledged that it is the duty of the historian to relate the truth, whether it be liked or not, and tell faithfully what I heard from him, as my wish is to afford amusement and instruction. He conducted me to the most elevated part of the eminence, where I rested on one of these fragments of masonry, while he sat near me on the soft mossy ground, and related his story as follows:-

The Druid and His Two Daughters

In the beginning of the eighth century there lived in the country of Alla a prince called Caomh, or “gentle”, who was the head of that illustrious Sept of O’Keeffe, and governed then a large tract, bounded on the west by the territory of Luacardhea (now Kerry), and extended to the east as far as the County of Waterford, including that fertile plain called Feur-magh-Feine (now Fermoy). Fermoy was the inheritance of the Draoi Ruadh, the last of the Druids, who had the reputation of great wisdom, experience, and bravery. He was the faithful ally of the King of Munster, whose life he saved in battle, together with his army, when reduced to the last extremeties by the King of Leathcuin.

He raised a great storm by his art, which bewildered the enemy, so that they were under the necessity of laying down their arms and submitting to the mercy of the conqueror, who gave them their lives and liberty at the intercession of the Druid, on condition of yielding up the disputed lands and giving hostages for their future peaceful and good conduct. The Momonians returned home full of joy after gaining a decisive victory and considerably extending their territory, on which occasion the King raised the Druid to the dignity and title of Prince of Fermoy.

This Druid had two very accomplished daughters, who were considered the greatest beauties of the age, and on whom nature and art showered their choicest gifts. They were mistresses of the sciences, particularly the elder, called Cliodhna, or Cleena, who made such a progress in enchantment that she could transform creatures to any figure or form she pleased, so that in process of time she was entitled "the queen of the fairies". The younger sister, her inseparable companion, was named "all beautiful", or Aoivil, as well as Cleena, was “lovely".

Caoiv, O’Keeffe, who inherited the neighbouring territory, was a prince accomplished both in body and mind. He was remarked amongst all for his modest and gentle deportment, though he might have disputed the prize of bravery and manly beauty with the most gallant knights of the age. This prince was in the habit of visiting at the Druid’s palace, on which occasion he joined in the sports and pastimes of the day on the great esplanade before the palace, in the middle of which was erected a lofty pole, supporting one of the far—resounding shields of those times. According to the laws of chivalry, the adventurer should strike this, which was the signal for a feat of strength and activity — a combat on foot or on horseback, throwing the stone, lifting a great weight, hurling the ball, wrestling and chariot races, in which O’Keeffe very much signalized himself, and generally gained the victory from all his youthful competitors. This afforded the Druid much satisfaction, and he always gave his unfeigned applause to O’Keeffe.

The Princess Cleena and her beautiful sister, together with the attending females, were generally spectators on these occasions, and admired O’Keeffe beyond all his companions. Her admiration was, in some time, kindled into love, which she did not resist nor took much pains to conceal even from her father, who was rather pleased with the discovery, as he could never have any objection‘ to an alliance with O’Keeffe, whose territory was both fertile and extensive. Annexed to his own princely inheritance of Fermoy, this would be a considerable tract, and as he happened to have no son, he resolved to bestow it on O’Keeffe with he elder daughter, Cleena.

The younger princess, Aoivil, who happened, unfortunately, to fall in love with Coiv, concealed it from her sister, and practised all her innocent arts to gain his affection. She so well succeeded, that he became deeply enamoured with her, which did not long escape the penetration of Cleena, who felt so unreasonably angry and jealous of her only sister for behaving treacherously in not avowing her passion before she herself had entered into all the arrangements of her father for her espousals with Caoiv. Her jealousy of her sister was so violent that she privately called on the olderst of her nurses, who was well versed in the occult science, to assist her with all her art to punish the innocent Aoivil.

They arranged to meet on the following night in the most unfrequented part of the palace, where, according to directions, she placed on the fire a brass vessel on a tripod before her, and blew up the fire, with which Cleena lighted her torch. On this occasion she pronounced some words while she threw into the vase a handful of rare herbs, and lastly burned a handfhl of human hair over it to give full effect to the enchantment. She poured this composition, when perfected, into a jug, and kept it for a proper opportunity, which soon occurred to her satisfaction.

From this time forward the punishment inflicted privately on the unfortunate Aoivil was almost intolerable, so that there appeared a visible change in her person. Her beauty was fading from care and sorrow, like the flowers of the field which are withered by the northern blasts; a consumptive fever wasted her strength, and her condition became each day more oppressed and dangerous. To alleviate, and seemingly restore her health and less her sufferings, Cleena administered the prepared composition to her, which was a most powerful, sleepy juice, and which at once caused her apparent death from the greatness of the enchantment. They wrapped her in a white veil, pure as her own innocent soul, and then laid her in a cofiin of polished oak, placed on a bier of the same timber, decorated with flowers and lightly covered with a pall. She was thus exhibited to the whole court. The old Druid and her mother were inconsolable from profound grief, and the court and entire country lamented that one so beauteous and so gentle, was taken away so suddenly from then. After being waked for a reasonable time, she was conveyed to her cold and silent tomb, which was a deep and dreary vault under the palace, Alas! what heart was so callous to sensibility as not to be deeply afected for so much purity and gentleness, or what eye could refuse a tear of sorrow for her death?

After nightfall, Cleena and her old nurse proceeded to the vault by another opening well known to themselves which communicated with it from the outside, and removed the still lethargic Aoivil to the cave of Castle Cor, which is situated under this eminence on which we are now seated. When Aoivil recovered from her state of torpor she looked about her, eagerly asked “Oh where am I, or am I in a dream?" Cleena answered her and said, "Dear Aoivil, you are no longer in your father’s palace. Be tranquil and easy, as you are now in a place of safety from which you cannot be removed, but shall for ever continue so until you forget O’Keeffe, to whom I am bethrothed." She uttered a deep-drawn sigh, and said it was impossible for her to do so during her existence, and said also, “If you have any interest in your only sister, or the slightest lover for her lead me to my father and restore me again to my beloved O’Keeffe". Hearing her continued sighs and lamentations for a long time, and knowing that love had the greatest share in her profound sorrow, she perceived how impossible it was to soften down her passion; and lest she might escape from her prison, she, in a fit of uncontrollable jealousy, transformed her with the power of her wand, into the shape and figure of a beautiful white cat.

O’Keeffe, who was during this time at his own residence of Cuillin, was not informed of Aoivil’s death till after her interment. He became truly inconsolable, and though a stranger to pusillanimity in the field of battle, he shed abundance of tears on this occasion for her loss. But the lamentations and grief of the Druid knew no bounds, so that in some time it brought him to an early grave together with his lady.

O’Keeffe, attended their obsequies, and performed the rite of sepulture according to their directions. He was interred on the summit of a conical hill near Fermoy, called ever since "Cairn Thierna”, or the "chieftain’s cairn", on which an immense heap of stones was raised over the grave, and the remains of the Druidess were deposited in the remarkable tomb called to this day "Labacally", or the “old woman’s bed", which is situated abut a mile to the north of Fermoy, and yet noticed by the people as a curiosity.

After due time was allowed for mourning their death, the nuptials of O’Keeffe and Cleena were celebrated with much rejoicings, to which all the princes and chieftains of Munster were invited.

Proclaim a festival: for seven days’ space

Let the court shine in all its pomp and lustre;

Let all our streets resound with shouts of joy,

Let musick’s care-dispelling voice be heard;

The sumptuous banquet and the flowing goblet

Shall warm the cheek and fill the heart with gladness.

On this occasion tilts, tournaments and races, were exhibited as usual, and prizes distributed to the victors; yet the nuptials were not celebrated with the happiest omens, which shall be related in the sequel.

The Cave

Under this eminence, in an early direction, is the deep cave of Castle Cor, of which I have already made mention, and of which wonders are related.

It is said that it contains treasures of gold and silver under the control of a white cat, who is seated on a throne of great value, and that this cat was once the beautiful Aoivil, metamorphosed into this figure by her sister, but is allowed to assume her natural form for the space of a week every year at midsummer; and that whoever is so fortunate as to visit her during that time, and is free from the desire of sordid gain, and prefers her, with her beauty, to her treasures, shall put an end to her enchantment.

This is similar to the spell laid on Cuanan and his beautiful daughter, who are confined to their palace in the Blarney lough, as well as Giroid Jarla in Lough Guir, together with various other personages, who are not likely to be freed from their enchantment in this age so devoted to sordid gain. In order that you may know all this, I shall tell it as it was related to me, so that should you be inclined to see the cave and try the adventure, you shall obtain the instructions such as I heard:-

"After the difficulties of the narrow passage are surmounted, which require some fortitude and perseverance, the first and only exertion is a great leap over a deep hollow of 25 feet broad, when you approach the light. Should you fail in this attempt, it will be in vain to make any more efforts, for the power of the enchantment is such that you find yourself at the entrance of the cave, which will be barred against you like the solid rock. Should you wish to succeed in this immense leap, try yourself over the celebrated one over the Mallow spa; the great leap over the river of Annalinta; or the extraordinary one of Beanahcorcai, to the north of Blarney. Should you succeed in these great leaps you may venture with confidence into the cave and be certain of passing the deep chasm, after which the light from the cave will be brilliant and effulgent - not from the sun or moon, for everything in it emits a light pecurliar to itself; not like the glare of a hot summer’s sun, nor like the pale light of the silent moon.

After escaping the dangers of the deep hollow and recovering from the exertion, you will, in the distance, through a vista, in a great wood, discover the palace of the enchanted princess. Care must be taken that you shall not be attracted by the finest scenery imaginable, the melody of the birds, or the murmuring and transparent streams, to tarry on the banks for your amusement, as a delay may be fatal to you, but proceed directly of the most magnificent of palaces, the gates of which will be wide open, and the entrance to the courts and apartments quite easy, without the slightest obstruction. Your astonishment will be naturally raised at the splendour of the apartments, particularly the last one, in which the most precious curiosities of nature seem to be collected. The rich covering of the walls is splendid, and at regular distances is hollowed into niches filled with exquisitely-finished figures of silver and gold. The lower parts of the walls is equally decorated, and the cornices and ceilings are beyond description of the finest workmanship, and superior to anything almost every finished. At the end of this magnificent room is the costly throne of the enchanted princess, on which she sits on crimson cusion trimmed with the most costly lace. Thus the enchantress Cleena has changed this frightful cave into the most magnificent palace, abounding with all sorts of riches that the sufferings of her sister may be the easier borne by her. The air in which she is confined is perfumed with the sweetest and most fragrant odours, and the floor, in a great measure, is covered with heaps of the most valuable gold and silver coins. This is the greatest attraction of all those who visit the cave, and the cause of their severe punishment for their love of money and thirst for gain is the cause why during life they will have to lament and grieve for their loss. Those who saw the princess relate that she appeared about the age of twenty, that it is impossible to suppose a finer complexion, that she has an air of majesty and a profusion of charms covering her whole person. Should she, when in the form of a white cat, not frown on the adventurer, he may see the beauty and vast treasures of her palace, together with the extensive and enchanting gardens; have his table covered with the rarest and most wholesome food, together with the most excellent ‘uisge beatha’. _

Hitherto, all those who chanced to see the enchanted cat were astonished at the riches contained in the palace, and no sooner did they commence loading themselves with the precious coins they found on the floor than a tremendous wind overwhelmed them with its force, and they found themselves prostrate outside the cave with the loss of an eye or limb, a punishment for their sordid disposition."

Castle Cor

"A large castle, with strong turrets and deep passes, was built on this spot, on a fragment of which you are now seated, the recollection of which has escaped the memory of the historian and the oldest of the natives. It was inhabited by the chieftains of the country in succession till the revolution, when it became the property of Mr. Deane, who was the last fortunate person who approached the white cat in good humour, and returned from the cave loaded with treasure, which he converted to a good purpose in the improvement of the estate. He afterwards made many fruitless efforts to enter, but to no purpose, being so often thrust back with invisible force. Yet it is believed by the old inhabitants that when the rightful heir is in want of money he will obtain a free and easy entrance to the presence of the enchanted cat, who will be all gentleness and purring with melodious sweetness while he is loading himself with a large quantity of these precious coins.

After the ancient mansion fell to decay, or was almost delapidated from time, the family erected that handsome castle with the front facing this eminence for its better preservation, and to be always in view of it. They have also, with more precaution, closed up the entrance of the cave with solid masonry, so that it is now difficult to open it".

We then descended to the entrance to the cave, which was situated at the foundation of a lofty limestone cliff, and which, acording to the shepherd’s account, was closed up in a firm and durable manner with stones and cement.

The Sequel of Cleena’s Story

Cleena resided in her father’s palace, which was situated in a place now called Glanworth, and on the spot where a castle was erected many centuries after by the Roches, over the clear Funcheon, with its pure and healthy springs. The water there is of the purest quality, particularly a copious spring in the cliff under the palace which was erected in the time of the Druid, who was induced to build it near the spring for its very salubrious quality; and it is even now admired and much frequented. She had another residence at a place now called Castletownroche, on the banks of the transparent and flowery-banked Mulla.

She removed for the following year to the territory of her beloved husband, whose residence was situated in a place called Cuillin, bordering on the country of Luachardhea. It was during this that she unfortunately lost her invaluable wand, which was, perhaps, taken possession of by Oberon, the fairy king (who envied Cleena her great power), which prevented her from restoring Aoivil to her natural form.

In twelve months after their marriage the birth of an heir crowned the union of Caomh and Cleena with real happiness. Feastings and rejoicings were the order of the day, and their court, together with the neighbouring town, was crowded with the chiefs of the country, emulating each other in their attachment to Caomh and Cleena, his beautiful consort, who always attracted the notice and admiration of all persons for her majestic figure, exact symmetry, and fine countenance; and in two years more they were happy by the birth of twins, two little females, as white as snow, with mild eyes, and cheeks emulating the rose.


On this occasion also, tilts and tournaments were introduced, as much for joy as for exercise of the troops in the art of war. Yet peace reigned over the land, with the exception of some trifling skirmishes with the Danes of Dublin, Cork and Limerick, who about this time were acquiring strength and confidence in the country, together with a knowledge of military affairs. They devoted much of their time to commerce, walling in their seaport towns, making incursions into the country, and taking possession of the ancient Irish entrenchments, in which experienced soldiers formed garrisons, who maintained themselves in them against the efforts of the inhabitants. When closely besieged in any of these forts, which were great mounds of earth and stones, enclosing a small area of half-an-acre - sometimes more, and generally much less - they excavated a passage, escaped to the next fort at night, and returned the following morning with reinforcements. In this manner, and well disciplined, they oppressed the natives when least on their guard - when perhaps pillaging the evacuated encampment of the Danes. It was by stratagems of this sort that these northern and plundering invaders conquered all England and a good part of Ireland, and also retained their possession for so long a time.

On this account, Caoimh and the other powerful chiefs, were on the alert, and watched the motions of those plunderers, who, through courtesy and the advantage of commerce to the country, were hitherto permitted in the seaports; but at this time there was a strong jealously conceived against them for their rapine and cruelty to the natives where they could act with impunity, and before many months passed aver they broke into an open rebellion, the principal cause of which is related as follows:-

Ceallacan and the Danes

Ceallacan, King of Munster, became acquainted with the King of Norway’s beautiful daughter, called Bédhion, or Beavina, who then resided in Dublin in her brother Sitif, or Sitric’s court, and who, in token of peace and friendship, but treacherously, invited Ceallacan to espouse her.

The King of Munster, with all the joy and happiness of a bridegroom, proceeded to Dublin (or, as it was then called Uthcliath Dubhlnhe), with a slight retinue of romantic and valiant young chiefs, who, like himself, were full of thoughts of enjoying Danish beauties. Ceallacan no sooner arrived in the vicinity of the city then he was convinced of the treachery of the Dane, but before he could retreat was arrested, and all his noble and brave companions cut to pieces, with the exception of one, who brought the disastrous account to Munster.

This news was no sooner made known by the only person who escaped the slaughter, than it aroused the people from their lethargy, who at once assembled their forces, and unanimously elected O’Keeffe to command them. They also entrusted their fleet to Faildhe Fionh, who was then the hereditary admiral of Munster, and who, in consequence of residing on the western coast of Corcaduivne, was more accustomed to a naval life. Coraduivne, a wild district, together with Jobhrahac, the most western part of Europe, was the patrimony of Faildhe.

The army, under O’Keeffe, marched with the utmost speed to Dublin, where they discovered that Sitric had his headquarters in Dundealgain (Dundalk), and where his fleet was also moored, with Ceallacan on board the Commander’s ship in close confinement, and ready to sail with him to Denmark the first fair wind. O’Keeffe no sooner arrived there than Failbhe was discovered entering the harbour in good order, and with a fair breeze, and at once commenced a furious engagement with Sitric, and under great disadvantage, as O’Keeffe, through want of boats, could not, for a long time, afford much assistance. However, from their perseverance and great bravery, not a Danish ship escaped.

Ceallacan was released, and the enemy terribly slaughtered. After this decisive victory Caoimh returned to Munster with his victorious army, and the princess, with the ladies of the court, together with a vast concourse of the inhabitants, advanced far to meet them, showing unfeigned joy on this happy occasion. The merceniaries received their reward, and the army was disbanded to return to their respective districts.

O’Caoimh’s family were every year increasing in numbers and happiness, when an unforseen and unlucky accident occurred, which exposed how treacherously Cleena had behaved to her unfortunate, though amiable sister. Heaven is sometimes slow, but always certain to punish crimes and disorders, with venegeance against all who condemn its decrees, sooner or later. Thus, the old nurse of Cleena fell dangerously ill, and was at the point of death, when her conscience was a burthen to her in recollecting the fate of Aoivil and her hand in the transaction. She therefore called O’Keeffe to her apartment and unfolded the entire to him - how Aoivil was living, but metamorphosed, and confined in a deep and remote cave without chance of liberation or recovery.

The prince was thunderstruck at this relation of the old nurse, and at once sought an interview with Cleena, whom he constantly implored and requested to free Aoivil from her enchantment; but the princess was inflexible to all his solicitations, as it only tended to increase her jealousy; and she withal said - "Though my sister does not now consider you among the living, she still loves you as tenderly as ever. She is fully resigned to grief and bewails your loss, without intermission, since the battle of Dundealgain, where I convinced her that you fell fighting against the enemies of your country; and though I may be inclined to restore my sister to her former shape, it is entirely out of my power, through the loss of my precious wand".

This answer of Cleena, though in some measurable reasonable, so displeased the prince with his lawful wife, and her jealousy so deep-rooted, that it appeared almost impossible to reconcile them. She, therefore, in time retired to her fairy palace of the “grey rock", after having taken her daughters to be educated under her own care in this enchantment retirement.

(For Mr. Franklin’s account of Cleena’s palace, see "Carrigcleena”, “Journal" p. 80, 1897).


Colonel James Grove White

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