Al Beagan's "Genealogy Notes" of County Cavan Parish of Swanlinbar (Kinawley)

Al Beagan's "Genealogy Notes" ©1996 of County Cavan

Parish of Swanlinbar (Kinawley)

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1821 "Townland of Swanlunbar, NO.2 Dispensary St., No. 47, House No. 6, 1 story;

Christy Beakem, age 32 day laborer;

Thomas, brother, age 23, day laborer;

Mary, sister, age 20, flax spinner.

Total census 2805=498 houses

1821 Census of Cavan, LDS film # 0100823

John O'Donovan's Letters

transcribed by Nancy Pfaff

[Note- items in parentheses are in the letters, not my additions. Nancy]

Belturbet, Cavan

Saturday May 1, 1836

Dear Sir,

O'Conor joined me last night; we shall now work like two coach horses.

As the progress of the Survey is now so very rapid would it not be better for me to procure the correct names of the places without delaying to collect and write the traditions connected with them? The writing of long letters must evidently consume time, and as the Memoir of this County will not (if ever) come on for a number of centuries (years?) I should think it more prudent for me to keep pace with the Survey than to lag behind writing traditions of holy wells and castles. This is my firm conviction, but I leave it to yourself to determine upon what plan I am to adopt.

Drumlane, however, is so imposing that I am tempted to write a few words about it. It is called by the Irish Druim Leathan, Dosrum Latum, a name which is not of ecclesiastical origin, but which alludes to a beautiful ridge in the Townland.

The constant tradition of the country is that the "Round Steeple" was built for a "Belfry". Dean Richardson's story of an anchorite living on the top of it is not now known in the country, and old Kennedy of Killycar House is a very intelligent old gentleman now in the 82d year of his age, states that he never heard of an anchorite living in the steeple, though he did of a hermit living in a cell near the Church. This tradition of a hermit living near the Church must allude to Brian O'Farelly, who is recorded by the Four Masters to have commenced the erection of a Cloch Angcoire near the Church.

"A.D. 1484. Died John O'Faircheallaigh, a canon of the family of Drumlahan and Brian O'Faircheallaigh, a priest who had commenced the erection of an anchorite's stone-cell at the Templemore of Drumlane."

The O'Farrellys and Mac Gaghrans were the hereditary Coarbs and Erenachs of the place, and are still numerous in the Parish.

The door of the steeple is at least eleven feet from the ground and the top is knocked into the steeple which fills it up to a considerable height.

The same tradition which is current in other parts of Ireland is told here also, viz., that the steeple was erected by a woman to a certain height!

(vide Clones)

The north side of this steeple exhibits, sculptured upon the stones, a cock and a hen, emblems which would set O'Brien mad as representing the fructifying influence of the sun and moon, emblems of Mr. and Mrs. Buda!

What could have influenced the son of the star, the holy and pious St. Mogue, to get a cock and hen sculptured on his castellated sacristy and belfry, is to me a mystery. What does our friend the Thaumaturgus say about it?

The Bell which spoke (sounded) with a silver tongue in the top of this tower is now in the bottom of the adjoining lake, and it is reported that its silver tongue was found not many years ago.

I cannot but damn the assurance of Dr. Charles O'Conor, who had the daring effrontery to say in Latin that the Cloigtheachs or Campanilia [Nancy's note - means bell] of the ancient Irish were made of wood.

I send the Name Books of Drumlane and Annagh. Look at the plan of the Parish and see if in the Townland of Derrintinny in the west of the Parish there be a well marked under teh name of Tober Mogue, and Gloonmogue, a flag with the impression of that Saint's hard knee? I think they should appear on the Map.

The history of Mogue, (Mo-Aodh-Og* - my dear little Hugh) who was first called Fintan, and who became the Patron of the Diocese of Ferns as well as of Drumlane, and of teh periods at which the Claightheach of Drumlane was first erected and afterwards repaired, must be digested at a future period.

Let the above stand on record against Richardson's Anchorite tower.

* St. Mogue or Maidoc was born (according to his life in Acta SS p. 208 and 216 and the tradition in the country) on the Island of Inis Breghmhuigh in the Barony of Tullyhaw and County of Cavan:- "Insula Breaghmhuighe est Diocesis Kilmorensis sita in Stagno quodam in reguincula Breffiniae Telach-Ethach vulgo appellata." -Colgan, Acta SS, p. 216, col 1, note 6

This island is situate in a lake in the Parish of Templeport in the Barony of Tullyhaw and now called Port Island and Mogue's Island. St. Mogue is the Patron of this Parish, as well as of Rossinver in Leitrim, Drumlane in Cavan and Ferns in Wexford. - J. O'D, Sept. 8th 1836

Of the town Belturbet I find no record except that it was a castle built by Hugh Connallach O'Reilly, A.D. 15--. The ford which this castle commanded is called by O'Sullevan Bel-Tarbert and Latinised Os-Tarberti. The castle was called by the Irish Caislen Tairbeirt and the town is still named Belturbert by many of the country people in its vicinity. The ruins of the castle are still traceable near Beltrubet Distillery; are they marked on the map?

The Hill of Mullach na Mallacht, on which the Clergy of Drumlane were wont to curse those who plundered their Churches or lands, has in latter times lost that very ugly name, it being now called Lisnamaine, but old Kennedy of Killycar remembers that it was called Mullach na Mallacht or Collis Maledictionum, though he accounts for the name by a story about a square (Squire) Columb and a blind fiddler. The following story taken from the O'Reilly Pedigree, will account for the name in a somewhat more plausible manner and throw light upon the ferocity or rapacity of Priors to the time of peace.

"The Dumb Prior O'Reilly was fostered by the O'Sherridans of the Island. It is said that he was a great bestower and that he continued on one occasion giving away money and horses for three days until at last he was struck dumb (from hard work! I suppose). But others say that he was styled dumb Prior as having lost his speech for quite a different reason; on one occasion he plundered and robbed Drumlane and the Coarb came to him and said that the plundering of that Church of Mogue never yet succeeded with any one and requested him to restore the booty, but the other would not; whereupon the Coarb went to the Chapel of St. Maodhog to put it in order, and soon after passed down to Mullach no Mallacht or Hill of the Curses and there pronounced the curse of St. Maodhog against the Prior, who in consquence whereof was struck dumb." O'Reilly Pedigree, page 279

This hill lies a mile and a half south of Belturbet.

Drummany is another place (a fort and Townland) in this Parish of Drumlane of the name of which the O'Reilly Pedigree affords a legendary explanation;- "Mahon O'Reilly was a good almsgiver, and after having bestowed a mantle upon a monk, he got a promise from him that he (Mahon) should never die without the priest. It is reported that he desired the Clergy of Drumlane to visit him frequently during his last illness which was long and protracted, but the clergy finding that he was not willing to pay them for their visits at length neglected him and he died without the priest. His body was carried towards Drumlane and when the funeral had arrived at the fort of Druim Manaigh (Dorsum Monachi) two monks made their appearance, of whom one was in vestments ready for Mass; the other came forward and opened the Aileatrum or Hearse, upon which Mahon revived, made his confession to the monk and died immediately after."

These stories were swallowed in Spain without sauce, where Don Antonio O'Reilly was ennobled. After Mahon had been interred at Drumlane, Gelasius Roe composed the following Quatraine for him;-

  Oh thou! who readiest this flag so heavy

  Which presses on the fair and smooth thigh of the son of Donnell,

  O Mahon it is not meet to place it,

  But silk instead and stones of chrystal.

The present presiding Saint is Laurence, festival 10th August.

The Parish of Annagh adjoining Drumlane is called in the annals Eanach Garbh. This will assist O'Keeffe in finding out the Patron Saint of it.

"A.D. 1418. Philip the son of Giolla-Iosa O'Reilly, Deacon of Drumlane and Vicar of Annagh Garve, was drowned in Lough Sheelion, etc."

There is a Townland in the same Parish called Killoughter containing the ruins of an old Church of the same name (or rather which gave name to the Townland) of which I find the following very curious notice in the O'Reilly Pedigree;-

"The Church of Kill-Uachtair was erected by Philip, the son of Brian, as a place for Mass, and as a fastness (fortress) against the County of Monaghan. It is said that there were seven Bishops present at the consecration of it."

This church lies close to the County of Monaghan. It is curious to find a Church erected for the double purpose of piety and defence.*

  Your obediant servant,

  John O'Donovan

* There are very numerous instances of such in Ireland. The Church and Castle of Tulsk in the County of Roscommon is a very good specimin of the combined purpose and it is perhaps a singular proof of the general tendency in the natives of those days to respect religious exeruption from violence, that defence forms the exception rather than the rule. - O'R.

Cavan, May 19, 1836

Dear Sir,

We arrived here this morning at 8 o'clock, but were much disappointed in not meeting the Name Books of some of the southern Baronies. O'Conor will have nothing to do unless they arrive tomorrow. I write this in a hurry but I shall write again immediately. Send whatever Name Books are ready, and if they be not ready I think it is better to send them that we may procure the correct names as at present pronounced in the country, and finish the comparison with the Inquisitions afterward. We should have the Name Books as prepared as possible before setting out for the country.

I am exceedingly sorry to hear that Georgie Petrie is not improving; the father is so sympathetic that he is well or ill accordingly as he sees that child improving or otherwise. I often deem it a pity that literary men should be married at all.

I hope that the Books will arrive in time. O'Conor will never be able to meet the expenses attending this rapid tour through Cavan. We expect to get finished before our pay can be sent.

Your obediant servant,

  John O'Donovan

Cavan, Thursday, May 19, 1836

Dear Sir,

On Sunday last we travelled on foot from Belturbet to Bellaconnell, a distance of five Irish miles and stopped there for the night to get the names in the Parish of Tom Regan but to our great disappointment we found the ancient language and the traditions quite extinct in that part of the County. The language is spoken by the old people only, and even these do not understand the meanings of the topographical names (words). The only tradition connected with the Village of Bellaconnell is that it took its name from the ford over which the bridge now stands, and that the ford was called Beul-Atha-Chonail from a chief of the name Connell who was killed at it in the year (God knows what year, but it was long before the wars).

Of the meaning or origin of Tom-Regan they can tell nothing but upon reference to the Annals of the Four Masters it struck me very forcibly that it must be the place called Tuaim Dreacon in that Chronical-

"Anno Mundi, 3723. Eochy, King of Ireland, fought the Battle of Tuaim Dreacon in Hy-Briuin Breifny".

This is certainly the modern Tomreagan (Tuam Dhrecon, tumulus Dreconi) the D being aspirated and as it generally happens, totally sunk in the anglicised spelling and pronunciation.

On Monday we proceeded from Bally or Bella Connell in a northwestern direction through the Parishes of Templeport and Kilnaile, until we arrived at Swanlinbar, called by the Irish Muilleann Iarainn or the Iron Mill.

The tradition in this neightbourhood is that Swanlinbar is not an Irish name but one formed by compact from the first syllables of the names of three ancient proprietors of the Iron Works; this may be historical fact, but I should like to procure some more certain record of it than oral and vulgar tradition.

After having procured a kind of a dinner at the head Inn of Swanlinbar, wishing to lose no time in that uninteresting village we directed our course southwestwards for about three miles through the Parish of Kil Naile, and then turned northwestwards to make our way into the centre of the wild valley of Glen Gavlen, a distance of perhaps the wildest district I ever saw. Situated between the two lofty and barren Mountains of Cailceach and Sliabhan-Iarainn, this valley will never induce mankind to run a railroad through it; its sides are precipitous and rocky, defying the exertions of the plough and teh wheeled car, and even of the side car! The loy (a peculiar long spade) only can be used to form the nidus for the potato and grain.

The snow lies brooding on the mountains on either side till late in Spring (which prevents early tillage) and when dissolving before the south wind warmed by the sun of spring it (i.e. the snow turned into water) overfloods and injures the sloping fields, the Mistks and Meenies of this Valley of Gavlen.

Its road (if road it might be called) is precipitous and stony, and intersected by many deep and rough glens with their mountain streams (now nearly dried up) which makes it very difficult to run a rail road from the City of Bawnboy to that of the Black Lion. Perhaps the future industry of the men of Hy Briuin Breifny may open this important communicaion after they shall have again set up Magauran as teh Lord of the Tribe of Eochy (Tullyhaw)!

We lodged in a farmer's house in Glen Gavlen for two days; on Tuesday we directed our course northwards through the parish of Templeport, over a very bad, rough, rocky road and indulged our curiosity by visiting the large spring well in the Townland of Derrylahan in which the Shannon (according to tradition) had its source. It is a round deep pool throwing out a stream of considerable size which the country people call the Shannon. The pool itself is called by some Poll Lagan Sionna, and Lag Bhun na Sionna by others. From this pool we directed our course through the Parish of Killoynagh to hear the names of the townlands in it prounouned in Irish by the natives. They speak the Irish very well but retain no traditions connected with the old Church except that it was built by St.

Bridget and St. Leyny, from the latter of whom it and its Parish have received its name. There are two wells dedicated to them which are set down in the name Books and which will consequently appear on the Map.

Of St. Leyny nothing is now remembered but that he was a Leinsterman who, falling in love with St. Bridget, followed her hither, but who, when St. Bridget plucked out her eyes to destroy her beauty, repented, became a Saint and built this Church by which he transmitted his memory to posterity with more success than he would have by marrying the beautiful-eyed Bridget.

When St. Leynie declared that he was in love with St. Bridget she asked with what part of her he was in love. He answered, with her eyes, upon hearing which she plucked out her eyes saying, here they are for you - a wonderful thing for one to do, who was herself a bastard.

After getting the names of the Parish of Kil-Loynie we returned from the Black Lion and Lough Macnean to our host in Glenn Gaibhlean, and the next morning we remeasured our journey along the craggy and precipitous road between the mountains, the only pass out of this dreary district and proceeded southwards throught the Parish of Templeport with a view of seeing Father Philip Magauran, a lineal descendant of the last chief of the tribe of Eochy (Tullyhaw) but he was not at home.

We then enquired for the oldest and longest headed man in the southern part of Templeport Parish and soon made out old Morrow, the father of Mr. Morell, who is merchant tailor in Sackville Street, Dublin. He is well acquainted with his own part of the Parish and speaks the old language remarkably well but he is not learned enough to understand the meanings of the topographical words. He told us however the traditions connected with St. Mogue's Island of Port, which are as indistinct as they are wonderful.

Some say that St. Mogue was born on this island, which is, I believe, not true but all agree that in the absence of a currach a flag or flat stone floated on the surface of the lough and conveyed a child of Drumreilly over to Port Island to be baptised by St. Mogue (see a full account of these miracles in the Life of St. Mogue, now in the possession of Myles John O'Reilly, Esq.)

From this Parish we proceeded to Bella Connell, from thence to Belturbet, and from Belturbet to Cavan where we now stop in the house of James Reilly of the family of Kilnacrot.

After this description of our wearisome journey through the Baronly of Tullyhaw, during which you will observe that we did not lose a second (minute) it may not be uninteresting to shew [sic] how it received its name of Tullyhaw. It is to be noted that the ancient Irish did not take names from places but like all nations who were divided into Clans, gave the name of the family to the seigniory to them belonging, as our learned O'Flaherty doth observe in his Ogygia Vindicated - a work in which he thunders with honest and patriotic indignation against the knavish fooleries of Sir George MacKenzie.

Now be it known that it has been ascertained from the most genuine and unobjectionable chronicles of the Island of Druids and Saints that Eochy Moyvahaine, the most noble Monarch of Ireland in the 4th century, had a son called Brian, who begat Duach the Valorous, who begat Eogan Sreve, who begat Muireadhach, who begat Fergus, who begat Duach of the Copper Tongue, King of Connaught, and Brian, from whom all the Hy-Briuin Breifne are descended. This Brian was fostered and educated by the great Saint Columb and from his great proficiency in the various kinds of knowledges then known to the Irish, he received the ditinguished appellation of Feargna which is as much to say Vir Sapiens in the Latin Tongue and man of Wisdom in the English.

This Brian, surnamed Feargna, had a son Breunainn, who begat Baoithin, who begat Maonach, who had issue Eochaidh. This Eochy became father of a numerous tribe who from him took the patronymic of Tealach Eathach, i.e. Eochoides or tribe of the Eochy, whose name being difficult of utterance to a civilised English tongue was barbarised to Tully-Haw instead of Tellach-Eochy. A few generations lower in the Pedigree appears Samhradhan, pronounced Sauran, who, living during the reign of Brian Boru, was obliged to impose it as an injunction upon his sons, grandsons and posterity that they should thenceforward take name from him, an injunction imposed on all the other chiefs and strictly adhered to throughout Ireland in general, as well as at the foot of Slieve Anierin.

Now it happened that some families preferred the prefix Mac to O' the former meaning son (fitz) and the latter grandson (nepos) and those who assumed the Mac were the descendants of this Sauran, who thenceforward became Mag-Saurans which among the Normans woud sound Fitz-Saurans; but as in the Irish Language the genitive case of a man's name most generally (but not always) suffered aspiration, the S dwindled to the faint sound of H and the whole of the name became Mag-hauran, and in the latter ages when men are becoming fond of tidy short monosyllabic names an attempt has been made to Anglicise it to Magauran - which is still (as a member of the family has told me) a very ugly name to go to Church with! Should any of the fmaily ever embrace the aristocratic religion of the State I would advise him to alter his ugly name to Sauran (or Summers) which will be strictly analogical. Throughout Meath this family anglicise their name Govern, which is certainly a powerful form of the Cognomen worthy of Brian a Chogaidh.

Baoithin, above mentioned, the grandfather of Eochy, had seven sons the youngest of whom was called Muldoon, who was cursed by St. Dalan and struck barren like the fig tree. "Ar rob e sin andiadhu uair ro easguin Dallan e" - McFirbis. This Dallan must have been the Patron Saint of Kildallan, the Parish which adjoins Temple-an-phort to the south? Is he not mentioned in the Irish Calendar? Let O'Keeffe examine the Calendar carefully and see if Laighne of Kill Laighneach occurs in it. Let him also consult Colgan's Triad Thau. for the list of Churches in Ireland in which St. Bridget was revered as the Patron, and see if any Churches in Breifnia are mentioned?

Norden gives a better map of the two Breifnes than the one sent me; please to let me have it also. There is a very good map of Leitrim anc Cavan in the College, of which I should like to have a tracing.

Shane More O'Dugan, Bard of the Hy-Many, in his topographical poem composed before the year 1370, finds Magauran the Chief of Teallach Eachdhach. I give his very words as well as they can bear translation-

"High King of Briefny of lasting power (sway)

Is O'Rourke to whom the tribute of Connaught is due,

Around whom these chiefs are found;

Mac Tiernan (McKiernan) of the lordly soul

Prop of the genuine Gaels,

Liberator of the clergy and their friend,

Rules o'er Teallach Doncha

Magauran, a tie of strength,

Sways over illustrious Teallach Eochy (1)

His country is not rendered ugly by the wind,

(a thir nocha granda o'n ngaoith) (2)

Mac Consnava (now Forde) rules Clan Kenny (3)"

(1) Now barbarised to Tullahonoho and Tullyhonco; I think it should be made Tullydunca!

(2) With every deference to the veneralbe testimony of Shane O'Dugan, I would venture to affirm that the mountains and glens of Slieve-an-Ierin and Cailceach are ugly enough from the influence of the wind, or whatever other elements war against the fertility and vivid beauty of a distict. But the southern parts of Magauran's country is certainly fertile and not rendered ugly by the wind.

(3) One of this name yet living in Glen Gavlen is said to be one hundred and twenty years; he tells the young people he was the Glas Gavlen.

A few Extracts from the Annals of the Four Masters will prove that the Magaurans were fonder of fighting than of making railroads.

"A.D. 1495. Magauran (Felim) Chief of Teallach Eachdhach was drowned in Loch Crannoige an Mhuillinn (now Killywillin Lough near Ballymagauran) and Donnell Bearnach, his brother, assumed his place."

"A.D. 1496. Magauran (Donnell Bearnach) Chief of Teallach Eachdhach was treacherously slain before (at) the Altar of the Church of Teampall-an-Phuirt by Teige, the son of Hugh Magauran, and the marks of the blows aimed at him are yet visible in the corners of the Altar."

A.D. 1512. Philip, the son of Torlogh Maguire, joined by the sons of Thomas Magauran, made an irruption into Teallach Eachdhach and took a prey from Torlogh, the son of Hugh Magauran, Tanish of the Territory, and slew Torlogh himself as he followed in pursuit of it. They then proceeded to Ballymagauran which they took; and they made a prison of the Magauran himself, who was sick at the time, but they afterwards left him behind because he could not be conveniently brought away, etc."

I hope the Name Books will arrive before we are knocked idle. Can O'Keeffe ascertain from Mac Firbis what was the family name or names of teh Tribe of Teallach Gairbhath now Tully Garvey? Do the pedigrees of McCaba or O'Sheridan appear?

  Your obediant servant,

  John O'Donovan


May 21, 1836

Dear Sir,

I find that the Name Books have not arrived this morning either. This is really too bad when we are so anxious to work. As I am most anxious to collect all the rhymes and rags of Irish history and Chorography, I shall amuse myself by writing a few remarks upon the Shannon's source, and first of all, I shall give Cambrensis's description of that majestic stream and Gratianus Lucius's most unmerciful critique of the same.


 "Of all the rivers in Ireland whether modern or ancient (this alludes to the old tradition that there were only ten rivers in Ireland in Partholanus's time) the Shannon deservedly holds the first rank as well on account of its majestic size and long course through so many territories, as on account of the great abundance of its fish. For it has its source in a large and beautiful lake dividing Connaught from Momonia (Ultonia) and extends its two arms towards two opposite points of the world. One of these arms flows southwards by the City of Killaloe, and embraces Limerick, and at the distance of more than one hundred miles from thence separates the two Munsters from each other, and empties itself int the Brendanic Sea. The other arm, which is not smaller than the former, divides Meath and the Ulterior parts of Ulster from Connaught and after many and various meanderings finally precipitates itself into the northern ocean. It therefore, divides and separates from sea to sea like the fourth or western part of Ireland from the other three, like a mediterranian river."

"This kingdom was anciently divided into five almost equal portions, viz., the two Momoniae northern and southern, Lagenia, Ultonia and Conaltia. All which, according to the prophecy of Merlinus, are to be reduced into one.

But more will be said concerning these divisions in their proper places.

One thing however remains to be noted here that the two Momoniae comprise the southern, Ultonia the northern, Lagenia the eastern and Conaltia the western part of Ireland." - Topographia Hiberniae, dist. 1, Cap. 6.

On this the celebratedand erudite John Lynch writes the following critique in his Cambrensis Eversus, in most excellent Latin, of which the following is but a bad translation -

"His errors concerning the River Shannon. I cannot sufficiently express my wonder at his assertion that the River Shannon takes its rise in a very large and beautiful lake and empties itself by one arm into the western sea, and dividing the Ulterior parts of Ulster from Connaught is at length precipitated into the northern ocean, and that the lake from which the Shannon flows divides Conacia from Mommonia. For during the whole course of that river no other lake stagnates between Connaught and Munster, but Lough Dergderg (Deirgdheirc) which spreads itself to an ample extent above Killaloe, and to assert that the Shannon has its source in this Lough is a most glaring falsehood.

"With much greater accuracy does Camden and the fact speak - 'The Shannon, he says, the most noble river in all Ireland which flows between Meath and Connaught, is called Senus by Ptolomy, Sena by Orosius and in some copies Saecana, flumen Senese by Giraldus, but Shannon by the natives, a name which some interpret as signifying ancient river. It rises (is poured out) from the Mountains of Therne' (Sliabh an Iarainn) ' in the County of Leitrim and cutting its way directly southwards, now expands itself into lakes and now contracts itself into a narrow channel and after forming a lake or two it once again collects itself within its banks and visits the Macolicum of Ptolemy, which is now called Male, as that most erudite geographer, G. Mercator, has observed. It is soon after received by another extensive lake (Loch Righi) the name and situation of which suggest that the City of Rhigia which Ptolomy places in that parallel, was not far distant."

"After having passed this lake it collects itself into a narrower channel and here the Town of Athlone stands upon it. Then the Shannon, after passing the Cataract at Killaloe, channel and embraces the City of Limerick. From thence for a distance of about sixty miles th Shannon rolls westwards, a straight majestic river abounding in islands, and finally, with a vast mouth it pours its waters beyond Knockpatrick into the western ocean."

[There is much debate about the two sides in question, not too much discussion of local topography, history, etc - mostly conjecture]


Sunday, May 22, 1836

Dear Sir,

I have received the Name Books of Urney and Castleterra, but we shall have done with them tomorrow - I expect, therefore, that the other Baronies will be sent us that we may work separately at different Parishes. I intend to move in the direction of Killeshandra while O'Conor directs his course to the Town of Cootehill, for we can thus get finished in a very short time.

Upon looking over the Extracts from the Annals of the Four Masters, I find that the Valley of Glenn Gaibhlen is mentioned in them with a slight change in the termination of the name which shews that tradition often corrupts ancient names and places for the purpose of making them agree with old stories, a fact which, I think, I have already fully established in a letter from Maghera in the county of Londonderry. The passage runs as follows-

"A.D. 1390. The Clan Mortogh and the Teallach Donchadha (now Tullaghonoho) emigrated in despite of the O'Rourkes into Fiodh-na-Fionnoige, Sliabh-Corran and Kinel Luachain. As soon as O'Rourke, who was then in Gleann Gaibhle, had received intelligence of this, he brought his moveables with him to the upper part of K inel Luachain where he made an attack upon the people from Beal-Atha-an-Doire (Bellanderry) to the summit of the hills of Briefny."

  Touching the Castle of Belturbet

  De munitione de Vado Tarbeti, et Osullevani fuga

It appears from Norden's Map that the Castle of Belturbet stood on the east side of the River Erne, which agrees with the tradition of the country, videlicet, that Caislean Tairbeirt was a small building which stood on a point of land running into the Erne not far from the Belturbet Distillery. Its ruins are now level with the ground and scarcely visible.

Old Mac Donnell of Annagh Parish remembers to have seen a considerable portion of the walls standing but he says that it appeared from the ruins to be seen in his time that Castle-Tarbert was but a small building commanding that part of the river opposite the Distillery, at which only it was fordable. In his memory some of the rocks were removed from the channel of the river, which renders it now much deeper and more difficult of being forded than it was formerly.

O'Sullevan Beare crossed this ford after his flight from Dunboy and Glengarriff which is the only corcumstance that has handed down its correct name of Bel-Tarbert, i.e. Os Tarberti to posterity.

Conor Roe, who was styled the English Maguire, hearing of O'Sullevan's march in this direction with the intention of going to confer with O'Neill then in the fastness of Glenconkeine (Ballynascreen) hastened with a body of the Queen's soldiers from Enniskillen to this ford to intercept O'Sullevan's passage, but the latter had crossed Bel-Tarbert before the former could reach it. (Vide Hist. Cathol. Fol.)

  Concerning the Church of Drumlane

  De Ecclesia de Dorso Lato et nativitate Si. Maidoci

According to the tradition that now lingers in the Parish of Drumlane, St. Mogue was the original founder of the round steeple and the Abbey, still it would appear from the Life of that distinguished Bishop given by Colgan that there had been an ecclesiastical establishment there before he (Mogue) was born.

 "There was a certain nobleman in the Country of the Connacians whose name was Setna, and who was married to Eithnia of the seed of Aulaus (Amalgaid). These having no heir entreated God to grant them a son, and for that end they performed many acts of charity, paying frequent visits to the Saints who resided in the Monastery of Druim Leathan. These Saints also interceded with God to bless this couple with a son. Some time after, Setna slept with his wife Ethne, and on that night he had a dream - he saw a star falling down into the mouth of his wife, and his wife in a vision saw the moon falling into her husband's mouth. When they awoke they related each in turn what they had seen. And on that night St. Aedanus, who is commonly called Moedoc, was conceived, and who for this reason is called by many the Son of the Star." Acta SS. page 208, col. 1.

I had expected to find a moon and a star sculpted on Mogue's Belfry instead of a Cock and a Hen.

What a pity that O'Brien had not this passage that he might prove it remains of a pagan belief in the prolific influence of the moon.

Colgan in a note in which he gives the situataion of Duim Leathan has, I think, committed a strange mistake. He writes-

"Druim Lethain was formerly for many years a celebrated Monastery, now it is only a Parish Church in the Diocese of Kilmore and County of Cavan on the confines of both Breffnys and a noble burial place of the chief men of both countries. Here was a Monastary until the year 1025, at which the Four Masters record the death of Dubensius O'Forchelluigh (O'Farrelly) Abbot of Druimlahan."

Druim-Leathan, however, is not on the confines of both Breffnies, for the Parish of Kildallan and a considerable portion of the Parish of Drumlane lie between teh Monastery and Breifny O'Rourke, that is, if we are right in making Breifny O'Reilly coextensive with the present County of Cavan.(from footnote - Colgan is right. It appears from O'Dugan's Topographical Poem that the Baronies of Tullyhaw and Tullyhonco belonged to O'Rourke.)

Let this however, remain for future consideration.

  De-Castello do Tully-Mongan

  A quo erectum nunc dubium-Gallow's Hill, nunc nuncupatus ejus situs.

In the Pedigree of County O'Reilly, scraped together by the Chevalier Thomas O'Gorman, I find the following reference to Tully-Mongan-

"The Castle of Tully-Mongan was erected by Torlogh, the son of Shane the Hospitable. The place was called Tulach-Mongain from Mongan, a Danish Chief, who raised a great hill or moat (fort) there."

This passage seems to have been taken from a MS. account of the O'Reilly family compiled from various sources by a Shanachie of the name Brady or Mac Brady(from footnote - this is an error. It was originally compiled by Beothius Roe Mac Egan, and -- Hacket, two of the Irish Friars of Lovaine.

J.O'D, Sept. 6 1836) about the commencement of the last century, but it appears from the strain in which it is written that he penned down the greater part of it from oral tradition as he seldom or never gives dates- now I feel inclined to doubt that Tulach Mongain received that name from a Dane, because I find that Mongan (which, si vocis etymon spectes, signifies a hairy man) was very common among the ancient Irish as the proper name of a man, and is yet preserved as a surname anglicised Mongan and incorrectly Mangan, while I find no such name among the Danes who settled in any part of Ireland.

It also admits of doubt that the Castle of Tulach Mongain was erected by Torlogh, the son of Shane O'Reilly- it is true that he is the first mentioned by the Four Masters as having died in the Castle of Tulach Mongain, but they have another passage from which we must infer that it was a seat of the Prince of Breifny before the time of Torlogh, the son of Shane.

"A.D. 1400. Shane, the son of Philip O'Reilly, Lord of Breifny, died of a sudden fit in his bed at Tulach Mongain."

"A.D. 1487. O'Reilly (Torlogh the son of Shane who was the son of Owen) died suddenly in his Castle of Tulach Mongain, and his son Shane was styled O'Reilly as his successor."

 Here it is to be observed that although Tulach Mongain is not called a castle in the passage at the year 1400, it is nevertheless more than probable that it was a castle, as being the residence of the head of the family. It is certain that other branches of the family had castles at this period, and it is not likely that the Prince of Briefny would entrust his safety to a common house while he knew the art of building a castle in which he could sleep fortified against the nocturnal attackes of Maguire, Mac Mahon and the rivals of his own family. We must therefore infer that Mac Brady or O'Gorman or whoever it was that has ascribed the erection of the Castle of Tully-Mongan to Torlogh, the son of Shane, must have been misinformed on the subject, or have drawn too hasty an inference from the annals of 1487.

[more from this letter later...]


Sunday, May 22, 1836

Tulach Mongain, now correctly anglicised Tully Mongan statnds over the Town of Cavan to the east. The castle has long since disappeared and the Danish fort or moat referred to by Mac Brady is much lessened (effaced) its mounds levelled, and carried away to fertilize the surrounding farms- I think, however, that the site of it should be marked on the Ordnance Map, and there is a tradition that a castle stood within the circle of the fort. It is now called the Gallow's Hill but was anciently called Castle Hill. Mr. Stotherd says that he has laid down the site of another castle in Cavan and also the site of the Monestery, upon the plan. Be sure he has marked the remains of the fort of Tully Mongain for if not he can mark it before he leaves Cavan. De asse mirabili in medio lapidis reporto!

Mr. Stotherd will tell you of a coin found in this neighbourhood in the centre of a stone. I saw it today. It is certainly an Eastern coin dropped and perhaps artificially inserted into a stone by some Eastern traveller to puzzle antiquarians. It is quite new and fresh and exhibits a cock and some Arabic characters, which identifies it with the Tower of Drumlane, which also exhibits the cock, but no Arabian or Persian characters. Mr. M. Babington, in whose possession the coin now is, believes that it was found in the centre of a Grawacchie rock, and that it is an Irish coin of remote antiquity.

The young science of Geology, if I remember rightly, will take upon it to prove that this kind of stone has been formed before man was acquainted with the art of minting. But Irish antiquarians will prove their early acquaintance with coining (forgery) from the period of the antediluvian Kessair to the reign of Con of the Hundred Battles.

  Credat hoc Judaenus Apella!

That the Prince of Breifny coined in the reign of Henry VI is certain, as the Pedigree of Count O'Reilly produces an Act of Parliament made 25th Henry VI (A.D. 1447) prohibiting the circulation of O'Reilly's money, but it is equally certain that he (Prince of Briefny) never coined this beautiful piece, though it may have been coined about fifty years ago to puzzle antiquaries.

Mr. Babington would not let it out of his possession lest any one might be so wicked as to take a cast of it, and thus lessen its value. Mr. B., however, only heard that it was found in the centre of a stone, but his is convinced that the man who told him so would not tell a lie, though he would (did) not tell who this truth-loving individual is. If the evidence of it's having been found in a stone were weighed, it would appear that there is no connection between this coin and the Tower of Drumlane.

  J. O'Donovan


Dear Sir,

We have received that name Books of Castlerahan Barony, and we therefore start now for Bally James Duff, a route which will put us several days out of our way, for we must return to Cavan again. I never again intend to start for any County until I shall have all the Books ready to take with me.

What do you intend to do about the County of Leitrim? There are no Inquisitions ready for that County. What state are the Name Books in? Shall we have to go back to Dublin previously to our visit to O'Rourke?

Direct all to Cavan as usual.

  Your obediant servant,

  John O'Donovan


May 25th, 1836

Dear Sir,

Is it not a most extraordinary thing that I should be taken for a Methodist? I wear a black coat, a black waistcoat, a pair of black trousers, a black hat, black shoes and most generally a black (dirty, dusty) shirt, a very appropriate color to represent the dark designs of one who intends to make Protestants of the Townlands, and yet the Friars who were holy men belonging to God wore very black clothes. I assure you that I was refused lodgings in several places in consequence of looking so much like a swadling preacher. Think you then how hard it was for Saint Patrick to work his point among the sun-worshippers of Breifny.

I addressed a letter to the learned and excellent Mr. Morton of Kilnacrot formerly Professor of Mathematics in the College of ---- in America but now the proprietor of the Kilnacrot Estate which devolved on him by the death of his elder brother, and he has sent me the following answer, which I consider worthy of his learning-


It would give me great pleasure, so far from esteeming it a trouble, could I answer in any way satisfactorily your interesting questions respecting the names Mullagh Castle, and Castle Raheen, and the historical facts you mention in connection with them. I am not aware of a castle or Church having existed at Mullaghcastle in Crosserlough Parish and should rather incline your suggestion of teh parish of Mullagh being the locality you seek for. I have an opportunity however of making enquiry just at this moment from the circumstance of Mr. O'Reilly of Beltrasna (a descendant of the Count O'Reilly you refer to) being with me for a few days, and will acquint you with the result, as also with respect to Castle Raheen. I shall at the same time have much pleasure in naming you the best acquainted persons I can find for your purpose in this parish.

  Your very obediant servant,

  Pierce Morton


May 25th, 1836

I have to lament that I had not a letter of introduction from Mr. O'Reilly to him. He will direct his letter to the Ordnance Survey Office, please then forward it to me, and then you shall have my commentaries upon it and the other traditions you have heard.

The name Castlerahan (Castleraghan is barbarous) certainly signifies the castle of (at or near) the little fort, as the locality and tradition among the peasantry will prove. The O'Reilly Pedigree also affords a clue to the original orthography.

"The District of Uachtar-Tire or the southeast district of Breifny now called Loch Ramhor or the Barony of Castle Raheen was the patrimony of Felim, the son of Shane O'Reilly." - page 137

Tomorrow we shall make a great exertion to get done here. Tell Mr. Curry that I expect the Books will not be delayed.

We shall be in Cavan on Friday, after which I shall take up Tullyhonoho and Clan-Mahon while O'Conor goes to Cootehill to do Tullagh Garvey. This will direct Mr. Curry in preparing the Books.

When I go out again I shall have on me a green coat, a green waistcoat, a white shirt and a pari of chimerically coloured breeches.

We could get no place to stop in but the Head Inns, which has drained our pockets to the last shilling. We have only as much money as will take us to Cavan- a great prospect for a happy old age!

  Your obediant humbled servant,

  John O'Donovan


May 25th, 1836

Dear Sir,

Before leaving Cavan we sent the Name Books of the Parishes of Urney containing the Town of Cavan, and Castleterra containing Ballyhayes, in both which the aboriginal language is reeling under the last blow!

Duo Castella in Cavani oppido - monasterium ubi situm.

Besides the Castle of Tullymongan, which according to just (fere) extinguished tradition, stood within the ring of the fort that crowns the summit of Gallow's Hill in the Townland of Tullymongan, ancient Cavan contained another which tradition remembers to have been called "Brogan's Castle" and which stood in the main street opposite Mr. Fitzgerald's house, not far from the Gallow's Hill. Has the site of this been marked on the plan of the town? The site of the Monestary is still pointed out by the burial ground and the "Friar's Walk".

 Why the castle in the Main Street was called Brogan's Castle I have not been able to learn though I consulted the oldest and most intelligent men and women in the town about it. In the Pedigree of Count O'Reilly, I find it recorded that-

"Walter's Castle in Cavan was erected by Garrett Fleming."

but no other castle is mentioned but Tullymongan. It is therefore probably that Castle Brogan is a corruption of Castle-Gearroid or Garrett's Castle.

  Cavani oppidum igne muliere excitato deletum!

The following passage in the Annals of the Four Masters will give one an idea of the site of the ancient Town of Cavan-

 "A.D. 1576. The great Monastery at Cavan and the town itself from the Monastery down to the River were burned by the daughter of Thomas, the son of the Baron, through jealousy (i.e. during a fit of jealousy). The injury done by this fire was great indeed - so great a destruction had not been witnessed in any town among the Irish for a long time before."

  Fabella de origine nominis Castleterrae

The Irish name of Castleterra is Cois an tSiorraigh, i.e. the Foal's Foot, and contrary to my anticipation, the name has no connection with Castle of even Cashel. The origin of it is attributed to the Patron Saint finding the impression of a foal's foot in some remarkable rock near which he built his Church, but this impression is not now visible. Howbeit Castleterra (vulgarly Castletara) is now so well established that we could not take it upon us to alter Castle even if we could find the rock with the foal's foot. The legend goes on to state that the Patron Saint of Cushintirra when he was erecting his CHurch saw to the east of him a crowd of people assembled on a hill, and that he called the hill Drong, for that reason because Drong in the Cotic language sounds crowd or people in the English. Hence the origin of the name Drong which afterwards beczme the name of a Church and Parish.

Has St. Patrick left us any account of his travels through Briefny? I had the pleasure of his company in Derry, Monaghan and Donegal, but I do not meet with him here at all! I fear he never hallowed Briefny with his presence. Let O'Keeffe (I wish O'Keeffe would) look over Evin's Tripartite Life of him, and see if the Hy-Briuin offered as much opposition to him as they do at present to the Methodists? The Hy-Briuin are so fond of the ancient Faith that they are afraid that ny intention is to make Protestants of the townland names!

 As I have happened to mention St. Patrick who, as appears from the discoveries of modern investigators, was deeply imbued with the Pelagian heresy, it may not be impertinent to observe here that the efforts of his successors, the teachers of the Bible through the medium of the Irish language, have created in the minds of the peasantry, a hatred for every thing written in that language and that the society who encourage them could not have adopted a more successful plan to induce them to learn English and hate their own language. Similar causes similarly situated will produce similar effects.

I had a visit from a member of the Synod of Ulster here last night, who took great pains to explain to me the Divine Doctrine of Predestination -

"Everyman has be predestined from eternity either to be saved or damned. If predestined to be saved he will be saved in despite of the Devil, and if predestined to be damned, no effort of his own can save him, but as man does not know utrum, he must pull away as well as he can." The Doctrine of Purgatory and prayers for the dead is more humane and better fitted for the Breifnian mind than this doctrine of the divine Calvin. You will hear from me next from Virginia.

  Your obediant servant,

  John O'Donovan

No date given

  Corruptio nominum locorum

Every ng is pronounced here like gh gutteral and there is a Townland in the Parish of Casteterra called Daingean, a fastness, which custom has established as Deggan or Daggen, a name which in the west and south of Ireland would be Dangan. It is really too bad that one must yield so far to local corruption- but you will find that it is so strongly fixed as Daggan that it would be too violent now to correct it. The Townland of Lisnagowan is called by the Irish Lis O'Gowan, i.e. O'Gowan's or Smith's Fort, but still Lisnagowan is the established Anglicized name and, to my great vexation, cannot be touched. As use will render anomalies and unphilosphical expressions inviolable in the spoken and written dialect of a people, so will it with equal authority, establish corrupt names in a topographical nomenclature.

Of Ballyhayes I can find no record but the following-

"From Rory, the son of Felim O'Reilly, sprung a tribe who gave their name of Sliocht-Rory to the district lying between Beal-Atha-Heis (Ballyhayes) and Beal-Atha-na-Cairge (Ballynacargy)."

"Manus, the son of the aforesaid elim, possessed the country lying near Ballyhayes to the west side of the river."

There is no mention of a castle having ever been erected in Ballyhayes.

The Heath House

May 25th 1836

To Mr. John O'Donovan

Dear Sir,

I learn from Mr. Larcom, who has been so obliging as to write to me, that your labors in the Territory of Breifne have fully commenced and that your summer's researches after ancient topography etc., will comprise both the Breifnes together with Meath. By this you will have ascertained all the local history of the O'Reillys and O'Rourkes and I hope to find you able to add much matter to our family history, tho' principally, I fear, in the department of Patriotism and Privation. I enclose you a note of introduction to Mr. Morton of County Cavan which I want you to personally present to him, and whom I hope may be of use to you.

I shall expect communications from you and shall be glad, if circumstances permit, to join you for a short time in the course of the Summer in your movements through my Principality and claim due allegiance to, Dear Sir,

  Yours very truly,

  Myles J. O'Reilly


May 27th 1836

Dear Sir,

I send you the Name Books of the parishes of Crosserlough, Castlerahan, Lurgan, Killinkere, Mullagh adn Munter-Cuhonnaught, from which you will observe that we are losing no time.

I have received Mr. O'Reilly's letter of introduction to Mr. Morton, but you have learned by this time that it will be of no use to me. Indeed I have resolved not to accept of an hospitable invitation from any one because I have learned from former experience that Irish hospitality is calculated to retard my progress. I have got a letter of introduction from some of the Roman Catholic Bishops to the Irish Clergy which will answer my purpose better than one from his most sacred Majesty William IV. At the same time I cannot but feel extremely obliged to Mr. O'Reilly for hs repeated efforts to serve me on this as well as on many former occasions.

I am very sorry that you have given up the idea of getting the Inquisitions for Leitrim copies as I find them of great importance in settling doubtful points. Could you devise no plan for procuring them? I fear that the volume of the Strafford Survey lately recovered does not extend beyond the County of Mayo. I find an authority very frequently quoted in the Cavan Name Books under the title of "Commonwealth Survey" which is amazingly correct in every instance, in fact, the most correct document I ever heard of as far as regards the orthography of names of Townlands. Can this Survey be had for the county of Leitrim, or does it extend beyond Cavan?

Mr. Hardiman told me that he had a heap of Inquisitions the height of a man, ready for publication, but that he never would give them up until the Government would consent to have them published like the rest. I would rather have recourse to the originals than refer to a copy that has turned out to be incorrect in counless instances.

The signification of the name Crosserlough is unquestionably Crois Air Loch., i.e., the cross on (at or near) the lough, a name which must have allusion to a cross standing near the old Church. Such crosses are very frequently found near very ancient Irish churches, as at Moville and various other Churches in Inishowen, but no cross of that description can now be found at Crosserlough. There is a little fable afloat about the erection of the mother Church of the parish which accounts for the name after a very foolish manner, but as it is too indistinct I will not waste time to commit it to the durability of ink. St. Bartholomew is the Patron Saint of this parish.

 St. Matthew is the Patron Saint of the Parish of Lurgan, but as he is not an old Irish Saint we must consider that he has not been long the President of this parish unless it can be shewn that the ancient Irish were more in the habit of dedicating Parishes to Saints who were never in Ireland.

The name of this pairh certainly occurs in the Annals of the Four Masters though I cannot find it among the Extracts which I have before me.

The patron of Killinkere parish is St. Ultan, under whose superintendence I have already met in more than one parish in this Province. His day is on the 4th of September so that Colgan has given us no Life of him as he wrote the Calendar only to the end of March. Is his parish of Cill an Ceur (Cillin Ceir) mentioned in the Irish Calendar compiled by Michael O'Clery? There is a well dedicated to him in a townland to which it has given the name of Tober Ultan, which was formerly visited by a gret concourse of pilgrims, and even now the old fashioned Brefnians pay it a few visits, as can be demonstrated from the rags that ornament its sacred thorns.

The purifying essence, however, of water, one of the ancient Gods of the Irish will soon be deprived of its divinity here, for the upspringing vigor of the Breifnian mind will reject every foolish practise with the single exception of drinking Usquebaugh. King John visited Tiopraid Ultain in Meath, can it be this place? (perhaps not) The name Ultan signifies the little Ulster man. Does the Calendar give any outline of his life?

The parish of Mullagh is dedicated (according to tradition) to St. Kellachan, whose festival was observed in Autumn, but the precise day is not remembered. Though the name of this Saint is said to be Kellachan his church is called Teampull Keallaigh and anglicised Temple Kelly, from which it will appear probable that his real name is Ceallach. In the O'Reilly Pedigree, I find the following notes on the church -

"Gelasius Roe had thirteen sons among whom was Cuconnaught, from whom are descended the family of Mullach, etc."

"Contentions arose between the descendants of Cuconnaugh (now Munter-Cuconnaught) and the descendants of Gelasius Roe during which they burned Teampull Cheallaigh at Mullach Lough, since which time it has never been re-erected and there was no burial in the Churchyard for a long time after its burning."

 The present ruin called Templekelly is a more modern erection. Mullach Lough is still known by that name and will appear on the map.

I find also (from the O'Reilly Ped. corroborated by Norden's map) that there was a castel here "The castle of Mullach was ereced by Conor More

O'Reilly." - O'Reilly Pedigree, page 269.

There are no ruins of this castle at present but it must have stood on the site of the present little Village of Mullagh and given rise to it. You may observe that monasteries and castles have given origin to most ancient Irish villages, just as Public houses are now beginning to give rise and names to several, as Black Lion, Red Lion, Man of War, Fox and Goose, all named from signs over the Public houses that gave origin to these villages! Piety and whiskey producing the same effects!

Another place in the same neighborhood mentioned in the O'Reilly Pedigree still retains its ancient name but a little disguised to the English scholar.

"Conor More O'Reilly (he who erected the Castle of Mullach) had a son Conor Oge of Beal-Atha-an-Fheadha, etc."

Again - "Gilla-Isa, son of Glasney, died at Bealach an Fheadha." O'Reilly Ped., page 346

It is called by the latter name at this day, as pronounced by the Rev. John O'Reilly, the descendant of this very man. It is a townland in the Parish of Lurgan, now very correctly anglicised Ballagh-an-Ea, meaning Woody Road or Pass.

 The Parish of Munter-Connaught has derived that appellation from the descendants of a Cuchonnaught O'Reilly having settled in it. Its Church was dedcated to the B.V. Mary whose festival was kept there on the 15th of August, and still, strange to say, the holy well there is named after Saint Patrick. It is situated in the Townland of Knocknagarton, and will appear on the Map as Toberpatrick. Is it not a pity that no list of pagan names of the wells have been handed own to us, called after the Gods of the fountains and runnells.

There is a very interesting name of a lake in the Parish of Lurgan, the wild ducks of which are celebrated in the Fingallian poems and romances. It is Loch no dTri gCaol, lacus trium Angustarium, a curious lake (the name of which is truly descriptive of its shape) lying on the north west boundary of the Parish.

  "Lachain o Loch na dTri gCaol" - Ossian

In the name Lough Ramhar, I fear we cannot follow our established anglicised orthography of Ramer, for I find that the name of this great lough is universally spelled Lough Ramor. Let this however remain for further consideration.

You will have to reserve the name Shantemon in the Parish of Castleterra until I see it again. It seems to be the hill on which the O'Reillys were inaugurated Chiefs of Breifny, though I was always under the impression that Tully-Mongan was the hill. In the O'Reilly Pedigree I meet the following passage-

"When Malmore (Myles) was at Sean-Tuimin with the nobles of Breifny around him to create him Chief, Torlogh, the son of Fergal, came to offer opposition, but had to desert, etc."

I think it better to anglicise the name Shantummin, but the authorities must first be compared before that spelling be adopted.

I hae received your note enclosing 5 pounds, and the remainder of the Name Books of Cavan. Tomorrow I shall move to Killeshandra and O'Conor to Cootehill. We shall next meet at Bailieboro whither I now wish all letters to be directed with a note ordering the Post Master to keep them until we arrive, for otherwise he will certainly forward them to the "Sappers".

I think we had better do the County of Leitrim before Meath as we have the Extracts from the Annals ready, and that we may give Messrs. Curry and O'Keefe time to have the Extracts for the great Kingdom of Meath collected.  Meath is by far the most important historical County in all Ireland and I should think it a pity to go through it without having the historical and topographical references before us. This is the season for working, not Winter.

The tribe of Munter-Malmore have commissioned me to state that when they shall have recovered their ancient Principality of East Breifny they will set up a rival against our friend in Leix. They have sworn by the God Crom Cruach, by the sun and the moon and all the elements to be seen and not to be seen, that they will never suffer him to set his foot on the stone of Cois an tSiorraigh on the Hill of Sean Tuimin, nor reign on Tulymongan because of his strenuous and unoreillylike exertions in support of Tythes, and because of his attachment to the Beresfords and Lord Farnham, the reigning pseudo-Lords of Breifny-O'Reilly, who keep the Tribe of Malmore groaning beneath the iron yoke of slavery.

As O'Conor is not yet up to the established anglicised forms of the names I have dictated to him the spellings that Iconceive to be the best, and he has signed my name. This will save me some time.

  Your obediant obliged servant,

  J. O'Donovan

  Carminis maceronici Specimen

Rioghthaoiseach na ruathar ngarbh

O'Raghallaigh na ruadh arm

Do chluintear aoibh a orghuth

Os Muintir Mhaoil mhin Mhordha

A potent prince o'er Eastern Breifny reigns

O'Reilly, red-armed ranger of the plains

Whose warlike voice and bright, majestic face

Command Malmora's proud and might race

  Shane O'Dugan

May 28, 1836


Dear Sir,

I send you the Name Books for the Parishes of Lowey (Lavwy) and Annagelliff. The former is called by the Irish Leamhaigh and the latter Eanach Gailibh, but as being situated in the vicinity of the Town of Cavan the traditions connected with them are totally forgotten, as indeed the traditions connected with them are totally forgotten, as indeed the traditions are here in general, for the vigorous Tribe of Malmora now attend more to politics than to the fooleries of miracles and holy wells.

When these Hy Bruiin Breifne are a little better educated it will be very hard forthe Beresfors to tyrannise over them or shew them the divine right of paying tythes. The Tribe of Cuconnaught O'Reilly located in the Barony of Castlerahan are the finest race of men I have yet seen in Ulster - well built, heavy limbed, healthy and wicked, qualifications calculated to render a people formidable. In fact one of them would shake the devil out of his coat if he (not the devil) were as well acquinted with the battle axe as with the old Taltenian exercise of wrestling. But lest I might anticipate what I have to say about the vifor of the race of Cuconnaught O'Reilly nor of their hatred to swadling preachers, lest you might think me inclined to waste too much time about things whith which I have nothing to do.

I cannot make out the Patron Saint of either Parish from tradition or any other source. The following are the only notices I can find touching them-

Irish Calendar. February 10th. Dearlugha (Derloo) Virgin of Leamhoigh.

February 19th. Feichin Mac-Ua-Cainche from (of) Leamhoigh.

  Leavlae, Parochiae significatio

This is certainly our Lowey (Lavwy). The name is pronounced Le-aw-ee the l being very liquid, the m pronounced like w nasal and the aigh in the termination like igh in high. It is not an ecclesiastical name, being derived from Leamhach, which signifies Elmy or Elm-producing place. The Irish word Lemh is not unlike the English elm but that former underwent more mortification from aspiration than the latter but it would not take a Bishop to prove which of them is the transposed form of this parent word 'lem or elem.

The industry of future investigators will prove the Saxons and Irish Scots have descended from the same nation of savages who at various periods sent forth swarms from the north of Europe, as the Russians are likely to do before many centuries have passed over. But if the language of Ireland was ever the same with the German or Saxon it must have received peculiar features from an intermixture with other languages of a different character. The frequent suppression of m, s and t that takes place in the Irish language distinguished it from the northern languages, and perfectly identifies it with the Welsh and its cognate dialects which reduce hard consonants to mere breathings.

  Scotia lingua hybrida, et Waliae, Cognata.

Of the Parish of Annagelliff I only find the following notices in the O'Reilly Pedigree-

"Richard O'Reilly and his son Owen, together with Philip, the son of Godfrey, Deacon of Drumland and Vicar of Eanach Gailbhe, and Donnell O'Keegan, being in one cot on Lough Sheeion, were drowned."

You will hear from me next from the Town of Killeshandra, please to direct all communications to Baileboro'.

  Your obediant humble servant,

  John O'Donovan

Cavan, May 28, 1836

I send the Parish of Denn which finishes the Barony of Lower Lough Tee with the exception of the Parish of Kilmore, which will soon follow. The Irish name of the Parish of Denn is now Deinn, which is certainly a corruption of Dinn, a topographical word of frequent occurrence in our old authorities, such as Dinn Riogh, the ancient palace of the Kings of Leinster situated on the western bank of the River Barrow, near Leighlin Bridge in the County of Carlow. It signifies a hill and seems originally synonymous with Dun (Vocis Denn significatio). Dinnseanchus, the name of our celebrated legendary topographical work is explained in the oldest glossaries as Seanchus Cnoc, i.e., the History of Hills. I should like to spell it Dinn to make it agree with the name of the Leinster palace but I fear that use, norma loquendi, is too strong against me.

 The only remarkable things of venerable (sacred) antiquity in the Parish are three wells anciently situated near the Churchyard and called Tobair na dTri Mic Duach or the Wells of the Three Mac Duaghs (3 sacrae fontes tribus fratribus dedicatae). There are only two wells near the Churchyard at present, the third, being insulted by a woman who polluted it by washing dirty clothes in its sacred water, emigrated to the Townland of Leggan, where it is yet to be seen. The three Mac Duaghs were burned in the Churchyard of Denn and their graves were marked by three rude stones, latterly destroyed by a minister's son who soon after shot himself.

  Mons Gleatha. Mac Brady cognommatus Minister, vir sagax.

The beautiful Mountain of Sleive Glah is in this Parish. It is called Sliabh Gleatha by Philip Minister Brady in his Romance entitled the Prodigal Son. This Philip Mac Brady, the Dean Swift of Cavan, was a native of the Parish of Drong and a Parish Priest until he embraced the aristocratic religion of the State, for which he has handed down his name to posterity as Philip Minister. In this Romance he gives the fable which accounts for the name of Beann Eachlabhra now Binn-Aghlin and throws great light upon Irish Fairyology. It is preserved in the MSS in Trinity College, Class H, 1-4; see catalog.

 You will observe the frequent occurrence of the names Pottle, Pole and Gallon in this County. They were ancient measures of land which seem peculiar to this County like Tate to Fermanagh and Monaghan and Cartrons and Gnieves to other Counties.

These measures are of English introduction for they certainly are not Irish. Is there any work that throws light upon what quantity of land each contain?

 I rejoice to find that James O'Reilly, Esq., of Beltrasna in the County of Meath is the proprietor of a large portion of this Parish - it must, however, be a purchase as the whole of Breifny seems to have been forfeited. *

I fear that he and Mr. Morton will be able to throw very little light upon Mullagh-Castle or Castlerahan.

  J. O'Donovan

 * The great tenth of the Cavan property possessed by the Baltrasna branch of the family had belonged to Colonel John O'Reilly, who represented Cavan in Parliment, commanded a Regt. of Cavalry (principally of his own followers and equipped at his own expense) on the side of King James at the Battle of the Boyne and who was included in the Articles of Limerick. The Estate had been settled by the Colonel on the marriage of his eldest son -- in strict settlement under which it would have come to the present Myles J. O'Reilly, his Great Great Grandson, but Councillor J. O'Reilly, who was a tenant for life, contrived to buy fines contrry to the settlement and to effect a sale to ___ O'Reilly of Baltrasna and thus defeated the settlement which had by omission not been duly enrolled.

There was a long but fruitless litigation mairitand on this subject, the pleadings of which are extant in possession of Myles J. O'Reilly, ther person lineally entitled under settlement dated -- of --.

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