O'Donovan here continues his account of Croghan Hill and Killaderry
It stretches, nearly as level as a lake, southwards to the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountain and to the Sugar Loaf Hills at Killowen in the Queen's County, and eastwards to the Hill of Allen in the County of Kildare. At the very foot of this hill, to the southwest, in the Townland of Old Croghan, you see the ruins of O'Conor Faly's Castle, which is marked on the old Map of Leax and Ophaly as Croghan Castle, and to the southeast the Causeway of Tochar Cruachain.
I never enjoyed a finer prospect than that commanded by this hill, which may be called O'Conor Faly's Caucasus or Mount Atlas, and from which he was able to se the whole extent of his territory to the north, south, east and west. The distance between it and the Slieve Bloom Range is at least twenty miles, and still one standing on the Moat of Croghan could, when excited by the sublimity of the prospect, imagine himself like Fin Mac Cool, able to leap across to the Mountain of Bladma, so much is the eye deceived by the flatness of the interjacent plain!
I examined this hill most carefully and (but) was much disappointed at not finding a Rath (Dun) upon it or the inauguration stone of the chiefs of Ofalia.
It is the best land in the County and was cultivated to the very top; it is now a sheep walk and nothing remains upon it but the graveyard which belonged to Bishop Mac Caille's (Mac Hale) Church, which lies on its southeast shoulder but at a considerable distance from the summit, and a small moat or sepulchral tumulus, which occupies its very cacumen and which has been much injured by the Sappers when erecting a Trig. station upon it. At the base of Croghan are three wells, two at the south and one at the north, in a splendid hollow called Gleann Mor but the natives, who are all Anglicised, have forgotten their names, if ever they bore any and it is probable that the two southern wells were sacred, as venerable ash trees, one of which is nearly decayed, grow over them, sure indications of former sanctity.
This is a noble hill, calculated to ennoble and sublime the soul of the Prince of Ofalia!
In the Townland of Old Croghan already referred to stands a Church in ruins, but it is not of the primitive ages and seems to have been erected when Mac Caille's Church on the hill fell to ruin. It lies near the ruins of O'Conor Faly's Castle. ...
Over the Leinster Carbury of plains
Is O'Kiery of red-bladed swords (colg)
The twig of Allen
By whom battles were kindled around Croghan.
I cannot comment on this passage here but will defer it till I take a view of the territories in the County of Kildare.
I have no other notice of this hill but one passage in the Battle of Moylena, in which it is stated that the Munster forces on their way to the Esker Riada passed by this hill. ...
OF THE PARISH OF KILLADERRY AND PHILIPSTOWN
This Parish is called by the Four Masters Cill O'Duirthe; in an Inquisition quoted by Archall Killaderry, and in the Down Survey Killadurhy. The name signifies the Church of the O'Durhys and seems to have been, like Liss-o-nDuffy and several other Churches, originally a Chapel of Ease, erected by a private family for their own use but which, on the encrease of population, was raised to a Parochial Church. Several instances of this kind are to be met with in the County of Kildare, where small Chapels originally belonging to private families are now called Rectories and Vicarages. No part of the old Church of Killaderry is now to be seen. It was pulled down in the year 1546 to erect the Castle of Dangan, now Philipstown, as we learn from the Annals of the Four Masters:-
"A.D. 1546. The English erected the Castle of Daingean, having torn down the Church of Cill-O'Duirthe to procure building materials from it. They also killed the Parson of Cruachan (i.e., the P.P. of the Parish of Croghan)."
I have no reference to the existence of a castle at Daingean or Philipstown previously to the year 1546 but it is highly probable that O'Conor Faly had some kind of a fortress there from which the appellation Daingean Munitio was derived. I never met any authority for proving that Daingean Ui Failghe is Philipstown but Moryson who, if I remember rightly (perhaps I don't) states that Philipstown is called Dangan by the Irish. I wish to have his very words, if they can be found.
The Four Masters have only two other references to this castle of Daingean:-
"A.D. 1548. O'Conor and O'More went to England with the Lieutenant (Cosby?) to solicit the King's gracious favor, but the King rejected their solicitations and gave their patrimonial inheritances, Leix and Offaly, to the Lieutenant and his brother, who erected two large courts in those territories, viz., Campa in Leix and Daingean in Offaly and proceeded to let these lands at rents to the English and Irish, as if they were their own lawful inheritances, and this after having banished the rightful and original heirs, O'Conor and O'More, with all their adherents and descendants."
"A.D. 1600. The O'Conors Faly viz., the descendants of Brian (son of Cahir, son of Con, son of Calvagh) were now for three or four years on the Irish side and during this time they took and destroyed all the castles of Offaly, excepting Daingean and a few others."
The fortress at Philipstown
is called the "Fort of Faly" in the old map which describes
Mageoghegan's Country, and in the Act of Parliament, 3 and 4, Philip and
Mary, it is ordained that the fort in Ophaly be henceforth called Philipstown.
The site of this fort is now occupied by Mr. Blacker's "formerly Mr. Smith's house, lying at the extremity of the town nearest to Tullamore and to the left of the road as one goes to Tullamore. Inserted in the wall on either side of the hall door are two stones exhibiting the arms of England; the one to the left shews a crown and the date 1566, and that to the right two crosses, which indicates a Roman Catholic reign. [These stones are now in Daingean branch library.]
Some of the outer walls of the fort are still standing and Mr. Blacker believes that his house, which is called the Fort, is the very fabric built in the reign of Queen Mary. If it be, it was a bad, but feeble, fortress to stand (withstand) against the fierce attacks of the O'Conors Faly!
We shall move to Banagher on Monday. Please to direct all communications thither and to ask Mr. Petrie what I am to look for at Clonmacnoise. O'Keefe told me that he had got a copy of the Will of Terence? Coghlann, in which several places in his Territory of Delvin are mentioned. This would be useful to me in that neighbourhood. This County will be more tedious than I had thought.