The Cantreds of Ely O'Carroll
The poem reproduced here recounts the principal families of Ely O'Carroll. Much has been written since this letter of John O'Donovan's of 160 years ago.
The next evidence for showing that a considerable part of Ely O'Carroll is comprised in the King's County is O'Heerin's Topographical Poem, which places the eight Tuathas (Cantreds) following in Ely O'Carroll:- ...
"Lords to whom
stoop the nuts (a very odd expression)
Eight tuathas (Cantreds)
eight chiefs there are
O'Flanigan of the snowy
Over the Clan Rooney
of the flowery roads
O'Hegan of Crioch Chein,
The great cantred of
the vigorous Clan Maonaigh
A chief whose trees bear
Hy Deki, the goodly cantred
Their country has been
Tuath Faralt (8) of the
He next describes Corca Tine and Ely the southern, which is the present Barony of Elyogarty in the County of Tipperary.
Let me have the pedigrees of those eight families of Ely, as well as that of their sovereign, O'Carroll.
- Kinel Arga. This is called
Kinel Fhearga by the Four Masters at the year 1548 who place in it the
Castle of Bally Mac Adam, now Cadamstown in the Parish of Litter. It
is probable that Kinel Fhearga comprised the Parish of Litter and a
part of Kinitty. See remarks on the Parish of Leitir Crancha.
(1 1/2). "Teige, the son of Kian of Crinda." Teige was so called from his having assisted King Cormac Mac Art in the Battle of Crinna near the Liffey, where they gained the victory. See Battle of Crinna. This is the fourth O'Flannigan whose location I have identified: In Fermanagh I met O'Flannigan of Tooraa; in Roscommon O'Flanigan of Clancahill; in Westmeath O'Flanigan of Teffia; and in Ely O'Carroll O'Flanigan of Kinel Fhearga. Does Mac Firbisse trace the pedigree of O'Flanigan of Kinel Fhearga in Ely O'Carroll to Teige, the son of Kian?
- He alludes to the great fertility of the district.
- O'Dooley was originally Chief of Fartullagh in Westmeath, but he and his tribe having assassinated the King - - O'Melaghlin they were banished from their original inheritance, after which they placed themselves under the protection of O'Carroll, King of Ely, who settled them in the Cantred of Clan Mooney in the Slieve Bloom Mountain. See what has been said about this family under Fartullagh in my account of the Territories of Westmeath. The name is now very numerous in Ely O'Carroll.
- Mac Giolla Phoil, now anglicised Guilfoyle. The name is common here. Their cantred, as can be gathered from O'Heerin's Slat Bhiorra, was that part of Ely adjoining Birr.
- The position of this territory is evident from Leim Ui Bhanain, O'Banan's Leap, a castle in the Parish of Aghancon about four miles tothe north of Roscrea.
- Crioc Cairin, this is called by the Four Masters Ui Cairin and now Anglicised Ikerrin.
- Bearnan Eile, now the Devil's Bit Mountain. This name proves that Ikerrin, O'Meagher's country is a part of Ely.
- Tuath Faralt; the situation of this is as yet unknown to me.
It is curious that O'Heerin does not set down O'Delany as one of the sub-chiefs of Ely. Charles O'Conor in Ortelius Improved, Cook in his "Picture of Birr" and all the little writers who were incapable of making any original researches, speak of O'Delany only as under O'Carroll in Ely. Where does O'Heerin or O'Dugan place O'Dubhshlaine - Dubhslangha?
From this poem of O'Heerin's it appears that before the Irish principalities were disturbed or dismembered by the Anglo Normans in the 12th century, Ely, the Kingdom of O'Carroll extended from Birr to Ely O'Fogarty in the County of Tipperary and that it comprised the present Baronies of Ballybritt, Clonlisk and Ikerrin.
This is further corroborated by the Liber Regalis Visitationis of 1615, which places the following Parishes in the Deanery of Ely:-
1. Rosscrea now Roscrea in Ikerrin.
2. Castleton now Castletown-Ely in Clonlisk
3. Ramaveoge now Rathmaveoge in Ikerrin.
4. fFinglas now Finglas in Clonlisk.
5. Dunkerin now Dunkerrin in Clonlisk.
6. Templehary now Templeharry in Clonlisk.
7. Burrin now Burrisnafarney in Clonlisk.
8. Swinroan now Shinroan in Clonlisk.
9. Kilmurry now Kilmurry in Clonlisk.
10. Berrha now Birr in Ballybritt.
11. Kilcolman now Kilcolman in Clonlisk.
12. Ahancon now Aghancon in Ballybritt.
13. Etagh now Etagh in Clonlisk.
14. Roscomroe now Roscomroe in Ballybritt.
15. Clonfertmulley now Clonfertmulloe or Kyle in the Barony of Upper Ossory in the Queen's Co.
I do not believe that this ever belonged to the Principality of Ely, but that it was placed in the Deanery of Ely by some, perhaps, comparatively modern ecclesiastical arrangement.
It is now in the Diocese of Killaloe, though situated at the east side of the Slieve Bloom range and in the Queen's County. On the other hand, the Parish of Seirkieran, which was certainly in the ancient Territory of Ely and in Munster is placed in the Diocese of Ossory, though insulated in that of Killaloe. These irregularities must have orignated in some regulations connected with the monasteries of Saighir and Clonfert Molua and not in any regulation of the temporal divisions of territories. It must be, however, acknowledged that the ecclesiastical divisions were generally regulated by the temporal divisions, as I have already often shewn. Exception of this kind will, no doubt, not unfrequently occur, but it will be found that they are all referable to Monastic grants, etc.
16. Kennity now Kinnitty in Ballybritt.
17. Litterlina now Litter in Ballybritt.
18. Kilkimyn now Kilcummin in Clonlisk
19. Quillancan now Cullenwain in Clonlisk
20. Inchinamech alias now Inchinameo in Ikerrin.
At the time that Ely O'Carroll was reduced to Shire ground, it is very probable that the Barony of Ikerrin, O'Meagher's country in Tipperary, was not considered a part of it. I see no evidence to prove what O'Flaherty asserts that any part of Ely O'Carroll was annexed to Ormond in the Co. of Tipperary, for no Parish mentioned in the list above given as in the Deanery of Ely, has any connexion with Ormond.
The northern, eastern and southern boundaries of Ely O'Carroll are now shewn, but its western mereing with Muscry Mitine (Mithire) afterwards erected into the Baronies of Ormond, cannot be proved until we come to examine the limits of that territory.
Edward O'Reilly in his account of Ely O'Carroll published by Sir William Betham, refers to an ancient vellum MS. in his possession in the handwriting of Adam O'Keenan, as authority for the derivation of the name Ely. This MS. is probably in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy. If so, I wish Mr. Curry would look over it and extract the passage about Eile, the daughter of Eochy, King of Munster, from whom (Ele) it is stated the northern and southern Elys originally took their name. He says that the author describes these districts as lying east of the Shannon and stretching from north to south. O'Reilly adds that O'More's Territory of Leix was called Eile Ui Mhordha, of which I don't believe a word and I would venture to say that O'Reilly received this information from Beauford only.
These matters, however, cannot be finally settled till we shall have collected all the ancient and modern historical references to the Territories in Tipperary and the Queen's Co.
I must at present give it as my opinion that Ely O'Carroll never comprised any part of the Baronies of Upper and Lower Ormond, and that its greatest extent even at the period of O'Carroll's meridian of glory, was not more than from Birr to the northern boundary of Elyogarty and from the eastern boundary of the Barony of Ormond to the western boundary of the Barony of Upper Ossory in the Queen's County. And it is more than probable that when it was reduced to Shire ground, it was circumscribed within the limits of the two Baronies of Ballybritt and Clonlisk in the present King's County.
The opposite sketch points out the situation of all the places recorded in history as in Ely O'Carroll. Ely O'Carroll was often called North Ely to distinguish it from Ely O'Fogarty (Elyogarty) which was called South Ely, as we learn from these two passages in the Annals:-
"A.D. 1163. The son of Finn O'Carroll, Lord of North Ely, was killed by Donnell, the son of Torlogh O'Brien."
"A.D. 1171. Donnell O'Fogarty, Lord of South Ely, was killed by Donnell, the son of Donogh of Ossory, who also at the same time slaughtered the people of the two Elys to the number of three hundred and twenty." - 4 Masters.
We expect to get finished on Saturday and God knows it is time.