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Kilmacduagh – 1933

Connacht Tribune 7th January, 1933 p.11 (abridged)

Kilmacduach Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Kilmacduach (Cill Mac Duach – Mac Duach’s Church), County Galway, three and a half miles from Gort, is situated in rather bleak country on the Clare border.  St. Colman Mac Duach founded a monastic settlement there in the seventh century.  He spent the earlier part of his life as a hermit in the wilds of Clare, and many are the legends told about him and the holy wells dedicated to him in the neighbourhood.  Then, having the good fortune, like most of the Connacht saints, to belong to a royal family, he received a grant of land at the present Kilmacduach from his kinsman, King Guaire.

There are several ecclesiastical ruins. The Cathedral of the old diocese of Kilmacduagh is a large building, but ruined.   The west gable and doorway and part of the side-wall, built of large polygonal stones, are ancient, and probably part of St. Colman’s original church; but the rest of the church is fifteenth century. There is a good doorway in the north wall of the nave. North of the Cathedral is Teampal Iun (St. John’s Church) with a fifteenth century nave.  The east windows, round-headed, displays the graceful Irish Romanesque style at its loveliest.  The opes are only eight and a half inches wide but eight feet high, with rich mouldings on the internal jambs and external reveals.  A slender torus encloses the whole window.  The south windows, of one light, with a hood moulding, is almost as beautiful.  The piers of the chancel arch are transepts, but preserve some of the best points of the Irish Romanesque style.  They consist of three engaged pillars, with sculptural capitals and bases.  There are quoinshafts to the chancel, beautifully pointed.  This church was evidently built between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, before the Norman invasion disturbed the place of the bishops of Kilmacduach.

There are remains of several other churches, and some tombs, notably those of the O’Shaughnessys, in whose territory the village stands.  St. Colman’s reputed tomb is shown nearby.

The Round Tower is one of the finest in Ireland, and is nearly perfect. It belongs to the”fourth” type, with a typical semicircular arch to the doorway, built with three stones.  It was probably built at the same time as Teampul Iun.  It is 112 feet high with a base circumference of sixty-five and a half feet.  The base has a plinth of large stones dressed to the round and the top has been restored with inferior masonry.  The tower leans some four feet out of the vertical, the result probably of a subsidence of the foundations, though cannon balls fired at it by Cromwell’s soldiers is the reputed cause.  The numerous windows are triangular, with inclined sides.  From the tower there is a wonderful view, as the builders intended there should be, across miles of country, and over a good part of Galway Bay.

Ed. Lynam

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Corcomroe Abbey – 1929

Connacht sentinel 20th August, 1929 p.2 (abridged)

 Corcomroe Abbey Photo: Shaun Dunphy Wikimedia Commons

Corcomroe Abbey
Photo: Shaun Dunphy
Wikimedia Commons

Corcomroe Abbey is in Co. Clare.  It is about four miles from Kinvara and five miles from Ballyvaughan. “Corcomroe” (in Irish, Corcomoruadh) means the descendants of Moruadh who is said to have been a son of Queen Maeve. Corcomroe Abbey is a Cistercian abbey. Like other Cistercian abbeys, it was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and had a special name – “de petra fertile” (of the fertile rock) or “de petra saxo” (of the green rock). In his Ordnance Survey letters, O’Donovan states that according to local tradition it was founded by the son of Conor na Siudaine O’Brien on the spot where Conor was killed c. 1267 by Guaire O’Shaughnessy of Dun Guaire, near Kinvara.  In his “Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History,” O’Curry states that it was founded by Conor na Siudaine O’Brien. Ware and Archdall are in doubt as to whether it was founded in 1200 by Conor’s father, Donogh Cairbrech O’Brien, or in 1194 by Conor’s grandfather, Donal Mor O’Brien. Other writers state that it was founded by Donal Mór O’Brien in 1182. It is, therefore, certain that the abbey was provided by the O’Briens, and it is probable that it was founded by Donogh Cairbrech O’Brien about 1200.

The following are the most important historical events connected with the abbey;

Soon after its foundation it established a branch at Kilshanry in County Clare. In 1249 it became subject to the abbey of Furness in Lancashire. Not far from it, at Sindaine, which, according to the Ordnance Survey maps, is near Newtown Castle, a battle was fought in 1267 between Conor na Sindaine O’Brien and his uncle, Donal Connachtrach O’Brien who was aided by the O’Connors and the O’Loughlins of Burren. Conor was killed; he was buried in the chancel of the abbey church, and his grave was covered by a stone effigy which is still in existence. In 1317 another battle was fought near the abbey between Murtagh O’Brien, the Chieftain of Thomond, and his cousin, Donogh O’Brien, who endeavoured to depose him and who was assisted by the English. Donogh and the English were defeated, and the bodies of Donogh and his followers were interred in the abbey church. In 1418 the abbot, who seems to have been a very distinguished man, became Bishop of Kilmacduagh. In 1544 the abbey was dissolved, its monks were banished, and its possessions were granted to Murrough, Earl of Thomond.

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Kinvara – 1916

Tuam Herald 7th October, 1916. p.4

O'Shaughnessy, Kinvara Photo; Cresswell archives
O’Shaughnessy, Kinvara
Photo; Cresswell archives

Mr. Thomas O’Shaughnessy, Kinvara, has received a communication that his eldest son, Pvt. Thos. O’Shaughnessy of the Irish Guards, is at present in hospital in England recovering from wounds received out in the war. This is the third time he has been wounded after spending 18 months in the trenches.