Sir Richard de Tuite accompanied Richard de Clare, the Earl of Pembroke, commonly called Strongbow, to Ireland in the year 1172. Sir Richard was granted lands near Granard and in 1180 the manor and barony of Sonnagh under the overlordship of Hugh de Lacy.
In 1199 Sir Richard de Tuite built the famous Motte and bailey in Granard town. It is the largest Motte in Ireland – some 543 feet above sea level. From the top of the Motte, nine counties, five lakes and numerous rivers can be viewed.
During the 1798 revolution there were two battles fought in county Longford. First the Irish/French in Ballinmuck against English/Irish and a separate local uprising by Irish (from midland counties) against English in Granard that give details of the Motte.
Granard would have been the most westerly point of the Kingdom of Meath (Ireland had 5 main Kingdoms at the time Ulster, Munster, Connaught, Leinster and Meath; society would have been Clán based (on family connection), with local Rí (King or Chief) answerable to Ard Rí (High King). In order to secure the border with Connaught (local Irish not under control) the Motte defensive structure was constructed by the Normans (your family on an existing site of local importance).
The Anglo-Norman Conquest
In the twelfth century (the 1100s), there were
many warring clans in Ireland. Each clan had
their own king. The most powerful king was
known as the high king. For example, Turlough
O’ Connor, who died in 1156, was once the
high king of Ireland, just like Brian Boru. In
order to become high king, a king had to fight
against other powerful kings. Sometimes the
king of Connacht would win, other times it
might be the king of Leinster, Munster or
Ulster. These constant fights meant that kings
had many enemies. The reason the Normans
first came to Ireland was in fact due to this
In 1169, a group of Norman soldiers and knights arrived in Wexford to help the Irish king of Leinster, Diarmuid MacMurrough. They were invited by Diarmuid to help him fight his enemies and regain his kingdom in Leinster. Diarmuid MacMurrough particularly wanted to defeat Tiernan O’Rourke, the ruler of Breffini (now Roscommon), and Rory O’Connor, the king of Connaught, because they had joined armies and had forced Diarmuid out of his kingdom.
Diarmuid MacMurrough knew that there were Norman knights and soldiers in England and he invited them to Ireland to help him. He first had to get permission from King Henry II, who at the time was the king of England and also the king of Normandy in France. In 1170, a Norman lord called Richard de Clare, nicknamed Strongbow, came to Ireland from Wales. Strongbow brought archers, knights and horsemen with him and helped Diarmuid to capture Waterford and Dublin. Strongbow later married Diarmuid’s daughter, Aoife. In 1171, when Diarmuid died, Strongbow became the King of Leinster. This meant that by 1170 AD the Normans had taken over much of the east of Ireland.
Brief history of Granard Motte
Hugh de Lacy was born before 1135. In October 1171 he went over to Ireland with Henry II, and early in 1172 was sent to receive the submission of Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (Roderic), High King of Ireland. This was also carried out to stop Strongbow from taking total control of all Ireland from Henry II (Ireland population of about 5 million and England population of about 7 million). Before Henry's departure about the end of March Lacy was granted Meath (Mide) by the service of fifty knights and with almost royal authority; he was also put in charge of Dublin Castle.
Henry II applied to Ireland the feudal system of land tenure, granted Hugh de Lacy “the land of Meath in as full a measure as Murchadh...or anyone before or after him held it.” By this grant, known as a Liberty, within the territory de Lacy was granted power equal to that of the king himself, the only reservation being that the king could dispose of Church lands anywhere. A person with this jurisdiction was known as a Count and the territory over which he ruled was called a county. One of the privileges of a Count Palatine such as de Lacy was that he could create barons or inferior lords. He created at least 17 barons, one of which was Risteárd de Tiúit, who received land in Westmeath and Longford; later Barony of Moyashell, in Westmeath.
Risteárd de Tiúit (anglicised
as Richard Tuite) built one of the largest Motte and Bailey settlements in Ireland in Granard in 1199. His death, while Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, is recorded in Athlone by the Annals of the Four Masters under the year 1210 and his remains lie today in Abbeylara's Cistercian abbey.
King John of England stayed in Granard in 1210 when engaged in pursuit of Hugh de Lacy. It was burned by Edward Bruce king of Scotland during his invasion of Ireland 1315 to 1318.
The Motte and Bailey
When the Anglo-Normans
conquered a fresh territory, they need to establish a strategic and secure
base as quickly as possible. To
achieve this they often built a temporary post or castle: a motte-and-bailey.
This was of a type of temporary defended structure, more like a fort than a
castle, which had been developed earlier by the
The bailey, in contrast, was much lower. It was larger in area than the motte and was usually oval or rectangular in plan.
A wooden tower was erected on the crown of the motte and this was enclosed by a wooden palisade or stockade that extended around the flat edge of the mound. Lower down, the bailey acted as courtyard and, like the motte, it was also was enclosed by a wooden palisade. The different levels of the structure were connected by a wooden stairway and it was also protected by a palisade.
In addition, a deep moat was excavated around the entire structure. The wooden tower on the motte acted as living quarters for the commander, while the bailey provided accommodation and protection for the remainder of the garrison. The advantage of the motte-and bailey was that it could be speedily erected, within a week or less. The necessary material - the clay for the mounds and the wood for the palisade and tower - could be drawn from the immediate landscape. In operational terms, the moat was probably dug first. The spoil from the excavation helped to provide clay for the mounds, although existing topographical features such as a natural mound, or a native built ring fort, were frequently used as a ready made base. The entire building operation therefore required only a supply of labourers, supplemented by a few experienced woodworkers.
One of the difficulties with the motte and-bailey, in terms of defensive strategy, was that it offered only a limited degree of protection in times of attack. It could withstand an assault by a lightly equipped raiding party, but the garrison could quickly be overwhelmed in a concentrated effort. Particularly, as the wooden structures were extremely vulnerable and could be set on fire. This was overcome in some instances such as at Shanid County Limerick and Clonmacnoise in County Westmeath, when the wooden structures were subsequently replaced with stonework.
Elsewhere, as the Anglo-Norman presence was consolidated, the building of large and substantial stone-built castles on green field sites became the common practice of both the crown and individual Anglo-Norman families.
Richard Tuite, was granted the lands around Granard by Henry II and thereby diminished the power of the O’Farrells. Cistercian monks were invited by Tuite to the area where they built an Abbey beside the village of Abbeylara 4km south-west (2.5 miles) of Granard and near the shore of Lough Kinale. It was plundered by Edward Bruce after the sacking of Granard. Legend has it that Sir Richard was almost deaf from battle but after drinking from one of the many holy wells in the vicinity he struck his head which restored his hearing. Being a very religious man he considering this a miracle and invited a group of Cistercian monks to establish an Abbey at the site. Tuite is buried in the graveyard near the Abbeylara monastery after being killed by a piece of falling masonry at Athlone Castle.
Abbeylara (Irish Mainistir Leathratha) is a village in the easternmost portion of County Longford, Ireland, located about three kilometres east of Granard. Its name, Mainistir Leathratha, means "Abbey of the half rath or little rath", and is derived from a monastery, the great Abby of Lerha, founded in 1205 by the Anglo-Norman settler Richard Tuite, for Cistercian monks. The monastery was decommissioned in 1539, although its ruins are still apparent on approach to the village. An ancient earthenwork, the Duncla (Irish Dún-chlaí meaning "fortified ditch") or Black Pig's Dyke, which runs south-eastwards from Lough Gowna to Lough Kinale, goes through the larger parish of Abbeylara, and passes about one kilometre north of the village.
Moat Of Granard
Granard was founded by St Patrick. It had the distinction of having as its priest, and later as its bishop, the first of St Patrick's Irish disciples. Guasacht was the first native Irish bishop. Guasacht was buried at Granard, where his relics are venerated. His feast day is celebrated on the 24th January.
We do not know if Granard was ever an independent diocese. We have no record of a successor to St Guasacht. There was also a monastery at Granard probably founded by St Patrick. This monastery continued to exist up to the end of the ninth century. It was situated near the spot where the old Granardkille church later stood.
Old Cairbre, himself, remained an obstinate pagan. His brother Maine of Ardagh, became a Christian. The tradition of St Patrick's visit to Granard is also preserved in the veneration of a holy well named after the saint. This well is quite near Granardkille Church. Dr O’Donovan says that the water from the well was used for drinking only, and that, for the sake of pilgrims, an Ann or Stabha was always left near the well. The overflow from this well splashes out on the roadside near Granard, at a place usually called 'Spout Hill.'
Old Granard was finally destroyed by Edward Bruce. Bruce came to Ireland in 1315. He was the brother of Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, and the victor of Bannockburn. He tried to force a way to Dublin, but failed. He then came down the midlands and wintered near Lough Owel. King Con O'Farrell of Granard opposed him. Bruce attacked Granard and after two days severe fighting, took the place, and utterly destroyed the town on the 30th November, 1315. He was later killed near Dundalk in 1317. Old Granard was never rebuilt. The site of the town shifted to its present position in the townland of Rathcronin.
Everyone has heard of the Moat of Granard. It stands 543 feet above sea level. The view from its summit can only be described as superb. The question arises when and why was it built, and how was it constructed? The commonly accepted view is that the moat, in its present form, is a post-Norman structure thrown up by the Tuites, during the thirteenth century, around their garrison castle.
In the late twelfth century the Lords of Cairbre saw their territory being steadily encroached upon and filched away by the O'Rourkes on the North and the O'Farrells on the South. Like Diarmuid McMurrough, a generation earlier, they sought assistance from the foreigner. They invited the Norman Tuites to come to their aid and gave them lands as a reward for their protection and support. Sir Richard Tuite established himself in Granard for a short time and built his moat and bailey there about the year 1200. The same Richard Tuite was killed, accidentally, at Athlone in 1215 by a falling tower. He was buried in the monastery, founded by himself, at Abbeylara.
All do not accept this view. Dr. Monahan asserts that it is certain that the moat was in existence when St Patrick visited Granard and that it does not seem impossible to suppose that its erection was coeval with Queen Maeve. Dr. O'Donovan, writing from Granard in May, 1837, says that “The Moate was, of course, the royal residence of Cairbre." The moat was formed by cutting down the hill and carrying the clay to the top. It is said that the moat itself was opened about the year 1787 and that the arches of a castle were found within it, built of beautiful square stones, well cemented with lime mortar.
Could it be that Sir Richard rebuilt or superimposed a structure on an already existing fortification? It is easy to see that the moat was a strong point. A handful of men could hold it against an army. Is there a castle enclosed in the moat? Was there a castle or bowmans tower on top of the mound? It is generally held that the moat fortifications were taken and destroyed by Robert Bruce. There are legends in plenty about the moat. They tell of black cats and headless horsemen guarding the way to concealed treasures. However the moat is there, it is a more formidable fortification than Tara. It is a puzzle and a challenge. There is only one good way of getting at its hidden secrets and that way is judicious excavation.
In 1932, the government erected a large statue of St. Patrick on top of the moat to commemorate the 15th Centenary of his arrival.
Published by: Teathbha, Journal Of The Longford Historical Society
Year written: 1969
Copyright owned by: Teathbha, Journal Of The Longford Historical Society Granard.
The 4 Masters
The sources for this essay include "Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History" by Eugene O Curry and the O Cleary family web site.
The Four Masters is the collective name given to the compilers of the Annals of the History of Ireland, one of the largest collections of history, if not the largest, ever collected in this or any other country, and collected, in the face of great adversity, the entire country being by then dominated by the enemies of the Gaels, who had been defeated at Kinsale, and without which work much of the history of Gaelic Ireland would be unknown today. The scope of the work ranges from the first invasion of Ireland by the Gaels until the year 1616, being a period of over 3,000 years. The leader of the group of scholars who were set the task of compiling these annals, which later became known as the Four Masters was one Br. Michael O Cleary (Tadhg an tSleibhe O Cleary), an antiquarian who had become an Irish brother at the College of St Anthony in Louvain, and who had been sent back to Ireland by his cousin, Fr. Hugh Ward, to collect materials for a book on the lives of Irish Saints which Ward was working on (but never managed to finish). He was engaged on this work in the year 1627, but had been collecting old manuscripts in Ireland and elsewhere since about 1617. Prior to the writing of the Annals of the Four Masters, the four had compiled the Reim Rioghraidhe in 1630 (Succession of the Kings of Ireland), under the patronage of Torloch Mac Cochalain, and the Leabhar Gabhala, or the Book of the Invasions, under the patronage of Lord Brien Roe Maguire, Lord Enniskillen in 1631. He conceived with Fergal O'Gara, the idea of collecting a history of Ireland and got permission from his superiors, including Fr. Ward, to concentrate on this important project, which he began to do under the patronage of Fergal O Gara, M.P., for Sligo and Lord of Moy Gara and Coolavin, whose name and descendants ought to be forever honoured for this act, with the assistance of three colleagues, Fearfeassa O Mulchonaire, Cuchoighriche (Peregrine) O Cleary, and Cuchoigchriche (Peregrine) O Duignan. Fr. Colgan, a contemporary at Lovain, thus termed them the "Quator Magistrii" or Four Masters. Other distinguished historians laboured on the work also, namely Maurice O Maolchonaire and Conary O Cleary. He cris-crossed the country collecting material, even visiting the library of the Protestant Primate, Archbishop Ussher in Dublin in 1627.
The task of bringing all the Annals together commenced at the Monastery of Donegal on the 22nd January 1632 and was finished four years later on the 10th August 1636, and was signed by Fr. Bernardin O Cleary, Guardian of Donegal Monastery, Br. Maurice Dunleavey and Br. Bonaventure O Donnell as witnesses. In order to get testimony as to the integrity of these Annals, it was sent for inspection to the most distinguished Irish scholars of the day, to obtain their signatures and approbation. These men were Flann Mac Egan of BallymacEgan, Tipperary, Conor Mac Brody, Ollamh of Thomond, Malachy O Kelly, Archbishop of Tuam, Boetius Mac Egan, Bishop of Elfinn, Thomas Fleming, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, and Fr. Roche, Bishop of Kildare. Copies were sent abroad to the Irish Colleges and one was sent to Fergal O Gara, the patron of the compilation and the man whose brainchild the idea had partly been. In 1826, Rev. Charles O Conor translated a copy of the first section of the Annals (up to the year 1171) which had found its way to the Duke of Buckingham's library at Stowe, and in 1846, B. Geraghty translated the second half of the Annals. The renowned Dr. John O Donovan edited and published the entire Annals of the Four Masters in 7 large volumes in 1851, making the Annals accessible to scholars everywhere. The translated Annals have been uploaded to the web by University College Cork, and can be viewed http://celt.ucc.ie/publishd.html.
THE AGE OF CHRIST, 1210.
The Age of Christ, one thousand two hundred ten.
“A great war broke out between the King of England and the King of Wales: and ambassadors came from the King of England into Ireland for the English bishop; and the chiefs of the English of Ireland repaired, with the English bishop, to attend the summons of the King of England: and Richard Tuite was left in Ireland as Lord Chief Justice.”
“The Justice went to Athlone, with the intention of sending his brothers to Limerick, Waterford, and Wexford, that he himself might reside in Dublin and Athlone (alternately); but it happened, through the miracles of God, St. Peter, and St. Kieran, that some of the stones of the castle of Athlone fell upon his head, and killed on the spot Richard Tuite, with his priest and some of his people, along with him.”
(Some records indicate the year of Sir Richard’s death to be 1211).
Sir Richard died leaving two sons, Richard de Tuite, surnamed “The Black”, and Maurice. Sir Richard, the elder son, founded the monastery of Granard about the year 1210, at which time he held the manor of Kilalton at Demar. Maurice, his brother, was Lord of Jordanstown.
2nd Sir Richard was given custody of Clomacnoise in 1224. He fought for the king against Spain in the same year and was killed at Crois-sliabh near Athlone in 1289 in a battle with the O’Melaghluis. His daughter Avice de Tuite married the Norman Nicholas de Carew of Carew a minor 9 July 1271, of Pembrokeshire and Moulsford, Berkshire ((d. 1278/9) son of William de Carew, a Geraldine descendant of Nesta, a Welsh princess, and Alice Marshal) and had at least one son, also named Nicholas Baron of Carew. Married 2ndly, Sir William de Apuldrefield, of Horsted. He died 1283-4.
THE AGE OF CHRIST, 1272.
The Age of Christ, one thousand two hundred seventy-two.
“Richard Tuite, the noblest of the English barons, died.”
“Meath was burned, as far as Granard, by Hugh O’Conor. Athlone was also burned by him, and its bridge was broken down.”
“The first Edward was made king over the English on the 16th of November.”
THE AGE OF CHRIST, 1289.
The Age of Christ, one thousand two hundred eighty-nine.
“An army was led by Richard Tuite, the English of Meath, and Manus O'Conor, King of Connaught, against O'Melaghlin, who assembled his people to oppose them, and marched to Crois-Shliabh, in their vicinity. A battle was fought between them, in which Richard Tuite, i.e. the Great Baron, with his kinsmen, and Siecus Jacques O'Kelly were slain.”
“Fiachra O'Flynn, Chief of Sil-Maelruain, the most hospitable and expert at arms of all the chiefs of Connaught, went to form an alliance with the English by marriage, but was treacherously slain by the son of Richard Finn the Fair Burke, Mac William, and Mac Feorais Bermingham.
“An army was led by Mac Feorais Bermingham and the English, into Leinster, against Calvagh O'Conor; and a battle was fought between them, in which the English were defeated, and Meyler de Exeter and many others of the English were slain; they were also deprived of many horses and other spoils.”
“The Casey family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son, Hebner. The founder of the family was Kiann, son of Olliol Ollum, King of Munster, A.D. 177, and Sabia, daughter of Con of the Hundred Battles, King of Ireland. A.D. 148, thus uniting the blood of Hebner and Heremon in this family. The ancient name was "CATHASACH" which means "Vigilent". This sept held possession in the present Counties of Cork, Kerry, Clare, and Tipperary. The Casey's were also Chiefs of Rathconan in the Barony of Pubblebrien, in the County of Lemerick. In the County of Cork they were Chiefs of a territory near Mitchelstown. A branch of this family of the race of Ir, Fifth son of Milesius, and founded by Laiosach Kean More of the Clanna Rory tribe, were Chiefs of Saithne, now Sonagh, in Westmeath, where they had been settled since the third Century. Their lands were siezed by Hugh de Lacy after the Anglo-Norman Invasion. Later he sold them to the Tuite family.”
“In 1290, George De Fay was seized of premises in Kilmer, Donore, and Glackmore, in the Liberty of Trim, in right of his wife Isabella, daughter of Richard Fitz John, the fifth Baron of Delvin. In 1339, Walter Fitz George De Fay had a suit with his grandmother, Eglantine, widow of Lord Delvin, concerning the above lands, which she also claimed as daughter and heir of William Deweswell, of Deweswelltown, co. Dublin and Kilmer, co. Meath.
Shortly after this, John Engelande (a Trustee) conveyed to Richard Fitz George De Fay, the estate of Comerstown, in the Barony of Fore, and of Mayestown, in the Barony of Moyashell, in "Tale Male"; with remainder to Roger De Fay-which Roger De Fay succeeded; and dying before 1380 was siezed, inter alios, of Comerstown, Ballindinam, and Bartanstown. [II] In 1384, his son, John Fitz Roger Fay of Dernegaran was plaintiff in a suit at Trim against George Fitz Walter Fay and Phillip Tuite, for having unlawfully dissiezed him of the above lands, and a verdict was given in his favour; whereupon the said George Fitz Walter appealed, on the grounds that the Jury who tried the case had not been fairly impaneled, "and by reason that Thomas Chamber, the Sheriff, had taken to wife Anne Dardis, cousin of said John Fay." thereupon a new Jury was ordered to be impanelled by the Keeper of the Kings Pleas, which confirmed the verdict of the first-mitigating, however, the damages against George Fitz Walter Fay, "by reason of his minority."
Lord Chief Justice of
The Lord Chief Justice of Ireland was the senior Irish judge under English rule and later while Ireland was part of the United Kingdom.
The office under its full title was created during the Lordship of Ireland (1171-1536) and continued in existence under the Kingdom of Ireland (1536-1800) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Previously the presiding judge on the King's Bench of Common Pleas the Lord Chief Justice from the mid 1870s, when the courts system was restructured, presided over the High Court, the most senior of the Irish courts, which met in the Four Courts in Dublin.
With the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 the new government under W.T. Cosgrave set about restructuring the Irish judicial system. The two highest ranking judicial postings, Lord Chancellor of Ireland and Lord Chief Justice were abolished, in 1922 and 1924 respectively. The Courts of Justice Act, 1924 created a new courts system, with a Supreme Court as the highest court. The president of the Supreme Court received the title Chief Justice.
Thomas Lefroy, later Lord Chief Justice of Ireland (LCJ 1852-1866), was used by Jane Austen as the model for her Pride and Prejudice character Mr. D'Arcy. Lefroy and Austen had had a romance in their youths. Other prominent Lord Chief Justices of Ireland include Lord Whiteside (LCJ 1866-1876), who as a Queen's Counsel had defended Irish nationalist leader Daniel O'Connell in court, Gearoid Iarla Fitzgerald, (the Third Earl of Desmond), Hugh de Lacy, Richard Tuite, John Dougherty and Thomas Marley, James Ley and Peter O'Brien. James Henry Mussen Campbell, 1st Baron Glenavy (LCJ 1916-1918, later Chairman of Seanad Éireann and father of the satirist Patrick Campbell). One Lord Chief Justice, Lord Kilwarden, was killed by a crowd during Robert Emmet's 1803 rebellion. The final Lord Chief Justice of Ireland was Thomas F. Moloney.
In 1185 Prince John granted most of the county to two of his chief officials, Bertram de Verdon and Gilbert Pipard. Although both had estates in England, de Verdon in Staffordshire and Leicestershire, and Pipard in Oxfordshire, they were primarily royal servants rather than great landed magnates. On the death of Murchadh O'Carroll, Donnchadh's son, in 1189, they proceeded to take control of their respective areas: De Verdon in Dundalk, Cooley, and the barony of Ferrard, and Pipard in the barony of Ardee. Verdon in now represented by a mere 6 voters and Pipard (now Pepper) by 29 but it is probable that the majority of these latter are Peppards who came into Louth in the seventeenth century. The majority of the knights who received grants of land under the subin-feudation of de Verdon and Pipard came from the west midlands of England mainly from Warwickshire and Shropshire but also from Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Derbyshire. These included Whites (164), Taaffes (125), Gernons/Gar(t)lands (104), Clintons (97), Bellews (89), Tuites (86), Pentonvs (originally deepenteny) (66), Dowdalls (59), and Butterlys (55). The Dowdalls, from Dovedale in either Staffordshire or Yorkshire, are first mentioned in County Louth in 1280. Their deeds, described by the late Professor Otway-Ruthven as 'that very rare thing in Ireland, the muniments of a family of minor landlords from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries' were published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission in 1960. They are an invaluable source for local history in the county; in them can be seen the transition of Anglo-Norman sur-names, for example, from Le Blund to White.
This busy market town, in the east of County Longford, is a popular centre for fishermen seeking perch, pike, roach and tench on the nearby lakes of Gowna, Kinale and Sheelin and the Inny River which runs through here and holds trout. Fans of Mother Nature will also delight in the beautiful creeping willow, hedge mustard and wild pansys that grow wild here. Two rare plants - bedstraw and stonecrop – have been found on the motte itself. At the south-western end of town, the Moat of Granard is Ireland's highest motte, at 534 foot. During their first decades in Ireland, the Anglo- Norman's felt control of Granard was essential to securing the northern marches of Leinster against the Gaelic chieftains, and in about 1200 AD, they built the motte here on a site believed to have been the royal residence of Cairbre, eldest son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, during the 5th century. When the O'Farrell chieftain refused to give Edward the Bruce's invading Scots army shelter during the cold winter months of 1315, Bruce had the town sacked and burned. In 1798, a group of insurgents who had fled to Granard in order to regroup were surprised by the English and defeated - many of the prisoners taken were executed on the spot which. during the War of Independence (1919 - 1921), Granard again became a scene of confrontation.
Abbeylara Village, on the banks of Lough Kinale (trout), famous for a 13th century abbey founded by Anglo-Norman Richard Tuite which, though plundered by Edward the Bruce's forces after the sack of Granard in 1315, survived until the Dissolution. Two of its abbots became bishops of Clonmacnoise. St. Patrick is said to have founded a church north of the village in 460 AD – a semi-circular earthwork which still survives. The Black Pig's Race, another massive ancient earthwork, stretches some 6 miles along the shore of Lough Kinale.
The Parish Of Mountnugent
The parish of Mountnugent extends along the eastern shore of Lough Sheelin. It was originally called Kilbride, the name is derived from an early Christian church site. All that now remains of the site is a disused graveyard. It is part of the diocese of Meath, and the Barony of Clonmahon. In the pre-modern era, Mountnugent was part of Maigh Maine, an area extending from Lough Sheelin to the Lough Crew hills (or in Irish 'Sliabh na Caillighe', the hill of the witch) in County Meath.
Meath was granted to Hugh de Lacy by King Henry 2nd in 1172. Hugh
granted a strip of land along the Meath, Cavan, Longford border to his
follower Richard de Tuite. He build several mottes in the region, including
Racraveen, a mile north of the modern
After the Plantation of Ulster the Nugents owned most of the land in the parish. The Lambert family were granted land in the parish during the plantation. But they mortgaged their lands and within two generations, they were practically broke, in spite of holding the title "Earl of Cavan". Brigadier General Oliver Nugent, who commanded the famous 36th Ulster Division at the battle of the Somme in 1916, was a Mountnugent man.
Copyright owned by: Kevin Sweeney
In the ancient Irish legend the Tain, a Connaught army marched from Rathcrogan in Co Roscommon, to steal a bull from Ulster. They marched to Granard, Co Longford and then turned south-west heading for Crossakiel in Co Meath. This route would have brought them through Finea. They were not the first army to march through Finea, and many more armies followed them.
Before the road building schemes of the last 200 years, the boglands that lie along the Inny on its course from Sheelin to Derravaragh, were an impassable wilderness. The two lakes formed the ends of an impregnable natural defence line. Any army that found itself faced with this obstacle, had to go around it, or storm Finea. North of Finea, the Erne provided a similar natural obstacle and control of Finea was the key to controlling a lot of south Cavan.
Fiodh an Atha, means the wood of the ford, which may mean a ford
surrounded by trees, or a ford made of wood, perhaps of wooden hurdles. In the late 1100s or early 1200s
Finea was seized by the Norman de Tuite family, who held it for at least 150
years. It was an important tactical point between Norman Meath and Longford.
Prince John, marched through on
In 1315 Edward the Bruce burned “the
In 1644 Confederate forces clashed with Munro’s Scottish army near the bridge. In 1651 Cromwellian forces began the invasion of Cavan by storming Finea.
Year written: 1993
Copyright owned by: Kevin Sweeney
The Project Gutenberg eBook, An Illustrated
Chapter XXI excerpt:
In 1289 Carbry O'Melaghlin possessed a considerable amount of power in Meath, and was therefore extremely obnoxious to the English settlers. An army was collected to overthrow his government, headed by Richard Tuite (the Great Baron), and assisted by O'Connor, King of Connaught. They were defeated, and "Tuite, with his kinsmen, and Siccus O'Kelly, were slain."
The History of The O’Higgins:Lords of Ballynary
As members of the Gaelic aristocracy the O’Higgins’ suffered under more than one English regime in Ireland. For example, in 1414 John Stanley, the Deputy of the King of England, arrived in Ireland, a man whom we are told “gave neither mercy nor protection to clergy, laity, or men of science, but subjected as many of them as he came upon to cold, hardship, and famine”. It was he who plundered Niall, the son of Hugh O’Higgins, at Uisneach, near modern day Mullingar in Westmeath. However, Henry Dalton, a Gaelic-Norman Lord, then “plundered James Tuite and the King's people, and gave the O'Higgins out of the preys then acquired a cow for each and every cow taken from them, and afterwards escorted them to Connaught. The O'Higgins, with Niall, then satirized John Stanley, who lived after this satire but five weeks, for he died of the virulence of the lampoons. This was the second poetical miracle performed by this Niall O’Higgins, the first being the discomfiture of the Clann-Conway the night they plundered Niall at Cladann; and the second, the death of John Stanley.” The Annals of The Four Masters, Book IV.