KILDARE, PARISH OF. PART II
Kildare Parish, continued
A.D. 1176. The English Earl (i.e., Richard) died at Dublin of an ulcer which had broken out in his foot, through the miracles of St. Brigid and Columbkille, and of all the other Saints whose churches had been destroyed by him. He saw, as he thought, St. Brigid in the act of killing him. (Id.) This was Richard de Clare, Earl Strigul, commonly called Strongbow. In the Dublin copy of the Annals of Innisfallen, he is called “the greatest destroyer of the clergy and laity that came to Ireland since the time of Turgesius.” He was buried in the church of the B. Trinity, now Christ’s Church, where his tomb still exists.
A.D. 1234. Richard, Earl Marshal, of Pembroke and Strangrul was wounded on the 12th April, in a battle on the Curragh of Kildare, and died after a few days. He is buried at Kilkenny (at the Black Abbey) with his brother. (Grace’s Annals.)
Others place this event at the year 1233. “Occiditur Ricardus, Comes Mariscalli Kildairae, in bello per Geraldinos, locum et partem regis tenentes. (Clyn.)
“Post incarnatum lapsis de virgine natum
Annis nongentis tribus triginta trecentis;
In primo mensis Aprilis, Kildariensis
Pugna die die Sabbati fuit, in tristitia fati
Acciderant stallo pugne comite Mariscallo.”
Having rebelled against the king, he landed in Ireland; MacMaurice, the Lord Justice, Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Ulster, and Walter de Lacy, Lord of Meath, appointed to hold a conference with him at the Curragh; but they picked a quarrel with him, and took him prisoner, after having first mortally wounded him. (O’Donovan.)
A.D. 1254. The Green Monastery at Kildare was founded, by the Earl of Kildare, and they (his family) have a superb tomb in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this monastery. (Four MM.) This entry seems to refer to the Grey Abbey, founded there some few years later.
A.D. 1309. A Parliament was held at Kildare, of which all record must have been destroyed, as there is no account of the business transacted, except the following in Hollinshed: “In the year 1309, on Candlemas day, the lord John Bonnevill was slaine neere to the towne of Ardscoll, by the lord Arnold Powre and his complices, his body was buried at Athie in the church of the friers preachers. In the yere following, at a parliament holden at Kildare, the lord Arnold Powre was acquit of that slaughter, for that it was prooved it was doone in his owne defense.” Bonneville was afterwards declared a felon, and his lands at Cradockstown, County of Kildare, were granted to Walter de Istelepe. (Rot. Pat. 2 Edwd. II. 14.)
A.D. 1344. In this year, by mandate, reciting that the O’Tooles, O’Byrnes, McMorroughs, and O’Nolans, had risen to oppose the English, the Seneschal of the Liberty of Kildare was commanded to proclaim, that no person should aid them with victuals, horses, or arms, that one peace or one war should prevail throughout the land, and that each adjacent county should aid anyone which was invaded or harassed by the Irish enemies.
A.D. 1600. The town suffered so severely, that the houses were all in ruins, and without a single inhabitant.
A.D. 1643. Kildare was made a garrison post under the Earl of Castlehaven, and in consequence, began to attract inhabitants.
A.D. 1647. The town was taken upon quarter, by Colonel Jones; soon after, it was retaken by the Irish, in whose possession it remained until June 1649, when it was retaken by the Lord Lieutenant.
A.D. 1652. On the 28th of April, Colonel Grace, (Command-¬in-Chief of the Irish Forces,) Colonel Gawley, and Colonel Molloy, with their respective parties, went to Kildare, gathered all the cows, garrans, sheep, swine, and other cattle, between that and the Liffey, burned and pillaged the town, got a great booty that did relieve them for many days, and if well managed, might relieve them for a long time; of cows, the least was 650, with a great number of small cattle. . . . About this very time Lieut. Colonel Doyne did carry a prey from the garrison of Monaster¬evan. (Aphorism. Discovery, Vol. 3, p. 70.)
A charter of James II., recites that Kildare has been an ancient Borough, but that its franchises, liberties, and privileges had been seized into the king’s hands by a judgment of the Court of Exchequer; and it declares that Kildare should be a free Borough, extending to the same metes and bounds as at any former period; that its Corporation should consist of one sove¬reign, two provosts, twenty burgesses, and a commonalty, and that all its inhabitants should constitute one body politic. An original Charter of the Borough, granted by one of the Henrys, probably by Henry VIII., has been found in the Record Office of the Court of Chancery, but it is so torn and obliterated as to be almost illegible. The Borough grounds extended consi¬derably beyond the town, spreading away from it very unequally in different directions, were intersected and cut into portions by other lands, and included about 3,000 acres of the Curragh, and 300 acres lying south of the town, and called the King’s Bog or Commons of Kildare. The sovereign presided in the Borough Court till 1830, since which time no officers have been elected, and the Corporation is virtually extinct. The Borough Court had jurisdiction to the extent of five marks. This Borough re¬turned two members to the Irish Parliament until the Union, when it was disfranchised, the £15,000 compensation awarded, was paid to William, Duke of Leinster. (Gale’s Corporate Sys¬tem; Gazetteer of Ireland.)
In the burial-ground attached to the Cathedral there is the pedestal of a great stone cross, the shaft and top of which are to be seen in another part of the enclosure. The cross appears to be of very ancient date, perhaps going back to the time of St. Brigid.
The curiously sculptured stone, of which an illustration is given in Vol. I. p. 14, and some monuments which stood heretofore in a chapel in the south wing, have been displaced during the recent work of restoration, and still lie in a heap in the burial-ground. The stone referred to has represented on it the Crucifixion; angels hold chalices in which they catch the sacred Blood as it flows from the Wounds in the Hands, Feet, and Side. A second group is the Ecce Homo, our Lord is placed in front of the cross, his Hands bound; and beneath, a scroll with an inscription granting an Indulgence of 26 years and 26 days, to those who should devoutly say five Paters and five Aves before this figure. On one end of this stone appears the Angel of Justice weighing the merits of an individual who is seated on the scale which the angel holds in his left hand whilst he brandishes a sword in the other. Another stone represents the full sized, recumbent figure of a Bishop. This was supposed to be the tomb of Bishop Lane, who died in 1522, but, for reasons already stated, it more probably goes back to the 13th century, —the period of the restoration of the church by Bishop Ralph de Bristol, and is intended to represent St. Conlaeth or some other of the sainted Bishops of Kildare.
There is here also an effigial monument to Sir Maurice FitzGerald of Lackagh; the recumhent figure is curiously carved in armour, the right side of the tomb, when in place, having five escutcheons, differently emblazoned. The inscription, which is somewhat effaced, is as follows:— “Domina Margareta B(utlev hoc Monument)um fieri fecit ob Me(moriam) Mauricii FitzGeralde de Laccagh Militis quondam sui Mariti, qui obiit XX die Decembris, Anno Domini 1575. Walterus Brennagh Fecit.” Thomas, the 7th Earl of Kildare is said to have married, 1st, Dorothea, daughter of Anthony O’More of Leix, and by her, to be the ancestor of the FitzGeralds of Blackhall, Blackwood, and Ballyshannon, Rathrone, Teecroghan, etc.; he married 2ndly, Joan, daughter of James, 7th Earl of Desmond. His second son, Thomas of Laccagh, was made, by statute passed in a Parliament held at Trim, in 1484, Lord Chancellor of the kingdom for life. He was killed whilst fighting for Simnel, at Stoke-upon-Trent, 6th June, 1487. His son, Sir Maurice of Laccagh, was appointed Justice of Ireland in 1519. Sir Maurice, to whom the monument at Kildare was erected, was his grandson. Lady Margaret Butler, his wife, was of the Ormonde family, and had previously been married to Rory O’More of Leix.
A mural tablet which heretofore was placed in the church porch, has the inscription: “Miseremini mei, Miseremini mei, saltem vos amici mei, nam michi hodie, cras vobis. Orate pro animabus Redmundi FitzGerald et Annae Sutton, uxoris ejus, et pro animabus Jacobi FitzGerald et Mariae Wogan uxoris ejus qui hoc fieri fecerunt monumentum. Idem Jacobus obiit 24 Junii, 1618.”
On the north side of the Cathedral there is a box-tomb, the inscription on which asks prayers for the souls of John Lee of Rathbride and Amy FitzGerald his wife. The epitaph runs round the margin and is continued up the centre, and is as follows: —“Orate pro animabus Johannis Ly de Rabrid, armiger, et Amy FitzGerald uxoris ejus. Commendamus animas nostras in manus Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi. Nicoh. Ly. —Datum VII die Maii 1612. Johannis Ly.” *Robert Leigh (1) of Rosegarland, a descendant of this John Lee, was the author of a Chorographic Treatise, which has been published in the Archaeological Journal of Ireland. From an interesting Introdtiction to it by J.P. Prendergast, Esq:, we learn some particulars regarding the John Lee, buried at Kildare. He was the State Interpreter or Dragoman, in which capacity, and also as a “messenger into dangerous places,” he had made himself useful to the authorities, by whom he was rewarded in 1571 and 1578, with large grants of land in the Counties of Kildare, King’s County, and Meath. Amongst his acquired possessions in the County of Kildare was the townland of Clonagh, where there had been a Religious House or Chapel,” dedicated to St. Fynan. This John Lee levelled the ‘tenements, etc., of the said religious house, removed the burial-place, threw down an ancient cross which had stood there, and erected a tower or small castle, in which he took up his abode. Not satisfied with the spoils of the monasteries of Clonagh and Killeigh, he is found presenting a petition in 1587, dated from Clonagh Castle, in Kildare, and his suit this time was for a grant of Rathbride, which was con¬ceded to him, and became the seat of his descendants. In Rathbride alone he possessed 670 acres of profitable, and 137 acres of unprofitable land, and he had also large possessions in Ticknevin, Ballybrack, Kilcaskin, Ballynakill, Kilpatrick, Kilmorebrangh, Morristown Biller, and Crowtonstown, In a Memorandum Roll of the Exchequer, temp. Elizabeth, is the following entry: “For as muche as it is verie requisite and necessarie to the state of this realme, in consideration of the daylie resorte of the Irishe gentlemen and others of this realme for their severall affayres to the same, to have and use an Interpreter, for the better understanding of their greves, and redresse of their causes; and for that we have had long tryall and experyance of our servant John Alie, whom we have used in that service, and he being a person most meet and convenyent for sondry respects and good considerations, to serve the Lords Justices in our absence. We, the Lord Deputie and Counsell, have condiscended and agreed that he, the said John Alie, as interpreter to the State of this realme, shall have and receave the fee of twelve pence Irish per diem, etc. Given at Carlingford the xxiii of September, 1587. Henry Sydney, Robert Weston,” etc., etc. Stowe mentions that at the trial of Sir Bryan O’Rourke, in 1591, at Westminster, “Master John Lye of Rathbride; a gentleman out of Ireland, was appointed to interpret between the Court and the traitor.”
*The MacLaighid or O’Lees, were hereditary physicians in West Connaught. One of them, Murough O’Lye, as he signed his surname, an eccentric inhabitant of the County of Galway in the time of Charles II., having failed to recover his mortgaged and forfeited patrimony after the Restoration, commenced the practice of medicine and surgery, and, in order to give himself fame, being in possession of an antique vellum MS., written in Gaelic and Latin, treating of medicine, and which probably belonged to his professional ancestors, he imposed on the vulgar by asserting that this wonderful book had been given him in the enchanted island called I.Brazil, whither he had, he declared, been forcibly conveyed. This Book of 1-Brazil is to be seen in the Royal Irish Academy, and, besides containing a signature of the Lee family, is curious for that mixture of astrological and medical lore which pervaded the science of medicine when Chaucer satirized Doctours of Physicke.
There are at least two former Parish Priests of Kildare interred in this burial-ground, viz.: Father Rouse, whose tomb bears the following inscription:-
“Here rests the dust of Philip Rouse, whose wealth
Was lent to Church and poor to purchase bliss;
His flock with zeal he taught whilst he had health,
In truth and friendship never was remiss.
“Died, April 18th, 1778, aged 66.”
The other is the Rev. Terence Nolan, whose remains are said to lie interred under an uninscribed stone beside the socket of the old Cross. Father Nolan was Pastor of Kildare in 1798; it is related that he and the Protestant Rector were instrumental in saving, each the life of the other, during the insurrection.
THE GRAY ABBEY.
This Monastery, which stood on the south side of the town where some remnants of it are still to be seen, was erected for Franciscan Friars in the year 1260, by Lord William de Vesci, but was completed by Gerald FitzMaurice, Lord Offaly. (Ware.) There is but little doubt that the entry in the Four Masters at the year 1254,—recording that the Green Monastery at Kildare was founded by the Earl of Kildare, and that his family have a superb tomb there in the chapel of the B. Virgin,—-refers to this monastery. Gerald, Lord Offaly, above referred to, died at Rathmore near Naas, on the 20th of July, 1286, and was interred in this monastery. (Pembridge.)
Amongst the Items in the account of Brother Stephen, Bishop of Waterford, the King’s treasurer in Ireland, from Michaelmas 1277 to the Michaelmas following, is the following: “To John of Kent, for money which he had paid over by the King’s order to Robert de Ufford, the Justiciary, for the Franciscans of Kildare of the King’s alms, to wit, 44s.” (Sweet¬man, Cal. Vol. 2, n. 1496.)
1308. Peter, Lord de Bermingham died, on the 12th of April, and was interred here. King styles him “a vectorious leader against the Irish.” This appears to have been “ the treacherous Baron,” who, having invited Murtough and Calvagh O’ Conor, with 24 of the chiefs of their people to an entertainment at his castle of Carrick on Trinity Sunday, 1305, treacherously massacred them as they stood up from table, and sold their heads to their enemies. (See chapter on Balyna Parish.)
1309 Friar Michael of Kildare, a member of this Community wrote a curious Poem commemorative of the building of the walls of New Ross, by Rose, sister of Earl Strongbow; it is written in Norman French. The MS., consisting of 64 leaves of
vellum, is preserved amongst the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum. Portions have been produced in fac-simile, by Mr Gilbert in his Fac Similes of National MSS. of Ireland. A copy of this Poem, with an English translation by Miss Landon, (L. E. L.) is given by Crofton Croker in his “Popular Songs of Ireland.”
1316. On the Sunday after the Nativity of the B. Virgin, in this year, John FitzThomas, first Earl of Kildare, of the family of Geraldine, died at Laraghbrine, and was interred here. (Pembridge.) In 1294, William Vesci, Lord Justice, accused John FitzThomas of felony; they both sailed for England to have their dispute decided by the King and Council. It resulted in John FitzThomas challenging his opponent to single combat, a course approved of by the King, who named a day for the purpose. “Wherefore,” writes Hollinshed,—whose account is curious and amusing, and for the details of which he draws largely on his imagination— “Wherefore, the parties being as well thereof advertised, as the daie by the King appointed, no small provision was made for so eager a combat as that was presupposed to have beene. But when the prefixed daie approached neere, Vescie turning his great boast to small rost, began to crie creake, and secretlie sailed into France. King Edward, thereof advertised, bestowed Vescie’s lordships of Kildare and Rathangan on the baron of Offalie, saieing that albeit Vescie conveied his person into France, yet he left his lands behind him in Ireland.” In reality, it was not till 1297 that De Vesci surrendered to this King the castle, manor, and County of Kildare, to wit, every thing he had, or could have, in Ireland; and the King directed his Justiciary, John Wogan, to take possession of them. (Rot. Can. Antiq., 45, 46.) These remained in the King’s hands until the 14th of May, 1316, when, by Letters Patent, the King declared that he had granted to John FitzThomas, “Castrum et villaim de Kildare, cum terris, redditibus, et aliis pertinentiis suis, sub honore et nomine Comitis de Kildare, ipsumque prefecisse in comitem ejusdem loci.” (Lodge; Note to Grace’s Annals, by, Dean Butler.)
1320. A Provincial Chapter of the Order was held in this monastery, on St. James’s Day. (Clyn.)
1328. Thomas FitzJohn, the second Earl of Kildare, died at Maynooth, on the 8th of April, and was interred at the Franciscan Convent, Kildare, in our Lady’s Chapel, before the great altar. (Lodge.) He was Justiciary at the time of his death.
1329. On the 7th of July, Richard, the third Earl, died at Rathangan; he was interred on the right hand of his father. Lodge.)
1335. On the 12th of June, Andrew Leynagh, Guardian of the Gray Abbey of Kildare,—setting out as Nuncius Regis to the Scottish islands to treat with John de Insula “super retinentia sua et aliis dicendis et sciendis ex parte Regis,”— had an order for 60s. (Close Roll, 9, Ed. III., 36.)
1359. On the 23rd of April, died Joan de Burgh, wife of Thomas, Earl of Kildare; she was interred in the Lady Chapel at the side of her Lord. (Pembridge.)
1410. Gerald, Earl of Kildare, died, and was interred here. (Lodge.)
1520. This Convent was Reformed by the Franciscans of the Strict Observance. (Allemande.)
1543. January 31st, this monastery with its appurtenances, two gardens and two closes of land containing 3 acres, also 11 acres in Collier’s land, the moiety of the tithes excepted, were, together with the house of the White Friars, granted in capite to Daniel Sutton at the annual rent of 2s. 3d. (Chief Remembrancer.) On the Tuesday next after the feast of St. Nicholas, Bishop, same year, it was found, that the Prior surrendered this Abbey on the 30th April, being then seized of the Church and belfry, a dormitory, hall, three chambers, and a kitchen, a cemetery, 2 gardens, 2 closes, containing 3 acres, with 4 messuages, 2 cottages, and 35 acres of arable land in Kildare, annual value, besides reprises, 46s. 8d. (Chief Rememb.)
An Inquisition taken the 28th April, 1589, finds a tenement and 6 acres of land, in the town of Kildare, annual value £6; and certain lands called Collyer’s land and Shaneclone, annual value, 40s., all in this county, were parcel of the possessions of this priory. (Id.)
A.D. 1597. Henry, son of Garret, Earl of Kildare, whilst aiding the Justiciary, Lord Borough, against O’Neill, “in consequence either of a wound, or a fever, was obliged to set out on his return home; but when he had gone as far as Drogheda, he died in that town. His body was carried to Kildare, and interred with great honour and reverence in the burial-place of his an¬cestors. William, his brother, was installed in his place.” (Four MM.)
A considerable portion of the walls of this monastery remain, but they have lost all architectural features. A view taken in 1792, by Lieutenant D. Grose (Antiquities, Vol. II., Plate 25), shows it to have been then more perfect; the tracery in the east and west gables of the church being then preserved. Some ancient sculptured stones, now inserted, for preservation, in the wall of the chapel at the Carmelite convent, Kildare, are said to have been brought from the Gray Abbey; these are: 1. The upper portion of a human figure under a Gothic canopy, with a double or archiepiscopal cross; 2. Our Blessed Lord seated, bound with cords and crowned with thorns, the words Ecce Homo, at side of head, this has also a Gothic canopy overhead;
3. The Crucifixion, figures of the Blessed Virgin and St. John on either ‘side, glories around their heads,—these figures are disproportionally short. It is very probable that these sculptures formed portion of a tomb. There are two other stones displaying grotesque monsters or demons.
The Franciscans had still a Convent at Kildare in the early part of the 17th century. A note to a MS. copy of Keating’s History of Ireland, in the handwriting of Brother Michael O’Clery,—one of the Four Masters, whom Father Hugh Ward, Guardian of the Franciscan Convent of Louvain, had despatched to Ireland to collect and copy Irish MSS.,—is to the following effect :—(Translation.) “In the Convent of Kildare the writing of this book was commenced on the 4th of September, and finished on the 28th of the same month.” The year is omitted, but it must have been between 1620 and 1635, as that was the period during which Brother Michael O’Clery was occupied in this way. They were there in 1641, as we learn from the depo¬sition of the Protestant Archdeacon Golborne, that “the Friars of the Gray Abbey,” in that year, helped Dr. Rosse MacGeoghegan to carry away the Charter Chest from the Cathedral. Guardians of this Convent continued to be elected up at least to the year 1729, though probably they were only titularly so, in the latter portion of the time. In the Acts of a Chapter of Friars Minors, held at Dublin, in 1717, is the following: “In Conventu Kildariensi electus est Guardianus, V. A. P. F. Anthony Higgin. S. Theologiae Lic.”; and, in the Acts of a Chapter also held at Dublin, in 1729: “Electus est Guardianus in Conventu Kilda¬riensi, V. A. P. Christopherus Warren.”
Lord William de Vesci, who had founded the Franciscan Convent, was also the founder of the Carmelite Convent of St. Mary at Kildare, in 1290. (Allemande; Ware.) One of the first and most distinguished members of this Community was David O’Bugey, of whom Hollinshed thus writes:— “David Obuge, borne in the towne of Kildare, for his learned lectures and subtile disputations openlie published in Oxford, and Trevers, in Germany, he was taken for the gem and lanterne of his countrie. In his time Giraldus Bononiensis, being maister generall of the Carmelits, was at jar with William Lidlington, the provinciall of all the English Carmelits. Whereupon tenne of the wisest and learnedest Carmelits that then were resiant in England, being fullie elected to resist their generall, Obuge was chosen to be the forman of all the said crew. Giraldus Bononiensis understanding that, he being an Irishman, was so hot in the controversie, was egerly bent against Obuge, because he assured himselfe to have favour at his hands, by reason Obuge was borne in that countrie where the Giraldines, his kinsmen, were planted, and thereupon he was banished Italie. This storme in processe of time being appeased, the outcast Carmelite was made the generall gardian of all his fraternitie in Ireland; which countrie by his continuall teaching and preaching, was greatlie edified. Over this he was so politike a councillor, that the nobilitie and estates in causes of weight, would have recourse to him as to an oracle. He was in philosophie an Aristotle, in eloquence a Tullie, in divinitie an Augustine, in the civill law a Justinian, in the canon a Panormitane, he flourished in the yeare 1320, he deceased at Kildare, leaving these learned workes in¬suing to posteritie: ‘Sermones ad Clerum,’ ‘Epistolae 32 ad diversos,’ ‘Propositiones disputatas,’ ‘Lectiones Treverenses,’ ‘Regulae Jiiris,’ ‘Contra Giraldum Bononiensem.’ To these William Eysengreinius adds, ‘Commentarios in Biblia Sacra,’ called by Gesner, Postillos Bibliorum. Bale states that O’Buge held Chapters of his Order in Atherdee and Dublin.”
Another distinguished member of this community was Ralph or Radulphus Kelly, who was born at Drogheda, but was brought up, as Hollinshed has it, “in the knowledge of the Latin toong in Kildare, in which he profited so well that for his eloquence and wisdome he was sent to Clement the sixt, as the speaker or prolocutor of all his Order, and also was appointed the generall advocat or deputie under Petrus de Casa, master generall of the Order. After, he was advanced to be Archbishop of Cashill, in which honour he deceassed, having at vacant houres written: “In jure Canonico,” lib. 1; “Epistolarum familiarium,” lib. 1, or, as some say, 7. He died at Cashel, according to the Annals of Nenagh, on the 20th of November, 1361, and was buried there, in St. Patrick’s Church. (Ware.)
The Rental Boke of the Earls of Kildare shows that in March 1535, when the Castle of Maynooth was sacked, Lord Thomas had previously delivered part of the plate, of which there are three entries, one to a retainer, another to the White Friars of
Kildare, besides placing a large quantity in charge of O’Brian of Thomond.
An Inquisition taken on Tuesday next after the feast of St. Nicholas the Bishop, 1543, finds that the Prior surrendered this House on the 3rd of April, 1540, he having been seized of a Church and Belfry, a dormitory, a hall, and two chambers, with a messuage, a garden, and a close, containing one acre, also a cottage and six acres of arable land in Kildare, annual value, besides reprises, 3s. id. (Chief Remembrancer.) This House was granted, along with the Franciscan monastery, to Daniel Sutton. (Id.) According to an extract from a Roll in Record Office, Dublin (Apud Ma’nt, Vol. I., p. 161), the house of the Carmelites in Kildare, at the suppression of monasteries, was sold for £1. In an abstract of grants under Acts of Settlement and Explanation, 8th August, 1667, we find this Monastery referred to: “A parcell of land in or near ye Corporation town of Kildare, near adjoining to the dissolved fryery, called Monasterfigue, or White Fryery, called by ye name of Konokerbeg, with ye tolls and duties of the fairs, and also the privileges and rights thereunto belonging.” The precise site which the former Monastery occupied has not been ascertained, but the above extract affords some clue to it.
The Carmelites still possess a Convent at Kildare, and are at the present time engaged in building a Church there, at a cost of £3,500.
CASTLE OF KILDARE.
Kildare came into the possession of the English soon after the invasion. The castle was built by De Vesci, to whom the town and district around were granted, for protection of his extensive possessions. In the list of the lands, etc., which Earl Richard Marshall offered to the Countess of Pembroke for her dower in Ireland, “the vill and Castle of Kildare,” are included. (Close Roll. 16, Hen. III., 1232.)
1294. Calvagh O’Conor, chief of Hy Failia, then in arms against the English, stormed and took the Castle of Kildare, burnt all the Records and Deeds of the manor, and, as the old chronicler has it,— “destroyed the tallies,” a species of accounts by nitches made in pieces of wood, kept between lord and menial at a time when writing was regarded as a very high accomplishment. O’Conor appears to have held possession of the Castle till 1307, when he was defeated by the Lord Offaly, and obliged to return to Hy Failia, his own district, in the King’s County. (Seward, Top. Hib.) This Calvagh O’Conor was one of those treacherously massacred by Peter Bermingham at Carrick Castle in 1308. As already related, De Vesci fled to France, in 1294, rather than meet John FitzThomas in single combat, in consequence of which he forfeited his possessions in Ireland. It was not, however, till 1297, that he formally surrendered the castle, manor, and County of Kildare to the King, in whose name John Wogan, the Justiciary, took possession. These remained in the King’s hands till May, 1306, when he granted the castle and town of Kildare, etc., to John FitzThomas.
In 1310, William de Wellesley received, as Constable of the Castle of Kildare, a sum of £4 11s. Od., being a quarter’s salary. (State Papers.)
Clyn, under date 1346, names the Castle of Kildare as one of the strongholds of (the English in) Ireland. “Hibernia habet custodias 7 loca silicet Dubliniam, Kildariam, Clane, Totmoy, Desertum, (Castledermott), Wysefordiam (Wexford), et Wykynlo (Wicklow).”
On the 29th of May, 1390, a Writ was issued to the Earl of Kildare, “to remove O’Conor, son of Donogh O’Dymsey, the King’s Irish enemy, detained in the Castle of Kildare, to the Castle of Dublin, for his safe custody, as his escape might be of dangerous consequence.” (Lodge, I., 80.)
Father F. Slingsby,—Memoir, p. 212,—detailing the persecutions to which Catholics were subjected in his time, namely, the early part of the 17th century,—makes mention of the Castle of Kildare which, he says, was in an especial manner the home and refuge of all the persecuted; this was chiefly owing to the piety of the Countess who, having been born in the Tower of London whilst her parents were imprisoned there for their ad¬herence to the Catholic religion, never allowed the fervour of her faith to grow cold, or the ardour of her charity to be extinguished. Her castle became, not only the asylum of the neighbouring Catholics, but a sort of head-quarters for the Catholic clergy; and hence it was characteristically known throughout the kingdom as the House of Holiness, whilst by the Protestant bigots it was styled “a centre of abomination, the sink of hell.” The Countess of Kildare here referred to was Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher, 9th Lord Delvin who, by dispensation from the Pope, married her cousin Gerald, 14th Earl of Kildare.* Her father, and her grandfather, Gerald, 11th Earl of Kildare, were arrested on suspicion of disloyalty, in 1580, and committed to the Tower. Her husband died, 11th February, 1611, and was buried at Kildare, leaving but one son, Gerald, the 15th Earl, then only seven weeks old. In 1618, her child was taken from her and given in ward to the Duke of Lenox, chiefly that he might be reared a Protestant, but his pious mother had the consolation of knowing that the boy, who died in the Castle of Maynooth on the 11th of November, 1620, when he was but 8 years and 10 months old, demanded and obtained the ministra¬tions of a Catholic priest. His cousin and successor, George, the 16th Earl, who was but one month his junior, was less fortunate. He also was given in ward to Esme Stewart, Duke of Lenox, “after which,” writes Lodge, “that nobleman took care to have him educated in the communion of the Church of England, in which his illustrious family have ever since continued.” Thus it was that the noble house of Kildare lost the ancient Faith—they did not desert it, it was basely filched from them by the State, through the agency of the Court of Wards.
Robert Cowley writes to the Duke of Norfolk in 1540, (Ellis’s Letters, Vol. 2, p. 98):— “When a good gentilman called Davyd Sutton who kepith at his charge divers horsemen and fotemen, had the Constableship of the Kinges castell of Kildare. the said Robert (Brabazon) did put him oute, and for lucre took uppon hymself to bee Constable of Kildare, keeping in his handes the Constableship of Carlingford, distansing asunder lxx myles; and left not in the castle of Kildare any manner of pese of ordynance so moche as a hand-goune or any pese of artillery, not one bowe, but likking up the proffat; and O’Connor beeing thereof monyshed, entered into the towne and burnyd it, and entered into the castell and ryfled it of all the cattail therein put for refuge, and toke horses out of the castell. And oon hand-gone may have kepte theym out and saved the castell and all that was therein.” This Sutton lived at Rathbride. In 1540, the Irish Government, on account of his good services to the State, recommended him to the King, to be made of the Privy Council.
In 1643, the castle was repaired and a garrison established in it, by Lord Castlehaven; in 1647, Colonel Jones took the place upon quarter, but it was soon after retaken by the Irish, who held it till the beginning of June, 1649, when it was repossessed by the Lord Lieutenant. (Seward.)
Subsequently, the Castle of Kildare was the residence of members of the Geraldine family, the last of whom who abode there being the patriotic and ill-fated Lord Edward Fitzgerald and his French and Catholic lady, Pamella.
*She bequeathed Kilkea Castle to her cousin, Father Nugent, S.J., as a novitiate for the Order.
COMMANDERY OF TULLY.
The old parochial district of Tully (Tulach, a hill), or Coglanstown, is partly in the present parish of Kildare. It consists of four mutually detached districts; the distance of the first district from Kildare is ¾ of a mile, S. by E.; of the second district ¾ of a mile, N.N.W.; of the third district, 2 ¼ miles, N.N.E.; of the fourth district, 5 miles, S.E. A Commandery of the Knights Hospitallers was established in the first of these divisions; the exact period when it was founded is not known, nor the name of the founder. As it was already established before the De Vesci family lost possession of Kildare, it probably owes its existence to them.
1290, October. An Inspeximus of this date shows that Geoffry de Siwaldeby was Master of Tully. (Cal. Doc. Ireland, Sweetman.)
1293. Thomas was Prior of the Church of Tully. (King, p. 38.)
1308. Dermod O’Dempsey was slain at Tully; it is said, by the followers of Lord Piers Gaveston. (Pembridge.)
1326. A Chapter of the Order was held here, on the 15th Sunday after Trinity. (King.)
1327. The Great Prior appointed Philip de Rush to be Chief Clerk of the Chapel of Tully, and principal manager under the direction of the Preceptor. (Id.)
1330-31. John FitzRichard was Preceptor. (Id.)
1333. A Chapter was held here, on the Sunday after the feast of SS. Peter and Paul. (Id.)
1334-5. Richard de Bruyn was Preceptor. A Chapter was held here this year, on the Sunday next after the feast of St. Luke. (Id.)
1337. Richard de Brun (probably the same as already named) was Preceptor. A Chapter was held here, this year. The Grand Prior granted to John de Laundrey, the office of porter in the house of Tully, together with his diet and clothing; or in lieu thereof, one mark of silver, and half a mark for shoes, to be paid annually by the Preceptor. He also granted to William FitzSymons during life, in this house, his diet and all other necessaries for himself, a servant-boy, and a horse; the diet, attendance, etc., to be the same as the esquires, and his servant and horse, the same as those of the Preceptor were served with; and that he, FitzSymons, was to serve in the said house as an esquire. (Id.)
1338. A Chapter was held here, on Sunday, being the feast of St. Luke. The same year the Grand Prior granted to Roger Philipson, in the house of Tully, the office of porter during life, with diet, and ten shillings in silver, yearly, for all necessaries; and if he should be prevented by age or sickness, from attending commons, he should then be served daily in his own chamber, with a white loaf and one of the coarser kind, a flagon of the best ale and another of the middle kind, and as much flesh-meat, fish, etc., from the kitchen, as he should choose. (Id.)
1339. A Chapter was held here on Sunday, being the feast of St. James. The same year the Grand Prior granted to Nicholas Uloys, clerk, his diet in this house, at the table of the brethren, and clothing the same as theirs; and if at any time he should not come to the hall, he should then be served in his chamber with two white loaves and two of the coarser kind, two flagons of the best ale, and two of an inferior kind, a dish of meat from the kitchen for his dinner and another for his supper; he had also leave to keep a servant, who was to diet with the servants of the Preceptor. The year following, he also granted to Gregory Tyrrell, the office of assessor of the house of Tully, with diet at the table of the esquires, clothing the same as theirs, and half a mark of silver annually, for shoes; and if he should not be able to come to the hall he was then to be served in his chamber. (Id.)
1345. A Chapter was held here on Monday next after the feast of SS. Peter and Paul. (Id.)
1349. Another Chapter was held here before John FitzRichard, the Grand Prior of Kilmainham. The Grand Prior, in this year, granted to Brother John Tyrrell, Prebend of Tally, the tithes of their Churches during life. He also granted to Robert Fitz-Adam, the office of butler in the house of Tully, together with diet at the servants’ table, or in his chamber if confined by sickness, and clothing the same as the other servants of the house. (Id.)
1471. It was enacted that Keating, the Prior of Kilmainham, be obliged, notwithstanding his privileges, to appear in the Chief bench, and to answer Malachy Malowne, Dean of Kildare, in a suit for a lease of the Commandery of Tully. (Harris’s Collectanea.)
The last Preceptor was John Walyngton; in Patent Roll, dated 14th of July, 1540, we find a grant of “a yearly pension of £16 13s. 4d. to John Walyngton, late Preceptor of Tullie, issuing out of the hereditaments of the Preceptory.”
This commandery, with an orchard, garden, and 60 acres of pasture, 100 acres of arable, and a water-mill, with the custom of the tenths in the town and lands of Tully; 2 messuages, 1 cottage, and 80 acres of land, and custom of the tenths in and near Moortown; 2 messuages, 1 cottage, and 60 acres of land, with the custom of the tenths in Frereton; and 1 mes¬suage, 6 acres of land, in Treven and Prompellan; all which were the temporal lands of the manor of Tully; also the rectories of Tully, Downen (Duneany), Rathbride, and Calvinston, with the tithes of the same; the whole lying and situate in this county, was granted to Sir Henry Harrington, Knt., and his heirs, in capite, for the annual rent of £21 6s. 8d., he paying yearly at Naas twenty bushels of corn. (Auditor-General.)
In letters from the King to Sir Anthony St. Leger, dated Westminster, July 5, 30th Hen. VIII., His Grace directs that “David Sutton should have the Commandery of Tully, in the County of Kildare, late belonging to the Lord Saint John of Jerusalem.” (Cal. Pat. Rolls. Morrin, 65.)
Tully passed into the hands of Patrick Sarsfield in the time of Craik, Protestant Bishop of Kildare,—1560-64. Ware says of him: “He, not content with the Deanery of St. Patrick’s in Dublin, and the See of Kildare (both which he held together), exchanged almost all the manors and farms pf the Bishopric with Patrick Sarsfield, for certain tithes of no great value; by this exchange, the most ancient See of Kildare was reduced to a shameful poverty.” An Inquisition, taken at Naas, 25th of May, 1632, finds Patrick Sarsfield seized in fee of the manor or Pre¬ceptory, and land, of Tully, Fryerstowne, and Bralissan, 1 castle, 10 messuages, 1 water-mill, and 226 acres of land; also Rossberry, Scarletstown, Mooretowne, and Richardstown, 1 castle, 10 messuages, and 150 acres; the rectories of the Churches of Tully, Downen alias Downeny, Rathbryde, and Calvesstowne, with all the tithes, etc., the tithes of the townland of Ballyenlen, Fryertowne, Moortowne, near Kilkea, alias Kilkullin, Kilcale, alias Kilballane, near Connell, and Kilcork, all which are parcell of the manor of Tully aforesaid; the tithes of Rosberry, Scarletston, Mooretown, Richardstown, and Cornelscourt, and of Loghbrone, Carne, and Cornelscourt aforesaid, containing 4 messuages and 100 acres of land; the annual rents of Norny, and a certain parcell of land called Clongory, 10 acres, and the reversion after the expiration of a certain demise then made, and of 40 acres, parcell of the town of Dunlavon in the County of Wicklow, etc. The said Patrick Sarsfield died, 22nd January, 1630. Peter Sarsfield is his son and heir, aged 40, and married. (Inquis. Lagen.)
In the north of East Tully townland, is St. John’s Well; a well dedicated to St. Brigid lies in the west of the same townland. There is a small moat near the centre of this townland.
The Church of the Commandery of Tully still exists in ruins; the masonry, as usual with the houses of the military Orders, is very massive, partaking of the nature of a fortress—the walls are 4 ½ feet in thickness. The existing portion of the Church is about 56 feet long, by 27 in width, and a tower, some 20 feet square. A burial-ground is attached.
The town of Rathangan, on the Little Barrow, stands in the ancient parish of the same name, now incorporated with Kildare. The parish of Rathangan is situated in East and West Offaly; the town and most of the parish were formerly in West Offaly, but were transferred by Act Wm. I., c. 84, to East Offaly; the present West Offaly portion is almost uninhabited. The name signifies the Rath of Jomghain. The Rath is still to be seen near the present Protestant Church, and measures about 180 feet in diameter. Jomghain is a proper name, sigifying Vulnerator, and was of frequent occurrence in ancient Ireland. (O’Donovan.) It is not known who the individual was whose name is perpetuated in this instance. The following references to this place are found in the Annals of Ireland.
A.D. 801. (recte 807, O’D.) Flaithiusa, son of Cinaedh, lord of Ui-Failghe, was slain at Rath-Imghain. (Four MM.) The same event is recorded in the annals of Clonmacnoise, under date 803: “Flaithnia, mac Kinoye, King of Offalie, was killed at Rathangan;” and again, in the Ann. Ult., at 805: “Flaithnia mac Cinaeda, rex Nepotum Foilgi, jugulatus est i rRaith-¬Imgain.”
Recording the death of Margaret O’Carroll, wife of O’Conor Faly, in 1451, the Four Masters say of her that “she was the best woman of her time in Ireland, for it was she who had given two invitations of hospitality in the one year to those who sought for rewards,” (i.e., poets, minstrels, members of mendicant orders, etc.) These feasts, as we learn from Duald Mac Firbis, took place, one at Killeigh, on the Feast of Da Sinchell, the 26th of March,—at which 2,700 persons were entertained,—and the other at Rathangan; “and she gave the second invitation to everyone that came not to the first, on the feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Lady in harvest, at or in the Rath-Imayn, and so we have been informed that that second day in Rath¬Imayn was nothing inferior to the first day.” The description of the great feast at Killeigh is given in its proper place.
A.D. 1546. Many of the Geraldines took up arms against the Saxons, in revenge for their expulsion from their country, . . . they plundered Ballymore Eustace and Rathvilly, and all the country around them; they also plundered Rathangan, and carried away on that occasion from these places so many cows that the number could not be enumerated. (Four MM.)
During the insurrection of 1798, the rebels attacked Rathangan; they were repulsed, and some of their leaders were taken and executed.
The present Protestant Church occupies the site of the old Parochial Church, of which a small portion of the walls are still standing to the east of the present edifice. The adjoining burial-ground is still used by the Catholics, who inter on the south side, leaving the north for Protestant interments. In the Catholic portion is a tombstone, facing west, bearing the following inscription: “This stone erected by ye Rev. Simon Fitzpatrick in memory of ye deceased bodys of John, James, and Catherine Fitzpatrick deceased 1711.” It is probable that the Rev. Simon Fitzpatrick is here interred with his family, and that the date, 1711, refers to the time of his decease.
Thady Doorly, who died some fifty years ago, at the age of 126, is interred here. The statement regarding his extraordinary longevity is verified by reference to leases in which his name is inserted. Like the famous Countess of Desmond, who was 140 years old at the period of her death, this man’s end was hastened by an accident.
A.D. 1534, January 26th. Pardon to Stephen Crenan, of Rathangan, Chaplain. (Pat. Roll.)
A.D. 1536. Stephen Grenan (evidently the same person) was rector of Rathangan, as appears in .Exch. Mem. Roll.
Rathangan has been a Prebend, probably since the institution of the Chapter of Kildare. In the Taxation ascribed to the year 1294, appears: “Ecclesia de Rathemegan, Prebenda, xl. marks,” and in that made temp. Hen. VIII., “Preb. de Rathangan £40,” and “Rectory of Rathangan £12 16 8,” are given.
The Chapel of the Penal Times stood immediately within the wall that now encloses Harberton demesne, at the part where the high canal bridge now stands. Two venerable trees, still there, stood in front of the Chapel, and are found studded with nails, employed in posting notices upon them. This Chapel was built about the year 1700, as we learn from the return made in November, 1731, in which it is stated that “the Mass-house of Rathangan, wherein the priest of Kildare officiates, has been built above thirty years.” (See Vol. 1., p. 267.) It is found marked on a map of the County of Kildare published in 1752. The next Chapel was on the site occupied by the present one. It appears to have been a very humble structure, and was replaced, about the year 1826, by the existing Church.
The Manor of Rathangan came into the possession of the De Veseys, soon after the English invasion; they, no doubt, were the founders of the Castle which, with their other posses¬sions, passed into the hands of John FitzThomas, first Geraldine Earl of Kildare, in 1316. In 1329, on the 7th of July, Richard, 3rd Earl of Kildare, died here, and was interred at the Gray Abbey, Kildare. (Lodge.)
In 1534, during the rebellion of Silken Thomas, this castle was taken by the English. Hollinshed relates how “the Castell of Rathimgan having been woone, which was soone after the surrender of Maynooth, he (the Earl) caused a drove of cattell to appeare timelie in the morning hard by the towne. Such as kept the fort, suspecting it to be a bootie, were trained for the more part out of the castell, who were surprised by Thomas, that laie hard by in ambush, and the greater number of them slaine.”
In a poem composed, temp. Elizabeth, by Fearganaimm Mac Eochadh, and entitled Caithreim Aodha mic Seanin Ui Bhrain, i.e., “the Victories of Hugh, son of Shane O’Byrne,” (MS. T.C.D., H. 1, 14, p. 19,) Rathangan and other places in the neighbourhood are referred to:
“But the vigorous exertion at Bailegaidhi (Ballygaddy) caused us to give thanks to the King of Heaven. Grainsioch IJuserd (Puncher’s Grange) was plundered by you, Cuilmuine (Kilmony) is put out of form. We heard a news which raised your fame; Raith-Jomdhain (Rathangan) you consumed, Cinain. boig (Clonbulloge) and the Bothar-Cuill (Boherkill) were plundered by the grandson of Raymond, And to the spoil taken from Fiodh Cuilinn (Feiglicullen) I compare no booty,” &c.
The writer of State of Ireland, anno 1598, refers to “Rath¬angan, a castle of the Earle of Kildare’s, latelie raysed by the Rebells.”
In Belling’s History of the Irish Confederation, etc., edited by Mr. Gilbert, Vol. II., p. 138, we find the following instructions from the Lords Justices: “Directions for Colonel Gibson for the intended expedition. Win. Parsons—Jn. Borlase—You are with the troopes of horse and foote companies now designed for that purpose, to repaire into the Co. Kildare, and soe with what conveniency you can, to goe to Rathangan by easie journeys, and in your passage to kill, slay, and destroy all Rebells, and by fire or otherwise to destroy all the corne, turffe, and horses belonging to the said Rebells thereabouts, and from thence into Farrinemurchoe, and to make the like destruction on that country and thereabouts to the Barrow side, and on yr returne home, to doe the like in all the northerne partes of the county of Kildare, and soe by easie journies to scowre the Lordshipp of Maynooth, and in all these wayes to take from the Rebells all the cattle you can. In this journey your principall worck is to make what spoile you can of all the Rebell’s houses, corne, turffe, and other goodes. When you are nearest to Monasterevin, if you finde the same in distresse, you are to releive the same with corne and cattill so far as you may.” (Adam Loftus, who resided at Monasterevan, and whose name is attached to this precious document, took care to have this passage inserted.) “You are to tarry abroad in that countrie, as long as you possibly can gett provisions for your men. And to this purpose you are to doe any other thing for his majesties service that you in your judg¬ment shall think fitt during your being abroad. 4 Jan. 1642.
“Conway and Kilulta. Ad. Loftus. F. Willoughby. Edw. Brabazon. J. Temple. G. Wentworth.”
The remains of this fortress were in existence up to a comparatively recent date. It is marked on the map of the county, published in 1752, as the Castle of Offaly, and was situated upon a rising-ground near the back entrance of The Lodge, to provide materials for the building of which residence, probably led to its final demolition.
At a short distance to the south of Rathangan, near Mount Prospect, there is still to be seen a square tower, now popularly known as Offaly Castle; this fort was placed here to command an important ford on the adjoining river. Just outside the town in the direction of Monasterevan, a stream crosses the road, and is now bridged over; this is known as the Friar’s Ford, and near at hand is the Friar’s Walk. It is said that a friar dwelt here in the last century, and hence these appellations.
This ancient parish is now included in the union of Kildare. There are two places bearing the name of Cloncurry (Cluain Conaire, i.e., “Conaire ‘s meadow “) in this County, viz., Cluain Conaire Toimen, in the parish of Kilcock, and Clunin Conaire Maeldubh, the one here referred to. St. Maeldubh’s feast was celebrated here on the 18th of December,—in the Martyrology of Donegal, at that date, the entry “Maeldubh Clnain Conaire,” is found. He was also probably Abbot of Cluain Immerois (i.e., Umeras, in the adjoining parish of Monasterevan), where he was culted on the 20th of October. St. Maeldubh left his Irish Churches to evangelize the Saxons, by whom he was called Mal-dulph. He settled at Caerbladon or Ingelbourne, in Wiltshire. He was joined by Aeldheln, nephew of Ina, King of Wessex, who became his successor, and died Bishop of Sherbourne, A.D. 709. Their Monastery was named after both, Maeldelmsbrigg, changed to Malmesbury, which afterwards became the celebrated Benedictine Abbey of that name. St. Maeldubh died there, towards the close of the seventh century. He wrote “De Paschae Observatione ;” “Pro tonsura ac caelibatu ;“ “Regulae artium diversarum ;” “De Disciplin is Naturalibus ;“ besides Hymnos, Dialogos, Epistolas, and other works not now extant. (Loca Patriciana, p. 82; Ware’s Irish Writers.)
In 1206, Cornelius Mac Gelan, Rector of Cloncurry, was advanced to the See of Kildare. (Ware.) It is not stated which of the Cloncurrys claimed him as its Rector.
There is a burial-ground at Cloncurry which has ceased to be used, and, in it, the foundation of a building, probably a church, though some of the people in the neighbourhood style it the palace. Within less than half-a-mile in a straight line from this place, and also within the old parish of Cloncurry, are the ruins of the Church of Cappanarigid. This building, of which all the outer walls are still standing, measures 38 by 14 feet. The doorway is in the Western gable and has a sandstone casement with circular top. This gable terminates in a belfry, between which and the doorway is a small window. A lancet window, measuring only six inches on the outside, but deeply splayed within, exists in the east gable, and two similar windows are in the north and south walls opposite each other, towards the east end. This ruin stands in a grave-yard, in which, however, there does not appear to be any note-worthy inscription.
In Gal. of Patent Rolls, Morrin, p. 69, is found a “Pardon of Owen Keynan of Cappervarget, near Rathechangan, in the county of Kildare, harper, otherwise Owen Keynan, servant of Gerald, late Earl of Kildare, otherwise Owen the Rhymer, otherwise Owen Keynan the poet, otherwise Owen Keynan Keyeghe, the blind bard; and of Cornelius Keynan, of Cappervarget, harper, otherwise called Cornelius Keynan, son of Owen Keynan Keyeghe, otherwise Cornelius the bard. January 27th, 1541.” In a foot-note the editor adds: “In a Parliament held at Dublin, in 1475, an Act was passed for seizing the goods of the rhymners and hermits who come into the county of Kildare, and remain in the English land without license, and succour the Irish enemies with victuals.” (Orig. Stat. Roll., Rolls Office.)
On what is known as the Island of Lullymore,—an oasis surrounded on every side by the bog of Allen,—is the site of an old parochial Church, of which the foundations are still plainly discernible, in the midst of a burial-ground which is at the present time more circumscribed than formerly. A head-stone is pointed out as marking the grave of a priest, but there is no decipherable inscription. A Holy Well is stated to have been here formerly, but it is no longer to be seen. On a large boulder a foot-print is distinctly marked, said to have been im¬pressed on it by St. Patrick when passing this way. In the Taxation, temp. Hen. VIII., Lalyaghmore is set down as a Prebend of the Diocese of Kildare, and is valued at 13s. 4d.
From local tradition it would appear that there was a Religious Community of some kind here, about the commence¬ment of the 18th century. From the secluded nature of the place, the members of this brotherhood successfully eluded observation for a long while; in the end, however, they were discovered and, as the story goes, were all massacred except one, named Thomas Foran, who escaped, and is said to have carried away important Records. This monk was grand-uncle to the Thady Doorley already referred to as having died at the age of 126; this latter used to tell of his having been, in childhood, petted and fondled by this relative, the last of the monks of Lullymore.
This formerly constituted a parish, of the Church of which the site only exists in a disused grave-yard. It is referred to in Dr. MacGeoghegan’s list of Parochial Churches; and in the Taxation of the time of Henry VIII., the Rectory of Dunmurry is valued at £4 17s. 4d.
This also was a separate parochial district; the east gable of the Church, (Ballyknavin, in Dr. MacGeoghegan’s list), is still standing, in which there appears a double lancet window, the lights of which are very narrow on the outside. A grave-yard is attached, in which but few interments now take place.
In Dr. MacGeoghegan’s list this place is named as the site of a Chapel dedicated to St. Michael: “Capella S. Michaelis de Bally Ellis;” even the place which it occupied is now forgotten. There was a castle here, as appears from the old map of 1752.
This is marked as the site of a parochial church by Dr. Mac Geoghegan: “Ecclesia parochialis de Balle-nowlan.” Every trace of this Church has disappeared, but the spot on which it stood is clearly indicated, to the west of Rathangan, at a sharp curve in the road,—the deflection evidently having been made, in order not to interfere with the church ground.
At about half-a-mile east of Rathangan is the site of a chapel called Teampull–na-Seanagh,-St. John’s Chapel. This also is entered in Dr. MacGeoghegan’s list as “Teampul-na-Sumai vel Suimai, juxta Rathangan.” It is found on the map of 1752. The site is marked by a disused, and almost forgotten, grave¬yard, hemmed in by the Barrow on one side, and the modern canal on the other.
The townland of Knocknagallagh, near the town of Kildare, was formerly included in the Barony of Upper Philipstown, and King’s County; this and two other similarly insulated districts, were transferred to the County of Kildare, in the reign of William IV.
Beside the town of Kildare there is a large pond or lough named Loughminane, the formation of which is thus accounted for in a Gloss on the Feilire AEnguis in the Leabhar Breac:-
“Eighteen Bishops came to Brigid from Hui-Brinin Chualand and from Telach-nam-espoc to Loch Lemnachta, beside Kildare on the north. So Brigid asked her cook, to wit, of Blathnait, whether she had food, et dixit illa non. And Brigid had shame, so the angel said that the cows should be milked iterum. And Brigid milked them, and they filled the tubs, and they would have filled all the vessels of Leinster; and the milk came over the vessels and made a lough thereof. Inde Loch Lemnachta dicitur.”
The Gibbet-rath on the Curragh was, during the rebellion of 1798, the scene of one of the most cruel and dastardly acts con¬nected with that unhappy epoch. On the 28th of May, a large number of the insurgents, who had encamped on Knockawlin hill, surrendered their arms to General Dundas, on condition of being allowed to retire peaceably to their homes. Three days later, another large body, by express arrangement with the same honourable and humane commander, assembled at the Gibbet-rath for the like purpose. Major-General Duff, to whom the arms were to have been delivered up, making a pretext of the accidental discharge of a gun, ordered his only too willing troops —Lord Roden’s Fencibles, the City of Dublin, and the South Cork Militia, etc.,—to fire upon and charge the defenceless rebels, an immense number of whom were thus slaughtered in cold blood. At the French-furze, near at hand, there is a green grave on which the Christian Monogram is kept constantly renewed by the people. This is said to be the grave of a priest, who was one of the victims at the Gibbet-rath, shot down by the militia, “whose favourite pastime was murder. And if a priest has been put to death, the greatest joy is expressed by the whole company.” (Official Report of Lord Cornwallis to the Duice of Portland.)
According to a Return, preserved in the Public Record Office, Dublin, dated 31st July, 1798, and signed, R. Dundas, Lieut. ¬Colonel; the number of Rebels who submitted in the County of Kildare after the Rebellion, was 7,889; the arms surrendered were, 6 blunderbusses, 192 guns, 192 bayonets, 121 pistols, 201 swords, and 1,582 pikes.
PASTORS OF KILDARE.
In the Registry of Parish Priests made in 1704 we find JAMES FITZGERALD, residing at Kildare, aged 63, P.P. of Kildare and Dunmurry, ordained in 1669, at Dublin, by Dr. Patrick Plunkett, Bishop of Meath; his sureties were Phelim
Fox, of Newtown, Gent., and Captain Cornelius Coonan, of Kilcock.
In this same Registry a second entry gives Conly Geoghegan, residing at Tully, aged 36, P.P. of Rathangan, Tully, Feighcullen, and part of Kilmaoge, ordained in 1689, at Kilkenny, by Dr. James Phelan, Bishop of Ossory,—sureties, Richard and Roger Dooney, of Kilmony, Gents. It would appear that Father Geoghegan was not, strictly speaking, P.P. of the district men¬tioned,—a large portion of which belonged to the Parish of Allen. A Return of 1731, already quoted, states that “the priest of Kildare officiates in the Mass-house of Rathangan, which had been built about 30 years.” As the Penal Statute did not tolerate any but Parish Priests, it is not unlikely that this priest had only a qualified parochial jurisdiction, subject to the authority of the existing pastors.
The line of succession is somewhat uncertain, until the time of Father Rouse, who died in 1778. In the Return of Nov., 1731, it is stated: “in Kildare, the present Priest (name not given) being an old, infirm man, has lately got a coadjutor…The people of Tully hear Mass at Kildare, the Priest of Kildare being Priest of Tully also.” If the old, infirm man refers to Father Fitzgerald, he must, then, have been 93 years of age. There is a distinct tradition that one, at least, of the Bishops of Kildare lived at Bohurkill, in this parish the remains of the house he occupied being still pointed out; whether this tradition refers to Dr. Gallagher or Dr. Keefte, or both, cannot be decided. Dr. Doyle (see Vol. I., p. 83) expressly states that Dr. Keeffe frequently sojourned at Kildare. Not unlikely, therefore, that the Bishops themselves may supply the missing links in the parochial succession. There is a tradition that a Father Ellis officiated in the parish of Kildare in the time of Dr. Keeffe. A priest of that name is mentioned in the Return of 1731 as then residing in Kill (Vol. I., p. 265); this may have been the Priest referred to.
REV. PHILIP ROUSE was P.P. of Kildare up to the year 1778. He died April 18th, 1778, aged 66, and lies interred in the burial-ground attached to the Cathedral. His epitaph has been already given. Two Chalices, one at Kildare and the other at Rathangan, bear his name as Parish Priest.
THE REV. EDMUND BURKE, D.D., who was afterwards first Bishop of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is stated to have been P.P. of Kildare. He left Ireland early in 1787, having previously resigned his parish and his dignity of Vicar-General. (See Vol. I., p. 277.)
THE REV. TERENCE NOLAN succeeded. He died at Kildare about the year 1803, and was buried in the graveyard of the Cathedral. The stone over his grave is uninscribed.
THE REV. MICHAEL CORCORAN was the next P.P. of Kildare, whither he was translated from Balyna. He was elected Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, in March, 1815. Although he removed to Tullow, he retained Kildare, which thus became a mensal parish.
THE REV. — FANNING became Administrator, and con¬tinued in that position until 1820, when he was transferred to Raheen, Queen’s County.
THE REV. PATRICK BRENNAN next had the Administration of the parish; two years later he was appointed Parish Priest of Kildare, and, subsequently, Penitentiary of the Diocese. He died, June 24th, 1864, and was interred in the Parish Church, where a monument bears the following epitaph :—“ Viro probo Sacerdoti qui in
Part II. of the Parish of Kildare from Comerford's dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin. Typed by Brid; edited and checked by James Durney