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November 25, 2006

MONASTEREVAN, PARISH OF - Comerford's "Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin"

        IN addition to the district of Monasterevan proper, the present parish includes the old parochial districts of Kildangan, Nurney, Duneany, Harristown, Walterstown, Ballybracken, Lackagh, and part of Lea, all which,-except the townland of Inchacooly, in the Queen’s County,-are in the county of Kildare. A considerable portion of this district formerly belonged to the barony of Upper Philipstown and King’s County, but was, by the Act 6 and 7 William IV., incorporated with the county of Kildare.
        The parish derives its name, Mainistir-Emhin, from the monastery founded here by St. Emhin, or Evin, in the sixth century. St. Abban is said to have preceded St. Evin in this locality, and to have established a church, if not also a monastic house in it. St. Evin-sometimes styled Emin-an, i.e., "Little Evin," and sometimes Beccan, which means "Little"-of the royal blood of Munster, brother to St. Cormac and two other saints, (1)-if he did not himself found the monastery, at least he colonized it by bringing thither a large number of monks from his native province. Hence the place, the previous name of which was Ros-glas ("the green wood"), came to be called Ros-glas-na-Moimneach, or "Ros-glas of the Munstermen." Colgan thus writes of this saint:-"St Emin, who is also corruptly called Evinus, betook himself to Leinster, and at the bank of the river Barrow, . . . he raised a noble monastery, called in that age, Rosglas, and which, from the number of monks who followed the man of God from his own country of Munster, who were most holily governed by him there, began to be called Rosglas na-miamhneach, i.e., of the Momonians, and in process of time grew up into a large and formerly flourishing town. There the holy man was famous for many and great miracles, and that monastery, on account of the reverence paid to its first founder, stood in so great a veneration with posterity, that it was held a most safe sanctuary, and nobody presumed to offer violence or injury to the holy place who did not soon suffer the severity of the Divine vengeance. For the holy man is said to have obtained from God that none of the Lagenians, who should, with violent audacity, taste meat or drink in his sanctuary, or offer any other violence, would live beyond the ninth day afterwards. It was also said that after his death there was a bell belonging to this saint, which was called Bearnan Emhin, and was held in so great veneration that posterity, especially those sprung from the seed of Eugenius, his father, were accustomed to swear on it as a kind of inviolable oath, and conclude controversies by the virtue of the oath. It was in defence of this town that the famous battle of Bealach-Mughna (Ballymoon), in the plain of the country of Hy-drona, commonly called Maghailbhe, was fought, in which the Momonian invaders suffered great disaster, their King, Cormac-mac-Culenan, being slain." In the Life of St. Clonfert Molua we read of that Saint visiting the Abbot St. Evin in his monastery, not far from the Barrow, which the most holy old man, Abban, had founded:-"S. Molua visitavit S. Evinum abbatem non longe a flumine Berbha in monasterio quod sanctissimus senex Abbanus fundavit, habitantem." The following passage from the Book of Ballymote, 270, a, (kindly translated from the Irish, by Mr. W.M. Hennessy) refers to this monastery:-
Emin-an, son of Eoghan, son of Murchadh, son of Muiredach, son of Diarmait, son of Eoghan, son of Ailill Flann-beg. Ros-glaise, moreover, was his foundation-place. On the brink of the Barrow the church is. And it was he that left [word] with the Lagenians, that he would not preserve for a moment alive the laic who would taste meat or butter or cold milk in his church-i.e. in Ros-glaise of the Munstermen.
        And it is contending for this place the battle of Ballaghmoon, in Moy-ailbhe in Idrone, was given [fought]; and in it was slain Cormac MacCuilennan. Of which Cormac said:-
            "About Ros-glaisne we shall give
            The battle, since we cannot help it.
            By Fiach (2) shall fall a King, on account of the ‘Ros.’
            "Twill be sad, be true, be manifest."
        The "swearing relic" of the Race of Eoghan is the Bernan Emin; and it is a miraculous breo, ("flame".)
        The year of St. Evin’s death has not been recorded; Colgan, in Trias Thaum., states that it took place during the reign of Brandubh, King of Leinster, who was killed in the battle of Slaibhre, in A.D. 601 (or 604, according to the Annals of Ulster), after a reign of 30 years. O’ Curry and other reliable authorities, however, assign reasons for believing that our saint flourished at an earlier period, that he was a contemporary of St. Patrick, though only as a youth, and that his death occurred very early in the sixth century. We may justly conclude that he died on the 22nd of December, as our calendars mark his feast on that day. The Martyrology of Tallaght at that date has the entry: "Emini Rois glaissi," i.e., Emhin, or Evin of Rosglas; and the Mart. Donegal, at same date, has "Emin, Bishop of Rosglas, in Leinster, to the west of Cill-dara, on the brink of the Bearbha. Jamhnat, daughter of Sinell, was his mother. Eimhin was the son of Eoghan, etc. He was the brother of Cormac, son of Eoghan, as stated in the Life of the same Cormac." St. Evin was the author of the Life of St. Patrick called the Tripartite, published by Colgan, from which Joceline, who wrote a Life of our Apostle early in the twelfth century, acknowledges that he derived much help. This work is written partly in Latin and partly in Irish. Of this Life, Dr. Lanigan says that it contains a much greater variety of details concerning the Saint’s proceedings during his mission in Ireland than any other of his Lives. St. Evin also wrote the Life of St. Congall, the famous Abbot and Founder of the Monastery of Bangor, out of which Colgan cites some particular passages. (Harris’s Ware.) Toimdenach, brother of St. Abban, was Abbot of Rosglas (Leabhar Breac), and Dubhan, another brother is said to have been a member of the same community; the feast of the former was celebrated on the 12th of June, and that of the latter on the11th of November. Itharnaise is another saint whom we find connected with St. Evin and his monastery, and whose memory was celebrated on the same day, the 22nd of December. The Feilire of Aengus, at that day, has the invocation:- "May (Ultan) the Silent’s prayer protect us! Itharnaisc who spoke not, who was with pure Emine from the brink of the dumb Barrow." These two saints, Ultan and Itharnaisc, were chiefly identified with Clane, County of Kildare; they were brothers of St. Maighend, Abbot of Kilmainham, and sons of Aed, son of Colcan, King of Oirghallia. Aed himself became a monk, and died in 606.
A St. Cronan, whose feast is calendared at the 10th of Feb., is also identified with this monastery. The Feilire of Aengus thus refers to him:-"Fair star, offspring of victory, glowing mass-gold, bright pillar, Cronan holy, without reproach, white sun of Glais-Mar!" To which the scholiast in the Leabhar Breac adds:- "Cronan the chaste, without reproach, i.e., in Ros Glaise," etc.
        A manuscript volume in the Irish language, preserved in the Royal Irish Academy, - MSS. 23, P.3,-contains a most interesting prose tract entitled the Cain Emine (Emine’s Tribute or Rule), and also a poem, which may be called The Lay of the Bell of St. Emine. O’ Curry, in his descriptive catalogue, states his opinion that the prose tract is certainly as old as the year 800; but that the poem was not written till long after. These compositions are now published for the first time,-of the former, a translation; of the latter, the original Irish poem and an English translation,-through the kindness of Mr. W. M. Hennessy:-
        From the M.S. 23, P. 3, R. I. A., beginning fol. 16, a.
        The Princes of Leinster came in the time of the plague to a great council with their king, viz., Bran Ua Faelain, as to what they should do in view of the tribulation that came upon the land of Leinster: whether each should go to his hereditary church, to assume the bachall (pilgrim’s staff), or all should assemble in one place, with their kings, whichever should be decided would be observed.
        Bran answered, and said, "Much have we been in God’s displeasure with him whom we served up to this; what is right now is to be united together, beseeching God, during our existence, in view of the plague.
        The princes all replied- "We agree to that."
        The result of the council was that they should go to Emine Ban.
        They subsequently went to Emine Ban, and asked him to receive their resolution to do penance before God, and to become pilgrims with him, and to do what is good for their souls as long as they lived.
        Emine answered: "For you do I beseech God this night, that He may give us counsel regarding what you meditate."
        They all fasted that night.
        Emine called his community early on the morrow, and said to them: "How shall we act in presence of the evil that has come? If we repel them, after they have entreated us, they shall have a triumph. If they abide with us, it will be a disgrace to us; should they die of this plague, and they beseeching us to aid them."
         His community replied to Emine: "Whatver [thou counsellest] we shall agree to."
"My counsel," said Emine, "if you agree to it, is that we should implore the Lord to save these men from the plague, and that an equal number of us should [suffer] for their sake –I, myself, for the sake of Bran."
        "Agreed, agreed," said his Community to Emine, "we think that quite right."
Emine summoned them [the Leinster Princes], and said to them: "We have taken counsel regarding you, and have prayed the Lord to enable us to protect you from this plague. And the way to do it is, that an equal number of my people shall go to Heaven for your sake, and I, myself, for the sake of Bran."
        The Princes then gave thanks to God, and to Emine; but Bran thought it hard that Emine should devote himself for his own sake. And the fifty Princes, with their king, all bent the knee in token of submission to Emine an, whatsoever conditions he would impose on them.
        Whereupon Emine said to them: "This is my award, that you have the fear and love of God, and return to good manners towards God, and obey him. This is best of all."
But the Princes asked Emine: "What reward shalt thou have from us for the protection given us? Is it the submission and services of us and our children for ever?"
        Emine answered: "Your property shall not fall to me. You are noble sheep of illustrious folds; this is a small fold, and but little sheep in it. But God’s will is great."
        "What then shall we give?" asked the Princes; "is it lands and territories, or jewels and treasures?"
        Emine replied: "You shall offer me no reward therefore, that it be not said ‘twas on conditions we have prayed God regarding your protection, because you gave gifts and treasures and lands in return."
        "But is there anything we could give thee?"
        "Yes," answered Emine, "to give protection and assistance to this place [Ros-glas], and freedom for ever; and freedom for its possessions, granted or purchased; and that the Leinstermen shall decide all questions and contracts that may be raised regarding it.
        "If it be against the race of Bran the proceedings lie, the Community itself shall have the power of decision. If against any other person, the race of Bran shall be plaintiffs and Brehons, and the guarantees of Leinster, to secure the right of Emine an and his Community."
        Bran Ua Faelan and the Princes of Leinster undertook this warranty as to the perfect freedom [of Ros-glas]; and the Princes, besides, assumed it upon themselves and their children for ever. These are the sureties Emine an selected, and who acknowledged the obligation, viz.,
            Ceallach, son of Aedh Cron, and
            Culdub, son of Certan;
            Degchairdil, son of Brocan;
            Finan, son of Maeldibid;
            Aedmesach, son of Maelruis;
            Dubheluana, son of Furodran;
            Eltine, son of Broca;
            Buide, son of Laighnen;
            Dubdacrich, son of Maelochtraig;
            Dimusach, son of Congaile;
            Maeltuile, son of Maeluidhir;
            Aedan, son of Eochaid;
            Fabnith, nepos of Tusechan; and
            Lapan and Mescill of the Laighis [Leix].
        The men whom we have referred to, as having been saved from that Plague with Bran, were consenting parties. And it is to the Prince the Community goes (who calls the Lords together), regarding the violation, or abuse, or forfeiture of this freedom of Ros-glas.
The arrangement made by Emine, for the devoting of his people instead of the fifty princes (including the king), was that seven of his people should die every day during a week, and that Emine himself should eventually die for Bran-after the requiem of his people. And Bran remained for a week in the place-his company being fifty-until the fifty clerics that were to devote themselves to them had been exhibited to them. And lots were to be cast for the fifty of Emine’s community, so that it might be known what seven were to die for the sake of the others.
        The seven [so selected] would go to meet the seven for whom they devoted themselves, who would dig graves for them; and the devotees would then assume their sacrificial garments and receive Communion. And Emine would go in front of them towards the Princes, for whose sake they were to die, and say: "Hereall seven who die (to preserve you) without pain or disease; and no cause compels them, save to die for your sake."
        The clerics would then bid farewell to the heroes for whom they devoted themselves, and embrace one another. And the heroes would weep for joy, moreover, at the going of the clerics to Heaven.
        "Whilst what has been promised me is observed," said Emine, "you shall have the assistance of God from Heaven, and our prayers all. My Bell, which you have seen, and which you have heard soothing my people in devoting themselves for you, should be respected by you. Its ringing against you will be evil; for the day that it is rung to curse you for your sins, your time shall be shortened; there shall be neither king nor materies regis from the King, or Prince, or Lord, against whom it is rung; and we shall not see him in Heaven, and they shall not even be happy on earth. And any other persons against whom it is rung, if they are guilty of sin, shall not be happy either in Heaven or on Earth.
        One of the conditions promised regarding the freedom of the Church was, that any monk, however noble, and however distinguished his kindred, if the community determined, should be submissive to Emine Ban, without objection or opposition.
        And Laics (male or female) were not to be fed in the three Lents of the year, nor on Wednesdays, nor on Fridays, nor on Sundays, nor after Vespers, or before Tierce; and that neither bacon, nor meat, nor butter should be given to a Leinsterman on those occasions, to the day of Doom. And the non-performance of these conditions, until the day of Doom, is against the Instructions of Emine Ban, and to his offence (as well as of all the saints and faithful); and against the orders of the King and Princes.
        Emine then abided 40 nights, to sing the requiem of his Community, and to confirm and enforce the Covenants.
        When the time came for him to go to Heaven, he summoned Bran and the nobles of Leinster, to take leave of them, and to show to Bran that he was going to Heaven for his (Bran’s) sake. . . . . And he sought no reward from Bran, except one thing, "that my cemetery," said Emine, "shall be the burial-place of a King."
        "One of thy race shall come," said Emine, "and his name shall be Bran; and his tomb shall be in my place, that it may be an increase of freedom and respect to my place with the Lagenians all."
        Emine took a blessing from the Princes, and left another. He subsequently went to Heaven, without pain or ache, for the freedom of Ros-glas from the Leinstermen for Ever.


         M.S. R. I. A., 23, P. 3,  fol 17, 1.
            This Bell of the noble Kings
            Gives shortness of life to some;
            No person ‘gainst whom ‘tis rung,
            Shall possess earth or Heaven.
            A death-draught is the sound of its tone
            In any place, after having been profaned.
            Woe! That profanes it in his warm abode-
            There will be satire, and malediction!
             I commend to the noble saints,
            (On coming to my last end),
            That loved people be not round the sweet bell,
            That it shall be their "Ordo" and Mass bell.
            It was not a grievous injury
            Regarding the Host (4) or fair communion;
            The water poured from it was cause of strength,
            "Twas satiety, ‘twas sacrifice.
            A protection to stock and cattle,
            A safeguard ‘gainst battle and quarrel,
            A shelter to any army, to which it reaches,
            Shall be its sound, and its clear tone.
            If borne before the Lagenians in battle,
            These are of the number of its high virtues:-
            They shall not fall, nor their King;
            They shall overcome all troubles.
            In seeking a truce from a King
            For his church and fair land,
            If [the Saint] strikes loudly the famous Bell,
            He shall obtain his request, willingly or by force.
            My wish before every wish to-day
            [ (5) ] regarding Leinstermen,
            Pleasing and soft if they vex not my church,
            To Leinstermen my bell shall be.
            Fifty hardy clerics we,
            In our Refectory in the north side;
            Bran in the south side, fifty Kings:-
            Our friendship was truly cemented.
            Then I made a noble offer,
            To battle great Bran, Conall’s son,
            That I would go for his sake, a hard condition,
            To the grave and unto death.
            Safe was Bran and his fifty Kings;
            I was suffering under the evil of their heavy band;
            I was not speedily impelled thereto-
            Truly, it was a great protection.
            The fortunate Kings escaped,
            With their active hosts;
            Not one of their family suffered,
            I boast it, from the yellow plague.
           Every stranger, every young prince,
           To whom the great plague may come-
          ‘Twill give them health against all ills.
           To deal water to them from my good bell.
           Bear my bell to Leinster’s King,
           For the protection of my cows and bally;
           He shall be like the strong against the young,
           If my Bell is by him respected.
           Bear my Crozier (6) across the Barrow,
           To the Race of the great, learned Mescill;(7)
           A noble standard over Knights in battle
           Shall be the victorious yellow crozier. (8)
           Let my mias (altar) remain in the land of Ui-Failge,
           For comfort and perpetual succour;
           By it we went, with the company there,
           To the Body of Christ, (9) in its presence.
          My Gospels (10) holy shall be powerful
          For cain (Rule) and for guarantee.
          Let us take with us, against danger.
          My altar slab, (11) and my cloth (cuilebad.)
          My reliquary, great in the Plain,
          Bear to the host of broad Liffey;
          The Bell of the Kings, from the mighty flood,
          To the Race of Buide son of Laighnen.
         The cause of the wandering of the sharp little Bell
         The clan of brave, heroic Labraid (12) know-
         Never could I be, have I been, able to tell.
         Great with all is the fair Bell.
         Seven persons every whole day
         From me went to the death-meeting;
         On the tenth day after Halloween,
         They began (to feel) the pangs of illness.
         Seven were healed every day,
         Of Bran’s people, without grievous sorrow;
         From the approach of the Buide (13) that attacked them,
         They were all healed in a week.
         Forty days, without stain,
         Were thou and I, Bran, severely,
         After the death of my stout, brave saints,
         Singing their requiem, and interring them.
         I die for thy sake, without sin;
        O, Bran, great is thy safeguard.
        Except Christ Who suffered for all
        No equal protection has been given.
        O, Iamnat, (14) daughter of Sinell,
        Son of Nadfraech-true is what I say:
        Thy son shall soon depart from thee;
        Death shall take away thy Abbot and Bishop.
        A happy death is not my lot;
        I am not allowed my request;
        But I boast not in any place,
        To die for the sake of my guarantee.
        To-night I go to death,
        To the Lord’s Bosom, in Holy Heaven;
        The way to the grave, is the common road,
        Strike ye quickly the mild Bell.
        My chariot’s journey,(15) without concealment,
        Bran offered me, as property;
        And the protection of my famous place,
        For every, was promised by Leinster’s King.
        What other things were offered me,
        [By] the Knights of Carman, without decay,
        I accepted not: Let them go
        To the church, as a free gift.
        This is the rich freedom
        Given to me by the heroic Leinstermen
        That every famous hero should observe,
        Three Lents in every year.
        Every one who selects [to abide] in my strong land,
        Of whatever sept his kindred may be;
        To me for every, famous the rule, belongs,
        His services, his great assistance.
        Without (16) food for any on Sunday,
        For woman or serving man;
        Not for a chief, accompanied by numbers
        On Friday, or Wednesday.
        Without (17) food for man on Sunday,
        Early or late;
        Through rule, or through friendship,
        Except to the Orders (18) of the Church.
        The precise period at which the original monastery of St. Evin fell to decay is not known; very probably it was amongst the many religious houses that suffered from the depredations of the Danes in the ninth and tenth centuries. The Annals of Clonmacnoise, at the year 1002, well describe the work of destruction perpetrated by those infidel hordes: "The whole realme was overrunn and overspread (by the Danes). The churches, abbeys, and other religious places were by them quite razed and debased, or otherwise turned to vile, base, servile, and abominable uses . . . . But King Bryan (Boromha) was a meet salve to cure such festered soares, all the phissick in the world cou’d not help it elsewhere; in a small time he banished the Danes, made up the Churches and Religious Houses, restored the nobility to their antient patrimony and possessions, and in fine brought all to a notable reformation."
        The Cistercian Abbey of Rosglas, or de Rosea Valle, in honour of our Blessed Lady and St. Benedict, was founded and endowed by Dermott O’ Dempsey, Chief of Clanmalier and Lord of Offalley, - according to some, in the year 1178, but in 1189 according to others. Grace’s Annals, at 1178, record: "The Monastery of Rosea Vallis, that is Rosglas, is founded." A List of the Cistercian Abbeys in Ireland, taken from a MS. In Library T.C.D. (E. 3, 8, p. 65.) apparently copied from an ancient authority, not given, assigns the foundation of this abbey to 1189: "Annie fundationum Monasteriorum Cisterciensium Hiberniae et contributiones eorum antiquae, ex vet. cod. MSS. de Statutis, bullis et aliis rebus ord. Cisterc. Hib. . . . .1189. De Rosea Valle, Lagenia, VIS." The Charter of Foundation,-which is subjoined, along with its translation, in the Annals of Clonmacnoise,-supplies no information relative to the date. The death of the founder is recorded by the Four Masters as having taken place in 1193.
-Ord. Cist.
de Rosglas, alias de Rosea
Charta fundationis ejusdem.
        Dermitius O Demesy, Rex Ofaliae, universis nobilibus, clericis et laicis, tam presentibus, quam futuris salutem; universitati vestrae notum facio me Dermitium O Demesy Regem Ofaliae per assensum Muredachi O Concur, dedisse et confirmasse Deo et Monachis S. Mariae de Rosglas, terras ad Monasterium construendum, in honorem beatae Mariae semper Virginis, et beati Benedicti Abbatis, in elemosinam, jure perpetuo. Hae sunt ergo terrae, quas ego Dermitius O Demesy Rex Ofaliae dedi et confirmavi praefatis Monachis de Rosglas in remissionem peccatorum meorum et parentum meorum; Situm Monasterii de Rosglas, et totam terram de Eiothil et Reacheaihar, cum pertinentiis suis, Clonarkerban, Clonangay, Dere, Ardmidie, et Kilmore, cum pertinentiis suis, Glassigelly descendens usque Barue, Hadinsefot, usque Hadhildred, Hadelonan, usque Barue, Henseredan, cum pertinentiis suis; Thacsartan et Archadachafernan cum pertinentiis suis, et cum hominibus ad easdem terras pertinentibus. Has ergo terras omnes superascriptas do et confirmo praedictis Monachis, tuendas in liberam et puram elemosinam, salute animae meae, et omnium antecessorum et successorum meorum. Quare volo et firmiter praecipio, quod praefata Ecclesia de Rosglas, et Monachi et fratres eorum ibidem Deo servientes habeant et teneant praedictas terras, et possideant bene et in pace, libere et quite, integre, et plenarie, honorfice, et pacifice, omnes terras praedictas, cum omnibus libertatibus et pertinentiis suis, scilicet in sylvis et planis, in pratis et pasturis, et mariscis, in aquis et piscariis in viis et semitis, in stagnis et molendinis, et vivariis, in turbariis et omnibus montibus et vallibus, et aliis locis et rebus ad easdem terras pertinentibus, liberas et quietas et solutes ab omni consetudine, et exactione, et servitio seculari. Testibus, Nehemia Darensi Episcopo, Donato Lethlinensi Episcopo, Filano filio Filani, Flan O Demesi, Hakinech O Dimesi, Donchad O Dimisi, Fin O Dimesy, Aedo Dimesy, Culbaillino O Duin, Congal O’ Kelly, Rocnur Dengulla, Kelach mac Aulaf, et aliis multis.
Ann: Clonmacnoise; translated
By Connell MacGeoghegan
in 1627.
            Charter of Foundation.
        "Dermott O’ Dempsey, king of Ofalia, to all his nobles, clergy and laity both present and to come greeting: I make known to you all that I Dermot O’ Dempsey, King of Ofalia, by the consent of Muredach O’ Connor have given and confirmed to God and the monks of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Rosglas, land on which to build a Monastery in honour of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, and of Saint Benedict, the abbot, as a perpetual elemosinary. These are the lands which I Dermot O’ Dempsey, King of Ofalia have given and confirmed to the aforesaid Monks of Rosglas in remission of my sins and of the sins of my parents: the site of the monastery of Rosglas and all the lands of Eiothil (20) and Racheaihar (21) with their appurtenances; Clonarkerhan,(22) Clanaugay,(23) Dere,(24) Ardmidie and Kilmore.(25) with their appurtenances; Glassigelly descending to the Barue(26); Hadinsefot, as far as Hadhildred, Hadelonan as far as the Barue; Hensereden with their appurtenances; Thacsartan and Archadachaferman with their appurtenances and with the men belonging to the same lands. All these lands aforesaid I give and confirm to the aforesaid monks to be held as a free, pure and perpetual elemosinary for the health of my soul and the souls of my predecessors and successors. Wherefore I will and firmly command that the aforesaid Church of Ros-glas and the monks and their brethren serving God therein, may have and hold the aforesaid lands; and possess well and in peace, freely and quietly, entirely and fully, honourably and peaceably all the aforesaid lands with all their liberties and appurtenances, namely, in woods, plains, in meadows, pasturages, and morasses; in waters and fisheries; in roads and paths; in pools (ponds), mills and vivariis; in turbaries and all mountains and vallies, and in all other places and things appertaining to the same lands, free, quit and solutas from all customs and exactions, and from secular duty.
        "Witnesses, Nehemia, Bishop of Kildare.
                           Donatus, Bishop Lethlin,
                           Filan, the son of Filan,
                           Flan O’ Demsi,
                           Hekinech O’ Dimesi,
                           Donchad O’ Dimesi,
                           Aed O’ Demesy,
                           Culballinus O’ Duin,
                           Clongal O’ Kelly,
                           Rocnur Dengulla,
                           Kelach MacAulah,
                           and many others."
        In 1198, John, Abbot of Monasterevan, was elected to fill the vacant See of Leighlin, and his election was confirmed by Matthew O’ Heney, Archbishop of Cashel and Legate Apostolic, the metropolitan, John Cumin, Archbishop of Dublin, being in England or Normandy, whither he had gone to make complaint to King Richard and Prince John of the sacrilegious rapacity of Hano de Valoniis, or De Valois, the English Deputy. This Hano opposed the election of Abbot John and took forcible possession of the temporalities of the See, and even of the private property of the Canons. By advice of the Legate, John proceeded to Rome to submit to Pope Innocent III. an account of these violent proceedings. The Pope himself consecrated John, and furnished him with letters addressed to the chapter, clergy, and laity of Leighlin, stating that he had consecrated him their Bishop, and charging them to be obedient to him as such. The Pope also wrote, in terms of stern rebuke to Prince John, warning him against impeding the Bishop of Leighlin in the administration of his See, and, furthermore, requiring him to oblige Hano to restore the temporalities of the church and chapter, and threatening him with certain consequences in case of non-compliance (Ware’s Bishops; Lanigan).
        In 1199, the Abbot of Roseavalle was, at his own request, allowed by the General Chapter to celebrate in his House the Feast of St. Aemilius (Cap. Gen. Ord. Cist. Martene). Dean Butler is undoubtedly correct in his surmise, that Aemilius is a misprint in Martene, for Eminius (Emine), or Evin, the Saint of the place, and from whom it derives its name.
        A.D. 1225. Moylemorrey O’ Connor of Offaly was killed at Rosglas, by Cowlen O’ Dempsey. (Annals of Clonmacnoise).
        A.D. 1297. The then Abbot of this Monastery, being accused of receiving into his house many Irish felons, plunderers, and robbers of the country of Offaley, appeared and proved that his Abbey was situated in the marches and out of the Pale, and that he had never knowingly received either felons or robbers. The jurors found that he (the Abbot) had not voluntarily harboured such men; moreover, that he had not power to resist or detain such felons; but that he had not made use of any means to raise the hue-and-cry; and the Abbot was thereupon fined half a mark. (King, P. 377.)
        A.D. 1520. Heke was Abbot. In 1519, Gerald, Earl of Kildare and Lord Deputy, becoming suspected of an intent to form a confederacy amongst the Irish chieftains against the English Government should he be removed from Office, was summoned to the English court in consequence. That he had not fallen much into disfavour with the King is evidenced by his having been one of those who accompanied Henry to the "Field of the Cloth of Gold." Wolsey, who had conceived the greatest distrust or dislike for the whole race of Geraldine, soon after Lord Gerald’s departure, caused the Earl of Surrey to be appointed Deputy in his stead. We find Surrey, under date of the 5th September, 1520, writing to his patron, "that the said Earl of Kildare had sent a letter, in Irish, by the Abbot of ‘Monaster Evyn’ to O’ Carroll, desiring him, as soon as an English Deputy should be appointed, to make war upon the Pale. Surrey then goes on to state that he had examined three of O’ Carroll’s brothers, who had confessed to the fact of the letter having been sent by Kildare to O’ Carroll, and one of them deposed that it had been delivered into the hands of the Irish chieftain by the Abbot of Monasterevan in his presence, that he had heard it read, and had marked its contents, etc.-"The saying of Donough O’ Keroyll, brother unto O’ Keroyll, concerning the letter sent by the Erle of Kildare to O’ Keroyll, which he had deposed unto the Evangelist to be true. He said that in Ester weke last past the Abbot of Monaster Evyn, called Heke, brought a letter to O’ Keroyll out of England, in Irish etc." (State Papers, Pt. 3, p. 45.) The evidence of this man, attested by Chief Justice Bermingham and Sir William Darcy (selected because they understood Irish), not being sufficient to establish the Earl’s guilt, Surrey accordingly informs Wolsey that he was doing his utmost to get the Abbot himself into his power; he also suggests that Kildare should be brought to an examination. "Methinks," he writes, "if you have laid to the Earl’s charge that such a letter he sent to O’ Carroll, by the Abbot of Monasterevan, in Irish, and that he, the said Abbot, had confessed the same before him, he cannot deny it." Surrey also advises to have Delahide, the Earl’s secretary, committed to the Tower, and there put to the torture, to draw from him that he was the writer. The marriage of the Earl of Kildare to the Lady Elizabeth Grey, daughter of the Marquis of Dorset, and the King’s own kinswoman, seems to have stayed all further proceedings against him with regard to this alleged letter.
        A.D. 1534. Turlough Duv O’ Dempsey was killed by his own kinsmen, although he was under the protection of God and St. Evin. His slayer was afterwards slain by O’ More, through the miracle of God and St. Evin. (Four Masters.)
        This entry probably implies, either that Turlough O’ Dempsey was a member of the Community at Monasterevan, or else that he had sought sanctuary there, in punishment for the violation of which St. Evin is represented as having the delinquent put to death.
        The Abbot of this house, though it was beyond the Pale, was entitled to sit as a Baron in Parliament, when summoned for the purpose, but this seldom occurred. With the exception of the Abbot of Mellifont, and those of St. Thomas, and the Blessed Virgin, near Dublin, and the Prior of St. John of Jerusalem, the spiritual peers were seldom summoned (Ware’s Annals, A.D. 1539). In the list of the Monasteries surrendered to the King in 1539, (Ware) that of "Rosglasse, al S.Evin," is mentioned. In a Parliament held two years subsequently, under St. Leger, a law was passed confirming the disposal of all the Abbeys in Ireland to the King, who, soon after, disposed of their possessions to his nobles, courtiers, and others, reserving to himself certain revenues or annual grants. We find in the patent Rolls, Edward VI. (Morrin), about the year 1548, copy of a clause contained in the Lord Protector and Council’s letter for assignment of a pension to the late Abbot of Monasterevan:-"We are contented that ye do grant and appoint a pension to the late abbot of the Monastery of Evine, as ye demand.              
              E. Somerset.           J. Warwicke.         William Petre.
              William St. John.    Arundell.               Thomas Smethe.
             J. Russell.                Anthony Wingfield.                                    -No date.     
        At the general suppression, this Abbey and its possessions were granted to George, Lord Audley, who assigned the same to Adam Loftus, Viscount Ely. (Monast. Hib.) This Loftus was the founder of the Ely family. He came to Ireland with the Lord Deputy, Thomas, Earl of Sussex, to whom he acted as chaplain, and afterwards to Queen Elizabeth. Bishop Mant informs us that "The eloquence of his language, his graceful address, and comely person" so won upon that susceptible sovereign, that, although under the canonical age, she appointed him Protestant Archbishop of Armagh, in 1562, and translated him to Dublin in 1578. He was a bitter persecutor of the Catholics, and his memory is especially odious in connection with the torture and martyrdom of O’ Hurley, Archbishop of Cashel. Having, through means of Fleming, Baron of Slane, though himself a Catholic, got the saintly Archbishop into their hands, Adam Loftus and Sir William Wallop, Lords Justices, wrote to London for instruments of torture to force from him an admission of guilt. "We have made commissions to Mr. Waterhouse and Secretary Fenton," they write to Walsingham, "to put him (O’ Hurley) to the torture, such as you honour advised us, which was to toast his feet against the fire in hot boots." This diabolical proceeding was quickly followed up by a mockery of a trial in form of court-martial; for Loftus was apprehensive that his victim might escape on Perrott’s accession to the Deputyship. Accordingly he had his prisoner put to death two days before he was to vacate the office of Lord Justice, as he himself relates in his official report. (State Papers concerning the Irish Church, temp. Elizab. Edited by Dr. W. Maziere Brady)
        At the general suppression, this Abbey and its possessions were granted to George, Lord Audley, who assigned the same to Adam Loftus, Viscount Ely. (.) This Loftus was the founder of the Ely family. He came to Ireland with the Lord Deputy, Thomas, Earl of Sussex, to whom he acted as chaplain, and afterwards to Queen Elizabeth. Bishop Mant informs us that "The eloquence of his language, his graceful address, and comely person" so won upon that susceptible sovereign, that, although under the canonical age, she appointed him Protestant Archbishop of Armagh, in 1562, and translated him to Dublin in 1578. He was a bitter persecutor of the Catholics, and his memory is especially odious in connection with the torture and martyrdom of O’ Hurley, Archbishop of Cashel. Having, through means of Fleming, Baron of Slane, though himself a Catholic, got the saintly Archbishop into their hands, Adam Loftus and Sir William Wallop, Lords Justices, wrote to London for instruments of torture to force from him an admission of guilt. "We have made commissions to Mr. Waterhouse and Secretary Fenton," they write to Walsingham, "to put him (O’ Hurley) to the torture, such as you honour advised us, which was to toast his feet against the fire in hot boots." This diabolical proceeding was quickly followed up by a mockery of a trial in form of court-martial; for Loftus was apprehensive that his victim might escape on Perrott’s accession to the Deputyship. Accordingly he had his prisoner put to death two days before he was to vacate the office of Lord Justice, as he himself relates in his official report. (. Edited by Dr. W. Maziere Brady)
        Archbishop O’ Hurley was executed on the 6th of May, 1584, in St. Stephen’s Green, on almost the very spot now occupied by the Catholic University, the foundation of which may therefore be said to have been watered by the blood of this martyr prelate, shed at the instance of the founder and first Provost of T.C.D. (Freeman’s Journal Church Commission).
        Archbishop Loftus, like Ussher, had serious thoughts at the close of life, of submitting to the Catholic Church.
        Adam Loftus, nephew to the first of the name, was appointed Lord Chancellor in 1619, and created Viscount Ely in 1622. This Loftus, and Boyle, Earl of Cork, were appointed Lords Justices in 1628, in the absence of Deputy Falkland. They availed themselves of their ample powers to harass the unfortunate Catholics, fining them for absenting themselves from the Protestant service, and for having their children baptized by their lawful pastors. In addition to this, they gave a roving commission to a staff of greedy officials whom they styled "surveyors of bells and parish churches," empowering them to go through the country and report "on the state of religious edifices," and whilst on this tour of inspection, "to cess themselves on the Papists for chickens and bacon, and to arrest all suspected dignitaries of the Romish religion" (Meehan’s Irish Hierar., 17th Cent.) The chief seat of the Ely family was Rathfarnham Castle, but they occasionally resided at Monasterevan. Lord Chancellor Loftus is said to have held the High Court of Chancery in the great hall of the present edifice in 1641. (Lewis’s Top. Dict.) The Abbey and its possessions passed to the Drogheda family by the marriage of Jane Loftus, only child of Arthur, the third and last Viscount of the creation of 1622. She was wife of Charles, Lord Moore, and their son, Henry, became fourth Earl of Drogheda.
        Francis Cosby, Sheriff of Kildare and Provost Marshall of Leinster, resided at Monasterevan, as appears from many references to him in the State Papers, temp. Philip and Mary, Edwd. VI., and Elizabeth. January 1st, 1558, a Commission was issued to Francis Cosby of Evin, gent., sheriff of Kildare, to execute martial law in the countries of Leix, Offaly, Irrey, and Glanmaliere, and the marches and confines thereof. (Morrin’s Pat. Rolls.) He had, previous to this, been appointed to the office of General of all the kerne retained, or to be retained in the solde (pay) of Ireland, with a fee of 3s. 8d. a day, the leading of 32 kern, and 3d. a day each for their entertainment. (Id. Sept. 10th, 5˚ and 6˚ Phil. And Mary.) At Monasterevan, therefore it was, most probably, that the bloody treachery of Mullaghmast was arranged. Thady Dowling thus refers to it:-"Moris mac Lasy mic Conyll (O’ More) dominus de Merggi (ut ille asseruit) et baronis de Omergi successor, cum 40 hominibus de sua familia post confederationem suam cum Rory O’ Moardha, et super quadam protectione, interfectus fuit apud Mallaghmastyn in comitatu Kildariae, ad eundem locum ob id propositum per Magistrum Cosby, et Robertum Harpoll, sub umbra servitii accersitus collusorie." A later writer adds:- "Harpoll excused it that Moris had given words to the breach of his protection." There is but too much reason for considering the O’Dempseys implicated in this act of predetermined murder. The O’ Dempseys had not forfeited their property; an Inquisition taken at Phlipstown, 12 Sept., 1617, finds that, on the 18th Dec., 1575, ample possessions were secured to various members of this family. Edmund O’ Dempsey was a captain of Kerne under Cosby, as appears from Pat. of Sept. 10, 1558, already quoted; and there is further proof that O’ Dempsey, who resided at Ballybrittas, and Cosby, were on most neighbourly terms. They ultimately fared no better than if they had remained faithful to their country, as has been already shown. O’ Donovan, (note to Four MM. A.D. 1577) refers to an interesting account of this massacre written by the Rev. John Whelan, P.P. of Portarlington, who died in 1775, aged 91; Father Whelan quotes as authority for the details he gives, "an old gentleman of the name of Cullen who resided in the County Kildare in 1705, and who had discoursed with one Dwyer and one Dowling, actually living at Mullaghmast when this horrid murder was committed." This old gentleman was, very probably, the James Cullen of Clonegath, Gent., who appears as one of the sureties, in 1704, for the P.P. of Monasterevan, Rev. Matthew Cullen, no doubt his relative. The family continued at Clonegath till, at least, the middle of the 18th Century; on an estate map, dated 1748, the tenant there is set down as Doctor Cullen.
        By an Act of the Parliament, assembled by King James II. at Dublin in 1689, the estate of Lord Ely was bestowed, with other possessions, on the Duke of Tyrconnell. The following document, bearing on this subject, will be of interest; it is copied from the original, found in the Muniment room, Davidstown, County of Kildare, and has attached the autograph signature of Tyrconnell:-"Whereas all the estate formerly belonging to the Lord Viscount of Eley, within the King’s County, Queen’s County, and County of Kildare, and all the estate formerly belonging to Sir Robert Caluill and Sir Charles Meredith in the Counties of Dublin and Kildare, and the estate lately belonging to Sir Richard Buckley in and about Dunlavin, within the Counties of Dublin and Wicklow are settled upon us, our heirs, etc., by a late act of Parliament. We therefore, reposing great trust and confidence in the integrity, honesty and ability of Wm. rfitzGerald of Crookestown in the said County of Kildare, Esq., have authorized and empowered and we doo by these presents authorize and empower him the said William ffitzGerald to call before him all and every ye respective tenants farmers and occupiers of all the said severall and respective Estates before mentioned in order to inspect into and Examen ‘their leases holdings yearly rents and the arrears thereof, and to receive and levy by all lawfull ways all the arrears from the said respective tenants due for the last half-year ending the five and twentieth day of March last past or the first day of May last past by reason of their respective holdings of and in any of the said Estates before mentioned, and upon receipt of the said arrears or any part thereof to give sufficient discharges for us, and in case any part of the said respective Estates he untenanted to set the same to the best advantage for this present year ending the five and twentieth day of March next ensueing the date hereof, And we doe hereby further authorize and empower the said William fitzGerald to name and appoint for this present year such and soe many seneschals bailiffs and serjeants as he shall think fit within the respective Lordships and mannors in the said estates respectively, Ratifying and hereby confirming what the said William ffitzGerald shall lawfully doe in and about the premises as fully and amply to all entents and purposes whatsoever as if we ourselves had done and performed the same. In witness whereof we have hereunto sett our hand and seale the seventeenth day of August in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred Eighty nine.
Tyrconnell (Seal)
                               By his Grace’s Command.
                                                               Dan. Doran."
        There are several other letters addressed "to William FitzGerald, Esqr., at his house in Narraghmore, near Kilcullen Bridge." One, dated Dublin, 19th Feb., 1689, contains an Order from my Lord Duke, for Oats; and if his Gra
        Two of the districts enumerated in O’ Dempsey’s charter of endowment, are in the neighbourhood of Monasterevan. A bog lies between. Here the peat-cutters have brought to light one of those cashes or roadways, constructed of wood, to which such extreme antiquity is ascribed by some. The wood of which it is composed is chiefly oak, but is mixed with yew. It lies about five feet below the surface, and extends quite across, the greater part of a mile, terminating at the further end at a large knoll planted with ancient white-thorns. Local tradition has it that this was the burial-place of the Monks of Monasterevan. That it was a place of interment has been ascertained; an old inhabitant, who died about A.D. 1815, at the age of 92, remembered it to have been used as such, and stated that it was abandoned, in consequence of the burial in it of a person who had committed suicide. It is unlikely, however, that it was the burial-place of the monks, at least of the Cistercian foundation. There was certainly a cemetery attached to the Abbey, and one, too, that was in extensive use up to a comparatively recent period. This was shown by the great quantity of human bones that were met with when the place was being laid out as a pleasure ground not very many years ago. The existing Protestant church of Monasterevan was built in 1772 by the then Earl of Drogheda, in lieu of one that was situated within the demesne.
        a district of this Parish, is noted in both the ecclesiastical and profane history of Ireland. A Catholic Church stood here in days gone by, of which the foundations of the east end are still traceable; the chief portions of the ruins have been removed in recent times to make room for a Protestant parochial church, the attendance at which scarcely ever amounts to half-a-dozen. "The Rectory of Laccagh" is set down amongst the possessions of the Abbey of Great Conall. (Chief Rem.) Some Catholic families still cling to this, the burial-place of their ancestors, and a former Parish Priest, the Rev. Stephen Bulger, who died December, 1786, is interred here. The ruin of a castle of the Geraldines still exists close by the old church. The Earls of Desmond derived the subordinate title of Baron, from Laccagh. When, in 1519, Gerald, Earl of Kildare, was summoned to the English court to answer to certain charges made against him, he, with the King’s consent, appointed his cousin, Sir Thomas Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald, of Laccagh, to act as Deputy in his absence (Ware’s Annals.) This same Maurice was slain in the following year in an affray with the O’Mores of Leix. (Ware.) The spot where he met his death, about half-a-mile from his own castle in the direction of Kildare, was afterwards marked by a way-side cross, and the place still bears the name of Cross Maurice. Of this memorial the socket only remains, but some fragments found built into an adjoining cottage show it to have been richly sculptured. This event is thus recorded by the Four Masters: "A.D. 1520, Maurice, the son of Thomas, son of the Earl, the choice of the English Geraldines, was slain by Conn, the son of Melaghlin O’More, as were also many along with him."
        In 1650, Lord Castlehaven besieged and took the Castle of Lackagh. Having taken Dullarstown (a plantation house), he left it in Captain FitzGerald’s custody, and the army marched to Kildare, where encamping, his Lordship sent summons to Tully, Kildare Castle, Walterstown, Monasterevan, Lackagh, Ellistown, Grangfonshiord (Ponsers Grange) and Rathbride, all of which yielded upon quarter of their lives and arms. Sidley Coote, then Governor of Lackagh, went somewhat late a scouting, was met by the Irish scouts, taken prisoner and carried to his Lordship, who made very much of him, without guard or bail was with him all night in the said garrison. The castle surrendered, the Earl would by no means leave the same in the true owner’s hands (who was Morgina FitzGerald, relict of Kedagh Geoghegan) unless she pay him £100 in money, and 200 barrels of wheat, - but descending to a certainty of 7 score and 10 bls. of wheat and £20 in money, and no farthing less, entering security for payment thereof, with much ado, got the possession of her own castle. (Aphor. Discovery.) Soon after, this castle was taken and dismantled by the parliamentarian forces, since which, it has been allowed to fall to decay.
        All the Irish of Lackagh of the Popish religion (except four who were hanged for the benefit of the rest) to the number of thirty-seven-being three priests, twenty-one women, and thirteen men, were, on 27th November, 1655, delivered to Captain Coleman, of the Wexford frigate, for transportation to the Barbadoes. The names of the priests were James Tuite, Robert Keegan, and John Foley. There was also the wife of Blind Donogh, (who had been already executed), and the whole family of Mr. Henry FitzGerald of Lackagh Castle. Mr. FitzGerald’s case was one of great hardship. He and his wife, Mrs. Margery FitzGerald (both of the house of Kildare) were four score years and upwards, and no one would charge them with being Tories or countenancing them, and they could scarcely be deemed guilty of not running after them with the hue and cry. The Tories, too, had frequently despoiled them. Yet they, with their son Maurice, their daughters Margery and Bridget, Mary, the widow of their eldest son Henry, with their man servant and maid servant, had to lie in prison till the ship could be got ready to carry them with the rest of this miserable cargo. They were assigned to the correspondents of Mr. Norton, a Bristol merchant and sugar planter, who was to be at the charge of transporting them to the Indian Bridges, now called Barbadoes. (State Papers, apudPrendergast, Cromw. Settlement, 338)
        A well in this neighbourhood, called Tubbercorcar, is accounted Holy, and was formerly much frequented, particularly for the cure of mental maladies. There is a St. Corcar commemorated on the 8th March. (AA. SS.; Lanigan, I.p.327.) Before 1788 the only place of Catholic worship for Laccagh and Monasterevan was at Coolatoghar, in this neighbourhood, built about the year 1729. (See Return, Vol. I., p.266.) It was a small thatched chapel; between Sundays, the neighbouring farmers often used it as a threshing floor.
        West of Laccagh, and north of Monasterevan, on the boundary of the King’s County, and at the confluence of the Rathangan river (or Little Barrow), with the Barrow, is an old burial-ground called the Yew Tree. This is marked on Ordnance map 21 W. Offaly, as the site of a Church, of which no traces are now visible. The old name of the place was Clogheen-na-monia (writing it as pronounced.) This may have been Clogheen-na-Moimneach, "the stony place of the Munstermen," in reference to the first monks at Monasterevan; or it may signify Clocain-n-Moimneach, "the little Bell of the Munstermen," in reference to the Bell of St. Evin-which is called Clocain, in the ancient Poem given above.
It appears from various authorities that the Bernan-Eimhin, or Bell of St. Evin, the patron Saint of the O’ Dempseys, was preserved in their territory, and was used by the tribe as a Swearing Relic. This would seem to have been the place where this sacred object was preserved. There is a spot in the adjoining river, called "the Bell-hole," and the local tradition has it that a holy bell had been kept at this Church, and people used to swear upon it; but that a person having sworn falsely upon it on a certain occasion, the bell, of its own accord, rolled down to the river and dropped into it, and remains there to the present time.
        This is the "Cluain-Immerois in Offaly," where St. Maeldubh had one of his religious establishments. The Martyrology of Donegal at 20th October, has the entry:-"Maeldubh, son of Amhalgaid, of Cluain-Immerois, in Ui-Failghe; or of Darmagh in Ui-Ducah. He was of the race of Brian, son of Eochaidh Muighmedhoin." The annotator on the Feilire, in the Leabhar Breac, assigning him to this place, adds:-"It is that Maeldub that took Fechin of Fore into fosterage with him and sent him to learning. His wisdom waxeth afterwards, so that Fechin made a Calloir of him in his Congregation. And of his seed is the Muinter Maeldub, and after his death Fechin said:-
                                         The foe of the base black demons:
                                         Save his quilt and his shirt of linen
                                          He had nothing of the world.
                                          The witness which Michael bore as to Maeldub
                                          (Good was he for whom he gave it)
                                           Since he entered noble religion
                                           He set not his ear to a pillow,
                                           The witness which Michael bore to Maeldub
                                           (Great the witness as to a son of man)
                                 Save the King of the stars, Mary’s son,
                                           There is none better for praying to,
                                           Though it should say that ‘my back is sore,’
                                           It is not after carrying a heavy load:
                                           The crooked midge would not be weary
                                           For the evil or error that he (Maeldub) wrought.
                                           I will bear witness as to Maeldub
                                           (Not the witness of a faultful man)
                                           That a midge would carry in its claw
                                           What of evil Maeldub wrought.’"
        This is the same saint who on the 18th December, was venerated at Cloncurry near Rathangan, and from whom it was called Cluain-Conaire-Maeldubh. He was also Abbot of Durrow, in the Queen’s County. He left his Irish Churches to preach the Gospel to the Anglo-Saxons, and settled in Wiltshire where he founded a monastery and school which was afterwards the celebrated Benedictine Abbey of Malmesbury. He flourished according to Ware, in the year 676. The list of his Writings has already been given, in the Chapter on Kildare.
        The site of the Church of St. Maeldubh was probably the spot now known as the Sean Reilig, "the old burial-ground." This appears to have been a place of importance in the 16th century. In an Irish Poem describing "the victories of Hugh, son of Shane O’ Byrne, temp. Elizabeth,"-MS. T.C.D., H.I., 14, p.91 –this and several places in this neighbourhood are named:-
        "Not cowardly thou passedst from the two towns
                                    Glais Eile (30) and Nurnaidhe,(31)
        Much hadst thou of the abundance of Cill-daingan,(32) and Baile-bailtair,(33)
        We heard a true account of thy people at Dun-Ena,(34) and at Eochaill,(35)
        At Sean Reilig(36), and Rathmuc (37) at which we grieved," etc.
        Sean Reilig is now nothing more than an extensive and partly obliterated Dun. From the stony nature of the ground, it could never have been a place of general interment. Human remains have been found in it, placed in circles, some three or four, with six or seven persons in each, the feet to the centre, where there were traces of ashes. There is a tradition in the locality that many came here on occasion of a plague, and died in it; may not these have been the 50 monks of Rosglas who offered their lives at St. Evin’s suggestion, for King Bran and his nobles? Immediately adjoining Sean Reilig, is a place bearing the name of Sean-trad.
        A.D. 1406. A great defeat was given by Murrough O’ Conor Lord of Offaly with his son Calvach, and the sons of O’ Conor Roe, to the English of Meath, and to Owen, the son of the Abbot O’ Conor, who had the retained Kerns of Connaught with him. Both of these armies repaired to the upper part of Geshill; and Owen, with his own band of Kerns, went to Cluain-Immerois, and to the town of Gillaboy Mac Maoilcorra, where Calvach and Cathal, attended by six horsemen, came up with Owen and his people as they were collecting the spoils of the town. The proprietor of this town had a cauldron which he had borrowed from Calvach for brewing beer; and on seeing Calvach coming towards him, said:-"There is thy cauldron with kerns, O Calvach ! and I order it to be given to thee." "I accept of it where it is," said Calvach. The cauldron was at that time on the back of a young man, one of the plunderers of the town; and Calvach O’ Conor flung a stone which he happened to have in his hand, successfully at him, and which, striking against the cauldron, produced such a noise and sound as struck a sudden terror and panic in the hearts of all the plunderers, so that they instantly took flight. They were swiftly pursued, slaughtered, and vanquished. The son of the Abbot O’ Conor was slain on the bog north of the town; and their loss was not less than 300 persons, both English and Irish, in the route from thence to Cluain-Aine, in Crioch-na-gledagh. It was on this expedition that the chief relic of Connaught, namely, the Buacach-Patraig (buac signifies "a cap;" this was probably the mitre of St. Patrick. –O’ Donovan), which had been preserved at Elphin, was taken from the English. (Four Masters.)
        In this parish, has been identified by O’ Donovan as the scene of a battle referred to in the Four Masters, A.D. 506. "The bloody battle of Fionnabhair was noble about the body of Illann after his death." The circumstances connected with this battle are given in the second life of St. Brigid. (Tr. Thaum). King Illann, we are told, having, at the Saint’s request, granted a certain favour to her father, Dubhtach was, in return, assured by her that his twofold wish of a long life and success in battle should be attained. These promises were fulfilled, it is related, the former, by his living to the age of 120 years, the latter, by his gaining thirty battles in Ireland and eight in Britain. He died A.D. 506, and was interred in the church of St. Brigid at Kildare. Taking courage from his death, the Nepotes Neill assembled an army and marched into Leinster. The Leinstermen, however, taking the body of Illann from the tomb, placed it upon a chariot, and brought it into the battle-field, thus to secure the continuance of the success promised him by St. Brigid, and in this they were not disappointed. (38)
        This Fennor was brobably also the scene of another battle, thus recorded by the Four Master, A.D. 717:-"The battle of Fionnabhair by the Leinstermen, in which Aedh, son of Caillagh, was slain."
        There are several Raths in this neighbourhood, some of them very extensive. Near here also at Grange-beg is a Cromlech, consisting of a large irregular boulder, reared upon three upright stones. The farmer, on whose land it is, tells of his father, the former holder, having found at this place the jaw-bone of a man, which he described as of gigantic proportions. What became of it does not appear. This would tend to strengthen the opinion, now held by many, that these, in some instances at least, were not Druid’s altars, but monuments marking the burial-places of Pagan Irish heroes. King Leaghaire (Bk. Armagh) directed that he should be buried "as men stand up in battle." And Dunlang, father of Illann, though a christian, was buried at Maisden, clad in armour, and as if ready for battle.
        The Rectory of Dunany appears amongst those which belonged to the Commandery of Tully. Near the waste land marked on Rawson’s map (Statist. Survey, Co. Kild.) as the "Commons of the Corporation of Kildare," are the ruins of the ancient parochial church, consisting of nave and chancel of the following dimensions:- Full length, 48 feet; length of chancel, 18 ½ feet; width of nave, 17 ½ feet; width of chancel, 13 feet. There are two small windows in east end, very narrow on the outside, but widening within. No other windows are traceable, though a large portion of the north and south walls are standing, and-judging from the nature of masonry, -are of very ancient date. Two forts formerly stood, about a mile apart from each other, in this locality. The foundations now are scarcely noticeable.
        Here there is the ruin of another parochial church. Dimensions:-Length, 64 feet; width, 22 ½ feet. A large portion of the south and west walls remain. As in the case of Duneany, there is no trace of windows. A chiselled door-way is placed in the south-wall, for which the key-stone has disappeared, yet, to pass through, it is necessary to stoop, so that the present surface is very much above the former level. An ancient cemetery surrounds the ruin. A former Pastor lies buried here, the inscription on whose tomb, when lately cleaned, was found to be:- "Here lyeth the body of Rev. Bryan Dempsy, Doctor of Divinity, and Vicar General of Kildare, who was Parish Priest of Rosenallis for 10 years, and for 30 in Monasterevan. Departed this life 8th December, 1754; aged 76 years." Another Priest interred here is the Rev. Edward Prendergast, at one time officiating in this Parish, the inscription over whom records that, "he changed this mortal life for eternal felicity on the 11th June, 1798."
        After the battle of Monasterevan, in which the yeomanry, under the command of Messrs. Hoysted and Bagott, were successful, this Priest was charged with complicity in the rebellion, because it transpired that he was amongst the insurgents on a particular occasion, though tradition says that it was in the discharge of some priestly duty. For this he was tried by court-martial, condemned, and forthwith hanged from a tree beside the Barrow, at Monasterevan, on the date above given. His body was buried at the place of execution, but his relatives came that same night, exhumed the remains, and conveyed them down the river, and thence to Harristown, the burial place of his family. Another stone marks the spot "where lyeth the body of Lewis Dempsy, aged 92 years." At the foot it is recorded:- "Edvardus Dempsy, Parochus de Cadamstowne, me fieri fecit." Unfortunately, the date is utterly effaced. Lewis was a favourite name amongst the O’ Dempsys of Clanmaliere. Another grave is touchingly interesting, as showing the strong desire of the Irish Catholic to be buried with his kindred. It is that of "Nicholas Lennox, who died at Acapulca, Mexico, July 5th, 1876, and was interred at Harristown, 18th September following." The following stone vessels were found at this church:- 1. One composed of lime-stone, 3 feet long by 2 wide, quadrangular, rounded internally, and shelving to one end, where it is pierced,-this was evidently used for administering Baptism by immersion-a custom continued, in the Churches of the Province of Leinster at least, down to the year 1614. (See Decree ordering its discontinuance, Vol. 1, p. 247.)

2. A rounded, flat, granite stone, hollowed into a shallow basin, the centre slightly raised, where there is a small cavity, as if to serve for a socket.

3. A large granite stone, square at the base, which is 2 feet 4 inches each way, from this a circular shaft rises, ending in a basin at top from which an aperture in the centre descends to the earth. Before the sides of the basin were broken away, it must have stood at least 3 feet high. It presents the appearance of the base of an Ionic column.

        (An Urnaidhe, i.e. "The Oratory") a little more than a mile distant from Harristown are the remains of this ancient church. Length, 42 feet; width, 20 feet. There are two narrow flat-headed windows in the east gable, 6 feet long by 8 inches wide; on the outside, they are 5 ½ feet apart, but are deeply splayed on the inside. A granite baptismal font was lately dug up at the west end of the ruin; it is circular, but with four external hips at equal distances; height, 1 ½ feet; depth of basin, 7 inches; width, externally, 2 feet; internally, 1 ½ feet; pierced through centre. O’ Donovan identifies Ernaidhe, mentioned in Mart. Tallaght, as "Nurney, County Kildare;" but as there are, at least, three townlands of the name in this county, this is not sufficient to identify it as the one here referred to. In Mart. Tal. we find the entries: "Augt. 1, Mica Ernaidhe," and Jan. 25 "Mochanna Ernaidhe." There was a castle here, a portion of which still remains, and is joined on to a modern residence still called Nurney Castle. The castle was probably built by the Fitzgeralds, to which family much of the neighbouring property belongs. A small portion of the buttment of another fort is to be seen on pigeon-house hill, in the village. A bronze coin judged to be of the time of Augustus, and of the coinage of the Roman Colony of Nemausus, i.e., Nimes, was lately dug up at this place; it is in the possession the writer.
        The following extract from the decrees of a Provisional Synod, held A.D. 1186 in the Church of the Holy Trinity at Dublin, and confirmed by Pope Urban III., will be useful in judging of the uses for which such vessels as the above were intended:- "Seventh Decree. – That a lavatory of stone or wood be set up, and so contrived with a hollow that whatever is poured into it may fall through and lodge in the earth, through which also the last washing of the priest’s hands after the Holy Communion may pass. Eight. – That an immovable font be placed in the middle of every Baptismal Church, or in such other part of it as the paschal procession may conveniently pass round. That it be made of stone, or of wood lined with lead for cleanliness, wide and large above, bored through to the bottom, and so contrived that, after the ceremony of Baptism be ended, the holy water man, by a secret pipe, be conveyed down to mother earth. Ninth. – That the covering of the altar and other vestments dedicated to God, when injured by age, be burned within the enclosure of the church, and the ashes transmitted through the aforesaid pipe of the font, to be buried in the bowels of the earth." (See Decrees, in D’Alton’s Memoirs of Arthbps. of Dublin, p. 72.)
        In Mylerstown townland in this parish there is a well called Fuaran (i.e., cold spring well,) at which a patron is said to have been held on the 29th of June and 15th August; and one in the townland of Rickardstown, marked on Ord. Map, Tobereendoney, i.e. Tobar-righ-an-domhnaigh, "the well of the King of Sunday," or God’s Well, so called probably from being resorted to by pilgrims on Sunday. (Joyce.) In the Pat. Rolls (Morrin),
        Oct. 16th, 1546, is found Presentation of Wm. FitzGerald, clerk, to the rectory and prebend of Harriestown, vacant by the resignation of Morgan Psezham, and in the gift of the King pleno jure.
        At Walterstown, to the north-west of the village of Nurney, a spot is pointed out where it is said a nunnery stood. No remains are now visible, but a very small portion of the supposed site appears never to have been disturbed by tillage.
        This was a Rectory of the Abbey of Great Conall (Chief Rem.) In the adjoining cemetery is the grave of a priest:- "Here lyeth the body of the Rev. Michael Hanagan, deceased April 13th, 1784, aged 46 years. – Requiescat in pace." The old parochial Church stood, as the name, Kildangan, indicated, near the castle; of this, but few traces now remain. It was used for Protestant service until about 70 years ago, when the church was transferred to Kiledoon. The Castle of Kildangan, or Kildingan, was built by Maurice FitzGerald of Allen. It was of large extent and well-fortified, and formed one of a line of forts extending from Carlow to Ley, erected for the purpose of guarding against the Irish enemy on the other side of the Barrow. In the Patent Rolls is found Commission, dated January 31st, 1570, to Sir John Plunkett, Chief Justice of the Chief Bench, Sir Morish FitzThomas and others, to assign to Gerald FitzPhilip of Kildingin, in the County of Kildare, such part of his lands as should be suitable for manurance (sic.) And on the 12th of Feb. following, a Return of the Commissioners, assigning to Gerald FitzPhilip of Kildingan, all his possessions in Kildingan, Rathmoke, and Barnetestown, in the County of Kildare, to be discharged of subsidy, coyn, and livery. Same date, a Writ of allowance thereon. (Morrin).
        The following is a tradition preserved in the district:- When Hewson, with the Parliamentary forces, was on his way to attack the Castle of Ley, he observed, from Cherryfield hill, the Castle of Kildangan, and sent a detachment to take possession of it. The garrison however, having been apprised of the enemy’s approach by a deserter named Tierney, were prepared for the attack. The Parish Priest, named O’ Toole, had joined the garrison, and encouraged them to hold out and not yield to the summons to surrender. The Cromwellians then attempted to take the place by storm, but were repulsed with considerable loss. Finally they were obliged to abandon the enterprise, and marched off to join the main body of the army at Monasterevan. This place was included in the possessions forfeited by FitzGerald of Allen in 1641,-they were restored in the reign of Charles II., and afterwards passed into the Aylmer family. Kildangan Castle was accidentally burnt whilst in the possession of the latter; a small portion of it survived until a few years ago, when it was demolished, to make room for a modern mansion. This estate became the property of a branch of the O’ Reilly family, early in the 18th century. Here it was, most probably, that Dr. Richard O’ Reilly, Coadjutor Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, and afterwards Archbishop of Armagh, was born, in 1746. (For Memoir, see Vol. I., p.276.) Kildangan was heretofore a considerable village, and had its fairs, on May 1st, July 20th, and September 29th. A Parliamentary Return, dated 23 Nov., 1731, states that "in the Parish of Kildingan there is no Mass-house built, but the priest of Lackagh Parish says Mass often at the back of an old castle here." A chapel, probably erected after this date, stood beside the Castle of Kildangan, and continued in use until the year 1792, when the present chapel was built, - as an inscription, "This Chapel built 1792," – shows; -on a site granted by the O’ Reilly family who also defrayed the cost of its erection. This chapel was considerably enlarged in 1849, by Susan, the last surviving child of Dominick O’ Reilly, Esq., mother of Dominick More O’ Ferrall, Esq., the present proprietor. A tower, Baptistery, etc., have lately been added.
        At Ballybraccan, or Kilbraccan, as it is sometimes named, about a mile from Kildangan, there was a parochial church, of which nothing now remains, though portions were in existence up to 50 years ago. There is a large cemetery here, but there are no remarkable monuments. A story is related in the neighbourhood, of this church having been set upon the priest-hunters, and that the priest, flying for his life was overtaken and despatched at a stream some quarter of a mile distant. "The two Kilbraccans," are referred to in the Inquisitions; the other place of the name is on the opposite side of the Barrow, in the Queen’s County. Two neighbouring townlands, though bearing the noteworthy names Kilpatrick and Killeen, have nothing to show that there was a church or burial-place in either; but in the former an extensive mound, apparently sepulchral, is to be seen. (Ord. Map. 26. W. Offaly.)
        In the demesne of Riverstown, bordering the Barrow, there is a holy well, called St. Brigid’s well. A large stone on its brink is marked with two furrows, which the people say are the impressions of the knees of the Saint. The well was enclosed by the late Mr. Browne, who also set up a Celtic Cross beside it.
        In the parish of Ballybraccan, in the townland of Derry-oughter, alias Sharwood Marsh, midway between Riverstown and the Fort of Dunrally, is an island in the Barrow, known as Bishop’s Island; how it came to be so named is not known. There is a local tradition of a stranger having come to this place on a certain occasion, and having dug up from a particular spot with which he seemed to be well acquainted, a valuable treasure, which he carried away. In Lughill townland, in this parish, at a place called Glanmaigho, there was at one time an extensive burial-ground, which is now disused and practically obliterated, though the tell-tale verdure in the spring-time betrays its former extent.
        In the direction of Monasterevan, another townland is named Ballyfarsoon, which signifies (Joyce, 2, p.58) the townland of the Parish Priest; it probably received its name from having been the place of abode, at some time, of the P.P. of the district.
        From the Registry of Parish Priests, made in 1704, we learn that the P.P. at that time was-
        MATTHEW CULLEN, residing at Kildangan, 51 years of age, ordained at Dublin in 1681, by Mark Forstall, Bishop of Kildare, and that his sureties were James Culllen of Clonygath, and David Hodnett of Kildangan, gents.
        BRYAN DEMPSY, D.D., V.G., succeeded in 1724, having been translated from Rosenallis, and died 8th December, 1754. (See epitaph at Harristown.)
        STEPHEN BOLGER was the next P.P. He died, as his tombstone at Lackagh states in December, 1786, and was succeeded by-
        CHARLES DORAN. Having, in 1787, obtained a lease of a plot at Passlands, Father Doran built a church there, which continued in use until the year 1847, when the present fine Parochial Church was erected. In the secret-service money list two entries are found-one, dated July 1st, 1801, "Lord Tyrawley, for Rev. Charles Doran, R.C. Priest of Monasterevan, £20; another dated February 13th, 1802, "Mr. Cassidy, for Rev. Fr. Doran, recommended by Lord Tyrawley, £50." The explanation of the above, given by those who recollect Father Doran is, that he received these two sums, supposing them to be the personal gifts of those through whose hands they only passed. He was a guileless man, devoted to the duties of his sacred office, and solicitous to keep his flock out of the tumult and miseries consequent on the rebellion. Lord Tyrawley, who, at the time, resided at Moore Abbey, knowing his goodness, and witnessing the happy effects of his advice to his people, adopted this means of making him a return. He died on the 16th of February, 1810. The following is the inscription over his grave at the Passlands:- "Erected by the Inhabitants of Monasterevan, Kildangan, Nurney, and Lackagh, A.D. 1835, to testify their lasting regret for the memory of the Rev. Charles Doran, who was, for 22 years, Parish Priest of this Union. This pious Pastor was distinguished for simplicity and disinterestedness. In eventful times his faithful prudence guided and protected his flock. Indefatigable, learned, and charitable in the discharge of his important duties, he lived beloved by his Parishioners and respected by his neighbours. He died on the 16th of February, 1810, in the 55th year of his age, rich only in Good Works, but possessed of no Earthly Treasure. Requiescat in Pace."
        REV. JOHN ROBINSON succeeded, being translated from the parish of Clane. He died on the 10th of November, 1822. It was during his pastorate that a chapel was erected at Nurney. He lies interred also at Passlands, where a tablet bears the subjoined inscription:- "As a tribute of gratitude and respect, this Tablet has been placed by his Parishioners, to the memory of the Rev. John Robinson, R.C. Pastor of Monasterevan and Kildangan. Born, June 24th, 1767. Died, November 10th, 1822. An exemplary and vigilant pastor, a mild, yet zealous instructor, he entertained for his flock the affection of a Parent, and acted as one in all their concerns. Of an apostolic simplicity, and the most endearing sweetness of manners, he is followed to his tomb by the love and veneration which attended him through life.
        REV. PATRICK MURPHY succeeded. He died in July, 1834, and is buried at Passlands. The following is his epitaph:-
"Sacred to the memory of the Rev. Patrick Murphy, who, for fifteen years, was the beloved Pastor of the united Parishes of Monasterevan, Kildangan, Nurney, and Lackagh. Devoted to the duties of the Sacred Ministry, his uniform kindness, disinterested zeal, and purity of mind endeared him to his flock, who have erected this monument as a testimony of their affection towards him, and a memorial of his Christian virtues. His spirit departed this life on the 7th day of July, A.D. 1834, in the hope of a glorious eternity through the merits of Our Redeemer, aged 47 years. Requiescat in Pace."
        THE VERY REV. PHILIP HEALY, V.G., previously Parish Priest of Clonmore, County of Carlow, was the succeeding Pastor of Monasterevan. J. K. L.’ held Father Healy in high esteem. When but a young curate, Dr. Doyle thus wrote to him on the occasion of a change of mission from Ballynakill to Philipstown:-
        "Carlow, October 9th, 1825. Rev. dear Sir,-I am too well aware of the purity of your views, and of your devotion to the interests of religion, to suppose you would find it difficult to make any sacrifice which they would require; but in removing you, as I am obliged to do, from a people to whom you are justly dear, and for whom you must feel a proportionate affection, I am only transferring your labours to another people not less distinguished for every good quality than those amongst whom you have lived. You are hereby appointed to the curacy of the parish of Philipstown, where your labours will not be increased, where your comforts will not be diminished, and where your emoluments (if they are any object to you) will be considerably augmented. The Rev. Mr. Rigney will expect you on Saturday next. You will reside with him, and, I am sure, he will labour to insure you as much happiness as is compatible with our condition here below. I feel great pleasure in offering to you the expression of the very high esteem and sincere affection with which I am your faithful and obt. Servt. In Christ, J. DOYLE.
        "P.S.-Please to inform Mr. Delany that I would be very glad to see him when he is at leisure, and that, anxious to consult for his comfort, I have appointed a very amiable young man, Rev. Mr. Lalor of Ballyfin, to be his curate, who will be with him on Saturday next."
        When, in 1834, a coadjutor was about to be appointed, we find Dr. Doyle giving further proof of "the very high esteem" in which he held Father Healy, by mentioning him as one whom he would recommend for that office. (See Vol. I.,p.190.) On the death of Dr. Haly, in 1855, the Clergy of the Diocese elected Father Healy Vicar-Capitular, and also placed his name, as dignior, on the list of the three recommended by them for the vacant dignity. He was appointed Vicar-General in succession to Dr. Flanagan of Balyna, and continued in that office up to the period of his death, which took place June 2nd, 1878. He is interred at Passlands, where a handsome marble cross marks his grave, bearing the following inscription:- "In memory of the Very Rev. Philip Healy, D.D., Parish Priest of Monasterevan, and Vicar-General of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. A model Pastor, he showed himself an example of Good Works, in Doctrine in Integrity, in Gravity. (Tit. II.c.7v.) He died on the 2nd of June, 1878, aged 86 years. May he rest in Peace."
(1) The four sons of Eogan, son of Murchad, son of Muiredach, son of Diarmaid, son of Eogan, son of Ailill Fland-bec, son of Fiacha Muillethain, son of Eogan mor, son of Ailill Olium, son of Mog Nuadad, were, viz. :-Cormac and Beccan (Evin) and Culan and Diarmaid. Diarmaid was the senior of those Saints; and he it was that set up at Ros-reided, in the territory of the Cairpri of Drumcliff, among the descendants of Fiachra, son of Eochaidh Muidhmedhoin. And Fland dubh, son of Muiredach, son of Lugaid, son of Aengus, gave him land there, to wit:-from Droched-Martra to Brag-chind-slebi, westwards, and from the Muirbech of Ros-birnd to Aill Claidib Lugdach ("the rock of Lugaid’s sword.") And Diarmaid son of Eogan set up there, and blessed the seed of Dubland, for the sake of that land which they gave him; and he left them the palm of women and hounds and horses, and the triumph of battle and conflict; and luck of cattle and corn and crops-provided they should not go against Diarmaid. Kilmacnowen is the place where he was wont to be. Culan, son of Eogan, set up his abode in Glend-chain (Glankeen) in Ui-Luigdech, among the race of Eogan; and he blessed the children of Murchad, son of Muiredach, son of Diarmaid, son of Eogan, son of Ailille Fland-bec, in that manner; and he blessed the Ui-Luigdech, and declared to them that they should not be preyed or manacled by the Kings of Cashel; and if they were, that they (the Kings of Cashel) perish and die out. (Translated from the Book of Lecan, by Mr. W. M. Hennessy.)
(2) The Four Masters state that Cormac’s head was cut off by Fiach Ua Ugfadain.
(3) dilsi, (lit. "forfeiture,") in original
(4) Cretra, lit. "wafers."
(5) Something omitted in original.
(6) Bachall.
(7) The race of Mescill; this was a tribe of Leix; see above, named amongst the sureties selected by St. Emine, "Mescill of the Laighis."
(8) Bachall.
(9) i.e. Communion.
(10) Mo Cattan for meus quatuor, i.e., my four [books.]
(11) Clar, i.e., board.
(12) i.e., Labhraid Loingseach, monarch of Ireland of the Lagenian race, A.M. 3682. His fort was at (13) Dinn Riogh ("the hill of the Kings,") on the brink of the Barrow, near Leighlin Bridge. (See Chapter on that Parish.)
(13) The disease Buidhe Conill.
(14) Emhin’s mother
(15) i..e. as much land as his chariot could go round in a given time.
(15) i..e. as much land as his chariot could go round in a given time.
(16) i..e. no food should be prepared.
(17) i..e. no food should be given.
(18) aes grail, (graduates; or people in Orders.)
(19) O’ Dempsey was Chief of Clann Maoilughra, Anglicised Clanmaliere, a territory situated partly in the King’s and partly in the Queen’s County. It extended to the margin of the Great Heath of Maryborough, and comprised the Barony of Upper Philipstown in the former, and that of Portnahinch in the latter county. The title of Viscount Clanmaliere was conferred, 22nd December, 1631, on Sir Terence O’ Dempsy. Anthony, his eldest son (who married twice, firstly, Mary, daughter of Sir Charles Nugent, ninth Baron of Delvin; secondly, Jane Moore, granddaughter of Archbishop Loftus,) dying in 1638 before his father, his son Lewis became second Viscount. Maximilian, son of Lewis (who married Anne, daughter and co-heir of Walter Bermingham of Dumfert), was the third and last Viscount, and died without issue, in 1690. He is interred in the churchyard at Killeigh, King’s County, where the following inscription appears on his tomb:-"Here lyeth the body of Maximilian O’ Dempsey, Lord Viscount Clanmaleere, who departed the 30th November, A.D. 1690." His wife survived till 27th June, 1708 (Lodge). Lewis, the second Viscount, forfeited his estate, in 1641, for taking part with Charles I.
It was granted by Charles II., on his restoration, to Henry Bennett, Lord Arlington, one of the famous "Cabal," and the founder of Portarlington. The petition of Innocence of O’ Dempsey was disallowed by the Commissioner of the Act of Explanation, and Arlington was confirmed in possession. Arlington sold the estate to Sir Patrick Trant, whofought for King James. Upon Trant’s forfeiture, in 1688, William III. Granted it to Rouvigny, whom he created Earl of Galway, and appointed one of the Lord Justices of Ireland. This grant was revoked by the English Act of Resumption in 1700, and the property was sold by the commissioners of forfeited estates, in 1703, to the Hollow Sword-blade Company, a wealthy English Corporation. The estate, which contained about 40,000 acres, was resold in 1707, on which occasion a portion of it passed into the possession of the Dawson family. About the last member of this once great family who could lay claim to gentle blood was the famous outlaw Caher na Capull, or "Charles the horse-stealer.
(21)Rathacres, alias Rathronsin, now Rath, Queen’s Co.
(24)Probably Derry, Queen’s Co.
(26)The Barrow.
(27) The Drogheda family is descended from Sir Edward Moore, who came to Ireland temp. Elizabeth, and figured conspicuously in the Irish warfare of her reign. At the suppression of Monasteries, he received, first a lease, and subsequently a grant in fee of the Abbey of Mellifont and its extensive possessions. In 1602, Gerald his son and successor, received at Mellifont the submission of the Earl of Tyrone, for which and other services to the Crown, he was, 20th July, 1616, created Baron Moore of Mellifont. Subsequent creations-Baron Moore of Drogheda, 7th February, 1621; Earl of Drogheda, 14th June, 1661; Marquis of Drogheda, in the Peerage of Ireland, 1791; and Baron Moore, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, 1801. (Lodge & Burke.)
(28) The family of the Fitzgeralds, of Laccagh, was founded by Sir Thomas Fitzgerald, second son of Thomas, seventh Earl of Kildare, and brother of Gerald, the eight Earl. Sir Thomas, of Laccagh, was made by statute in a parliament held at Trim, A.D. 1484, Lord Chancellor of the Kingdom for life, in which station he promoted the designs of Lambert Simnel against King Henry VII., and 6th June, 1487, was killed fighting for him at the battle of Stoke, near Newark-on-Trent. He married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Viscount Gormanston, and had four sons and four daughters. His son and heir, Sir Maurice Mac Thomas, was slain, 1520, by O’More, as above related, leaving by Anne, daughter of—Eustace, Thomas, his successor, father, by Eleanor Delahoide, of Sir Maurice Fitzgerald, who married Margaret, daughter of Edmond Butler, son of Pierce, Archbishop of Cashel (Archdall’s Lodge, 183. The same author, vol. 4,p.21, states that she was daughter of Thomas, third son of the eight Earl of Ormonde, and first married to Rory O’ More of Leix.) By inquisition taken after his death he is said to have departed this life 26th November, 1574; but this is contradicted by the circumscription upon his monument in the Church of Kildare:-"Domina Margareta Butler, hoc monumentum fieri fecit ob memoriam Mauricii Fitzgerald de Laccagh militis, quondam sui mariti, qui obiit, 20 die Decemb. Anno Domini, 1575." His issue were four sons and four daughters. Thomas, his eldest son, married Elizabeth, daughter of Mark Barnewall of Dunbroe; has issue, Maurice Fitzgerald, of Laccagh, who, dying 13th November, 1637, left issue by Ellen, daughter of James, Lord Dunboyne, James, ancestor of the family, sometime subsisting at Laccagh, and other children (Archdall). Amongst the signatures of the R. C. nobility and gentry of Ireland, attached to Walsh’s famous Remonstrance, is that of James Fitzgerald, of Laccagh (Hist. Rem.) The descendants of Sir Thomas, of Laccagh, are extinct in the male line (Earls Kild. 1, 42, 3rd Edn.)
(29) "I may remark," writes O’ Curry, Round Towers, p. 341, "that from the use to which the mionna, or enshrined relics, were applied, the same word came to denote both a relic and an oath, and originated the verb mionnaim, I Swear." The Irish Annals notice the use of the principal relics of Ireland, which were often transferred from the original localities on solemn occasions, to distant places, in order that rival chieftains might be worn upon them to future peace and fidelity; and hence MacGeoghegan and the other old translators of the Irish Annals, render the word minna of their originals by the English word oaths; as "the coarb of St. Kiaran with his oaths, " meaning the Abbot of Clonmacnoise, etc., with his relics.
St. Evin’s Bell was called Bernan Emhin, bernan signifying a little gap; this term was applied to saints’ bells that were sworn upon. A little semicircular aperture was left in the projecting curbing of the base of the bell for the person, swearing upon it, to introduce his thumb or finger by.
(30) Glasealy,
(31) Nurney.
(32) Kildangan.
(33) Walterstown.
(34) Dunany.
(35) Oghill.
(36) Umeras.
(37) Rathmuck.
(38) Illand rex Lageniae triginta bella in Hibernia vicit, octa certamina in Brittania. . . . .Factum est autem post mortem Illand, qui vixit annis CXX., congregantes nepotes Neill exercitum fines devastare Lageniensium, inieurunt Lagenienses consilium dicentes: Ponamus corpus mortuum Regis nostri conditum ante nos in corru contra hostes et pugnamus contra circa cadaver ejus. Et illis sic facientibus, illico nepotes Neill in fugam versi sunt, et coedes facta est in eis. Donum enim victoriae per S. Brigidam adhuc in corpore Regis mansit. (Tr. Thaum. Vita 2a)

A transcript of Rev. M. Comerford's 1883 History of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, relating to the R.C. Parish of Monasterevin

 [Compiled and edited by Mario Corrigan; Edited by Niamh McCabe; Typed by Maria and Breid]

November 14, 2006


Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives, Kildare County Library and Arts Service,

in association with Lyonshill Books, presents THE FIRST EVER CO. KILDARE

KILDARE TOWN 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.





History, local, national, literature, poetry, sport, fiction and ephemera.

Why not take the opportunity to visit Kildare Town – ST. BRIGID’S CATHEDRAL, THE JAPANESE GARDENS, KILDARE HERITAGE CENTRE and the fantastic new



The three venues are

Foyer of Eurospar - on main street (Claregate Street) - has underground parking

Heritage Centre- Market House Market Square - parking on the Market Square and also Nugent Street (north of Market Square towards the Railway Station) beside the playground - pedestrian access back to Market Square

Parish Centre or ARAS BHRIDE - beside RC Church on St. Brigid's Square - parking on St. Brigid's Square

Also Parking in Kildare Outlet Village - easily accessed from motorway - pedestrian access to Kildare Town across boardwalk at Grey Abbey (Franciscan ruin) straight to St. Brigid's Square

There will be a map at each venue and sandwich boards outside each venue to direct people.

M7 from Portlaoise direction - slip road to Kildare - left at roundabout - right at next roundabout to Kildare Outlet Village or straight through to lights - turn right straight through to Kildare Town Centre - Eurospar on left and Marhet House/Heritage Centre on Square


M7 from Dublin - slip road to Kildare at end of Curragh (not Newbridge exit) 2 ways - (1) left at roundabout and immediate left again to St. Brigid's Square - Parish Centre; (2) right at roundabout and across the bridge then straight through next roundabout to Kildare Outlet Village or straight through to lights - turn right straight through to Kildare Town Centre - Eurospar on left and Market House/Heritage Centre on Square

From Athy - Booleigh Cross - Nurney - Newtown Cross and Old Nurney Road - 2 ways - (1) right to St. Brigid's Square - Parish Centre; (2) straight through at 1st roundabout and across the bridge then straight through next roundabout to Kildare Outlet Village or straight through to lights - turn right straight through to Kildare Town Centre - Eurospar on left and Market House/Heritage Centre on Square

Details and directions to the County Kildare Book Fair


From Nas ni Riogh to Monte Cassino.


James Durney

Growing up on the Caragh Road in the 1960s I looked forward to Fridays when my mother brought home my weekly treat – the Victor war comic. The Victor featured a true war story on the front and back cover, usually about a World War One or World War Two medal winning hero or fighter ace. Coming from a military family background with a keen sense of my Irishness I was always on the look out for an Irish angle to these stories. At times I was rewarded when the Victor featured an Irish-born VC winner or war hero. I had a hunger for local history and one day my mother told me a story about Jackie Sheridan and Mickser Mahon, two lads from the town, who had enlisted in the British Army at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. They had fought with Monty’s 8th Army against the Desert Fox Rommel and the Afrika Korps in North Africa, before going on to Italy. Mickser Mahon was a regular visitor to our house, but what about Jackie Sheridan? His family lived at St. Brigid’s Terrace, at the top of Caragh Road, where was he? Jackie was buried in Italy, I was told. He was killed in the horrific battle of Monte Cassino. The seeds of this story grew into a lifelong interest in the history of local soldiers, which led to the writing of Far From the Short Grass. Originally it was to be a book about the two pals, but it became the story of all Kildaremen who fought in both world wars.

Jackie Sheridan and Mickser Mahon were boyhood friends who in the autumn of 1939 left Naas to join the British Army. Both left Naas one bright autumn morning to go to Belfast to enlist, as indeed many Kildaremen had already done, in the British Army. Like everyone else they thought the war would be over before Christmas and they wanted to get a taste before it was too late. Little did they know that the war would drag on for six long years. In the summer of 1941 the two friends returned home for their last leave together. The two friends could have easily stayed at home and few would have blamed them. They had seen enough action, enough horrors of war. Jackie was twenty-two, Mickser was twenty-one. They had their whole lives ahead of them. Jackie was engaged to Dina Kavanagh, a Naas girl serving in the British Auxiliary Territorial Service. But the bonds of duty and comradeship dragged them back. Reluctantly the two friends said goodbye to their families and headed back to England and shipment to war in the Western Desert. As serving "Tommies" in the Royal Sussex Regiment the two friends were present at Monty’s victory over Rommel at El Alamein in North Africa, where Mickser nearly bagged the Desert Fox. Then the American and British armies began preparing for the next big campaign – the invasion of Italy.

In the winter of 1943-44 the two pals were ensconced in freezing water-logged trenches facing the impregnable heights of Monte Cassino. Here the German Gustav Line held up the Allied advance on Rome. The Benedictine Abbey sitting atop Monte Cassino was bombed by the Allies in one of the war’s biggest blunders. It was believed that the Germans were occupying the strategic monastery, but the Germans only entered the abbey after the Allies bombed it. The bombing made the abbey and the surrounding town and hillsides more impregnable, creating obstacles for Allied armour. Several Kildaremen were fighting in and around Cassino. Dennis Carroll, from Maynooth, was with the Inniskilling Fusiliers on the slopes of Mount Caira, a position quite close to the monastery. Half-a-dozen Naas men were there with Monty’s 8th Army; Johnny Doran, from Fair Green, Mattie Higgins, Dublin Road, Barreller Byrne, Rathasker Road, John de Burgh, Oldtown, Robert Gill, Yeomanstown, and Martin Butler, who knocked out a German machine gun nest. The famous comedian Spike Milligan was also present at the Cassino battles.

"God made gentle people as well as strong ones," Spike Milligan wrote. "Alas, for the war effort, I was a gentle one." After several weeks of combat Spike was taken out of the line suffering from battle fatigue. "I suppose in World War 1," Spike said of his sergeant, "the bastard would have had me shot. It was a wretched time." He was posted back to Naples to finish out the war as a clerk.

Eighteen different Allied nationalities tried and failed to break through the Gustav Line. In February 1944 it was the turn of the Royal Sussex. In two days of fighting the battalion, which had fought since the earliest days of the war, was shattered, losing 174 men, a third of its strength. One of those killed, was Private Jackie Sheridan, Naas. The Sussex had formed up on Snakeshead Ridge, overlooking the monastery from the left. As they left their positions for the attack on the monastery British artillery landed among them. It was one of the many tragedies of war. Jackie Sheridan was mortally wounded by his own shells and died on March 20 1944. With his belongings sent home to his family was his paybook, which he kept in his breast pocket. The paybook was torn where a piece of shrapnel had entered his chest.

Dennis Carroll said, "All you could do was build a little sanger of rocks around yourself for protection. I met a nineteen year old, whose hair had turned pure white from the constant bombing and shelling at Cassino. There was no cover. The rocky terrain made the shelling worse, as not only was there shrapnel from the shells, but little pieces of rock added to the chances of injury. We picked up a ginger-haired interpreter, which was unusual for an Italian. He was brilliant. He organised billets for us, and so on. One night we had to attack across the Garigliano river. We had to get into canvas boats and pull ourselves across by rope. As we lined up to get into the boats the Germans bombed us. Their fire was very accurate and we lost thirty blokes that night. It turned out our ginger-haired Italian was a spy for the Germans. He disappeared that night, but was later seen in Rome and picked up. He was shot for spying."

Major John de Burgh had won the Military Cross in North Africa, but the fighting around Cassino was the worst he would ever see. He said: "The bombing of Cassino abbey was a tactical failure, but regrettably good for morale. We could not get through with our tanks. The French had Moroccan and Algerian troops with them, who were great mountain troops and superb fighters. They got around the mountains, leaving the Germans little choice but to retreat."

The honour of taking the heights of Monte Cassino was given to the Polish Brigade who had also suffered terribly in the campaign. But the bulk of the Germans had left quietly during the night and the Poles found only the dead and wounded remained. As the Gustav Line collapsed the 16th/5th Lancers were given the objective of cutting off Highway 6 – the route of escape of the Germans from Cassino. German resistance was strong and had been stiffened by a number of veteran paratroopers withdrawn from Cassino. The Allied infantry and tanks fighting through cornfields and terraced olive groves came under a deadly storm of mortars, artillery and machine-gun fire. Major Robert Gill, Yeomanstown, Naas, serving with the 16/5th Lancers, was killed on May 17 when his tank was blown up as the Lancers tried unsuccessfully to cut off the German retreat from Monte Cassino. He lies at rest only a few feet away from his fellow Naas man.

A young Canadian veteran, Stan Scislowski, 5th Canadian Armoured Division, summed up those hideous days: "Where there's now tranquillity, there was once a terrible blood-letting, a monstrous raging of man-made forces that seared and ravaged the towns and laid waste the valleys and the mountain slopes. Here, many men came to kill each other, and every day they carried away their dead, wherever and whenever possible, and buried them in temporary graves nearby. Here men were brutalized to a point beyond comprehension. Four long and agonizing months it was that the killing, the maiming and the destruction went on. Nowhere could a soldier hide without tasting, hearing, and smelling the hot fetid breath of bursting shells and mortars. Nor could he shut out from sight and ears the fearsome slash of the murderous MG 42. Everywhere around him Death was present in the bloated remains of long dead men and mules. The suffocating stink of their rotting flesh permeated everything it came into contact with, and after a short time spent in this ploughed-up graveyard, this horrible garden of cadavers, a man soaked up enough of the stink till he smelled as though he too came from the grave. That a man's mind somehow could remain rational and his nerves not collapse under the extremes of physical conditions and the daily confrontations with violent death was in every way a miracle of the human spirit."

Before the great battle was over 200,000 German and Allied soldiers had been killed or wounded at Monte Cassino. 40,000 Allied troops never returned home. Another 25,000 Germans died in the battle. Jackie Sheridan and Robert Gill are buried with thousands of their fallen comrades in the Commonwealth War Cemetery near the town of Cassino. The Cassino War Cemetery is situated close by the base of the height of Monte Cassino just a mile south of the rebuilt and relocated town of Cassino. The cemetery is overlooked by Monte Cassino and the Benedictine Abbey on the right and by Snakeshead Ridge, where Jackie was mortally wounded, at the lower end. We were lucky to meet the gardener when we arrived in the cemetery. He brought us straight to Jackie Sheridan’s grave and then after giving us a few minutes he brought us over to that of Robert Gill. This gave us a few extra minutes to look around, as there are over 4,000 soldiers buried here. On and on we went, row after row, plot after plot – reading the names – so many, so young, 18 years old -19 - 20 - 21, on and on. A country's future. Most were young, too young. I think for a moment on what their lives might have been had there been no war - the years of love they missed and the families they would have raised. The future they would have had. They probably would have died in their seventies and eighties, a full live lived. Instead they lie in a foreign field far from the Short Grass. I asked Mickser one time if he was glad he went. His answer was, "Well, if we didn’t go Jackie would still be alive today." After writing Far from the Short Grass in 1999 I made a promise that if I was ever in Italy I would visit the grave of my fellow Naas man whose death sparked a lifelong interest in local history. On August 3 2005 I fulfilled that promise. I brought some soil from the Sheridan family’s front garden to sprinkle on Jackie’s grave and brought some soil from there back to Naas. It was just a simple ceremony for a local man I never met, but one I knew so much about. A local lad who went off to war and never returned.


















A talk given by local author James Durney on the involvement of Kildaremen in the battle of Monte Cassino in World War II. James will be on location in Kildare Town for the Book Fair on Sunday 19th November (details on this site).

November 03, 2006


Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives
Kildare County Library and Arts Service

in association with

Lyonshill Books





1 p.m. - 5 p.m.


All welcome
No cover charge




History, local, national, literature, poetry, sport, fiction and ephemera.


Why not take the opportunity to visit Kildare Town – ST. BRIGID’S CATHEDRAL, THE JAPANESE GARDENS, KILDARE HERITAGE CENTRE and the fantastic new


More info:- Mario Corrigan PH 087-9871046 (Tues to Sat) – Email:- localhistory@kildarecoco.ie

Eddie Murphy PH 087-2567908 Email:-lyonshillbooks@eircom.net




The first ever County Kildare Book Fair will take place on Sunday afternoon on the 19 November in Kildare Town. This will be an opportunity for those interested in Local History and heritage as well as the general population who are interested in books and reading in general to visit a Rare Books Fair outside of Dublin. It is being organised by the Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives Department of Kildare County Library and Arts Service in conjunction with Kildare County Council and Lyonshill Books. According to Local Studies Librarian, Mario Corrigan, "there is an enormous interest in Dublin and other areas in this sort of event and it is about time we in County Kildare had the opportunity to have one locally. It is an ideal opportunity also for anyone who has not yet visited the new Kildare Retail Outlet Village to come to the town and see what is on offer."


The event is free and open to all and will allow people to browse the books on offer in the three different venues - The kildare Heritage Centre, The Kildare Parish Centre and the foyer of the Eurospar Shopping Centre. "The idea behind the three venues is to encourage people to walk through Kildare Town and thoroughly enjoy the day," said Mario Corrigan who has recently published a Sli na Slainte and Heritage Trail of Kildare Town and is anxious that people enjoy the experience that Kildare, the Heritage Town, has to offer.


Eddie Murphy of Lyonshill Books is delighted to be able to add County Kildare to a growing list of Book Fairs that he and his colleagues have orchestrated. "It is an immensely pleasurable experience, whereby people can browse the stalls and hopefully with this new initiative in Kildare Town take in some of the rich heritage of such an historic setting - maybe pause in the local shops or the local cafes and pubs for a coffee and even visit the Outlet Village for a unique shopping experience. We do hope this proves to be successful and we can turn it into an annual event," said Mr. Murphy.


So why not take an afternoon break on Sunday 19 November and come to Kildare Town to the County's first Rare Books Fair - maybe in search of a unique Christmas gift or just to amble through the historic streets and enjoy the experience. Currently there is an exhibition of Kildare artists, a collaboration between the Outlet Village and Riverbank Arts Centre, on view in the Kildare Outlet Village and Kildare Town Heritage Centre has a host of collectibles and gift ideas to wet you appetite.


As well as book dealers The Kildare Archaeological Society, Kildare Federation of Local History Groups, the Grey Abbey Conservation project and Cill Dara Historical Society will hopefully have information on their organisations and activities on display for people to view. All in all it is an ideal day out and most importantly - it's free.

The first County Kildare Rare Books Fair will take place on Sunday 19 November.

November 01, 2006


Kildare Observer






"What improvements are being made in Newbridge?" The remark was made, as readers who know Newbridge must observe, by a person who was not in Newbridge for some time past. Naas cannot have it all its own way in the matter of improvements. There is a progressive rival in Newbridge. In Naas they may boast of bringing about new and up-to-date improvements recently. But Newbridge is not behind the times either. Building improvements are also carried on there. For instance there’s the new hotel. With that spirit of enterprise which always characterised him Mr. Harrigan took over the old premises which bore the name of the Prince of Wales’ Hotel, a prominent looking building which used to attract attention as persons entered the town from the Naas side. Those old premises are no longer in existence; they are replaced by a building of the most up-to-date type. By the way, it may be interesting to mention that the old hotel got its name in a most peculiar way. In 1861 the Prince of Wales was passing through Newbridge with his regiment, the Rifles, when he stopped at the hall-door of the hotel, then owned by a man named Johnston, and procured some refreshments. The owner being a man with a keen sense of business immediately got permission to name the hotel after his Royal Highness. And this was done. So the story goes at all events.

These are the premises, as we have said, that Mr. Harrigan took over. But now there is a complete change. The tumble-down ruins were practically levelled and a substantial new building has been erected in their stead. Of course it is not quite finished yet, but it is expected that in about a month from hence the best and most up-to-date house in the town will be the


as it called. The bar portion is finished and was opened last Friday, with great eclat-the new proprietor having entertained a number of personal friends on the occasion. The hotel proper is yet in the hands of the builders, but, as we have said, it will be finished in about a month. There will be a dozen bedrooms, spacious and airy; the usual commercial dining and smoking rooms, while a splendid large room is being prepared for the benefit of excursion parties or other parties who may have occasion to hold a big dinner or social gathering. The bar is certainly equipped in the newest style. Everything is done on a lavish scale and, as the public will be glad to hear, none but the very best brands of drink procurable will be supplied, and it may be mentioned that he has procured a first-class manager in the person of Mr. Denis Doyle, late of Mr. Murphy’s, Capel Street, Dublin. Visitors to the town cannot help being struck with the imposing-looking building which is now Mr. Harrigan’s. Its appearance gives that part of the town where it is situate a smart look-it is certainly an immense improvement. But this is not the first of Mr. Harrigan’s enterprises. Our readers, we are sure, are too familiar with his successes as a car-owner and hackney exhibitioner at the Royal Dublin Horse Show to need recapitulation here. Suffice it is to say he provides the best horse-flesh and the neatest cars in his own part of the country, a fact testified to by the prizes he captured in late years at the Royal Dublin Society’s Show. This year, it is interesting to note, he will have no less than five exhibits at the coming Show-Maureen (mare), in the hackney car class; Highland Lass, a five-year-old, in class 43 (cab); and Highland lad in class 42. Both are entered as a pair in class 30. Also Master Joey, in class 42 (hackney); Pride, by Pride of Prussia, in class 30, single harness. This horse has already taken two firsts and two seconds at the shows. Highland Lass, it may be mentioned, is by Mountain Deer, the property of our townsman, Mr. N.J. Flanagan, T.C.

We wish Mr. Harrigan every success in all his undertakings.

The Kildare Observer of 13 August 1898 reported on the re-development of the old Prince of Wales Hotel by prominent local businessman, Edward Harrigan.

[Compiled by Mario Corrigan; edited by Niamh McCabe; typed by Niamh Mc Cabe and Sarah Luttrell]

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