CHAPTER XX.

The Age was not all Evil—Good Men in the World and in the
Cloister—Religious Houses and their Founders—The Augustinians and
Cistercians—Franciscans and Dominicans—Their close
Friendship—Dominican Houses—St. Saviour's, Dublin—The Black Abbey,
Kilkenny—Franciscan
Houses—Youghal—Kilkenny—Multifarnham—Timoleague—Donegal—Carmelite
Convents and Friars—Rising of the Connaught Men—A Plunderer of the
English—Battle of Downpatrick—The MacCarthys defeat the Geraldines at
Kenmare—War between De Burgo and FitzGerald.

[A.D. 1244-1271.]
Z

eal for founding religious houses was one of the characteristics of the
age. Even the men who spent their lives in desolating the sanctuaries
erected by others, and in butchering their fellow-creatures, appear to
have had some thought of a future retribution—some idea that crime
demanded atonement—with a lively faith in a future state, where a stern
account would be demanded. If we contented ourselves with merely
following the sanguinary careers of kings and chieftains, we should have
as little idea of the real condition of the country, as we should obtain
of the present social state of England by an exclusive study of the
police reports in the Times. Perhaps, there was not much more crime
committed then than now. Certainly there were atonements made for
offending against God and man, which we do not hear of at the present
day. Even a cursory glance through the driest annals, will show that it
was not all evil—that there was something besides crime and misery. On
almost every page we find some incident which tells us that faith was
not extinct. In the Annals of the Four Masters, the obituaries of good
men are invariably placed before the records of the evil deeds of
warriors or princes. Perhaps writers may have thought that such names
would be recorded in another Book with a similar precedence. The feats
of arms, the raids, and destructions occupy the largest space. Such
deeds come most prominently before the eyes of the world, and therefore
we are inclined to suppose that they were the most important. But though
the Annals may devote pages to the exploits of De Lacy or De Burgo, and
only say of Ainmie O'Coffey, Abbot of the Church of Derry-Columcille,
that he was "a noble ecclesiastic, distinguished for his piety,
meekness, charity, wisdom, and every other virtue;" or of MacGilluire,
Coarb of St. Patrick, and Primate of Ireland, that "he died at Rome,
after a well-spent life,"[328]—how much is enfolded in the brief
obituary! How many, of whom men never have heard in this world, were
influenced, advised, and counselled by the meek and noble ecclesiastic!

The influence of good men is like the circle we make when we cast a
little stone into a great stream, and which extends wider and wider
until it reaches the opposite bank. It is a noiseless influence, but not
the less effective. It is a hidden influence, but not the less
efficacious. The Coarb of St. Patrick, in his "well-spent life," may
have influenced for good as many hundreds, as the bad example of some
profligate adventurer influenced for evil; but we are quite sure to hear
a great deal about the exploits of the latter, and equally certain that
the good deeds of the former will not be so carefully chronicled.

Nor should we at all suppose that piety in this age was confined to
ecclesiastics. The Earls of Pembroke stand conspicuously amongst their
fellows as men of probity, and were none the less brave because they
were sincerely religious. At times, even in the midst of the fiercest
raids, men found time to pray, and to do deeds of mercy. On one Friday,
in the year of grace 1235, the English knights, in the very midst of
their success at Umallia, and after fearful devastations commanded "that
no people shall be slain on that day, in honour of the crucifixion of
Christ."[329] It is true they "plundered and devastated both by sea and
land the very next day;" but even one such public act of faith was
something that we might wish to see in our own times. After the same
raid, too, we find the "English of Ireland" and the Lord Justice sparing
and protecting Clarus, the Archdeacon of Elphin, and the Canons of
Trinity Island, in honour of the Blessed Trinity—another act of faith;
and the "Lord Justice himself and the chiefs of the English went to see
that place, and to kneel and pray there." On another occasion the
"English chiefs were highly disgusted" when their soldiers broke into
the sacristy of Boyle Abbey, and "took away the chalices, vestments, and
other valuable things." Their leaders "sent back everything they could
find, and paid for what they could not find."[330] We must, however,
acknowledge regretfully that this species of "disgust" and reparation
were equally rare. To plunder monasteries which they had not erected
themselves, seems to have been as ordinary an occupation as to found new
ones with a portion of their unjust spoils.

Although this is not an ecclesiastical history, some brief account of
the monks, and of the monasteries founded in Ireland about this period,
will be necessary. The earliest foundations were houses of the
Cistercian Order and the Augustinians. The Augustinian Order, as its
name implies, was originally founded by St. Augustine, the great
Archbishop of Hippo, in Africa. His rule has been adopted and adapted by
the founders of several congregations of men and women. The great
Benedictine Order owes its origin to the Patriarch of the West, so
famous for his rejection of the nobility of earth, that he might attain
more securely to the ranks of the noble in heaven. This Order was
introduced into England at an early period. It became still more popular
and distinguished when St. Bernard preached under the mantle of
Benedict, and showed how austerity towards himself and tenderness
towards others could be combined in its highest perfection.

The twin Orders of St. Dominic and St. Francis, founded in the early
part of the thirteenth century—the one by a Spanish nobleman, the other
by an Italian merchant—were established in Ireland in the very lifetime
of their founders. Nothing now remains of the glories of their ancient
houses, on which the patrons had expended so much wealth, and the artist
so much skill; but their memory still lives in the hearts of the people,
and there are few places in the country without traditions which point
out the spot where a Franciscan was martyred, or a Dominican taken in
the act of administering to the spiritual necessities of the people.

The Abbey of Mellifont was founded A.D. 1142, for Cistercian monks, by
Donough O'Carroll, King of Oriel. It was the most ancient monastery of
the Order in this country, and was supplied with monks by St. Bernard,
direct from Clairvaux, then in all its first fervour. We have already
mentioned some of the offerings which were made to this monastery. The
date of the erection of St. Mary's Abbey in Dublin has not been
correctly ascertained, but it is quite certain that the Cistercians were
established here in 1139, although it was probably built originally by
the Danes. The abbots of this monastery, and of the monastery at
Mellifont, sat as barons in Parliament. There were also houses at
Bectiff, county Meath; Baltinglass, county Wicklow; Moray, county
Limerick; Ordorney, county Kerry (quaintly and suggestively called Kyrie Eleison), at Newry, Fermoy, Boyle, Monasterevan, Ashro, and
Jerpoint. The superiors of several of these houses sat in Parliament.
Their remains attest their beauty and the cultivated tastes of their
founders. The ruins of the Abbey of Holy Cross, county Tipperary,
founded in 1182, by Donald O'Brien, are of unusual extent and
magnificence. But the remains of Dunbrody, in the county of Wexford,
are, perhaps, the largest and the most picturesque of any in the
kingdom. It was also richly endowed. It should be remembered that these
establishments were erected by the founders, not merely as an act of
piety to God during their lifetime, but with the hope that prayers
should be offered there for the repose of their souls after death. Those
who confiscated these houses and lands to secular purposes, have
therefore committed a double injustice, since they have robbed both God
and the dead.

A great number of priories were also founded for the Canons Regular of
St. Augustine. These establishments were of great use in supplying a
number of zealous and devoted priests, who ministered to the spiritual
wants of the people in their several districts. Tintern Abbey was
founded in the year 1200, by the Earl of Pembroke. When in danger at
sea, he made a vow that he would erect a monastery on whatever place he
should first arrive in safety. He fulfilled his promise, and brought
monks from Tintern, in Monmouthshire, who gave their new habitation the
name of their old home. In 1224 the Cistercians resigned the Monastery
of St. Saviour, Dublin, which had been erected for them by the same
Earl, to the Dominicans, on condition that they should offer a lighted
taper, on the Feast of the Nativity, at the Abbey of St. Mary, as an
acknowledgment of the grant. The Mayor of Dublin, John Decer (A.D.
1380), repaired the church, and adorned it with a range of massive
pillars. The friars of this house were as distinguished for literature
as the rest of their brethren; and in 1421 they opened a school of
philosophy and divinity on Usher's Island.[331]

The Dominican Convent of St. Mary Magdalene at Drogheda was founded, in
1224, by John Netterville, Archbishop of Armagh. Richard II. and Henry
IV. were great benefactors to this house. Four general chapters were
also held here. The Black Abbey of Kilkenny was erected by the younger
William, Earl of Pembroke. Four general chapters were also held here,
and it was considered one of the first houses of the Order in Ireland.
We shall give details, at a later period, of the destruction and
restoration of this and other monasteries. The Dominicans had also
houses at Waterford, Cork, Mullingar, Athenry, Cashel, Tralee, Sligo,
Roscommon, and, in fact, in nearly all the principal towns in the
country.

Nor were their Franciscan brethren less popular. The Order of Friars
Minor generally found a home near the Friars Preachers; and so close was
the friendship between them, that it was usual, on the festivals of
their respective founders, for the Franciscan to preach the panegyric of
St. Dominic, and the Dominican to preach the panegyric of St. Francis.
Youghal was the first place where a convent of this Order was erected.
The founder, Maurice FitzGerald, was Lord Justice in the year 1229, and
again in 1232. He was a patron of both Orders, and died in the
Franciscan habit, on the 20th May, 1257. Indeed, some of the English and
Irish chieftains were so devout to the two saints, that they appear to
have had some difficulty in choosing which they would have for their
special patron. In 1649 the famous Owen O'Neill was buried in a convent
of the Order at Cavan. When dying he desired that he should be clothed
in the Dominican habit, and buried in the Franciscan monastery.

Some curious particulars are related of the foundation at Youghal. The
Earl was building a mansion for his family in the town, about the year
1231. While the workmen were engaged in laying the foundation, they
begged some money, on the eve of a great feast, that they might drink to
the health of their noble employer. FitzGerald willingly complied with
their request, and desired his eldest son to be the bearer of his
bounty. The young nobleman, however, less generous than his father, not
only refused to give them the money, but had angry words with the
workmen. It is not mentioned whether the affair came to a more serious
collision; but the Earl, highly incensed with the conduct of his son,
ordered the workmen to erect a monastery instead of a castle, and
bestowed the house upon the Franciscan fathers. The following year he
took their habit, and lived in the convent until his death. This house
was completely destroyed during the persecutions in the reign of
Elizabeth.

The Convent of Kilkenny was founded immediately after. Its benefactor
was the Earl of Pembroke, who was buried in the church. Here was a
remarkable spring, dedicated to St. Francis, at which many miraculous
cures are said to have been wrought. The site occupied by this building
was very extensive; its ruins only remain to tell how spacious and
beautiful its abbey and church must have been. It was also remarkable
for the learned men who there pursued their literary toil, among whom we
may mention the celebrated annalist, Clynn. He was at first Guardian of
the Convent of Carrick-on-Suir; but, about 1338, he retired to Kilkenny,
where he compiled the greater part of his Annals. It is probable that he
died about 1350. His history commences with the Christian era, and is
carried down to the year 1349. At this time the country was all but
depopulated by a fearful pestilence. The good and learned brother seems
to have had some forebodings of his impending fate, for his last written
words run thus:—"And, lest the writing should perish with the writer,
and the work should fail with the workman, I leave behind me parchment
for continuing it; if any man should have the good fortune to survive
this calamity, or any one of the race of Adam should escape this
pestilence, and live to continue what I have begun." This abbey was also
one of the great literary schools of Ireland, and had its halls of
philosophy and divinity, which, were well attended for many years.

In Dublin the Franciscans were established by the munificence of their
great patron, Henry III. Ralph le Porter granted a site of land in that
part of the city where the street still retains the name of the founder
of the Seraphic Order. In 1308 John le Decer proved a great benefactor
to the friars, and erected a very beautiful chapel, dedicated to the
Blessed Virgin, in which he was interred.

But the Convent of Multifarnham was the great glory of this century. It
was erected, in 1236, by Lord Delemere; and from its retired situation,
and the powerful protection of its noble patrons, escaped many of the
calamities which befell other houses of the Order. The church and
convent were built "in honour of God and St. Francis." The monastery
itself was of unusual size, and had ample accommodation for a number of
friars. Hence, in times of persecution, it was the usual refuge of the
sick and infirm, who were driven from their less favoured homes. The
church was remarkable for its beauty and the richness of its ornaments.
Here were the tombs of its noble founders and patrons; and the
south-eastern window was gorgeous with their heraldic devices. The
convent was situated on Lake Derravaragh, and was endowed with many
acres of rich land, through which flow the Inny and the Gaine. Such a
position afforded opportunity for mills and agricultural labours, of
which the friars were not slow to avail themselves.

The site, as we have remarked, was secluded, at some distance even from
any village, and far from the more frequented roads. In process of time
the family of the Nugents became lords of the manor, but they were not
less friendly to the religious than the former proprietors. Indeed, so
devoted were they to the Order, that, at the time of the dissolution of
the monasteries, Multifarnham would have shared the common fate, had
they not again and again repurchased it from those to whom it had been
sold by Henry. Even during the reign of Elizabeth it was protected by
the same family. But the day of suffering was even then approaching. In
the October of the year 1601, a detachment of English soldiers was sent
from Dublin by Lord Mountjoy, to destroy the convent which had been so
long spared. The friars were seized and imprisoned, the monastery
pillaged; and the soldiers, disappointed in their hope of a rich booty,
wreaked their vengeance by setting fire to the sacred pile.

The Convent of Kilcrea was another sequestered spot. It was founded in
the fifteenth century, by the MacCarthys, under the invocation of St.
Brigid. The richness and magnificence of the church, its graceful
bell-tower, carved windows, and marble ornaments, showed both the
generosity and the taste of the Lord Muskerry. Cormac was interred here
in 1495; and many noble families, having made it their place of
sepulture, protected the church for the sake of their ancestral tombs.

Nor was the Monastery of Timoleague less celebrated. The honour of its
foundation is disputed, as well as the exact date; but as the tombs of
the MacCarthys, the O'Donovans, O'Heas, and De Courcys, are in its
choir, we may suppose that all had a share in the erection or adornment
of this stately church. One of the De Courcy family, Edmund, Bishop of
Ross, himself a Franciscan friar, rebuilt the bell-tower, which rises to
a height of seventy feet, as well as the dormitory, infirmary, and
library. At his death, in 1548, he bequeathed many valuable books,
altar-plate, &c., to his brethren.

The history of the establishment of the Order at Donegal is amusing
enough, and very characteristic of the customs of the age. In the year
1474 the Franciscans were holding a general chapter in their convent
near Tuam. In the midst of their deliberations, however, they were
unexpectedly interrupted by the arrival of the Lady Nuala O'Connor,
daughter of the noble O'Connor Faly, and wife of the powerful chieftain,
Hugh O'Donnell. She was attended by a brilliant escort, and came for no
other purpose than to present her humble petition to the assembled
fathers, for the establishment of their Order in the principality of
Tir-Connell. After some deliberation, the Provincial informed her that
her request could not be complied with at present, but that at a future
period the friars would most willingly second her pious design. The Lady
Nuala, however, had a woman's will, and a spirit of religious fervour to
animate it. "What!" she exclaimed, "have I made this long and painful
journey only to meet with a refusal? Beware of God's wrath! for to Him I
will appeal, that He may charge you with all the souls whom your delay
may cause to perish." This was unanswerable. The Lady Nuala journeyed
home with a goodly band of Franciscans in her train; and soon the
establishment of the Monastery of Donegal, situated at the head of the
bay, showed that the piety of the lady was generously seconded by her
noble husband. Lady Nuala did not live to see the completion of her
cherished design. Her mortal remains were interred under the high altar,
and many and fervent were the prayers of the holy friars for the eternal
repose of their benefactress.

The second wife of O'Donnell was not less devoted to the Order. This
lady was a daughter of Connor O'Brien, King of Thomond. Her zeal in the
good work was so great, that the monastery was soon completed, and the
church dedicated in 1474. The ceremony was carried out with the utmost
magnificence, and large benefactions bestowed on the religious. After
the death of her husband, who had built a castle close to the monastery,
and was buried within the sacred walls, the widowed princess retired to
a small dwelling near the church, where she passed the remainder of her
days in prayer and penance. Her son, Hugh Oge, followed the steps of his
good father. So judicious and upright was his rule, that it was said, in
his days, the people of Tir-Connell never closed their doors except to
keep out the wind. In 1510 he set out on a pilgrimage to Rome. Here he
spent two years, and was received everywhere as an independent prince,
and treated with the greatest distinction. But neither the honours
conferred on him, nor his knightly fame (for it is said he was never
vanquished in the field or the lists), could satisfy the desires of his
heart. After a brief enjoyment of his ancestral honours, he retired to
the monastery which his father had erected, and found, with the poor
children of St. Francis, that peace and contentment which the world
cannot give.

In the county Kerry there were at least two convents of the Order—one
at Ardfert, founded, probably, in the year 1389; the other, famous for
the beauty of its ruins, and proximity to the far-famed Lakes of
Killarney, demands a longer notice.

The Convent of Irrelagh, or, as it is now called, Muckross, was founded
early in the fifteenth century, by a prince of the famous family of
MacCarthy More, known afterwards as Tadeige Manistireach, or Teigue of
the Monastery.

According to the tradition of the county, and a MS. description of
Kerry, written about the year 1750, and now preserved in the Library of
the Royal Irish Academy, the site on which the monastery was to be built
was pointed out to MacCarthy More in a vision, which warned him not to
erect his monastery in any situation except at a place called
Carrig-an-Ceoil, i.e., the rock of the music. As no such place was known
to him, he despatched some of his faithful followers to ascertain in
what part of his principality it was situated. For some time they
inquired in vain; but as they returned home in despair, the most
exquisite music was heard to issue from a rock at Irrelagh. When the
chief was made aware of this, he at once concluded it was the spot
destined by Providence for his pious undertaking, which he immediately
commenced.

It was finished by his son, Donnell (1440). The convent was dedicated to
the Blessed Trinity. It is said there was a miraculous image of the
Blessed Virgin here, which brought great crowds of pilgrims. The feast
of the Porziuncula was kept here long after the abbey had fallen to
ruins, and the friars dispersed, and was known as the Abbey Day. Until
the last few years stations were held there regularly, on the 2nd of
October.

Clonmel Monastery was founded, about 1269, by the Desmonds; Drogheda, in
1240, by the Plunkets.

Some convents of Carmelite friars were also founded in the thirteenth
century, but as yet they have not been fortunate enough to obtain the
services of a historian, so that we can only briefly indicate the sites.
The Convent of Dublin, for White Friars, was founded by Sir Robert
Bagot, in 1274. The date of the establishment of the house at
Leighlin-bridge has not been ascertained; but it was probably erected by
the Carews, at the end of the reign of Henry III. There were also
convents at Ardee, Drogheda, Galway, Kildare, and Thurles. The Convent
of Kildare was the general seminary for the Order in Ireland; and one of
its friars, David O'Brege, is styled "the burning light, the mirror and
ornament of his country."

In 1248 the young men of Connaught inaugurated the periodical
rebellions, which a statesman of modern times has compared to the
dancing manias of the middle ages. Unfortunately for his comparison,
there was a cause for the one, and there was no cause for the other.
They acted unwisely, because there was not the remotest possibility of
success; and to rebel against an oppression which cannot be remedied,
only forges closer chains for the oppressed. But it can scarcely be
denied that their motive was a patriotic one. Felim's son, Hugh, was the
leader of the youthful band. In 1249 Maurice FitzGerald arrived to crush
the movement, or, in modern parlance, "to stamp it out"—not always a
successful process; for sparks are generally left after the most careful
stamping, which another method might effectually have quenched. Felim at
once fled the country. The English made his nephew, Turlough, ruler in
his place; but the following year Felim made a bold swoop down from the
Curlieus, expelled the intruder, and drove off a cattle prey. After this
proof of his determination and valour, the English made peace with him,
and permitted him to retain his own dominions without further
molestation. Florence MacCarthy was killed this year, and Brian O'Neill,
Lord of Tyrone, submitted to the Lord Justice—thereby freeing the
invaders from two troublesome combatants. The next year, however, the
English, who were not particular about treaties, invaded the north, and
were repulsed with such loss as to induce them to treat the enemy with
more respect for the time.

Under the year 1249 the Annals mention a defeat which the Irish suffered
at Athenry, which they attribute to their refusal to desist from warfare
on Lady Day, the English having asked a truce in honour of the Blessed
Virgin. They also record the death of Donough O'Gillapatrick, and say
that this was a retaliation due to the English; for he had killed,
burned, and destroyed many of them. He is characterized, evidently with
a little honest pride, as the third greatest plunderer of the English.
The names of the other two plunderers are also carefully chronicled;
they were Connor O'Melaghlin and Connor MacCoghlan. The "greatest
plunderer" was in the habit of going about to reconnoitre the English
towns in the disguise of pauper or poet, as best suited him for the
time; and he had a quatrain commemorating his exploits:—

"He is a carpenter, he is a turner,
My nursling is a bookman;
He is selling wine and hides,
Where he sees a gathering."

The quatrain, if of no other value, gives us an idea of the commodities
bartered, and the tradesmen who offered their goods at Irish fairs in
English towns during the thirteenth century.

In 1257 there was a fierce conflict between the Irish, under Godfrey
O'Donnell, and the English, commanded by Maurice FitzGerald. The
conflict took place at Creadrankille, near Sligo. The leaders engaged in
single combat, and were both severely wounded: eventually the invaders
were defeated and expelled from Lower Connaught. Godfrey's wound
prevented him from following up his success, and soon after the two
chieftains died. The circumstances of Maurice's death have been already
recorded. The death of O'Donnell is a curious illustration of the
feeling of the times. During his illness, Brian O'Neill sent to demand
hostages from the Cinel-Connaill. The messengers fled the moment they
had fulfilled their commission. For all reply, O'Donnell commanded his
people to assemble, to place him on his bier, and to bear him forth at
their head. And thus they met the enemy. The battle took place on the
banks of the river Swilly, in Donegal. O'Donnell's army conquered. The
hero's bier was laid down in the street of a little village at Connal,
near Letterkenny, and there he died.

O'Neill again demanded hostages; but while the men deliberated what
answer they should give, Donnell Oge returned from Scotland, and though
he was but a youth of eighteen, he was elected chieftain. The same year
the long-disused title of Monarch of Ireland was conferred on O'Neill by
some of the Irish kings. After a conference at Caol Uisge, O'Neill and
O'Connor turned their forces against the English, and a battle was
fought near Downpatrick, where the Irish were defeated.[332] O'Neill was
killed, with fifteen of the O'Kanes and many other chieftains, A.D.
1260. The English were commanded by the then Viceroy, Stephen Longespé,
who was murdered soon after by his own people.

In the south the English suffered a severe reverse. The Geraldines were
defeated by Connor O'Brien in Thomond, and again at Kilgarvan, near
Kenmare, by Fineen MacCarthy. The Annals of Innisfallen give long
details of this engagement, the sight of which is still pointed out by
the country people. John FitzThomas, the founder of the Dominican
Monastery at Tralee, was killed. The MacCarthys immediately proceeded to
level all the castles which had been erected by the English; they were
very numerous in that district. Soon after the hero of the fight was
killed himself by the De Courcys.

The Annals mention an instance of a man who had taken a bell from the
Church of Ballysadare, and put it on his head when attacked by the
enemy, hoping that he might escape with his prize and his life, from the
respect always shown to everything consecrated to God's service; but he
was killed notwithstanding. This incident is mentioned as characteristic
of the age. After the defeat narrated above, Hanmer says, "the
Geraldines dared not put a plough into the ground in Desmond." The next
year, 1262, Mac William Burke marched with a great army as far as
Elphin. He was joined by the Lord Justice and John de Verdun. They
marked out a place for a castle at Roscommon, and plundered all that
remained after Hugh O'Connor in Connaught. He, in his turn,
counterburned and plundered so successfully, that the English were glad
to ask for peace. The result was a conference at the ford of
Doire-Chuire. A peace was concluded, after which "Hugh O'Connor and Mac
William Burke slept together in the one bed, cheerfully and happily; and
the English left the country on the next day, after bidding farewell to
O'Connor."

After this fraternal demonstration, Burke led an army into Desmond, and
an engagement took place with MacCarthy on the side of Mangerton
Mountain, where both English and Irish suffered great losses. Gerald
Roche, who is said to be the third best knight of his time in Ireland,
was slain by MacCarthy.[333] Burke was soon after created Earl of
Ulster.[334] He and FitzGerald waged war against each other in 1264, and
desolated the country with their raids. The Lord Justice sided with
FitzGerald, who succeeded in taking all Burke's castles in Connaught.

The quarrels of the invaders now became so general, that even the Lord
Justice was seized at a conference by FitzMaurice FitzGerald, and was
detained prisoner, with several other nobles, for some time. During the
wars between De Burgo (or Burke) and FitzGerald, the good people of Ross
threatened to defend their town from all invaders; and to effect this
purpose the council commanded all the citizens to assist in erecting the
necessary fortifications. Even the ladies[335] and clergy[336] took part
in the works, which were soon and successfully completed.

An Anglo-Norman poet commemorated this event in verse, and celebrates
the fame of Rose, a lady who contributed largely to the undertaking,
both by her presence and her liberal donations. He informs us first of
the reason for this undertaking. It was those two troublesome knights,
"sire Morice e sire Wauter," who would not permit the world to be at
peace. He assures us that the citizens of New Ross were most anxious for
peace, because they were merchants, and had an extensive trade, which
was quite true; but he adds that they were determined to defend their
rights if attacked, which was also true.

The poet also compliments the ladies, and thinks that the man would be
happy who could have his choice of them. He also informs us they were to
build a "Ladies' Gate," where there should be a prison in which all who
gave offence to the fair sex should be confined at their pleasure. Of a
surety, New Ross must have been the paradise of ladies in those days. We
have not ascertained whether its fair citizens retain the same potent
sway in the present century.

Felim O'Connor died in 1265. The Four Masters give his obituary thus:
"Felim, son of Cathal Crovderg O'Connor, the defender and supporter of
his own province, and of his friends on every side, the expeller and
plunderer of his foes; a man full of hospitality, prowess, and renown;
the exalter of the clerical orders and men of science; a worthy materies
[sic] of a King of Ireland for his nobility, personal shape, heroism,
wisdom, clemency, and truth; died, after the victory of unction and
penance, in the monastery of the Dominican friars at Roscommon, which he
had himself granted to God and that Order."

He was succeeded by his son, Hugh, "who committed his regal depredation
in Offaly." It appears to have been considered a customary thing for a
new sovereign to signalize himself, as soon as possible, by some display
of this description. He succeeded so well in this same depredation, that
the Lord Justice was alarmed, and came to assist De Burgo. The latter
proposed a conference at Carrick-on-Shannon; but Hugh O'Connor suspected
treachery, and contrived to get the Earl's brother, William Oge, into
his hands before the conference commenced. The Earl "passed the night in
sadness and sorrow." At daybreak a fierce conflict ensued. Turlough
O'Brien, who was coming to assist the Connacians, was met on his way,
and slain in single combat by De Burgo. But his death was fearfully
avenged; great numbers of the English were slain, and immense spoils
were taken from them. De Burgo died the following year, in Galway
Castle, after a short illness, A.D. 1271.

CURTAIN CAVE, TIPPERARY.

CURTAIN CAVE, TIPPERARY.


BERMINGHAM TOWER, DUBLIN CASTLE

BERMINGHAM TOWER, DUBLIN CASTLE