Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many, commonly called O'Kelly's Country (Author: Unknown)


Introductory Remarks

The following account of the families and customs of Hy-Many is printed from the Book of Lecan, fol. 90 to 92, exactly as it stands in the original, excepting only that the contractions are not retained, and such grammatical marks are introduced as were deemed necessary to render the language intelligible to an Irish scholar not familiar with MS. abbreviations. The Book of Lecan was compiled from various other MSS. for Gilla Iosa More Mac Firbis, chief historian of the O'Dowds of Tireragh, in the county of Sligo, about the year 1418; but the work has been already so well described by O'Reilly, in his Irish Writers (vol. i. of the Transactions of the Iberno-Celtic Society), that it is not necessary to give any detailed description of it in this place.

Whether the tract on the customs of Hy-Many was originally composed at the period of the compilation of the Book of Lecan, or transcribed from an older MS., we are not at present able to decide satisfactorily, as no other copy of it has been discovered, but it is highly probable that it was transcribed, and perhaps abridged, from some MS. belonging to the territory of Hy-Many. The Book of Hy-Many, supposed to contain various tracts relating to the territory, is still in existence, and is believed to be in the possession of a private collector in England; it is, however, inaccessible to the Editor, who


is therefore unable to say, whether the tract, now for the first time printed, is to be found in that MS. or not; but if we may judge from the account of its contents published by O'Reilly (ubi supra, p. 122), we should be led to conclude that the book of Hy-Many does not contain this tract, and hence it may fairly be doubted whether a second copy of it is now extant, The Rev. Patrick Mac Loughlin, in his abstract of the Book of Lecan, states, that this is the most curious tract in that volume.

As none of our writers has yet described the boundaries of the famous territory of Hy-Many, or given any detailed account of its history, it will be necessary here to point out its limits, and to give a brief outline of the principal historical events with which it is connected. Denis H. Kelly, Esq. of Castle Kelly, has kindly sent the Editor the following account of the extent of Hy-Many, which is worth preserving, though far from being perfect: Between the reigns of Colla Uais, 130th monarch of Ireland, A. D. 327, and that of Coelbad, 132nd monarch, A. D. 357, Maine the Great, the son of Imchad, and grandson of Donald, who was the son of Achy Ferdaghiall, obtained Imania in the south of Connaught and county of Galway, which his posterity greatly enlarged and extended beyond the river Suck to the Shannon, through the county of Roscommon. This territory of Imania was variously called Hymanny, Imanny, Ithmania, Mainech, Ivemaine, Hymaine, Omaine, Omanny, or Uimaine, and appears from various authorities to have consisted of the southern part of what is now called the county of Roscommon, and the northern part of the county of Galway. What its exact extent was cannot now be positively ascertained; but from the various family estates at present belonging, and those which are well known formerly to have belonged, to persons of the name of Kelly or O'Kelly, in that particular part of the kingdom, as well as from the different old castles which popular tradition and historical records point out as having been built by, or in the possession of the O'Kellys, there is good reason to suppose that it extended over the barony of Athlone, in the county of Roscommon, and the baronies of Ballymoe, Tiaquin, Killian, and


Kilconnell, in the county of Galway; and this conjecture is strengthened by an old pedigree in the possession of the Rev. A. Kelly, of Castle Kelly, the present head of the name, compiled by that learned antiquarian, Charles O'Conor, Esq., of Belanagare, which, in its account of the family, between the years 1393 and 1423, mentions the barony of Tiaquin, as the appanage of one younger son; the barony of Kilconnell, as that of another; the barony of Athlone, as that of a third; and the lands of Rahera, as that of a fourth, and which styles the eldest son by the second wife as Teige More of Cruffon, a name by which the peasantry still designate a large district in the county of Galway, long celebrated for its coarse linen manufacture, containing the barony of Killian and a large part of Ballymoe.’’

Among the castles built by the O'Kellys, and which are all situated in this district, are those of Moate, near Roscommon; Galy, on the borders of the Shannon, near Knockcroghery; Athleague, Corbeg, and Skryne, in the county Roscommon, and Garbally, Aughrim, Monivea, Gallagh, Mullaghmore, Moy-lough, and Aghrane, now Castle Kelly, in the county of Galway. The Abbey of Kilconnell was also reconstructed by William O'Kelly, and Knockmoy, Clonmacnoise, and Clontuskert, experienced the liberality of the chiefs of Hy-maine. Sir Richard Cox, in his explanatory index to his History of Ireland, has the word 'Imanya;' to which is added as explanation, ‘O'Kelly's country, in the counties of Galway and Roscommon; the O'Kellys were kings of this country.’ In Ware's Antiquities, Hymaine is mentioned as ‘a territory in the county of Galway, bordering on the county of Roscommon, and at times extended by conquest into it, usually called Mainech, the O'Daly's country and the O'Kellys.’ In the Pacata Hibernia, we find ‘that the parliament army retreating from Munster, passed vaguely through the county of Galway, until they came to the Kellys' country, where they were fought withal by Sir Thomas Burke, the Earl of Clanricarde's brother and Sir Thomas Maltby, who were more in number than the rebels;’ and Camden, in his Brittannia, treating of the county of Roscommon, mentions: ‘More southward lies Athlone, the barony of the O'Kellys.’ From these authorities the above conjecture assumes considerable probability, and Hymaine appears entitled to a respectable situation among the petty sovereignties of Ireland.’’

‘Hy-Maine’ signifies ‘Maine's territory’; ‘Hy’ or ‘I’ being the plural of ‘Ua’ or ‘O’, a grandson, and is frequently prefixed to the name of any remarkable progenitor


of a family, as well to particularize the family as the lands they possess. In a note to the word O'Kelly, in the Memoirs of Charles O'Conor, Esq., of Belanagare, are the following words: Antiquissima haec familia originem ducit ab Imchado Regulo Iathmainiae, cujus posteri ab ipsius pro nepote Maino magno assumpserunt nomen Iathmainiae seu Hymainy, quod praedia Mainiae significat, atque ab eo descendentes usque ad Thaddaeum de Tailtionn, cujus tempore Angli invaserunt Hiberniam, Iathmainiae Reguli nuncupati sunt, et multa habuerunt privilegia a regibus Connaciae. Possidebant tertiam partem omnium praedarum et naufragiorum, necnon fodinarum auri et argenti et mettallorum, pluraque alia quae in antiquis Chronicis nominantur.’’

O'Halloran, in his Introduction to the History and Antiquities of Ireland, says, ‘the M'Dermotts were hereditary marshalls to the kings of Connaught, and the O'Kellys hereditary treasurers;’ and in the commencement of the pedigree now in the possession of the Rev. A. Kelly, compiled by Charles O'Conor, Esq., of Belanagare, it is stated: ‘The illustrious family of Hymanny, who, since the reception of surnames in the eleventh century, took the name of O'Kelly, had a territory in Connaught of about 200 square miles, extending through the county of Galway, and the southern part of Roscommon, as far as the river Shannon.’’

But fortunately we are not left to guess at the extent of this ancient territory, for its exact boundaries are given in a vellum MS. preserved in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin (H. 3. 18. p. 412). And as this short but important document appears to have been unknown to all our writers, and has never been published, I shall transcribe it, word for word as it stands in the original, dispensing with the contractions as usual. It will show that Hy-Many originally extended from Clontuskert, near Lanesborough, in the county of Roscommon, southwards, to the boundary of Thomond or the county of Clare, and from Athlone, westwards, to Seefin and Athenry, in the present county of Galway.

Criochairecht O Maine. ‘Secht tricha, secht tuatha, secht m-baile, secht leath-bhaile. O Cluain Tuaiscert


na Sinna co h-Aireanach; ó Aireanach co Rinn Duin; ó Rinn Duin co Rinn Cleatchair; ó Rinn Cleathchair co Ath Luain; ó Ath Luain co Snamh dá Én; ó Snamh dá Én co Ath Crocha; ó Ath Crocha co Lusmhagh; ó Lusmhagh Deirgdeirc; ó Deirgdheirc co Gréin; ó Gréin co Suidhe Finn; ó Suidhe Finn co Ath na Riogh; ó Ath na Riog co Umnaig; ó Umnaig co Ath in Saluin; ó Ath in Saluin co Tir Mic Tréna; o sin co h-Escir Alaing; o tha sin co h-Ath Mogha; o tha sin co Sidh Neannta; o tha sin co teit 'sa Sinainn arís.’

Boundaries of Hy-Many. It contains seven cantreds, seven tuathas, seven townlands, seven half townlands. Its boundary extends from Cluain Tuaiscert1 na Sinna to Aireanach;2 from Aireanach to Rinn Duin;3 from Rinn Duin to Rinn Cleathchair;4 from Rinn Cleathchair to Ath-Luain;5 from Ath-Luain to Snamh da en;6 from Snamh da en to Ath Crocha;7 from Ath Crocha to Lusmagh;8 from Lusmagh to Deirgdeirc;9 from Deirgdeirc to Grian;10 from Grian to Suidhe Finn;11 from


Suidhe Finn to Ath na riogh;12 from Ath na riogh to Umnaigh; from Umnaigh13 to Ath an saluin;14 Ath an saluin to Tir Mhic Trena;15 from thence to Escir Alaing;16 from thence to Ath Mogha;17 from thence to Sidh Neannta;18 and thence to the Shannon again.’’

The same boundaries are given in a short poem preserved in another vellum MS. in the Library of Trinity College: but as this poem gives only one additional name, viz. Magh Muaidh, which is the plain near Knockmoy Abbey, it is not inserted here, to avoid the unnecessary repetition of what has been already given in prose.

The most conspicuous of the same boundaries are also mentioned in a MS. poem in the same library, addressed to William, son of Donogh,


who was son of Conor O'Kelly, on the occasion of his having invited all the poets, minstrels, and other professors of art in Ireland, to his house, in the year 1457. In this poem it is stated, that William, the son of Duvessa (his mother), had got possession of the entire territory of Hy-Many, extending, according to its well known boundaries, from Grian to Caraidh.

That he recovered such parts of the principality of his ancestors as had been wrested from them by adventurers, and that he even took possession of some portions of the territories of his neighbours; that the three celebrated fords called Ath na Riogh,19 Ath Luain,20, and Ath-liag,21 were included in his principality, and that his lands were bounded by the great lakes of Loch High, and Loch Dergdherc; and also that the great plain of Maonmhagh [Moinmoy], the ancient patrimony of the Clanna Moirne, which had been in the occupation of strangers till William grew up, was again restored to the Hy-Many, and divided among their septs.

It is also stated in a poem addressed to Eoghan O'Madden, chief of Sil Anmchadha, contained in a fragment of the Book of Hy-Many, preserved in the Library of Trinity College (H. 2. 7. p. 190), that Uaran, now Oran, in the county of Roscommon, Lusmagh in the now King's county, and even Lough Greine, now in the north of the county of Clare, were a part of Hy-Many; and it is stated in a second poem, preserved in the same MS., addressed to the same chieftain, that Hy-Many extended from Grian to Caraidh, and included Dun Imghain, now Dunamon, Inis Clothrann in Lough Ree, and Inis Cealltra in Lough Dergdherc.

To give any thing like the history of Hy-Many would far exceed


the limits which the Editor intends for this preface, and the reader must rest satisfied with a brief account of the first formation of the principality by Maine Mor, the ancestor of all the Hy-Many, and a list of the successive chiefs from Maine Mor, as they are given in a poem addressed to Eoghan O'Madden, who died in 1347.

The most authentic and most circumstantial account of the first settlement of Maine Mor, ancestor of all the Hy-Maine, and his people, in this territory, is preserved in the Life of St. Grellan, the patron of this tribe, who flourished in the fifth century, a paper copy22 of which is preserved in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy. In this Life, it is stated, that this part of the province of Connaught was in the possession of the Firbolgs in the time of St. Patrick and St. Grellan, and that the latter was assigned a place called Achadh Fionnabhrach, by Duach Gallach, king of Connaught, where the saint built a church before Maine Mor arrived in Connaught. I shall present the reader with the whole account of the settlement of Maine and his people in this district, as contained in this work. After giving a detailed account of the baptism of Eoghan Sriabh, the son of Duach Gallach, king of Connaught, and of a miracle performed by St. Grellan, the biographer proceeds as follows: Do berthar an baile seo, ina n-dearnadh an miorbuile si do, .i. Achadh Fionnurach a ainm conuigi sin, agus Craobh Ghreallain a ainm o sin a leith, o'n craoibh sheilbhe thucc Duach agus Padraicc


do Ghreallan ann, agus ro orduic cios do'n maicchleireach, .i. seacht m-bruit o gach bainrioghain; agus ar n-orducchadh na cana, do iarr coruidheacht Phadraicc fris in chios chanadh sin do; agus tuccadh iar sin.’’

Agus as a h-aithle sin do luidh Greallan a d-trian uachtarach an chuiccidh sin, go raibhi acc siubhal an tire, agus nir oiris a mheanma for inadh dar imgidh no go rainic Macch Seincheineoil, baile a raibhi Cian d'Fearaibh Bolg, ri an tire, agus airiseas i g-ceand an erlaimh for an ionadh sin, .i. Cill Cluaine a ainm.’’

As i sin aimsir in ar iomraidhedar aicme Colla da Chríoch teacht a h-Oirgiallaibh, agus ar eadh a dubhradar: Is lionmhar ar laochraidh, agus as ádhbhal ar n-oireacht, agus a ta ár n-aicme ar n-iomdugadh, agus ní bh-fhuiccheam ionad a n-aon chuicceadh uile gan fás easccairdis ettruinn, oir ni maith fhuilngid na h-uaisle a g-cúmhgach; agus a dubradar, 'Feucham cia an chuicceadh ina teirce daoine do'n Bhanba, agus ina lia d'Fhearaibh Bolcc, agus cumhgaidhiom orra é. Ata cuigeadh Chonnacht acc na h-Aithigh Tuathaibh, acht cios uathoibh diar m-brathair-ne, agus ionsaighiom é.' agus as iad ro chan an comhrádh so, .i. Máine Mor, o sloinntior na sluaicch, agus Eochaidh Fear da ghiall, a athair, ag a rabhadar geill Uladh agus Oirghiall a n-aoinfheacht.’’

Do ghluaisiodar na glan-shluaigh sin go h-obann, arrachta, 'na g-catha coirighthe, co na d-taintib agus tredaib, o Chlochar mac Daimhin go Druim Clasach, ris a n-abarthar Tir Maine, itir Loch Ri agus Suca. Ro airgeadar an tír, agus ro chuirsiod teachta uatha go Cian, .i. tigerna an tire, go Mag Seinchineoil, agus ro innisiodar aicme Cholla dá Chrioch do bheith acc cuinge cíosa agus criche fair; agus ro h-eaglaigheadh Cian ris na h-iomráitibh sin. Ro thinoil a throm shluaicch, agus ro b'é a lion, .i. deic cet ar fichit, ac a raibi scciath, agus cloideamh, agus cathbarr, amhail atbert an rann:’’

    1. Aoin-fhear as gach lios amach,
      as eadh do ticceadh le Cian
      a Macch Seinchineoil, ní breucc,
      deich cét ar trichad cet scciath.

The place where this miracle was wrought, i.e. Achadh Fionnabhrach by name, was granted to St. Grellan, but it has been ever since called Craobh Greallain, i.e. the branch of Grellan, from the branch which king Duach and St. Patrick presented to St. Grellan, in token of possession. And the king also ordered, that seven garments should be given from every chieftain's wife, as a tribute to the young cleric; and when this tribute was ordained, St. Grellan asked the guarantee of St. Patrick for the payment of it, which was agreed to.’’

After this St. Grellan proceeded to the upper third of that province, and continued to traverse the country; but his attention was not fixed on any place over which he had passed, till he cae to Magh Seincheineoil, of which Cian, who was of the Firbolgic race, was king, who waited on the saint at the place where he was then staying, since called Cill Cluaine.23’’

It was at this period the race of Colla da Chrioch meditated to migrate from Oirghialla, and they said: ‘Numerous are our heroes and great is our population, our tribe having multiplied, and we cannot all find room in any one province without quarrelling among ourselves, for nobles cannot well bear to be confined;’ and they also said: ‘Let us see which province of Banba is thinnest in population, and in which most Firbolgs remain; and let us narrow it on them. The province


of Connaught is in the possession of these Attacots, excepting that they pay tribute to our relative, and let us attack it.’ Those who held this conversation were Maine Mor, from whom the hosts of Hy-many are named, and Eochaidh Ferdaghiall, his father, who had the hostages of Ulidia and Oirghialla together.’’

These fine hosts suddenly and heroically proceeded in well arranged battalions, with their flocks and herds, from Clochar Mac Daimhin24 to Druim Clasach, which is called Tir-Many, situated between Loch Ri25 and the river Suca [Suck]. They plundered the country, and despatched messengers to Cian, lord of the country, to Magh Seincheineoil, and they told him that the descendants of Colla da Chrioch had come to demand tribute and territory from him. And Cian was terrified by these sayings. He assembled his great forces, and their number was thirty hundred, who bore shield and sword and helmet, as the rann states:


      • One man out of every fort
        is what went forth with Cian,
        In Magh Seincheineoil,—no falsehood,—
        ten hundred and thirty hundred shields.

Agus ro b'e fad agus leathad an mhuighe, .i. ó Dhun na Riocch go h-Abhainn Bairrchinn, agus o Ath n-Fasdoicc go h-Ath n-Dearg Duin, re n-abarthar Ath an Chorrdhoire; agus nir fhan Cian do'n ruathar sin, no go rainic go h-iomurlar Thire Maine, agus no thinóilsiod an fheadhan dob' uaisle díobh dá n-ionnsaiccheadh ann sin; agus so thabhacht do Greallan sin, .i. sliocht Colla da Chrioch do bheith is in guasacht sin, agus no ghluais go tinniosnach dia d-teasarccain, agus as ann ro oiriseadar an dá fheadhain, agus ro choiscc a g-ceannfhairrcce, agus ro shnaidhm sith etorra, agus ro ordaicch tri n-aonmhuir o na h-uaislibh a laimh Cein fria chomhal sin. Agus Amhalgaidh, mac Maine Moir, as é fa h-uaisle do na h-eitiribh sin, agus tuccadh a laimh rachtaire Chein é. Agus gradhaigios bean an rachtaire e, agus ar na aithne sin do'n rachtaire líonas lonus agus mioscais na bráicche é, treas an mnaoi, agus téid mar a raibhi Cian, agus cuireas faoi milleadh na m-bracchadh gan fhuireach a n-aon oidhche. Agus do bhí ionad coinne ar na mhárach acc Cian co n-a shochraide ar Macch Seimhni, .i. n-imiol Muighe Seinchineoil, re h-Echaidh agus re Maine, agus re beccan do mhaithibh a muintire; agus ro chumadar go raibhi fleadh acc Cian ina comhair, agus ni h-eadh ro baoi acht feall; agus tarfas do Greallan an comhairle sin, oir as é fein do budh cor etorra, agus as é ionadh a raibhi Eochaidh agus Maine a m-bun a m-Bearrnaicch na n-Arm a n-ucht Maenmuighe, re n-abarthar an Seisidh Beacc.’’

And the length and breadth of the plain was from Dun na riogh to the river of Bairrchinn, and from Ath n-Fasdoig to Ath Dearg-duin, which is now called Ath an Chorrdhoire; and Cian delayed not on this occasion until he had reached the plain of Tir-Maine, and the noblest tribes among the race of Colla came to meet them there; and it was shown to St. Grellan how the race of Colla Da Chrioch were in this peril; and the saint came speedily to protect them, and he repressed both parties, and checked their animosity, and ratified a peace between them, and ordered that three times nine persons out of their nobility should be given into the hands of Cian, as pledges to observe this peace. Amhalgaidh, the son of Maine, was the noblest of these hostages, and he was delivered into the hands of Cian's lawgiver. And the wife of the lawgiver fell in love with him, which when the lawgiver had observed, he was filled with jealousy, and hatred of the prisoner, on account of the wife; and he went to where Cian was, and induced him to kill the hostages without delay in one night. On the day following, Cian and his forces had a conference at Magh Seimhni, on the confines of Magh Seincheineoil, with Eochaidh and Maine, and a few of the chiefs of their people; and it was pretended that Cian had a feast prepared for them, but he had not but treachery. This design was made known to St. Grellan, who was the guarantee between them. At this time Eochaidh and Maine were at the foot of Bearnach na n-arm in Maenmagh, now called Seisidh beag.’’


O 't-chonairc Greallan o dhorus a reclera na h-armo con mor shochraide sin, sinidh an da dhóid do chum an Duileamhain, iar n-a imdhearccadh ar eagla a slánaiccheachta do mhilleadh, agus fuair a itghe ó Dia, gur boccadh an magh mor sin fo chosaib Chéin co n-a mhuintir, go n-dearnadh cuthaidhe agus criathrach de, gur sluicceadh Cian co n-a mhuinntir tres na feartaibh sin: conadh Mag Liac ainm an mhuighe sin ó dhoilgios na laochraidhe d'a n-dioghbail do'n naomh-chléireach. Tainic Maine co n-a mhuinntirr a bail a raibh Greallán, agus ro chromadar na cinn do, agus ro inis doibh mar do fhealladh orra, agus mar do shaer Dia agus é féin iad ar lucht an fhill. At-bert Greallan friu; ‘tabhruídh-si an tír si, agus fuathaídh an feall, agus biaidh mo bheannacht-sa accaibh, agus coimhéadaigh bár m-braithrios, agus orduiccídh mo cháein agus mo dhligh féin dam-sa ó niodh go brath.’ ‘Beir-si féin,’ bar Maine, ‘an bhreath bhus áil dhuit.’ ‘Berad,’ bar eisiomh, agus at-bert Greallan an athchumair si sios.’’


    1. Mor mo chain ar cloinn Maine,
      sgreaball gacha h-aon bhaile,
      a ratha bhíos go ro-ghlan, réidh;
      ní cíos gan adhbhar éiséin.
    2. Céd ghin gacha cloinne dhamh,
      dhá m-baisder liom do bunadh,
      a cíos chugam as cíos cruaidh,
      gach céd arc is gac céd uan.
    3. Liom, go madh liaiti a n-eallach,
      ó chloinn Maine an céd shearrach,
      tionnlaicid a cíos dom' cill,
      i n-éccmais criche is fearuinn.
    4. Dál n-Druithne ní dhlicchim de,
      cíos no freaccradha oile,
      do cluintear go teand a n-dál;
      ni leam Muintir Maeilfhinnáin.
    5. Na Maineach ó sin amach,
      liom a g-cáin is a g-cabhach,
      Dínaid mo cheall da coimhde,
      liom a g-ceann sa g-coimheircce.
    6. A m-buadh 's a n-geasa sin,
      me do ordaigh gan ainimh.
      An feadh ra bhuid do mo reir,
      buaidh gach catha is a cathréim.
    7. Dénuid na gradha garcca,
      comairle mo chomharba,
      I measg Gaoidheal tuaith is teas,
      is riar h-aoinfhir gan aimhleas.
    8. Taithaidh mo chill crédmhigh,
      do ainic gach n-ainéccidh
      na h-eurat a cain dam-sa,
      do ghébhut mar gheallam-sa.
    9. Mo bheannacht ar an sliocht seang,
      ar chloinn Maine na bh-fithcheall,
      ní bladhfidear for an chloinn,
      acht go roisiot mo bhachall.
    10. Meircce catha na cloinne
      mo bhacall go fír-thoicche,
      nocho n-eatfaid catha a g-clodh,
      beud a ratha go ró-mhór.
    11. Mor, &c.

When St. Grellan had, from the door of his church, perceived these arms, and these great hosts, he raised his two hands to God, being apprehensive that his guarantee would be violated, and he obtained his request from God, for the great plain was softened and made a quagmire under the feet of Cian and his people, so that they were swallowed into the earth; and the place received the name of Magh Liach, i.e. the plain of sorrow, from the sorrow of the heroes, who were thus cut off by the holy cleric. Then Maine and his people came to where St. Grellan was, and bowed down their heads to him, and he told them how treachery had been designed for them, and how God and himself had saved them from those treacherous people.26 St. Grellan then said to them, ‘take possession of this territory, abominate treachery, and you shall have my blessing; observe brotherly love, and ordain my tribute and my own law for me from this day out for ever.’ ‘Pass thy own award,’ said Maine, ‘in whatever is pleasing to thee.’ ‘I will,’ said St. Grellan, and he repeated these brief verses following:’’

    1. Great is my tribute on the race of Maine,
      a screaball scruple out of every townland,
      Their successes shall be bright and easy;
      it is not a tribute acquired without cause.
    2. The first born of every family to me,
      that are all baptized by me,
      Their tribute paid to me is a severe tribute,
      every firstling pig and firstling lamb.
    3. To me belongs—may their cattle thence be the more numerous;—
      from the race of Maine, the firstling foal,
      Let them convey their tributes to my church,
      besides territory and land.
    4. From Dal Druithne I am not entitled to
      tribute or other demands,
      Their fame is much heard of;
      the Muinntir Maeilfinnain belong not to me.
    5. Of all the Hy-Many, these excepted,
      the tributes and rents are mine,
      Let them protect my church for its God.
      Their chief and his subjects are mine.
    6. Their success and injunctions
      it was I that ordained, without defect.
      While they remain obedient to my will,
      they shall be victorious in every battle.
    7. Let the warlike chiefs observe
      the advice of my successor,
      And among the Gaels north and south,
      their's shall be the unerring director.
    8. Frequent my sacred church
      which has protected each refugee,
      Refuse not to pay your tribute to me,
      and you shall receive as I have promised.
    9. My blessing on the agile race,
      the sons of Maine of chess-boards,
      That race shall not be subdued,
      so as they carry my crozier.

    10. p.14

    11. Let the battle standard of the race
      be my crozier of true value,
      And battles will not overwhelm them,
      their successes shall be very great.
    12. Great, &c.

It is also stated in a poem, addressed to the celebrated Eoghan O'Madden, chief of Sil-Anmchadha, written previously to the year 1347, that his ancestors came from Clochar mac n-Daimhin.

In a poem addressed to the same chieftain, a curious list of the chiefs of Hy-Many, of whom seven were his ancestors, is given; and though the list cannot be considered perfect, it is nevertheless valuable, as preserving the names of several chiefs of this territory not to be found in any other authority; without it nothing like an accurate series of the early chiefs of Hy-Many could now be given, as the Irish annals are imperfect.

  1. Maine Mor, ancestor of all the Hy-Many, was chief of the territory for fifty years, after which he died a natural death.
  2. Bresal, son of Maine, thirty years, when he died a natural death, which the poem states was surprising, as he had been much engaged in wars.
  3. Fiachra Finn, the son of Bresal (No. 2), seventeen years, when he was treacherously slain by his brother Maine Mall. Fiachra Finn is styled in the poem, ‘a tower in conflict and battle.’ He is the ancestor of the O'Naghtens and O'Mullallys or Lallys.
  4. Conall Cas-ciabhach, i.e. of the curled tresses, was prince of Hy-Maine, twenty-two years, when he was slain. He was brother of Fiachra Finn.
  5. Dallan, who was also a brother of Fiachra Finn, was prince of Hy-Maine for eleven years, when he was mortally wounded and afterwards drowned.
  6. Duach, the son of Dallan (No. 5), was prince of Hy-Many for sixteen years, when he was slain by Maine Macamh. He is called in the poem ‘a good man, and an impartial distributor of justice.’
  7. Lughaidh, the son of Dallan, and brother of Duach, was prince or chief ruler of Hy-Many for fourteen years, when he died a natural death.

  8. p.15

  9. Feradhach, the son of Lughaidh, was prince of Hy-Many for twenty-four years, when he was slain by his successor.
  10. Marcan was chief or prince of Hy-Maine for fifteen years, when he was slain by the sword as, the poem states, he had deserved.
  11. Cairbre Crom,27 son of Feradhach, prince of Hy-Many nine years, when he was slain by his successor. He granted to St. Kieran seventeen townlands in Hy-Many.
  12. Cairbre Mac Feachtaine, or Mac Feichine, the son of Feradhach (No. 8), was prince of Hy-Many for twenty-six years, when he was slain by Crimthann, after the former had slain his own brother, Cairbre Crom. He was father of Brenainn Dall, who died in the year 597, and of the celebrated Aedh Guaire, the relative of St. Rodanus of Lorrah, who is mentioned in the account of the cursing of Tara in the Annals of Clonmacnoise. He is the ancestor of the tribe called Cinel Fechin, who were seated in the barony of Leitrim, in the south of the county of Galway.

  13. p.16

  14. Cormac, son of Cairbre Crom, was prince of Hy-Maine for twenty years, when he died a natural death. This chieftain is called a saint, and the patron of Cill Cormaic.
  15. Eoghan Finn, the son of Cormac, was prince of Hy-Many for nineteen years, when he died a natural death. He is the ancestor of the Northern Hy-Maine or O'Kellys.
  16. Eoghan Buac, the son of Cormac, and brother of Eoghan Finn, was prince of Hy-Many for nineteen years, when he also died a natural death. He is the ancestor of the Southern Hy-Many or O'Maddens.
  17. Fichellach, the son of Dicholla, who was son of Eoghan Finn (No. 13), was prince of Hy-Many for twelve years, when he was slain by the army of Cobhthach, the son of Maelduin, who was son of Donnghallach, who was son of Anmchadh, who was son of Eoghan Buac (No. 14, supra).
  18. Cobhthach, son of Maelduin, was prince of Hy-Many for twenty years, when he was slain by Finnachta, son of Oilill, son of Innrachtach, son of Fichellach, son of Dluthach, son of Dicholla, son of Eoghan Finn.
  19. Finnachta, son of Oilill, was prince of Hy-Maine for seventeen years, when he was treacherously slain by the son of Cobhthach.
  20. Aeiril, or Oilell, the son of Aedh Finn, son of Anmchadh, son of Eogan Buac, was prince of Hy-Maine for fourteen years, when he fell in treachery by Ceallach, the ancestor after whom the O'Ceallaighs, or O'Kellys, have taken their surname.
  21. Cellach, son of Finnachta, who was son of Oilill, who was son of Innrachtach, who was son of Fichellach, who was son of Dluthach, who was son of Dicholla, who was son of Eoghan Finn (No. 13, supra), was chief of Hy-Many for eighteen years when he was slain.
  22. Diarmaid, the son of Aedh, was prince of Hy-Many for forty years, when he died a natural death. He was one of the seven princes of Hy-Many who were of the O'Madden or Sil Anmchadha line.
  23. Tadhg, or Teige Mor O'Kelly, was prince of Hy-Many for thirteen years, when he fell in the battle of Clontarf, fighting on the side of Brian Boru, monarch of Ireland, A.D. 1014.
  24. Gadhra, lord of Sil Anmchadha, on the death of Teige Mor O'Kelly, became lord of all Hy-Many, a dignity which he enjoyed for twelve years, when he died a natural death.


Gadhra, the twenty-second prince of Hy-Many, is the last mentioned in the poem from which this list has been taken, and which was addressed to Eoghan O Madden, chief of Sil Anmchadha and presumptive heir of Hy-Many, who died in the year 1347, according to the Four Masters. After giving this list of the chieftains, the Bard goes on to carry the pedigree of his patron, Eoghan O'Madden, from Gadhra, the last of the chiefs he enumerates, down to his own time, as follows:

  1. GADHRA, or GARA, was father of
  2. MADUDAN (or MADDEN), who was father of
  3. DIARMAID, who was father of
  4. MADUDAN, who was father of
  5. DIARMAID, who was father of
  6. MADUDAN MOR, who was father of
  7. CATHAL, who was father of
  8. MURCHADH, of Magh Bealaigh, who was father of
  9. EOGHAN O MADDEN, to whom the poem was addressed.

In another poem, preserved in the same manuscript, and addressed to the same Eoghan O'Madden, the seven chieftains of his family, who became princes of all Hy-Many, are enumerated in the following order: 1. Eoghan Buac, 2. Cobhthach, 3. Oilill, 4. Gadhra Mor, son of Dunadhach, 5. Diarmaid, 6. Oilill, 7. Diarmaid; and the Bard adds, that Eoghan O'Madden himself was expected to be the eighth.

The other chiefs of Hy-Many will be given in the pedigree of O'Kelly, Note A, at the end of this tract. This is not reproduced in the CELT edition.

After the Burkes, or De Burghs, had established themselves in the county of Galway, the limits of Hy-Many were very much circumscribed28, the baronies of Leitrim, Eoughrea, and Athenry, which


were originally a part of Hy-Many, being seized upon by the Burkes, and made a part of their territory of Clanrickard; and it is remarkable that in the year 1585, O'Madden's country was not considered a part of Hy-Many. In the reign of Elizabeth it consisted only of five baronies, as appears from a curious document to be found among the 'Inrolments tempore Elizabethae,' in the Auditor General's Office, Dublin, dated 6th August, 1585. From this Document the Editor is tempted to present the reader with the following extract, which throws a curious light on the state of Hy-Many in the reign of Queen Elizabeth: Agreement between the Irish chieftains and inhabitants of Imany, called the O'Kellie's country, on both sides of the river of Suck, in Connaught, and the Queen's Majesty, viz. Hugh O'Kelly of Lisecalhone,29 otherwise called O'KELLY, Teige Mac William O'Kelly, of Mullaghmore30, and Connor Oge O'Kelly, of Killiane,31 competitors for the name of Tanestshippe of O'KELLY


Connor ne Garroghe O'Kelly, of Gallaghe,32 and Shane ne Moye O'Kelly, of the Criaghe,33 Generosus; William O'Mannine, of Mynloghe,34 otherwise called O'MANNINE; Moriartagh O'Concannon, of Kiltullagh,35 otherwise called O'CONCANNON; Shane O'Naghten, of Moynure,36 otherwise called O'NAGHTEN; Edmond Mac Keoghe, of Owenagh, otherwise called MAC KEOGHE; Donogh O'Murry, of Ballymurry,37 otherwise called O'MURRY; Covaghe O'Fallone, of the Milltowne,38 otherwise called O'FALLONE; and Connor Mac Geraghte, otherwise called MAC GERUAGHTE.39

The territory of Imany, called O'Kelly's country, is divided into five principal barronyes, that is to wytte, Athlone, Killconnell, Teaquine, Killyane, and Maycarnane,40 all which contain 665 1/2 quarters of land, each at 120 acres.’’


It is agreed by all the forenamed parties that the captainshippe and tanistshippe of the said country, heretofore used by the said O'Kellies, and all ellections and Irish customary division of lands shall be utterly abolished and extinct for ever: that Hugh, otherwise called O'KELLY, shall possess these four quarters of land, viz. Lisennoke, Ferranbreaghe, Lysdallen, and Moydowe, now in his possession, and which are situated in Eraght-O'Murry and Mac Edmond's country, in the barony of Athlone, with a chief rent out of various other lands within the said country, which amount in the whole to £56 19s. 6d. during his natural life, and after his death the said lands to be freed and discharged of the aforesaid rents.’’

That Teige Mac William O'Kelly shall have and possess the quarters of Mullaghmore, Cornegallaghe, Carrownesire, and Carrowneboe. And Connor Oge O'Kelly shall have four quarters in and about the town of Killiane, but upon this special condition, which they bind themselves to, that they and their heirs shall henceforth behave themselves like good subjects; shall put no ymposition or chardge upon the inhabyters of the lands, and shall bring uppe their children after the English fashions, and in the use of the Englishe tounge.’’

The Editor cannot close these remarks without returning thanks to those friends who have assisted him in editing and illustrating the present tract on Hy-Many. Among these he has the honor of reckoning D. H. Kelly, of Castle Kelly, Esq., the representative of an ancient branch of the O'Kellys of Hy-Many, who has kindly communicated many curious facts relating to the history and topography of Hy-Many, and with whom the Editor spent some happy days in examining the ancient localities of the territory; also James Hardiman, Esq., the Author of the History of Galway, whose knowledge of the Anglo-Norman records of Ireland is not exceeded, if equalled, by any one now living, and whose acquaintance with the history of


Ireland in general, and with that of his native province in particular, entitles him to a distinguished place among the historians of Ireland. The Editor also feels it his duty to acknowledge the great obligations he owes to Dr. Todd, of Trinity College, not only for the facilities he has afforded him in giving him access to the MSS. of the University Library, but also for many valuable suggestions as to the mode of translating and elucidating the present tract. He is further bound to record his obligations to Mr. Eugene Curry, whose acquaintance with the contents of the Irish MSS. in the Library of Trinity College and elsewhere is not equalled by any living scholar. And he has likewise to express his gratitude to Mr. Petrie, the most distinguished antiquary in Ireland, from whom he first acquired whatever skill he possesses in distinguishing history from fable; and to Captain Larcom, of the Royal Engineers, under whom the Editor has been employed for the last twelve years in examining the ancient and modern topography of Ireland, and who has kindly afforded him many facilities in referring to the published Ordnance Maps, for the modern topographical information contained in the notes to the present tract.