Tuam Aug 30th 1838.

Dear Sir,

We want quills and square paper by return of Post. I wish we could always get paper of the same size; the last three quires sent me were one inch shorter than what I had before.


Situation. This parish is bounded on the north by the County of Roscommon and the parish of Teampull a' tochuir in this County; on the East by the parish of Bweeaunagh {buídheánach} and Cloonbern; on the south by (Cloonbern and) the parish of Tuam in which a part of it is isolated and on the west by the parish of Addragool.

Name. In the ancient Irish Annals this place is called Dun-mór, signifying large Dun or earthen fort; which is the true name though present tradition interprets it as if it were written Dun Moiré, the Dun of Moria, daughter of the great Navigator Manannán.


History. Tradition says that this place took its name from an earthen fort erected by More the daughter of Manannan, within which a large castle was afterwards erected immediately after the English Invasion by Haiste a distinguished chieftain of the Conquest, the ancestor of the present people called Hosty now numerous in this part of the County. We have now (no) historical authority to prove when or by whom this castle of Dunmore was erected but the tradition is vivid and I think true. It has been preserved by Donnell Treacy who lives at the old Castle from the lips of the poet Cormac O'Coman (Does O'Reilly in his Irish writers mention this Cormac?) who lived to the age of 110 and who was the living Fintan of the history of Connaught in his time.

Dr. O'Conor states in the Stowe Catalogue that the annals of Connaught are the best authority for the history of the Castles of Connaught. Do they mention this Castle of Dun more {in Conmaice Kinel Dubhain,} which was in latter (later) times called Dun Mór Mhic Fheórais?


The tradition preserved by old Treacy from the mouth of the poet O'Coman, is that the noble Haiste, the son of Membric, a distinguished warrior of (the) Welsh nation commenced erecting a castle a short distance to the west of where Dun more Castle now stands, but that the fairy who presides over the place Mór ní Mhanannáin not wishing that he should erect his fortress there destroyed by night as much as his masons had erected by day, and that she continued to do so for several nights until Haisté consulted a Magician who told him that Mor-Ny-Mhanannain did not wish him to place his fortress there, but that she would be willing to allow him to erect it on the site of her own fort, and Hosty taking the advice of the Sage, and seeing the old Dun a favourable position, immediately commenced to build there, and More being delighted to view so lofty a pile towering over the humble mounds of her ancient fortress, suffered no fairy to interrupt the work.

Hosty was not long in the quiet possession of this castle when Bermingham, came hither from the north, where he was after gaining a great victory, and drove him out of it


partly by force and partly by treachery; and his descendants (who assumed the name of Mac Orish) maintained possession of it until the wars of Ireland, when Col. Hoath drove them out. This is all that tradition remembers of the history of this fortress.

This Castle stands on a small hill over a rivulet about ¼ mile to the west of the little town of Dunmore. The hill seems to have been originally crowned with an earthen Dun (from which the name) but it is now so effaced that no idea can be formed of its extent or character. The entire hill was enclosed by a strong wall now almost entirely destroyed; and (some of it) scattered about in massy fragments, and some tumbled into the rivulet.

The Castle itself is a square building, measuring on the inside 45 feet in length and 27 in breadth, and as well as I could judge by the eye 60 in height(; walls 7 feet thick). It had three lofts as appears from the windows, and the holes for joists. It (certainly) does not appear to be the fabric erected by Hosty Map Membric.

The Four Masters have preserved (.1. collected) the following Annals of this place, from which it appears


that it was an ancient Irish military station before the arrival of the Anglo-Norman and Welsh families.

1133. Cormac Mac Carthy and Conor O'Brien led an army into Connaught, and killed Cathal O'Conor Roydamna of Connaught and O'Flynn, chief of Sil-Maelruain, and they demolished Dun-Mugdorn (Mugdorid?) and Dun-more, and plundered a great part of the country.

1143. Morogh O'Melaghlin, King of Meath was most treacherously taken prisoner by King Turlogh O'Conor, and confined with other Meathian prisoners in Dun-mor.

1159. Murtagh Mac Loughlin {presumptive monarch of Ireland} with the nobles of the Kinel-Connell, Kinel-Owen and Oriel marched an army into Connaught and burned Dun-mor, Dun-Ciar and Dun-na-ngall and devastated a great part of the Country.

These three notices are antecedent (anterior) to the period of Hosty Map Membric. The following are subsequent to it.


1249. Dunmore was burned by the sons of the king of Connaught.

1271. Matthew O'Conor was killed by the English of Dunmore.

1284. Dunmore was burned by Fiachra O'Flynn.

1569. Sir Henry Sidney took {the castles of} Dunmore-Mac-Feorais and Roscommon.

Archdall is wrong in making this the Domhnach-padraig of the Tripartite, as we shall shew when treating of the parish of Donagh-patrick. It is sufficient here to observe that the two names are not identical, and that Dunmore is not a corruption of Domhnach more as Donshaughlin in Meath is of Domnach Seachlainn. It (is possible that it) could be a corruption of it, but we know from history that it is not.

We therefore come to the historical conclusion that there was no abbey at Dun-mor in Conmaicne Kinel-Dubhain until the year 1425 when Walter de Birmingham, Lord Baron of Athenry


erected there a friary for Augustinian Eremites. The remains of this house are in the same state as described by the French artists in 1779.

This abbey is in the town of Dunmore, and I believe, was much larger, but cannot be traced as the ground is level and no ruins about it being a kind of a market, the part A on the plan is a waste, the arches built up, and B is converted into a parish church, where service is performed. Over the door C are arms and an inscription which I copied, said to be built by the lords of Athenry.

There is a holy well called Tobar na croiche naomhtha in the townland of Cappagh, which is dedicated to the holy cross of Christ.

In the townland of Sruthair now Sruille in the Eastern extremity of this parish the original parish (church) is said to have stood. Tradition says that it was built by Saint Patrick, who left the impression of his knee in a stone (still to be seen) at the place.


There is an old church and grave yard in the townld of Cill tsuibhne, called after a St. Suibhne of whom I recollect nothing.

Giraldus states that the sepulchral cairn of the antediluvian Ceasair was pointed out in Connaught in his own time. Let me have his very words. I have stood on the carn supposed to be hers but I have not historical evidences enough to prove the identity. Do not the Four Masters place her cairn over the River Boyle? (See Leabhar Gabhal, and Catal: MSS. T.C.D.) If they are right - which I doubt - the carn Ceasrach shewn to Cambrensis does not exist; but if O'Flaherty be right in placing it in the barony of Clare in this County, it is still as perfect as that of her husband Bith on Sliabh Beatha. 'Tis curious to find these carns still in existence!

Tomorrow I move to Ballymoe, but I shall return here in a few days. O'Conor remains here and will be knocked idle unless the books of the Baronies of Clare and Tiaquin be sent at once. No use in keeping these books from us.

Your &c,

J. O'Donovan