Sept of Muintie Ifferainn

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A sept of Thuas Mhumhan (Thomond; Clare/Limerick), also found in Tipperary a branch of the Dal gCais, descended from Conn, Lords of Muintir Iferainn, originally seated at Inchiquin, in Clare.

This Sept of of the Quinn's were of the Tribe of Ir son of Milesius, they were descendants of Cas who was ancestor of the Dalcassians Septs of Munster.

They originally inhabited Thomond, which comprised the present Countries of Clare and Limerick, they later spread as far south as the Tipperary Waterford border.

Iffernain was the ancestor of the Cuinn, Muintir Iffernain directly translated from the Irish means "The People of Hell".

Heerin in his Topographical poems written in the fifteenth century mentions the Cuinn

" The honest hearted Cuinn,

is Lord of Muintir Iffernain,

the fruitful estate of the comely youth,

lies around Coradh-Finne of Festivities"

Muintir Iffernain was co-extensive with the Parish of Kilnaboy (Killinaboy) in the Barony of inchiquin and derived its name from a ford on the small river which connects Lough Tadena with Lough Inchiquin, the townland of Conhad formerly part of Kilnaboy had a pillar stone standing on it which was exactly the height of Teige Quinn from which circumstances both Teige and the townland took their name, the former being called Teige a Comhfhaid (Teige of equal length) and the stone itself got the name Comhfad which transferred itself to the townland.

Killinaboy got it's name from the Church of the daughter of Boath Bactius (Cill INGHINE Baoith) most of which is no older than the fourteenth century except the west gable which is possibly older than the eleventh century, it was battered down by Cromwell but rebuilt by Brien of Inchiquin.

It is also said that there is a secular low archway of cut stone in the north wall at the ground near the east gable which tradition says was the entrance to the family sepulchral vault of the Quinn's which was inside but of which no vestige remains.

The following is quoted from Donovan writing in the 1830's this might be taken as an explanation as to how the Lake Inchiquin got its name and also such legends were often made up to explain happenings the reasons for which had been forgotten.

" Tradition has it that Conor Quinn of Inchiquin had one day observed a beautiful lady on the southern brink of the lake, at a place called Dunan Ui-Cuinn in the act of coming her hair and been smitten with her beauty, he made his way around from his own side of the lake to where he saw her, but when he arrived there she had disappeared. He went back disappointed and watched the next day for her reappearance which happened at the same time as the day before, on which he made his way around toward her but when he approached the place, she was again vanished from his view. He then resolved not to be foiled a third time, and taking his station the morning behind a clump of trees near the spot where she had appeared. He had not long to wait before she appeared he saw her coming up out of the lake and throwing of a dark hood that covered her upper part. She commenced immediately coming her hair Quinn taking advantage of her long flowing hair covering her eyes for a moment made a spring and caught her in his arms, without even saying your servant madam or any other decent introduction. Upon which she turned about at him laughing asked him what he wanted with her, he said to make her his wife; she at once agreed and giving him her hand to keep went over to his castle with him where they lived happily for three years. In the meantime the Brien's of Leineneagh and the other chiefs of the country proposed to hold a tournament and race a Comhad, upon which Quinn's wife begged him when he would go to the assembly neither to invite or reject the invitation of anybody at the assembly to a feast. He promised to comply with her request, but forgot to promise for he invited Brien who came with all his retinue to dine with him that evening. The lady had a plentiful and sumptuous ready which when she served up she left the company to enjoy and taking her hand rushed out and plunged in the Lake and was never seen afterwards. Brien had the good fortune to win the formers patrimony and obliging him to quit his castle allowed him to build a place a little to the north west now called by some de Clare's ruins by others Quinn's."

According to An Leabhair Muineach the following is the pedigree of the Cuinn of Cloinne Iffearnain.

Cas Aonghusa Cinn Aitinn Conaill Colmain Geimhdhealaigh Uilin Cuirc IFFEARNAIN Faolchadha Coinliogain Sidoa Donnchadha CUINN Neill Feidhliochaid Cuirc Donnehadha Giolla Donnchadha Thomas Domhnaill Thomas

The first mention of an Cuinn in Thomond in the Annals is Niall Cuinn who was killed at the battle of Clontarf on 1014 he was a special body guard to Brian Boru, in the parish of Rath there is a town called Cuirt Bhoch Neill which is said to be called after this Neill. But was he a member of the Muintir Iffernain, or had they come into existence at all by this stage that had the surname.

Our first specific mention therefore is in 1170 Diarmuid Ua Cuinn chief of Clann Iffernain was slain by the Cinel Aedha of Echighe ( Shaughnessys and their correlatives) from the Barnoy of Kiltartan in Co. Galway.

In 1188 Edwina daughter of Cuinn who was Queen of Munster died, that the Sept were intermarrying with royal patronages is an indication of the power which they wielded in this period.

In 1197 according to the Annals of Inishfallen Conchobor Ruad Ua Brien turned against his brother Donnchad Cairpreach and brought foreigners into Thomond, they plundered both Church and Lay people including Cu Meda, Mac Con Mor, Conchobar Ua Cuinn.

The Quinn's became a very powerful clan in the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries founded and endowed monastic houses but were eventually driven out of Clare and were almost destroyed by the Briens in the fourteenth century when that family became supreme in Thomond after the Battle of Dysert Dea in 1318 where they through the English out of Thomond having got rid of the Normans forever. They pushed all the remaining Gaelic septs southwards and eastwards into Limerick and Tipperary. There is no further mention of the Sept in the Annals but a manuscript believed to be written in the fifteenth century and later incorporated in the Book of Lismore states that Tuath Cuscroidh in the extreme northeast of the Rochr territory was divided into the Liagan Uancah out of which are the Hi Ithfearnain and Loch arda Cillin out of which are the Hi Cuind (the church of this tuath was Ahacross). It is curious to find the Quinns and the Heffernans to whom they had close ties still together so far from Muintir Iffernain, the later distribution of the sept bears it out that such a movement must have taken place during this period.

Nothing further is mentioned of this sept of the Cuinn's in the Annals, so this period we must rely on the English sources.

On June 15 during the Desmond Rebellion a motoricial instrument certifying the public submission of James Earl of Desmond was signed by the archbishop of Cashel and John Quinn Bishop of Limerick, he was from Kilmalock and would seem was loyal to King Henry VIII of England when St. Leger introduced the new service book and was one of the five that supported the suppression of the monasteries in 1540. Blindness forced his retirement he was a member of a family of Quinn's that have a long history to the English cause in Ireland, this family were descendants of the chiefs of the Quinn's although they often claimed so the sept must have held land in the Barony of Inchiquin till a very late period for from the Inchiquin Manuscripts for the first of May 1644 we have "Acknowledgement by Conor Clanchy of having given to Conor Brien of Limerick esq. his full interest and title in Roghanbey, Roghanosmore, Teascagh and Cagganridge and all other lands descended unto me by way of purchase or otherwise from the sept of the Quinn's and from their father".

The Civil Survey gives a James Quinn as a Proprietor in 1640 in the Barony of Arra and Owney in south Tipperary.

In the Census of Ireland 1659 their is a wide distribution of Quinn's in western Munster with 10 in the Barony of Inchiquin, 19 in the Baronies of Arra and Owney and also 10 in the Barony of Decies in County Waterford. The lists of fortified properties in this period also reflect this distribution.

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