Placenames of Breifne - Clan O'Ruairc (O'Rourke)
Placenames of Bréifne
Kingdom of Bréifne
In ancient times the area that became to be known as Bréifne was said to be occupied by the Erdini, called in Irish 'Ernaigh', who possessed the entire country bordering Lough Erne. Not much is known of this ancient people.
At the beginning of the Christian era in Ireland (circa 5th-6th century) tribal groupings believed to be in or near Breifne included the Glasraighe, Masraige, Dartraige, Armhaighe, Gallraighe, the Fir Manach, and the Gailenga.
Around the 6th century a people known as the Conmaicne Rein are thought to have moved north from around the present Dunmore in County Galway and settled in Magh Rein (the area around Fenagh). From here they peopled what is now South Leitrim, which became known as Magh Rein, and its inhabitants as the Conmaicne Magh Rein. They consisted of different family groupings - Muintir Eolais, Muintir Cearbhallain (e.g. O Mulvey), and Cinel Luachain, among others.
Also see this page covering the Breifne Region (8th century) referencing territories in the vicinity and citations in the Irish annals.
About the 8th century, the area since known as Breifne (Breffny, Brefnie, etc) was conquered and settled by the Uí Briúin who were a branch of the royal family of Connacht. The Uí Briúin, of whom the O'Ruaircs (O'Rourkes) were hereditary chieftains, established themselves first in modern county Leitrim and then into what is now county Cavan. By the 9th century the O'Ruaircs had established themselves as kings of Breifne.
In the 10th and 11th centuries the O'Ruairc kings of Breifne vied for the title of king of Connacht, four different O'Ruaircs cited with that honor. During the 12th century the reign of Tiernan mor O'Ruairc, the kingdom of Breifne (Brefny, Brenny, etc) was said to comprise most of the modern counties of Leitrim and Cavan, and parts of Longford, Meath, Fermanagh, and Sligo in north-central Ireland. The modern Diocesan map (at right) indicates an approximate extent of Breifne and Conmaicne back in the the 12th century, when the boundaries of many Irish dioceses were set.
A great battle fought between the O'Rourkes and the O'Reillys in the year 1256 near Ballinamore led to the division of Breifne between the O'Rourkes and O'Reillys. At a much later date "Breffny O'Rourke" eventually became Co. Leitrim and "Breffny O'Reilly" became Co. Cavan.
For additional description of Breifne, see this article from O'Harts The Origin and Stem of The Irish Nation.
Chiefs Breifne Septs from O'Dugan's Poem
After the time of Tighernan mor O'Ruairc, King of Breifne in the 12th century,
the tribes and chieftains of the Breifne region, were described eloquently in O'Dugan's Poem as:
- MacTighearnain (Mac Tiernan) over Teallach Dunchadha,
- MacSamhradhain (Mac Guaran) over Teallach Eachdhach,
- MacConsnamha (Mac Kinnawe, Ford) over Clann Chionaoith,
- MacCogadhain or Mac Acadhain (e.g. Mac Cogan) over Clann Fearmaighe,
- Mag Dorchaidh (Mac Darcy) over Cinel-Luachain,
- O Finn and O Cearbhaill (O'Carroll) over Calraighe,
- Mag Flannchadha (Mac Clancy) over Dartraighe,
- O Raghallaigh (O'Reilly) over Muinter Maoilmordha,
- O Cuinn (O'Quinn) over Muinter Giollagain,
- Mac Maoiliosa (Mallison, or Mellowes) over Magh Breacraighe,
- Mag Fhionnbhairr (Mac Ginver, Gaynor or Finnevar) over Muinter Geradhain,
- Mag Raghnaill (Mac Rannall, also Reynolds) over Muinter Eolais, of the land of Conmaicne Rein,
- Muinter Maoilmiadhaigh (Mulvey) over Magh-nise (Moynish), a.k.a. Muinter Cerballain, or Tellach Cerbhalláin,
- Muinter Fearghail (Ui Fearghail, or O'Farrell) ... In the sovereignity over the Clann Feargius.
The probable locations of the territories mentioned above were:
Also refer to these County Leitrim maps of Civil Parishes, Catholic Parishes and Baronies, or this map highlighting the baronies most associated with Breifne O'Rourke. Also available is a large map of Leitrim County, as well as a larger version of the same map.
- Teallach Dunchadha: now the barony of Tullyhunco in co. Cavan.
- Teallach Eachdhach: now the barony of Tullyhaw in co. Cavan, and derives its name from the tribe of Eochadh which settled in west
Cavan about the 7th century. Both Tullyhunco and Tullyhaw were considered to be part of Breifne and later West Breifne for many centuries.
- Clann Chionaoith (aka Muintir Kenny): between Lough Allen and the river Arigna in County Leitrim (and part Roscommon?).
- Muintir Kenny: aka Muintir Chionaoith, an old name for the barony of Dromahair, in and near Innismagrath parish.
- Clann Fearmaighe (Glenfarne): in northern County Leitrim, south of Dartry, in the present barony of Dromahaire (e.g. Ballinaglera parish).
- Calraighe: extended from the barony of Carbury in Sligo into the barony of Dromahair (e.g. parish of Drumlease) in Leitrim.
- Dartraighe: in the Leitrim barony of Rosclougher (another was separately located in the barony of Dartree in County Monaghan).
- Muinter Maoilmordha: consisted of much of eastern County Cavan.
- Muinter Giollagain: in southern Teathbha, parts of the baronies of Moydow and Shrule, their power diminished by the Muintir Anghaile.
- Magh Breacraighe [or Breacruighe]: a district near the borders of Co. Longford and Leitrim. Also described in NW county Westmeath.
- Muinter Geradhain: on the west side of Lough Gowna in Co. Longford, possibly extending into south Leitrim.
- Muinter Eolais: in the Leitrim baronies of Mohill and Leitrim, and part of Carrigallen, an early territory of the Conmaicne Rein. Three early family groupings were noted for the Conmaicne Rein: Muintir Eolius, Muintir Cearballain, and Cenel Luachain.
- Cinel Luachain: in the Leitrim and Cavan County parishes of Oughteragh, and parts of Drumreilly Upper and Drumreilly Lower parish.
- Magh Nisse (Moynish, Moynishy): described as Upper Muinter Eolais, formerly or including Muintir Cearbaillan, located in the barony of Leitrim in southwest County Leitrim. O'Mulvey (O Maoilmiadhaigh) and MacGrannell (Mag Raghnaill) of Muinter Eolais.
- Clann Feargius: likely the patrimony of the O'Farrells, of Conmaicne descent (Clann Fergus), including much of north and central co. Longford.
A summary of some of the chief septs and territories in or near Breifne:
- O Ruairc (O'Rourke) were hereditary chieftains of Breifne, and then Breifne O'Rourke for many centuries.
- O Raghailligh (O'Reilly) were lords of much of County Cavan, which was known as Breifne O'Reilly by the 13th century, an area they extended into parts of northern co. Meath and Westmeath.
- Mac Raghnaill (MacRannall or Reynolds) were chiefs of an area comprising much of the Leitrim baronies of Mohill and Leitrim (Liathdromen), then known as Muinter Eolais.
- Mac Gauran (McGovern) were chiefs in the Co. Cavan barony of Tullaghagh (Tullyhaw) from the 1100's on and their territory at one time apparently extended into Co. Leitrim.
- Mac Thighearnain (McTiernan or McKiernan) were chiefs in the Co. Cavan barony of Tullyhunco.
- O'Finn and O'Carroll were cited as chiefs of Calraighe (Calry) which extended from portions of Co. Sligo into the Co. Leitrim parishes of Drumlease and Killargy.
- Mac Fhlannchaidh (MacClancy) were chiefs of Dartraighe (Dartry) in the Co. Leitrim barony of Rosclogher.
- O'Murrough, or O'Murrey, were chiefs in the modern barony of Rosclougher. Their territory was the Hy Murragh. The Mac Murry, MacMorrow or MacMorrey, were chiefs in Loghmoyltagh (Composition Book of Connacht).
- Mac Kenny (Kenny, Keaney) were chiefs in an area known as Muinter Mountains, or Muintir Kenny, an older name for the barony of
Dromohair. Originally known as the Mac Consnamha, the Clan Chionaoith was said to originate in the parish of Innismagrath. They later were
known as Mac Kinnawe and still later Ford.
- MacCogadhain or Mac Acadhain (Mac Cogan) noted as chiefs over Clann Fearmaighe in the present barony of Dromahaire (e.g. Ballinaglera parish).
- MacBradaigh (Mac Brady, Brady) was an important sept who held sway in an area a few miles east of Cavan town, possibly in the parishes of Castletara and Larah. References in the Irish annals cite Mac Brady as chiefs of Cuil Brighde (Cuil Brighdin), as well as Bishops and Erenaghs of the two Breifnys. Cúl Brighdin is described in Upper Loughtee, near Stradone, county Cavan.
- Maoil Miadaig (O'Mulvey), of Tellach Cerbhalláin in southwest Co. Leitrim, of the same stock as the O'Farrells and the MacRannals. They were noted as chiefs of Magh Nisse in Muinter Eolais (Moynish in County Leitrim) near Carrick on shannon. The Book of Fenagh suggests the O'Maulmhiadhaigh had territory in the present Catholic parish of Murhaun (Drumshanbo) to the east of the Shannon river.
- Carrigallen parish, anciently known as Magh Angaidh, also became known as úl Bhfloinn meaning the 'backhill of the O'Flynns'. The O'Flynns were a dominant family in the parish prior to the formation of Breifne.
- Mac Dorchadha (MacDarcy or Darcy) were chiefs in Cenél Luachain which included the present parish of Oughteragh (Uachtar Achaidh) at the foot of Slieve an Iarainn. According to the Book of Fenagh, its name derives from the race of Luachan, son of Onchu, and 4th from Cumscrach, and a branch of Conmaicni Réin.
- Mac Gilla Duib (Mac Gilduff) are noted as chiefs of Tullygarvey, or Telach Gairbheth, alias Tellach Garbha.
- Mac Taichligh (MacTilly) - O'Hart suggests Mac Taichligh (MacTilly) were chiefs of a district comprising the greater part of the parish of Drung, in the barony of Tullygarvey, Co. Cavan. He also notes a Muintir Taithligh, a name anglicised MacTully or Tully, chiefs of Hy-Laoghaire of Lough Lir, a district which lay in the barony of Lurg, near Lough Erne, towards Tyrone. O'Dugan cites Muintir Taithligh, and Muinter Maoileduin, chiefs of Laeghaire.
- Mac Fhionnbhair (Gaynor, MacGinver) were chiefs in Muintir Geradain (or Géradháin), on the west side of Lough Gowna in Co. Longford, possibly extending into south Leitrim.
- Additional families in Breifne O'Rourke included O Curneen of O Curneen's chief town (Ardbhaile Ui Chuirnin); O Credegan and O Carnen eranaghs of Drumlease; Moran of Ballinamore; O Trevor eranaghs of Killarga; O'Rodaigh coarbs of St. Cullin; Mac Kehan coarbs of the Abbey of Cloone; Meehan of Ballaghmeehan.
- And many more...
Onomasticon Goedelicum mentions a number of tribal names in the Breifne region, including:
- Clann Calbrainn branch of Conmaicni Réin, comprising C. Martain, C. Maelduilighe, C. Bradain, C. Arcain and Tellach Uanan.
- Clann Cellach, or Cellachain, a sub-division of Clann Fermaighe.
- Clann Cromáin sept of Conmaicni Réin.
- Clann Faelgusa branch of Conmaicni Réin comprising Clann Corrdercain, C. Gemáin, C. Cathusaigh, C. Dinnachain, C. Birn. C. Anairc, Ui Conbhuidhe, Ui Gellustain, Ui Riaglachain.
- Clann Fermaighe branch of Conmaicni Réin comprising C. Cellachain, C. Maelsamhna, C. Taebhachain, C. Ubhan, C. Lughann, and C. Uanan, descendants of the first wife of Findellach, the son of Neidhe, and 5th fr. Cumscrach.
- Clann Lughann, a sub-division of Clann Fermaighe.
- Clann Maelsamhna, a sub-division of Clann Fermaighe.
- Clann Taebhach, a sub-division of Clann Fermaighe.
- Clann Uanan, or Ubhan, a sub-division of Clann Fermaighe.
- Síl Maelefithrig of Conmaicni Réin were Clann Clothachtaigh and Clann Oirechtaigh.
- Tellach Ainfeith of Muintir Eolais, in Conmaicne Réin.
- Tellach Brocáin of Muintir Eolais, in Conmaicne Réin, alias Tellach Cagáin.
- Tellach Cendetigh in Muintir Eolais
- Tellach Cerbhalláin of Muintir Eolais, O Mulvey's tribe-land in SW. of co. Leitrim, near the river Shannon.
- Tellach Cleirigh of Cenél Luachain.
- Tellach Congaláin of Muintir Anghaile [co. Longford].
- Tellach Connucan of Muintir Gillgáin [co.Longford].
- Tellach Dunchadha - folk and barony of Tullyhunco, co. Cavan.
- Tellach Eachach - Mac Samhradhain cited as chiefs. A tribe-name of the Magaurans of the barony of Tullyhaw, co. Cavan.
- Tellach Finnachan of Conmaicne Réin.
- Tellach Finnoigi of Muintir Geradhain.
- Tellach Floinn of Muintir Anghaile.
- Tellach Gabhadháin of Muintir Geradhain.
- Tellach Gairbheth in Brefne. Barony of Tullygarvey, co. Cavan.
- Tellach Gormghaili of Muintir Gillgain.
- Tellach Maelbelltaine of of Muintir Eothaid of Conmaicne Réin.
- Tellach Maelchíaráin of Muintir Gillgain of Conmaicne Réin.
- Tellach Maeldúin of Muintir Siriten of Conmaicne Réin.
- Tellach Maelfinnen of Cenel Luachain of Conmaicne Réin.
- Tellach Maelmartain of Muintir Eolais of Conmaicne Réin.
- Tellach Maelmiadaig of Muintir Siriten.
- Tellach maelmuiri of Muinter Eolais.
- Tellach maengaili of Muinter Eothaid of Conmaicne Réin.
- Tellach n-Odrainn of Muinter Eolais.
- Tellach Scalaighe of Muinter Angaile.
- Tellach Tanaide of Muintir Geradain.
- Tellach Tanaideof the Cenél Luachain on the west of Lough Gowna, co. Longford.
- Tellach n-Uanan of Clann Calbrainn of Conmaicne Réin.
- Ui Bathbairr of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Braici of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Buibhin of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Chailti of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Cianacáin of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Conbhuidhe of Cenél Luachain of Conmaicni Rein.
- Ui Damaigh of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Dimusaigh of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Dubháin of Cenél Luachain, of Conmaicne Réin, their seat was Inis Doiri Dubháin.
- Ui Erailb of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Eturrain of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Gabhadáin of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Maelpátraig of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Maelsuthain of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Muinecháin of Cenél Luachain.
- Ui Tredmain of Cenél Luachain.
Other place or tribe names of Breifne:
- Cenél Lacha - Kinlough in the barony of Rosclogher, northern county Leitrim.
- Inis Cáin - Iniskeen in in the barony of Rosclogher, northern county Leitrim. Mag Flannchadhaidh's castle was there.
- Baile mic Senlaigh - MacShanly's town, in Muintir Eolais.
- Baile na cairrci - alias Doire Baile na Cairrge in or near Carrogallen, county Leitrim. Probably near Cloonrcorick.
- Glenn da Duile - a valley in the parish of Oughteragh, barony of Carrigallen, county Leitrim.
- Cluain Conmaicne - or Cloon, barony of Mohill, county Leitrim.
- Loch Airind - or Loch Airinn; Rinn Loch. or Loch a Rinn, near Mohill, county Leitrim; a castle of the Mac Rannalls was there.
- Fionach - O Rorke's land near Drumreilly, county Leitrim.
- Fánat Choba - alias Fanad Chomha; alias Fidhnacha, now Fenagh, county Leitrim.
- Caisel Coscraigh - described as Magrannell's place on or near Loch Scuir in county Leitrim.
- Caislén in Renna - Castle of McRaghnaill
- Caislén lecce deirge - Leckderg Castle, parish of Killarga, county Leitrim.
- Caislén locha melghe - at Loch Melvin Castle, i.e., Rosslcogher Castle in county Leitrim.
- Clann Bibsaigh - Mag Raghnaill, or McGranell, described as chiefs of.
- Muintir Siriten - sept of O Sheridans in county Leitrim; of Conmaicni Rein, comprising Tellach Maelduin and Tellach Maelmiadaigh (Book of Fenagh).
- Síl Fergna - i.e. the O Ruaircs, O Reillys, etc.
- Glen Gaibhle - Glen Gavlin, between the moutains of Slieve an Ierin and Cuilkeagh in the barony of Tullyhaw, county Cavan.
- Inis Brechmaige - Breaghwy Island near Templeport, Tullyhaw, county Cavan.
- Síl Samhradháin - the Magaurans of Tullyhaw in county Cavan.
- Breifne thoir - O'Reilly was lord of Breifne thoir, aka Breifne Ui Raghallaigh, which included all of county Cavan except Tealach Dhunchadha and Tealach Eachdhach (baronies of Tullyhunco and Tullyhaw) which were taken from Breifne Ui Ruairc to form the county Cavan.
- Cenél mbrenaind - Mag Tighearnáin was chief of, alias Tellach Dunchadha (Tullyhunco).
- Corra - as in Mac Tighearnáin na Corra, described as Corraygowan towards Ballintober.
- Baile Uí Raghailligh - in Muintir Maelmora, at Tullaghmongan, northeast of Cavan town.
- Claenloch - alias crannóc claenlocha, "Clean Loch", now Belhavel Lake in the parish of Killarga, barony of Dromahaire, county Leitrim; the Duff, alias Diffagher river runs from it to Loch Allen (Four Masters). The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland calls it Clean Lake; at Fedh Conmaicne (south Leitrim?).
Description of the placenames of the family O'Ruairc
West Breifne covered Co Leitrim and the two baronies in Co Cavan, Tullyhunco and Tullyhaw. Lorcan O'Runai in his book "From Rosclogher to Rooskey" lists the more well known families of North Leitrim. The ancient principalities of north Leitrim were chiefly Dartry, Tullyhaw and Tullyhunco, Dromahaire, Clannfearnmaigh (Glenfarne) and Muintir Kenny lying between Lough Allen and Co Roscommon. In south Leitrim ancient principalities chiefly included Muintir Ealois and Cinel Luachain.
Slieve an ierin, or Sliabh-an-Iarainn, a mountainous region east of Loch Allen in the parish of Outeragh, and an effective dividing point between north and south Breifne O'Rourke. The annals describe different factions of the O'Rourkes vying for the title of king of Breifne O'Rourke, those west of Slieve an ierin, and those east of Slieve an ierin.
Drumahaire - the name of the stronghold of the O Ruairc Kings of Breifne whose main branch later became known as the O'Rourkes of Drumahaire, descendants of Tiernan Og. The Gaelic equivalent is given in the Annals of Loch Cé as Druim dá Ethiar, and in the Annals of Ulster as Druim dhá Shiaar and as Druim da Thigher. In Miscellany of the Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, John O'Donovan gives a translation as "dorsum duorum daemonum", roughly translating as "ridge of two demons".
Dromahair Castle was broken down in 1581 by Brian na Murtha O Ruairc himself, for fear the Saxons would occupy it. An old name for the barony of Dromahaire was cited as Muinter Kenny, for the MacKinnawe chiefs.
Leitrim Castle - in Gaelic Leitrim is Liath Druim, roughly 'grey ridge'. Leitrim Castle was built in 1540 by Brian Ballach O'Ruairc. Destroyed by Brian na Murtha in 1580 before the forces of Sir Nicholas Malby arrived.
Newtown - O Ruairc's new town beside Lough Gill. This strngold was broken down in 1581 by Brian na Murtha O Ruairc, for fear the Saxons (English) would occupy it.
Diocese of Kilmore - The diocese was believed to have been carved from territory controlled by Tighernan mor O Ruairc at the time it was formally established at the Synod of Kells in 1152. It was known in papal documents by a variety of names such as Tybruinensis (Tir Briuin, or Urney) and Brefinnia (Brefny, or Breifne). In his Carrigallen Parish-A History, Father Daniel Gallogly mentions, "At some stage the Ui Briúin were able to annex permanently Cinel Luachain (Oughteragh/Ballinamore), Droim-air-Bhealaigh (Drumreilly) and Magh Angaidh (Carrigallen) from the Conmaicne and incorporated them into Breifne. This explains why the three parishes, Ballinamore, Drumreilly Upper and Lower, and Carrigallen, were included in Kilmore, which was the diocese of the Ui Briúin and not, as would be expected, into the diocese of Conmaicne or Ardagh, seeing that they were originally part of the Conmaicne people, and that the boundaries of the new dioceses followed the boundaries of the Gaelic Kingdoms
as far as possible." Also see Diocese of Kilmore web site.
Castlecar - in Gaelic, Caislén an Cairthe, also Caislén an Chartha. This was the country around Glencar (Gleann a' Chairthe, or Glencar valley) in the parish of Killasnet, barony of Rosclogher, County Leitrim (on the border with Co. Sligo). It was the former home of the O'Rourkes of Carha (Chartha). The crannóc locha glinne alláin (Loch Glein Alláin, or Loch Glein Dalláin) was also said to be at Glencar. Today, the green glens of north County Leitrim include Glencar, Glenfarne (parish of Cloonclare), Glenaniff, Glenboy (barony of Dromahaire), Glenkeel, Gleniff and Glenade.
Glenade - glinne éda, in northern Co. Leitrim near the border of Co., Donegal. In County Leitrim the river Bonet rises in Loch Glenade and flows into Loch Gill. The O'Rourkes had a stronghold in this area.
Clann Fermaighe, alias Clan Fernmhaighe, cited as a branch of Conmaicni Réin, and given as Glenfarne in the parish of Cloonclare in the baronies of Dromahaire and Rosclogher, Co. Leitrim. Niall mac Conghalaigh O'Ruairc was king of King of Dartry and Clan Fermaighe, circa 1228. Melaghlin, son of Auliffe, the son of Art O'Rourke, was lord of Dartry and Clann-Fearmaighe circa 1274. From the latter derive the septs of Clainne Tigernain na Buannaide and Mac Maileclainn na Crandoige.
Dartraige, aka Dartry, an old territorial name which included a large portion of the barony of Rosclogher, north Leitrim, sometimes equated with the civil parish of Rossinver. This was MacClancy territory, beginning at least as early as the 13th century.
Inis na dTorc or Hog Island (modern Cherry Island) in Loch Finnmhaige (Loch Finvoy, modern Lough Garadice). Its location was east of Ballinamore, in the parish and barony of Carrigallen, southeast county Leitrim. Many historians agree that King Tiernan, who reigned from about 1124 to 1172, and described as 'a great man of battle,' ruled his kingdom from Tuam Shanshadha (Tuaim Seancha), now Woodford, at Lough Fenvoye (Finvoy, now Garadice), and maintained a fortress on Cloch Inse na dTorc (Cherry Island) on the same lake.
Clooncorick - in Gaelic it is given as Cluain Comhraic, the name of the stronghold of the O'Ruairc Lords of East Breifne (much of south Leitrim), who became known as the O'Rourkes of Cloncorick (or Clooncorick). The stronghold was in or near Magh Angaidhe, and located near the modern town of Carrigallen (Carraig Álainn, earlier Tulach Álainn) in the central portion of Carrigallen parish, Co. Leitrim and near the border of Breifne O Reilly (e.g. early 15th century).
Cinel Luachain - Described as a former name of the modern County Leitrim parishes of Oughteragh, and parts of Drumreilly Upper, and Drumreilly Lower. This was an area within the dominion of the O'Ruairc chiefs for a long period.
Magh Angaidhe - Equated with all or part of the modern parish of Carrigallen in southeast Leitrim. Also described as within the parish of Carrigallen near Newtown Gore. The O'Rourkes of Loch Garadice and Cloncorick were noted in this area. In 1424, following a war between the East Breifne O'Rourkes and the West Breifne O'Rourkes, Art son of Teige O'Ruairc (of Breifne east of Slieve an Iarinn) was attacked at Magh-Angaidhe by Teige, the son of Tiernan O'Ruairc (of Breifne west of Slieve an Iarinn).
Carrick Patrick - alias Carraig Phadruic. In 1508 "The Monastery of O Ruairc's town, which is called Carrick Patrick, in the diocese of Ardagh, was commenced by Owen O Ruairc and his wife Margaret, daughter of Conor O Brien". This was the renowned Franciscan Friary of Creevelea (in Gaelic, Craebh Liath), and it was founded in 1508. It was located near Dromahaire, in the parish of Killanummery, barony of Dromahaire, county Leitrim.
Fenagh - alias Fiodhnacha Maighe Réin, alias Cnoc na Ríg. The O Ruaircs were also patrons of this older monastery, if it could be called such, Fenagh in the part of Breifne lying southeast of Lough Allen, in the modern civil parish of Fenagh. The Fenagh churches were founded by St. Caillín mac Niatach in the 5th or 6th century.
Cluainin O Ruairc - was "O Rourke's meadow" before it was granted to Sir Frederick Hamilton in the mid 17th century and became
known as Manor Hamilton.
Corryrourke - In County Cavan, the Parish of Mullagh, there is a townland named Corryrourke - Corr Ui Ruairc -
In the late 1500's Brian na Murtha O'Ruairc, before he was hanged, received from Queen Elizabeth I the county of Leitrim and the following tuaths:
- Teallach Eachach (barony of Tullyhaw, co. Cavan)
- an Learga (Lerga, now Largay, alias Red-Lion village in the barony of Tullyhaw, co. Cavan)
- an Dubhbaile (in the barony of Tullyhaw, co. Cavan)
- Tuath Cnuic Ninne (barony of Knockninny, co. Fermanagh)
- Tuath Mhuintire Feodhachain (Muinter Pheodachain, in the barony of Clanawley, co. Fermanagh)
- Tuath Chlainne Remuinn (in the barony of Magheraboy?, co. Fermanagh)
- Tuath Mhachaire Bhuidhe (in the barony of Magheraboy, co. Fermanagh)
- Baile Achatrelag
- Baile an Tochair (Ballintogher?, barony of Tirerill, co. Sligo)
From the Calandar of State Papers of Ireland in February 1592 comes this description of Breifne O'Rourke:
"Names of the five baronies in O'Rourke's country, viz., in Mynterolles (Muinter Eolais), two baronies called Leitrim and Moyghell (Mohill). The M'Grannells (MacRannall) enjoyed these two baronies as their proper lands, until the late O'Rourke's father supplanted them by strong hand, and since that time they have lived under the spending and tyranny of O'Rourke. A third barony is called Carryg Allen (Carrigallen, the Cloncorick branch) and is occupied by a sept of the O'Rourkes, called the O'Rourkes of Carryg Allen. All these three baronies lie on this side the mountain Sleighoneron (Slieve an ierin, which divideth the whole country as it were into two parts, the lands and grounds thereof are fruitful, though some bog and woods.
The other two baronies lie beyond the said mountain of sleighoneyron (Slieve an ierin), viz., the barony of Dromaheare, in which is the country called Brenny O'Rourke, O'Rourke's ancient castle having fifty or sixty quarters (10,000 or 12,000 acres) lying about it called Clanarvy. This barony is most champaign ground and the best land in all the country.
The barony of Rosclougher, M'Glannough's country; a fast country full of bogs and woods. And the Carrhy (Carha), Owen O'Rourke's country, called the O'Rourkes of the Carrhy, a champaign and very fruitfull. O'Rourke's house, called the Newton (Newtown), is in none of these baronies, but standeth upon the border of his country, near to Sligo, and hath belonging unto it eight quarters of land in demsne called Moyghhellys.
The chief freeholders in the country of O'Rourke are the two M'Grannells, in Mynterolles, M'Glannagh, in the Dartry, the O'Rourkes of Carrygallen, the O'Rourkes of the Carrhy, and the M'Gawrains (MacGauran). The chief ordinary forces and strength of men to serve O'Rourke in his wars are, the M'Loughlins, the M'Morrices, and the Clantyernens (Clan Tiernan). These had sixteen quarters of land amoungst them as their inheritance, called Ylvaugh, and the lands of Cleanlough (Loch Clean, or Behavel). These had never bonnaught of O'Rourke but only their shares of preys and spoils that were taken.
The last O Rourke left two sons, viz. Brian Og O Rourke, a base son, begotten of Annably ne Crean, lawful wife of John O Crean, a merchant of Sligo. He ran away from Oxford and is now ith M'Sweeny Ne Doe. Teige O Rourke, a lawful son, begotten of the Lady Mary Bourke, sister to ther Earl of Clanricarde. He is about 15 years of age, and is at school at Limerick, by his mother's orders.
He left two brothers, viz. Donnell O Rourke, a traitor, always in action, reputed to be th son of one of the M'Sweenies: and Tyernon (Tiernan Ban) O Rourke , tanist of the country, a civil man.
He had two brothers' sons , viz. Donnell M'Teige O Rourke, a civil man: and Hugh Og M'Hugh Galdo O Rourke, a civil man. If the country be divided , these men are to be respected."
The Breifne Region - Tribal groups and map
Tribes and Chieftains of the Breifne region - Topographical Poems of O Dubhagain and O Huidhrin
Ua Ruairc of Breifne
Annals of the Four Masters