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Caithréim Thoirdhealbhaigh


The Triumphs of Turlough - by John MacRory Magrath c. 1369









Caithréim Thoirdhealbhaigh

The Triumphs of Turlough

by John MacRory Magrath


Translated by Standish Hayes O’Grady

Published by the Irish Texts Society

By Simpkin, Marshall, Limited

Stationers’ Hall Court, London, E.C.4 (1925)


Excerpts that refer to the Macraith family

“(9) O Clancraith [Magraths], clan of spirit, shapely bulky company, against all others [that oppose you] fight for and win the chiefry -–children of Maelmurry of the good land as ye are” p. 62

“(15) Good were Clancraith of the warm work: great and jocund clan-Mulmurry; in all battles well they cut in for their share in the victory, and they have a right to partake of the indemnity.”  p. 69

Concerning the Battle of Corcomroe Abbey

[1317] “under Rory Magrath, Clancraith with enunciation of their choicest counsels edified the gentles, saying that this enterprise surely was one to undertake without scruple;” p. 88

“Since in poesy Clancraith excel all others, by and bye upon the way publicly they will recite it all.” p. 96

“The Rory Magrath the poet, invested with due authority, profitably judicious, keensighted, formidable in arms withal, said to the battalions:-

“See to it that with due honour ye bury these gently descended kindreds here in your power; and since now they have renounced their inveterate enmity and ceased to strive with you for the chiefry, remember your consanguinity with those fair branches of the [parent] vine; for had they but willed to refrain from such factious antagonism, the loss of them had to your numbers been a calamity indeed. He having lawful form been inaugurated ‘O’Brien,’ for Donough the chief be there made a permanent and worthy tomb, a statelier than for his noble brethren Brian and Murtough and Tiegue More. At the prince’s side have Brian Berra laid, in lasting token of your victory; Murtough’s grand bulk, beside the stripling; by him again, Tiegue of Limerick; next in order be Turlouogh mac Tiegue also set.

 “For the O’Kennedys, have a litter strewn; a cold lair for the O’Hogans, dressed and polished stones planted over the O’Shanachans. Let habitations be prepared for the O’Ahiarns, and narrow flags laid over clan-Gillamochanna; a limestone flag, true to rule, over O’Flaherty. Have O’Donnagan put down in a good place and, as by you heretofore these members of [your] highborn kindreds have been extinguished in the mighty battle, even so make ye now ready and adorn their beds. Over their kerne [laid in one long trench] be the earth heaped rampartwise; to their English allies be decent burial given.

 “Inter all therefore; but first from their gentles take their armour, then look to your own and to your irachts’ losses. Surely no deprivation that may not be mourned is Clancullen’s heavy reckoning that fell with Hugh mac Donough mac Cumea and eight gentlemen of his breed in his close company, besides two-and-twenty of his iracht’s gentles killed ‘on the floor’ of the encounter. Enormous are Hy-Cormac’s losses also: O’Hechir (Lochlainn) and, with him, many of his people slain. Gravely this time clan-Teigue have suffered, inasmuch as that venomous serpent Macraith, blind Hugh O’Connor’s grandson, is fallen.

 “Let every man of you attend, each to his own particular friend to honouor him; to the dead of your own people assign such place of sepulture as yourselves shall choose. Tell over how ye have fought; count your winnings; for your leaders be death songs made, healing care bestowed on your followers’ hurts. For your whole host now is incarnadine, your glittering armour rubricated, and all your kindreds full of damage, ye children of Cormac cas!”  p. 107

“During autumn’s and winter’s revolution, after that battle of the Abbey they kept quiet: chiefs abiding in their holds, chieftains in their strong places, tanists among their households; men-at-arms, each in his own quarters; hospitallers in their dwellings, ollaves in their raths, coarbs in their respective churches; every ‘son of a good man’ in his own residence, every layman in his liss, and every bishop in his august see. In which conditions they rubbed on right pleasantly: in noble and becoming style they banqueted and feasted, with accompaniment of wine and mead: greyhounds [and others] in abundance they had, and hunted; entertained poets largely, were generous, gift-giving, wage dispensing; comfortable they were with it all, bright and merry, loved each other and kept the peace; their own numbers increased, their flocks and herds were many; finally, they dealt righteously, were equitably and truly judged. Thus they maintained their countries, and prospered under a reign of happiness."  p. 117 















Copyright © 2006 - Michael F. McGraw

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