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rough shoes without heels; use their pipes, tunes and ways of dancing; and in their shape and features, resemble the tall, thin make, and black slender hair of our Momonian Irish. With these were afterwards intermixed some British colonists, who fled hither, according to Camden, upon the invasion of the Romans.

The ancient Kings of Munster traced their descent from Heber, one of the celebrated Milesian Princes, who are said to have acquired the sovereignty of Ireland in the year of the world 2934. They held their regal seat at Cashel, and their power and influence were so extensive, that they frequently contended successfully against the Monarchs of Ireland. In the second century of the Christian era, Olliol Olum settled the inheritance of the crown of Munster on the male posterity of his two eldest sons Eogan and Cormac Cas, by a succession which should be uninterruptedly alternate between both branches, with this particular condition, that the eldest Prince, if capable of governing, should succeed out of either branch. On the manner in which this regulation was observed by the descendants of Olliol Olum, the information afforded by our annalists is extremely confused and contradictory: but it is probable that it led to the partition of the kingdom which took place about two centuries after, when we find the posterity of Cormac Cas in possession of the government of Thomond, or North Munster

only. From this branch of the Royal Family of Munster sprung Mahon, who acquired the sovereignty of both provinces, in which he was succeeded by his brother the celebrated Brian Boiromhe, whose exploits have been noticed in our Preliminary Dissertation.

The county of Limerick, which made a part of the kingdom of North Munster, was anciently a principality in itself, under a chieftain named HyCiaraigh, or O’Kiarwick. It was divided into five cantreds, governed by dynasts or subordinate chieftains. Carrigoginniol, now the barony of Pobble Brien, was the hereditary cantred of the O'Kiarwicks; Uaithney, now the barony of Owneybeg, belonged to the O'Ryans; Cairbre Aobhdha, or Kenry, to the O'Donovans; Hy-Cconuil Gabhra, now the baronies of Upper Connello and Coshma, to the M‘Eneirys and O'Sheehans; and Connalla, now Lower Connello, had for its chiefs the O’Kinealys and O'Thyans.

The original foundation of the city of Limerick is involved in similar obscurity with that of our other principal cities. It is supposed by some writers to have been the Regia of Ptolemy; the M. S. of the Friars of Multifernam calls it Rosse-de-hailleagh ; but it is mentioned under the name of Lumneach, by some of our most ancient chroniclers. Thus, we are told by the Psalter of Cashel, that in a division of Ireland made, A. M. 2870, the northern part extended from Tredaugh (Drogheda) to Lumneach, and the northern from Drogheda to Derry. In a subsequent division, A. M. 3940, Lumneach is again mentioned. Donald O'Brien in his grant of lands to the Clergy of St. Mary's Cathedral, A. D. 1179, styles himself King of Lumneach, and it is probable the city retained this name till it was changed into Limerick by the English. But we shall notice this subject more at large in a subsequent page.

Of the Political and Military History of this district, we have no authentic details of a date anterior to the commencement of the fatal inroads of the northern rovers. Many of its inhabitants were to be found in the ranks of the tribe of Dalgais, the chosen troops of the Kings of Munster, whose exploits have been so much celebrated by our ancient bards. The scanty reliques of our early history which the ravages of the successive invaders have spared to us, afford but too much ground to believe that Munster, as well as the other parts of Ireland, was the frequent theatre of martial strife, arising from the domestic broils of its petty chieftains, from disputes with the supreme Monarch and the neighbouring states of Leinster and Connaught, and repelling frequent excursions from Britain. Of these events our remaining records do not afford sufficient light even to glean a chronological detail.

About the close of the eighth century the Danes commenced their ravages in Ireland. The first at

tempts were repulsed, but in the year 812, they sailed with a considerable fleet up the Shannon, plundered Limerick, and burned the Abbey of Mungret, which is said to have been founded by St. Patrick; but they were ultimately repulsed with great slaughter. Four years after the Danes landed on the island of Inniscattery in the Shannon, put the clergy to the sword, and destroyed the monument of St. Senanus. In various subsequent inroads they were frequently defeated by the Munster forces: this valour, however, proved unavailing, in consequence of the success which attended the tyrant Turgesius in other parts of Ireland. After spreading terror and devastation throughout the country, he rivetted his detested yoke on the unfortunate inhabitants; and although his well-merited death held out a hope of deliverance, yet the foreigners by policy rather than by force, contrived to maintain a footing in the country. On this subject Giraldus Cambrensis tells us, “Not long after there came again out of Norway, and the Northern Islands, as remnants of the former nation, and whether they knew of themselves or by their parents, the land to be fruitful and commodious, thither they came, not in warlike sort, but in peaceable manner, to use the trade of merchandise : when they had entered certain ports and havens of Ireland, with the license of the Princes of the land, they builded therein divers cities. Their leaders and chieftains were three bre

thren, Amelanus, Sitaracus, and Ivorus; the command of Dublin fell to Amelanus, Waterford to Sitaracus, Lymericke to Ivorus, and from thence by degrees in process of time, they gave themselves to build other cities of Ireland. This nation which is now called the Easterling nation or Eastmen, at their first coming, demeaned themselves towards the Kings of the land, in a most royal and peaceable manner ; but when the numbers multiplied of their own kinne, and they had fortified their cities with walls and trenches, they began to revive the old hatred that was hid in their hearts, and obstinately to rebel.”

It is the general opinion, that the Danes became masters of Limerick about the middle of the ninth century, and took immediate steps to secure their conquest by fortifying the town, from whence they made various predatory inroads into Connaught, and were in their turn frequently discomfited by the inhabitants of that province.

They erected signal posts in the neighbourhood of the city, to communicate with the interior of the country, and they soon became so powerful, as to make the island of Inniscattery a depôt for their arms. But the natives beholding these proceedings with a jealous eye, seized every opportunity of crippling their power, and Kennedy, the son of Lorcan, King of Munster, is said to have defeated them in fourteen different battles. In the year 943, Kennedy formed

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