Tuam Aug. 28th 1838.

Dear Sir,

I want those of Great Charles Street to look for the passage about King Roderic's Castle at Tuam. Has Cambrensis mentioned it? Who says that it was called Castellum-mirificum. Does any cotemporaneous writer call it castellum mirificum (a Norman Castle!)?

Can Mr. Curry find any reference in the Dinnseanchus or other ancient authority any reference to Finnbheara of Cnoc Meadha? He is a celebrated fairy chief in this part of Connaught and was a particular friend of John Kirwan, who repaired his Cashels for him. Knock Maa lies about 5½ miles to the south of Tuam, and has on it a large carn like Mioscan Meidhbhe, and two chimerical modern Cyclopean buildings erected about ten years ago to please the


taste of old Mrs. Kirwan to whom Finnbheara was a great friend!


Situation. The parish of Kilbannan is bounded on the north by the parishes of Kilconly and Lisgeevy; on the East by the parish of Tuam & a part of Clare isolated (insulated) in Tuam; on the South by Killower and Donaghpatrick; and on the west by the County of Mayo.

Name. This parish is called in Irish by the natives Cill Bheanáin (See notices of Cill Beneoin in the Annals of the Four Masters at the years 1114, and 1148.) or Cill Mhionnáin, and said to have been called after St. Beanan (Beanán naomhtha) or Mionnan, the servant of St. Patrick who was buried at the foot of the reek where his Leachta is still visited by pilgrims. There is a holy well near the church called after his name. There is also close to the church one of the ancient Clogtheachs called locally Claigtheach Chille Mhionnáin, said to have been built by or for Beanán Naomhtha Deisciobal Phadruig. One side of this tower is destroyed even to the


ground, but the other side containing the door(way) is in tolerable preservation. The door is about 14 feet from the ground. The old church of Kilbannan is in the Gothic style and not many centuries old. Stations are performed at St. Beanan's well on Domhnach Chroim Duibh or Garland Sunday, but the Revd. Mr. Joyce, the present Coarb of St. Beanan is making every exertion to put a stop to these tur-asses (tour-asses) because he believes that the tower was a pagan fire-temple and the well of Druidical sanctity, and that St. Beanan was obliged to transfer them to Christian purposes to please the superstitious natives, and I might as easily argue with, and convince a cataract (an eas) of the contrary as the present Coarb of St. Beanan.


In the townland of Kilcreevanty in this parish, stand the ruins of the celebrated nunnery of Cill Croebhnata, the situation of which had never been pointed out before. From the fragments remaining it appears to have been originally extensive. All the doorways and windows are destroyed excepting one which is on the north transept. It is in the round lancet style and measures 8feet. 6inches. in height and 4ft. 6inch. in breadth on the inside, but the outside part is destroyed. The building seems to have been originally in the shape of the letter t, (the aisle Nave and choir) measuring 120 feet in length and 57 feet in breadth (but it is very likely that there were partition walls). The foundation can be still traced, but little of the building itself remains. The east and west gables are destroyed, but a good (considerable) portion of the south side wall remains measuring about 72 feet in length and about 20 feet in height. There is now a formless breach where the door was in this wall, and at its western extremity there is another breach, under which (is) a large well cemented piece of the wall


laid prostrate. The cement is exceedingly good. The north side wall is all down with the exception of a fragment 24 feet long and about 15 feet high, and a very small portion of the north east corner. There were two chapels attached to this building, one at the south, & the other at the north side of the choir(?). The northern one contains the window already referred to, but the southern chapel is nearly level to (with) the ground. The north chapel was 21 feet in breadth inside, but its length cannot be now easily ascertained.

Inquisition taken on the 10th of April in the 34th year of the reign of Henry VIII. finds that this nunnery (then) contained a church and Belfry, dormitory, hall, three chambers, a kitchen, garden and sundry closes.

The Annals of Loughkey, as quoted by Archdate [recté Archdall] state (record) that this nunnery which was also


called "of the Chaste wood", was founded for nuns of the order of St. Benedict about(?) the year 1200 by Charles the Redhanded O'Conor and the Four Masters have in their annals (that) Fynola, the daughter of Felim O'Conor, abbess of Cill Craobhnata, died in the year 1301. Archdall writes that Dervail Ny-Connor was the last Abbess of this Nunnery.

For the possessions of this Nunnery see Inquisitions quoted in Archdall's Monasticon, for I deem it unnecessary to transcribe them here as the lands enumerated are not in this neighbourhood.

On the top of a hill in the townland of Ballygaddy there is a sacred heap of stones called Leachta Phadruig or St. Patrick's Monument.


It would appear from the name Cill Croebhnata, Cella Croevnatae, that there was a primitive Irish little church here, on the site of which this extensive nunnery was built by Cathal Crobhdhearg. Does the Irish Calendar of the O'Clerys or any of our ancient ecclesiastical documents mention a virgin St. Croebhnaid(ait) of Conmaicne Duna moir?

Do any of the ancient Irish ecclesiastical documents mention the very holy St. Beanán, the servant of St. Patrick, who built the round tower at Kil-Banán near Tuaim da ghualainn?

Is there a Saint in the Calendar of the name of Conlaeth, whose church was at


Kill-Conlaeith in Conmaicne Dúna moir?

Please to let us have the Books of the Barony of Clare as soon as possible as the greater part of its parishes can be visited from this town.

Your obedient Servant,

Is there a Saint Rondearg in the Calendar. I met a well dedicated to a holy virgin of the name during my rambles this day. The days are beginning to get short!