14th September 1838.
My dear John,
You must pardon me for not sooner answering your last letter, as I am not so guilty as you may have supposed, the truth being that my time was (so) occupied by "the bard of Erin," as the people in the Hog-Loft call him, that I could not find leisure to write.
I confess that I wronged you (in) supposing you in error about the locality of the Hens castle, and more, that I was myself the ignoramus in not knowing that there were two Castle Kirkes as well as two Castle Hags. I should have recollected this but my memory you know is a bad one, and yours is like that of the celebrated antiquary Thomas Hearne, on whom these lines were written:
Whatever I forget, you learn
You ask, what evidence is there to prove that the
Benean of Kilbannon is the celebrated St. Benen of the Sencus Mor &c. The answer is that Colgan speaks of (him) as such "Benignus Archepiscopus", and that no other Benen is found in the Calendar.
You say you could not find a vestige of Dun Lugaid. But I have a distinct recollection of the remains of a great Rath, a portion of the circle, at one side of the church &c. Perhaps they have been destroyed since I was there some 12 or 15 years ago.
The inscriptions on the Shaft of the cross at Tuam I never saw. But I copied the inscription on the base, which it appears O'Conor did not see. Here are transcripts -
Or do Thoirdelbuch ua Conchubuir Donour
.....Iarlath las inder nad insaer
D u oissin: dordabbaid: las indern......
The remaining portions of this Cross are in the church yard, and I dare say if they were all
collected together, the cross might be set up in its original state - what a pity they do not do so! And it is a still greater pity that the name is lost on the shaft, for if we had that we should have the whole inscription.
The messenger waits and I must conclude.
faithfully your friend,