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Annals :: 400-1000

Christan half of 1st millenium .

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441-3 AD

St Patrick brought Christianity to Shrule, when on his western journey from Cruacha he proceeded through Dunmore, Cill Benein (Killbannon) to Donaghpatrick, and then he turned northward and crossed the Blackriver into the territory of Cuil Toladh. The natural ford over which he passed was Shrule, the traditional crossing from Magh Seola on the south.

Prior to his crossing he had visited the chieftain of Magh Seola at his residence near Lough Cime, now Lough Hacket, he also founded a great church at Donaghpatrick where he left his disciple, Bishop Felartus, in charge. The tradition is that the church in the graveyard at Shrule has been erected on the site of an earlier church founded by St Patrick and built where he rested his staff. But the ancient abbey of Cloghvanaha, that was situated on the shore of the Blackriver a few hundred yards west of Shrule and is listed as an early Christian settlement, is most likely the earliest Christian foundation in Shrule.

450 AD

The book of Rights and Privileges attributed to St. Beinin who died in 468 AD shows the tributes paid annually to the King of Connacht, at his residence Cruachan, by the king of the Conmhaicne: 240 mantles, 200 cows and 80 hogs.In return the king of Connacht had to pay the King of the Conmhaicne for his services, tributes and loyalty. The annual payment was 4 cloaks, 4 swords, 4 slaves, 4 women, 4 corsets, 2 mantles, and 2 pairs of tables, 10 cups and 10 horses.

500 AD +

The early church in Shrule accepted the rule of Felartus of Donaghpatrick.Later Shrule belonged to the dioceses of Cong then Annaghdown, then the archdiocese of Tuam, later to the Wardenship of Galway that became the diocese of Galway.After the visit of St. Patrick, the work of the conversion of the population and the perfection of their Christianity took place, until a time when those who wanted to perfect their religion gathered round the existing churches to receive instruction from the Holy men who lived there. So the first monasteries were established.These monasteries were very different from those existing today. There was no communal dwelling and no stone building apart from the church which also had either a thatched or flagged roof. The church was the central structure, surrounded by a cluster of simple wooden huts for the monks, where they slept, had their frugal meal and spent their time in meditation. The whole colony was often encircled by a strong high wall, usually oval in shape, which enclosed the monastery’s entire possessions, Moyne’s pre- sent graveyard is a typical example of this type of early Christian settlement.Moyne

Referred to as Maigen, Maighin = a little plain, sometime called Maigencula, Maighin of Cuil Toladh, it is most likely the place referred to in the martyrologies as “Muicin and Eodusa of Maigen.”. The present ruins belong to the early gothic about the 12th century, but is believed to be originally Irish Romanesque from the 10th century or earlier. The foundation is one of the largest of its type in Ireland. The church is 52 ft. by 21 ft, situated on a little height near the centre of a cashel (wall) 8 ft. thick, 380 ft. long by 330 ft. wide in the shape of a perfect oval still in good condition. It used to contain all the monastic buildings but there is nothing left today.

Its size reflects the importance of its founders or/and its community and it is mentioned in many documents down to the end of the 16th century.Cloghvanaha (Shrule Abbey) the ancient foundation of that name, which was situated at the south end of Church Park in Shrule, also must have been one of these settlements and probably sprang up around the earlier Patrician foundation. Regretfully there is little mention of it in medieval accounts.


Though not anymore in the parish of Shrule, it is maintained that it used to be, and so cannot be omitted here. Situated in the townland of Morgagach, about two miles north of Shrule, it was there that St. Patrick left the two sisters of the Bishop of Donaghpatrick, “two virgins dedicated to God, the sisters of St. Felartus”, and they were called Callecha and Crocha.

The king of Connaught kept twelve officers as his entourage, they were chosen from the leading clans of his country and their role was to attend on his person, give him counsels and help him to rule and govern the land. Those positions were hereditary. The twelve clans were O’Flannagan, Mac Gerachty, O’Mulbrenin, O’Finaghty, O’Fallon, O’Flin, O’Manachain, O’Concanon, Mac Branan, O’Hanly, O’Heyn, and O’Seachnusy. The Galengs and the clan Canans were to supply the chief officers and the champions. The Conmacnians, the three Luighnis and the men of Cera were the chosen spearmen of the armies.

550 AD +

Hugh, son of Eochaidh Tirmcharna, conferred Annaghdown on God and St. Brendan. From then on Annaghdown, having a more central position in Magh Seola, country of the O’Flaherty, than Donaghpatrick, became more and more important as time went by, until the encroaching power of the O’Connors on the north gave further reason for the change.

580 AD

On the island of Insequin, St Brendan built a chapel and worked divers miracles. About 580, on the same island, St Meldan was abbot of a famous abbey, he was the spiritual father of the great St Furse of Peronne in France. St Colgan also remained there for a while with St Brendan

623 AD

Fechim de Fore founded the Cong monastery, after working in the baronies of Ballynahinch and Ross.

630 AD

Fechim de Fore leave Cong, the monastery there became the great religious centre of the Conmaicne Cuile Toladh. However, Shrule was not listed under the abatable jurisdiction of Cong until much later.

It is important to note that the parish boundaries as they exist today belong to a later period. Moyne later replaced by Kinlough was a parish in its own right, so was Moorgagagh on the north. From that we can conclude that our Parish was a lot smaller than now and stayed that way for a long time, until penal time. The land was much more sparsely populated than now, indeed the total number of people in what is now Shrule parish may have been as little as three or four scores and at most a few hundred. They would have gathered around the early Christian foundations like Moyne and Cloghvanaha, with smaller groups scattered around. Towns and other centres of trade were non-existent until the coming of the Norman.

Another point worth mentioning here, is that from an early time it was normal for members of the local chieftain’s family or the local leading clan to be appointed in key positions in the local churches. So leaving the church open to inner conflicts and controversies when enmities arose between two clans.

664 AD

The yellow plague of Connell is ravaging the land.

688 AD

The annals of Clonmacnoise mention that in Connacht:, “A wolf was seen and heard speak with human voice.”M. James Hardiman, historian ,in 1846 wrote:”This wonderful wolf was probably what the old Germans called a were-wolf…”

766 AD

The battle of Shrule between the Ui Bruin and the Conmaicne,where great numbers of the Conmaicne fell, andAedDubh,son of Taichlech,was slain.Dubh Indrecht,son of Cathal,was victor.The O’Fl;aherty are known to have controlled for a while Conmaicne Cuile up to Ballinrobe. It is possible that this battle was part of their invasion.

800 AD +

The church is estimated to have possessed 1/5 of the land and the king 1/3, another third was reserved for his relations,nobles and professional…leaving 14% for the people.In tribal time the portion of land tilled by the people was neg- ligible, their function was to work on the lord’s estate and to be compensated in flour and other food commodities. They were also required to fight when needed.In those days to be considered a ruling noble one had to have enough land to feed 42 cows, have 7 vassals, own 12 cows and 16 sheeps, 1 kiln for drying grain, 1 mill, 1 barn, a minimum of 10 tenants. That noble would then have judicial power and be allowed to command 100 men in war.


Tuirgeis, leader of a marauding band, overran Connacht and destroyed the town of Galway.

900 AD +

In that century the O’Connor came to power securing the sove- reignty of Connacht. The O’Dowd’s power was almost extinct, the O’Connor having practically all northern Connacht in their grip, they could have absorbed the O’Flahertys and the O’Kellys but for the opposition of outside enemies, ie: the king of Thomond (O’Brien) in the south, the kings of Briefny and Tyrconnell in the north.

927 – 929 AD

The Danes of Limerick took possession of Lough Corrib and pilla- ged its islands.Inchiquin, Inishmicatreer and Inchagoil were among the islands pillaged, but what about, Cloghvahana and Moyne, could they have been visited by the Danes? A round tower at Kilcoona (south-east of Headford), generally built as a direct result of a threat from the Danish raids, seems to indicate that the danger was real, even more so for Moyne as it is nearer to the lake.

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