Britannia, by William Camden

The County of Limerick.

Big T THUS far we have survey’d the maritime Counties of Mounster: two remain, that are inland, namely, Limerick and Tipperary; which we now come to. The County of Limerick lies behind that of Cork to the North, between Kerry, the river Shanon, and the county of Tipperary: It is fruitful and well inhabited, but has few remarkable Towns. The West part is called Conilagh,Conilagh. where, among the hills, Knock-Patrick,Knock-Patrick. i.e. St. Patrick’s hill, is the highest; from the top whereof, one has a pleasant prospect into the sea and along the river Shanon, which at a great distance falls from a vast wide mouth into the Vergivian Ocean. At the bottom of this hill, the Fitz-Giralds liv’d for a long time in great splendor; till Thomas, call’d the Knight of the Valley,Knight of the Valley. or de Glin (when his graceless son was put to death for Arsony; for it is treason,Qu. Eliz. An.11. by the laws of Ireland, to set villages and houses a fire,) was found an Accessary, as advising, and had his estate confiscated by Act of Parliament. The head city of this County is Limerick;Limerick. encompass’d by the Shanon a famous river, which divides its stream, and embraces it. The Irish call it * * Loumeagh, C.Loumnagh, and the English, Limerick. It is a Bishop’s See, ⌈built and endow’d by Donald O Brian, King of Limerick,Ware, Ant. p.140. about the time of the coming of the English into Ireland; and greatly augmented by Donagh O Brian, Bishop of the place, about the beginning of the thirteenth Century.⌉ This City is the great Mart of the Province of Munster; and was first taken by Reimund le Gross, an Englishman, the son of William ¦ ¦ Girald, C.Fitz-Girald; and afterwards, burnt by Duvenald, a petty King of Twomund. At last, it was given in fee to Philip Breos, an Englishman; and fortify’d by King John with a castle. At present, it is two towns; the Upper (for so they call that where stands the Cathedral and the Castle,) has two gates, and each a fair stone bridge leading to it, fortify’d with bulwarks and little draw-bridges; one of which leads you to the West, the other to the East. The Lower town which joins to this, is fortified with a Wall and Castle, and a foregate at the entrance. More to the East, stands Clan-William,Clan-William. so call’d * * From a Bourk, whose name was William.from a family of that name, descended from the House de Burgo (the Irish call them Bourk,) who inhabit it. Of this family, was that William (who slew James Fitz-Moris, the plague and firebrand of his country;) upon whom Queen Elizabeth conferr’d the honourBaron of Castle-Conel. of Baron of Castle-Conel (where Richard Rufus Earl of Ulster, had fortified the Castle,) together with a yearly pension, in recompence of his own bravery, and the loss of his sons, who were slain in that Battle. ⌈Several good Families of the sirname of Bourk do still remain in these Parts.⌉

In the South part of this county, stands * * Kil-mallo, C.Killmallock,Killmallock. which is next in dignity to Limerick, both in respect of plenty, and populousness; and is wall’d round. Likewise Adare,Adare. a little town, fortified heretofore, and situate upon ¦ ¦ The same river, C.the river Mage; which presently runs into the Shanon. Near this, stands Clan Gibbon, the Lord whereof, John Fitz-Girald, called John Oge Fitz-John Fitz-Gibbon, and, from his grey hairs, the white Knight, was attainted for certain Crimes by Act of Parliament; but by the Clemency of Queen Elizabeth, his son was restor’d; ⌈and the name of Fitz-Girald is at this day more numerous than any other in this Kingdom. At present this Town of Clan-GibbonClan-Gibbon. stands in the County of Cork.⌉ The most noted and eminent Families in this tract (besides the Bourks and Fitz-Giralds) * * Are, C.were the Lacies, the Browns, the Hurleys, the Chacys, the Sapells, the Pourcells, all of English extraction; and the Mac-Shees, the Mac-briens, O Brians, &c. of Irish extraction. ⌈Some of whom are now extinct, and some others of no great note at present; but from the O Brians are the Earls of Thomond and Inchiquin, besides others of considerable Fortune and Character. Divers noble Families derive their Titles of Honour from this County; namely, a Family of Hamilton, the title of Viscount Limerick;Visc. Limerick. a Family of the Southwells, the title of Viscount Castle-Maltress; and a Family of the Fanes, the title of Baron Loughyre, and Viscount Fane.⌉

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06