Castles and Forts in Tír Conaill

~ 12 April 1601 ~

[The marginal notes are given in italics.]

April 12, 1601

"The names of all the chief places of strength in O'Dogherty's country called Ennisowen, as well castles as forts;" also of those in McSwyne Fanat's country.

(a.) "On the south side of the country, at the coming of the Lough, there is an old ruined castle, called Newcastle. Here dwells Hugh Boy Mack Caive, one of O'Dogherty's sept.

" Next unto the Newcastle, three miles to landwards, is a church, called Hoy mill, with a haven before it. Here dwell Shane McDuff and Hugh Boy's brother. A small brook at this place.

" Next to that, within four miles is a small castle, called Caire MacEwlyn. Here dwells Hugh Carrogh McLaughlyn, chief of his sept. A small brook.

"Two miles above that is another small castle, called Garnagall. Here dwells Brian Oge McLaughlyn. A small stream.

"Seven miles from Garnagall is the fort of Culmore, where Phelemy Oge O'Dogherty did dwell. O'Dogherty's brother. Between Culmore and Garnagall are two small streams.

"Three miles above Culmore stands the Derry, where the Bishop dwelt, who is one of the sept of the Gallacars. From the Derry, three miles within the land, towards Lough Swilly, is the castle of Ellaugh, O'Dogherty's chief house.

"From Ellaugh, five miles up in the country, at the side of Lough Swilly, is another castle of O'Dogherty's, called Birt. Here he holds a ward of forty men. [Hereruns a small stream into Lough Swilly.

"Next to that, in the Lough, to the seaward, is an island called Ench, five miles in length, and one mile from Birt. The chief dweller here is Doultough O'Dogherty.

"Over against Ench in O'Dogherty's country is a castle and a church, called the Fanne, but broken down since our arrival. Here dwells the Bishop O'Galthar.

"From the seawards six miles is another small castle, called Boncranogh, and a river into the Lough, where salmon is taken. At this place dwells Connor McGarrett O'Dogherty.

"From Boncranogh to seawards nine miles is another castle and a church, called Clonmony, by the seaside. Here dwells a priest called Amerson.

"From Clonmony to seawards five miles is another castle, called Carrickbrahey. Here dwells Phelemy Brasleigh O'Dogherty.

"From Carrickbrahey to landward, one mile, is a small castle, called Caslanstoke. Here dwells Phelemy Brasleigh's son.

"From Caslanstoke to seaward is a country of nine miles in length, called Mallane, wherein is a fort by the seaside, called Don-yrishe, held and inhabited by O'Dogherty. On the south side stands another fort called Don-owen. Here dwells Gartill McShane Boy O'Dogherty. To the southward of the same island stands a church with a wood, called Donoughmore.

"From Don-owen a mile northwards is a church, called Culdaughe, and stands upon the seaside. Here dwells McShane O'Dogherty.

"These be all the chief places round about O'Dogherty's country, called Ennisowen; the midland country is most part mountainous, and hath few inhabitants.

(b.) "McSwyne Fanat's country, over against O'Dogherty's country, on the west side of Lough Swilly.

"From the entry of the Lough, until you come to a point of land a little short of Ench, there is neither castle nor fort, but there upon a point of land is a castle and an abbey Ramollan. McSwyne Fanat's chief country house.

"Five miles above Ramollan, there is a castle of Hugh McHugh Duff's, called Ramaltan, standing upon the Lanan, which falleth in Lough Swilly, parting McSwyne's country and Hugh Duff's. Hugh Duff's own house.

"Three miles above Ramaltan, upon the Lough side in a bay, is the abbey of Kilodonnell, in Hugh McHugh Duff's country. Here dwell only friars.

"Five miles above Kilodonnell, there is a ford passable at low water, wherein hath sometimes been a fort called the Farcet of Soloughmore.

"Three miles from this ford towards Birt, stands an abbey, called Ballaghan, over against Kilodonnell. Here dwell friars. A small stream into Lough Swilly.

"Three miles from Ballaghan, towards Birt, is a point of land which runs far into the Lough, where hath been a strong fort, but now broken down, and is called Dunboy. Here dwells Shane McManus Oge.

"Dunboy and the point of land whereon Birt standeth maketh a bay, in the bottom whereof stands an old fort, called Colmackatreyne ['Culme a Treyne']. This was wont to be held by O'Donnell.

"From Colmackatreyne runs a bog, three miles in length, to the side of Lough Foyle. In the midst of the bog is a standing Lough, with a port on the one side of the Lough, called Bonebber, where Alexander McSorley was slain. At the end of this bog, to Lough Foyle side, is the fort of Cargan. Here dwelt O'Donnell's mother. A small stream into Lough Foyle.

"Three miles above the Cargan stands a fort, called McGwyvelin, upon the river of Lough Foyle. O'Donnell's mother's chief house.

"Above McGwyvelin, four miles up the river of Lough Foyle is the Liffer. Here dwelt O'Donnell. Two rivers between McGwyvelin and Lifford, Solofbeg and the Dewle.

"Four miles above the Liffer stands Castle Fene; here dwelt Neale Garve. Neale Garve's house. Four miles above Castle Fene is a friars' house, called Drumboy.

"Three miles above Drumboy stands a fort called Ballakill. Here dwells Donnell Gollocar, one of O'Donnell's chief counsellors. Ten miles above Ballakill is Lough Fene, upon the river Fene, where the river hath his first head. Four miles westward from Ballakill is Barnesmore.

From Barnesmore to the castle of Belleek, that stands upon Lough Erne, is twelve miles.

From Belleek to Ballyshannon is three miles. Here dwells McO'Dongonrye. From Ballyshannon to the abbey of Asheroe, to the seaward, is one mile. Inhabited by monks.

"From the abbey of Asheroe to the abbey and castle of Donegal is nine miles. Here is a good haven, and the river Esk falls into it. O'Donnell's chief house.

"Three miles above Esk is Lough Esk, O'Donnell's chief keeping. O'Donnell's chief storehouse for the war.

"Over against Donegal, two miles on the other side of the water, stands O'Boyle, where the ships used to ride. O'Boyle's chief house.

"Seven miles from O'Boyle to the seaward is a castle, called McSwyne Banat's Tower. McSwyne Banat's chief house. From this place to the haven of Killibeggs is three miles. Here dwells Seneschal McGonnell.

"Four miles from thence stands the castle of Bromoyle, in the lower end of the country. Here dwells Hugh Boy, McSwyne Banat's brother. From thence four miles is a small haven called Cornetillen. This haven divides McSwyne Banat's country and O'Boyle's.

"At the lower end of O'Boyle's country is a castle, called Kilmirrish. Here dwells the Bishop of O'Boyle. Next to that castle is the haven of Bonebber. This haven parteth O'Boyle's country and McSwyne.Ne Doe's. And next to that is the haven of Conogarhen, with a castle so called. This is McSwyne Ne Doe's chief house.

"The next haven to this is Red Haven, which parts McSwyne Ne Doe's country and McSwyne Fanat's. By the side of this haven is the castle of Mewryce, a castle of McSwyne Fanat's. Here dwells Alexander McDonologhe. Small boats may come from the Red Haven to the castle.

"The midland of Tyrconnell is inhabited by the sept of O'Gallocars."

Endorsed by Sir Robert Cecil:—"12 April, 1601. The description of Lough Foyle and the country adjacent." Addressed to Sir George Carey. pp. 6.

[Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland, Elizabeth I, November 1600 to July 1601 (London, 1905), Vol. 10, pp. 276-279]