My occasional bits of research into the life of my ancestor continue, here with a lengthy account of a military expedition against the Earl of Desmond in June 1580, which took him and the Lord Deputy from Limerick right across what we now call County Kerry, as far as Dingle. I have cut and pasted this from an online edition of Selections from Old Kerry records : historical and genealogical : with introductory memoir, notes and appendix, edited by Mary Agnes Hickson and published in 1872 by Watson and Hazell of London. The notes in parentheses are hers; there is much here that I would like to comment on some time but it will have to wait.
Lymericke, July 22, A.D. 1580.
MY singular good Lord, — I do here send your Lordship a diary of our late journey in Munster, from our first setting forth from Lymericke until our return thyther agayntwelfth of June we set oute of Lymericke, with the whole armie, the Lord Justice taking his way to Askettyn (Askeaton) and the Erle of Ormond to Kylmallocke.
The thirteenth my Lorde Ormonde marched from Kylmallocke, over Slieve-Ghyr, by the waie of the Viscount Roche's countrie, and camped that night three myles beyond Buttevant, at a place called Lysgrifyn in Ownybaragh, a territory belonging to the Viscount Barry, having with him of his own force, 120 horsemenne, 100 Irish footmen. 210 shott on horse back, and 3 bands of English footmenne, whereof were Captain St. George Bowser (a painful serviceable gentleman), Captain Makworth, and Captain Dowdall, with a great number of caradg (carriages) which do greatly slow his service.
The fourteenth my Lord Justice moved from Askettyn towards Aherlow, through the grete wood, where he founde some cattel, and camped that night within a mile, one of another.
The fifteenth, the Viscount Roche, David Barry, sone and hcire to the Viscount Barry (his father being sicke) Mc Donough, O'Keeffe, and O'Kallaghan came to us with certain horsemenne and footmenne to whom we gave order that all the keriaghes (carriages) of the country should draw near our campe, as we wished to refresh us with vittaile (victuals) for our journey, promising that they should not be otherwise touched, and yet they durst not trust us, but fledde afar off. We removed and camped altogether that night in Mac Donough' s countrey called Dowally (Duhallow) by a river called the Brodewater, which falleth into the sea by Youghal. The contrie from east to west is xxiii miles longe, and xii miles brode, consisting of goodlie woodes faire rivers, and good arable land and pasture. In it there are of pety lords, under McDonough, O'Keefe, O'Kallaghan, and McAwlev, with whose powers and his own, he is able to make 400 footmen, xii horse, and 100 gallowglasse, and although that his country standeth on the hyther syde of the mountain of Slievelougher, yet the Earl of Clancarthy doth challenge (i.e. claim dominion over) him and his underlings, because they were originally some of the Mac Carthies.
The sixteenth we geave streight commandment to the Viscount Barry's sonne, the Viscount Roche. Sir Cormoc Mac Teige Mac Donough, O'Keeffe, O'Kallaghan, and .Mac Auley, that they should have alle their force and keriages to the est of the contrie to interrupt the passage of the traytours, to and fro : the mountayns till our retorne, which they observed not, to the gret hindrance of the service, and their own trouble as your Lordship shall hereafter perceive. We then parted companie, my Lord of Ormonde taking his course, with his force, over the mountayn of Slievelogher, one waie into the wylde mountainous contrie of Desmond, leving most of the keriagcs in the care of Mac Donough, as well to limit the traytours and their goodes, which now fled thyther, as also to bring with him the Erle of Clancartie, and the rest of the Lds of Desmond, of whom we stode much in doubt : and my Lord Justice, on whom I waited, marched towards Kerrye, through Mac Donough's contrie by his Castel of Kanturk, where the Lord Justice was met by Mac Donough's wife, a perty (pretty) comelye woman, sister to the now Countesse of Desmond, by another, who spake good English and entertayned the Lord Justice the best waye she could, and camped that night at a place called Glanossyran (qn. Glaushcroon) adjoining to a faire river and grete wood.
The seventeenth we marched towards the foot of the mountayn of Sleavloghra, which beginneth at Bally-McAuley, and is fourteen myles over to the playnes of Kerry, in which passadge our carrages and horses stucke in, by the continual rayne which we have had, and that evening we descended from the mountayn into Kerry, we looked for and pitched our campe at a place within three myles of the Island of Kerry called Kilcushny. The horsemenne, which were in the northward, discovered a prey dryving from the pleyn betwixt the Island and Traly to Slceavelogher wood, and when word was brought to the Lord Justice, he, taking his horse, leaving the campe settled, accompanied only with myself, Mr. Spresor, and viii horsemenne, followed on the spur, commanding two bands of footmenne to march after, and a vi miles from our campe towards the heighte of the mountayns we overtooke xvee cowes of the Erle's proper dery (dairy) of the Island, besides a number of small cattel which were stayed by Mr. John Zouch and his horsemenne. We took one of the drivers prisoner, who told us that they were the Erle's cattel, confessing also that if we had hanged in the mountayns but one hour longer, from coming down so soon upon the pleyns, we had taken the Erie, the Countesse, and Saunders! lodged there where we were encamped, saying that he was so suddenly taken that he had no leysor (leisure) to take his horse, but was lifted up betwixt the gallowglasses of the Mac Swynies, and conveyed away by them into the woodes of Desmond ; and, for confermacion thereof, we took from them certayn 'cleeves' (wicker baskets) wherein we found the Erle's provision of aqua vitæ, women's kerches (kerchiefs), Saunders' rych Spanish Preste's cloak, and for my porcion his "Sanctus Belle" and another toy after the manner of a crosse, supporting a booke, which I have sent your Lordship, with the remainder of them when you have done to Mistress Blanche. The soldiers found certain vestments and covers of calicoe, so near was the bad Erle, and his "Legate a latere" bested in his own Privie Chamber and Countye Palenteyne of Kerry ! Without this goode happe we had nothinge to feed us last night, and by this preye we had plentye of fleshe and milke, but neither brede, wine, nor bere, the space of foure dayes. The soldiers felle a killinge of the calves, and the cowes felle in such a roaring for them, as they were like to have broken into our campe that night, and over run all our cabins.
The eighteenth we went to view the Island, which is a high monstrous castel, of many roomes, but very filthye and full of cow-dung ! thence to Castel-Magne, where we camped that night, to the great comfort of the Ward, who was kept in close by the traytours, and a certain Sept of the Erle's followers, dwelling on the Reyver Mange, called the O'Moreartaghes (O'Moriarties). Thyther came there to us the Lord Fitz-Morrice, and his eldest son Patrick, with xvi horsemenne and gallowglasses, and xvi shott, well appointed and victualled, and attendeth the Lord Justice to the Dingell and back agayn.
The nineteenth, in our journey from Castel-Magne to the Dingell, which is xx miles off, we camped at a place which is near the Bay of Dingle, called "The Inch," where my Lord Justice and I did practyse our best skyll to gather cockles for our supper.
The twentyeth we came to the Dingell, where Sir William Wynter, Captain Bingham, and Mr. Fowlke Greville came to us from aborde the Queen's shippes, which laye in the Bay of Dingel, a mile to the west of the Haven of Dingell. A part of that daie we passed in reviewing both havens and the towne, and also in considering what place were fittest to fortify for defence of both, which, after a long debating between the Lord Justice and the Admiral, was agreed to be in the Haven of Ventrie ; they are both notable havens, and such as into which the greatest ships of charge may at all times enter. In the Irish Ventrie is called Coon Fyntra, which is almost as to saie " White Sand Haven," because the strand is white sand, full of white shells ; and Dingle Haven is called in the Irish Coon e daf deryck, which is almost to say " Red-ox-Haven," and took that name of the drowning of an ox in that haven, at the first coming over of the Englishmenne from Cornwall, which brought some cattel with them. We find the chiefest merchantes of the towne's houses rased, which were very strong before and built castel-wyse, — done by Sir John of Desmond, and the Knight of Kerrie, as they say, cursing him and Doctor Saunders as the root of all their calamities. The Burgesses were taken into protection by Sir William Winter before our coming, to helpe buildinge the towne againe, whose names are those following,
|Kleos als Knolls.
||Angells and Goldings.
One of the eldest of them told me that soone uppon the conquest of Englishmen in Ireland, a gentleman named "De La Cousa" was lord of that town and builded it, whose issue in manic years after finding the towne escheated to the House of Desmond, and by that reason it is called to this daye " Dingell de Couse."
The next daie being the twenty-first we went to see the Forte of Smerwicke, five myles from the Dingell to the westward, accompanied by Sir William Wynter, Captain Bingham, and Mr. Greville. The thing itself is but the end of a rocke shooting out into the Baye of Smenvicke, under a long cape, whereupon a merchant of the Dingell, called Piers Rice, about a year before James Fitz-Maurice's landing, built a perty castel under pretence of gayning by the resort of strangers thythir a fishinge, whereas, in very truth, it was to receive James at his landinge, and because at that very instant tyme, a ship laden with Mr. Furbisher's newe found riches happened to presse upon the sandes near to the place, whose carcase and stones I saw lie there, carrying also in his mynde a golden imaginacion of the cominge of the Spaniards, called his bylding Down-enoyr, which is as much as to say, " The Golden Downe." The ancient name of the Baye, in the Irish tongue, is the Haven of Ardcanny, compounded of these words Ard and Canny, and signifieth " Height," and " Canny," as derived from a certain devout man named Canutius, which upon the height of the cliffs, as appears at this day, built a little hermitage for himself to live a contemplative there, and so is it as much as to say " Canutius's Height ;" and afterwards by the Spaniards it was called Smerwicke, by what reason I know not. James Desmond did cut a necke of the rocke from the mainland, to make it the stronger, it lyeth equal with the maynlande, having a hole, with grete labour, digged into it, and to my measurement, it conteyneth but 40 foote in length, and 20 for brode, at the brodest place, now all passed and judged by menne of skyll a place of noe strength. The whole ground whereof it is parcel, is a peninsula, within which the Knight of Kerry's house standeth, and is called "The Island of Ardcanny." We went then aborde the Queen's shippes, with some merrie scruple, whether the realme should be without a governor, whereas the Lord Justice was uponne the sea ; but hunger moved us to make a favourable construction of the lawe. We had grete entertainment on boarde, and the Admiral and the reste of the Captains lente us of their stores to refresh our camp withafl, both byer (beer) and byskett for two dais, which we stretched to fower, and sent theyr pinnace to Castel-Mayne. After our coming from aborde, the Admiral shott off an ayre (discharge) of ordnance whereoff one demi-culverin in the stemme did flame, and therewith the master-gunners cabin brake out the side one grete piece of tymber, and like to have made fowle worke, but God be thanked, no manne hurte, nor the ship brought out of plight to serve. All this while the Erle of Ormonde was over agaynst us in this journey through the mountayn of Desmond, towards Valentia, whose fyres we might discern from us by the baye, about ten miles over.
The twenty-second, having well refreshed our soldiers, and agreed on the plan of fortifications, with other matters for answering the service both by sea and lande. we returned back to Castel-Mayne, camping that night at The Inch, beside the Baye of Dingell. I have forgotten to lett your Lordship understand, that the ships hath made themselves a sort of castel upon the shore, and hath their cattel passing about it, which they take from the natives by marching farre into the countrie.
The twenty-third, we came to Castel-Magne where we found the pynance of the victuals at the Castel syde, and the master which guided her thyther, told my Lord Justice that he had sounded the channel, and durst undertake to bring a ship of c tons within a stone's cast of the castel ; and, truly, it is built on a notable place to rule both the counties of Kerry and Desmond, on both sydes of the River of Magnc.
The twenty-fourth the Erle of Ormond came to us to Castel-Magne, in his route into Korke, bringing with him the Erle of Clancartie, O'Sullivan-Beare, O'Sullivan-More, O'Donoghuc-More, McFynin of the Kerrie, McDonogh, O'Keefe, O'Kallaghan, McAwley, and alle the rest of the L L of Desmond, except O'Donoghue of Glantlesk, which was with the tray tours. Manie of them do not obeye the Erle of Clancarty, and yet they came with the Erle of Ormonde, without pardon or protection, whose credit is great among them ; and by whose example of loyaltie and faithfulnesse to her Majestie, they are greatlie drawne to theyr dutie, contrarie to the pernicious persuasions that hath been used to them. They humbly submitted themselves, humbly acknowledging their dedes, and swearing fealtie and allegiance to her Majestie, with profession from thence forth devotedlie to serve her, after a dutiful fashion, by the Erle of Ormonde these brought a prey of iooo kyne, and slewe fower principal gentlemen of the Mac Fyneens and O'Sullivans.
The twenty-sixth, after storing of Castle-Magne with victuals, we marched thence towards Corke, through part of Desmond, the Erle of Clancartie's contrie, and camped that night by the fayre river of Lawyn (Laune), tween " The Palace," one of Clancartie's chiefe houses and Downelow (Dunlogh) a house of O'Sullivan-More's rased by the Erle of Ormond in the last warre of James Fitz-Maurice. The river hath in it many big muscles, where in are found many fayre perles.
The twenty-seventh, we marched by the famous Lough Leyn, out of which the ryver of Lowgen doth spring, and falleth into the sea beside Magne. The Logh is fulle of salmon, and hath in it eleven islands, in one of which (Innisfallen), there is an abbey in another a parish church, and in another (Rosse) a castel, out of which there came to us a fair lady the rejected wife of Lord Fitz-Maurice, daughter to the late McCartie-More (elder brother to the Erle). It is a circuit of twelve miles, having a faire plaine on one side, faire woodes and high mountaynes on the other side, thence we passed bv the entrie of Glanflesk, that " famous Spelunck," (Spelunca, hiding place), whereof the traytours make their chief fastnesse, and, finding neither people nor cattel there, we held on and camped that night in O'Kallaghan's countrie, by the river of Brode water which passeth by Youghal.
The twenty-eighth we camped by the edge of Muskerry, in Sir Cormac Mac Teige's countrie.
The twenty-ninth we marched to Corke, where the Maiour and citizens receive the Lord Justice after their best manner. We met there with the wheat and malte which your lordship sente for the provision of the army, to their grete comfort ; and here I must lette your Lordship to understand, that your grete care and providence in sending hither of said shippes and good store is gretely commended, for it is gretely murmurred that the same is miserably misused and delayed by the victuallers and their ministers both before and after it cometh thyther, besydes the length of tyme ere it came. We camped before the cittie the space of fower dayes, during which tyme we entreated the citizens for the loan of 3 or 4 LI (£3— 400), who, after many persuasions used to them, lent the Lord Justice c LI (£100) in money ; c LI (£100) of wynes ; and offered him another c LI (£100)'s worth of fishes, pork, and beofe (beef) and such other havings for the souldiers, which, I assure your Lordship, was gretely pulled down with their journies and ill waies, ill wether, and grete want of brede (bread), whereof some dropt by the waie. They are able to endure alle this, if they had but bredde, the lack whereof is the only derthe here, and nought els.
The bit about the two senior officials gathering cockles for supper is rather sweet. Though I somehow doubt that they picked enough for all of the troops…
This is all just a few months before the Siege of Smerwick.