National Folklore Collection
The story on this page has been taken from the Dúchas web site, page http://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/5044802/5039898 and pages following. An image of the original manuscript can be viewed on the Dúchas page as well as more detailed information about the informant and recorder of the story.
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The McGoverns are of the Brun race and are descended from Brian (son of the monarch of all Ireland, Eochaidh Muighe Meadhoin) first King of Connaught of the Hy Neill sept and eldest brother of Naill of the Nine Hostages, who is number 81 on the O Neill of Tyrone pedigree.
They were chieftains of the ancient territory of Teallach Eochaidh - now the Barony of Tullyhaw. It was also known as The kingdom of Glangevlin and is about sixteen miles in length and seven in width (Irish measure). It included the peasant parishes of Drumreilly, Kinawley and Tomregan.
In the historical tracks of Sir John Davies it is said that when Sir John Perrot converted ''O' Reillie's Country into the present County of Cavan in 1584 he left the wild and barren tract of land owned by the sept McGovern untouched and subject, as before, to the exactions of the chief. It had been maintained, however, that Perrot was afraid to intefere with Tullyhaw as the place was so well suited to native warfare.
The annals prove that the McGovern clan was independent of that of O Reilly as it was stated that McGovern paid a separate tribute to the Ard Rí, and it was often bigger than that paid by O Reilly
The inaugaration of the McGovern Chieftain has been described in verse:-
''The chronicles read him the laws of the clan,
And pledged him to abide by their blessing and ban,
His sgain and his sword were unbuckled to show,
That they were only meant for a foreign foe,
A white willow wand has been put in his hand
A type of pure, upright and gentle command.''
The stronghold of the McGovern Chieftain was Lissanover = lios-an-lubhair (The Proud Fort) overlooking the present Templeport Lake. The ruins of it were pulled down some ten years ago 1924 a.d. This castle was besieged on four occasions :-
(i) McGuire of Fermanagh burned it in 1431 a.d.
(ii) McGuire of Fermanagh burned it in 1455 a.d.
(iii) McGuire of Fermanagh burned it in 1459 a.d.
(iv) O Reilly burned it in 1485 a.d.
At the eighteenth century when when English sway began to assent itself in Cavan and south Leitrim McGovern removed to Gleann Gaible and the castle of Lissanover fell into disuse A poet said of it :- '' A proud ancestral home thou art; A noble heritage ''
No recorder or informant details given
School: Uragh (B.)
Location: Uragh, Co. Cavan
Teacher: S. Ó Connachtáin
Thanks to Bernadette McGovern who transcribed this and a great many other pages of the The Schools' Collection, from the National Folklore Collection Archives.
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