National Folklore Collection
The story on this page has been taken from the Dúchas web site, page http://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/5044802/5039900and 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 O Dolans : - From history it would appear that the clan O Dolan always ranked next in blood to the McGoverns and O Dolans always assisted at the inaugaration of '' the O Rourke ''. In the thirteenth century, tradition says that Murtagh O Dolan of Gleann Gaible had his eyes put out by the O Connor who plundered the territory of Donall O Rourke and took away an immense booty. When the O Dolans were chief military leaders of Tullyhaw under the McGoverns they owned a strong fortress at Peadar-a-Vohers which was protected by a deep and broad ditch.
The O Dolans were connected by marriage alliances with the McGoverns, McGuires and O Rourkes and the McGoverns and O Dolans often exchanged bells and holy relics to confirm the bonds of friendship
According to an ancient tale the wife of an O Dolan or a McGovern should always be a royal blood of the clans. If it should happen that the chieftain of either of theses clans married outside his rank; after her death his spouse was debarred for the family burial ground of her husband.
It was one of the O Dolans who, in ancient times, erected a large stone near the
gap of Gleann Gaibhle bearing a Gaelic inscription inviting wayfarers to repair to his house for free entertainment. In 1298, when Brian Bréagac McGovern, chief of Tullyhaw, was slain by Hugh Breffney O' Connor, Thady O Dolan, chief of McGoverns Galloglasses was held a hostage by the O Connors. After his release it is said that he entered a monastery and remained there for the rest of his life. In ancient times the O Dolans were eminent among the poets and historians of Tullyhaw and Leitrim. Their coat of arms, like that of the McGovern clan bears a tree in full foliage.
History of the McGovern clan (continued).
In 1277 Teallach Eochaidh figured prominently in our annals. At that time Fergal McGovern, chief of Tullyhaw, ordered every able-bodied man in his territory to assemble at the hill of Peadar-a-Vohers.
From this historic spot he started out for the battlefield of Mohill where he defeated the Leitrim chief, Connor MacDorchaidh. A story six centuries old is told by the Thomas McGovern, a chief of Tullyhaw. It is said that he made a prisoner of the great Teighe O Connor of Connaught better known as Bratach Fighinn (of the firm standard). The ambitious McGovern refused to liberate the chieftain until he
he received from him a documentary agreement for the hand of his daughter in marriage together with a dowry befitting a king's daughter. In due course the Chieftain of Tullyhaw called forth across the ''Grey Ridge County'' for his bride but the winsome Una O' Connor who was already plighted refused to marry McGovern. He persisted but the Clan Murtagh O Connor of Sligo and the munnur Colin of Leitrim took McGovern and never dropped him until they landed in his native Derrynananta, Glangevin and on the way they subjected him to frequent '' possings '' in the ditches. This has given rise to the popular saying on threat in the district I'll poss you like Tom McGovern. For centuries the McGoverns were not friendly disposed towards the MaGuires nor O Reilly's. In the fifteenth century Brian Ca?e? son of the McGovern slew Jim MaGuire, chief of Fermanagh. It is said that MaGuire and his seven men were in McGovern's territory at McGovern's invitation.
In 1445 the fierce battle of Ben Caehalbhra took place in which Malachy McGovern, chief of Tullyhaw was slain. Up to this time McGovern had a fortress on Benaughlin
Ballyconnell was the scene of a battle in 1740 between the O Reillys and O Rourkes. The O Reillys won. The McGoverns are said to have fought on the side of the O Rourkes. Near the hill of Templeport the McGoverns defeated the O Reillys in 1845. A chieftain of the McGoverns was slain in Templeport church in 1496. Edward McGovern. Primate of Ireland, was slain by Sir William Russell in 1593. During the time he was in hiding he had a hiding-place beside the present well of Esvaugh in Glangevlin. In 1595 Hugh O Donnell spent a night in McGovern's castle at Lissanover. He patched up a treaty between the McGoverns and O Reillys and the both fought through the rebellion on his side. It is stated that the McGovern chieftain yielded only once to the English and this was after the battle of Kinsale when he paid a tribute of fifty men and one hundred cows to Sir Garrett Moore.
History of the McGovern Clan during the Plantation of Ulster
Those who received lands in Teallach Eochaidh during the plantation of Ulster were Captain Cuilme, Walter Talbot, Sir Richard Grimes, George Grimes and William Parsons. The following McGoverns received lands :-
Felim McGovern (chief) 1000 acres at a rent of £ 10..s 13..d 4
Cormac McGovern 175 acres at a rent of £ 1..s 17..d 6
Donagh McGovern 75 acres at a rent of s 16..d 0
Hugh Óze MacManus McGovern 150 acres at a rent of £ 1..s 12..d 0
Brian Óze McGovern 200 acres at a rent of £ 2..s 2..d 8
In 1641 many of the clan regained these lands by joining in the rebellion were :- Coll McGovern, Gildernan McGovern, Tarlogh McGovern, Domhnall McGovern, Philip Óze McGovern and Richard Graham. A number of the McGoverns fought on the side of Owen Roe at Benburb in 1646 a.d.
Books relating to the clan McGovern :-
(i) An Irish Sept - J.H.McGovern
(ii) History of their clan - J.H.McGovern
(iii) '' Plearáca na Ruanach '' O Rourke's feast, by Hugh Óze McGovern and translated into English by Dean Swift
'' Our honour and our stainless swords - Our old ancestors names, alone are ours, all else is lost.''
Verses composed about the McGovern Clan.
'' A hardy race inured to toil.
But proud of heart, impatient of offence,
With passions strong and bold and full of life
Yet kind in speech and to the stranger's call, Their doors are never closed.''
'' Nor hill or brook we pace along,
But hath its legend on its song.''
Stanza in reference to the McGovern who had a successful cure for rabies :-
'' The virtue of all herbs of mount on dale,
On greenwood shade on quiet brooklet,
Whatever lore of science as of song
Sages and bards of old have handed down.''
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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