Cashel History

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

Henry II., on landing at Waterford in 1172, marched to Cashel, where he received the homage of the above-named Donald O'Brien; and in November of that year he summoned a general synod of the Irish clergy, which was also attended by those Irish lords who submitted to his sway, and at which Christian, Bishop of Lismore, the pope's legate, presided. This assembly acknowledged the sovereignty of Henry; and of the ordinances enacted by it, one exempted the persons of the clergy from the jurisdiction of civil courts in criminal cases, and their lands from all secular taxes; and another enjoined a perfect conformity of the church of Ireland with that of England. Henry, during his stay here, bestowed on the archbishop and chapter the city of Cashel, with a large tract of the adjoining country. After his departure, Richard Strongbow led an army to this place against the native princes of the west, and encamped here, awaiting the arrival of reinforcements from Dublin, which being defeated at Thurles, he was compelled to retreat precipitately to Waterford. In 1179 the town was burnt; after its restoration, Donat or Donchad O'Lonargan, who succeeded to the see in 1216, erected it into a borough. Henry III., in 1228, remitted to Archbishop Marian and his successors the new town of Cashel, to be held of him and his heirs in free, pure, and perpetual alms, discharged from all exactions and secular services.

Sir David le Latimer, seneschal to Archbishop Marian, founded an hospital for sick and infirm poor, in honour of St. Nicholas, which was afterwards given to a society of Cistertians introduced by Archbishop David Mac Carvill. In 1243 a Dominican friary was founded by Archbishop David Mac Kelly, which being destroyed by an accidental fire, was rebuilt by Archbishop Cantwell, who was constituted both patron and founder by an instrument dated at Limerick about the year 1480; and in 1250 Archbishop Hacket founded the Franciscan friary. Hore Abbey, called also "St. Mary's Abbey of the Rock of Cashel," was originally founded for Benedictines; but Archbishop Mac Carvill, having dreamt that the monks had made an attempt to cut off his head, forcibly dispossessed them of their house and lands, and gave the whole of their possessions to a body of Cistertian monks, whom he brought from the Abbey of Mellifont, in the county of Louth.

In 1316, on Palm-Sunday, Edward Bruce came hither with his army from Limerick, and proceeded to Nenagh; and in 1372 a parliament was held at this place. In 1495, during the baronial feuds, Gerald, Earl of Kildare, influenced by hostile feelings towards David Creaghe, then archbishop, set fire to the cathedral, and in the presence of the king subsequently defended this outrage, in answer to the accusations of his persecutors, on the ground that he would not have destroyed the building had he not thought that the archbishop was in it at the time. On the termination of the insurrection headed by the Earl of Tyrone, this place, with others, surrendered at discretion, in 1603, to the lord-deputy Mountjoy. Lord Inchiquin advanced against it from the siege of Cahir, in 1647: the inhabitants took refuge in their church on the rock, which was well fortified and garrisoned. Inchiquin proposed to leave them unmolested, on condition of their contributing £3000 and a month's pay for his army: this offer being rejected, he took the place by storm, with great slaughter both of the soldiery and citizens, among whom 20 of the R. C. clergy were involved; and after having secured the immense booty of which he obtained possession, dispersed his forces into garrison. In 1690 the adherents of King William who had been wounded in the attack on Limerick were hospitably received by the inhabitants of Cashel, whose humane attention induced the king, on the bridge of Golden, about four miles distant, to renew their charter by letter, which is still in the possession of the corporation.

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