O'Connors of Offaly

Margaret Anne Cusack
start of chapter | Chapter XXI

The O'Connors of Offaly were for nearly two centuries the most heroic, and therefore the most dangerous, of the "Irish enemies." Maurice O'Connor Faly and his brother, Calvagh, were the heads of the sept. The latter had obtained the soubriquet of "the Great Rebel," from his earnest efforts to free his country. He had defeated the English in a battle, in which Meiller de Exeter and several others were slain; he had taken the Castle of Kildare; therefore, as he could not be taken himself by fair means, treachery was employed.

The chiefs of Offaly were invited to dinner on Trinity Sunday, A.D. 1315, by Sir Pierce MacFeorais (Peter Bermingham). As they rose up from table they were cruelly massacred, one by one, with twenty-four of their followers. This black deed took place at Bermingham's own Castle of Carbury,[2] county Kildare. Bermingham was arraigned before King Edward, but no justice was ever obtained for this foul murder.


[2] Carbury.—Extensive ruins still mark the site.