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Dromore Parish Located in the Southwest of Tyrone County, Ulster

All 15 Pages
Transcribed by Sandy


PAGE 5

To sum up, in the words of two experts, Maire and Liam de Paor:


The Irishman of early Christian times lived within the boundaries of his tuath, and was born, lived and died in one place, finding all the necessities and some of the luxuries of life in the produce of the one small district. In many ways he was better provided for than his peasant descendant in, say, the nineteenth century…He had the advantage of living in a society which had accepted the teachings of Christianity, and which, to some extend, recognized his rights as a man”.


We have already learned above that this district, from at least St. Patrick’s time in the fifth century, was ruled from Clogher by the Ui Cremhthainn group of the west Airghialla kingdom. North of here too, from the Foyle across the Bann, was ruled then by other septs of the same Airghialla people. But the centuries that followed saw great political changes in the North. This was due t the expansion across Ulster of a leading Celtic group of septs, called the Cenel Eoghain (the kin of Owen), descended from the fifth-century leader, Eoghan (Owen), son of the High-King Niall of the Nine Hostages. These Cenel Eoghain gradually subdued one branch after another of the Airghialla, until, under the House of O’Neill, they finally became supreme rulers of Ulster till the English conquest of the North, in the early 1600s. 26


So we find by the end of the twelfth century the old citadel of Rath Mor at Clogher was occupied by a branch of the advancing Cenel Eoghain-the MacCathmhaoils, now englished to MacCavils, MacCawells, or Colls or Campbells. 27 We may take it that this district too came under their rule then as well. For the next four centuries till the English came, this was part of the medieval kingdom of Tir Eoghain (Owen’s land), a territory far larger than the present colonial shire of Tyrone, as it covered today’s counties of Tyrone, Derry, Armagh, and parts of Donegal and Antrim too. 28


In the days of the O’Neills, what size was the parish of Dromore? An old survey gives us the boundaries of the civil parish then, the very same as those of today’s Catholic parish:


This parish meereth on ye east with ye towneland of Tonnagh in yt part of ye parish of

Donnoghcavagh yt lyeth in the Barony of Omagh & soe goeth southward in a line to Knockneean in

the parish of Kilskirry in ye barony aforesaid, & there runeth from thence westward to Shed (Tedd)

in the parish of Templemaghery in ye county of Fermanagh, & from thence goeth a line northward

to Aghadullagranna, in ye parish of Dromragh in the Barony of Omagh, & from thence runeth a lyne

eastward to Tattemony in yt part of ye parish of Donaghcavagh yt lyeth in the sd. Barony & from

thence runeth a lyne northward yt closeth with the towneland of Tonnagh aforesaid, out of this sd.

Parish runeth ye river of Gouland wch had formerly a bridge over it, but now borne away. There

being also a church in ye sd parish wch was ye parish church. 29


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26 Seamus O Ceallaigh, Gleanings from Ulster History (Cork 1951), pp. 6-8, and passim

27 Rev. S. O Dufaigh, “The MacCathmhaoils of Clogher”, CR (1957), pp. 32-3

28 Fr. Eamon O Doibhlin, Domhnach Mor (Omagh 1969), p. 46

29 The Civil Survey, 1654, (Dublin 1937), iii, p. 340