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Timeline for the parishes of Kilrea & Tamlaght O'Crilly, 400–1299.

Please refer to Notes and References at bottom of page.
Return to Kilrea & Tamlaght O'Crilly timeline front page.

Sources; Comments; Links
Mid 400s
(1) After St Patrick established his headquarters at Armagh, he visited various places in Ireland, to preach, conduct conversions, bless wells, and build a small wooden church. At Kilrea, St Patrick left a man named Kevan to oversee the new parish. Though known at one point as Kilkevan, after St Patrick's disciple, the place name, Kilrea, combines the gaeilge words, "cill," for church, and "riada," for a chariot- or driving-way. Thus, in the gaeilge, "Cill Riada" referred to a church on a road, or way--in this instance, the road which, dating as far back as the 5th century, probably ran eastwards to the fishing place at Portna and southeasterly to Moneygran townland.
(2) The area comprising and in the vicinity of the modern parish of Tamlaght O'Crilly "was in the territory of the Uí Tuirtre," of whom the chief family were the O'Lynns.
(1) Account by Bernard Fitzpatrick; cited in The Fairy Thorn (1984), pp. 85-86. Mr Fitzpatrick also discussed the origin of the suffix, "doney," in place names.
(2) Tamlaght O'Crilly: Greenlough, www.greenlough.com
(1) The tribe known as Fir Lí occupied the territory north of the Moyola river, extending northwards to Camus.
(2) The Moyola river runs from Sixtowns (which is situated several km northwest of Cookstown), thence northeast to a point a couple of kilometers north of Draperstown, thence eastward in a winding route to a kilometer or so north of Tobermore, then falling southeast towards Castledawson, and in its final stretch, it flows several more kilometers into Lough Neagh, at a point a few km west of Toome.
(1) Reeves (1857), pg. 52.
(2) Google Maps www.google.ca/maps/

Link to notes about the people of Fir Li, by John O'Donovan.

See also entry under 1177, "Sir John de Courcy invaded..."
A branch of the Northern Uí Néill, the Cenél mBinnigh, of the Cenél Eóghain, descendants of Eochu Binnigh, son of Eoghan, advanced from Inishowen, through the territory of the Ciannachta, into Airghialla territory, northwest of Lough Neagh, as early as the 6th century. Their branches included Cenél mBinnig Glinne, in the valley of Glenconkeine, barony of Loughinsholin.
Ireland's History in Maps, online at
"List of Clans in Ulster," online at Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org
Please refer to note (A), at bottom of page.
(1) Destruction of food and scarcity in Ireland.
(2) Failure of bread (536.3). Failure of bread (539.1).
(1) Famines of the World, by Walford (1879).
(2) The Annals of Ulster, www.ucc.ie
Please refer to note (B), at bottom of page.
  A "violent distemper" having broken out at Glasnevin, Columba returned to the north. "On his way he crossed the Bior, now called the Moyola water, a small river that runs into Lough Neagh on the north-west, and, in doing so, prayed, it is said, that this might be the northern limit to the spread of the disease."
  In a footnote, Reeves wrote: "Northern  limit.--This inconsiderable stream, in the lower part of its course, divides the dioceses of Armagh and Derry, which, in 1110, were represented under the name of Ardmacha and Ardentha. Thus it was the boundary between the Airghialla, and the Cinel Eoghain branch of the northern Hy Neill; and hence, perhaps, in the biography of a Neillan, it was represented as a boundary of disease."
Reeves (1857), pp. lxxii-lxiii.
The church at Desertoghill was founded by St Columcille; it was situated at Ballynameen.
Research by Mrs Kathleen Gillen; cited in The Fairy Thorn (1984), pg. 81.
Ordnance Survey Memoirs.

Note: Though not situated in either of the modern parishes of Kilrea and Tamlaght O'Crilly, this item has been included as a point of some local interest.
600s to ?
(1) Known as Tamlaght (also, Tallagh, or Taimleacht) Ninyach, the place name became Tamlaght O'Crilly after Laurence O'Crilly, the abbot, founded a monastery there in the 7th century.
(2) The name, "Tamlaght McNinagh," translates to "the plague grave of MacNinagh."
(1) Research by Miss Clark; cited in The Fairy Thorn (1984), pp. 61-65. In her essay, Miss Clark traced a general outline of the history of the parish of Tamlaght O'Crilly from the 7th century to the early 1800s.
(2) Tamlaght O'Crilly: Greenlough, www.greenlough.com
Great famine preceding second appearance of Buidhe Chonnaill, or the yellow plague, which raged in Ireland and in Europe generally. Bede informs us, "two-thirds of the Irish were destroyed by what he calls pestilence." Walford (1879).
Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy (1838), pg. 102.
Ryan (1832), pg. 397.
(1) Great scarcity.
(2) A great snowfall occurred. A great famine.
(1) Walford (1879).
The Annals of Ulster, www.ucc.ie
700–703 (1) Famine and pestilence, "so that men ate each other."
(2) Famine and pestilence prevailed in Ireland for three years, so that man ate man.
(1) Walford (1879).
The Annals of Ulster, www.ucc.ie
700s "The Church in Kilrea was a Monastery Church which had belonged to the Canons regular of St Augustine in the 8th century." Research by Mrs Kathleen Gillen; cited in The Fairy Thorn (1984), pg. 81.
(1) Great famine throughout the Irish kingdom; and more or less for several years.
(2) Famine and a great mast-crop (760.6). A great scarcity and famine (764.4).
(1) Walford (1879).
The Annals of Ulster, www.ucc.ie
(1) Famine.
(2) An earthquake and famine; a leprous disease attacked many. Abundance of oak-mast.
(1) Walford (1879).
The Annals of Ulster, www.ucc.ie
(1) Great dearth.
(2) A great pestilence in the island of Ireland affected the old, the children and the weak; there was great famine and shortage of bread.
(1) Walford (1879).
The Annals of Ulster, www.ucc.ie
Great scarcity of food for cattle in the spring. Great profusion in autumn.
The Annals of Ulster, www.ucc.ie
(1) Famine from invasion of locusts.
(2) A heavy snowfall and great scarcity (895.5).
(1) Walford (1879).
The Annals of Ulster, www.ucc.ie
Great scarcity affected the cattle.
The Annals of Ulster, www.ucc.ie
(1) An intolerable famine, "so that parents sold their children for food."
(2) Great and intolerable famine in Ireland, so that the father was wont to sell his son and daughter for food (965.1).
(1) Walford (1879).
The Annals of Ulster, www.ucc.ie
Great famine raged in Munster, and spread all over Ireland.
Famines of the World, by Walford (1879).
(1) Sir John de Courcy invaded Ulster. By this time, the people of Li, or Fir Li, who had been on the west side of the river Bann during the time of St. Patrick, had moved in the territory of Dalriada on the east side of the Bann. O'Donovan said there was no document to prove the what exact time when the Fir Li left the territory west of the Bann.
(2) "Anterior to the English invasion, the Hy Tuirtre were situated in Tyrone, on the west side of Lough Neagh and Lough Beg, adjoining the Fir Li on the south. Fearsat Tuama, "the Ford of Toome," now Toome Bridge, was the point of communication between the Hy Tuirtre and Dalaradia [sic]. In the twelfth century they were forced over to the east side of the Bann and Lough Neagh, and gave the name of Hy Tuirtre to the territory now known as the two baronies of Toome. … In the middle of the twelfth century the Hy Tuirtre and Fir Li were under one chieftain, but subsequently they separated, and the latter were transferred to the lordship of O'Cahan."
(1) O'Donovan (1847), pg. 161.
Reeves (1857), pg. 53.
A great famine throughout the country.
Famines of the World, by Walford (1879).


(A) Scant information has been input into this timeline about the ruling Gaelic chieftains and sub-chieftains who held sway in the territories comprising the parishes of Kilrea and Tamlaght O'Crilly. In order to parse the events germane to this region, the compiler needs to study the literature of the ancient kingdom of Ulster (Uladh), the early O'Néills (Uí Neill), and the tribes of Fir Lí, Cenél mBinnig, Eilne, and Uí Thuirtri. Readers who are inclined to forward suggestions for inclusion in this timeline, with bibliographic references, are asked to use our Contact page, please.

(B) The episodes of disease, famine, and dearth, mentioned in The Annals of Ulster, The Famines of the World (Walford, 1879) and Principal Epidemic Diseases of Ireland (Ryan, 1832) as having occurred in the Province of Ulster, generally, may, or may not, have occurred in the territories comprising the modern territorial divisions of the parishes of Kilrea and Tamlaght O'Crilly, specifically. Walford and Ryan also mentioned the following periods of natural disaster, without specifying which part, or parts, of Ireland were affected:
685: Famine and disease. (Ryan)
719: A rainy summer. (Walford)
772: Great drought. (Ibid.)
776: Great fall of rain, and consequent floods. (Ibid.)
781: Famine and disease. (Ryan)
1016: Excessive rains and floods--producing cattle mortality. (Walford)
1047: Great famine and snow. (Ibid.)
1093–1094: Great rains and inundations in summer and autumn. (Ibid.)
1011: A period of epidemic disease in Ireland. (Ryan)
1114–1116: Great famine, "during which the people even ate each other." (Walford; also, Creighton, for which reference, see below.)
1200: A cold, foodless year. (Walford)
1203: A great famine--"so that the priests ate flesh meat in Lent." (Ibid.)
1262: Great destruction of people from plague and hunger. (Ibid.)
1271: Great famine and pestilence. (Creighton)
1296–1298: Great dearth. (Walford)

(C) This timeline may not be copied, transmitted, or reproduced for profit or for gain--in whole or in part--in any medium, including web sites that ask for donations, feature advertisements, or link directly or indirectly to any commercial concern. Please use our Contact page to forward questions about usage.

  • Day, Angélique, and Patrick McWilliams. Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland. Vol. XXVII. Parishes of County Londonderry VIII, 1830, 1833-7, 1839. East Londonderry. Belfast: The Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen's University of Belfast, in association with The Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.
  • Kilrea Local History Group. The Fairy Thorn: Gleanings and Glimpses of Old Kilrea; published by The Kilrea Local History Group. Coleraine: Impact Printing, 1984.
  • O'Donovan, John. The Book of Rights, with translation and notes by John O'Donovan. Dublin: printed for the Celtic Society, 1847.
  • Reeves, William. Sancti Columbae: Auctore Adamno monasterii hiensis abbate (The Life of St Columba). Dublin (1857).
  • Royal Irish Academy. The Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. XVIII, Part I. Dublin: R. Graisberry, 1838.
  • Ryan, Michael, ed. "Principal Epidemic Diseases of Ireland." The London Medical and Surgical Journal, Vol. I. London: Renshaw and Rush, 1832.
  • Tamlaght O'Crilly: Greenlough. "Our Parish History." Online at http://www.greenlough.com/our-parish/our-parish-history/ (accessed 2015-01-25ff)
  • The Annals of Ulster. Electronic edition compiled by Pádraig Bambury and Stephen Beechinor; online at University College Cork, Ireland www.ucc.ie/celt/online/T100001A.html (accessed January, 2015).
  • Walford, Cornelius. The Famines of the World: Past and Present. (London: Edward Stanford, 1879).
  • Wright, Thomas. The History of Ireland, Vol. I. London and New York: John Tallis and Company (1849).
© Alison Kilpatrick 2015