Extracts from talk given to the Lough Gara Historical Society by Patrick Timon, NT. Fairymount, 1969.
(Later published in the Roscommon Archaeological and Historical Society Journal, Vol. 1, 1986.)
Tibohine, Ti Baethin in Airteach, also known as Tir Eanna or Tir Enda, comprised the present parishes of Tibohine, Frenchpark and Loughlinn. It had 15 ancient ‘baile’ or ‘sen cleithi’ from which it can be inferred it was half a ‘Triocha Cead’ or’ Barony’ or’ Hundred’. It was referred to frequently by Tireachan as Tir Eanna in Airteach.
On the east, it was separated from’ Magh Ai’ of Cruchan by a sruill from the Castlerea area down through Belach na gCarr (Ballinagare) to meet the Brideog River with which and Lough Technet* it was bounded on the north. Abha na Luinge flowed along most of its west side to almost Bun Suicin in Co. Mayo. The Suck on the South separated it from Cill Caoimhin (Castlerea) parish.
Who was this Enda of Airteach?
He was son of the famous King Niall Mor and a brother of Laeghaire. Enda with his brother, Fiach, rudely opposed St. Patrick at Uisneach 433, and when Patrick pronounced a course on Uisneach and Fiach, Enda listened to Patrick and was baptised. In sorrow, he made atonement and offered to Patrick for the church – “ a Ridge in every Nine” in all his territory, as a dowry with his infant son, Cormac, whom he placed as foster son with Patrick’s sister Darerca**. King Laoire confirmed this grant of territory to Patrick. It comprised 15’ sen cleithi’ in Airteach, Connacht, in which Laoire had previously installed Enda as ruler. There was at the time a literary as well as a civil fosterage in Ireland.
This Cormac was reared and educated by Patrick’s nephews (sons of Darerca) to wit: Bishop Donal of Aileach Airtigh (now Castlemore, Ballaghaderreen), Bishop Coimid of Cluain San Mhaoil (Frenchpark) and Bishop De Bonne (Davone in Kilnamanagh, Frenchpark – Boyle road).
Incidentally, this Cormac Mac Enna Mac Neill was Patrick’s successor in Armagh. In accordance with the “servitude of the church” (Book of Armagh) as the land of Airteach really belonged by spiritual descent to Cormac the four churches in Airteach had to send a cow each to Cormac and his successors until it was remitted by Nuda, Abbot of Armagh, in 801 A.D.
In 437 Lallocc, daughter of Darerca, niece of St. Patrick and foster sister of Cormac was brought by Patrick and Bishop Cathach to Ard Senila, ancient name of Fairymount. They came 5 miles north from Ard Lice (near Cloonalis where they founded a church and left Deacon Caoimhin who gave his name to Castlerea parish (Kilkeevan). In Fairymount on the side of Maighean Iontach, a mile west of the old fort on top of Ard Sen Lios, Patrick founded a church to which Lallocc her name, Cill Lallocc, a name which down the years has been very badly pronounced and the spot is now known as Cill i Hooley. There are no ruins of the church, but it was known as sacred ground and was used as a burial place for unbaptised infants until a short time ago.
According to Dr. Hanley, Patrick founded another church nearby for Bishop Cethech of whom there is no mention again in Fairymount. He is found with Patrick and Cethech’s brother, Sichill, in Oran where a Basilica was built.
The site of the old Don Lios in Fairymount is the present Carn Cloch on the summit of Fairymount hill. It commands a great view over Airteach and to Cruachan. The name Ard Sean Lios and Maighean Iontach have disappeared in the last 30 years. The name Mullach an Si has been adopted and there are two meanings given for its origin by old people. Mullach na Sidhi – the mount of the whirlwinds (586 ft.) and Fairymount – the hill of the fairies supposed to be given to it by ancient pagans who saw Lallocc and her holy virgins in the distance near Ard Sean Lios. There remains no other name as a saint other than St. Lalocc in the Fairymount area.
Patrick did not travel from Fairymount to the Tibohine end of Airteach from Fairymount. Instead he went on to Oran. Why? We must remember he travelled by Carbad (chariot) and there was no ramhad from here to Tibohine.
According to Cormac’s Glossary there were 5 classes of roads in Erin.
1. Sed, Semita Unius Animalia.
2. Lamh Rod – a Bridle road
3. Tuath Rod – a people’s path from fort to fort.
4. Bothar – a road for flocks.
5. Ramhad – a road so wide that the chariot of a king or a Bishop could pass by each other without touching.
Instead we find that Patrick came to the present place called Tibohine from Moylurg. He was proceeding north through Hugh Loirg when his horses were stolen from his camp or Eas na Erc. He came to his friends in Airteach for fresh horses and to the present place called Baethin. Here he founded a church which later came to be known as Domus Baethini – Ti Baethin, which gave its name to the parish. Local tradition held that Baothin was with him but Tireachan in the Book of Armagh states that Baethin, grandson of Enda of Airteach, inherited (spiritual) this church a century later. In the Tripartite Baethin is given as a contemporary of St. Nathy and St. Attracta of Breedouge.
Baethin of Airteach apparently extended this church and the number of cealla covered several acres in hill in Tibohine overlooking Domus Baethin. It flourished from the 6th to early 18th century and was described in the Book of Lecan and the Annals. In “An ait be mho Cliu in Airteach ba e Ti Beatha e” – The most famous place in Airteach, Ti Baethin. The civil rulers were Clann Diarmaid Gall of Enda.
There was not to be found a ceard in Erin that was not to be found in Ti Tibohine. It is frequently mentioned in the Book of Lecan, Book of Armagh and the Annals.
1225. An entry states “Giolla an Coimhdere Mac Giolla Coraig, uasal, sagart agus pearson, d’eag.”
A few years later, a similar entry – “ Mac Giolla Eanaig, Tigh Baethin d’eag.” In 1230 Aodh Muineach O’ Concubhar and his brother plundered (slad) Ti Baethin and its cealla and carried away considerable quantities of gold. silver and leather goods (Book of Armagh).
Ti Baethin recovered from these raids and several others from Ulster.
It was not until the Cromwellian soldiers, who had settled in the area – The Frenches, later De Freynes, arrived that Domus Baetheni suffered its final destruction. They invaded Airteach after much bloodshed and spent nine days carrying away the total contents to Dun Gar camps.
They burned Ti Baethin and took possession of many of the fifteen sean Cleithi of Airteach. Over these we find them as landlords in the following century.
The manaigh fled with many articles, which they buried in bogs and even in Lough Technet. There was an old saying in Tibohine: “Ta sadhbhreass sa loch nach eisc.”
One article stolen, a silver chalice, was given by the De Freynes years later, to the Minister of the Protestant Church in Portahard. It was inscribed Ecclesia Airtigh 1707. It is still there I presume. In like manner these De Freynes with Davises and Cornwalls burned and plundered churches in Cloonshanville, Kilnamanagh, Kilrodain and Kilrain.
After Catholic Emancipation the old unit of Airteach Enda was no more. Churches were built in Frenchpark, Tibohine (in O Connor Don’s property) and Loughlynn. One of the De Freynes married a Catholic in early 19th century and gave a patch of land for the present church in Tibohine which previously had temporary accommodation in Carragharriffe and Teevnacreeva in O’Connor’s property.
The roofless walls of Ti Baethin remained for nearly a century when the County Council took over the graveyards. They pulled down the walls and used the stones for road material. We are told that old men with tears in their eyes begged the engineer not to take away Baethin’s house. He laughed and said he would leave some. He did. It remains, a small portion covered with ivy in Tibohine cemetery.
During the Famine the parish suffered very badly. Scores had been driven west from the good lands “the Machaire” and they died in their hundreds. The grounds around the old monastery, where Baethin and his monks were buried, were used to bury the unfortunate victims at night as well as by day and were completely filled up.
There was a stone over a door in the monastery with the inscription Domus Baetheni and a worn date. It is supposed to be in the old fothrach that remains.
What an inglorious end to a church founded by Baethin, one of St. Patrick’s 300 bishops. The present parish is not one-third of the ancient parish of Tibohine – Tir Enda Airteach. Here are now two new churches, one in Tibohine and one in Fairymount and the parish is now frequently called Fairymount parish as the present parish priest lives there since the end of the last century.
Mention of Tibohine would not be complete without a special mention of Dr. Douglas Hyde, President of Ireland, 1938 – 1945. Tigh Baethin is the “Gleann in ar togadh e”, Rath Trae.
Old Place names:
Mt. Sen Lios, Maighean Iontach.
Fothrach in Tibohine cemetery.
Some Leasa – Lios ar gcul, Lios s’choirce, Lios adhaim.
Kill Ui, Cill Lallocc.