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Archiver > IRL-CAVAN > 2000-01 > 0948831606


From: Peter & Nancy Pfaff <>
Subject: [IRL-CAVAN-L] 1836 letter
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 15:20:06 -0500


Cavan, May 28, 1836

I send the Parish of Denn which finishes the Barony of Lower Lough Tee with
the exception of the Parish of Kilmore, which will soon follow. The Irish
name of the Parish of Denn is now Deinn, which is certainly a corruption of
Dinn, a topographical word of frequent occurrence in our old authorities,
such as Dinn Riogh, the ancient palace of the Kings of Leinster situated on
the western bank of the River Barrow, near Leighlin Bridge in the County of
Carlow. It signifies a hill and seems originally synonymous with Dun (Vocis
Denn significatio). Dinnseanchus, the name of our celebrated legendary
topographical work is explained in the oldest glossaries as Seanchus Cnoc,
i.e., the History of Hills. I should like to spell it Dinn to make it
agree with the name of the Leinster palace but I fear that use, norma
loquendi, is too strong against me.

The only remarkable things of venerable (sacred) antiquity in the Parish
are three wells anciently situated near the Churchyard and called Tobair na
dTri Mic Duach or the Wells of the Three Mac Duaghs (3 sacrae fontes tribus
fratribus dedicatae). There are only two wells near the Churchyard at
present, the third, being insulted by a woman who polluted it by washing
dirty clothes in its sacred water, emigrated to the Townland of Leggan,
where it is yet to be seen. The three Mac Duaghs were burned in the
Churchyard of Denn and their graves were marked by three rude stones,
latterly destroyed by a minister's son who soon after shot himself.

Mons Gleatha. Mac Brady cognommatus Minister, vir sagax.

The beautiful Mountain of Sleive Glah is in this Parish. It is called
Sliabh Gleatha by Philip Minister Brady in his Romance entitled the
Prodigal Son. This Philip Mac Brady, the Dean Swift of Cavan, was a native
of the Parish of Drong and a Parish Priest until he embraced the
aristocratic religion of the State, for which he has handed down his name
to posterity as Philip Minister. In this Romance he gives the fable which
accounts for the name of Beann Eachlabhra now Binn-Aghlin and throws great
light upon Irish Fairyology. It is preserved in the MSS in Trinity College,
Class H, 1-4; see catalog.

You will observe the frequent occurrence of the names Pottle, Pole and
Gallon in this County. They were ancient measures of land which seem
peculiar tothis County like Tate to Fermanagh and Monaghan and Cartrons and
Gnieves to other Counties.

These measures are of English introduction for they certainly are not
Irish. Is there any work that throws light upon what quantity of land each
contain?

I rejoice to find that James O'Reilly, Esq., of Beltrasna in the County of
Meath is the proprietor of a large portion of this Parish - it must,
however, be a purchase as the whole of Breifny seems to have been forfeited. *

I fear that he and Mr. Morton will be able to throw very little light upon
Mullagh-Castle or Castlerahan.

J. O'Donovan

* The great tenth of the Cavan property possessed by the Baltrasna branch
of the family had belonged to Colonel John O'Reilly, who represented Cavan
in Parliment, commanded a Regt. of Cavalry (principally of his own
followers and equipped at his own expense) on the side of King James at the
Battle of the Boyne and who was included in the Articles of Limerick. The
Estate had been settled by the Colonel on the marriage of his eldest son --
in strict settlement under which it would have come to the present Myles J.
O'Reilly, his Great Great Grandson, but Councillor J. O'Reilly, who was a
tenant for life, contrived to buy fines contrry to the settlement and to
effect a sale to ___ O'Reilly of Baltrasna and thus defeated the settlement
which had by omission not been duly enrolled.

There was a long but fruitless litigation mairitand on this subject, the
pleadings of which are extant in possession of Myles J. O'Reilly, ther
person lineally entitled under settlement dated -- of --.

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