The Avondhu - By The Fireside



cobbled areas and shallow cuttings that had held sleeper beams for timber walling.

The estate map does record one more settlement, a forest-edge clachan (settlement) that had no fields associated with it, suggesting that the natives were left there to provide a workforce for English settlers or landholder­s.

About 1589, Henry Pyne went into partnershi­p with Raleigh for the export of timber from the woods on Raleigh’s estates. Pyne oversaw this operation and Raleigh granted him a forty-oneyear lease of land at Mogeely, which became his new residence. This was the biggest commercial enterprise attempted in Ireland, requiring an investment of over £5,000.

The trees were cut down in the woods at Mogeely and Kilcoran and brought to the sawmill at Mogeely Castle, where they were manufactur­ed into wooden caskets. These caskets were conveyed by horse or by hand to the river and floated downstream to Youghal for shipment abroad. During 1590–92 about 340,000 caskets were sold abroad and about 200 men, mostly English settlers, were employed in the enterprise.


Shortly after Raleigh’s map was made in 1598, the English settlement­s in Mogeely and Curraglass were destroyed during the Nine Years War (1594 to 1603). In late 1598 Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, swept away all in his path and marched down to Munster, where James FitzGerald of Conna Castle, with 8,000 men under his command, joined forces with him. O’Neill then bestowed on him the title the Earl of Desmond (Sugan Earl) in August 1598.

On the advance of the combined Irish forces, all the English settlers or planters in Munster fled to England, without making any defence. Their property and possession­s were overrun, including those of Raleigh. It is recorded that Castle Hyde in Fermoy was taken on 17th October, 1598 and the town of Tallow was burnt on 21st October, as120 Englishmen fled.

However, the tide was turning for the Sugán Earl, whose army was ill-provisione­d, badly armed, no cannon, few guns and little powder. Queen Elizabeth, alarmed at the success of the rebels, sent over the Earl of Essex in 1599 with 16,000 men. Essex attacked and dismantled Conna Castle and thus started the beginning of the end for the Earl of Desmond, who went on the run and was eventually captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

It is thanks to Raleigh’s map and the Mercer University’s archaeolog­ical excavation­s of the 1990s, that we are aware of the many English colonial settlement­s that once existed in Mogeely and Curraglass and of which there are now no visible traces.

 ?? ?? Map of Sir Walter Raleigh’s Mogeely Estate from 1598.
Map of Sir Walter Raleigh’s Mogeely Estate from 1598.

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