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picturesquely undulated, and covered with fine woods, that occasionally open into glades, or drop, in gracefulinclinations, down upon the river of Boyle, which, gliding out of Lough Ke, here pursues the loveliest section of its course, sometimes a peaceful stream, oftener expanding into loughs of moderate extent, but varied attractions. The annexed view, taken from a hill beyond the lake, opposite the house, suggests some of the interest of the scene, partly exhibiting, as it does, Ardcarne church and steeple, crowning the height at left, the house and conservatory in front, the windings of the river, traceable to Knockvicar-bridge; the wooded hills in the background; the lake between, with its little islands and pleasure-boats; the beautiful slopes, dropping down to its banks on all sides; the openings in the woods ; the breaks of the waters, and the lovely little promontories projecting into them. One of these sweet eminences, called Little Port, fronts the house, and affords a singularly delightful rural panorama, extending from Slieve-an-Erin to Ben-bulben.
As Oakport has long been the residence of a branch of the ancient sept of Fearcal, it seems a fitting occasion here to introduce A MEMOIR OF THE FAMILY OF “MULLOY," OR
“O'MULLOY." This very ancient and historical sept derives its origin from that memorable monarch of Ireland, Nial “ of the nine hostages,” who, immediately before the introduction of Christianity into this country, first assisted the Irish colony that had passed into Scot
land against the oppression of their neighbours, the Picts; but subsequently, having reconciled the differences of both parties, marched, with their formidable united forces, into Britain, and there harassed the Britons and Romans with such perseverance and bravery, as are hereafter detailed. The posterity of this king appropriated the sovereignty so much to themselves, that almost all the kings of Ireland claim descent from him, as do the noblest families of the country. That, which is the subject of the present memoir, traces its line through Fiach, a younger son of the monarch, and, though a poet's heraldry may, in modern times, be lightly estimated, yet in those ages, when the minstrel's lay was the voice of history-when honours and rewards recommended the profession to the most learned—while family rivalries and national revisions controlled their imaginativeness, it must afford the highest evidence of a sept's antiquity, to be the subject of long continued bardic tradition. The Book of Lecan, compiled early in the 15th century, from long preceding poems, and cherished oral accounts, is, accordingly, very full and interesting in details of pedigrees ; while, amongst those many, preserved to later days in the Harleian department of the British Museum, is one of the O'Mulloys.
When, after the introduction of Christianity into Ireland, the Fes, or Parliament of Tara, divided the then far more extensive district of Meath, to aggrandize the sons of Nial, Fearcal, then accounted in Meath, was the portion assigned to Fiach, whose posterity held it at, and for centuries after, the period of the English invasion. This fine territory extended into the present baronies of Ballyboy, Ballycowen, and Eglish, and also comprised much of those of Geashill and Garrycastle ; surveys of its contents were taken in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and are of record in the Rolls of the Exchequer, Ireland; while the name was even since significantly traced in the great vicarage of Fearcal, extending nineteen miles in length, and from three and a half to six in breadth, although, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Charles the First, that benefice was nominally dissolved, by patent, into four vicarages.
It is recorded, in the Annals of the Four Masters, that, in the year 984, the people of Connaught, passing the Shannon, devastated the west and south of Meath, when Fearcal was burned and wasted, and the chief of that district slain ; no distinguishing name is given in the notice, but sirnames were not given to Irish families until the reign of Brien Boroimhe, the hero of the celebrated battle of Clontarf, at which time the lineal descendant of Fiach, in Fearcal, was styled O'Maolmuadh. His daughter married Teigue, the eldest son of King Brien, who, on his father's decease, ruled Munster, jointly with his brother Donogh, for nine years. Turlough, the son of that marriage, succeeded, in 1064, to the sole sovereignty of Munster, and was indeed principal King of Ireland for 22 years(a). In 1017, Melaghlin, King of Meath, led an army into Fearcal, where he fought with the people of that district, who were on that occasion joined by those of Ely(6) (the O’Carrols), and in 1089 Murtough O'Brien made a foray into Fearcal, as recorded in the “ Annals of Innisfallen,” where it is also stated that, in 1094, Mac Giolla Furra O’Mulloy was one of the chiefs killed in an engagement between the O'Briens and the men of West Connaught; and that, in 1110, Gildas Columb O'Maolmuadh (Mulloy), chief of Fearcal, and his wife, the daughter of O'Bric, were slain by Cuconaght O’Allen. The same annalists record that, in 1139, Donogh O'Mulloy, King of Fearcal, was killed by Murrough O’Melaghlin ; that, in 1142 (as also noted by the Four Masters), Ferral O’Mulloy, son of the King of Fearcal, was killed by the son of Rory O'Mulloy, in Derry; and, Jastly, that, in 1175, Giolla Columb O'Mulloy, King of Fearcal, was treacherously slain by Rory Mac Coghlan. Turning from these evidences of civil feud, a very remarkable member of this sept, Albin O'Mulloy, succeeded, in 1186, to the bishopric of Ferns, after it had been refused by the celebrated Giraldus Cam. brensis (Gerald de Barri), the companion and tutor of Prince John, when he first visited Ireland. This Albin was previously
(a) Vallancey's Law of Tanistry, p. 549, &c. (6) Annals of the Four Masters.