TIMELINE

Entries in the Annals of Ulster for the name Clercan, Cleirchene, Cleirchein, and Cleirchen

3rd-4th Century According to Sir Robert E. Matheson in Special Report on Surnames in Ireland (Dublin, 1909) the O’Clerkins are said to have been followers of the Three Collas and to have gone with them to Scotland and to have returned in the 4th century. According to the Annals, only 27 of the group of 300 who went to Scotland survived and were able to return.

For the year 903 Cleirkin, King of the Ui Barchi is mentioned in connection with the Battle of Belach Mugedon.

For the year 935  Clerchen, son of Tigh-earnan, son of the lord of Breifne died

For the year 980  Armchadh, Bishop of Cill-dara, completed his virtuous life in this world, and an advanced life. Eogan Ua Cathain, Abbot of Cluain-feacta-brenarum, Sinach, son of Murthulan, Abbot of Beannchair, Clerchen, son of Donnghal, successor of Fiechin, Conaing Ua Flannagan, vice-airchinneach of Ard-Machand Rothechtach of Daimhinis, a priest died.

For the year 995 Cleirchene son of Leran priest of Ard Macha died.

For the year 1012  A great malady, namely, lumps and griping at Ard-Macha, from Allhallowtide till May, so that a great number of the seniors and students, together with Ceannfaeladh of Sabhall, bishop, anchorite, and pilgrim; Maelbrighde Mac-an-Ghobhann, lector of Ard-Macha; and Scolaighe, son of Clercen, a nobel priest of Ard-Macha.  These and many others along with them died of this sickness.......

For the year 1013  Cairbre MacCleirchen, Lord of  Ui Fidhgeinte, was treacherously slain by Maelcoluim Caenraigheach. (The territory of the Ui Fidhgeinte corresponded largely with the modern county of Limerick.  The Cleirchen were called "Lords of Drumin" and their territory was Drumain-ui-Cleirchen, the hill or ridge, where the modern town of Dromin (barony of Coshma) in Limerick is located.  Signs of their habitation remain with a cathair, or stone-faced fort, and with the remains of two ring forts. Dromin and Atlacca: the Story of a Rural Parish in Co. Limerick by Mainchin Seoighe.)

For the year 1018 Ua Cleircein, Lord of Caille-Follamhain, was wounded and died after a short period.  (Donovan says this forest was in Westmeath, but it is now believed that Caille-Follanhaim was in Meath where the modern version of the name is Killallon.

For the year  1043....Cellach Ua Cleircein, successor of Finnen and Mocholomog....died on pilgrimage at Ard-Macha.  (Ard Macha, now Armagh, was founded by St. Patrick as his "see."  It was the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.  The Story of the Irish Race by Seamus MacManus.)

For the year 1045..Glunairn Ua Clercen, lord of Ui-Cairbre, died.

For the year 1088  (A battle is described which mentions Bruree and Drumain-ui-Cleirchen.  In essence, the Ui-Fidghenti were driven out of  Limerick  as a result of this battle.  The Cleirchen who remained in Limerick became Clerys and Clarkes.  Other Cleirchen went to Tipperary where they established Ballycleireachain[Ballyclerihan], which they held until the coming of the Normans about a hundred years later.  Interestingly, the family who took their lands in Tipperary were named MauClerc,  a French name meaning "Cleric," which was anglicised to Mockler.  Remains of the Clerihans' settlement still exist outside the modern village of Ballyclarahn.

For the year 1108...Oenghus Ua Cleircein, Patrick's steward in Munster, died.

For the year 1186  Maelcallan, son of Adam MacClerken, Bishop of Clonfert-Brendan, died.  (Clonfert-Brendan was established by St. Brendan.  It is in the town of Clonfert in Galway.)

According to the Annals of Loch Ce, A.D. 1014-1590, Maelcalainn O'Cleirchen, was bishop of Glenn-da-locha in 1186. Interestingly, in the Annals of the History of Ireland, he is listed as Maelcallan MacClerken, son of Adam MacClerken. What the significance the Mac in one case, and the O' in another is not clear.


Church on the grounds of the monastery at Glen da Locha, County Wexford

Other mention of the ancient O'Clerkins:

The History of Ireland by The Rev. Geoffrey Keating:      Cleirkin, King of the Ui Barchi is mentioned in an account of the Battle of Belach Mughna in 903

Keating cites O'Heerin's verse:


The Rock of Cashel

"The portion of the delightful Dal Carbri Eva,
Princes of Cashel of white standards,
Lasting is his prosperity to the country,
The brave and high chief O Cleircinn."

This was probably written about Cairbre MacCleirchen, Lord of Ui Fidhgeinte, who died in 1013.  The kings of the Ui Fidhgeinte and other kingdoms in Munster gathered at the Rock of Cashel, as did the kings of the north at Tara.  Cashel is where the Kings of Munster were crowned.)

Interior of Clonfert -Brendan Cathedral, Clonfert, County Galway

Maelcallan MacClerken, son of Adam MacClerken, was a Bishop of Clonfert-Brendan, according to the Annals of the History of Ireland.



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