Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/John Macrory Magrath

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 9
John Macrory Magrath

by Edward Alfred D'Alton


Born in Munster, Ireland, in the fifteenth certury; date and place of death unknown. Like many of his ancestors, he was chief historian to the O'Briens, princes of Thomond and chiefs of the Dalcassian clans. To the same family belonged the celebrated Miler Magrath, Protestant Archbishop of Cashel. Magrath's fame rests on his one work, "Cathreim Thoirdhealbhaigh". It was written in Irish, but has been translated into English by S.H. O'Grady. It is a history of the wars of Thomond from 1194 to 1318, and for the period covered is of great value. Magrath has necessarily much to say of the Anglo-Normans, especially of the de Clares, and of the efforts made by the Daleassians to repel their attacks. He has much also to say of the is internal strife in Thomond, and he gives full particulars of the attempt of O'Brien and O'Neill in the thirteenth century to strike common cause against the invaders. But as neither chief would serve under the other the result was the victory of the Anglo-Normans at the battle of Downpatrick in 1259. We have also an account of the final overthrow of the de Clares at the battle of Dysert O'Dea in 1318. Magrath's work is not a mere chronicle of events, but an historical composition in which motives and causes are examined, battles are described, and the characters of men are estimated. There is also much about the Daleassian chiefs, and of the topography of the districts over which they ruled. In these respects the work is valuable, though it often lacks sobriety of statement.

O'CURRY, MSS. Materials of Ancient Irish History (Dublin, 1861), O'REILLY, Irish Writers (Dublin, 1820).

E. A. D'Alton.